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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging

July 2, 2014 | By Dee Ann Rice

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Before I started my blogging journey, I knew very little about the internet or blogging. I am sure that I am not much different than anyone else.

Actually the only thing I knew about the internet was how to search for something and I did not do a very good job of that.

As I think back there are several things I figured out along the way that I really wish I knew before I started.

Even if you have been blogging for a while, some of these things may help you out.

Things To Know Before Starting Out Blogging

1. Picking A Domain Name

Remember what you are promoting when picking a domain name. For the most part bloggers are promoting themselves. They want to get their name out there so people start getting to know them. This will enable them to make sales using their blog as a place to advertise their products.

If you want to promote yourself then use your name for your domain. The first domain I picked was not my name but shortly after putting my blog up I managed to delete it with one click of the mouse. Oh My @$#%^&%#, I Just Deleted My Entire Blog!!! When I put my blog back up I changed my domain to my name: deeannrice.com.

I was lucky and was able to get my name as a .com domain without using any hyphens. Sometimes that is not possible because believe it or not there are other people with the exact same name as you that also want the .com domain. Here are a couple of examples of what other people have done when they could not get the .com domain. A friend of mine Barry had to use a hyphen, another friend Adrienne had to use a .net domain and Dan Sumner used the word blog in his domain. Their domains are barry-wells.com, adriennesmith.net and dansumnerblog.com. All of these domains work very well. (Dan has actually recently changed his domain to marketingfromscratch.com)

2. How To Get Lots Of Content

We all know that search engines want to see lots of content and new content continually being added to the blog.

I actually had a blog before this one that was a complete failure. The person that was teaching me how to put the blog up (they were a well know blogger) told us to use auto content. I very quickly realized that putting someone else’s content on my blog and using a plugin to auto post that content did not make a good blog and did not help the blog to rank in the search engines or to draw traffic.

The best way I know to get great content is to write your posts yourself. Then go out and comment on other peoples blog posts. They will slowly come back over and comment on your posts. The comments are more content being added to your blog. So the more comments you make the more content you will get on your blog. This will all lead to search engines and people will liking your blog.

3. Building A Great Blog Does Not Happen Overnight

It takes time to build a blog up to where it is ranking high in search engines and lots of traffic is coming to it.

Just keep writing content and commenting on other peoples posts. This will make your blog grow.

4. Networking With Others Is Important

It takes a community to make a blog great. I think of the old saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” I think you could change that to say “It takes a blogging community to make a great blog.”

We can not blog alone. We need other bloggers to support us and we need to support them. Together all of our blogs will be successful.

5.Blogging Is Not Free

I said before that I had another blog before this one. That is only partially true. I actually had a couple of other blogs and one was a free blog on wordpress.com.

I know there are lots of people out there that will tell you to use free platforms for blogging and you don’t need to spend any money to blog. I think this is true if you are just blogging for pleasure but if you are blogging for business you need to use a paid platform. I wrote a post quite some time ago on the pros and cons of different blogging platforms. You can read it here How Should I Host My Blog?.

The point I am trying to get at here is Blogging Is Not Free. There are many things you need to make a successful blog. I have listed a few here:

  • domain name
  • blog hosting
  • autoresponder
  • images for your posts
  • blog theme

6. Write Like You Talk

When writing on a blog you need to be very personable and write like you are talking to a friend. This will allow people to feel like they can get to know you and will make networking with others in your blogging community easier.

People like to buy products from people they know so you do not want a formal blog where people do not feel they can get to know you.

7. Invest In A Paid Theme

Many people use free themes and that is great but paid themes work so much better. If you are really serious about blogging you should use a paid theme. I am using Thesis** and love it.

If you want to read more about using a paid vs. free theme you can go here Does Your Theme Make The Grade?

8. Don’t Buy Every Product Available

This seems to be a common problem of most first time bloggers. There is so much to learn and we know so little that we are tempted to buy every product out there about how to blog.

Of course there are lots of products that make lots of big promises on their sales pages. Some of them even sound to good to be true but when we are just starting out we are so lost that every product sounds great.

I am guilty of this myself. I don’t know how many products I have bought or how much money I spent buying them. Many of them I have never used and others were not worth the money that I spent.

At one point I was in a blogging group and our rule was “when you want to buy a product you have to call and talk to someone else first”. This way we did not just on a whim buy every product we saw.

9. Don’t Buy Products To Use In The Future

If you do not need the product right now do not buy it. There will be a better product or at least as good of one out there when you need it.

Things are changing online so fast that if you buy something to use in the future, by the time you get around to using it the product will be out of date.

10. Blogging Is Not Always Fun But Have Fun Anyway

Blogging will not always be easy and it will not always be fun. You will need to make it fun. There are different ways of doing this. One thing I have done is to make friends online. We get together and talk sometimes on a weekly basis.

When I am talking to my friends I can tell them all of my frustrations. They understand because they are also bloggers. If I am having a hard time or a down time, these talks with blogging friends will help get me reenergized and ready to go back to my blogging again. I will then enjoy it again and am able to have fun.

** I will profit if you purchase Thesis Theme from the link provided

What About You?

I am sure there are things you wish you knew before you started blogging. I would love to have more things added to my list. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

I also love comments so leave me a comment and just say “Hi” or tell me something that you wished you knew.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Adrienne
Twitter:
July 2, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Hey Dee Ann,

Lots of good ones here that I was nodding my head about too that I wish I’d known. Ah, trial and error right!

