10 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started Blogging

Everyone blogs these days. It is no longer something to get shocked with… well at least that is what most people think. Before I started blogging everything seemed easy. Soon I realized, a lot of people blog just for the sake of blogging. Very few actually make any money ever and even fewer can make it a sustainable profession. So, what is the difference here? What makes certain bloggers more successful than others? There are many points that I discovered along the way and wished someone had pointed out to me earlier. So, here are a few such points that you would find useful if you are starting off.

Why do blogs fail?

#1 reason: They give up within 3 months, or too soon. It’s sometimes hard to understand that things can take more effort before they deliver.

So, now getting back to my initial worry, here are some more insights if you’re running a corporate blog or are a professional blogger…

10 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started Blogging Brandanew

10 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Started Blogging

1. Get your own domain

It is very easy to start a blog and it is free too. That is why everyone does it. But if you want to come across as a serious contender, get your own domain. It does not cost much actually but makes you look completely professional and also you get full control over the web design and more importantly your brand. Choose your names carefully. Put these through a drawing board. Get some feedback from people who could be potential readers.

2. Do not be scared of technology

Blogging is partly about writing but partly also about understanding how the internet works. It is mildly technical- although many blogging platforms now are WSIWG, but sometimes if you are not from a technical background it may turn you off. Do not worry. It is not that hard and nobody is asking you to write code. Just get over your inhibitions. Hire a designer if needed- it’s a one time investment. Use WordPress or Tumblr or Squarespace with pre-existing play and play templates. You’ll realize it’s easier than you think it is.

3. Learn about SEO

Drawing from the previous point, SEO is what ensures regular traffic to your blog. It requires you to understand some basic techniques and at the same time make sure that your content maintains its readability even while adding “keywords”. You need to know what you should be writing about. Hire someone to help you understand the basics. Join a small workshop or class. Read up and see what tools you should use.

4. Spend 80% of your time on promotion (or sharing)

You must have heard this before. No matter what you do, 80% of the effort must go towards promotions. It is true for blogging too. After you publish the content, you should focus your time and energy on promoting the post across various mediums. Be it social media, other communities, or to your Email list, share your work!

5. Make contacts

One of the best forms of promotions for a blogger is the recognition by other bloggers and authorities in your field. So, network with other important people in your field and build good rapport with them. It’ll also help you sustain blogging. You won’t get bored and you will in fact develop strategies to move ahead by getting introduced to various new communities.

6. Invest in brand building

Build a brand around yourself. Use a logo, create a great design, think about your branding elements. Develop a particular style and make it consistently visible across all channels including social networks, directories and forums. Do not try to be everything for everyone. Stay true to who you are as a brand. Create a niche community.

7. Think through paid promotion tactics

PPC adverts are the most well-known forms of online advertising. But actually the strikes rates can be very low for such ads  especially in a highly competitive category as you can potentially be on crossroads with commercial sites with millions. Be careful in how and what you choose so that you’re not letting your budget get out of hand!

8. Handle sponsored posts with care

Once you establish a reasonable reputation, you will get offers for sponsored posts. Now, they pay better than PPC ads but you will have to directly endorse something and will be associated with it even if the endorsed product or service fails to deliver. So, you must be careful. Choose what you’re comfortable sharing. More importantly, stay true to what you believe and also, always mention that the post is sponsored so that your community knows it. Keep editorial control so that you’re not cheating your community and making it sound like an advert. If it is an advert, then it’s just that. Don’t call it a blog!

9. Pick a niche and gain authority

The new age internet is all about quality and authority. Forget the cheap tricks. You just need to create great content. So, do not try to write everything even if you can- although it can be tempting. Pick one field, work hard on it and establish yourself as an authority in it. Your mother-in-laws issues with you do not belong to your blog on fashion!

10. Start Now

Reputation builds with time. Even the web domains that are older, are rendered trustworthy by the search engines over time. So, do not waste any more time. Start now and let your reputation build. If you wait to start you will have to wait further to see the desired results. Here are some creative ideas for you to begin with!

What are some of the challenges you’re facing with your blogs? Do share your insights and opinions with us!

Enakshi Sharma

Digital Storyteller at Brandanew
Enakshi is a storyteller, curator (India Art Fair, 2015), anchor (May Queen, 2015), research associate (Centre for Civil Society, India), a travel writer and a blogger. She's a Digital Storyteller for Brandanew.