3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Blog

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Blog

I get asked a lot of questions on the reg about anything and everything ranging from ‘does *insert product here* actually work?’ to ‘can I please have the recipe?’, but hands down the question I get asked the most is…

how do I start a blog?

As a matter of fact, I received so many of these messages and emails over the Christmas period that I thought it was probably time I actually started to write about blogging. I’ve been doing this whole ‘writing online’ thing for around two years now and I’ve learnt so much along the way, so why not share that advice with those of you who want to blog too?

Now, I am not saying here that I am an expert by any means. My follower counts on social media may not be that high, but in no way does that reflect the amount of research, time and effort I’ve put into agirlandgrey.com. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd, so naturally I spend quite a large amount of my down time investing in my blog. That includes reading a tonne of research, finishing a four year writing degree, getting a grip on coding, buying a DSLR and lenses, learning how to use said DSLR, bringing a website back from the dreaded 404 error, and practice, practice, practice!

Here’s 3 things I wish I knew before starting a blog.

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Blog | www.agirlandgrey.com @agirlandgrey

It Takes Time {& Money}

I wish I could sit here and tell you that blogging is cheap and quick and easy, but if you want your blog to go somewhere {which a fair amount of us do} it’s going to take up a large amount of your time and money. Whether that’s hosting fees, domain costs, blog layouts, internet bills, social media and blogging courses or camera equipment – it’s rare for there to be no cost involved. I also regularly spend money on blog props, technology updates, software and electricity {I wish laptops ran on oxygen!}. With that said though – it’s not about the time and it’s not about the money – if you’re doing it for the right reasons.

I’ve told you guys before that I’ve wanted to blog ever since I was a teenager. I’ve always been an avid writer and reader and creator, so even as a kid would secretly believe that one day I would be grown up and fancy enough to have my own website {I didn’t use the term ‘blog’ ten years ago}. The time, effort and cost of running agirlandgrey.com has never and will never be relevant to me. I love this space I have created {and quite truthfully I do spend a lot of my spare time working away on it – it’s safe to say this is my hobby} so those somewhat negative aspects have never been a drawback for me.

When I first set out though, I will say that I wasn’t expecting it to cost anything or take up much of my time… and back then it honestly didn’t. I started out with a free WordPress.com account, used my Samsung Galaxy to take pictures and edited {if at all} on Picasa. My posts were short, poorly researched, and my writing wasn’t exactly on brand. I also didn’t know how to use code, or style my content in any way, shape or form.

Creating a polished, branded space that shows exactly who you are as a person takes time, and I don’t regret one second {or cent!} of it.

 

Your Best Ideas Will Come To You When You Least Expect It

I’m not kidding.

On the toilet, in the shower, when your hands are elbow deep in a sink full of dirty dishes, when you’re driving, while you’re sleeping, on the treadmill, when you’re in bed with a migraine, on the train…

Basically when you’re kinda supposed to be doing anything but work on your blog, you’ll have the most brilliant ideas and bursts of inspiration and motivation.

I recommend keeping some sort of note taking device near you at all times. Usually, this is my phone, but I also keep a notebook or two handy in case I want to shell the idea out a little more. *Shop my favourite notebooks and journals below*

Preparation & Consistency Are Key

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Is that how it goes?

For the first 16-18 months of doing this ol’ thing, I kinda flew by the seat of my pants. I rarely planned content in advance, and my whole routine was basically: concept, photograph, write and publish. All on the same day!

Now my content is always planned out at least a week in advance. There are some posts that happen on a whim, but there are others I like to write ahead of time and then share later. This was especially effective for blogmas – and I had over half of my content written and scheduled before my birthday! The reason being prepared is important is because you want to make sure your content is always relevant and the best it can be. If you’re hurriedly bashing out a post on your laptop at 2am and hastily pressing publish because ‘it has to be up by today’ people are going to be able to tell that your content is last minute. Preparation is key.

Beyond preparation, I’ve found that consistency is also key. Don’t publish a bunch of posts, disappear for two months, and come back expecting big things. It’s really the daily grind of blogging that makes the biggest impact for your audience numbers and SEO score. 

So – how do I stay consistent and prepared? Well, I have an online content calendar that I plan all of my posts on. I also write this down in my diary {this kikki.K diary is my go-to & very on brand}. I also keep a list of post ideas on Evernote, which syncs back to my computer, and I’m adding ideas to this all the time. That way, if a planned post falls through or if I’m a little stuck on it, I have at least twenty other ideas written down. I also work in batches, which I’ve found to be the easiest and most effective way to get shit done. I take my photos in batches, I edit in batches, and I write in batches. I also manage my social media accounts and do my emails in batches too. 

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Blog | www.agirlandgrey.com @agirlandgrey

The reality of it is – blogging is hard work. But what makes it worthwhile is the benefits that outweigh the positives, and I’m not talking about the *free* products or being paid to write about the things you love. I’m talking about the not-so-tangible positives, like making friends, and finding a voice, and learning how to take photographs, and wearing pajamas to work. There’s also the support from your little community and growing through your experiences and supporting others who share a similar dream. 

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that blogging isn’t worth it, because it totally is. 

xo



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