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7 Hard Truths Every Beginning Blogger Needs to Know

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So….raise your hand if you’re a beginning blogger.

Now, raise your hand if you didn’t realize being a beginning blogger would be so. freaking. hard.

Just me?

I confess: starting a blog hasn’t always been as much fun as I thought it would be.

I’d been studying blogging for over a year and I really thought I was ready to do it for real. So I finally pulled the trigger and bought a domain name and hosting.

>>And if you need hosting, click here to get it from Siteground starting at just $3.95 a month!<<

I’d already found success with freelancing. How hard could it be to start a blog and turn it into a booming online business?

Turns out, it’s A LOT harder than I thought.

I mean, I thought I knew everything there was to know.

Mom bloggers like Elna at Twins Mommy and McKinzie of Moms Make Cents were my go-to gurus for blogging tips and advice.

They made it look so easy. I was pretty confident that I’d be able to start a blog and build an audience fairly quickly.

Needless to say, I waayyy overestimated my abilities. 

After three months of blogging, I’d made a little progress but nowhere near what I expected.

And then I just got super-frustrated and quit.

I didn’t look at my blog for about six months. But I thought about it a lot.

So I decided to give it another try.

And I thought it might help you to share some of the things I’ve learned as a beginning blogger so you don’t end up getting frustrated and bailing as I did.

7 Lessons Every Beginning Blogger Needs to Learn

beginning blogger lessons1. Blogging takes time

Blogging is really hard work.

There’s such a steep learning curve, or at least there has been

for me. I knew how to set up the basic framework for a WordPress blog and write blog posts. But I was (and sometimes still am) totally lost when it comes to the techie side of blogging.

Not to mention actually promoting your blog and getting traffic.

I’m still figuring out Pinterest and trying to build a presence on Twitter while also staying active in the many Facebook groups I’ve joined since starting a blog.

Can you say overwhelming?

As a beginning blogger, one of the most important things I’ve learned is this:

If you want the results that the big-time bloggers are getting, you’ve got to put in the time and effort those bloggers did when they were starting out.

Right now, that’s my biggest struggle.

Between running a successful business online already and raising two kids as a single mom, I’m stretched thin most days.

So the takeaway for you if you’re a beginning blogger?

Set realistic expectations early about how much time you can spend on it.

If it’s only an hour a day, then so be it. But commit to showing up for that hour every day and making the most of it.

It may take you longer to get results but being consistent can eventually pay off.

2. You need a strategy

Blogging without a plan is like taking a newborn on a road trip and leaving your diaper bag at home. If you’re not prepared, you’re going to end up with a big pile of crap on your hands.

I started out as a beginning blogger with no real strategy, other than setting up posts and messing around on Pinterest. And boy, what a huge mistake that turned out to be.

If you’re not sure how to focus as a beginning blogger, my best tip is to focus on two things and two things only to start — content and promotion.

There’s a fairly simple formula to follow:

  • Brainstorm post ideas that speak to your target audience.
  • Outline, write, format and publish those posts.
  • Get your posts in front of the people you want to read them.

Looks easy, right? Eh…not exactly.

You have to give serious thought to what your target audience’s biggest pain points are and write content that solves their problems.

And it has to be engaging and provide clear takeaways, so they’re dying to come back and read the next thing you post.

But first, you have to get them to your blog, which means having a plan for promoting your content and driving traffic.

People aren’t just going to show up out of thin air. Attracting your core audience starts with doing things like:

  • Making connections with other bloggers
  • Establishing your presence on social media and building up a following
  • Being active in Facebook groups
  • Making Pinterest your bestie for life or longer

It all comes down to strategy and if you don’t have a clear outline for getting from A to B, you’re going to end up totally lost. (Like I was.)

start a blog checklist

3. Learning without doing is pointless

The great thing about being a beginning blogger is that there’s sooo much information readily available to guide you every step of the way.

Want to master SEO?

There’s a course for that.

Need to grow your list?

There’s a course for that, too.

Plus tons of cheat sheets, checklists, workbooks, e-books, webinars, YouTube videos and blog posts about any and everything blog-related.

The bad thing about being a beginning blogger and having so many resources and tools is that it’s easy to get caught up in learning about blogging, without ever putting anything you learn into action.

And you have to do that if you want to make it past the beginning blogger stage.

But it’s hard, I know.

You think — I’ll just take one more course or sign up for one more masterclass and I’ll be ready to go. Only you never launch your blog or work on promoting it because you’re bogged down in learning.

I love learning about new things but at some point, you have to make the leap from learning to doing.

And just so you don’t put any more pressure on yourself than you already are, let me give you some advice: forget about it being perfect.

Do it ugly, do it scared, do it even when you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.

Do it super slow, one step at a time.

