You started your blog. You picked a name. You found a hosting plan. You installed Word Press. And you picked a theme.
Now what? How to go from beginner to blogger?
How to Go From Beginner to Blogger
Starting a blog is exciting, fun, and confusing. Most of us start a blog with the idea that it’s going to be us…writing. And we love writing, right? Very quickly, we discover that there is much more to blogging than just writing posts.
It’s so easy to give up when it seems like there is so much to do and often it seems like we are getting nowhere. I wrote this post to encourage any new bloggers out there to not give up. Blogging is more difficult than I ever dreamed. But you can get to a point, where you do feel like a REAL blogger.
What is a REAL Blogger?
How do you go from being a complete newcomer to feeling comfortable calling yourself a blogger?
Becoming a blogger is easy and relatively inexpensive. That’s the good news. But it’s also kind of difficult and that is why, the blogosphere is littered with millions of abandoned blogs.
They are easy to start but oh so difficult to transition into feeling like a real blogger.
First, let me define a real blogger.
By this I mean your blog has some kind of presence. You may or may not be making money on it. You have an increasing number of page views and you are posting on a regular basis.
Here are 5 signs you are a real blogger.
- You’ve claimed your Blogger status—you’ve told people you are a blogger.
- You are consistently creating content for your blog. Whether it is one post or three a week, you are meeting creation goals and publishing posts.
- You are networking and connecting with other bloggers. You’ve joined some groups to learn and also to share what you’ve learned. You consider yourself a blogger and others see you as a blogger as well.
- You are meeting some or most of your own blogging goals. Maybe not as fast as you’d like, but you are getting there. Some common goals are posting a certain number of times a month. Making some income. Increasing page views. Getting exposure on social media. Increasing followers. Growing your email list. There are countless blogging goals! The important thing is to be aware of some of them and to begin meeting them.
- You are aware of and using social media to grow your blog. Most people have one or two favorite referrals of blog traffic. It’s great to have a presence on several and to work at growing them. However, you are really diving deep into at least one to provide traffic to your site.
None of these goals are about having a million page views a month nor do they demand you make X amount of money. These are basic goals that take you from being a blogging newbie to being able to comfortably being able to call yourself a blogger.
Now how to get you there? How do you go from beginner to blogger?
Don’t Hold Back
I’m working with enough new bloggers to know, there is a desire to not publish until you have everything just right. I’m going to encourage you to just get in there and publish with your baby, oh-so-not perfect blog.
Because guess what? Not too many people will read it at the beginning anyway. You might as well get it out there and get into the groove of posting.
This is good news in a way. I cringe at some of my early posts. I was all over the place and my graphics were not very good. However, each time I wrote and published, I got better. I found my voice and subject and I discovered what readers were interested in. And it was in writing more that I kept getting ideas.
Your blog will grow and develop by the act of blogging.
There is a huge difference between producing content that you don’t publish and content that you do publish. If you write something and just let it sit there, it gets “stale.” Your writing ideas need to get out there. If you sit on it, you might be missing the perfect opportunity to get it out there at the right time.
When you write for your readers (even if they are imaginary at this point) your blog posts have more juice and more power than if you are writing to put into a folder or into draft. Your writing will be different and get better when you write for an audience.
You get better by doing. I’ve gone back and cleaned up some of my old posts. But I’ve purposely left a few, just the way I published them back in the beginning. The graphics are cringe-worthy! It’s like the one pair of old pants in a size that I hope to never wear again. They remind me of how far I’ve come.
How did I get better? I kept writing, making graphics, and posting. Then as I got better, I’d go back and improve older posts. As well as improving my quality, I also got faster and more efficient.
Instead of aiming for perfect, I aimed for doing the best I could do at the moment. I didn’t need to be perfect. I just needed to do the best I could.
Then an interesting thing happened. After a few months, a few of these not perfect posts began to get some traffic. That was exciting. Yet it took several months to get that first post that took off.
So, it’s import to…
Give Yourself Time
Depending on your niche, your style, your productivity, and your personality, the time it takes to become a successful blogger depends. There is NO one timeline that fits everyone. However, no matter how talented you are or how hard you work; it takes time to establish yourself as a blogger.
Even if you come out with the most beautiful blog and write wonderful blog posts, it does take time for people to find you, get to know you, like you, and share your work. It can take anywhere from several months to several years.
All relationships take time. The relationship between you and readers and you and other bloggers take time to develop. It takes time for you to create a body of work that you are proud of and it takes time for you blog to develop some substance.
