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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I loved this post. I have been writing a blog for a few months now, and I’m starting to see my viewing figures increase. But it’s not easy. A lot of people just don’t get it (“What is a blog anyway? And why would you bother?!”) especially about not expecting your family and friends to always read it. I was a bit disappointed when the early enthusiasm from some people started to drop off, but finding new readers from around the globe has more that made up for it! As an aspiring writer who has failed to actually write anything for the past ten years just finally DOING something has been a revelation and has meant a completely new life for me. It has given me the confidence to get my writing out there and try lots of new things.
Great post, keep up the good work 🙂
Thank you so much for your comment, it’s great to have you here.
That is fantastic that blogging has increased your confidence and you are trying new things. It’s a great feeling when you finally start DOING. I can definitely relate.
I do love seeing that people around the globe are reading my posts. I recently added a translater to my blog, so hopefully that will encourage more non English speakers as well.
Blogging is hard work there is definitely no doubt about that. It gets under your skin though and you just love it (despite the hard work).
Good luck with your blog (I will pop over and check in out as soon as I finish this comment). I wish you all the best with your writing and I look forward to seeing you here again.
Writing a blog is a great way to express yourself and share your knowledge with the rest of the world. The most important thing is you need to be passionate about writing and you need to make sure you will have time to keep it up-to-date. Sometimes you just do not have enough information or time to sustain personal blog in that case you could join existing community in one of the existing blogs and share your thought there. We work on a blog to help people who are new to UK and ask people to contribute or even become permanent writers. We even run competitions for the most interesting article and reward people who help others.
There are a number of blogs you could join which specialise in different topic areas..I wish you the best blogging;)
Thank you for this informative post which I came across while seeking guidance for starting a blog. You are indeed “Inspiring” 🙂
Well, I’m totally new to blogging and I could really use the help of such a successful blogger as yourself, if you are Ok with that.
As far as I understand, a blog is sort of an online journal where I’ll be the writer, the editor, the photographer, the publisher and the only reader (At least for a couple of months until somebody stumbles into a post I made!)
Did I get it right?!
I did have a glance on your recommended sites for new freelance writers, but I prefer the practical approach.
I believe what I do need now is being a junior blogger (a trainee), for a couple of months until I understand the rules of the game well (especially the terminology!!)
Then I’ll be ready to administrate a blog good enough to deserve existence on the same world containing your awesome blog 🙂
My question for you is:
Do you know a place where there’s room for a trainee blogger?!
I would not call myself an expert but I can write in a diversity of topics;
Philosophy, science, literature, movies & much more
I do have at least one thing to say about anything you can think of (You can put this to the test if you’d like!)
I really appreciate your patience to read my post and thanks again for holding the lamp for fellow writers.
Thank you so much for your great comment. Lovely to have you here! So glad I inspired you.
Blogs originally started as online journals but now many have evolved into much more than that. Many are websites in their own right (they simply have the blog chronological format as their front page).
If you start your own blog, hopefully you won’t be the only reader for too long. That is where promoting and marketing comes into play. There is also search engine optimization (SEO) that will help you get picked up by the likes of Google and other search engines. You want to get your blog in front of as many people as possible (which is always the fun and challenging part).
One big question for everyone wanting to start a blog is what do you want your blog to be about? What is your main topic?
You mentioned the terminology and yes it does take a while to take it all in. I felt a bit like I was trying to learn a foreign language for a while but you do pick it up and it all starts to make sense. 🙂
Now to your questions. I don’t know of anywhere where you could sign up for a trainee blogger. What you could do however is start guest posting for other people’s blogs. Guest posting is pretty much like it sounds, you are a guest on someone else’s blog and write a post for them. It helps to have some sort of previous connection with the blog owner first, commenting on their blog and being involved with them on Facebook and Twitter is probably a good first step. Being a quest blogger will help you with the writing side of a blog but you would still need help on how to get started with your own blog.
I would suggest starting with Problogger.net. Darren Rowse has a blogging for beginners section that you would find very helpful. There is a lot of great information on Problogger but to avoid feeling overwhelmed or confused, I would start with the content written for beginners.
The other blog I would suggest is Adrienne Smith.net. Adrienne has some great content for new bloggers as well. Obviously there are a LOT more blogs that I could recommend but I think starting with two and learning as much as you can would be a good idea. Naturally I have posts about blogging on this blog as well. I have a blog basics series if you wanted to have a look at that. 🙂 I am in the process of writing a post about my favourite blogs on blogging, so much sure you have a look at that when it comes out.
Once you have your blog up and running there are some good courses and ebooks that you can buy to improve your blog, but there is a lot of free stuff you can read when you are starting out..
As I mentioned in the post you commented on, blogging does take time and hard work so make sure you have the time to invest.
I hope this information has helped you. I would head over to the blogs I suggested to get the basics on getting started and then I would dive on into the blogging world. Nothing like experience on the job I say. Blogging is one of those things where you are continually learning because the technology and trends change so fast.
I would love to hear how you go and if you decide to start your own blog. Stay in touch and let me know how you go. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
I look forward to seeing your here again soon.
Thank you so much for posting.
New to the blogosphere, I thought I was on an island in feeling that blogging is similar to learning a new language. Completely self-taught through trial and many errors, it’s been time consuming, frustrating, and downright infuriating at times.
Having said that, it’s an incredible feeling to see how far my blog has come along in just a couple of months. I didn’t (and likely still don’t) have a niche, nor did I have the recommended 10-20 posts out of the gate. I just started. And it worked.
I’m thankful for people, such as yourself, that write about their own trials and tribulations. It’s comforting to know we’re not alone.