Genuine Advice: Startling Secrets From My First Year Blogging
I started this website a year ago, and I never intended on becoming a blogger. My Instagram account had blown up last year. When I realized on no matter what the TOS says you do not own your own content, I had to take action.
That is why I started this website. I would like to share with you the hard lessons I learned over the past year. Most blogs fail within the first three months. If you are a new blogger or starting one I may say what you need to hear. Blogging is a job and can be a hard one. A lot of bloggers talk about blogging positively and how great blogging is that is a part of their branding. Some people avoid negativity. The truth is your putting yourself on the web. Once you do so, you lose control over what others say about you or your content.
This blog has given me a much thicker skin. At first I took feedback to heart and would try to please them. So much I lost my voice. People complained about the grammar. Do your best but you are not the New York Times. I checked my posts through Scribbens, Grammarly, and several other editing applications. My posts would get mangled. I over edited myself. I lost paragraphs of my writing and ended up not making sense
Now I use ProWritingAid.com and Hemmingway Editor to make sure sentences are easier to read. If people want to harp on your grammar and you are editing and proofreading to the best of your ability eff them. I already spend 2-12 hours depending on the post writing, taking pictures and editing. Not to mention the time I spend promoting said post. BTW most of these editing programs will never agree 100% on anything. I urge you to choose one grammar editor or writing program.
You may worry about your work or pictures being stolen. Picture theft or plagiarism may not happen so do not fret. Someone read one of my posts, copied the post. She added her own spin on the post so her version was not overt plagiarism. Down to the pictures she copied me. She recreated my pictures. Other bloggers told me to shut up. That imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
If someone copies you decide what you want to do on your own. You can ask them to remove the post and if they won't you can report them to Google. Google can remove their website from its directory. That can destroy their website or business. One of my pictures and videos were stolen on social media. The picture went viral, but I got those taken down. Watermarks are a waste of time and Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will help you. Plus a watermark ruins your beautiful picture. If using a watermark gives you peace of mind, then go for it but people can remove them keep that in mind.
Be aware some bloggers are petty and unprofessional. You need to ignore those bloggers. Another blogger wrote an unofficial rebuttal to one of my posts. The rebuttal was rude and snarky. Now I must network with this person like I don't realize she hates me or at least my blog. When a blogger does, you dirty deep down they know. Even if they never acknowledge what they did to your or try to make nice. I am not perturbed by this. When I encounter people who are this extra, I move on. Nasty people are not worth an iota of my energy.
Other bloggers taught me a very important lesson. For every person willing to lift you up another one is ready to tear you down. Some bloggers want you to fail. Other bloggers are chasing after money. These bloggers will try to sell you their course rather than answering a question. In supportive blogging communities there will always be unsupportive bloggers. These bloggers love telling you what they think no matter how rude or hurtful it is. I also was a mod for a blogging group where I learned a lot. If you have a problem asking in a Blogging group is not always the best idea. Some bloggers make a lot of money blogging about blogging. Or aspire to and they can be your biggest ally. If you ever have a problem use Google first. Answers are on thousands of websites you will get more help from a blogger who blogs about blogging. They need your traffic to make a living. If they do not help you they lost a new reader and potential ad revenue.
Find a blog group where you are comfortable and welcome. Do not join several blogging groups which is more work than it is worth. These groups can waste your time. You will do a lot of sharing and reading and commenting to grow someone else s blog while yours is being neglected.
Guest posts mostly are a headache. Guest posts can be paid if you are unfamiliar with this. I publish free Disney guest posts but charge for anything that is non-Disney. The guest gets noticed by new readers and the blogger gets a little cash to cover their fees. Be aware you will get emails asking you to publish posts for $10 or free. A guest post if it is relevant and well written will bring traffic. When the topic is not relevant to your brand, it can be a pain. In the beginning you will get a lot of bad offers so much so you dread guest post emails.
