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It seemed like it was just yesterday when created my first blog post. But since then I’ve written well over 60+ articles regarding finance, saving money, career & side hustles. While I think I have a ways to go, I’ve learned a LOT about blogging in the meantime.
While I am no newb to blogging, it always feels like I learn something new after I write each post. It’s been 3 months and over 500 hours on this blog, I thought it would be a great ideal to reflect on the 50 blogging lessons learned after blogging for 500+ hours.
#1. It’s Okay to Take Time Writing Your Articles
If you’ve noticed that I’ve only written about 10 articles this month. While I think my content quality has increased, the number of articles I’ve written has decreased. Sometimes you might not be in the mood for it or life get’s ahead, so don’t feel pressured to write fast for the sake of completion.
#2. Just Start Writing
I think the biggest thing that has caused me to wait so long to write is that I would also get information overload. In my line of work, it’s a lot easier to audit/implement work on something that’s already made. But when working on your own stuff, it’s a lot tougher. If you take the Bluehost route, you can get a blog up in 10 minutes. Once you write, it will snowball.
#3. Don’t Forget To Hit Publish
To follow up on my previous point, it’s always nerve-racking to write a piece that the whole world can see. But the way I see it, the moment you hit ‘publish’ is an amazing feeling. I used to worry about “what if I sound crazy” or “what if I botched my spelling” and whatnot. But not so much now, you’ll find out that most people don’t care about what you write as long as your content is good.
#4. Grammarly is your best friend
Grammarly is great for those who write in English. Simply download the plugin and they will analyze your text and fix spelling + grammar errors. I hate copy-editing so this is a major time saver. Oh, and it’s FREE.
#5. You will get out what you put in
The more you blog, the more you end up doing for your blog. From learning how to tweak your website to formatting posts, over time your blog will improve and you’ll start seeing traffic come your way. While it’s not guaranteed, you will start seeing a needle move.
#6. Never Forget Pinterest
Pinterest has been the key driver for growth on my blog. Pinterest has allowed me to schedule pins and generates traffic on the site. Simply creating a website won’t guarantee you (lots of) traffic. My recommendation will always be Pintersting Strategies where you can follow the step by step process to get traffic.
#6. It Takes Time To Grow Your Blog
If you dream of making big money after 3 months of your blog by just writing, think again! Most blogs you end up finding via Google or Bing has been around for years (5+ years) and have had great quality content. Over time as people link to these blogs, they develop a reputation and start showing up on Google.
#7. For Fun or For Profit
While I personally vouch for WordPress on everything related to content, it might not be perfect for someone who wants a nice looking blog right out of the box that is easy to use. If you just write for the hell of it, then stick with a platform that you are comfortable with. If you plan to make money (or at least monetize), expect to spend money on hosting and get WordPress for the best experience.
#8. Leverage Contacts & Resources
I created a Top 11 Facebook Groups post that has multiple resources on finding the right blogging community that fits your needs. Some groups allow you to post a question and you’ll get many answers, fast. It’s a great way to make contacts and to improve your blog
#9. Blogging is More Than ‘Just Writing’
“Didn’t you just say that you just need to write?”. I did, you need to “just write” as a way to start your blog. But as you start writing (especially in WordPress), you’ll begin to see that you need to categorize your articles, figure out titles, creating nav bars, thinking about colors, etc.
On top of that, if you want to try to get traffic, you might need to reach out to friends or learn to share your posts on social media.
Now, this isn’t meant to scare you. It’s mainly meant to set expectations. Similar to this blog, I don’t want to strictly dive into money hacks knowing that teaching the right fundamentals is much more important.
#10. You Can Create Pinterest Graphics for Free!
When I initially started this blog, I was using photoshop to create graphics. I noticed that after 90 minutes on my first graphic that I should just skip creating graphics because it was too time intensive. Then I came across Canva where they have premade templates and easy to use interface and it’s free. Now it takes about 10-15 minutes for me to create graphics Pinterestrest and for the blog.
#11. Writing Can Be A Grind
Writing is a double edge sword for me. While I love writing, doing research and providing the right links to the right places and formatting posts can add up. It’s easy to get lost in the grind of writing and get burned out.
#12. You Start To Know How Long It Takes To Write (Positive)
I mentioned this in a previous article, but depending on the type of content I write, I have a good idea of how long it’s supposed to take me to complete. This is a great thing when it comes to day-planning.
#13. You Start To Know How Long It Takes To Write (Negative)
On the flipside, knowing that you want to write a post that will take 4 hours can also be a drag since you already know what’s coming ahead of time.
#14. Guest Blogging Is Powerful
If you aren’t sure if guest blogging is ideal, consider this. When you write content on another site that links to your site, you are establishing yourself as an expert in your niche. Not only does this give you Google benefits (SEO), but if you guest post on a popular website, you’ll also get referral traffic to help grow your blog.
#15. You Don’t Have to Publish Every Article
I try to write about things that are fairly related to all things personal finance on this blog. While I do write a lot about marketing & entrepreneurship, it isn’t ideal for this blog. That said, you can write an article and if it doesn’t align with your blog, it becomes pre-made content for a guest post.
