There are a lot of right ways and a lot more wrong ways to start, grow, and run a blogging business. Let’s talk a little blogging for beginners 101.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what we wish we had known in the beginning – when we were just getting into this whole blogging business and trying to survive the trenches.
Navigating the streets of the blogging world can be difficult, confusing, and overwhelming and there are a lot of mistakes to be made along the way.
Here is a brief timeline of our journey to blogging success with our health and wellness blog, Avocadu:
- It took us 6 months to make any income with our blog.
- From that point, we doubled our revenues in our first 5 months of business.
- We hit our first goal of $10,000/month from our blog a couple months after that.
- We ended up making just over $100,000 in that first year with our health and wellness blog.
- In the two years that followed that, we started Create and Go and now make over $100,000/month with both of our blogs.
As you can see from the summary above, our income has grown exponentially over those first 3 years.
We’re going to show you some of the most important lessons that we had to learn along the way and wish that we had known in the beginning.
Here is an overview of what we will cover in this article:
- The Time to Get Started
- Treating Your Blog Like a Business
- Importance of Content
- Who Your Blog Should Be About
- Importance of Traffic and Monetization
- The Role of Email Marketing
- Knowing Your Role and Playing to Your Strengths
- Importance of Marketing
- Embracing Failure and Learn From It
Let’s get to it!
There will never be a “good” time to start a blog.
If you haven’t started your blog yet because you’re waiting for the right moment in your life to do it, you can just give up right now.
There will never be good time to start your blog, I can guarantee you that. It’s not something you will ever be “ready” or in a good place in your life for.
It will always be daunting and scary to jump in.
This is where I was at in my life when Alex and I started our first health and wellness blog. I was…
- Finishing up my CPA exams that I had spent MONTHS studying for and several thousand dollars on courses for
- Sitting on a fairly sizeable amount of credit card debt
- Working a regular 9-5 preparing tax at a public accounting firm
- 26 years old and trying to have a social life on top of all of the above
I had a lot going on…
But despite all of this, Alex and I decided to start a blog anyway because our dreams of financial freedom and traveling before we were 65 and retired were more important to us.
Stop waiting and start doing. Life isn’t going to wait around for you!
If you haven’t started your blog yet, you can do so with our step-by-step tutorial here!
You must treat your blog like a business.
I think some people tend to think of a blog like this place where you write out your thoughts on various topics and you make money because people like it.
Your blog is a business, and it should not be treated differently than any other start-up. You’re an entrepreneur now.
Starting any new business requires a significant investment of time and money. Thankfully, starting a blogging business is generally a lot cheaper than most other types of businesses – but it still isn’t cheap.
You WILL need to spend some money to make some money. Otherwise, everybody would be doing it.
There are free and cheap options out there but they will get you cheap results and only end up wasting more of your time and money in the end.
There are a few things that you need to invest in at the beginning, including a:
- Paid hosting plan with a good hosting company (we use and recommend Bluehost)
- Blog theme to customize your blog and make it look professional (we recommend Divi or Avada)
- Good email marketing service (we use and recommend ConvertKit)
- Blogging course to help you succeed faster (optional but recommended – ours is called Launch Your Blog)
You can also check out our article on the expected costs to start a blog so you can plan ahead for it.
Make sure that you are spending money on the right things in the beginning, and you’ll be just fine!
Content is the most important part of your blog.
Most new bloggers get so wrapped up the name and design of their blog that they forget what their blog is really about: CONTENT.
Your blog does need to look nice and professional but the design of your blog matters so much less than your content does.
Alex and I were no different as newbie bloggers. I spent HOURS AND HOURS designing our blog only to end up changing everything weeks or months later – over and over again.
This is what our health and wellness blog looked like for over a year:
Pretty cheesy, right? But we were making over $20,000/month with it when it looked like this.
That’s because people weren’t concerned with what our home page looked like. They were READING OUR CONTENT and focused on our message.
Throw up a quick design on your blog and then focus in on content creation!
Your blog is not about you. It’s about your readers.
This is another common blogging mistake that we also made in the beginning.
Our very first blog that we created actually failed big time and the main reason was because it was all about us.
We were so focused on what we wanted from the blog that we didn’t stop to take a serious look at what our readers really wanted.
It’s perfectly fine to start a blog on a topic that you personally love, but you need to make sure that you are creating your content with your readers in mind.
Don’t think about yourself and your problems. Think about your readers and what problems they may be having, which could be very different than yours.
This can be difficult in the beginning before you get any blog traffic because the traffic is what helps you determine what direction to go in. On that note…
Traffic is more important than monetization in the beginning.
Your blog traffic will provide the feedback that you need to learn what articles and topics people are responding best (and worst) to on your blog.
You can get this feedback by looking at the following sources:
- Traffic stats: Which articles are getting the most views? Which are getting the least?
- Article comments: What are people saying in their comments on your posts?
- Email replies: How are people responding to what you write in your emails?
Be prepared for negative feedback as well because it ALWAYS happens. As long as the vast majority of your feedback is positive, don’t worry about the naysayers.
Another reason traffic is more important than monetization is because without traffic, you won’t make any money anyway.
Not only that, but you also won’t be able to determine what is working and what isn’t in terms of sales and marketing if you don’t have enough visitors to your site.
It takes time to drive traffic to your blog, so get started on it right away and focus on monetization once you begin getting some steady visitors coming in!
True story: That failed blog that I mentioned earlier… Alex and I spent weeks creating our first products to monetize that blog only to have 1 person buy after we launched it.
If we had had more traffic coming to our blog, we would have known that it wasn’t a product our readers wanted or needed.
Email marketing is vital to your success.
If you are anything like I was, this sentence probably hurts your soul.
I personally HATE receiving emails, so I felt like all of my readers must feel that way too. I was wrong. SO incredibly wrong.
