i was utterly clueless when i started blogging. i didn’t have a plan.
i wasn’t clear on its purpose.
nor my audience.
i didn’t understand all the work that would go into it.
because lets face it
running a blog
running a successful blog is like having a full-time job.
while i don’t know everything, and still am clueless on a lot of things
what i have learned thus far has primarily been by trial and error.
so i have put together my list of things i wish i knew before i started blogging.
picking your blog name
now to be honest, i have tried several times (and failed to run a blog). i have been blogging since the xanga days (yup, thats right), but to do it and to it the right way i only count these last two years because anything before that is just irrelevant to me.
i mean thats like someone saying they used to play the drums
leaving out the “in middle school” part of the story.
like, no one cares.
i was sitting at work one day, i was talking to what i then considered friends.
i thought of a many of things, until i decided on i am woman.
and while not a strange concept, i still ran with the name and decided to put my own spin on it.
did it fail? no.
was i one of many? yes.
i will never forget my relaunch for i am woman earlier this year and how some of my guests were in fact not there for me, but were there because they got my event confused with another group known as i am woman right here in birmingham.
when picking a name, i suggest picking something unique.
but easy to remember.
that symbolizes who you are
as well as what will become the personality of your blog.
and if you decide to have a self-titled blog,
as i have; that is more than okay.
buy your domain
i started with wordpress.com naive to the difference between wordpress.org
if you intend to turn your blog into a business.
to use it as a platform to highlight your business.
if you want people to take you seriously
then you need to buy your domain
preferably a .com
its just more professional to give out:
as opposed to
if you’re not serious enough to “make it official”
why would i or anyone else take you as someone we should
or would want to work with.
have a plan
again, i came into this blindly.
i sent my first blog post out december 2014
and didn’t release my next one until april of 2015.
because i didn’t plan.
i didn’t know how often i was going to blog.
i hadn’t outlined my categories.
or my topics.
i wasn’t sure how i was going to market my blog
or my posts.
i just pinned some words to the keys.
and expected the readers to come to me.
YOU HAVE TO FIND YOUR READERS
and the only way to do that is with proper planning.
the one thing i often wish i could go back and do would be to include more original photos.
sure, sites like canva
etc and etc
are a god-send when looking for stock or specialized photos,
but nothing beats taking your own photos.
i didn’t have a professional camera at the time
i underestimated the power of the camera on my phone.
so canva was like my number one source
until i decided to amp things up and master the task of producing my own blog photos.
DO NOT: pull images from google and other search engines masking them as your own.
like, just don’t.
define your ideal reader
know who you are talking to.
give her (or him) a name.
whats her occupation?
where does she like to shop?
what tv shows does she like to watch?
what music does she listen to?
jot down every single detail about your ideal reader
so that you can create content
develop products and services that are of value to her.
have a mission statement
you obviously have a reason for starting a blog? so spell it out.
what is the bigger picture?
i knew from jump that i wanted to help empower women to live a life of confidence.
to live on their own terms.
to find and embrace the best version of themselves
(whatever that may look like)
therefore my mission simply spells out:
a lifestyle blog empowering women to live a life of confidence.
what are you hoping to accomplish with your blog?
what problem(s) are you solving for your audience?
to build your audience.
to gain their trust.
you have to be transparent.
only you can decide between the line of what’s shareable and what’s too personal.
you don’t have to air out all of your dirty laundry.
its not about dumping your problems
with absolutely no resolve.
people want the real.
they want to hear your struggle.
how you’ve coped.
how you succeeded inspite of.
your story is your brand.
and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to share
or want to share your failures
and shortcomings with your readers.
its not glitter and rainbows all the time
and your readers need to know that.
don’t compare yourself to other bloggers
i gawked over so many blog sites in the beginning.
i tried to mimic and/or “measure up” to other people.
i wondered what were they doing that i wasn’t.
not taking into account that i was a newbie
and the obviously were not.
be your own kind of blogger.
go at your own pace.
define your own rules.
don’t underestimate the power of social media
find where your audience is and meet them there.
what is this?
why do i need it?
that’s just more work for me to do…
first of all, if you are looking for an “easy”
or “lazy” way to do things
just, quit now.
like, don’t even bother.
because there is no easy way to do any of this.
i thought the option for others to follow your blog by email was like
the “it thing to do”.
ha! silly, silly me.
to engage with your audience.
to do it well.
to do it often.
and to do it in a professional manner
they need more than the email update from wordpress or blogger specifying that you have uploaded a post for the day.
to ask them questions.
you need a way to capture your audience’s email addresses.
in the event that facebook.
were to all shut down you would lose their information.
because you do not own it.
but, having services like mailchimp, infusionsoft, conversionkit
allow you to collect and keep your memeber’s information.
have a life
i know when starting something so new
we find ourselves in the romance stage.
we don’t take into account how something so strange to us
can be so fulfilling
and fun to do that we often become obsessed.
and yes, you should absolutely be in love with your blog.
BUT don’t forget to have a life in the process.
love on your friends.
enjoy a nice dinner and a movie.
do things that involve more than “save and publish”
make no mistake about it.
blogging isn’t for everybody.
it is not for the faint of heart.
it is absolutely a lot of work.
a full-time job for some.
and a second job for others.
don’t half ass it.