14 Successful Bloggers Share: What They Wish They Knew About Blogging, Before They Started
We all know that hindsight is 20-20. Blogging is certainly no different. Starting out, it can feel like such a whirlwind of learning, making mistakes, rinse, repeat. So we thought we’d ask some successful bloggers in the BGB Community the 1 thing they wish they would tell themselves if they were to start a blog today. That way you can have 20-20 vision before you even start.
1.) Narrow Your Niche
“I would tell myself to find my focus! I was SO all over the place and I didn’t really start to see traction until I narrowed down my niche. Also, I totally held myself back by looking at other people with fancier websites and “perfect” everything, when…the reality is, there’s no such thing as perfect. Share great content, show you care about your community and start sooner than later!”
2.) Take advantage of the power of SEO and Pinterest
“There are a lot of things I wish I’d done at the beginning that I didn’t really put any effort in. It really affected my blog traffic for the first 15 months or so, and it stayed stagnant. First, I would put in the effort to figure out the YOAST SEO plug-in. It takes a few hours to sit and go through the directions, and videos on what exactly SEO is/ how it works, but it will pay off in the long run. Direct Google searches are my second biggest referral for traffic. The other piece of advice I would give is to seriously understand Pinterest (my top referral for traffic), and realize how big of an impact it can have on your blog. It is worth to spend money on a scheduling app, figure out how to join group boards, and make good, pinnable images. Investing in a good camera, and learning how to take both portrait and landscape photos will be so helpful when building your Pinterest traffic.”
3.) Go all in, and don’t be afraid to grow with your blog
“Just go for it. Find a subject you’re passionate about and go all in, but don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out. You’ll learn along the way and it’s ok if you eventually change the focus of your blog; just do what makes YOU happy and be your genuine self and people will follow along…I wish someone would have told me this a year into my blogging journey. I remember feeling so weird for not wanting to blog about fitness anymore–weird enough that I put off the actual transition from fitness and food to just food for far too long. I think it’s ok to change focus because as your blog continues to grow, so do you as an individual, meaning your interests can change, and that’s ok!”
4.) Don’t wait
“Just DO IT! Don’t hesitate to put yourself out there. Follow your gut and do what you believe. Even if no one else is doing it, that’s what will make you stand out even more.”
5.) Quality over Quantity
“I wish I’d known how important it was to focus on quality over quantity. I spent a lot of my early blogging years just churning out posts with crappy pics and boring content just because I felt the pressure to post every day. When I learned to give myself a break, step back and focus on creating quality content, I learned that one quality post can do way better than 6-7 crappy posts in a week. Oh, and if you miss a day of your regular posting schedule, cut yourself some slack. I bet you’re the only one who will notice!”
6.) There is no formula – Define your own success
“If I could give myself one piece of advice, it would be to not try and recreate what others were doing. It took me a long time to find my authentic voice because I thought there was a “formula” that needed to be followed for bloggers to be successful. Once I defined success for myself, and created content that was authentic and valuable for my readers, blogging was much more fun.”
7.) Trust Your Gut
“Trust your gut.
When I started my blog, I knew that I would love to make it a serious thing. I knew I had a powerful message and I could possibly help a lot of people with what I had been through. My main problem is that I still doubted myself at the beginning. I started out on Blogger, then free WordPress, then WordPress.org — having to migrate each time. I didn’t pay for hosting from the beginning because I wasn’t sure I would be able to make anything of it. If I had trusted my gut, I would have started off with a paid version and invested more into my site.
Even though it took me awhile to believe in myself, once I did, I discovered how I wanted to structure my blog to help the most people. I knew when and when not to accept sponsored posts. I knew that even though I was spending a lot of free time doing things for the blog, it was growing, which allowed me a little more flexibility on days when I needed to take a break. remember, blogging is a marathon, not a sprint, and as long as you’re true to yourself, your readers will respond to that.”
8.) Be True to Yourself
“My one piece of advice would be to always be true to yourself. Write the posts that you want to write and on the topics you want to write about. There will be plenty of articles saying you should write about this, but not that and it will definitely get overwhelming since every article will seem to say something different. But staying true to yourself and your beliefs will make your blogging journey successful. If you feel passionate about a certain topic, tell the interwebs all about it, I guarantee there is someone out there that will find your writing helpful. Stay true to who you are and what you believe in every time you write a blog post!”
9.) Connect with other bloggers
“Hands down my best piece of advice is to connect with other bloggers (sooner rather than later). Even if you think someone is “bigger” or “more successful,” it doesn’t hurt to reach out if they inspire you. I think finding a group of likeminded individuals is key to sticking around the blog world long term because, just like in life, you get by with a little help from friends.”
10.) Do Your Best Work from Day One
“If I were starting a blog today I would tell myself to write like you’re writing for one million readers from your very first post. Because no matter how big or small your audience is, you should always put out your very best work from the beginning and know that it will keep getting better and better if you commit to it and put in the work.”
11.) Find a Mentor
“My big piece of advice is to have a mentor; and if you can’t find one, at least have a blogging buddy that’s on your same level. I was lucky enough to have interned (and now work for) a full-time blogger that I learned everything from before starting my blog. It is definitely beneficial to have someone there you look up to who can answer your questions and guide you a little when you’re first starting. You can simply reach out to another blogger that inspires you; most of the time, they will be happy to help and give you tips. Having a blogging buddy that has been blogging for the same amount of time as you, is in your same niche, etc., can be really helpful to bounce ideas off of and to have someone encouraging you, helping you up during a rough time, and cheering you on during your successes.”
12.) Avoid Comparison
Ashley from Fit Mitten Kitchen || @fitmittenkitchen
“I would say do your absolute best not to fall into the comparison trap. It’s easy to do, especially when you’re a driven and goal-oriented (okay, maybe slightly competitive) person. But everyone is on their own journey, taking different routes and making their own sacrifices to get there. Focus on your path, your journey, your reason, your why. When you start looking at what (or how) everyone else is doing, you lose sight of your own vision. Celebrate your wins–both big and small, as well as others!– and “just keep swimming.”
13.) Less (but better) is More
14.) Don’t be Afraid to Take Breaks (to stay inspired)
What do you think?
- Bloggers – what piece of advice would you give yourself if you started today?