Which leads me to this. I love free stuff but the messages asking me to write a post for a free item can at first be awesome. After a while unpaid review offers are irritating. You learn after the first time accepting a free product may not be worth it in the long term. Even an item worth $20 will lose you money once you realize how valuable your time is. If you ask for a fee to pay for your time and they don't want to pay it turn it down. Remember they may give you a free $20 product. Between, your social media followers and your blog you're giving them free advertising. Yeah, you get a $20 item for free but your reach on social media may reach a hundred thousand people from one post. I get startups and small business don't have much money. Do not expect a huge payout. If you are offered $200 worth of skincare you want, then take the offer. If you're offered something you want to review and would review even if you paid for the items accept that offer. You are giving away free advertising and you can ask for compensation.
Blogs are not free. A blog hosting fee is standard for most blogs. The editing program fees, Tailwind subscriptions, and the list goes on. Even a guest post is worth being paid for a guest post costs money even to draft and post the article. If you create graphics and promote the post more of your time and resources are used.
I learned that you can put 120 hours a week into a blog for months and go nowhere. I work until 6 am sleep for a few hours and get up and trying to juggle homeschooling, kids, a home, and taking care of myself. I am surprised I have not burned out yet. This is a full-time job.
The last few months I learned a lot for example Pinterest and Tailwind are a blogger's best friend. That you should always try to ignore rude comments and remarks from others. Things will rattle you for a long time before you learn its part of blogging.
I also learned Adsense is a joke. Visitors will bounce around. I do not understand who they are or why they do it. When someone does it hurts my numbers with Google. In October someone visited my site and clicked on the ads a hundred times over an hour. Adsense suspended my account. This happened again in January and I lost all $200. Adsense also demonetized my YouTube channel. I still have issues with visitors who bounce around the site. You have no control how low long people stay on a page and what they click. Most PPC advertisers should be able to tell an authentic click from a malicious one. They should not hold the website owner responsible in such cases. If you want to earn money pay per click ads can be ugly. Make your website seem cheap because you have no control over what the ad will be. Your ability to earn depends on if someone clicks on an ad. Pay Per Click Ads can take weeks if not months to even earn a payout. Sign up for affiliate sales instead where you have more control over who you promote. You could also write posts and tell your readers why they should shop with your affiliate.
You want to monetize pay per click ads for most are a waste of space. Try affiliate sales and keep writing eventually you will be offered sponsored posts.
This post may seem like a rant but it's a document of my blogging journey over the last year. I had a blog I used on an off for a decade. People cannot see behind the scenes. Bloggers do a lot of work. The media calls us influencers or micro influencers but the truth is your a freelancer. You never know when an offer will land in your in-box. Or if you land that campaign.
So what I learned this year was keep going. Take constructive criticism but don't let criticism change you. Keep writing you will get better. Graphics are hard to make. One day you will make one that will make you say I am so awesome. If want to streamline things do it. If that means changing your banner or adding one than do it. Hire someone to do SEO work for you on Fivver because some things like SEO or Graphics will not be your strong suit. Keep evolving and trying to make your website what you want it to be.
Bounce rates mean nothing. My bounce rate is high. Because my viral pin on cleaning your tub brings people here who spend 6-10 minutes reading the post. They leave and it's likely they went to clean their tub. If someone does not read multiple posts, it does not mean your posts suck. You may solve your readers problem, and they were happy and felt no need to read on. I signed up for Oribi Analytics so check them out. Google stats are not everything and there are more helpful tools than Google.
Take my Disney posts as an example of why bounce rates are lame. If they sucked someone would have commented saying so. My readers are sometimes nice people looking to plan their trip. They read my post and move on. Google Analytics cannot record or measure that.
I learned a lot of hard lessons and these are the reasons most new blogs fail. People review anything pitched to them. Most of these items will not appeal to your readers. You write a post for a few people to read. Pay per click ads will not cover your expenses for most bloggers. You spend more time on Facebook working in blogging groups. If you are a new blogger stop working for other bloggers for free and work for yourself. Automate your Pinterest because that will bring you a lot of traffic. Strive to take better pictures which will attract readers. Improve your writing skills to keep people on the page after they click. Keep upgrading your website because a better user experience matters most.
If you like hard work, then blogging may be for you. This post may seem negative and that is not what I aimed for. I wanted to be honest this year sucked. So many anniversary posts are celebratory and positive. Adversity differentiates an accomplishment apart from a milestone. Authenticity matters I cannot write a fluff piece on how great this has been. Blogging has not been easy, and I struggled. Saying how hard getting started was more important than celebrating.