23 February 2014, was the day I typed my first ever blog post here and today marks the 4 year anniversary of my blog! Which is so freaking exciting because I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for 4 years now! I’m genuinely so happy doing what I do every day. Blogging is something I’ve never thought will be something I’d do for a long time. So for today instead of just saying thank you which I say every time and I’m extremely grateful for every single one of you. I thought why not just take you to the backend of what goes behind blogging & vlogging. All the things which you don’t see and what all happens behind the curtain of so-called glamorous blogger life.
Here are 101 things about blogging which I’ve learned in the 4 years… These are my opinions and the things that I’ve learned and experienced. I respect everyone else’s opinions. Blogging can seem a glamorous job but when it comes down to business it is not so glamorous.
Niche down your content like really niche down.
Don’t see what others are talking about or writing on their blogs, just write whatever you want to. ( Because it’s your blog honeyyyy )
You can start out your blog on Blogger or the free WordPress version.
Yes having a custom domain is not necessary but it looks professional and you don’t have to buy a domain just because you want it to look professional. ( Until and unless you’re 100% sure about your blog don’t make the jump )
Designing a website is hard, coding is my enemy.
Website design doesn’t really matter unless it’s not complex for the readers.
Buying website designs can be easy to hard depending what type of person you are, in my case I am really picky about my website designs so I can not stand a website which isn’t maintained.
We all hear website design costs so much and it’s true, but do your research. You can buy Premade Blogger Templates & WordPress templates for $5! Yes, I did that on my Blogger blog! I saved a lot of money hehe.
Knowing what’s your end goal with blogging will be tremendously helpful.
Just because everyone else is being a blogger you don’t have to be one.
If you start with the pure intention to pursue blogging as a hobby or a way to share your thoughts/ creativity with the world, my friend I appreciate you.
Please don’t start blogging or vlogging as a source to earn money from it, and I’m gonna tell the truth that it won’t take you anywhere.
It took me 3.5 years to start earning from my blog. ( Although it could have been much sooner I was lazy lol and I didn’t know what the heck to do in the 1st & 2nd year of it. )
If you’re starting a blog, be consistent. It’s the most important aspect ever.
Don’t quit your job to do full time blogging until and unless you have like a legit income from it.
People are going to judge you but that’s normal.
People are even going to talk how impractical blogging is but that’s normal.
There will be phases when you’ll feel like giving up but I promise you, you will hit those milestones soon.
Brand your blog as yourself as a reflection of who you are.
Write with heart and people will feel that. ( This is my fav as I’ve personally seen the response )
Networking is key.
Step out of your comfort zone and things will work out. ( I really need to do this.)
Talking about networking, it is very important to form real networks with people. You can’t just go and be all sweet to someone just for the sake of gaining new followers and readers. Yes, those real relationships matter.
Sometimes it’s not about glamour, get real.
Social media can be daunting, it can kill our confidence but don’t lose your sight.
You will be in your own lane.
There’s no one to compete with.
Stay in your lane and do your thing, you don’t have to compete with others because your content is different from them.
Compete with yourself. Work harder than what you have yesterday and hustle your face off.
Please do your research very well. Research about niche, demographics, topics you want to talk about.
Provide depth of knowledge/content. This will help to engage with your viewers and actually giving them value instead of just photos of yourself and emojis in the caption. LOL
You can literally market your blog in so many different ways, the limits are endless.
Do your research before starting a blog, literally research down to everything. ( content, designs, your aesthetics)
When you’re in the mood to write blog posts, don’t just stop at writing only 1. I’d recommend writing as many as you can so that you can bank them and can post them whenever you don’t have anything to post or you’re busy with something else and you can’t post.
Consistency is key.
Being consistent is important but you don’t have to post like every single day, the quality of your blog posts might degrade. Post once a week (minimum) or thrice a week!
If you’re a blogger it’s obvious that you’ll get sponsorships but don’t just make it about money. Sometimes It’s so much more refreshing to read a random Lifestyle post or a blog post which you wanted to share.
Whatever you get from your blog, invest back into it!
Photography plays a really important role in blogging, so make sure your images are true to what you are trying to portrait via your blog.
Invest into a good camera. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll go out and buy the Canon 5D Mark. Pay good attention to cameras, watch reviews about them, ask photographers and people who enjoy taking photos. Calculate your budget and search a camera which fits your needs.
If you’re a Beauty Guru and if you want to film makeup tutorials, you have to look at the camera which does have a flip screen and supports wifi etc etc. Similarly if you’re a Travel Blogger / Vlogger you have to capture those wide shots so for that you’ll have to invest into a wide lens. Look at what type of content you want to create and then buy accordingly.
