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I am now 2 months into blogging and it has been the best 2 months of the year! Honestly I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to everyone who reads my ramblings.
I will be completely honest and admit that I went into blogging with absolutely no idea of what anything was. I didn’t even read that many blogs before.
It was something I’d always wanted to set up but I hadn’t because I assumed it would completely flop and I’d have at most 10 readers a month.
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Within 2 months I’ve already made money, gained more viewers than I ever thought I would and I’ve made some amazing connections. But I also know that there are a lot of new or soon to be bloggers who read my posts and so here is what I wish I knew before I starting a blog.
Self hosted exists
I refuse to believe that I’m the only blogger who didn’t know what self hosted was.
On that first day of starting I paid for a year of wordpress personal. It cost about £40 and was the biggest mistake I have ever made.
I didn’t realise just how restricting wordpress is until you pay for the premium or business packages. Even these packages still have restrictions on them. Additionally, once you sign up to wordpress, your domain is locked for 60 days meaning you can’t switch to self hosted at any point before that.
Luckily, my domain is transferring to lyrical host on 2 July and then you will see a total revamp of this blog! I cannot wait. I’ve gone for lyrical host because it’s a rolling 30-day subscription for £9.99. It may not be the cheapest, but I would rather be on a monthly pay than commit myself for a few years from the get go.
I do have a referral code for anyone who is moving to lyrical host which gets you 10% off your first payment (you can pay yearly). The code is GRAD10.
If you’re starting out a blog, I would really recommend just jumping straight to being self hosted. It gives you so much more room to develop and grow!
There are guides that will tell you everything
I genuinely had never even heard of Gumroad until a good 2 weeks into my blogging experience. I only set myself up an account about 4 weeks ago.
I had no idea that there were guides such as ‘A Beginners Guide to blogging‘ that quite literally tell you everything you need to know about setting up a blog. When I started using this guide, my weekly views went from 73, to 175, to then 411. For someone who was expecting at most 10 views a month, it was such an incredible jump.
I’m still working my way through the guide now as I’m focusing on using my blog to create an income stream and soon I’ll be developing my own media kit and learning how to interact with brands (it’s a 100 page guide, there’s a LOT of things I still need to go through).
But if you are just starting out, I would really recommend just getting a guide rather than spending hours (like I did) trying to learn everything. I even struggled to figure out what a DA was for a little while, and it wasn’t until I read the guide that I knew exactly what it was, and that it takes time for it to increase.
You need to add legal things
There are so many things you need to display on your site, especially in the UK. Even some experienced bloggers get confused with the changing rules so don’t worry if you’ve made mistakes! But, you need to make sure everything that is paid is disclosed, especially ads and affiliated links.
You’ll see at the top of this post I have a standard paragraph outlining that there are or may be affiliated links in my blog post. This is there because it’s illegal not to have it in the UK.
What I wasn’t aware of until very recently is that even if you’re promoting your own item you need to declare it as an ad on social media. So, when I tweet about my ‘From Beginner to Pro Pinner‘ guide, I have to have in each tweet that it is an ‘ad’ – even though it’s my own product.
The legality is really important to get right, especially if you’re quickly increasing your blog traffic. You also need to register with HMRC if you start earning money from your blog. However you do have a £1,000 ‘hobby’ allowance before being required to declare that income.
There is a whole blogging community out there
When I first made my twitter I was a bit worried that it would be difficult to find other people with blogs.
I was such an idiot.
There are so many bloggers out there, and most use twitter as their main point of call for social media! Twitter is now my go-to social media for my blog. I do have an instagram page but after the second week or so I decided that it really wasn’t worth my effort as I didn’t get any engagement and it’s pretty difficult to grow on instagram.
If you haven’t already, search for accounts like bloggerstribe, bloggershut etc. There are also certain hashtags you can use to find anyone looking for bloggers. Jenny has a great list in her guide as mentioned above – some of which I’d skipped over the pages to begin with and only found out about recently (again, it’s 100 pages…there is so much and it’s amazing value for the quality).
But they will be one of your best ways of growing as a new blogger. It is also amazing to be guest posting on each other’s blogs and most are happy to answer questions you might have!
Ads don’t get you much income – sales do
I was completely under the impression that bloggers got their money from adverts on their page, as in the one’s that are there constantly, not paid posts.
The realities of this is that you can get a good income from ads if you have over 50,000 page views and are a part of mediavine or similar, but if you’re not overly big, ads won’t get you much.
I’ve even been told that google adsense isn’t really worth it.
I currently don’t have any ads on my site, but I am planning to in the near future – even just to see if I get anything from them.
But, if you’re starting your blog with the intention of making money, buy some products and then ask the creator if they’re looking for affiliates. The amount you get as an affiliate varies – my affiliates get 20%, but some products I’m an affiliate for are 5% and others are as high as 40%.
Affiliate sales are a great way of getting an income.
However, not every affiliate scheme is good. Amazon affiliates I personally have not made a single penny from even though my clicks have had over 3,000 clicks. This is mainly due to the cookie time. So Gumroad have a 30 day cookie, Amazon have 24 hour cookie. 24 hours.
Personally, I have stuff in my amazon basket for weeks sometimes so it’s no wonder I’ve had thousands of clicks to my amazon that haven’t resulted in any kind of payout.
But ultimately, don’t think that it’s all in the ads – it’s not!
There are so many more things I wish I had known before blogging, but these are what I would say are the most important.
If you’re new to blogging, did you know these? And if you’ve been blogging for a while, what would you add?
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