The sticky truth about blogging: what most won’t say and why it might still be worth your time
This post contains affiliate links. However, I only recommend products I use and love. To read my full disclosure policy, go here.
If you’re anything like me, you have a deep, meaningful relationship with Pinterest. I mean, I check Pinterest more than I do Google, most of the time. I have found their search engine to be incredibly powerful and inspiring!
Of course, when I started searching for work from home ideas, my go-to place was Pinterest. I did tons of research on the different options I found and took my sweet time narrowing it down to what I felt I could do best and to what I would totally love. The result was: blogging!
The amount of information about how to start to blog, where and which tools to use and all the other good stuff about blogging was overwhelming. And unfortunately, a lot of it was insanely repetitive. However, there are a few things that most articles/blog posts skimmed thru. Or sadly, some were very misleading. Of those things is what this post is about.
I wouldn’t claim to be an expert. Not even close. After all, this is what I have learned during my first hands-on month blogging 😉 All I wish to do is share with you a tiny little bit of what blogging really is.
Allow me to explain myself better
There is a difference between setting up a blog and starting to blog. Most blog posts about blogging rant and rave about how easy it all is. Or how you can start to blog in 5-10 minutes. Let me tell you something: that was far from the truth. At least in my case.
Of course, I had my domain picked out and my hosting set up in a jiffy. This blog is hosted by Siteground and they are amazing! They even called me on my cellphone shortly after to make sure I was on the right path and to ask me if I needed any help. I have to say, after months of research and finding out many bloggers recommending Bluehost, I was a bit hesitant to go with Siteground.
In my quest to make the best choices, I kept reading about blogging. I even checked and joined some Facebook blogging groups. I figured those would be the best spots to find real answers (hmmm, did I just say I went on Facebook for real answers!? Yes, I guess I did)
See, many bloggers post about blogging and use their affiliate links on those posts (myself included). Unfortunately, sometimes those bloggers post only to make money off of it. Not because they truly believe in the product. This is not true for all, obviously. The majority will be truthful and honest, which is a good thing.
We all (or most) want to monetize out blogs. Thankfully, most do so by being truthful. But, I have found that those FB groups for bloggers is where you can find the most honest answers to the off stage part of blogging. And so I joined those groups. There, I found out that a huge amount of them would pick Siteground over Bluehost anytime.
This lead me to re-think my whole blog plan and do some more research. When I finally took the plunge, I was ready and informed and I am certainly glad I picked Siteground. But I couldn’t honestly say that Bluehost is a bad choice: I have no personal experience with them.
What none of those “How to start a blog in 5 minutes” posts tell you is that, the 5 minutes involves getting your domain and paying for the hosting. In truth there is much more to blogging. And unless you’re incredibly knowledgeable on all things technology, it won’t be quick.
Once I had my domain and my hosting with Siteground in place, I had even more decisions to make. First, I needed to pick a theme. This is no small feat. You could go with a free theme (I did), or you could choose to purchase one. But the problem is, there is a ridiculous amount of options out there!
Whether you go with a free theme or a paid one, you must make sure you pick one that fits your style and your needs. I for one, picked one at first and looked cool. It turned out to be a huge nightmare. I was very frustrated, to say the least! Then I said, screw this, I am changing it and went with yet another one. This one was OK but I still had a hard time getting on an intimate level with it.
Remember those Facebook groups I mentioned before? Well, one of those groups lead to the theme I am currently using. It was posted by the creator, free to use and I liked what I saw. So I downloaded it and started playing with it. As it turns out, that theme is amazingly easy to use, very user friendly. For someone who knows zilch about coding, this was a Godsend.
Still, all this tweaking and fixing has taken me weeks. Between changing themes, getting comfortable with it and setting it up with the features I like, its taken me a ton of time. I have made a few posts so far but definitely not as many as I’d like.
If you love writing as much as I do, then this will not be a problem. At first though, it will be hard to make the time to write, with all those other things claiming your immediate attention. It is not a “start blogging in 5 minutes” kind of deal. Not even close.
Although many bloggers who write about blogging do mention that there is a lot of work involved in blogging, the titles can be misleading. Especially if you consider writing and blogging to be one and the same, as I did.
Some days it’ll feel like the behind-the-scenes aspects of blogging are sucking your soul out of your body. When this happens, take a step back and evaluate how you’re spending your time. Make sure you set up some time to write a bit, even if it’s just an hour per day. I guarantee you’ll see the results sooner rather than later.
An excellent recommendation that I have yet to follow is to create an editorial calendar. But I am working on it as soon as I finish creating this post 😉 An editorial calendar will help you get super organized and allow you to have a sense of purpose for every single one of your working days. The idea is that you will have a pre-made plan for what to post and when. This should also aid in creating awesome content. And so much more.
A multi-tasker kinda deal
By multitasking I don’t mean doing many things at once. I mean you have to do so many things, its unreal. Here is a list of the things that a blog (at least mine) needs to run nicely:
- Domain name: Choose your domain name only when you’re ready to purchase hosting. I have read quite a bit about people who check out if their desired domain name is available only to find out that when they are actually ready to purchase it, its gone!
This mostly happens because certain bigger companies have ways of finding out who is searching for which domains. They then proceed to purchase them and put them up for sale at outrageous prices!
Nothing could be more frustrating than being set on certain domain name and find out its gone! UGH.
- Hosting: Again, I have no first hand experience with Bluehost. What I do have is nothing but good things to say about Siteground. So far, they have been great. My site hasn’t had any down time or glitches at all. I am very happy and would recommend Siteground to anyone!
- Theme: Pick one that fits your blog and needs. I am using this one.
- Plugins: Find the ones that will make your blog run smoothly and your life easier. But not too many: too many plugins could make your blog run slower. Here are some I have installed:
-AccessPress Custom CSS
-Bottom of every post
-Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode
-Contact Form 7
-Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
-Pretty Link (Love love love this one!)
-Yoast SEO (this one is a must have!)
- Social media accounts: Pick the ones you can honestly take care of. No more than 3 at first, to make it less complicated.
- Great images: There are great free stock photos out there but you could also take your own pics. I am looking into purchasing a camera and will update this post when I do. In the meantime, I am using Pixabay and Canva to create what I need. In case you’re not at all familiar with Pixabay is great for stock images that you can freely use commercially, absolutely free.
- Logo: Using Canva has been a lifesaver for me! I can’t praise it enough, honestly. I am currently using the free version but will upgrade to Canva for Work (paid) as soon as my blog grows a bit. Most seasoned bloggers will recommend you hire a professional to create your logo, etc but if you’re on a tight budget like me, then Canva is your new BFF.
- Brand: This basically means that you need to create a cohesive look for your business or blog. It involves a colour palette, fonts, logo, header, type of pictures or other images you use, etc.
- Engagement: While it might seem like blogging is a solo enterprise, it is far from that. One of the most important aspects of blogging is engaging with your audience (when you have one) and developing amazing RELATIONSHIPS with other bloggers.
- Monetizing: This should not be your primary reason to start a blog. However, making money while doing something you love will fill you with joy. This might not happen right away though, but if you work at it, it will happen eventually.
I realize this post might seem like a whiny cry for help. Or a way to discourage anyone else from blogging. Far from that. Blogging is a TON of work for sure. However, I do love it, even the techy stuff. Yes, it is true that some things have a higher learning curve than others. The fact that it isn’t as easy peasy is also true. But oh so worth it!
One thing is for sure: if you love to write, or to share your point of views, tips, etc. then you can certainly get past all the sticky business and simply enjoy the ride. I might not know where this is leading me but I swear I am enjoying every single minute of it!