#16. Writer’s Block Happens
No matter who you are, you will run into writer’s block. Check out some ways I get out of writers’ block.
#17. Pick One Social Media Platform To “Dominate”
Depending on your blog and the content, some social media platforms are a lot easier to promote compared to others. I have Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook/Twitter, but I spend all my time on Pinterest.
#18. Social Media Really is A Grind
While I Focus Pinterest and use Tailwind to help schedule posts, spending hours planning posts on other platforms could be a grind. Actually, it’s a grind for me. I try to batch posts (Tailwind on Pinterest & other social sites I use Buffer).
#19. Change Scenery When You Write
This probably applies to those who work from home, but having a change in scenery from my day-to-day work and blog helps create separation on when I need to write. If I stay home and try to blog, I get distracted. But this is just me.
#20. Get The Yoast SEO Plugin
In case you are wondering about “SEO” on your blog, Yoast does a great job of making your website SEO friendly (WordPress). From walking you through SEO basics to helping you show your site on Google, Yoast is the best SEO plugin.
#21. If You Want To Do Affiliate Marketing, Start Now!
Generally, if there is something I recommend, it’s because I have tried it myself or is established. So I add an affiliate link to get a small referral bonus. The thing about this though is that it takes time for you to sign up for affiliate networks or products that you support. So if you want to monetize your site, do it now!
NOTE: Yes, I’ll create a top beginner affiliate marketing network if that helps. Just hold off.
#22. I’m Terrible at Email Capture
While I am pretty solid with Social Media, Paid, and Facebook…I flat out suck at getting emails. While I’m glad to have a few dozen subscribers, this is a shortcoming that I recognize. But still, this is a lesson that I had to learn the hard way.
#23. Don’t Ignore Video
You ever look at the big Youtubers and think, “Man, I wish I could be like that?”. Getting in front of the camera isn’t for the “chosen few”. While I haven’t created videos, I plan to supplement that soon with my blog.
#24. Check for Broken Links
I had this issue in my earlier articles where my links when nowhere. I don’t know why or how that happens, but mistakes happen. The plugin I recommend is WP Link Status it’s completely free and lets you know if you have broken links. This a major time saver.
#25. You Will Get Better The More Your Write
I would say my first 5 articles were the toughest articles to write. I had so much content I wanted to create, but no real way to begin. So I just wrote what was on my mind, regardless of length. After I got those articles out of the way, I began to look at how to improve my writing. Eventually quality did improve (at least I hope), I still don’t think I’m amazing, but better than when I first started blogging.
#26. Don’t take on all things at once
I said it before and I’ll say it again, focus on writing first. Don’t worry about social media, sharing your blog, design, etc. Write a few articles to get the hang of it, then make gradual improvement. It took me 15+ articles for me to realize my old blog design was terrible.
#27. Your Initial Blog Vision Will Be Nothing Like Actual Results
I initially wanted a magazine style blog that was narrow and already determined a pre-set navigation. After my first few articles, I realized that the moment you create your first blog post, your perspective on the website will change.
#28. Fiverr is Hit Or Miss
While I love to use Fiverr for one-off projects. I’ve used them for Pinterest pins and my old logo. Turns out about 1 of the 5 pins I paid for actually was “decent” and I absolutely hated my logo. All in all, I wasted about $60. That said, it was a good learning experience that taught me to do things myself. Although I will likely try again with another logo.
#29. You don’t really need a Logo
Unless I happen to find a really good logo for my blog, I highly doubt I’ll change it anytime soon. I really like how it is currently and as long as I don’t hate it, it works for me.
#30. Content Is King
I’m sure you might have heard that “content is king” at some point in the past. But I completely agree! When you write about what you are passionate about, you’ll realize that your word count starts getting into the thousands and your writing quality improves. This helps in getting readers engaged and sharing your content.
#31. Don’t Be Afraid to Link Out to Other Sites
I wrote an article that talks about my favorite personal finance blogs that I read. Just because I’m in the space doesn’t mean I don’t acknowledge other finance sites. As a matter of fact, it can help you boost your Google presence.
#32. There Will Always Be Someone That Likes Your Content
Believe it or not, you usually won’t be the only person who likes what you write. With 7+ billion people on the planet, your content is likely to resonate with someone. To me, that’s totally worth it!
#33. Life Happens, and That’s Okay
I’ll admit that the month of August has probably been a terrible month for me outside of the blog. I’ve had a limited amount of time to focus on the blog and I wasn’t in the right mindset. But that’s fine, this blog does help me make money but it’s not the end of the world if I only write 1 or 2 articles each week.
#34. Keep A To-Do List
While I do keep a content calendar for all of the potential articles that I write, I usually keep a day-to-day list of items I want to accomplish for the day. This helps me keep myself from getting too distracted and gives me extra focus to complete an article.
