When I first thought about blogging, all I knew was that I loved to dress up and take pictures and that I wanted to share that with the world. At the time, my cousin @dadouchic had a blog. I used to be obsessed with @shirleybeniang blog and was ADDICTED to lookbook.nu . One day I decided I was going to start a blog. It was named www.sylingonabudget.blogspot.com ( don’t worry, it no longer exist). I was taking my pictured off my grainy iPad 2. I had to make it known that I was on a budget but I could still look cute. Back then, all I knew about blogging was; how to start it on Blogspot, post low-quality pictures, drop a few words underneath each pic explaining my outfit choice and press publish. I never estimated everything I was going to need and know before diving into the blogging world. On this post, I’m sharing some of the things I wish I knew before starting a blog.
The dedication required
You have to be REALLY clear with yourself if blogging is something you want to do simply as a hobby, or as a source of income.
A lot of people get embarrassed or scared to say that they blog in order to provide for themselves. They fear of being criticized or being told they “only doing it for the money”. There is NOTHING wrong with doing something that you love and passionate about and being able to provide for yourself doing it.
Being real with yourself before starting a blog will help you determine how much dedication your blog requires. This is one of the things I failed to do. When you are running a blog as a hobby, you write a post when you want, when you get some free time, feel like writing…etc. Running a blog as a business or a job requires a different level of commitment. You can’t write only when you in the mood or when you have a sudden boost of inspiration. You have to post every week, sometimes twice a week or even every day depending on your blog needs. If you are working with brands, you have deadlines to meet. You have to treat it as a source of income. Being clear about that in the beginning helps a lot.
How much it is to maintain a blog ( financially)
Blogging is not cheap, yea you can go on blogger and start a blog for free, but the more you grow you have to get your own domain ( ex. www.bellarosablog.com instead of www.bellarosablog.blogspot.com). In order to get that you have to pay for that, whether it’s a one-time fee, monthly or yearly. The more you grow, you want your blog’s physical appearance to look nice, that means buying a custom template. If you’re a blogger like me that ranges from fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. You have to keep up with trends ( especially in the beauty world), that means trying new products, buying new clothes, paying photographers and investing in pieces of equipment for content images.
Now, as you grow these expenses might not be as much anymore because you’re probably being compensated for posts, so you make back the money that you spend on certain product, but in the beginning, EVERYTHING comes out your pocket. which is another reason people can’t say you’re blogging for money because NO ONE pays you simply to start a blog ( if they do, let me know girl!)
This goes back to knowing how much dedication your blog demand. If you blog for fun, this might mean an hour or two a week to write a blog post and take pictures and submit posts. but, if you have to meet deadlines and a posting schedule to maintain, the time required might mean 6-8 hrs a week or staying up until midnight to film a lipstick swatch video and realizing your camera was out of focus the entire time. No joke, this happens.
Success doesn’t happen overnight
Like I said, I used to watch bloggers and YouTubers prior to starting a blog, so when you do start and realize only 10 people read that one post you spent 3 hrs writing. It’s natural to feel disappointed, but keep in mind that every successful blogger/youtuber started right where you’re at.
Brands don’t come running to you
I knew NOTHING about working with brands or reaching out to brands. For a very long time, I thought people just sat there staring at their email hoping brands will come running to them to work with them. GUUURL! was I wrong. I mean some brands might stumble upon your blog via a feature or a post and decide to email you. That’s not always the case. You have to do your research. Find out who’s the PR team for the brands you want to work with, find ways to build relationships with them ( like actually buying their products yourself) and then reach out and knowing the proper ways to reach out.
It’s OK to ask for help
I don’t know where I went off thinking, I’m Jesus or the messiah and that I can do bad all by myself and I can prosper on my own without the help of any living being. I have played myself for many years thinking like this. You will need help and it’s ok, to reach out to people and ask for help. There are gazillions of blogger networks out there and the majority of them have meetups in cities near you. Attend those meetups, get in those groups chats, facebook groups..etc. ask questions. There are millions of other bloggers that are open and willing to help. Best of all, you gain relationships with other people with similar goals.
Explaining your blog to your friends and family will get irritating
I can’t count how many times I’ve had to explain blogging to my family, just for them to conclude that I’m ” wasting time on the internet”. Every family, friends, and people are different, and some may be more understanding and knowledgeable than others. I have found that not explaining what I do to my family members and simply leaving it as ” I’m a blogger, I blog” with no further explanation is the best answer.
You have to advertise your blog
When I first started blogging, I would publish posts after posts. I never told anyone that I had a blog or mentioned it on any social media. I was shy ( I was also in High School) and I cared way too much of what people would think of it. Running a blog doesn’t end once you hit publish. You have to advertise it, get people to click that link in your bio. I find that most of my traffic come from my facebook page. So, I set a plugin on my blog, whenever I hit publish, It shows up on all my social media platforms.
Sometimes you’ll get writer’s block
Writer’s block is REAL, I experience at least every other month. I’ll go from being extremely consistent with new posts every week to no post for a month straight. This happens for many reasons. If you’re a perfectionist like me, you might write a post and feel like it’s not good enough. My grammar is all wrong, my words are all over the place and overthinking cause you not to post. Sometimes, you have NO IDEA what to write about. It happens! Now if blogging is a hobby for you like it is for me, you might allow this block to go on for a long time. But, when you have deadlines to meet, you don’t have the option of seating it out. One thing I learned is although you always want to only put out your best work, sometimes a half-ass post is better than nothing at all.