There are loads of posts on how to start a blog. Many of them are useful and it is quiet easy to overlook what they say but don’t. I wish I had done more research before starting a blog again 2 years ago. I used to blog from 2006-2010. I actually had two blogs on Blogger and I still have access to them. It’s nice every now and then to go back and read what I wrote.
In 2016 I started blogging again, somewhat naively. I got a WordPress account because that’s just what you do. After a while the free account just wasn’t cutting it and I moved the blog over to a paid hosting service after a year. It was ok at first but then a whole slew of problems started cropping up. It was one blunder after another, after another.
I have since changed my hosting service provider, changed my domain name and pretty much started a blog anew in February. Sometimes you gotta just chuck everything ad make a new start. Let me share these blogging beginner blunders from my experience over the last two years. I hope it will help someone else from doing the same. These tips will be especially useful for those who want to make their blog a side hustle or even their main gig.
Some Major Things to Consider Before You Start a Blog
- Why do you want to blog? Of course I know we all burn with a passion for many things and want to blog away about them. That is a given but it should be something that will sustain you through the blogger blues seasons when you take breaks. It should be something that you will want to keep writing about. Many people say find a niche and stick to it. I think it is quite fine to focus on a few things you enjoy writing about and shape your blog around them. This blog is about travel, budgeting, life abroad, lifestyle, motivation and my space to write about what I want.
- Is your blog for pleasure, business or both? Passive income is always good and it is also good to have multiple streams of income. You never know where blogging may take you, so I say be open to the possibilities. With this in mind I say invest a bit into getting a good host so that you can do more with your blog. Read reviews carefully and do not go with what seems most popular. Remember many affiliates may not necessarily speak about the downsides of the hosting companies they represent. Dedicate much time to checking reviews carefully.
- What is a good name for your blog? This is important especially if you want something that is easy to remember or distinctive to you. Travelling is a big part of what I blog about. The last blog name I used had a travel term that nobody uses so it wasn’t the best choice. This is something to really think about. Look at the names of other blogs you enjoy and those that are popular to see what commonalities they share.
- How will you arrange the layout of your blog? This seems insignificant but it is important. For a novice this is quite time consuming because we have to choose a template and spend much time tweaking it. Watch a few videos on YouTube to become knowledgeable about this.
- How will you promote/expose your blog? There is much to learn about this. Some bloggers can do nothing and be found quite easily it seems. For the average blogger who wants to get his/her work out there he/she has to put in some work. Look for Facebook groups and others on different social media platforms that support bloggers. You may also want to start a Facebook page for your blog as well as on other social media platforms. I think it is best to start off with two social media platforms and take your time from there. Promoting a blog on different social media platforms takes much time and energy.
- How often will you have time to dedicate to blogging? If you want to start a blog that will provide some passive income over time you need to produce content regularly. This content needs to be sound as well. My understanding is that putting out a blog post a few times a month is good and writing detailed blog posts are good for Google ranking.
- How much time will you dedicate to setting up your blog? This involves everything from the layout as mentioned before to choosing necessary plugins, setting up Google Search Console and such.
I had quite a number of blunders before I got to a point where I felt I had enough knowledge to start a blog properly. For me blogging is about sharing information, yes, but it is also an opportunity for me to earn a passive income. I have big dreams of this blog funding different aspects of my travels. It is worth investing time and energy into this wonderful hobby and would be side hustle of mine.
Some things I wish I knew 2 years ago when I started blogging again
- The importance of choosing a lightweight theme for my blog. This is something to research and find those themes that are optimized for SEO. Search those terms and look at results like this one. Apparently people hate sites that load slowly so this a biggie.
- Write detailed content. This goes along with writing clearly of course and using appropriate graphic images to compliment a post.
- Why it is good to optimize images for Pinterest. If you spend much time on Pinterest also research how to make images into the best size that platform.
- The importance of having some good plugins to help your blog work well. Some of these are for cache, SEO, minimizing pictures, removing query strings and redirecting pages that go missing on your blog. I am still learning, but having plugins to help with these things help my blog to run smoothly and load in an ok time.
- How different Facebook groups can help to give you different kinds of support. There are tools out there to help us bloggers but we have to seek them out.
- The value of setting up Google Search console and using Google Analytics to track all kinds of data on my blog.
- Changing blog host and transferring my blog would cause lots of hiccups. I wish I knew about choosing a host more carefully and had started out right away with my current host provider.
- The importance of choosing a domain name that fits a bit better into the major area that my blog focuses on.
In life, we live, learn and share our knowledge. I hope these tidbits help someone and get you started on your journey to starting a successful blog. One last tip I will leave with you, is the suggestion that you do a course on developing a website. Much of what you learn in a course on this topic will be useful on the backend of running a blog. I am taking a course on web development on Coursera at the moment. Check it out and get some knowledge.