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Has it really been over a year and a half since I posted my first blog post? I can’t believe that so much time has gone by since December 2015! I’m still thinking of myself as a relatively new blogger. My followers are going up, my income is rising, and the quality of my posts are improving. Yes, I’m advancing in the world of a blogger.
As I sit here today, I think about the many things I wish I would have known before I hit “Publish” on my first blog post. I’d like to share 5 of those things with you in hopes that it provides you with valuable advice, and helps you along your own blogging journey.
1. Creating a website takes forever
Ok, so there are these companies that claim you can throw a website up in a few minutes and be ready to start your blog. I assure you, a nicely designed and organized blog will take MUCH longer than a few minutes. For bloggers who are serious about monetizing and traffic growth, tossing up a free website is not a good route to take.
I like everything to be as close to perfect as possible. I’ve spent tons of hours sifting through themes, trying out different layouts, and making different logos for the blog on Photoshop. If you’re telling yourself, “I just need to get online and make my first post,” think again. I look at my blog as does a retailer does for their products. I make sure everything I do puts a positive view on my blog, my content, and my reputation. Spend the extra time necessary in the very beginning to get it right. Don’t wait until your followers have abandoned you.
Like I said above, I look at my blog as a business, because it is! That means I’m the first, middle, and last set of eyes that looks at everything that goes on the blog. You really need to think about every aspect of the site. Make it your own, make it presentable, and make it work for your readers.
2. Outline every blog post
Some bloggers say they just get online and write whatever comes to mind. I guess that’s one way to get going. But, as you begin to develop a following, and look for ways to help your readers, you need to show them you’ve put some thought and structure into your writing.
In a post I wrote last January, “Why I Create An Outline For Every Blog Post,” I go through the steps I take to structure every blog post I write. If you are new to blogging, I highly suggest you read it and get familiar with what it takes to put a successful post together.
3. Don’t get discouraged if a post doesn’t go viral right away
In the beginning, I wrote what I thought were high-quality, sensational blog posts that were sure to draw in thousands of readers. You know what happened next? Nothing. Zilch. Zippo. Crickets. I was heartbroken. All of the time, effort, and emotion I poured into my post went for nothing.
There are going to be times when you feel like no one wants to read your blog. Don’t give up. If you believe in what you are doing and write content that matters, people will soon join in and follow you too. If you are posting just to post something, be prepared for the criticism. Check out my earlier post, “5 Reasons Why No One Cares About Your Blog.” If you are putting out crap, expect crap to follow it. You need to put real though into your posts and write posts that solve problems, provide advice, and give back to your readers. Your posts should never always be about you. Write content that others can relate to and you’ll see a big difference.
4. Create a media kit right away
A lot of bloggers will tell you not to make a media kit at the beginning of your blogging career because you won’t have the brand relationships or traffic to really put forth an effort. I have always disagreed with this thinking. If you are setting yourself up as a serious blogger, making a media kit is a critical piece of marketing material you need to have right from the start. The great thing about media kits is that they can be updated as your followers and services grow. It’s super easy to make one using Microsoft Word!
5. Don’t forget about old content
One thing I wish I knew when I started blogging was to never forget about old content. Old content can still be relevant today. Take these posts and update them if there is new information to add. Keep sharing your old content. If it drew in tons of views months ago, you can still make it work for you today. Revitalize your old content! Visitors want to see the old content just as much as the new, so continue to feed them the information that they want and need.
Another big reason you want to remember your old content is that social media accounts are moving so fast. Not sharing more than once will only hurt you. I recommend sharing your content several times per week. Make it impossible for your followers to miss it. Be careful to draw a line between frequent sharing and oversharing. You have to find a good balance.
If you are a new or seasoned blogger, I would love to know of any additional tips and tricks that would help me or other bloggers like me. If you are getting ready to start your very own blog, I encourage you to ask questions in the comment section. I can’t wait to see what you have to say, and am looking forward to visiting your own blog.