top 3 things i wish i knew before i started blogging

Everyone has different motives for becoming a blogger.  Those motives help to shape our blogs themselves as we choose a niche, set goals, and grow our platforms.

When I created Wild and Wonderful Reads in May of 2017, I did so as another space to share my love of books to coincide with my newly formed bookstagram account.  I initially became a blogger as a creative outlet/hobby with hopes that I might be able to grow to be considered for advanced copies of books.

When I made the decision to blog, I hastily jumped in with both feet but minimal tech skills and zero research.  In hindsight, I wish I did it differently.

In late-August of 2020 after months of added stress due to the pandemic, I reevaluated my blog.  I still wanted to use it as a place to share all things books.  However, I wasn’t reading as much as I used to because I was now juggling working from home, raising two toddlers, and helping my school-age son with his distance learning.  I felt compelled to start blogging about other topics in addition to books.

With that and a desperation to find some joy in what I do for a living, I chose to put my blog on maintenance mode while I did some research and solidified new goals.  To start, I purchased The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit from Ultimate Bundles to begin educating myself on every aspect of blogging.

This bundle is jampacked with information!  I haven’t even gotten through half of the resources, and I’ve already learned so much!

During my efforts to educate myself, I have discovered a few things that I truly wish I knew sooner.  Here are the top 3 things I wish I knew before I started blogging:

INVEST IN YOUR BLOG

It didn’t take till now for me to realize that I should have invested more fully in my blog from the start.  When I created my blog, I used a free WordPress site with a free theme and a “logo” that my cousin designed for me from an illustration she previously made for me.  There is nothing wrong with any of that, especially if your blog is strictly a hobby, but soon after launching, I felt the need to up my game.

During my first year of blogging, I purchased my domain name, chose to self host, migrated to a paid WordPress site, and purchased both a theme and plugin for book bloggers.  I also later paid for a new logo and blog header.  That was the extent of my investing till more recently.

It’s definitely hard to spend money that you might not have on something that isn’t going to make you any money.  A lot of people can’t afford to do that.  I, personally, had a hard time justifying that.

When I changed my mindset, motivation, and blogging goals to include lifestyle topics and to monetize, I felt like I needed to invest more.

After purchasing The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, I went back to square one and purchased a new theme, paid for a mailing service to begin a newsletter/e-mail list, switched from the free to paid versions of Canva to help with graphic designs, and a few other things.

I am still learning how to integrate everything into my blog for the optimal benefit, but the important thing is I made the decision and am working towards utilizing my investments to make a better blog.

the importance of SEO & pinterest marketing

I’m not going to lie, SEO and Pinterest marketing are still a bit of a mystery to me.  I have read enough resources and watched enough videos to know it’s a major part of increasing blog traffic, though.

In all honesty, until more recent months, I didn’t pay much attention to my blog traffic.  I know the analytics are there, but I wasn’t focused on them.  I also had a business Pinterest account, but I wasn’t using it to its full potential.

However, in the course of educating myself, I have come to realize that in order to grow my blog to be able to monetize and expand on opportunities within the blogging community, I need to care more about driving traffic to my blog.  In order to do that, I need to learn more about SEO and Pinterest marketing.

Because it’s still fairly uncharted waters to me, I don’t feel comfortable sharing any tips or tricks.  I’m still learning those, myself!  I can stress, though, that it’s important, and to help, I started using the Yoast SEO plug-in for my blog and Tailwind for Pinterest.

have a mailing list

Up until the relaunch of my blog this month, I did not have a mailing list. The thoughts of not having a large enough audience or that I might not have enough content to share kept me from creating a one.

I have watched several webinars and read multiple e-books from bloggers emphasizing the importance of having a mailing list and the various ways that a mailing list can be utilized to expand on your blog and possibly earn you money.

This was another investment that I made in my blog.  I got an account with Convertkit and am currently learning the ins and outs of that mailing provider.  This is one of the things that I wish I did from the start.  Even if my audience is small, if it is engaging, it is worth it to have this additional form of connecting and communicating.

Again, I am still too much of a newbie to feel like I can offer tips and tricks, but maybe one day!

(P.S. I would love it if you subscribed!)

Regardless of where you’re at in your blogging journey, there is always room to grow and learn.  But, I think it’s important to remember that there is also no “right” way of doing things.  Not everyone blogs for the same reasons or about the same things or with the same amount of time to do so, and that is all okay!  If you are in a place like I was and want to reevaluate your blogging path, I highly recommend finding some resources to educate yourself on whatever area you’re looking to improve and just doing it!

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Discussion

Let’s chat!  Not everyone’s blogging journey is the same.  What is something you wish you knew before you started blogging?  What is the best tip you’ve been given or have learned with regard to blogging?  I’d love to hear more about your blogging experiences, so feel free to share about it in the comments or connect with me on social media!

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