Blogging Tips: 10 Things I’ve Learnt Since Starting my Blog

Want to hear some blogging tips from someone whose done it all themselves? Read on to learn from my mistakes, so you don’t have to make them yourself…

A Pile of Books with a Pink Mug on the Top Provides Blogging Ideas for Beginners

For most new bloggers, writing a blog will begin as a hobby. You love to write and create content, and this is the perfect outlet for you to get your words out there. But, once you realise how much this world sucks you in, you’ll soon want to learn everything you can to make your blog the best it can be.

Starting off this blog in the same way as many – as a way to get my words out there so I could pursue a career in the field – I started off knowing nothing. That said, over the past few years, I have learnt more than I ever thought there was to know about the world of blogging.

For someone whose looking to start a blog with the aim of growing it successfully, here are my blogging for beginners tips. Read this before starting, and you can avoid any of the mistakes I made, and also get some reassurance and advice on what to expect along the way.

1. Don’t Change Your Domain Name Without First Knowing This…

One of my biggest regrets when starting my blog was calling it a name that I wasn’t 100 percent happy with. When I began this blog, it’s name was It Started with Rebecca…, as I wanted to remain anonymous. That said, once I realised that blogging was nothing to be ashamed of (I found there was often a stigma behind this at school), I soon took the initiative to completely change my brand and URL.

Little did I know what a big mistake this was. Obviously, I don’t regret changing my name, as I think the brand is much more me, but my real regret is not calling it Joanna Journals to begin with, as I think my progress would be a lot greater now if it weren’t for that.

In fact, when I look over my blogging stats, the SEO proof really is in the pudding, and now all this work has been scuppered. I’ll break it down for you a little here…

  • Year 1 of my blog, I began in July and posted 20 blog posts that year. I received just 17 views from search engines.
  • In year 2, my final year of uni got the better of me and I barely posted. In fact, I posted a mere three posts that year, but still received a whopping 482 views from the search engines! Clearly, they were picking up what I had done the previous year, despite the fact that I wasn’t posting.
  • Now, in year 3, I’ve been a lot more religious with posting, however, because I changed my blog name and URL at the end of 2019, my search engine results have had to start from scratch. So, this year I’ve only received 65 views from search engines so far.

Not only does this show that, when you change your URL, you essentially have to start your website and SEO from scratch, including your Domain Authority. It also demonstrates the power of SEO, and how it really does take time for results to show…

2. SEO Really Does Work…

As you can see, from the results above, it’s clear that SEO does work, even if it doesn’t necessarily show at first. Now, since I started really getting into blogging regularly, I have seen a huge amount of success. How do I know this?

Well, keeping up-to-date with Google Search Console – which is something I would really recommend setting up – allows me to get a good idea of what keywords I’m ranking for on Google, and whether people are clicking on my pages. From this, I can see I’m already ranking for a lot of keywords from blog posts I wrote at the start of this year!

So, clearly, with the correct writing skills, you can start to see results pretty soon. If you want some more information about how I optimise my blog for SEO, I have a number of blog posts to help you out. Just head to my marketing page for all your SEO blog writing, keyword research, image optimisation, and copywriting questions answered.

3. …but SEO Also Takes Time

As you can see, from what I’ve said above, you can’t expect your results to show immediately. No matter how much work you’re putting into your SEO, you may only see minimal results at the start, as I am from my statistics above.

But, what I can definitely tell you is that it is working, and this time next year, I hope to see similar results to what I saw in my second year of blogging, times much more, as I’m really putting in the effort this year.

This Laptop on a Wooden Table Next to a Book and a Copper Mug is Perfect for Blogging

4. You Will Have to Badger Facebook to Change Your Blog Name Over There

Okay so, once I had changed my blog branding, it was time to change all my connected social media. I managed to alter my Instagram and Twitter names and usernames very easily, with absolutely no trouble. Then came my battle with Facebook.

Facebook have a policy where, if they think your new name misleads your followers in any way, then they won’t change it. So, I had to chase this up about three times, until they finally gave in when I messaged something like, “… I highly doubt my 17 followers will mind much if I change my username”. That seemed to do the trick!

