When I first started blogging years ago, I literally had no idea where I was getting myself into.
I had no plan and no idea about the world of blogging, all I want was to start my blog so that people can read what I had to say.
But some questions keep hitting my mind again and again..
Will people actually going to read my posts?
Is it worth the time I am spending on it?
Will I ever going to make money from my blog?
and a lot more.
And I can bet that anyone who starts blogging for the first time can relate to it.
Like every blogger I have made a few mistakes actually a lot of mistakes, costing me a lot of wasted time and money.
If you are looking to start your first blog, or have recently started, or you’re a few months in.
I am going to share with you 10 things I wish someone had told me before I started my first blog, so that you don’t make the mistakes which I have made and give your blog a more successful kick start.
Here are 10 things you should know before starting your blog:
1. Stay Consistent
In my early days of blogging I use to publish posts daily because I’ve this thought in mind that the more often I post, the more page views I would get.
To some extent it’s true but it really don’t make any impact on my blog’s growth.
When I tend to publish posts everyday, they were less in content and far less in quality.
Yes my page views increased, but it doesn’t help me in any way. When I limit this to 1-2 times a week, I was able to create more better content, which in turn makes a bigger impact on my blog growth.
Here’s a great example that you can learn from Neil Patel.
Back in may 2009, he used to blog five times a month, and his traffic stats were 45,237 visitors a month.
But when he loose consistency and slowed down on his blogging, his traffic tanked to 35,786 visitors a month!
It was not like he was not consistent or what, he was consistent but sometimes he used to write a blog post each week, while other times he would write five blog posts a week.
This stats show that you need to blog on consistent basis, or else your traffic won’t grow quickly.
By consistency I don’t mean at all you need to blog daily, It just mean that you must stick to your schedule.
If you are posting every Tuesday or on the 7th of the month, you are still consistent.
But If you are creating content twice a week then suddenly you change it to once a month and then again you are posting twice or thrice a week, it won’t work.
If you have a hard time staying consistent, then start with posting once a week and once you master it then you can increase it to two or three times a week.
2. High Quality Content is Key
Earlier all I used to do was briefly skim over a topic and that was it.
I wasn’t providing any real value to my readers.
Once I started publishing more meaty posts, my bounce rate reduced, Avg. Session duration and page views increased.
One example is my list of best WordPress plugins post, it is one of the most popular content on my blog and it resulted in huge amount of targeted traffic, shares and engagement.
The same will happen with your blog if you keep on creating quality content consistently, your content will increase in rankings and older content will drive huge traffic to your blog in long run.
You goal is to publish content that is immensely helpful to your readers, wouldn’t you prefer to read one great insightful post instead of reading bunch of medium core content?
3. Content length affects traffic
When I was a newbie blogger, I wrote short posts 500-800 words so that I can put more and more content on my blog right away.
I neglected the principle of ‘Quality over Quantity’ and by the time I realized how content length effects rankings, I was up with 60-70 medium core content on my blog which were doing nothing but increasing my total counts.
After that I started to write really detailed posts, it wasn’t like I was trying to play with search engines or something but it was because I really want to write content that helps you.
And there’s on other way to do without writing really in depth content.
I have removed almost 95% medium core posts from my blog, some of which were ranking on page one of Google, and when I did that I received this message from Google.
It hurts to see message like this but it’s okay what matter the most to me to help you as much as I can.
The awesome part about writing detailed content is that in ranks higher on search engines. If you pay closer attention you will find that each site that rank on page one will have at least 2000 words of content.
The key takeaway here – Google really sees content as king.
Keep in mind quality content doesn’t necessarily mean the post has to be 2000 words, although if you are writing 2000 (or more) words post, chances are higher that it contains lots of information that can surely help your readers.
4. It Costs Money
When I first started out, I knew there was going to be some costs involved in creating a blog such as Web hosting, Email service provider, Premium WordPress theme etc.
But as the time passes on, my costs have gone through the roof, and even there was a time when I was spending far more than I was earning.
To be honest I don’t mind the expenses, but I spend money to do things right or something that help me being more productive.
I have seen many newbie bloggers make their mission to start a blog but not to spend a dime on it.
Okay I got it because I was the person that belong to the same category.
But If you are really serious about blogging then it’s in your best interest to invest in your blog, without spending money it’s very rare that you can create a successful blog.
If you just want to create a personal blog, you can do it for free through WordPress.com
And if you want to create a blog with your own domain name and hosting, you can do so for under $50 a year.
If you are still undecided on which blogging platform is best for you, consider checking out this blog post.
But if you don’t have any programming skills, you’ll require someone to design your blog and make changes over time that will again cost you money.
Next, is build your email list, you will require an ESP, which usually costs $20-$30 per month, depending upon the number of subscribers you have on your lists.
And If you are involved in social media marketing, then you have to pay for marketing campaigns also.
