When I started my blog back in 2012 I had no idea what to expect. I certainly didn't think I'd still be blogging four and a half years later! I've never been one to stick at a hobby, and that's exactly how it started out before becoming my business.
Speaking of blogs, it's Homeserve's Blog, Ketchup's 1st Birthday this week (Happy Birthday Ketchup!) and they have asked me to share some things that I wish I had known in my first year of blogging. I have learnt a lot since I started, especially in my first year so I thought I'd share 10 of them with you today incase you are looking to start a blog or have just got started but not seeing any results.
What I wish I had known in my first year of blogging:
1. That it's okay not to publish every day
Once I found my voice with blogging I became a daily blogger and soon the obsession with posting every single day took over me. If I didn't have a post ready for the next day I would be frantically trying to get it done at midnight, the housework was piling up and I didn't have a social life whatsoever. I eventually realised that it's ok not to post every day, and just to be consistent instead. Your readers will still be there and are actually more likely to keep coming back to your blog if 3-5 posts to read a week than 3 a day!
2. To know your worth
When I got my first paid opportunity about 6-8 months in I think I ran around the living room jumping for joy, this was the first time I realised bloggers could get paid for their work. At the time I was offered what may seem like peanuts to me and other bloggers now but when you're just starting out or have never been paid for writing a post before it can be easy to let the money take over and not realise that you're underselling yourself. It wasn't until I started getting emails with much better paid opportunities that I realised that I should be increasing my fees due to the amount of traffic and stats I had.
3. Be organised
Organisation has never been my strongest forte. But to have an organised blog you also need to be organised your self, at home and in your mind. Keep lists, spreadsheets, blogging diaries and if you are making an income blogging make sure you keep all of your invoices and spreadsheets incase you need them to look back on. I learned the hard way!
4. Have a clean blog design
When I first started blogging I didn't have the most attractive blog design or layout. I liked to experiment with html and would add everything possible to the sidebar. Over the years I've learned that a clean blog layout and design is much better and doesn't put readers off.
5. Choose a niche and stick to it
I blogged about anything and everything so didn't really come under a specific category. Writing about lots of things can work for some but there needs to be some structure. If possible try and stick to one niche for example, parenting, food or fashion or if you do write about a few things such as beauty, fashion and blogging tips try and keep it under lifestyle for example.
6. Find a tribe
I didn't even know that there was a whole other blogging community across the globe. When I first started my blog I read a lot of US blogs but I don't think I ever came across any UK ones. That was until I started connecting with other bloggers, commenting on their blogs and I finally entered the world of Twitter. This was a huge leap and I eventually found hundreds of like-minded bloggers many who I call my closest friends today. I'd defintiely recommend looking for Facebook groups as there are many different types for your niche or location across the world.
7. How much time is involved
I purely started out blogging to document our daily lives and the early days after Amelia was born but over time it became so much more than that. Once I had decided I wanted to take it to the next level and blog professionally I was soon spending every free minute on my blog more often than not 70+ hours a week. There is so much work involved in blogging from taking photos, promoting posts on social media, replying to emails and that's before writing posts! Many people think they can start a blog and start earning money within a week but don't realise how much time and effort is involved.
8. Invest in a good camera
In my first six months of blogging I used my iPhone camera, which back then was a 5s which didn't have the best camera. These days smartphones do have much better quality cameras but I would still recommend investing in a decent DSLR camera to take high quality photos. If I come across a post which bad quality images I won't read it, and I know a lot of others won't either.
9. Create vertical pinnable images for every evergreen post
Back in 2012 I didn't even know Pinterest existed and when I finally discovered it I had no idea how to use it to it's full potential. I wish I had known to create pinnable images for every evergreen post as it would have saved me a lot of time having to go back and edit them all years later!
10. Pay for a years blog domain and hosting upfront
When I first started blogging I used a blogspot.co.uk address for around 6 months before I finally plucked up the courage to get my own domain and invest in a .com URL. I would also highly recommend taking out a year or two years domain and hosting as it usually works out a lot cheaper than paying monthly.
What blogging mistakes did you make when first starting out?
For more blogging tips check out my blogging resource here.