Speaking of cameras, the kit lenses which originally come with the camera sucks. I’d rather just buy the body and save some money so I can buy a separate lens.
The Nifty Fifty or the 50mm lens is the best for Fashion Photography where the whole background goes blurry. ( click here to view )
As long as editing goes, you can use VSCO for Instagram and Lightroom for your blog photos. ( Lightroom just changes the entire game )
Moving to self-hosted works wonders!
You can niche down to 1 category as I said but I know we are multi-passionate humans, so you can talk about more than 1 topic, meaning don’t go too far with it where you’ll have 10 topics to write about and you’ll have very less content posted on each of them.
Use the 6-degree separation strategy for framing your content and it’s topics. ( Use the categories which kind of lie under one roof: eg – Fashion & Beauty, or Fashion & Lifestyle, Fashion & Fitness, Wellness & Lifestyle.)
Moving on to consistency, as being a blogger you’ll have to write a lot which takes me to the next very important point and that’s reading. You have to read blogs to gain knowledge and soak in what’s going around in the industry.
Be aware of what’s happening around you and create the content surrounding that.
You can also invite people to guest post on your blog or you can hire writers or bloggers to write on your blog. ( Just like how Zanita did! I love her! )
You can also write for other huge websites or popular blogs in your niche so that it creates a brand awareness of your brand.
Don’t invest in ads just yet, do your SEO, step up your quality game and numbers will come.
Literally, numbers don’t matter to me now.
If you are in a position where you feel like starting a blog and you’re in the process of creating content, I’d say bank as much content as you can. If you go all in and post quality content for 3 days a week for a year, I guarantee you, you’ll go places, my friend. ( I know so many people who did this! My girl Jade Darmawangsa posts videos on her Youtube every single day and provides killer quality content! She crossed 12k Subs in no time! Another example is Victoria from InTheFrow she blogged every day during the 1st 2 years of blogging and she was awarded as the Best New Coming Blogger by Cosmopolitian! How cool )
Leverage social media platforms to profit your blog.
As Garyvee says you have to respect the context of the platform and post respectively. Meaning, Instagram is all about those pretty GOALS images, you can not post a joke which cracks on Twitter lol.
Long story short: Respect the context and post that. Create Instagram worthy images and post them on Instagram, not Twitter.
Sometimes you have to work for free and yeah I did that for 3.5 years of blogging.
It is absolutely possible to earn money via affiliates but you’ll need a large audience.
Build the trust before making money.
As again Garyvee said, Jab Jab Jab Right hook. This is what I stand for. It means you have to keep giving value to your audience with no expectations and when you ask something to do in return they’ll do it for you because you’ve given so much value to them. Let’s take the example of Gary himself. Over on his youtube channel he posts daily vlogs and talks about entrepreneurship and hustle and how can anyone on this planet build a business online. He talks about it every single day with no expectations in return. Recently he launched his 5th book “Crushing It!”, and guess what it’s already a New York Times Best Seller plus its #1 on Amazon US and in the UK!
Do you get what I’m saying? He gave so much more information than any other entrepreneur and just plugged the thing of Crushing It and it’s phenomenal! Guess what? I did buy crushing it haha
Plan out your content strategically according to the trends/ seasons/birthdays etc.
If you are a student like me and sometimes it gets difficult to shoot or write blog posts during your posting schedule, I’d say pick a day where you don’t have anything to do and just create content on that day. I do that all time where I pick a location and shoot in 5-10 outfits, I don’t have to worry about the content for the next few weeks.
As my amazing blogger friend Britanny from NotAnotherBlonde says, “create evergreen content” which means create content which doesn’t require you to post during a certain time period. If you have a million photos from Christmas and if you want to post them now when you are lagging in your content, they won’t fit well you know what I mean? I mean you can use them as a TBT post, but posting evergreen content will make the users feel like oh wow there’s a relevant post. Also you can’t just keep posting every time the same photos again and again.
Social media can be frustrating sometimes.
Yes, you will have those days where you’ll be like no I don’t want to do this, but that’s okay.
We all will feel burnt out sometimes, so you have to take care of your mental health.
Yes, you can actually consider blogging full time but that requires a bit more management and you need to very very aware of your financial situation. Let’s say if you are at the stage where you are earning well through sponsorships and affiliate marketing/referral marketing and you’re making somewhat Rs 50,000. Then I can say you can think about it. However, Don’t take my word for it. Write down your expenses and see how much do you spend every month and then decide.
