Buy a domain, get some hosting, write your little heart out.
Getting started blogging is easy, right? Those other blogs you read make it look so easy.
You could actually let it be that easy, but you would probably have a very hard time finding any kind of monetary success with your blog.
Making money with your blog is going to take some work and knowledge, but it’s still not very difficult to do. Most anyone can do it if they will put in the work and take the time to learn how to do things right.
I asked my favorite bloggers (both newbie bloggers and veterans) from our community at Blog Simple Framework to tell me the one thing they wish they knew before they started their blogs and they had some very insightful thoughts on this question.
Some of their responses might surprise you and some of them might be exactly what you expected.
It Takes Time
I’m starting here with “it takes time” because it is a sentiment I heard over and over again.
And it’s true.
But it’s also not exactly true.
It will take time.Catherine, Random Cath
Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It’s a business and there’s a lot to learn and a lot of actual work that goes into it that does take time.
I think it would have helped if I knew to be more patient longterm.Charisty, Mouse Ear Memories
But that doesn’t mean that it has to take a LONG time to make money. We believe if you set yourself up for success from the beginning then you can find ways to monetize your blog from the start.
I wish I would’ve known that SEO takes a really long time before it starts kicking in. I would’ve been more patient.Corey, Quickbooost.com
Things like SEO do take time. But waiting around for Google to pluck you out of the sandbox isn’t a reason to not start monetizing your site right away. There are a lot of ways to get people to notice your site, SEO is just one tactic that will do that.
It takes time so don’t rush it.Darla, Famlee of Four
Start with the mindset that you are in this for the long haul, you’ll make better decisions for your blog. Have the patience to set a solid foundation and in six months you won’t be thinking about starting all over again.
But don’t be afraid to figure out how you can start making money right away.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
One thing that paralyzes new bloggers is that feeling of having to have everything just right on Day 1.
Well, guess what?
Practically no one is coming to see your site on Day 1. And you have literally forever to get things closer and closer to perfect. Whatever you imagine perfect to be.
I wish I had known not to strive for perfection. That sounds like a weird thing at first (who doesn’t want things to be perfect?), but in reality, perfectionism is something that just ended up slowing me down. I’ve learned now that things don’t have to be perfect the first time around, they can be improved over time.Dylan, Swift Salary
I wish I had known that everything didn’t need to be perfect from the word go. I have had a really clear idea from Day 1 about what I wanted my website to be in the long term, but I really struggled with wanting everything out there, right now…I felt like I needed to have it aaaaaaall in place before I could move on. As soon as I scaled back and stopped trying to do it all at once, it all clicked.Kath, The Life Spotters
There’s a balance to this idea of “it doesn’t have to be perfect”, however.
Not everything needs to be perfect, but there are a few things that you do want to do to the very best of your abilities right from the start.
Your content is #1 and your site experience is #2.
If your content is no good, you will not get anywhere. That is a scary fact to learn when you are starting out as a blogger.
Because you’re going to think, “How can I ever have the best Ultimate Guide to Homesteading” when I’m just starting and just murdered ALL of the parsley I was growing in my windowsill?”.
You don’t have to be an expert on your ENTIRE niche on Day 1, but for the posts you do write on the stuff you do know, like Maria says, that content needs to be the best.
It needs to make your reader feel like you are a step ahead of them on their journey and that you can guide them the rest of the way.
I wish I knew that everything isn’t important. It’s so easy to get caught up in wanting to do everything just because you see 100 people talk about 100 different things, but the reality is that blogging is only a couple of steps that you repeat over and over again.
Get good at those things and suddenly you have a blog business.
I will say that I got a ton of exercise chasing my own tail for 10 years though so I guess it wasn’t all bad.Scrivs, Blog Simple Framework
And your theme doesn’t need to be the perfect dream theme that is in your head from the beginning.
But your theme does need to make it easy for your reader to consume the content that you have written for them.
What I wished I knew before, was that I don’t have to have everything perfect in order to start.Cassy, CassandrePierre.com
So watch the pop-ups and fancy sign up boxes that you are dying to plaster all over the place. You stand a better chance of getting someone to sign up for your mailing list after they’ve peacefully read through your content without being hit with several annoying pop-ups or other distractions.