But do something.

starting a blog

4. You have to run your own race

One of the biggest obstacles to watch out for as a new mom blogger is worrying about what every other blogger on the block is doing.

You’re feeling pretty good about your progress then you notice that another blogger who launched two weeks ago already has 1,000 followers on Instagram. Meanwhile, you’ve got 30.

Or you read a blog post about a blogger who grew their page views to a gazillion views in a month, while you’re struggling to crack 100.

Then there are the bloggers who post income reports.

These reports are meant to be inspiring and most of the time, they are. But on days when my page views are measured in the single digits, the last thing I want to read about is how some other blogger is making $50,000 or $100,000 a month.

Comparisons are everywhere in the blogging world and you have to make a conscious decision to avoid them. Otherwise, you end up feeling like everything you do isn’t good enough and you’ll want to quit.

That doesn’t mean that you have to stop reading income reports or following your favorite bloggers.

It just means that you need to keep your eyes on your own paper and focus on doing you, instead of using someone else’s success as a measuring stick for your progress.

5. You’ll get some things wrong

Perfectionism can be just as dangerous to your blogging success as comparisons.

Because trying to make it everything you do as a beginning blogger absolutely perfect is a HUGE waste of time.

Listen up: you’re guaranteed to make mistakes as a beginning blogger.

Some mistakes might be small, like publishing a post with a typo or two.

Others might be big, like setting up an automation to deliver your opt-in freebie to your email list…and forgetting to attach the file to the freebie. (That might have happened to me. 🙂 )

Mistakes are great, though, because every time you make one as a beginning blogger you learn something. The more you learn from mistakes, the more you grow as a blogger.

Getting things wrong can also help you find your way.

You might start off in one direction and think that’s going to be your path but find out that no one wants to read about what you’re writing about, or that lead magnet you spent hours and hours on gets zero clicks from would-be subscribers.

In the beginning, blogging is trial and error.

Some of what you do will stick and other stuff won’t. And that’s okay.

Experiment. Try new things. If something’s not working for you, ditch it. If something is working, then fine-tune it.

And if you make a mistake, learn what you can from it and move on.

start a blog checklist

6. No one will love what you do as much as you

You could have the greatest blog in the world, with millions of followers and hundreds of subscribers and be recognized as THE influencer in your niche, but you know what?

There’s always going to be someone who thinks you suck.

And in the beginning stages of blogging, you might be churning out what you think is the best stuff ever and getting unhelpful (or even hurtful) comments.

Or worse, your blog is greeted with nothing but silence.

It’s hard feeling like you’re creating something that’s awesome and no one appreciates it or notices it.

When you get hung up on who’s not loving your blog, remember what YOU love about it.

Remind yourself why you started a blog, what you want to achieve and who you want to help. And focus on finding your people and ignoring the naysayers.

That doesn’t mean you should tune out criticism completely, though. Constructive criticism can be helpful when you’re a beginning blogger.

I had several more experienced bloggers take a look at my blog and point out things that I had missed when I was getting started.

It may not be totally comfortable for you, but don’t be afraid to ask other bloggers for feedback.

And if you’re offered good advice, take it.

beginning blogger

7. Blogging isn’t for everyone

The most important thing I’ve learned as a beginning blogger is that you have to treat blogging like a business, even if making money from it isn’t on your radar.

Building a blog as a business is all about time, effort and planning. You have to be prepared to not get the results you were expecting and bounce back ready to try something else.

And here’s the hardest truth of all: some beginning bloggers won’t make it.

It’s not because their blog niche is all wrong or their content sucks. It’s because they’re not approaching it like a business from the jump.

Here’s what building a business is really like, from my own experience:

  • It involves working a lot of hours and sometimes feeling like you’re getting nowhere.
  • You’re constantly in hustle mode; even in your sleep, you’re dreaming about the next step you can take in your business.
  • The self-doubt factor is always there nagging at you, telling you to just give it up already.
  • It can take months (or even years) for the real money to start rolling in.

Once you get past all that hard stuff and get established, running a business feels like a cake walk compared to the early days.

It’s like having a baby; you forget the nine months of awfulness because you’re all caught up in that new baby glow.

Bottom line? If you want to gain real traction as a blogger, you have to be all in; you can’t do it halfway.

What Have You Learned as a Beginning Blogger?

Every beginning blogger’s experience is different and I’d love to hear what lessons you’ve learned along the way, or what challenges you’ve run into on your blogging journey so far.

Head to the comments and tell me about it, then pin and share this post if it helped you!

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Hi there, I'm Rebecca, homeschooling single mom of two. I built a six-figure freelance writing business from home and now I teach people like you how to start side hustles, build profitable businesses online, manage money and be more productive! Follow me on Pinterest and Twitter and don't forget to check out the Resource Library--it's packed with tons of free tools to help you manage your money, business and life!

