So you want to be a blogger: 8 things I’ve learned along this journey.
So I have been blogging for almost a year now. Something I always wanted to start but didn’t think I had anything to say that people would really care about. Now over 700 subscribers later I am so grateful that I decided that I would just do it. I have learned so much over these last 12 so months, so I wanted to document it so that I could help someone out there who is reading this and thinking about starting a blog of their own. Here are 10 things that I learned during my process.
Get a Logo
When I first started blogging I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to name by sure. I went through several names and most of them were domains that were already taken. NaturallyBree was available and catchy so I went with it, now I could see my site being anything else. With that name, I needed so creative visuals for my site, something that showed my readers who I am as a person. I had a friend who created me some logos and while I feel like his work was great when I starting creating my site I found that it didn’t really fit with the look of my site. I wanted something cute, but simple at the same time. I had created logos before on tailorbrands.com that I loved but I wanted to see what else what out there before I pay my money for something that knowing me I’m probably going to change on a regular basis. So I downloaded Canva and tried to see what I could create. I have moved most of my graphics on my site right on Canva and its only 4.99 for the paid version. If you are good with graphics I would recommend trying Canva. If you want to pay someone to create something for you that always an option as well and something that you can find for really cheap.
When I first started out this was something that I really struggled with. I was not seeing the numbers or subscribers on my website that I wanted to see so I started to get discouraged. I learned that the more consistent I became the more people were reading and subscribing to my website. I recommend first starting off you set up a scheduled that works for you. You don’t have to the blogger that posts every day but if you are that’s awesome. I normally try to post once or twice a week. The last month or so I have been writing a lot more content. It was like my writer’s block was lifted!!!! Also because I and a contributor for other sites (I’ll talk more about that in a few), it really forces me to come up with content.
I probably say this a lot but you never know how your story can help someone else. I was so nervous when I did my first personal post. I don’t know if I was more nervous about the response I would get or about the fact that I was putting my life on display for the world to see. I literally hit publish on my Single for the Holidays post shut my laptop and refused to check it for the rest of the day. Then I got so many text messages and messages about how that post really impacted people. I was astounded. That post was birthed from a journal entry I made one day during my quiet time. I never would have thought that post would be so impactful for so many people, but I’m grateful. Now I’m motivated to do more personal pieces.
Don’t Dwell on Followers
When I first started my blog I would stalk my numbers. I wanted to get my blog in front of as many people as possible. I wanted my blog to be making me enough money so that I could come off my job. Well as you know that status doesn’t come overnight. It honestly took me about 6 months to get my first 50 or so subscribers. The most consistent I got with posting the move my followers grew and as of today, I have over 700 people that are subscribed. I will say that my followers come from different avenues. I have some email subscribers, some that are subscribed via RSS feed, and others directly through WordPress. When I stopped stressing about how many followers they came. Checked my website one day I had I had 20, then 50, then 100, now I’m at about 727. I recommend anyone looking to grow their website to make sure that you consistent with your content and make sure that you are just staying up to date with the trends. I like to YouTube different methods to grow your audience. Most bloggers have a YouTube page. I also started to search for the top bloggers in my niche and just look at their sites. Not to copy what they were doing but to make sure that my page was up to par with what they had going on.
Be Active on Social Media
Most of the people who follow my Blog actually found out about me through social media. I use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, even LinkedIn to share my blogs. I make sure that whenever I post to my website it shows up on these platforms as well. My goal before the end of the year is to get 1000 subscribers and get me a sponsorship. I also plan to learn how to pin my posts to Pinterest as well. When posting things on your social media make sure you use hashtags and add photos. For example, my IG and FB have pictures of me just going regular everyday stuff like watching the game, doing my hair but because I have a lifestyle blog that’s what the people want to see. How I live. I also use private Facebook groups to share my blogs. There are a few out there made specifically for bloggers to go and follow and comment on other bloggers. Networking is important, so make sure you have a networking plan in place. Als,o make sure that you are responding to your readers too. I love responding to comments and inboxes about my posts.
Guest Write on Other Projects
Another great way that I draw traffic to my website is by contributing to other projects. I am a staff writer for an online magazine (www.themillennialdiscourse.com) and a natural hair contributor for an entertainment blog (www.vernettaspeaks.com) that already have established follows. I make sure that when I am writing for them that I reference my website within my piece. Also when sharing the content that I write for them on my website I make sure to insert that the article can also be found on their websites. I believe there is a seat at the table for everybody!! In the future, I plan on writing for other bloggers as well starting next year. I will also have some guest contributors. My mean all my friends are great writers.
Make your Website Inviting
It’s so important to make your website organized and inviting. Some things that I do to make my blog more inviting are making sure most if not all my post have featured photos. I love the way the photos look on my page. I am constantly making improvement and updates to my webpage. I am working on adding a photo gallery somewhere on my site as well. That’s my goal for this week. Also, make sure that you are using a great host for your site. I use SiteUndergroud for example. I love them this was my first time ever making a website on my own and it was seamless. They were also really prompt with answering my questions, I had a lot. There were also affordable. I’m not making an income from blogging just yet so I needed something that was not going to break the bank. I recommend getting that if you are computer savvy, save that extra money and build your own website out. When I first started I had someone else build my site, only for me to have to make changes to get it the way I wanted. I hated having to wait for changes to be made. Eventually, the person I was working with went out of business and I lost all my previous work. Also, make sure you save or back up all your posts so that doesn’t happen to you….. trust me it was horrible.
Make blogging fun. Write about things you are passionate about. For me I love my natural hair, I get some many questions about how I maintain my hair. How I color my own hair without damaging it. So I just put the answers to those questions in a centralized location. I’m also a Christian!!! I love the Lord. I write a lot about my walk but I also make sure that I am writing things in love. I’m not out here trying to bash anyone’s lifestyle; I just want to show you that there is another way. I try to make my Blogs easy for everyone to read and understand, no matter your race, age, sexuality all that. This is a no judgment zone!!! I don’t blog for the money, even though I would love to one day make money for it, I blog because I love to write and share my experiences with others.
In closing, I hope that this information was helpful. If you are thinking about getting out there and starting a blog just do it!!! If you have any question you can always reach out to me if I can’t help I will point you in the right direction. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from following your dreams, you got this!! Be Blessed!