So, You’ve Started a Blog, Now What?

Today, I’m starting a new series – Blogging, my Future Dream Job! I’ve been struggling for weeks trying to decide on what series to write next. Writing a post is easy, but a series of posts isn’t. After writing my Business Series, I knew I wanted to follow that up with something equally interesting. Since I’ve been reading a lot about blogging for business, I thought that might be a good subject to delve into. However, the internet is flooded with information on how to make money blogging, how to get started, etc., so I knew I wanted to come from a different angle. And, one where you can relate even if you don’t blog at all!

First off, I’m NOT a full-time blogger. I have a day job, share several online shops with my husband, I run my own blog + my Etsy Shop so I don’t have a lot of time. However, I know I’m happiest when I’m working for myself. At some point, I do want to quit my day job forever so that’s why I’m trying to soak up as much information as I can about full time blogging. My dream job would be to blog and co-own our photo business with each stream making enough money for us to own a home, pay our bills comfortably, and even take a vacation! So, I thought maybe write from the standpoint of a future full time blogger wannabe! LOL! I have learned a lot about it since I’ve been doing it a long time so in this series, I’ll share what I’ve learned and what I’m learning. Also, I share resources that will help you if you’re new to this business or even if you’ve been doing it awhile and you want to take your blog to the next step.

So, the first thing I want to emphasize is…blogging is hard work. No doubt about it and it doesn’t matter if you’re doing it part-time, full-time as your job or it’s just a hobby. Starting is one thing but after you get your design going, your topical lists written down and you’ve published a few posts, now what? How do you build a readership? How do you stay motivated while trying to make money?

In my case, blogging started as a hobby. I loved to cook so I started a food blog and it opened up many opportunities for me. I met some really nice people along the way and it catapulted me into wanting to be a full time blogger. I haven’t reached that plateau yet but it’s definitely a dream I’m shooting for. In the meantime, if I want to get there, I knew I had to get more serious about it.

Secondly, please don’t buy into the hype that you can work your blog for four hours a day and then go to the beach, it takes a lot more work and discipline and it also takes time. I will not sugarcoat this, if you really want to blog regularly, you need to understand three things:

  1. It takes time. It was three years of posting twice a week every week for my first blog to begin getting comments and building a community. Depending on what your niche or subject is, the time may vary. However, I believe people want to see consistency, if you post every now and again, your reach will also be hit and miss.
  2. It takes hard work. With my crazy schedule, I have to fit in time to work on my blog and not just a couple of hours here and there. When I’m not posting, I’m working on new content, researching my subject, pulling together photos, updating the design, promoting my shop, looking at stats and planning new posts series. In addition, I’m working on crochet projects…all this and a day job too! LOL! 
  3. It takes commitment. Blogging is not a “set it and forget it” job. The days of static websites are over. People come to sites now and are looking for something new. It’s important to have a regular blog schedule and stick to it. That said, don’t just post everyday for the sake of posting. Your content is very important, because you want to reach an audience and have them communicate back with you. So, if you decided to post once a week every week, that’s fine and your readers will understand that. Just be faithful to that schedule. Plus, you want your best work out there. 

My earlier posts weren’t my best work, but over time I improved some areas:

  1. Color scheme. I had to decide what my color palette would be. I love minimalist, neutral, feminine colors. I was drawn to this from many of the beauty blogs I was following. So, when I did my re-design, I looked for a theme that had the colorways I was looking for with the option of changing it if I wanted. 
  2. Photography. I knew I wanted high quality photos on every post. It makes a HUGE difference, however I’m not a photographer and I don’t have time to do regular photo shoots so I looked online and did a ton of research to find a couple of sites where the work is under the Creative Commons license that can be used on website, blogs, etc. Also, I signed up to several newsletters where they offer free high rez photos each week/month. I’ll talk more about this in a future post.
  3. Content. When I changed over to a lifestyle blog, I didn’t want my content to suffer. I had to learn to write again. I still find myself being too wordy so I read, re-read and edit my posts before I publish. I like to write the way I talk like a friend sitting down having tea with another friend. Also, I want to write about topics of interest so that it’s not always about my life. And, I love sharing what I’ve learned to help anyone reading my blog.

Once I knew why I was blogging, identified what I wanted to share and the kind of audience I wanted to reach, I had a starting point. Now, it’s just about allowing time to take over and being patient. The latter is the hardest for me. But it’s essential. I believe in my product and I know that eventually the hard work will pay off. I think that is key to every blogger starting out. The hard work will pay off with consistency, perseverance, belief, and commitment.

My next post in this series, I’ll list some resources I’m using to make money with my blog so stay tuned!