I cringed at our email marketing in the beginning because I just didn’t understand it. Most of our new bloggers taking our Launch Your Blog Course have similar sentiments.
They’re always worried about what to send their readers and how often to email them because they don’t want to “bother” them.
You can’t afford to think this way as a business owner.
The people who don’t want to hear from you will unsubscribe from your email list and the people that do care about what you have to say will stay on it.
Your email list is how you begin to build a deeper level of trust with your audience and it’s absolutely vital to the growth and success of your blog.
You need to begin collecting emails as soon as you start driving traffic to your blog.
We personally use and recommend ConvertKit – one of the best email marketing services out there for bloggers.
You will grow and succeed faster if you know your role and play to your strengths.
Here’s a fun and [hopefully] helpful story for you…
When Alex and I created our first product on our health and wellness blog, The Yoga Fat Loss Bible, I decided it would be a great idea to grow an Instagram account dedicated to my own yoga practice and for our readers to follow for motivation/inspiration.
Here’s a little preview of my efforts…
Here’s what happened…
- I sucked at taking yoga photos.
- I absolutely hated the entire process of trying to do the poses, get the photos, and share them on IG.
- It stressed me out and made me feel bad about my own yoga practice.
Ultimately, I abandoned the efforts after a couple of months of trial and error and lots of unnecessary fights with my photographer (aka Alex).
The funny thing is that most influencers on Instagram don’t even know how to run their own business. They only succeed to some degree because they have incredible content (photos).
I DO know how to run my own business, and all modesty aside… I’m damn good at it.
I decided that I’d rather be behind the scenes running a crazy successful business rather than be known for looking good on Instagram.
And that’s no dig on IG influencers either. I give them mad props because that is a skill that I am obviously NOT good at!
The lesson here is to learn what you are good at and TOTALLY ROCK IT.
You’ll need to learn other new skills as well and you won’t always be good at them but do your best to play to your strengths whenever you can.
It’s all about marketing.
The most important job you will have as a successful blogger is to be a successful marketer.
EVERYTHING you do with your blogging business is about marketing, including…
- Blog name
- Article titles and other headlines
- Product names
- Email titles
- Content (everywhere)
Many new (and unsuccessful) bloggers believe that making money with a blog generally means writing good content and adding links to relevant products in their articles.
People click on links and they make sales. That’s how it works, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
You have to market yourself, your content, and the products and/or services that you are promoting. That means…
- Educating people not only on WHAT the product is but WHY they need it,
- Marketing YOURSELF to better connect with your readers and build a trusting relationship before you ask for a sale,
- And structuring your content in a way that encompasses both of those points above.
Blogger/Internet Marketer is your new job title.
Don’t fear failure. Embrace it and learn from it.
I’ve shared quite a few of our failures and mistakes along the way in the points above. Alex and I were only able to succeed so quickly because we didn’t give up.
The photo below is from our first failed blog when we thought we could drink mimosas all day, write articles, and make money online (*sigh):
We failed a LOT, but we failed FAST and learned from our mistakes, and that has made all the difference.
Blogging is an endless game of trial and error, but especially so in the beginning when you’re trying to get it all figured out and determine what is going to work best for you.
This also goes hand in hand with the need to invest in your blog/business. You can’t have the mindset of “I’ll spend some money on it when it makes me some money.”
You’ll forever be broke and unsuccessful in the blogging biz if you have this mindset.
Alex and I spent several thousand dollars on our blog during those first few months of getting started and a lot of it was on software, courses, etc. that didn’t even work!!!
But some did. And now that we six-figures per month with our blogs (see: Blog Income Reports), we can say that it was obviously WORTH IT!
You’re going to make mistakes and throw money down the drain along the way, but your time and money is NEVER wasted if you are constantly learning and moving forward.
If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in the trenches and looking for some inspiration for your journey, check out our article on the blogging phases of success.
Don’t try to do it alone.
Lastly, don’t go it alone, guys. It’s lonely and scary and stressful and disheartening more often than not in the beginning.
Get some help.
This is the part where we put a shameless plug for our own blogging courses – because we’re good marketers. 😉
No, but seriously, not just our courses. If our content didn’t resonate with you, find a blogger that you connect better with and take a chance on their courses.
The internet is full of free information, but it’s generally fragmented and insanely time-consuming to sort through.
On top of that, the most successful bloggers, entrepreneurs, influencers, etc. save all of their best information for people that are willing to pay for it. Because they are running a business too.
You’re only setting yourself up for slow growth at best (or failure at worst) by trying to do it all on your own.
Our blogging courses also come with private support groups where you can connect with us and other bloggers. This has proved to be an invaluable resource for many of our bloggers.
We even have a few bloggers who have created courses and products that WE personally promote to our readers or that others in our groups help them promote. That is the power of networking in the blogging world.
If you’re interested in learning more about our blogging courses, you can check them out below:
- Launch Your Blog – Our beginner blogger course on how to start and set up your blog, including how to navigate WordPress, design your blog, write your first few blog posts, create your email list, and more.
- Make Money Blogging for Beginners – How to begin driving traffic to your blog as well as learn beginner monetization strategies (like affiliate marketing)
- Pinterest Traffic Avalanche – How to step up your Pinterest game and drive tons of traffic to your blog using Pinterest
- Six-Figure Blogger – Our most advanced course on how to create your own digital products and services to sell on your blog (eBooks and courses)
- Pro Blogger Bundle – A discounted bundle of all 4 blogging courses above!
Okay, guys… I hope y’all enjoyed this article on blogging for beginners! If you liked the article or have any questions for us, please feel free to leave a comment below!
Co-Founder, Create and Go
If you have any questions for us on blogging or anything else we discussed in this article, please feel free to leave us a comment below!