Blogging- Baffled or Blissful
Blogging has some really steep learning curves in the beginning.
Like Everest Steep.
Depending on our skill level the whole darn idea can be pretty intimidating. But the rewards can be soooo sweet.
Domains, Hosting, Email Marketing, Social Platforms, Content, Niches, Branding, Advertising, SEO, and on and on.
There is no amount of research that can prepare you for the real thing. I know because I tried. There were months involved in my quest to try to conquer just the right formula to start the perfect, successful blog right out of the gate. All you veteran bloggers laugh here!!! Because that is some seriously funny stuff. But I wanted to leave my day job in a whirlwind of dust hurry.
I repeat, no amount of research can compare to doing it.
Student Before Master
Think of it this way. When you sign up for college, do you fully research a course before you take it?
Sure you might read a brief summary or class description. You may have googled the class or career that ties into it so you have some idea of what is actually taught in the class.
But until you walk through the door and the teacher hands over a syllabus outlining the course, you are going to be slightly clueless.
And certainly, you wouldn’t expect to ace the final exams on day one? Not actually attending a day of instruction or having done any assignments to teach the lessons?
Blogging is much the same way. There are certain things you must simply do before you can know. And not just do overnight, but learn over the course of a quarter or semester, just as you would in college.
So would a doctor start with his residency? No. He would start in the classroom with basic anatomy and all the other core classes a doctor should take.
Bloggers all too often, compare themselves to others who are much farther along in their journey. Furthermore, they set unrealistic expectations of success early on trying to pass the final test before learning the knowledge necessary to do so.
Remember, every blogger starts somewhere. Sure some have more tech knowledge, some more social connections, some have better writing skills but they all have to build their skills accordingly.
One of the greatest things about blogging is that if we do it with passion, we all contribute something unique.
College Courses 101
I choose to approach blogging with a college mindset. This method works for me for three main reasons.
- I was super successful in college and this mentality gives me some confidence to conquer the tasks at hand. With some teaching and “homework” I can learn to do just about anything that is required to make a success of this blogging adventure.
- Breaking down the basics and then building on them as you go makes for a much better blogger than one trying to do it all at once. Again, doctors wouldn’t perform surgery three months into their learning and expect it to go well. The majority of bloggers who don’t make it either quit too early or try to do too much too soon and burn out.
- When I first started I had about 2.5 hours a day to invest in my blog. I broke each class into 30-minute blocks. Two in the a.m and three in the p.m. This allowed me to give 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to each “course”.
So what would these college courses look like? It’s going to be slightly different for everyone based on their goals and ambitions but here is a sample of how my “syllabus” kind of looks.
Courses are Domains, WordPress 101, BlueHost WebHosting, ConvertKit, and Site Security
- Selecting a domain and learning why you should have an email matching your domain.
- Learning the ins and outs of WordPress.Org.
- Purchasing a reliable web host with security and stellar customer service.
- Starting your email list from DAY 1.
- Backup, Restore, and Protect your blog. Disclosures and Privacy Policies.
Courses are Content Writing, Opt-Ins for Rookies, Blogging Communications, Themes, and Branding.
- Content is King. Narrowing your passion and purpose. Creating a mission statement to define your ideal audience.
- Opt-In Incentives-Much needed ways to get readers to your email list. Learning to over-deliver. Do your homework. Expect late nights and maybe some tears.
- Connect with other bloggers. No, you can’t just follow them on social profiles and call it a day. You have to engage and build real relationships. These people are your biggest supporters!
- Themes and Designing a Site that is functional and purposeful. Choose wisely. Changing is a pain.
- Branding. Building a recognizable presence from early on.
Courses are Canva, Photography, Social Media, Email Marketing and Pinterest.
- Canva is an add-on course for design. You can do all kinds of neat things in Canva.
- Photography. People are visual and they are going to want crisp, clear, and engaging photos to look at with your written works.
- Social Media Do’s and Don’ts. Hint: Don’t try to be on every channel. You’ll go crazy. Define where your ideal followers are hanging out the most and focus on two, possibly three at most.
- Email Marketing. Once I get them to sign up, what to send them and how to keep them coming back for more. Converting readers into buyers down the road.
- Pinterest- This is a class all its own and deserves to be the one where you really do some homework. Traffic for free at its very finest. Boardbooster is worth its weight in gold.
Courses are Time Management, Monetization, Digital Products, Business Law, and Research.
- Learning to Balance all you are learning while having a life.
- Earning money from your passions and internet etiquette. Ads, Sponsors, Guest Posting, and more.
- Creating your own digital products. Formatting E-books or putting together Instruction Courses. Webinars. Learning how to use pay systems like Stripe, Paypal, and Gumroad.
- If you are monetizing a site, laws, and taxes will apply. Learn how to protect you and your customers and run a legitimate website. Disclosure and Policy Changes.
- Research. Continue learning and growing in your topic. You can only share what you know and your experiences so don’t stop learning or you will run out of ideas to share.
So you’ll possibly notice that I have my first three “years” broken down into five classes.
First off, it may or may not take you an entire year to master the first year’s classes. Determined go-getters and those with more time on their hands to devote to learning will probably cruise at a steadier pace. I prefer Todd Herman’s 90-day year plan.
That said, blogging is in many ways like starting up any other business. It requires time, some investment, and a whole lot of commitment before it can succeed. Very few blogs are rolling in $5000/mo in their first year.
Can it be done? Yes of course. But more common is the story of those who spent a year figuring out what the heck they were doing, changing their “major” or niche, and then seeing things start to take off between years two and three.
Sadly even more common are the ones who drop out and never earned a dime. These people range from the instant gratification get rich quickies, to the ones who just never networked correctly and got their voice out there.
So what are you looking for? A part-time side hustle or “Associates” degree. Full-time Bachelor’s staying steady and paying the bills? Maybe a Master’s degree living large and traveling. Working from your laptop on the beach or snow-covered mountains. How about a Doctorate where your success is so defined your income is on auto-pilot and you can work if you want to or you could just retire and cash checks?
Oh the possibilities! One thing is for sure. This woman wants to be her own boss and control her own time so I am on a Master’s Plan!
P.S. If you are just thinking about starting your blogging journey click here to check out my friend Krista’s new Ebook ‘A career in the Making or here to try Abby’s Building a Framework.
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