*This post may contain affiliate links
Disclaimer: this post is not intended to discourage you from blogging. In fact, I encourage you to start one! I simply want to lay out the truth about the extensive learning and time it takes to blog. I want to shine light on how tough of a job it can actually be. That’s why I use the analogy of a hat rack. It does not have to be a juggle, but rather it can be something you learn to beautifully manage and interchange your various “blogger hats” with ease! Okay, let’s get started.
CSS, SEO, CMS, RSS, CAN-SPAM….
Have I lost you yet?
When I launched my blog in October 2015, I had a totally different vision than when I relaunched in February 2017. Actually, in 2015 you could say I didn’t have a vision for my blog at all. Ever since I decided to blog again, I have really been focused on gaining an audience, promoting my posts organically, and most of all learning. It can feel so daunting at first to begin working on a blog and then realizing how much you don’t know. It can be hard to not compare yourself to seasoned bloggers and wonder if you will ever get to that level.
What Does it Take?
Just for one blog post, I have to write the content, format it, design and insert images, link affiliations or credit if needed, promote on various social media platforms (all with different sized images of course), promote in various groups, and respond to comments in order to stay genuine with my readers. And that is just for one post. This doesn’t even touch learning about my content management system, backing up my site, learning the various social media platforms I plan to use, installing Google Analytics, sending out email newsletters, and so on! So to answer the question, what does it take? It takes anyone who is willing to learn and invest the necessary time and energy into this seemingly simple thing called blogging. Someone who is willing to wear a variety of different hats and learn a multitude of new things.
The Blogging Hats
Content Master. First and foremost, you have to have decent content in order to have a functional blog. Of course you can get a WordPress.com or Tumblr site and use it as a public journal, but if you truly want to make an impact or essentially make any money, your content is where it’s at. What are you an expert in? What do you enjoy? Write about those things! Don’t focus on posting every day, but rather posting at the rate in which you are comfortable to write quality content.
Marketing Guru. This is a catchall, but it has so much depth. You have to be hyper-focused on the methods in which you want to utilize for marketing, and also hyper-aware of the image and message you are sending out to the world, in everything you do. Who is your target audience? How often are you going to post? Are you offering any freebies or incentives to your readers? Have a marketing strategy and write it down.
Social Media Influencer. I think this is quite a fancy term and it makes these non-celebrities with massive followings sound awesome! Basically, when you show you have enough followers on any social media platform, people want you to “influence” your followers to buy various products. You can put together a media kit and/or use sites like TapInfluence and Inzpire.me to get your name out there to the brands that use social media marketing.
Brand Affiliate. Since one goal for most bloggers is to monetize, affiliate marketing is a good way to earn a passive income. Various sites have a commission for bloggers that promote their sites and services on their blog. I signed up for Amazon Affiliates, CJ Affiliate, ShareASale, and AWIN (formerly Affiliate Window). It’s not something I have spent a lot of time with, but I earned $1.83 last month from Amazon and I was thrilled – haha! Biggest tip with this hat is to not promote things that you don’t use or love, or else you are going to lose trust with your readers. Interested in learning more about how to make money with Amazon? Check out the ebook “Cracking the Code on the Amazon Associate’s Program” 🙂
Graphic Design Goddess. Canva. That is all I need to say. I don’t even have an affiliate link for them, I just LOVE Canva. It’s so easy to use, you can make a ton of beautiful graphics, and you can input CC0 images (see below in Blogger Law 101) as your backgrounds from sites such as Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels. I highly recommend using somewhat consistent color pops and fonts so that your brand becomes recognizable and interwoven in your graphics.
SEO Boss. Okay let me be honest here. I worked at a private K-8 school and assisted building their website while I was attending graduate school. I am a fairly quick learner, so once I was taught how, I was able to do the tasks I needed to. But…that entire year I had NO idea what SEO even meant! It stands for Search Engine Optimization and it basically means strategies for getting your website to pop up in search engines such as Google and Bing. You optimize your posts and your page by using various keywords, meta descriptions, image alt attributes, links, etc. A great WordPress Plugin to assist with this is Yoast SEO.