Overall what I mean to say is that blogging isn’t free, you have to figure out how to do things on a budget, but don’t expect to create a great blog for free.
5. Monetize Your Blog Early
Back when I started blogging, I only knew this much that people create websites and they monetize their sites by showing Google ads and earn a lot of money..
But I quickly learned that it wasn’t the only way to monetize a blog.
There are many ways to do it such as affiliate marketing, selling courses, selling consultancy services, ebooks and many other..
See if you’re doing blogging for a passion or as a hobby, it’s okay if you are not monetizing your blog.
But if that’s not the reason then you should consider monetizing your blog as early as possible.
Because I know blogging does cost, may be you have purchased the hosting plan for one year for 50$ or less, but there are some recurring costs that you have to pay each month – such as bill of your email service provider.
And even if it’s not costing you money but you are still investing your time into it, and that really matters!
Since creating a successful blog can that take months if not years and you will need some money to keep things pushing up.
Like for me, making money from this blog has never really been a primary goal, I do OK.
I do it to cover the expenses and the time that I have put in creating this blog and you should do with your blog there’s nothing wrong with that 🙂
6. Make Your Website Responsive
It doesn’t matter whether you are using a free theme or a premium one, but what matter is your blog should be responsive.
Traffic from mobile devices are increasing at very fast rate and it’s going to increase year after year.
So it’s very important for you to make sure that your website is responsive, You can check whether your website is responsive or not using this tool from Google.
If it’s okay then you’re all good to go, If not then you need to make sure you do it as ASAP, if possible consider investing in a premium theme like StudioPress.
The size of your font and typography are little things that are part of your design, If you have selected the right one, when someone will read your content it will make a great impression of your site on them.
7. Build Your Email List from Day One
This is the advice that I got from every professional blogger when I started my first blog but honestly I didn’t make any attempt to do it.
After a while I decided to give it a try, but I didn’t put any serious effort to build my email list.
All I did was adding a opt-in box in sidebar saying ‘Subscribe to my Newsletter’
Although I collected some emails from it but I failed to maintain a good relation with my subscribers, I was so dumb that I didn’t even email my subscribers until months later..
So my advice for you is to start building your list as early as possible, you can get started with MailChimp as they have a free plan for 2000 subscribers and once you grow your list substantially consider using a professional platform like ConvertKit.
And if you’re still thinking why should you collect emails?
Then keep in my mind that Email yields highest number of return compare to any other platform, drive traffic from your loyal readers, drive more then 28% of your comments and your email subscribers are 2.7 times more likely to share your content on the social web.
8. It’s Good to be Imperfect
Have you ever wanted to create a post so perfect that you end up tripping over yourself, trying to get it finished?
I have often wait on publishing articles because they weren’t what I would consider perfect.
May be I was thinking too much to make things perfect, even I have deleted some posts which were completed 90% above just because I felt like if I couldn’t get it perfect so I shouldn’t post it.
Well let me tell you, there’s nothing such as perfection in blogging industry..
If the post is not perfect yet don’t worry about it as it can be updated later, but that doesn’t mean that you can just post anything just because you can update it later..
Do some hard work and when you find that your posts is good consider it good enough..
What I mean to say is, just don’t be hard on yourself. Be easy.
9. Select your niche
Another big mistake I made when I first started out was to blog about everything..
I used to write articles about smartphones and then the next week I was talking about building personal brand tips..
If any person who’s interested in Mobile devices visited my site and if they see post on improving personal brand tips, Wouldn’t be they get irritated?
What I want to say is if you are serious about blogging, you should pick a niche.
People just love to stick around if they found more and more posts related to what they like..
Now the niche doesn’t need to be super specific because if you pick the one, sooner or later you will be out of ideas on what to post about.
So pick any niche and select 3 to 5 categories that are related to it, Like I have selected blogging so I can also talk about Social media or marketing..
My advice for you is to pick the niche that you’re passionate about, because that way you will never be out of ideas and most important you will love to write about it.
10. There’s Nothing Like Overnight Success
I have seen many beginner bloggers quitting blogging after doing it for a while, the reason behind that – they don’t see any sign of growth in it.
It’s been over 4 years now since I have started blogging and in that period I have made countless blogs and then I deleted them..
Some of them were up for few months, some was for days and some was up only for hours..
I failed number of times in blogging before I created my first successful blog..
I’m going to be straight here – Blogging is a long-term investment.
There is no shortcut in it, Your blog isn’t magically going to become popular over night.
You have to actually work for it.
It takes time to get indexed in search engines, get known by the audience you’re trying to target, increase in rankings and build up a fan base of loyal readers.
Let people know you’re there, help them out as much as you can.
Starting a new blog can be difficult task but when you’re creating quality traffic consistently, sooner or later you will get succeeded for sure..
I hope you can avoid the mistakes I made when I first started blogging.
What else did you wish you knew when you started that you know now?