Hi there Everybody!
My name is Bonnie and I write the blog Ought to be Lovely – a lifestyle blog with a focus on travel and style. I just began blogging a few weeks ago so you’ve probably never heard of it, but I have already learned so much! So much, in fact, that I want to share with you five things I think you should know before starting your own blog. I know you may think it’s a little early to be sharing my blogging story, but really this is the perfect time. If I can start a blog then anyone can, and I know exactly what all you new and aspiring bloggers are feeling and thinking. It’s scary- really scary. Blogging means putting your face and your life on the internet for people to see.
How I Pushed Through My Fear of Starting a Blog
The fear of failure, that no one would be interested in me or what I had to say, stopped me before I had even begun my lifestyle blog too many times to count. I questioned and doubted myself, but after some thoughtful prayer and a need for creativity after the monotony and boredom of finals week, I finally decided to do it. I put my faith in God and in myself and decided that, regardless of whether anyone ever actually reads my blog, this will be a fun project and an amazing learning experience. Thus, Ought to be Lovely was born!
My Advice to Beginners
This began as a project, but somewhere along the way it became my passion. If you are thinking about starting a blog my biggest advice is to go for it! It has been one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. As a marketing major with a minor in business analytics this whole process is absolutely my bread and butter. I am constantly learning new things and I now have this outlet for creativity where the limits are literally endless. I will never forget the satisfaction I felt when I finally finished designing my website!
Realities of Blogging
That doesn’t mean that it’s easy, though. Let me tell you, the struggle is real and it can be really, really hard sometimes. There were so many nights that I was up until three in the morning trying to figure out HTML code or sat there entirely confused when learning about search engine optimization. I had to do many, many google searches and watch a lot of youtube videos and, even now, I still have questions. What makes it all worth it is when something finally clicks- a piece of your code works or your pictures stay where they’re supposed to be (it’s harder than you would think). Those little successes are a huge deal to me and they will be to you too, so enjoy them!
Excitement of the Launch
After I finished designing my website and wrote a few blog articles I was ready to launch Ought to be Lovely. I called my whole family over and we counted down until I pressed the launch button. It was all very exciting and I was absolutely ready to become the next blogging sensation. I had done so much research on how to make my blog a success and I thought I had done everything right- I joined a blogging community on Facebook, I pinned to group boards on Pinterest, and I worked really hard at making my blog look pretty and professional. Well, I only got 67 views that first day and I’m pretty sure about 60 of them were from me… For some reason it took until then for me to realize that a blog isn’t going to turn into a success overnight, but if you work hard at it, make connections with other bloggers, and write good content, then you’re at least on the right track.
I am still very much a newbie so that’s what I’m working on right now. I’m focusing on why I wanted to write a blog in the first place- to encourage and support women in their daily life and to make everything a little more lovely.
Five things I think everyone should know before they start blogging:
Learn about SEO before you start writing your content.
I figured that working on my search engine optimization was something that I could do later when my blog was more established- trust me, it’s not. When I launched my blog you couldn’t find it on Google even if you searched my name and Ought to be Lovely (that was a sad moment when I realized that). I’m still working on going back through all of my old posts and pictures to fix those problems, so start early. I promise you’ll thank yourself for it!
Join a blogging community before you start your blog.
I joined a blogging community after my blog launch and boy am I kicking myself for that now! There are so many people in my Facebook group that have so much experience and share great advice that I would have really valued when starting my blog.
Make a timeline for your blog launch and then a calendar to plan your posts.
It is so easy to start your blog and then never feel ready to post it. I know there will always be things on my website that I think I could improve. Eventually I had to give myself a launch deadline just to make sure that I actually went through with posting it-I may or may not be a bit of a perfectionist. I do the same thing now with my blog content and it really helps me to keep a schedule!
Make your content uniquely you.
There are so many blog post idea lists out there that are great for sparking your creativity and helping you to come up with a post idea. The trick is, though, that you need to put your own spin on whatever you write. People want to read your blog because they’re interested in YOU, so if you want them to continue reading your post on the many ways to wear a shift dress instead of someone else’s you better make it special!
Celebrate the little successes!
Take time to be happy and to appreciate what you’ve accomplished! Yes, there will always be more to write and more subscribers to gain, but remember to look back and think how far you’ve come. I know I will always remember the first 10 cents I ever made and the name of the first person who ever repinned one of my original Pinterest pins. This is an exciting experience so enjoy it!
Blogging will be a trying, but oh-so rewarding experience. Remember why you decided to start your blog and hold on to that joy and passion. A blog is a way for you to reach people you may never know and to make an impact in their lives. Words are powerful and I know that my blogging journey has taught me so much about myself- hopefully one day it will help and inspire others as well.
I wish you so much luck in all of your blogging endeavors. Always know that you will have an entire community of bloggers out there ready to help you get started. If you have any questions about my story, my blog, or how to get started in the blogging world please feel free to contact me! I would be so happy to hear from you!