5. Being a Writer Has More Career Paths Than I Ever Could Have Thought

One of the major blogging tips for writers I learnt from this whole experience is that your skills as a writer are invaluable these days. Now, your career paths aren’t just limited to being a book author or journalist… the world truly is your oyster.

Now, with the internet being a key marketing tool for pretty much every company, your skills can be put to fantastic use. Whether you want to work in PR, write blog posts for a living as a copywriter, or anything else you can think of, the opportunities are endless!

6. You Don’t Need a Huge Social Media Following to be a Successful Blogger

There’s this massive misconception that, to be a good blogger with a lot of readers, you also need to have a huge following on social media. This couldn’t be more wrong.

Quite honestly, if you master the art of SEO, most people who enter your site will be people who have searched a particular search term on Google and are simply looking for an answer to a question. So, you won’t require a following of people to read your posts; all you need are hundreds of strangers to enter your site through search engines to be successful!

7. So, Don’t Just Write for a Blogging Audience

When I started my blog, I was writing to an audience that would learn to know me, following my story along the way. This is because I had this preconception that I’d be like Zoella, and gain a bunch of followers who truly cared about me. Well, the truth is, the majority of people who land on your site will be newcomers, who don’t know you from Adam.

In actual fact, as we’ve seen, from the point above, you’re unlikely to have a huge following of readers who come back for more every time. So, it may be wise to write in a way that caters to this…

Imagine someone is searching for an answer to a question, so they type it into Google and end up clicking on your page. They don’t want to be swamped with information about you, they want to read an objective piece answering their query. So, you have the power to write something which does just that, and provides people with the answers they’re looking for.

Obviously, being authentically you is something you have to think about when starting a blog, and if you’re just blogging for fun, this might not apply. There are many reasons you might start a blog, and appearing on search engines might not be one of them. But, if this is something you’re attempting to do, you’ve got to think about why people search for things, and what they’re looking for when they do.

This Keyboard and Notebook with a Cup of Coffee Are the Perfect Accompaniment to a Blogger

8. There Are a Number of Ways You Can Make Money From Blogging

When you first start blogging, you’ll probably have it in your mind that the only way to earn money is through sponsored posts from big brands. That said, there are a number of ways making money from your blog is possible. Some of these include:

  • Providing affiliate links, which you can gain commission off;
  • Accepting guest posts and link insertions from PR companies;
  • Writing guest posts and content for other sites;
  • Or, getting paid to run ads on your site.

9. You Will Get a Lot of Spammy Requests

One thing I didn’t realise until I started to blog and post on my Instagram consistently is that you’ll receive a lot of spammy requests. Since the Coronavirus lockdown, I’ve been working on my blog more religiously than ever before, and it certainly shows in my message requests and email inbox.

I’ve received a number of emails from sites who want me to sign up to join, but first, I must spend a certain amount of money on their website. I’ve also received the same sort of messages over Instagram, from fashion stores who want me to purchase clothes off of them to be featured on their Instagram page. I’ve also received many unsolicited messages from people who are part of beauty product pyramid schemes.

To be quite honest, not only is this pretty annoying, but it’s also very frustrating. When you begin your blog, you imagine a world where you’ll be inundated with sponsorship opportunities from legitimate brands. The fact is, you really won’t, and these messages really do get your hopes up, for you to later snap out of it and realise the risks usually outweigh the rewards.

So, be ready for these sorts of requests, and be prepared to decline. You will have to do it a lot.

10. Consistency is Key

When you start your blog, you’ll likely have no real clue about the importance of SEO for growing your blog. So, you might post once or twice a month, if that, without realising the impact a weekly regime could have on your blogging success.

So, if you’re looking to see your blog grow, as well as your appearance on search engines, setting a routine is key. Perhaps you could ensure you post at least one blog post a week to ensure you have a goal.

Or, if there are times when you don’t have enough time to blog, you could reach out to other bloggers to provide quality guest posts for you! This way, you’re guaranteed great content on your site regularly, as well as providing other bloggers with the opportunities to build links to their site too.

This Person Writing Down Their Blogging Tips Clearly Knows What They're Doing

Have You Found These Blogging Tips Useful?

So, there we have it; the blog writing tips I’ve learnt from being a blogger for two years. My blog has opened so many doors for me, in so many ways. No, I’m not yet earning money from my blog, but yes, it has led me to jobs I never even knew were possible two years ago.

