7 Things to Know Before Starting a Blog

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See everyone gets into blogging head first because they have been promised easy and fast results. It’s a business and no legitimate business is easy. Actually, blogging is not easy at all, especially for beginners. It takes a combination of skills and patience. Half a year might pass before you start seeing any results from your hard work.

We all start from the beginning and I myself made a lot of mistakes at first. These mistakes actually made me stop blogging the first time I tried. But I spend some time researching and improving my skills and here I am now. Teaching you about the things you need to know before you start blogging.

I hope you find these tips helpful:

Blogging is a business

Blogging has been around pretty much since the dawn of the internet and has evolved quite much in the last 10-15 years.

Gone are the days when you could log into your blog and start writing about whatever you want.

People don’t care about reading about people’s lives online anymore.

Blogging has evolved into something much bigger now. It has become an industry on its own with many different monetization methods.

Not only you should consider blogging as an opportunity to make an extra buck but also as a serious business.

Consider running your blog as a startup.

And that’s why a lot of people fail from the start. They fail to realize that blogging needs to be taken seriously.

You need to give it the time it needs, learn all the technical stuff, and be aggressive in your marketing strategy.

There is a business term called a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). And this is an approach you should take. MVP means that you should push your blog out as soon as possible. When you write a post you should push it out fast.

Don’t focus on all the small details from the start. The good thing about blogging is that you can always come back and revise your content.

And just as with any other business blogging requires you to be a registered company. You cannot monetize your blog and expect not to pay taxes. A lot of gurus online forget to mention this thing to their students. Without being a registered legal entity you don’t have the right to run this business.

Of course, from the very start before you begin monetizing your blog you can get away with not being a registered company but once you start creating those affiliate links and setting ad networks you must have your papers straight.

Growing a blog requires time

A huge misconception about blogging is that you will see results fast. Don’t listen to the money-making gurus online because that’s simply not true.

It takes months for your posts to rank properly and their traffic to stabilize. It takes time for you to set up your blog. It takes even more time to research and write your content.

You can’t expect to see results with 20-30 posts. If you publish a blog post once per week, it would take you a hundred weeks to get to 100 posts.

A lot of bloggers see positive results once they have amassed at least 100-150 posts on their blogs. Producing all that content, interlinking through it, setting up an ad network, and creating all those affiliate profiles and links takes a lot of time.

And this is the reason why so many people give up – they simply expect fast results and if they don’t see them in the first 6 months, they just give up.

It is completely possible that you won’t see any serious traffic or revenue in your first year at all. This shouldn’t demotivate you tho, because once your blog starts picking up speed your input can become much more minimal.

Blogging is not free

Starting a brick-and-mortar business is quite expensive and for that blogging is a very viable option if you want to start a business and don’t have a big budget.

But this doesn’t mean that it is free.

The first expense you will have is registering a company and this amount is different depending on where you live.

Afterward, you need to buy a domain name. This isn’t that costly and can be around 20-30 dollars per year, but if you want to use a very neat and short domain name with recognizable keywords, domain registrars might charge you upwards of 400 dollars all the way to 3-4 thousand.

This is why it’s important to choose the right domain name and have it figured out from the start.

After buying a domain name you’ll need a good hosting provider. Most hosting providers have annual plans that come at a huge discount sometimes even with 70% off the price from the first year.

SiteGround’s hosting on a regular plan will cost you 16-18 dollars a month and that’s for the basic plan which is limited once your blog starts growing you won’t have another option than to upgrade your plan. And this goes for every other hosting provider. I like giving SiteGround as an example because I use them and cannot be happier. Also, they offer free caching which on its own costs 10 dollars a month if you use a WordPress plugin.

Things don’t end here because once you have a place for your website to live you need a theme. The out-of-the-box theme for WordPress is extremely limited and any other theme that is free on their marketplace is so limited that it might become a stopper for your growth.

A well-functioning, optimized, and mobile-friendly blog theme for WordPress costs around 50-60 dollars. Some of the more premium themes out there like Divi and Elementor which allow you full customization of your site have yearly subscriptions or lifetime payments.

A lot of people promote the free Kadence theme but if you’re serious about becoming a blogger this simply doesn’t cut it.

The last vital thing you will need to be paying for is essential plugins. Anti-spam plugins are paid, and caching plugins are paid. Pretty much every plugin creator has gotten on the subscription wave and charged their users on a monthly basis. And this is normal because if you want good services – you need to pay for them.

And what about SEO tools. There isn’t a single really helpful SEO tool out there that is free. There are free options, don’t get me wrong, but if you want one that can actually be beneficial for competition and keyword research you will need to pay. Ahrefs and SEMrush are the leaders in the industry and they cost at least 100 dollars a month.