Consistency of producing and promoting is key. It will seem like not much is happening, until it does.
Write Blog Posts
That seems so basic that it doesn’t need to be written. Right? Yet, not getting posts written and published on a regular basis is a problem, especially in the beginning, when NO ONE is reading them. It’s really hard to write for an imaginary audience. How do you keep writing and putting it out there when no one is reading?
You just do. You have to. In the beginning, you have to write on a consistent basis to learn to how to write your blog posts. You will get better and faster. And you’ll write some stuff you think is really great. And still not very many people are reading.
However, someone will. If you feel compelled to write—there are people out there looking for it. And there are many ways to find them. For now, just keep writing and building up your blog.
The more you have on your blog for readers to read and do, the better. It takes time to build up your body of work. So build and get it ready for all your wonderful readers who are eventually going to find your blog.
Make your blog a destination that people want to visit and explore. Have attractions, and lots of fun and interesting stuff for them. Don’t worry if they aren’t here yet, they will be. And you are going to be ready!
Join Blogging Groups on Facebook
Join blogging groups on Facebook. I can’t even remember how I found my first FB group, but joining it made a huge difference for me. I was in a group with other bloggers and they just accepted the fact that I was a blogger! I began sharing my work within the group and I got some good feedback. I am still blogging “friends” with people I met right at the beginning.
There are different kinds of blogging groups. Some are strictly promotional. You post something of yours and then you share a specific number of other people’s work. Some are really strict! But it’s a great way to get your posts out there and to also find good content to share.
Some groups are informative and supportive. I’ve really benefited from participating in different Facebook blogging groups and I give them total credit for helping me feel like a real blogger.
Once you find a group or two that interests you, read the description carefully and see what you need to do to join. In most groups, you have to be approved. Approval is usually based on making sure you are a real person rather than someone that is going to spam the group. So, don’t worry too much about getting in. Most groups are happy to have you.
Promote Your Blog
Some days this is my favorite thing to do and on others, it bores me. But promoting your blog is part of the job description of blogger.
My favorite way to promote my blog is on Pinterest. That consistently, month after month, sends me solid traffic. Pinterest has changed some since I wrote this article, but it still is my best referrer of blog traffic.
Another way I promote my blog is through my Facebook groups. These are good ways to share your work with other bloggers and get to know theirs. I also have a Facebook page that is tied to my blog.
Other social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and StumbleUpon are part of your social media strategy.
Keep Track of Your Numbers
I remember a month early on, when I set a goal of getting 500 page views. That number seemed so HUGE to me. I couldn’t even imagine that happening. Then I wanted to get that many in a week. Then in a day. Eventually, I went beyond that on a daily basis.
About a year ago, I really started tracking my numbers.
Each month, I would record
- Page views
- Facebook Followers
- Pinterest Followers
- Twitter Followers
The best part of doing this is that I could see that every single month, these numbers all increased. Some, not by much. But I could see growth, each and every month. When you get discouraged, it’s helpful to see where you are growing and where you have opportunities for growth. (As far as I can tell—no matter how big you get, the opportunities for growth are always there!)
No one but you gets to decide when you are a REAL blogger. I accept people as bloggers the minute they share their work with me. No matter how you feel inside, most people are going to accept you too.
The steps I shared with you are to help you FEEL like a REAL blogger. And perhaps by doing these, they will help you get there quicker.
The more you put yourself out there, the easier it becomes. I’d love to hear from bloggers! If you are in the beginning stages of blogging, I invite you to join my Facebook blogging group, Banking on Blogging. It is a very nurturing, safe place for bloggers. Come check us out!
And if you just want to say hi here in the comments, I invite you to do that to. The more places you can speak up and introduce yourself, the more comfortable you’ll feel in the blogging world.
Keep on blogging my friends!
P.S. I started this blog on the least expensive Blue Host plan there was. I was so happy with it that the second year I upgraded to a better plan. I’m still with Blue Host and I can honestly say that I haven’t had any problems with them at all!
Here is one of my favorite books on blogging. This is the book that helped my daughter builder her $100K/year blogging business.
Take your blog to the next level!
Are you a new blogger? Come check out my blogging Facebook group, Banking on Blogging. This is a fun, active group that teaches you how to go from feeling like a newbie to feeling like a real blogger
Blogging has been such an interesting experience for me. Even though my blog isn’t a “blogging blog,” I can’t resist writing about blogging once in a while. Here are some of my favorite posts on blogging.
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.
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