Thinking of starting a blog, read this first.

My friends often say to me ‘I think I’ll start a blog’ after I tell them about mine.  I often have a little internal chuckle to myself.  I realize I probably sounded the same when I first started talking about blogging.  Until you actually start a blog, you have no idea how much work is actually involved.

If you want to start a blog for your family, friends and a few others to read, then it is simple enough to do.  If however you want to start a blog as a business, then you should be prepared for a lot more work.

A lot more.

Here are some of the things I have discovered so far with my blogging experience.  Naturally these are my thoughts only, so other bloggers may have a different opinion.

Here is what you need to know about starting a blog.

It is like learning a new language

Unless you are already have some experience with the technology of a blog, be warned it may feel like you are learning a different language.

When I speak to my friends about the technical side of my blog, I normally see a blank, confused face starting back at me.  Sometimes their eyes actually seem to glaze over.  I realize they have no idea what I am talking about.

As with many things, blogging has its own terminology and lingo.  I had no idea what any of it meant when I first started.

There is a huge learning curve

There is a lot to learn when you are new to blogging.   While at first I did find how much I had to learn overwhelming, I was (and still am) equally exhilerated by the aspect of constantly learning something new.

One thing I have realised is to try to find the easiest and quickest way to complete a task.  When I first installed my blog, it took me nearly two days.  I was at the ripping my hair out stage by the end of the weekend.  Months later I found out that my host server had a quick install button for my particular blog platform.  I laughed out loud to myself realizing how much easier it could have been.  Now before embarking on a task, I have a closer look at what needs to be done and what options are available.

Related – 5 Awesome Websites to Help Grow Your Online Business or Blog

It takes self-discipline and time

Running a blog takes time.  Commitment, time and self discipline.  Again if you want to start a personal blog on a hosted service and only post occasionally, you could reduce this time considerably.

But if you are planning on starting and running a business from your blog and want to post daily, there is a huge time investment to consider.  Some of the most successful bloggers run and maintain their blogs full time.

Firstly you want to write great content.  In the beginning, writing high quality content, may mean that it takes you a little longer to write than you expect, though writing times generally improve as your writing technique and confidence both improve.  Secondly there is the ongoing blog maintenance which will get a mention further on.

Related post – How to Be a Better Blogger by Being Yourself

Don’t assume your family and friends will read every post

If you are starting a blog for your friends and family then yes they will probably read it (at least in the beginning).   Travel blogs are particularly popular when people go on holiday overseas.

With a business blog, don’t make this assumption.

Initially when you tell friends about your blog, many will go in and have a look.  Some will subscribe (which is ever so lovely of them!).   The numbers for your launch may be great, thanks to your existing connections.  Don’t expect them to read it religiously after that however.  You will need to find new readers.

A blog is not a set and forget enterprise

If you think you simply set up your blog and then publish a post every now and then, you may want to rethink that strategy.  For starters, when you are new, you may need to post more regularly (though this can fluctuate from blog to blog).  Your traffic may not grow if you post irregularly.

There will also be comments to respond to (hopefully!!)   There will be plugins to update or install and there will be emails to reply to.  If you offer services like a free newsletter, you will need to produce and distribute one.

If you monetize your blog, there will be further work involved (and a lot more to learn about advertising, affiliate marketing and how to sell your own products online).   I might have to tell you more about that, once I actually take that step myself!

Related post – The Mind-Boggling Truth about Starting a Blog from Scratch with No Prior Experience

There may be costs involved

There are costs involved if you are going to self host.

Depending on what you want from your blog, you may choose to pay for web design, photographs, logos and themes.  Some of these can be free of charge; others can be extremely expensive, so the cost is really up to you.

Promoting and marketing takes time

Posting to the blog is only one component. People need to know that your blog exists.

Promoting and marketing your blog takes time (and is another one of those fascinating learning curves that I mentioned earlier).  While social media (Twitter, Facebook etc) has made promotion easier, there is still a time consideration to be factored in.  If not handled correctly, social media can see you wasting a lot of your precious time.

Related post – How to Deal with Blogger Envy

You need to be patient

Unless you are established in a well known business or have another successful blog, you need to realise that starting a blog and building traffic and readers takes time.  Many bloggers abandon their blogs too early, expecting overnight success.

Many of the professional bloggers, who blog for a living, mention you should have a long term plan for your blog.  If you have overnight success, excellent!  Feel free to write in and share how you achieved that!  We would love to hear from you.  In the meantime however, you will need to work hard and be patient.

There are rules about what you can put on your blog

Some people may think that anything you see on the Internet, you can publish on your blog.  Not so.  You need to be careful of using or duplicating other peoples work.  This applies to both content and photographs.

But then there is the good stuff….

I hope this post has not come across as negative.  The truth is I really enjoy blogging.  I am very glad I started this blog.

When I first started receiving comments on my blog I was thrilled (I still am for that matter).  The first time a reader mentioned I had ‘inspired’ them, I have to admit, that was when I was hooked!

I realized every bit of hard work and hair pulling was definitely worth it!

It will be worth it for you as well. If you want to start a blog – go for it!

I would love to hear from other bloggers. Do you agree with my points above?  Have you anything to add or feel differently about a particular topic?  I would appreciate your comments and input.

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