Blogging 101: Starting a Blog
So this whole blogging thing. There’s not much to it, right? You sign up, pick a clever blog name, and just start writing – right?
Sure – for some people, that’s really all it takes. People who blog as a way to share photos with family & friends, or as a therapeutic outlet, or for the simple joy of writing.
But for those of us who blog for those same reasons, but who also strive to turn our blogs into businesses? Well, that’s a whole different story. I’ve been at this for a few months now, and I’ve learned & grown so much already – partly with the help of some great blogging mentors and partly as a result of my own trial & error. Last week it occurred to me that for the first time since I started this blog, I’ve started hearing”yes” more often than I hear “no”…and that feels pretty great. I still don’t know much, but here’s what I know so far.
Step 1: Create Good Stuff
First, you have to have quality content. You need posts that will interest your target audience. Photos that tell your story and catch your reader’s eye, and a page design & layout that doesn’t make a new visitor to your site cringe and click the X.
Step 2: Grow a Thick Skin
The next part can be hard on those of us with sensitive egos – you have to be okay with the fact that no one is reading what you’re writing. You just have to accept that for a while, the only visitors to your blog will be your parents, your siblings, and your 3 followers on Twitter. It took me almost a month just to get 100 UMVs (Unique Monthly Visitors) to my site. That’s okay. You just have to keep writing anyway, because someday someone WILL visit your site – and when they do, you want them to have a reason to stay.
Step 3: Toot Your Own Horn
So how do you get those visitors? That’s where self-promotion comes in. I was surprised to discover that the greatest source for potential readers is other bloggers. If you visit their sites, comment on their posts, enter their giveaways, follow them on social media – there’s a good chance that they will reciprocate, especially if you’ve followed the first two steps above. Friends & family are also potential readers – but you have to use caution here. You don’t want to be That Person – you know, the one who uses every Facebook post for wildly shameless self-promotion. Because That Person gets blocked. And every person who blocks you is a potential reader that you’ve lost.
Step 4: Be Seen + Heard
I’m willing to bet that a lot of bloggers are introverts. We express ourselves on a computer screen because that’s our safest way to interact with the world. So this part might be tricky…but you have to join things – blogger networks, affiliate networks, Facebook groups. And simply joining isn’t enough. If you want to be successful at this, you have to engage with these groups. Build relationships. Establish contacts. Make friends. This is how you will create your brand and grow your blog & business.
Step 5: Grow an Even Thicker Skin
Prepare yourself to hear “no.” Because despite what you may have heard, brands aren’t just going to start throwing free jewelry & clothes at you. You’re not going to score lucrative advertising deals with 100 UMVs. Huge companies aren’t going to choose you as an ambassador when you have a daily audience of 12. But that’s okay. Brush the “no” off your shoulder and keep trying, because “yes” will come. If you are persistent, optimistic, and confident, readers and brands will find you. And they will discover what your parents, siblings, and 3 Twitter followers have known since Day 1 – that you’re pretty awesome.
What’s the best blogging advice you’ve been given?
What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Last updated: January 4, 2023 at 7:36 am
I read a great tip to try to reply to every comment (and it looks like you’re doing a great job there)!
I do try! I know I like it when other bloggers respond to my comments, so I try to do the same. 🙂
Crystal Rhyno says
Love this post! Especially the “that’s not even counting….”
I know, how true is that? 🙂 Maybe someday less than 50% of my daily pageviews will be from me… Thanks for reading!!!
Since I have no blogging experience, other than reading them, I was going to say to make sure you have fun. But after seeing your pic with the Girls, I think you have that down!
Aaah…fun is something we do not lack. 🙂
I consider myself a new blogger and feel like you were reading my mind when you wrote this. Great advice, especially your first and second points. Thanks for the pep talk!
That’s because I’m a mind reader. 🙂 It’s hard to motivate yourself to write when you know no one is reading your blog. Before I started this one, I wrote for a blog that had something like 50,000 UMVs! It’s still a little hard to swallow my MUCH lower numbers, but I just try to have a sense of humor about it. Just the fact that I’ve gotten FOUR comments on this post (3 from new people!) has totally made my day!!!
Great advice for those of us that are new. I can not wait to hear more “yes” answers than “no”. I also suggest creating a media page even in the beginning so that you have it ready to go when you need it. Your stats may not be the highest or have a lot of followers but that will change as you move forward.
Great point. I need to do that! 🙂
I appreciate the post. I have been blogging for a few months, and although I can generate some sponsor interest and get some traffic, I am still having a hard time engaging my audience for more than the time to enter the giveaways! I keep trying though:)
I read something about this the other day – so true, but it actually hadn’t even occurred to me until then that people would just stop by and enter the giveaway and not come back. But it makes sense, because I’m guilty of it when I enter giveaways too. I guess that’s why it’s important to balance content with giveaway/reviews. And probably some of it is engaging on social media…? I’m not sure. If you find out, let me know. 🙂
Britni Newton Vigil says
Sharon this is great advice. I’m always interested to hear what is the magic number that people are looking for in terms of hearing “yes” more than no. There are always going to be bigger bloggers out there so sometimes when I’m writing a pitch I have to think to myself, what is it that makes me unique? Why would this person want to work with me… and I write my pitch letter that way.
You’re so right – we have to focus on what makes us unique, what makes us an asset to the brand, rather than just on our numbers. I think some brands will focus solely on numbers and will automatically dismiss smaller blogs. But not all will. It’s so important to let your personality & confidence shine in your pitch. 🙂 Thanks for reading!