#35. Don’t Overthink Your Blog Decisions
Unsure of the color scheme, or the font spacing? I’ll tell you that I’ve probably spent 100+ hours thinking about these decisions and testing the smallest details on how my blog looks. If I could go back, I would have spent my time focused on content or reaching out for guest posting. Most of the minute decisions are ‘diminishing returns’ in hindsight.
#36. Don’t Force Yourself To Write
I’m a fan of discipline and keeping to your goals. But some days I don’t feel like writing. And it’s more than just a feeling, it’s rather a ‘complete unwillingness’ to write. If you are at the point where you don’t want to write at all and your productivity is poor, just call it a day. It happens to the best of us.
#37. Use Guest Posting as An Outlet Beyond Your Blog
I briefly mentioned this earlier. But say you run a travel blog but want to talk about gaming, reach out to gaming blogs and see if you can guest post or become a random contributor. Some blogs will pay you to write content about the things that you love. While you might not get a link to your main blog, you get to create new content that is a nice changeup and you can establish yourself as a regular contributor on other blogs.
#38. Speed Is Everything
I’ll say this, most bloggers when starting out choose to go with BlueHost or SiteGround as they are affordable and perfect for beginners. Since I have a few other sites I use, sometimes speed can become an issue. For this blog, I use Pressable (moving from Hostgator). I have 4 sites total so it averages about $6/month for each site that has dedicated speed. So if you feel like your site is slow at times, it might be worth making the jump.
#39. Don’t Write Just For The Sake of Writing
Sometimes you aren’t in the mood to write or have writers’ block, but if you write aimlessly and create an article so you can check it off your “to-do” list, it becomes busywork and chances are the articles won’t be great. I have caught myself doing this once in a while :(.
#40. Good Blogs Cost Money
You can try to get super cheap hosting and a free theme with all the free plugins, but chances are you will end up doing everything manually and spending more time and energy doing things that aren’t worth your time. From domain names to hosting and even finding a theme, it might sound harsh but $100 is the likely amount for your to get your blog up and running with the most potential for success. That is if you want to make money blogging long-term.
#41. Set Up A Newsletter / Email List
You can use MailChimp for free to get started. But since I’m terrible with email lists, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had success with it. Simply adding the option for people to sign up for the newsletter can capture your fans. Even though it might not be a lot when starting out, they are yours! It could be a simple form on the sidebar or footer.
#42. Don’t Ignore Your Email List
I’ll plead guilty on this one. I did create some initial autoresponder campaigns when I first got Convertkit, but I haven’t done any followups since. This is something I need to improve on and I know a lot of other marketers can attest to the power of the email list.
#43. Your Passion Will Fade…But Not Completely
I’d be lying if I said that I’m just as excited on post #60 as I was for post #1. I get pretty thrilled to see traffic coming to the blog on a daily basis, but as time goes the amount of passion I have isn’t 100%. It’s still at about 70-90% depending on what I want to talk about, but that’s just something I am experiencing.
#44. You Can Only Do So Much
I’m pretty sure I’ve alluded to this earlier, but from posting on multiple social media platforms to focusing on my email list, it can become too much. The last thing I want is this blog to feel like a chore for me to write, edit, and market. It’s okay to take a break and focus on one aspect. It’s okay to slow your pace to keep sanity.
But don’t expect that you can do everything, that’s usually my problem and believe me, it’s not fun.
#45. Don’t Be Afraid to Put Your Face Online
I can only speak for myself, but I thought it would be a good idea to at least show my face on the blog so it doesn’t appear that this blog isn’t a fly-by-night website. I dunno, I think blogs that don’t have an “about” or some ‘human’ element don’t have the personalization needed for me to fully trust. But again, that’s just me.
#46. Make Sure To Get Akismet
If you have WordPress, you can get Akismet for free and it prevents you from getting hundreds of spam comments and messages. I’m all about time-saving and Akismet is usually already installed when you get WordPress.
#47. Adding Personal Flair Helps
I am still getting the feel for adding my personal flair. I try to mix my style as more informative, but at the same time, I don’t want to sound like a robot. So this is more of a yin/yang type of problem you can solve. If you have a business blog, try to be more formal. If it’s a gaming or travel blog, be more personal.
#48. Formatting Is A Bigger Deal Than You Think
From adding the right headings to outlining multiple columns in your posts, the last thing you want to do is have a block of text that is hard to read. You can make formatting your posts must easier by getting a shortcodes WordPress plugin that you can use to make your posts pretty.
#49. Images Help Readability
I will admit, I am still kind of bad at this. Even for this article, it’s a major list of 50 blogging lessons with very few images. I might go back to adding images but at the same time, I do take the effort to add feature images that get the point across.
#50. Be Sure To Link To Related Articles
Have you ever read an article, then decide to click on 3 or 4 other articles because it’s relevant to what you are looking for? Well, you aren’t alone. I try to hand-pick my related articles each post and do interlinking accordingly to help provide a pain-free experience. You don’t need a plugin or anything fancy. Just do what I am doing at the end of this article :).
I hope you can take the value of these 50 blogging lessons learned after 500 hours of blogging! Feel free to comment on things you’ve learned as well.
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