Jumping back to social media, Pinterest works great for blog posts especially if you write very in-depth posts about DIY beauty, Food, Fashion etc. I feel like every niche can work extremely well in Pinterest, you just have to design the Pin very appealing. I literally have 200k+ impressions by just pinning stuff I love. My amazing friend Paula from Thirteen Thoughts wrote a blog post on how she gets 1 million + page views on Pinterest every single month! ( click here to read her post! )
Instagram can be daunting sometimes but it’s still my favorite social media platform to use.
Shoutouts can work sometimes work on Instagram, it highly depends on your content and the page where you’re trying to put the ad on. Please check the demographics of the page and see if the audience of that page matches your target audience.
Planning a feed on Instagram is the most important thing which you can ever do to brand your Instagram. It just makes things 10 times so much better. Having an aesthetic feed will grow your account plus people will appreciate your content because it’s aesthetically pleasing.
It’s also very important to match your Instagram feed aesthetics to your blog aesthetic, so people will immediately know that it’s your photo.
Chain Giveaways don’t really work. They’re fun for a while until you get followers but then they unfollow after you announce winners.
If you can’t manage to take photos for some reason you can always use Stock photos.I love unsplash for this! They have really great photos.
Before paying for an online course which every marketer tries to sell it to you, go over to their Facebook Pages/groups and message the audience who took the course earlier. Ask away a bunch of people and then decide if you are willing to spend your money. Because nowadays almost everything is available on Google.
You need to have a plan for your blog if you’re doing it just as a hobby and if you’re expecting returns from it then you really have to take it seriously.
Prepare long-term plans and short-term plans for your blog.
In long-term plans prepare for a time frame of 1-2 years.
In the Short-term plan, you need to break down those long-term goals into short-term goals and work on them accordingly. for example: If your target is to earn 120,000 this year, your monthly target will be to earn 10,000.
Read business books and attend events which will help you to grow and expand your business.
Always have an email subscription pop or a widget on your blog so that your potential readers can subscribe to your newsletter.
We never know when any social networking platform might shut down.
Comparing is your worst enemy. Don’t compare too much.
Always think, like think about your blog, but more than that DO.
You can also earn via selling banner ads on your website. Just by posting an image and link to their website.
Highlight your uniqueness, the blogging world is evolving rapidly and there are so many competitors. You have to make sure that you highlight your strengths and showcase why you are different.
Read blog posts from your niche and leave genuine comments on their blog post, this will help you to know other bloggers. Also, this can lead you to give them a short introduction to you.
Micro influencers are a thing nowadays. Brands have started to get the importance of micro-influencers. Instead of paying to 1 huge mega influencer, now they’re paying micro influencers.
Yes, you can reach out to brands by yourself. But I’d say directly emailing them can be weird, first, you can cold email them or maybe drop a cold message on LinkedIn, make them aware about you and then you can email them.
Have creative visuals for your media kit. Show brands the best of your best work and make it quick and noticeable. They don’t have time to read everything about you.
With blogging, you can always start a product/services of your own. My friend Aarushi from Glitter naturally started her skincare brand Blend It Raw Apothecary andit’s freaking amazing. She literally started from scratch and now her brand is growing day by day!
You can also sell website designs if you’re a great coder or you can even give coaching calls if you’re into marketing. Whatever your niche is just find something valuable to give. But this doesn’t mean you’ll create a shitty product or service and sell to people. That’ll harm your brand. This requires a lot of time and implementation. That’s the reason why Zoella launched her beauty range after a few years of being in the blogging/ youtube industry. You can’t just take make a product and stick it to peoples faces. One more example my favorite Marianna Hewitt she’s starting her skincare brand Summer Fridays soon, this took her 2 years! Yeah, 2 years! So do your research well.
Always write down your investments and expenses and see how much you’ve spent and prepared a budget.
Having a blogging bestie or better have a Blogger friends group! I’m so thankful to have them. You can always discuss business with them and they’ll help you to grow and be there for you.
Carry your business cards everywhere you go. And give it to people when you strike a conversation with them.
Don’t feel shy to initiate first, this is something I should tell myself lol. However, I’m proud to start a few ones hehe. I know it can be scary but everything you want is outside your comfort zone. If you want to go a step ahead you have to step out of your comfort zone.
BE YOU. Yeah I know this sounds freaking cheesy as hell. But it truly makes such a difference. Just do whatever the hell you want. Don’t alter yourself for others and don’t keep thinking about others opinions. They all are here to judge so nothing matters. Be in your lane think good about yourself, work hard and soon everything will manifest into reality. If you’re willing to put in the work everything you wanted will come.
So yeah those were the 101 things I learned in the 4 years of blogging. I hope you got to take away something from this blog post. There will be in-depth blog posts and videos on a few of the topics mentioned above. As always thank you so much for reading this post. And a huge thank you for reading my blog. I truly appreciate it. Here’s to so many more years! Bye xx