I was so stuck on this idea that everyone, all 7 billion people on earth, had to like me. That thought put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect. After learning some things I realized I don’t need that many people to like me to be successful. I don’t even need 5% of those people to like me. I just need the few people who I can help, the few people that want to listen, and those that want to be a part of what I am creating.Jasmin, Jazz Up Your Wanderlust
Jasmin is soo right. You aren’t going to try to please the whole entire world. You don’t have to be the perfect solution for everyone. You just have to be the perfect solution for the people that are in your tribe.
I wish I knew that nothing had to be perfect, not your theme, social media, or logo before launching. I focused on too many things being perfect before working on the part that really matters, helping readers solve problems.Brittney, One Weird Mamma
In the end that’s what it all comes down to. If your content is helping to solve a problem for your reader, then you have crossed the first giant hurdle.
If you’re helping to solve someone’s problem, then you’re going to get people to pay attention to you.
It’s a Business with a Blog
That I was creating a business. I didn’t have that mindset shift til the fall of last year…almost 3 years in.Shawna, Stress Less Be Healthy
A blog is an amazing part of your business. We believe there are four steps in the system to build a succesful business:
- Get them to notice you.
- Get them to pay attention to you.
- Get them to trust you.
- Convert that trust into money.
And your blog is one part of achieving all four of those steps.
When you start to see that your blog is part of a business, you start to see the importance of talking to the right people.
I wish I truly understood what it means to be speaking directly to your ideal client. It’s so easy as a new online business owner to be swayed by the freebies offered to you in exchange for a blog post. Understanding who your website is created for will attract people naturally.Jackie, Whole 9 Family
When you see your blog as a business, you start to think about who your audience is.
And it’s not everybody.
It’s one person, your Hero who represents your ideal reader. When you can define who your Hero is, everything will start to fall into place for you.
One thing I wish I knew before I started was that you should only write posts on topics and ideas that people are actually searching for! Who knew that the world wasn’t searching for your turkey meatball surprise or your story of giving birth to your child?!Ree, Mind Body Spirit Bliss
Yes, as much as you might love your turkey meatball surprise, it’s not about you. It’s about helping your reader solve a problem. When you fully grasp that idea of writing about problems that your audience is looking for solutions to, you’ll start to see the difference between a hobby blog and a blog business.
A Lot of It Comes Down to Mindset
I used to be one of those people that kind of scoffed at things like “mindset”. Until I started to see very clearly my own mindset issues.
See, instead of saying I was afraid to do something, I would say, “I hate that. I’m not doing it”.
I said it about Instagram. I said it about video. I said it about guest posting.
I was wrong. I never hated any of that I was just scared to try them.
“I wish I had known how much I’d have to fight self-doubt”.Kelley, Champagne and Mudboots
Most of the time, for those of us who can be honest with ourselves, you will see mindset issues crop up as feelings of self doubt.
You look at people, other bloggers, who are farther down the track than you are and you don’t believe that you can ever get there. You see where they are now and assume it’s where they have always been.
As if they waved a wand on Day 1 and everything actually was perfect.
It’s not actually like that for anyone. Even those blogs that look perfect to you probably have miles still to go and the same self-doubt that you suffer from, they have it, too.
It’s so common that we actually created a series of workshops to battle mindset issues.
I wish I had known how lonely blogging would make me feel in a world where no one understands what I do all day.Jen, Practical By Default
What makes the self doubt even a little bit worse is that, like Jen says, blogging can be a lonely business.
Do you remember the day you decided to start your blog and you told an important person in your life about it? What was their reaction?
If it was completely supportive and enthusiastic, then congratulations to you.
But for a lot of people, when you tell someone you’re starting a blog, the reaction starts with a smirk and some really wide eyes. If they love you enough, they’ll cover that look up quick with a “That’s GREAT, honey!”.
But it’s too late. You already saw the “what are you talking about now??” look that flashed across their face for a second.
Even under the best circumstances there just aren’t a lot of people in real life who are going to be following the same path you are with this blog thing.
It makes celebrating victories a little difficult. And it’s hard to turn to a sympathetic ear when things aren’t going so well.
It’s why one of the most important parts of our blogging course, Blog Simple Framework is the vibrant community of bloggers who offer each help, support, and cheers.
You Don’t Have to Know EVERYTHING
I wish I knew I didn’t have to be an expert, and that a blog didn’t have to be about ‘me and what I knew/was doing’ and could be about a topic rather. I would have made so much more progress if I knew that when I started.Joelle, Vardo Media
Joelle makes an excellent point.
