It’s become one of those January things, hasn’t it? Besides going to the gym, replacing bowls of crisps with bowls of fruit… “I’m going to start a blog”.
And kudos to you, if you’ve got this far. Deciding to start a blog is one thing; actually going ahead with it is another. If you’re anything like me, a good decision can quickly go south if any effort is involved. The whole setting-up stage for your own website can be the most off-putting thing in the world. I mean, you want to be creative and all – but coming up with your own blog name!? Just like that? And then you type it in to set up your associated Twitter and Instagram accounts, and they’ve already been taken… Nope, nope, nope. It took copious amounts of red wine and forcing myself to sit at my laptop before I even got past the sign-up window back in 2016.
So, you’re here and you’ve made it and you still want to blog. Good, fab – welcome to the community!
I’m always dishing out advice on here as if I have anything in order, but I wanted to share some pearls of wisdom I’ve taken in since I started blogging. So, if you’re new, returning, or simply a big listicle fan, then this post is for you!
1. Don’t take it so seriously – at least, starting out.
Oh hey, it’s the “this is exactly what I did” klaxon! So soon, too! I feel like everyone does this to an extent, so don’t worry if you do. But remember not to get too stressed out and worn down by trying to stand out amongst all the millions and millions of blogs out there. There’s always going to be success stories, but they come with hard work and dedication – so if you know that’s what you want, then go for it! Just don’t freak out and give up a few weeks, months, or even years in. Remember why you started to write, and keep a hold of that.
2. Write what you know.
Age-old advice, I know, but this one sometimes annoys me and it’s a mantra I tell myself over and over when I’m planning posts. This is totally going to contradict my next post, but I’ve seen so many people writing posts on experiences they’ve admittedly never had. And sometimes that’s okay, it’s totally up to you what you write. But please make sure that if you are, that you research the topic fully first. It’s so easy to just Google things and go from there, but some subjects can have more damaging consequences than others.
3. Don’t try to adapt to what everyone else is doing.
This was one that really tripped me up last year, actually. I went through a stage over obsessively checking Instagram, looking to see how everyone else was doing it. Panicking because that person who’s only been blogging for three months has had as many sponsored posts in the last week – what am I doing wrong? Nothing, I was doing nothing wrong. Other than focusing too much on what other people were doing with their blogs, and not enough on what I was doing with my own. I even got to a point where I’d check my social feeds once every three or four weeks towards the end of 2018, because I’d driven myself to just hating blogging. Doooon’t let what everyone else is doing distract you from why you’re writing in the first place!
4. Social media is a powerful tool. Use it.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, even LinkedIn. They’re all free platforms, and with them come contacts from all over the globe. You don’t need a high following to get a message out there. Get started on some platforms, link them to your blog, and get the word out that you are writing and this is where to find it. There’s always going to be someone interested in what you have to say – so make the most of having such easy access to them!
5. The “I don’t have a ‘niche'” worry
“I kind of cover a lot of things. I haven’t really found my niche yet”. The word “niche” always makes me think of biology in school, which is perhaps why I have such a strong dislike for the word. Once again, this is something I used to say – I don’t know if it came from a general expectation, or if it was just me putting pressure on myself. But I know that I have seen a lot of newbie bloggers in a state of disarray over what their blog should specialise in. Listen, if you want to write about a pasta dish one day, and then about the transfer window, and then about your favourite shade of lipstick, then you do just that. You write what you want to write about, and don’t hold back from covering different topics just because other bloggers focus primarily on skincare or food or travel. Diverse stories are fabulous – and I’m not just saying that because that’s what my blog seems to be like.
So yeah, hopefully they weren’t too preachy? At the end of the day, blogging is fun and writing is fun and the whole dang process should be fun. So I’m being a bit hypocritical even issuing out advice – but if this has given you something to think about, or there’s a point you agree or even disagree with, please let me know in the comments below. I’m always interested to know what everyone else’s points of view are on subjects like this!
And if you’ve decided to continue on to the next step of your blogging path, then all the luck in the world to you, fellow blogger xo