Being a blogger doesn’t make you independent

Everybody talks about how they want to be their own boss and by becoming a blogger you can achieve that. It’s a wonderful job to have because once you get the machine running you can invest a few hours a week to maintain and update it and it’s all passive income from there.

But think about it.

Your blog depends on Google’s search engine in order to get traffic. If you want to rank on Google you need to become good at SEO. If you don’t satisfy the algorithm’s criteria you won’t be able to rank on the first page and won’t get any traffic for sure.

You are constantly dependent on Google updates and can get knocked off the first position at any time. That’s why you need to constantly adapt and basically serve Google’s needs.

There is also social media. Should you choose to pursue social media traffic you need to spend a lot of time creating content. You need to answer people’s questions. You get reviewed all the time. You become dependent on user reviews and ratings.

Basically what I’m trying to say is that while you’re being your own boss actually the places that drive traffic to your website are your actual bosses.

Bloggers need at least some technical skills

WordPress is an amazing platform for blogging. The developers and the community behind it have made it so that you can bootstrap a working website in a matter of minutes. Honestly, it has never been easier to start a blog than it is today.

Hosting providers have also made this process much faster and simpler.

But in order to have a beautiful and well-running website you need several technical skills.

The first and most important technical aspect of blogging is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Basically following these good practices you ensure that your blog has a much higher chance of ranking on the first search result page of Google than others. In my post about SEO for bloggers, I have gone into detail on what SEO is so if you want you can take a look at it.

Do you know what makes your blog very slow? Poorly written PHP, big chunky JavaScript files, unoptimized images, and cluttered themes.

It is highly advisable to at least familiarize yourself with these topics. Not having those technical aspects of your website handled you doom yourself to not seeing much traffic.

One thing that might help you, in this case, is caching. But what can you do about it if you know nothing?

Also, you need to know how to make a backup of your website. Most probably you would need to familiarize yourself with what a database is, find plugins that do this for you and integrate them.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are science on their own. There are a lot of terms and phrases that you will need to learn and understand in order to utilize them properly.

So yes, you do need some technical knowledge, but believe me, if you like blogging you’ll learn quite fast.

Bloggers are multifunctional

We discussed the technical aspect of blogging which is quite much on its own. But there are plenty of things you need to be proficient at when you run your own business even if it’s a blog.

You will need to become a good writer. Posts of upwards of 2000 words are not easy to write and you will have to produce hundreds of them. You should learn how to write in an informative yet friendly manner and be specific and consistent.

Every image on your website will be selected by you, as the fonts and ways your content is displayed too. At one point you will find yourself understanding graphic and web design quite well.

If you want to have your own custom post covers you’ll need to learn how to design and create them using Canva or Photoshop.

You will become a social media manager, responsible for creating engaging content, scheduling posts, and interacting with your readers.

To make sure your content shows up on Google you will have to learn the entire science of SEO which is constantly changing.

You will have to become an expert in affiliate marketing and displayed ads if you want to monetize your blog at all. And should you choose to create info products or courses you will have to become a teacher too.

You will have to learn how to use all the blogging tools at your disposal like plugins, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, WordPress, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and all the rest.

And not to talk about becoming a full-blown expert in the niche you have chosen to blog about.

The good thing about all of this is that a lot of those skills are transferable so for me at least it’s always been quite exciting to learn new things.

Making money requires scale

It’s very true that you can make money with a blog. But at one point if you have the luck to grow your blog enough and start making a profit you will eventually find yourself overwhelmed with tasks.

Imagine just having to go through all your posts and find areas of improvement and things you need to change or add. Throw that in a spreadsheet and you’ll find yourself with enough tasks to last you a week.

And how about finding new topics and covering them? This also takes a lot of time.

Just handling all your affiliate links takes a lot of effort.

You can only grow that much as a single entity. At one point you will need to consider outsourcing some of your work. Once you start making a decent amount of money you should consider hiring someone to help you write instead of you and you can take care of running the business.

This means that a portion of your income will have to be reinvested in the blog in order to scale it and allow for bigger profits. It’s only natural. Just as like in any other business you need to spend money to earn money, you have to be big to get the big cash.

Conclusion

I know that when reading all that you might get disheartened. But wait. Think about this for a second.

Blogging is a very lucrative business. Everybody wants to do it but very few people realize how hard it is to actually do it right.

A lot of people give up when they hear they have to do SEO or that they have to write long-form content.

Use this to your advantage. If it was easy everyone was going to do it. And for that make sure you educate yourself well before you start and you’ll see how easier it gets one you get the jist of it.

Happy blogging!

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