There are a lot of benefits when you take what we call the “journeyman” route rather than the “expert” route.
As a journeyman, you are showing your reader what you know on a particular topic and how you are progressing as you master it.
To me it’s a more interesting approach to “expert” because you get to see someone progress, try and fail and show you the mistakes that they made so that you can avoid them.
When you are an “expert” it can be really hard to remember the learning process that you went through in order to become an expert. Small details that have become second nature for you are what might trip up a beginner.
So don’t be afraid to show your journey and let your reader know you are on that journey. It will help to make your story relateable.
You’re Going To Have to Be Flexible and Consistent
It’s not easy to be flexible and consistent. The words aren’t necessarily opposites, but they don’t always really go together.
You have to find a good balance between going with the flow and having a plan. If you don’t have a plan your business will lack direction and go nowhere. If you hold too tightly to a plan you will get caught up in the little things and will never grow.Ana, aFriesen.com
It can be difficult to know when to stay the course and give things a little bit more time and when it is time to move on. Decisions like that come with the territory when you are running a blog business.
You have to learn to trust yourself to make decisions. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
What I wish I knew: don’t get caught up in every “shiny” thing that comes along; it’s more important to be committed to what you are good at and consistent in connecting to your tribe than chasing around after every trend or trying to be amazing at everything.Audrey, Just An Organized Home
The shiny things that Audrey is talking about are kind of like peer pressure when you were a kid.
Every other blog suddenly has a cool new widget that sends people to your social media channels. That’s pretty cool, right? You want that, too, right??
You have to be able to take a step back and ask yourself, is that widget thingy a good idea? Do you really want to send people away from your site? Do you really want to interrupt their reading right in the middle of the post?
I know it sounds like I’m leaning toward “NO you don’t want to do that”, but there isn’t really a right or wrong answer I can give you. It’s up to you to think critically about whatever that shiny object might be and whether or not it’s going to move you forward.
Maybe growing your Instagram is a goal you have for your business, so maybe you do consider the widget.
To trust my intuition, and not give up.Adrienne, Brownie Cat Club
Find Someone You Trust To Learn From
One thing I wished I’d known before I started blogging: That just because a blogger had success with one blog, that doesn’t mean he/she is qualified to give advice on how to build a successful online business.Steph, Financial Freedom Crew
There is an ocean of information available to you, both free and paid in the form of courses on blogging. It is absolutely overwhelming to figure out who to listen to.
Find someone you trust to learn from and consume as much of their free material as you can and then decide if purchasing a course is right for you.
At Blog Simple Framework, we have more than half a million words written about how to blog that you can access for free before you decide whether or not you’d like to purchase one of our courses.
- Blog Simple Guide
- Bogoten: A 6 Month Case Study
- Blog Simple Guide Blog Posts
- The Pocket Business Handbook
That Bogoten case study? That’s a case study of just one of the blog businesses we’ve started recently.
We keep starting blogs because we want to be sure that the methods we’re teaching are working today, in today’s blogging environment.
We don’t rely on what worked for sites that were started 1 year or 2 or more ago. And we don’t assume that what works in one niche is going to work in every niche.
So not only do we run several blogs, we run several blogs in different niches. Because not everyone is going to join the Make Money Online niche.
I wish I knew that I should have started writing regularly and trying things, instead of spending hours and days reading the advice of tens of people or watching videos on blogging and business.Francois, Guide2Music
If you can find one guide that makes sense to you, that you feel like you can trust, that you can see is constantly keeping up with the ever changing world of making money online with a blog, then you can block out all of the other noise that comes in the form of all the different courses, freebies and webinars that you come across every day.
I wish I had understood the difference between a tactic and a goal. I spent a ton of time implementing tactics that had no lasting value because they weren’t ultimately attached to a goal. Once I understood my overall goal, I was able to eliminate a lot of wasted time and energy.Jodi, Wealthy N Wise
If you can find a guide who will help you see that a tactic is something that may or may not help you achieve your goals, that there’s a system that you need to follow in order for the tactics to actually stand a chance of working, then you will begin to be able to make the right decisions for your blog business.
That’s what we aim to do at Blog Simple Framework.
Important Parting Words
When I surveyed the group at Blog Simple Framework, that was one response that I received.
I’m going to leave it open to your interpretation.