I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way too and a good bit of those I had to go back and fix which is a time consuming process and I’ll have to admit, that’s the part of blogging I do not like at all.

I guess though that had I learned all of this in the beginning I might not have met the people that I have because I would have had different experiences. Who knows so I have to look at it all as the way it was suppose to be. I mean look at the great post you’re able to write because of sharing this information with people that might help them from making the same mistakes. We can only hope right!

Good to have you back and thanks for sharing this information with us. I definitely know you’re going to help someone along the way. Oh and I appreciate the mention by the way. ;-)

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted…Jon Morrow Said To Ignore Most Popular BloggersMy Profile

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2 Dee Ann Rice
Twitter:
August 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Adrienne,

I have made a lot of mistakes also and I have had to go back and correct those mistakes. It is very time consuming and I am still doing some of it.

If I had know all of these things when I started though I would never have been able to write this post or be the blogger I am today.

I think there are things we all wish we would have known but learning all of these thing along the blogging road makes us the bloggers we are today.

Thanks for your comment.

Dee Ann
Dee Ann Rice recently posted…Evergreen PostsMy Profile

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3 maxwell ivey July 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Hi DeeAnn; I made a couple mistakes with the new blog. My first one was not thinking anyone would want to hear my story so i didn’t start out with a domain name. I got a free page on blogger for it. the first two posts were very well received. People are saying I may have a better future as a blogger coach mentor writer speaker than as a guy selling amusement equipment. william butler who is a coach told me i need to get a domain something i should have done up front. he suggested the blind blogger because being the first blind blogger on a lot of groups people just call me the blind blogger. well dot com was taken but dot net was available. i got the domain name and forwarded it to the blog. next up get hosting and move the blog to a word press one. also, as a blind computer user I had trouble with some of the better themes so have stuck to the word press tested ones like 2012. and I had two reasons why buying every plug in didn’t effect me. one i didn’t have the money and two I know that a lot of products are not going to be accessible to me. I love your comment about not buying products for future use. and i can’t believe a successful blogger advised people to use syndicated content on their sites to build traffic. of course, back then it might have worked for some. and you are right you have to become part of a community. the rule is first people have to know who you are. then they have to like you. and then they have to trust you. sharing posts is another good way to get noticed. I need to get a good auto responder though. thanks for writing this post. it will be helpful to a lot of people. and if they listen to you it will save them a lot of time money and heart ache. take care my friend, max
maxwell ivey recently posted…The story beginsMy Profile

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4 Dee Ann Rice
Twitter:
August 12, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Max,

I think you make more good points in your comment then I do in my post. What a great comment.

I can not believe I ever followed someone who recommended using syndicated content. It does not work at all and gets you in a lot of trouble if you are not careful.

You may have had a rough start but you have a great blog now and I still have a hard time believing you do all of this and are blind. I have trouble doing it and I can see.

Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

Dee Ann
Dee Ann Rice recently posted…Evergreen PostsMy Profile

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5 Carol Amato July 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

Hi Dee Ann,

Great article, so I had to stop and chime in. :)

I absolutely love the theme of you sharing what you wish you knew before starting to blog… SO very helpful because hindsight is 20/20, and it’s so valuable to learn from other’s mistakes, so thanks for being willing to be transparent!

I do prefer a .com without any hyphens, but I can see where the examples work very well.

Oh my word – I was taught the same rubbish about automatic content and scraping stuff from the web, SO very glad that I didn’t delve deeply into this horrible practice. I had a curation site that I dumped after a few months.

Love your advice that building a blog takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. So very true –people get frustrated and quit right after putting up a few articles. I don’t get it.

Also agree that we cannot do it alone and networking is important. The mindset of keeping it all to ourselves and not sharing other people’s content is flawed and self-sabotaging.

Don’t even get me started on the freebie mindset – Yikes! I shudder to think of how some folks are cutting off their nose to spite their face in order to save a few pennies, Unaware that they do not own their content or control how it is monetized on those freebie blog sites.

Excellent tip about investing in a paid theme– I started with a paid premium theme, and I’m so glad that I did.

Very wise words, Dee Ann, about not buying products to use in the future– my hard drive is chalk full of programs and products collecting dust I’ve never taken the time to get to. I’m completely done with this practice and have been for quite some time, but I recognize it in many others as an ongoing shiny new object syndrome… so sad.

Making it fun is wonderful advice, aschallenges are sure to come, but it’s up to us to determine our altitude by choosing our attitude.

Loved your thought -provoking article, Dee Ann, and will share it right now. :-)

- Carol

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6 Dee Ann Rice
Twitter:
August 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Carol,

It is good to hear that someone else also fell for automatic content and scraping stuff from the web. When I look back I can not believe that I actually fell for that. Doing that can really get you into trouble. We had a forum for everyone who was doing the program I was using and it was full of people running into trouble because they were subscribing to Black Hat practices. I got out of that really fast.

I am sure we all have alot of experiences we can pass on to others as things not to do.

I love it when I see other people writing posts like these. I can always learn something from them.

Great to meet you and see you at my blog.

Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

Dee Ann
Dee Ann Rice recently posted…Evergreen PostsMy Profile

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