It was a cool morning in February when I had a brilliant idea...I will begin blogging and share with the world all of my knowledge on parenting, homeschooling, housekeeping, and more! It will be the perfect way for me to merge my passion for writing and motivate me to get my life in order. It will be amazing and will only take a few minutes every week! Genius!
...And then I woke up!
Blogging has been an awesome journey, no doubt, but I dove in head first and didn't really know what I was getting into. Social Media suddenly had a whole new meaning to me. I had no idea what Pinterest was or how to use StumbleUpon. Twitter was like a different language all together! On top of that I had to learn what it meant to "develop a brand", learn how to watermark photos, and of course how to work with html code! I suddenly realized this blogging world was so much more than "just writing a quick post". It was a whole new way of life.
I was lucky enough to have a dear friend that guided me to some great resources, and Google became my best buddy as I tried to figure out how to set everything up. Suddenly I felt like the writing was no longer the main attraction. I was frustrated and burnt out...and as a result lost all desire to do anything with my blog for almost 5 months.
I am not sure why, but suddenly I felt I needed to pick it back up and continue my work. I am so glad that I did, and I have to believe that it was the Lord prompting me to do so. At this point, I really see A TIPical Day as a ministry for me. I am excited by the direction I see it taking and the vision I have for it.
So the question remains, if I had know what it would be like, would I have begun in the first place? Actually, I think I would, but at least I would have been better prepared for it.
So here are just a few things I wish I had known before beginning blogging for the first time.
1) Be willing to learn. I don't care who you are or how long you have been blogging, there is always something new to learn! Things are constantly changing and you have to be able to grow and change.
2) Take some blogging classes BEFORE you begin. This will give you some great ideas and knowledge before you even start. +Tanya, Blogelina offers some great classes and several times a year they are even free.
3) Purchase your custom URL right away. You don't have to use it right away if you don't want to, but you want to make sure you can get the one you want when you are ready for it. I bought mine over a year ago from +GoDaddy but just finally switched it over last weekend. If you are using a hosting platform like blogger it is really easy to get everything switched.
4) Spend some time learning about social media and how it works. This is a huge referrer of traffic back to your site. If you actually want people to see what you are writing you have to get it in front of them. There are so many to choose from and it can be overwhelming. The biggest ones are Google +, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Many bloggers also have good luck with StumbleUpon, YouTube, and Instagram. There are tons more, so pick 2 or 3 and perfect them...you can slowly add to your list after that.
5) Develop relationships with other bloggers early on. The blogging community is overall a very friendly group of people. Most are extremely helpful and will go out of their way to help promote, advise, and encourage other bloggers. Start by sending emails to bloggers you already follow and respect. Ask them for some tips for getting started.
6) Design is important, but content is key! I have seen some absolutely beautiful blogs that had terrible content and as a result very few followers. I have also seen some pretty plain Jane looking blogs that had the best content ever with thousands of fans! People aren't coming to your page for the pretty background and sidebars. The come because you share great content and a piece of yourself! Remember that before you go and spend tons of money.
7) Posting frequently is important, but don't do it so much that you burn yourself out. Find times that work for you to work on posts. Don't put pressure on yourself to post every single day. I did this at first and that is really what burned me out. If you finish a post quickly and have some extra free time go ahead and write up a future one that you can schedule. Having some ready to go can be a lifesaver! I wish I did this more often! Also please don't get discouraged by lack of comments, or visitors. It takes awhile to start building this up. It may not mean that no one liked it...more likely it is that no one really saw it.
8) Keep a journal of ideas for different posts. I keep my journal right next to my bed. It comes in handy when I am stuck on an idea.
9) There is a very fine line between spamming and promoting. Be cautious of this... Spamming is a huge no no and will get you in BIG TROUBLE!
10) Join support groups, and blogging communities. There are tons of them on Facebook and Google +. I am in a bunch of different ones, but the ones I like the best are smaller and more personal. It is like having your own personal gaggle of cheerleaders!
I feel like this list could actually have about 100 things on it instead of just 10! There are so many questions that come up while blogging, hopefully this will get you started and headed in the right direction. If you have a specific question, please feel free to contact me! I would love to help you out and answer your questions. :)
P.S. I am looking for 1-2 more guest posts for this summer. If interested please email me! :)