Sometimes I stare like a deer in headlights at my computer and think, “I know absolutely nothing.”
But in truth I actually did learn A LOT during my first year of blogging.
Since I first launched my blog in the summer of 2017, I’ve rebranded and my blog has evolved into something almost completely different. Even though I made plenty of mistakes, I have zero regrets. Because the journey needed to happen and I needed to be willing to take it in order to become who I am as a blogger and entrepreneur today.
When it comes to blogging tips, the internet is bursting with them. And they kinda change at a pretty fast pace. But there are some fundamental tips that will always be relevant in the blogging world, and these are the ones I try to stay focused on, regardless of ever changing trends.
Don’t be afraid of the mistakes you’ll make.
Because you will make them.
There’s a saying that’s quickly becoming my favourite – “You can make a few wrong turns, and still end up where you’re supposed to be.” Mistakes are part of the journey, and it’s the best way to learn. Really, it’s not the end of the world when they happen. Even though it feels like it sometimes.
To be honest, I was a horrible blogger when I first started out. Not that I’m an expert at it now, but if I keep at it I’ll only get better, right?
Seriously though, my first few blog posts are now buried deep into a private archive and they will never see the light of day again. But I had to start somewhere, and my only choice was to learn as I went.
So just decide now ahead of time that when you do make mistakes, you’ll learn anything and everything you can from them, and that you’ll grow and build from there.
This might be the most important lesson of all. Whether it’s a blog, business, or any sort of project, you just need to start. Whether you feel ready or not.
It took me months to get my blog and website ready, when really it should have only taken me a few days. I was obsessed with making sure everything was perfect and exactly the way I wanted it. Every color, every font, every photo. Only to realize a few months later that my blog would end up going in a totally different direction and I’d eventually completely rebrand anyway. What a waste of time!
My advice to anyone starting any sort of online venture, would be to start simple (unless of course you can hire out, then leave it to the professionals to work their magic!).
A black and white website up and running today is far better than a colorful branded website that won’t be ready for a month. You can add and change and tweak things as you go along.
We live in a very visual world. So if you want to do anything online, you need to have good photos. If you’re already good at taking pictures, I envy you to my core! If not, you’ll have to learn some basic photography/editing or hire a photographer. Another option is to buy stock photos or look for free stock photos.
But ideally your website should at least contain a clear, friendly, professional looking photo of you, so that your audience/customer/client base knows who their connecting with and possibly buying from.
At the beginning I thought I was just going to read books and blog about them. And earn money doing it.
Ha. Yeah that wasn’t really going anywhere. Not to mention there are zillions of well known websites like Amazon and Goodreads that most people are already on. And besides, I have so much more to say anyway.
It was challenging for me to figure out what I could offer that people actually wanted and needed. I always end up going back to the 8 basic things people will always want (according to Zig Ziglar):
- To Be Reasonably Prosperous
- To Have Friends
- Peace of Mind
- Good Family Relationships
I’ve found this list to be a good starting point. If you can offer knowledge on any one of these things, you have something to offer that people need, and will possibly pay money for.
You need to know your audience. Your ideal customer, or client, or reader. Basically, think of it like an imaginary friend, and you know everything about them, and this is who you’re writing and creating for. You need to be constantly asking this person what it is they want and need. Give them a name, age and gender if it helps. Know their likes and dislikes. What are they going through? What problem do they have and how can you solve it?
I struggled with my person (or avatar) for the longest time. It took me a while to grasp how important it was and why it’s so important. But when I understood why my business/blog needed to exist, and for whom, things started to make a lot more sense.
The weird thing is, I love it when people describe their avatars. It’s so fascinating! Even though it feels oddly personal, I’ll share mine. Maybe it’ll help someone the way other’s have helped me.
My person is a Christian woman, age 25-35, and most likely she’s a fellow mom. She’s an entrepreneur/business owner, and her business is just starting to take off successfully. She wants to continue to grow her business, and wants to encourage others (and be encouraged) along the way. Specifically, she wants to gets more traffic to her website, and is looking to hire a virtual assistant to manage her Pinterest account.
Simple and effective.
These are the most important, fundamental lessons I learned during my first year of blogging. If you can cover these five basic topics, then I think your blog is well on it’s way. All the best!