Campaign Builder. This is what Mail Chimp refers to email newsletters as – campaigns. You have to learn how to collect email subscribers on your blog, funnel them into lists on your mailing site, and then create email newsletters that engage your readers. It’s something I’m totally slacking on, but I know if I want to foster connections with my readers, I have to be approachable in this way! It’s also a great place to offer exclusive content to your most loyal readers.
Blogger Law 101 Graduate. This one is pretty serious. Did you know: You can be heavily fined for not including a full, valid physical mailing address at the bottom of your email newsletters? Your site could get shut down for not disclosing affiliate links that may be contained on your site? It is illegal to use photos off the internet on your blog unless its licensed under CC0 (Creative Commons Zero)? When in doubt, consult the law if there is any gray area you are unsure about. It’s not worth getting all of your hard work poured down the drain for a cute cat picture you found on Google Images.
Are you getting the point here? The list goes on and on. I already wear the hats of being a Christian, wife, mother, and therapist. I’m not too sure how many more hats will fit on my hat rack, and that’s the beauty of deciding when to stop buying the hats and being content with the ones you have.
So as I begin ramping up my blog and the time I put into it, I need the reminder that I get to choose the speed and depth to which I grow my hat rack. I never want to lose sight of who I am as a blogger and as a person, so I am determining which hats I want to wear and when I wear them.
Top Three Takeaways
Needless to say, blogging is a lot more in depth than you may have assumed before you started doing it. There are a lot of “hats” you have to wear, and to be successful you need to invest in a good hat rack to stay organized. With that said, here are my top three tips for starting a blog when it feels overwhelming:
You don’t need to use every social media platform.
I use Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. That is all. Yep, I don’t even do Twitter. Why? Because I don’t even have a personal Twitter account and it’s not something I want to stress about learning. Honestly, my opinion in regard to social media platforms is to not even have it if you cannot be active on it. In my personal life, I would compare Facebook to a baseball cap (functional, comfortable, well known), Instagram to a floppy beach sunhat (casual, fashionable), and Pinterest to a derby hat (being a search engine, pins are purposeful, sophisticated, and can draw a lot of attention – not something you just throw on without thinking). Basically I don’t wear any other style of hat, but you may, and you only need the hats that look good and feel good on you.
Write authentically on topics that you love, not what you think others will love.
Guys, I legitimately love food and don’t have enough time in the day to properly exercise (unless chasing my toddler around counts…I think it should). Should I be a health and fitness blogger? Yeah right. When I was thinking of what my domain name was going to be, I thought about who I was. What I defined myself as. My faith in Christ was my number one thing, and then being a new mom was one of my newest and most life-changing titles. So that is how I got FaithFilledMotherhood. In addition to writing about my faith and being a mother, I am also a wife and a therapist. These two things shape me and define the lens in which I see the world through, therefore it is appropriate that I blog about those things, too. Don’t limit yourself and also don’t spread yourself too thin. You do you!
Have a calendar to help you organize your posts, social media, and weekly goals.
Finally, setting goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) can help you be successful in blogging. Setting goals acts as a measuring stick for our progress. Additionally, having a calendar for when and what you are going to post will help you stay on top of everything when life gets in the way. There are a ton of automated services to help you schedule posts and social media. For me, I do everything in real time and write on a handwritten calendar. It comes down to personal preference. Finally, being organized also includes scheduling in each week something new that you are going to learn. It could be joining a new Facebook group, buying an ebook on affiliate marketing, or simply reading a new blog post about optimizing Pinterest. Whatever it may be, challenge yourself to learn something new each week.
For seasoned bloggers, what tips do you have for the newbies? What other hats are on your hat rack? For newbie bloggers, what has been your biggest challenge thus far with blogging? And for those that haven’t started a blog yet, what is the barrier that is keeping you from doing it? Now go and get blogging, friends!
*This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase or check out any of the products, I will receive a small commission! Cool huh?! I will never sponsor or promote anything I don’t genuinely recommend.*