So, you’re dying to know the true hidden blogging secrets? Sometimes, blogging isn’t as glamorous as it seems (actually… almost all the time), but it’s so rewarding, all of us bloggers keep doing it anyways!
Blogging Costs Money
Believe it or not, blogging (at least decent, branded blogging) costs money. I’m not saying it costs a fortune, but it’s a legitimate investment if you want to see results. Nowadays, there’s millions of blogs around the world, which means there’s even more competition for views and loyal readers.
Therefore, it’s important that bloggers invest in a solid marketing strategy, including paid-for services that will amp up social media accounts and increase overall blog awareness and readership. Just a few of these services include: SocialQuant, Tailwind (or BoardBooster) and MeetEdgar. Hootsuite is a free post scheduling service that I highly recommend in combination with the other three paid tools.
In addition, creating a cohesive brand identity also costs money if you wish to utilize a professional designer or artist to create your brand guide (which I also wholeheartedly recommend). Emma and I hired calligraphic and watercolor artist, Riana Nelson (a personal friend of mine) to create our beautiful logo, watermarks and signatures which are the base of our brand guide. Go hire her - she’s amazing!
Since then, we’ve hired other artists to create further design accents, coding to further customize our blog’s design and graphic illustrations for our biographies. Currently, we are in talks with professional photographers in the Portland area for our first blog photoshoot. We also invest in monthly styled photo packs in order to create a seamless branded “look” for all of our posts – doing so allows us to support smaller photographers (who are often fellow bloggers themselves).
It’s important to note that blogging can be free, but at a cost (that cost is often your reputation and overall aesthetic quality of your brand). You want to put your best foot forward – your blog is a reflection of you and your Internet “resume”. You can download free clip art and patterns, but do you know what to do with them? Are they truly a reflection of YOU and the brand you wish to convey?
As a side note: if you plan on using WordPress or Blogger for your blogging platform, note that you will need to invest in a nice-looking template that is pre-coded and designed by a professional template designer. You can use a free template, but that’s just not how I roll, personally. :) Templates usually range from $15-150. Any template I’ve ever loved was around $30-70. Presently, I prefer using Squarespace as my platform and all of Squarespace’s templates don’t cost a thing / are incredibly easy to customize!
And finally, while Blogger is a free platform, both WordPress and Squarespace (the top two platforms used by most savvy bloggers) have monthly hosting fees. In addition, any URL you create (.com, .org, .net) will cost money at a yearly fee depending on which domain hosting company you go through.
Blogging is a Job
Be very well aware: at times, blogging can be a pain in the booty! Depending on how often you post, it truly is a part-time or full-time second job. Many bloggers have been so successful, they are able to quit their day jobs and focus solely on blogging, but for many more of us, we aren’t so lucky.
Before you decide to blog, you should consider whether or not this level of commitment and responsibility is right at this point in your schedule / life. Once you start gathering loyal readers, they expect you to provide them with consistency and will leave you/forget you if they don’t receive anything for quite some time. Blogging is a commitment that not everyone has the resources for, especially time.
There will be networking involved in blogging, and don’t forget that simply creating content and never reaching out to other creators/sponsors won’t get your blog very far. If you’re looking to monetize your blog further down the line, these networking skills (and connections you make) will be very instrumental in determining your success.
Some people think Emma and I simply create content (which is a chore in itself), post it, share it once and forget about it. Nope. We're consistently crafting an in-depth editorial calendar, using social tools to populate blog views long after our posts have been released and actively interacting with fellow creatives to get our blog discovered. All that hashtagging, posting 24/7 and crazy levels of interaction is for a purpose!
Blogging Makes You Question Everything!
While your loyal tribe is bound to gather ‘round you, there’s still a very real possibility that a few individuals will a). never understand what you do or why you do it, and b). misunderstand who you are as a person just because they dislike your blog and are convinced that you’re pretty much an awful human being. They’ll also come up with creative, insulting alternative blog names for you (my personal favorite – I do have a good laugh at this).
This happened to me when my blog went “mini-viral” around my hometown of Olympia, Washington. A few individuals were incredibly opinionated about a set of posts when they seemingly failed to grasp the reasoning behind them. I didn’t make these posts for Olympia residents, I made them for tourists! At the time, I was interning at our local Visitor & Convention Bureau and took a liking to tourism-based blog posts. Clearly, this wasn't obvious to all.
While the reception was overwhelmingly positive on these posts, you aren’t ever able to convince ‘em all! Of course, even when you explicitly state that: “This is simply my opinion,” and you invite people to provide their opinion on your posts, more often they don’t – complaining is a lot more satisfying. ;)
I’ve also encountered personal blog drama in the past with specific individuals, usually because I’m the type to speak my mind about matters close to my heart and consider my blog--my own special space the perfect place to do so! If I want my followers to know about a struggle I experienced, I will share, especially if I feel as though there is a benefit to others going through similar things.
This is a common issue for bloggers as non-bloggers fail to understand the reason behind blogging in general, and sometimes you as the blogger don’t ever “get over” these awkward interactions, it just gets better the more you experience them and the more comfortable you get in handling them. You never know when a post might take off and receive thousands of views in a day, and you never know who might be around the corner waiting to trip you.
Blogging is a Skill
While the saying, “Anybody can blog,” is so true, there’s limitations as to how well people areable to blog. Personally, I lack in the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) department and never try to sell myself on SEO services to my clients, either. I admit this as a weak area and work to strengthen my skills.
There’s several areas of competence you should have when you start a blog:
1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
2. Social Engagement (Social Media)
3. Coding – Basic HTML/CSS Knowledge
4. Moderate/Advanced Platform Knowledge
5. Hosting and Domain Mapping
Not every individual is going to be stellar at all of these, but it’s important that they aim to learn all of them (at least the basics) by the time they launch their first blog so they’re not lost in the dark. If you’d like me to create a more in-depth guide for one of these, just leave me a comment below!
Blogging is a Competition
While we like to think #CommunityOverCompetition here at Fashionably Frank, and work at great lengths to create genuine relationships with fellow creatives, when it comes down to it: blogging is a competition, and there’s no way around that fact.
You are always vying for the next set of views, e-newsletter subscribers and social media followers/likes. It is very important that you don’t dwell on these numbers, however. Be happy for what you’ve accomplished at your stage of blogging and be patient with yourself.
You'll have sleepless nights when you're fretting over your numbers and wondering, "Ugh, I have so many views on this one post, but I really don't like this content... why is THIS post not getting as much!?" Or, "Maybe I'm not good enough... this post that is SO similar to my counterparts is just not picking up."
This is the quickest way to lose your love for the craft and convince yourself that you're not meant to be a blogger. As I said earlier, anyone can blog and you deserve your fair chance!
Did these revealed blogging tips help you decide whether to blog? Already a blogger? Leave your discovered secrets in the comments!