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This post is going to be a different one for me. Instead of talking about self-care or how to create a life you will love, I am going to give you a no-bullshit account of my blogging journey so far and explain what I learned in my 2 months of blogging. I am also going to include what other bloggers have said about blogging at the end of my rambling.
I started blogging at the end of February of this year. Full disclosure- the reason why I got into blogging is that I want to make money online, and eventually, even leave my current job and make blogging my full-time income.
Has that happened yet? No. Not even close. I have made exactly $0.00 from blogging, and I have been blogging for 2 months, which is not a long time in blog years, not by a long shot. This does not mean that I am going to quit blogging. On the contrary, I am determined to make this work, no matter how long it takes to monetize it. Even if it never gets monetized, I enjoy writing and interacting with internet strangers far too much to quit.
So without further ado, here is what I have learned about blogging so far.
Do not start a blog without doing your homework.
When I first started blogging in February, I used a hosting website which looked like a breeze to set up. And it was. Until I found out that I could not place ads on my blog, and people could not comment on my posts unless they signed in, which half the time they couldn’t do anyway. This was a huge slap in the face for me, since I’d already paid for self-hosting for an entire year, and already had 15 posts up on the site.
Guess what I did? I made an entirely new website using WordPress, and it has been the best blogging decision I have made. It took me ages to re-do the posts, buy a theme and customize it to my liking, and to re-link my Pinterest pins. But it was worth it. Moral of the story: Do your research, and do not rush into blogging.
Becoming an affiliate is not easy.
Because I’m based in the Middle East, a lot of affiliate websites do not want to work with me. Why this is an issue in the times of PayPal, I have no idea, but I have not successfully applied to any affiliate programs to date. All of the ones I have applied to are easy to work with if you’re based in the US, and possibly the EU, but if you’re based anywhere else, it may be a pain in the ass for you to become an affiliate.
I tried becoming an affiliate through a popular program today, and if you live outside the US there is a huge legal document related to taxes which you have to fill out. Not going to lie, where I live, we don’t pay taxes, so I didn’t understand a thing in the document. I decided I don’t want to sign a legal document without understanding what I am agreeing to, so I gave up on it.
You have to network with other bloggers.
This one is huge, and not something to overlook. If you want to be successful and have the blogging community’s support, you have to interact with other bloggers almost daily. My absolute favorite way to do so is on Twitter. I didn’t really think much about it prior to signing up (I have not used Twitter before in my whole life), but now I can not shut up about how amazing it is. In the one month I have been on it, I have made so many blogger friends, it’s unreal.
Another way of interacting with bloggers is by commenting on their posts. If you subscribe to someone’s blog through WordPress, you will be notified whenever they have a new post up. Twitter is also a good place for bloggers to advertise their new posts, and any comments and likes are appreciated greatly, and almost always returned.
Do not think that blogging is easy.
Most bloggers are either still studying, or working people. As someone with a full-time job, it is not easy managing everything in life including a blog. In addition to writing, you have to search for or take your own images for your posts, constantly promote it and interact with the blogging community. It is a constant job, and there is something new to work on every single day. I read somewhere (probably on Twitter, let’s be honest) that in order for blogging to work for you, you have to treat it as a job. Show up for it daily, and eventually, you will see that it was well worth it.
Write about what you love to read about.
This one is a no-brainer, but I’ve heard that some people blog about things that don’t really interest them. This is not what you should be doing. If you love to travel, write about travel. If you love to bake, then share your recipes and passion for baking with others. Do not follow what others are doing. Be yourself, and write the same way in which you speak. I’m not a great writer and I’m okay with that as English isn’t even my first language. But your readers need to read your content in your own voice, nobody else’s.
Views aren’t everything.
I used to be obsessed with checking how many people have viewed my site every day. Until I realized that views without engagement don’t really tell me if people like my content. Focus on your comments instead of views, and make sure you interact with those who comment on your posts. After all, they have taken the time to read your content and leave a comment, so you should be focused on that more than on views which don’t really tell you anything concrete other than numbers.
Now that I’ve finished rambling, here are some blogging dos and don’ts from amazing members of the Twitter blogging community:
Do – Write from the heart without worrying what people will think of you’re writing.
Don’t- Force yourself to write a post if you aren’t feeling it. Give yourself time and let some ideas come to you.
Do – be consistent
Don’t – never give up
Do: consistency is the key.
Don’t: considering Instagram as a blog.
Do – Write about what you know not about what you ‘think you should’ Don’t – EVER Compare yourself, everyone’s journey is different.
Last but not least, the amazing Khalipha Ntloko over at khaliphantloko.blog had this to say about collaboration between bloggers, which is something you should definitely consider if you are serious about blogging:
“When it comes to the blogging world, doing collaborations should be well within your orbit. These help to not only reach a new or greater audience but you learn something from a fellow blogger and form a new network with them.
You don’t have to do something big for this. As a beauty blogger, I’ve often collaborated with other local bloggers on Instagram to create makeup looks. These collaborations require you to reach out to other bloggers though; not everyone will simply come to you. Let the blogger know why a collaboration could be mutually beneficial and be open to accommodating their suggestions if need be. Don’t forget to stay in touch with one another – having connections with other bloggers can be just as fulfilling as having one with your audience.”
You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
What’s something that you have experienced while blogging? Maybe you have debunked a blogging myth which you’d like to share with others? I’d love to read what others have experienced! 🙂
Special thanks to all the bloggers who collaborated with me on this post, you all rock!