I recently passed my 5-year blogversery and honestly didn’t celebrate. For me, I have been so GO GO GO for the last five years, and I haven’t actually been able to sit down and enjoy my blog. Regardless, to celebrate it now, I want to share 13 things that I wish I knew when I started blogging so that you can bypass some of the huge mistakes I made and also change your mindset to have less stress and disappointment in your life. Because to be honest, blogging is a whirlwind, BUT it’s easier when you have help!
1. You don’t need to grow a social media following
The majority of these things aren’t in any order, but I wanted to put this one first and make sure it was first because it is so important to know. One of the biggest myths (which I debunk in this post here) in the blogging community is that you have to have a social media following before you can be a blogger because if you don’t, no one will read your stuff. THIS so bothers me because it is incredibly untrue. Take it from someone who started from nothing and now makes a full-time income blogging. You DO NOT need to have a social media following. At the time of writing this, I STILL don’t have a social media following, and I consider myself successful as a blogger. Google Analytics doesn’t lie, you guys!
2. What works for others won’t work for you
You cannot, and I repeat, cannot, take what someone else is doing for their blog, and think it will work for you because it will not. I made this mistake as a young blogger because I was told that brand deals, ads, and affiliate links were the way to go to make real money.
Well, then I found out you need THOUSANDS, and I mean like 100s of thousands of views every single month to make any sort of money from ads, brand deals were far and few between and I just never was on board with affiliate links because why sell someone else’s stuff for a % when you could just sell your stuff and get it all?
Anyway, when I found that out, I started looking for ways to gain traffic fast. I thought, oh, this person has 30k people in her Facebook group, let’s try to grow one of those! Fail.
Then I say someone had X readers from Instagram, let’s try to build a following there. Fail. Because what worked for those people were not going to work for me!
So do not make the same mistake I did. Shy away from trying to copy what other people are doing and just do what YOU want to do. Nothing will ever come easy or fast. You can, however, bypass some time by having someone coach you or by taking a course that is right for you and promises to give you a CUSTOMIZED approach to blogging, but that’s all in what you want to do!
3. You don’t need to be on every single platform to be successful
The days of being on every single platform in the world is over. No more Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Podcast, Tumblr, TikTok, and whatever else is out there being thrown around as a “platform you need to be on to be successful.”
I have followed GaryVee for a really long time, and this is the one thing that I genuinely disagree with him on. He says, be everywhere. I say, don’t. There is a reason for this, and that is because of context switching. Context switching (in short) is a time-sucking black hole that comes and graces you with its presence when you try to do too many things at once. Trying to be on every single platform? You will work FOR SURE fail. I promise.
What can you do instead? Pick one or two platforms you know your target audience is on and go from there!
4. You don’t need to write 5 times per week
If I had a dime for every single time I thought I had to write every single day or more a week I would rich by now. I was SO hard on myself when I first started blogging because I thought I NEEDED to write so much and get all this content out so people would read it.
I also thought that if I scheduled out all the content I created, it would FOR SURE get me visitors when the reality of the matter is, unless you tell people you have something on your blog, they won’t just come. Having a blog is not a “build it and they will come” situation.
5. Money through ads, affiliates, and brand deals take the longest to get
I got into blogging because brand deals looked like SO much fun. I was so excited to start creating my brand wishlist and start reaching out. I thought if I just had the blog set up, people would come and read, and I would make money because brands would collab with me.
Oh how wrong I was…
Because you have to have SO MUCH TRAFFIC to get money through ads and to get a decent brand deal, its not even something that makes sense for new bloggers. You do have the opportunity to make some money as an affiliate but that is typically scarce without a lot of dedicated traffic too!
6. I can make money without a big audience
If you have been a follower of mine for some time then you know I preach this now. You do NOT need a big following or a big audience to make money when you are selling your own products. I would be SO much farther along right now if I just would have realized this back when I first started. I spent 2 years trying to grow my own audience on social media so they would read my content and I could get cool brand deals that would pay my bills.
Guess what, neither of those happened. What happened instead was I got sick of busting my butt for no reason and I decided to start my own shop, sell my own products, and make money that way. And that is what I did. and THAT is what worked. You can read more about my favorite way to make money as a blogger here.
7. Comparing myself to others won’t make me better
Yup. This too. This is one of those “things” that you don’t realize until you’ve already wasted too much time thinking, hurting, and comparing yourself to others. It’s a bummer but take it from me. It does NOT make you any better than what you are.
What makes you better is practice and constructive criticism. I would be happy to look over any of your content if you want to connect with me through my contact form. I can’t promise I will get to it immediately but I will do my absolute best to do so!
8. My photos, blog posts, and overall writing will get better with time
Gosh when I look back at my old blog posts I cringe.
You know how all those big YouTubers look back on their first videos and record their reactions? You can see how much they have grown and how much better they have gotten. It’s the same thing with your blog. You are SUPPOSE to suck at first. You just are!
So embrace the suck and do the best you can. You will get better overtime and naturally. That is what is going to count!
10. Launching a blog will always seem like a failure if you are starting from nothing
When I launched all 3 of my blogs and every single launch failed, I then learned that it always will be. It is one of the most depressing parts of being a blogger. It actually causes a ton of bloggers to fail before they get started because they thing that because their audience didn’t come at the beginning, they never will.
This is so wrong and so discouraging BUT you have to push through the failure of your launch and just move on. I cannot tell you how many bloggers have come to me EVEN AFTER I have warned them about this and wanted to quit because no one came. Its not about who comes at the beginning. Its about who comes back every single month to read from you. Or about who joins your email list because they can’t get enough from you. Don’t miss out on everything blogging related because you didn’t get 100k people to your website on your launch day!
11. Finding the right audience changes everything
Niching down and finding the right audience will change. your. life. NO JOKE. When I decided to switch from lifestyle blogging to only teaching/sharing blogging and Pinterest my world changed.
Another example? I had complimentary call with a blogger who wanted to give up on blogging. I asked her simply why she wanted to give up and her answer was “I’m just not feeling it anymore.”
My response? “What are you actually passionate about that you WANT to write about?”
Her response? Something COMPLETELY different from what she was currently doing. After we got off the phone she had a plan to rebrand her blog. I checked in with her a few months later and she was indeed still blogging, she found her audience and was KILLING IT. Like growing twice as much as she was before and actually doing what she loved. Niche down and find what makes you happy. That is the key to being a successful blogger.
12. Sometimes batching content works and sometimes it doesn’t
This is unfortunately true. Sometimes batching content is amazing and such a time saver and sometimes it sucks up more time than you could ever imagine! This “thing” and the next one go hand and hand because of the actual reason behind why you write. I recommend creating a content calendar but don’t get down on yourself when you don’t actually finish it or write the content on time! It’s okay, you are human! You can make it up or let it go!
13. Write when you are happy and excited to do so
Last but not least, write when you are happy and excited to do so. The reason why this is so important is because if you try to force yourself to write you’ll start to resent it. And then you will start to hate blogging and then its just a downward spiral.
I only write when I am happy and actually want to write. No pressure, just be realistic with yourself! I have been trying to write this blog post for a whole month and a half because I have been so busy and just not feeling it. BUT I have finally gotten it done and out so just use this as inspiration that you’ll get what you need to get done when its supposed to be done. No stress. No pressure!
I hope these “things” helped you understand your blog and the blogging process a little more. If you are interested in downloading my free blogging checklist you can do so here:
This checklist will help take the guesswork out of what you need to do each time you write a post and when you are getting set up. I am also answering some FAQs about blogging that may be helpful to you!