Comments

  1. I have learned that I cannot do it all in one day. I have also learned to focus, not get distracted by all of the other stuff, complete 2-3 tasks a day.
    Your words are so true, I am glad that I am not the only one!

    • It’s hard not to get distracted, there’s so much to do! I’m working on not trying to do it all either because I just can’t. Developing a schedule and limiting my to-do list to one or two things has helped because now I don’t feel so behind all the time!

  2. I so related to this post. Blogging demands total dedication and determination. I’ve learned in nearly 4 months of blogging to do the best you can with what you have. Key values to develop are patience, focus, and discipline. And as you said so well Run your own race.

    • Hi Poovanesh, I saw you wrote something similar recently on your blog. You’re totally right, you have to do the best you can with what you have. I’m sure I could be doing a lot better with my blog if I could spend 6 to 8 hours a day working on it like some bloggers do but that’s just not reality for me! So for now I’m just trying to take small steps and make them count. 🙂

  3. This is a great post. So true. Most days I feel like this and it’s great to know I’m not alone (my family haven’t got a clue what I’m doing or why I do it, they think I’m mad spending all evening on the computer writing a blog or pinning on Pinterest!). Thanks for sharing. It will get better! Won’t it? 🙂

    • Mel, I hope so! I didn’t do a single thing last week with my blog because I was just at my wit’s end with the tech aspect of it and I had to step away. I’ve created a schedule and I’m just trying to focus on adding new content and promoting it for now because the rest of it is just too overwhelming at this point. If I could spend hours on it every day I would but I’m already running a business (not to mention homeschooling and raising two kids solo) so I’m trying to be content with what I can do in the time that I have. That’s all we can do, right?

  4. This is all so true!! I blog because I love writing – but I recently thought I would dip my toe into monetization and I’m already so lost, I feel like I’m a beginner all over again! Blogging is such hard work and I don’t think most people ever realise!

    • It really is hard! You see these established bloggers and you think, “well looks easy enough, let me try that” and boy, is it a shocker to find out what really goes on behind the scenes, at least in the beginning to get your name out there.

  5. Totally agree with everything you said here! I definitely did myself a disservice in the beginning by signing up for every free course, tutorial and toolkit out there — and then feeling massively overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, most of them were super valuable … but I should’ve gone through them each one at a time, instead of having a mountain of printouts sitting on my kitchen table, gathering dust, for literally months!

    Also very much agree with the “running your own race” statement. Sometimes it’s downright depressing to see those income reports from other bloggers. It makes you wonder if you’re doing something totally wrong. But then we have to remember — there truly is no wrong way to blog. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone’s story is unique. We all just need to keep moving forward! Anyway, thanks for sharing!! <3

    • Diana, I did more or less the same thing — signed up for courses and webinars, downloaded checklists and worksheets, watched videos and basically just drowned in information. I recently decided to unsubscribe from some of the lists I was on because it was distracting (and sometimes depressing) to see my inbox fill up with income reports, product launch emails and all this other stuff while I barely had time to focus on my own blog. So now I’m taking it slow and doing what I can at my own pace and being satisfied with moving forward — even if it’s just baby steps — every day.

    • Same here ladies. Diane I love what you say here. Everyone’s journey is different and lightbulb – it has taken many of the big name bloggers YEARS and a second blog to gain the success they have. Definitely the two listed in this blog, both of these ladies have said more than once that their beloved traffic blog about blogger is not their first blog. Therefore years are involved here. I think it’s total reality for some to have some wins early on but definitely not everyone, and has it really been their first try at it – not many actually tell about what they did/tried/learned and how long it took before they actually launched with 10k views in the 2nd month.

      • It’s hard to stay motivated when it seems like everyone else is doing sooo much better than you are. I sometimes feel crazy for even trying it. I already have a successful business and it took time to build it up but looking back, it seems like blogging is so much harder.

  6. I’m new to blogging as well, and it sure is a steep learning curve! I’ve made plenty of mistakes and also trying to get a lead magnet that will drive traffic.

    • That’s where I’m at too! I’m struggling to pick a lead magnet idea and I haven’t had enough traffic yet to learn what people really want. It’s a catch-22!

  7. I have learned to stay in my lane. Early on, I was super focused on doing all the things. I wanted to make sure that every single post had a content upgrade, and an affiliate link, and 5 pinnable images. Because that what someone else was doing and they were successful…

    It’s just too much and it was distracting me from my goal, which was to help moms. So, now, I focus on that. Helping moms. I haven’t added a “freebie” to any of my recent posts and people are still subscribing at the same rates.

