Happy Saturday Sweet Peas!
I can’t believe it passed me by, but I’ve been blogging for over a year. In May 2016 I was sat on the sofa in my living room, having reached a new low in my life. I was broken, I hated what I was becoming and couldn’t seem to get a handle on where my life was going. It was a scary time. All I wanted to do was be a writer, but I could see no way that that was going to happen.
I was in this darkest moment that I decided I had nothing to lose, my self-worth was on the floor. I decided I was going to write, I was going to act like the writer I wanted to be. I started my blog.
With a new purpose and determination I began to rebuild and today I can’t believe how far I’ve come, with my blog, my self-worth and my life. My little following, those of you who read every post, thank you for allowing me to grow.
To mark a year of blogging, I decided to write about the top ten things I have learnt about blogging this year. I hope you find them amusing if not useful.
Number one – It’s Hard Work! – When people think of bloggers they generally think they post once or twice a week. How hard can that be? But let me tell you, it is hard. During 2016 and most of 2017 I was doing my final year of University. I had a day during the week where I would spend the whole day working on the blog. This included writing the post, editing the post, taking pictures, editing the picture, filming videos, EDITING the video, research, uploads, coding and social media. These days I have a full-time job soI come home and work on it every night to make sure I have a post every Saturday. Blogging really isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Number Two – Not Everyone Gets It – Because you’re working so hard, you kind of expect people to appreciate what you do. But not everyone will. Blogging and social media is a fairly new industry, although it feels like it’s been here forever. For some people its hard to see it as a ‘proper job’ or a future career aspiration. I’ve had the people I care about most say to me ‘why are you wearing yourself out, it doesn’t matter.’ But it does matter. If you care about it and you want it bad enough, it matters. The world is changing and you’re jumping on board. Keep doing your thing.
Number Three – It Doesn’t Happen Over Night – When you set up your blog and put up your first post it is very exciting and it’s easy to fantasise about how much of a success you’re going to be. Move over Zoella! But don’t get discouraged when progress is slow. Really slow. The internet is a vast place and every day there is more and more added to it. People like Zoella, Tanya Burr and Michelle Phan didn’t get where they are overnight. It took years of hard work. So just keep swimming.
Number Four – Don’t Be a Dick – Apologies for being blunt, but I find it best not to beat around the bush. The internet, although amazing, is full of trolls who will try to wind you up into starting an argument. Be the bigger person. Either ignore the comment or delete it. If you want to ultimately make a career from blogging you should treat your blog like a workplace. We all deal with difficult customers, but we’re not allowed to swear at them and fight with them, no matter how good your point is or how right you are! (There is no winning with people like that, trust me, I’ve been there.) Be professional when answering comments. Companies and other bloggers will be far more interested in working with someone who conducts themselves in a mature manner. Equally, don’t be a troll, don’t be THAT person…just no.
Number Five -It’s Not Cheap – Depending on what your blog is about, the amount you spend on your blog can vary. We’re used to watching videos in our niche where bloggers are testing out lots of different products sent to them by this company or another. But ultimately when you first start out you’re on your own. Which means you’re going to need to buy the products you write about for yourself, plus there is the equipment, the editing software and domain name. Set aside some funds for your blog and don’t spend out of your means. (I once bought a huge collection of Zoella products to test out…I did not eat well that week.) Of course, it isn’t mandatory to shell out money, but I’ve found the more you put into your blog, the more you get out of it.
Number Six – Expect To Fail – No I’m not being negative, I’m being a realist. There are going to be posts that get lots of attention and some that don’t get any. Don’t get disheartened if a post doesn’t get the attention you were expecting. As I’ve said before, the interest is a big place with a huge amount of content, if one of your posts gets lost it’s not a reason to quit, it’s a reason to keep going and rethink strategy. Try different things, use your failures as learning curves until you find something that works. But don’t give up!
Number Seven – Be Willing To Learn – There is so much that goes into running a blog and not all of it will come easy. I, myself am a writer by trade. I have studied writing for years. I have a degree in it! So writing my posts is something I can do whilst sat in front of the TV in a pretty chilled out manner. Photography and editing, however, do not come easy. Identify your weaknesses or the area where you could improve, then get your Google on. There are not many things you can’t find on Google or Youtube. Research, explore, practice and learn. Actively look for how you can improve. Blog trends are changing all the time, don’t presume you know everything, be willing and open to new ideas and it’s amazing what you can learn.
Number Eight – Careful Who You Work With – Over the last few months I’ve had several companies reach out and ask for collaborations. These companies fall into four categories. One: Genuine companies willing to sponsor your post. Two: Genuine companies who want to trade a post for social media attention or discount codes for your readers. Three: Legit companies, but they want something for nothing. (Probably best to avoid these.) Four: Fakes, people who aren’t real companies. Be careful what information you give people as some of these fakes can be convincing. If a company reaches out, first of all, reply, be professional, see what it is they are offering (if it sounds too good to be true, it probably it is). If they’re a scam chances are they’ve tried it before, so there might be information put on the web from other bloggers who have been scammed. Be safe, sensible and above all professional.
Number Nine – Paypal – Following on from the previous point, if you’ve reached the stage where you are working with others and trading money it’s a good idea to set up a Paypal account. Paypal is an easy to use account which has no connection to your actual bank account. In most cases, it’s an easy way for companies to pay you since all they need is an email address. Equally, if its a scam, the scammer doesn’t have your bank details, so if you clear you’re Paypal after you’ve been paid, there’s nothing for them to steal.
Number Ten – Stay Present On Social Media – One of the best ways to spread the news about your blog is through social media. But in order for that to work you need to have a following (no matter how big or small) and to get that you need to have an online presence. Make sure you share your posts on all media, link your media so when you post a picture on one it goes to your others as well. Spend an hour a day on social media. Share other bloggers work and keep up to date with trends which you can use later on your own blog. Social media is a powerful tool for bloggers, use it!
So, these are the main things I have learnt in the last year. I still have a long way to go, but it is a journey I am looking forward to travelling. I hope some of these points might be helpful to you if you’re a new blogger or thinking about starting a blog.
What do you love about blogging? Let me know in the comments or on social media, follow the links below.