Today I have the pleasure of highlighting the results from the Beginner Blogger Challenge. There was a lot of great input from lots of experienced bloggers. I am happy to showcase just some of advice for new bloggers below. But, before I get to the good stuff, I felt it appropriate to give you some highlights – or things I learned from this Challenge.
It's Not Too Late to Join
While I did my best to promote the challenge, I recognize that some people may have missed out. If you would like to be featured on this post, join the challenge (click on the link above for details) and I will add you to the list. The primary motivation was to give new bloggers a resource of advice when they are starting out. If others want to help others, I want to be able to facilitate it. Yes, that's right – It's NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN!
Highlights of Beginner Blogger Challenge
The first thing I want to point out from reading all 18 entries in the challenge is that everyone has had a different experience. While a few of the things for ideas had common themes, I believe every tip is different. Now, that's interesting to me. I would have thought there would be at least a little overlap – but nope.
Another thing to point out is that many of the people who joined in did so to help others. Some have been blogging for months and others years. I thought about adding up the collective age, but it got complicated really fast. 🙂 Regardless of the length of time that they have been blogging, everyone had a lot of great input. Actually, to my surprise, many people offered more than one tip of advice. So, be sure to check out their individual posts via the links here. You won't be sorry!
Below is advice for new bloggers. Instead of just giving you a list, I tried my best to organize it. I did my best to make sure the titles match the overall message of the quotes from the posts that were part of the challenge. Enjoy!
Advice for New Bloggers
Research Before Starting
Poor Student: 'First, before you start your blog read all the articles you can about starting a blog. I read lots but I did it after I started my blog. Second, don't expect many people to read you blog right away or make much money. I thought I could be an exception, but this doesn't seem like one of those rules.Third, do not spend time submitting your blog to directories.'
PF Success: ' I would have liked to know what is required to start blogging. I know I needed WordPress and a place to host my blog. However, I did not know what theme to use that was good but free. Many bloggers seem to run Thesis, but that is not free. I did not want to lay out a significant amount of money on a site that will take a long time to build up readership on. I also wish I knew what plugins to run on the site.'
You Have More than You Think: 'Although I love the name of my blog, know what I know now, I'd chosen another one. First, the name is just too damn long. It's a real pain to type in the address bar of your web browser.'
Be True to Yourself
My Broken Coin: 'Stop trying to be perfect. Remember, perfect is boring. Readers want to relate. No one can relate to perfect.'
Financial Knowledge Online: 'The one thing I really wish someone would have told me when I started was to focus on one thing and to do a really good job at it. Don't worry about how much money you make or how many readers you have. The fish are always bigger in the Gulf Stream (obvious grass is greener reference). The easiest way to fail online is to constantly move from one fishing spot to another. That championship Marlin may be under your boat right now!'
Sminso Blog: 'If you are just starting out there will be HUNDREDS of "gurus" willing to give you their advice. After listening to all of them you will quickly learn that the majority of them don't have a clue. One thing I wish all these gurus had told me is that "they are not always right".'
Understand the Time Commitment and What Blogging Involves
Delicious Shovel: 'I wish someone had told be about how much time I need to have to start blogging and running it. I know there is no particular answer how much time is needed because it depends on technical skills, experience, topics you want to write about, what you want to achieve with your blog and time you want to sacrifice to promote it. But I guess that one day I'll think "if you sacrificed all these hours you spend on blogging to start learning another language, you would be fluent with it in next xxx months".'
Work Save Live: 'I think I could fit all of my struggles into one thing: the time commitment. That is certainly one major thing I wish I would have known before I started. However, the great thing is that there are wonderful bloggers/websites out there that are willing to help you! It just goes back to that whole time thing…'
Master the Art of Saving: 'It's not as simple as just writing up a post and publishing it. No sir! There is so much more involved with blogging, assuming you want people to find and read your blog. There are categories, tags, SEO, networking, responding to comments (though some don't at all), PageRank, domain authority, back links, following laws and so much more. It's nowhere near as simple as I'd expected it to be, and it requires time. The more time you have to put into it, the better chance you have to be successful.'
Invest it Wisely: ' I highly recommend is regular backups, of both the database and of your files. This is doubly important if you don't have your own hosting. Most importantly, breathe, and relax. Not always easy, I know, and I need to often take this advice myself, but the key to blogging is longevity and resilience, and you won't get there if you're always feeling stressed out.'
Stay Organized, Motivated, and Focused
Economically Humble: 'I wish someone had told me that it is very useful to organize all of your posts and ideas into collections or lists'
Young Professional Finances: 'Choose a niche! Lifestyle blogs are a lot of fun but honestly, the majority of people sadly don't really care about what you write. If you want to write one, do it for yourself and if you can write really well, it might gain popularity (there are a few of them that are definitely popular). However, it makes more sense just to find a niche that you are interested in and move in that direction.'
Your Money Mentor: ' Know the "WHY" behind why you blog, who are you trying to reach, is it for monetization purposes, or are you trying to share your expertise with a larger audience.'
American Debt Project: 'Every time you reach a new milestone in blogging whether is pageviews, mentions or anything else, you just set the bar higher for yourself since there is always room to grow. Blogs are a HUGE part of the online and technology industry and you will be surprised at what can happen as you continue to blog.'
Realize What's Important
The University of Money: 'Website design when you are starting off is not really important – Start with a basic nice clean design and then upgrade once you have enough readership.'
Network with Others
Thads Thoughts: 'To differentiate between blogging as a hobby and blogging as focused means to develop a second source of income. There is a definite science to getting your blog noticed, and it is one I am enjoying learning (but still have a long way to go). But there is a wonderful community of bloggers that are almost all willing to share and encourage, and I did not anticipate how much fun it would be to interact with new blogger friends.'
Step Away From the Mall: 'Blogging is just like many other businesses and networking with other bloggers is a huge part of growing your site. Joining the Yakezie Challenge, for example, really helped me network with other bloggers, learn about blogging, make a few friends and gain readers. Also, one of my biggest mistakes when starting out was trying to write in a specific style that was not natural for me. I tried to sound authoritative. I tried to talk "to" people instead of "with" people. Not that I'm some sort of amazing writer, but now I focus on just telling my story and writing about things that inspire me.'
KNS Financial: 'I wish I would have treated this as a business from the very beginning. I would have viewed spending money as making investments, and I would have saved a lot of time and energy, while making a lot more money!'
Shawn Manaher is a former financial advisor, has founded 5 online businesses, and is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and author. He's been featured on Forbes, The Consults Corner on TAE Radio, The Writing Biz, What's Your Story, and more.