    Great post. I do believe that anyone who wants to can do it, but it is a lot of work.

    • You’re absolutely right, Jenny. And all those things you mention there are the same things I feel like I need to be doing to get people to my blog but none of it will matter if my content isn’t helping people. So that’s what I’m focusing on for now — writing posts that are useful and helpful. 🙂

  8. This blog post is EXACTLY EVERYTHING I thought/feel/figured out etc. being a beginner blogger. You said it SO well!!! Everything I read throughout this post applied to me. Literally EVERYTHING. It’s so good to know that I’m not alone.

    • Hi Becca, glad you found it helpful! Blogging so hard, especially as a beginner. There’s just so much to learn and the amount of information out there is overwhelming. You’re definitely not alone, I’m trying to get over the beginning blogger hump with you!

  9. You pointed out some great tips! Putting a blog together and doing it right takes time and definitely some patience. It took me months from start to actually launch. Way to help people out in knowing what to expect!

    • Hi Brittany, it definitely takes time and lots of patience. I quit after a few months last year and then decided to start again this year but I had to really recommit to doing it and putting in the time. It sounds like you laid a good foundation for yourself as a beginning blogger!

  10. Oh my gosh I can’t tell you how much better I feel after reading this post! It’s so good to know I’m not alone. I’m trying really hard not to compare my blog to others blogs. Thanks for this great read.

    • Definitely not alone Jenn! Being a beginning blogger is so hard, especially when you see the progress other people are making. You just have to stay focused on what’s working for you and the results that you’re getting from it.

  11. Time is a big issue for me. I work full-time and am a single parent. It’s frustrating because I have so many ideas that I want to implement but there aren’t enough hours in the day. It is a BIG relief to know I’m not alone and that new bloggers are feeling the same way. You gave a lot of great advice and I’m going to continue on my journey no matter how tough it gets.

    • Hi Raphaela! Single parent here too, running a business full-time so I know exactly how you feel. There are so many things you want to do but you just don’t have the time to do them all. Lately what I’ve been doing is keeping one master to-do list for all my blogging stuff and then just working my way through it. I am still far from being as productive as I’d like to with blogging but it helps me to get something done every day, even if it’s small. You can do it — just stick with it, even if it means going slower than you’d like.

  12. I love this! I was nodding all the way through.

    You really hit the nail on the head about making a conscious decision to avoid comparisons to other bloggers.

    I also agree with staying in hustle mode (I dream about my blog too lol)! I don’t have a lot of free time but every spare minute I have I’m investing myself in my blog. Slow and steady wins the race 😉

    • Thanks Starr! Comparisons are just the worst for your self-confidence as a new blogger — they can really make you question every single thing you’re doing. I am definitely in hustle mode but like you, I’m taking the slow and steady path and hoping it pays off.

  13. I love your point where you say “you have to run your race”. All the success stories and income reports can be quite over whelming but you have to keep working with your blinders on. Everyone has different circumstances and different expectations from their blog so the results will vary. Some are doing it as an extra source of income and for some there is no other option. We all have to keep eyes on OUR OWN prize and just keep pushing it. Thank you for writing this. We all need to read this.

    • Hi Nadia, I had to stop reading those income reports. They were just too much. Now I like to read progress reports from the beginning bloggers who are where I am because they’re more realistic. Having realistic expectations is definitely important — between running my other business and being a single parent I just can’t do it all so the blog timing will happen when it happens. I’m learning to be happy with making progress, even if it’s not at the pace I’d like.

  14. I’m struggling so much with some of these – I’m scared to share my blog with family and friends until it’s perfect so I’m definitely falling for that one more course, one more book, learn one more thing syndrome – but reading this has reminded me that everyone feels the same!

    • Hi Shannon, I totally get not wanting to share your blog. I haven’t told any of my friends or family about it, except my kids because they don’t care anyway and they’re used to me running a business online so it’s just like — oh, mom’s doing something else on the computer. I struggled with trying to make it perfect and now I just try to make progress instead. Focusing on small steps and taking action while you learn can help you get ahead and conquer those fears. Because us regular bloggers who are trying to figure it out do all feel the same way!

  15. I’ve had moments where I wanted to quit as well, its so true blogging does take so much time and yes you need a strategy. But it’s something I’m so passionate about I love that it’s challenging and I learn something new every day .

    • Hi Mila! I quit myself once and started again — blogging is really hard sometimes. But you have to refocus and get your mindset in the right place, then just keep pushing forward.

    • Thanks Diane! I’m also trying to put a no-spend ban on buying new courses or tools until I use some of the stuff I already have. I’m trying to work through them with the time that I have and be happy with whatever progress I can make. It’s definitely important to stay focused on what you’re doing and not let other peoples’ progress distract you.

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