If you’re looking to begin a blog, and want to achieve blogging success along the way, then I hope my lessons have taught you something new. If you think my tips have helped you to avoid any of my mistakes, or you’ve discovered something useful, please let me know in the comments below! Or, if you’ve been inspired to start your blogging journey from this, then please do let me know… let’s get blogging.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Two’s company says:

    Great post Joanna! Some really helpful tips 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanna Journals says:

      Thank you for reading! I’m glad you’ve found it useful 🙂

      Like

  2. Hi Joanna, this was interesting to read, although I could also add a few of my own. For example, be prepared to put in lots of hours and hard work if you want your blog to become a success. Likewise, be ready to network with other writers and bloggers. Don’t become an island where you think you’ll be an overnight success without needing help and advice from other writers and bloggers.

    I agree that you don’t need to have a substantial social media following to be successful at blogging, but I do wonder whether the number of hits a blog gets make it successful? For example, if one of my posts had 250 hits and 100 comments, I’d class that as successful. But if one of my posts had 1,000 hits but only ten comments, I wouldn’t class it as being more successful as the first post. I guess if you’re looking to make money, then the number of views would win hands-down because advertisers want to see that your blog is getting lots of visitors. However, we never know how long those visitors stay, do we? Or if they’ll ever come back.

    I was under the impression that SEOs also ranked blogs that have lots more comments on them higher than those that have few or no comments. I understand that blogs that have lots of comments are seen as active, whereas those blogs with few or no comments are not seen as active. I could be wrong, but it’s what I’ve read over the years. At least with comments, you’re usually guaranteed that what you’ve written has been read. However, with hits, how many of those people left after the first few seconds?

    As for spammers, I always go back and say I charge £100 for the publication of a guest post. It usually puts them off, and I never hear from them again, although spambots won’t realise what I said of course. I also mark those kinds of requests as spam and have blocked some of them. That can also do the trick, although new requests do keep coming.

    Like

    1. Joanna Journals says:

      Hi Hugh! Thanks for reading, and for sending over some of your tips too. I completely agree with you; putting the work in is absolutely key, as nothing will be handed over on a plate.

      It’s definitely true what you say about views and comments. I guess it depends what you class as successful, and if money is the end goal. It’s all down to the individual, I suppose.

      It’s very interesting what you say about comments helping with SEO. I supposed that does make a lot of sense, but I’ve never heard it myself. I think what I’d say is it depends on your goals. If your goal is to be an influencer, then having a huge following is essential. However, if you simply want to have a successful blog, then implementing SEO, and then gaining clicks from search engines, is a good way to do this. I use Google Analytics to judge how long people stay on my site. It’s a good gauge, for sure, but I certainly see what you’re saying about having a following helping with SEO. I think my main goal with this point was to debunk the myth that being a successful blogger is all about following. When I first started, I thought having a huge social media following was the be all and end all, but when I learnt about SEO, my mindset changed a lot. I think it’s definitely about what your aims and goals are, but I reckon a balance of following and SEO must be the key!

      Love your approach to spammers. Although I’ve found that most of my spammers tend to be via social media, so it doesn’t quite have the same effect.

      Thanks again for reading, and for your thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Joanna, I only learned the connection between comments and SEO last year. Some SEOs experts say that by leaving a thoughtful response, you make the blog post longer since you’re adding more words to the post. This boosts SEO since Google gives priority visibility to longer posts. I’ve always heard that SEOs rank longer posts better than they do shorter posts, so it that makes sense to me.

        Not only do I enjoy leaving thoughtful comments on other blog posts, but I also enjoy replying to comments on my blog posts in a friendly way. Where possible, I try all I can to not respond to a comment with a simple ‘thank you.’ However, that can sometimes be difficult to do, so that’s where the ‘like’ button comes into working for me.

        Thanks for your response to my comment.

        Have a great week.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Joanna Journals says:

        Hi Hugh!

        That makes a lot of sense; I always vouch for longer posts being much better for Google, but never really thought about the comments side of things – thanks for sharing that with me. I learn something new every day about SEO!

        I hope you’re having a great week! All the best 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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