Starting and Keeping a Blog: Expectation vs. Reality (and What You Can Learn From My Mistakes)

To say that I've learned a few things over the last 10 years of my career would be an understatement. But as I've launched blogs, grown blogs, and started over with new ones, there are a few major lessons that I learned time and time again. One might say I've got a hard head since I didn't get the lesson the first time! 

If your goal is to grow your blog to the point where it can start making you actual money (turning your blog into a real business) then these lessons are IMPERATIVE to learn now. Check them out below and share the lessons you've learned in the comments! 

lessons-start-a-blog.jpg

Expectation: I'm a Natural Storyteller, So Blogging Should be Easy

Reality: Blogging is Hard Work

I know how easy it is to get sucked into your daydreams of blogging from your perfectly styled, Instagram-ready home office, sipping your coffee as you ponder what to write and publish today. That, my friends, is a pipe dream. 

Lesson: You Gotta Get Your Hands Dirty. Blogging takes time, dedication, and consistency to get off the ground. You want to make blogging your full-time living, then you have to start treating it like a business — showing up every day and tackling the tasks that may not be so glamorous, but need to get done. Stuff like making Pinterest graphics (or finding a designer to do it for you), sharing out your latest blog post to multiple feeds, groups, and touch points (follow the 80/20 rule — spend 20% of your time creating and 80% of your time promoting), and responding to comments to encourage a thriving community. 

It's not always easy, but the work you put in now will pay off in the future. 

 

Expectation: I'll Blog Everyday! 

Reality: Writers Block is SO REAL 

Coming up with blog post ideas may seem like an easy task — simply sit down and start writing, right? Not exactly. You could write a journal entry about your day, but that's not necessarily interesting to your readers unless you weave some kind of story, lesson, tip, advice, and most of all, EMOTION into your post. Finding that unicorn topic that is easy to come up with, easy to write, and takes off with your readers is like lightning in a bottle. Sometimes, you just have no idea what to write. Sometimes, your creativity seems to have dried up. Sometimes, you lose steam. Sometimes, you feel like throwing your computer against a wall because you're just not motivated to start typing. 

Lesson: You need a plan. Showing up to your blog without a plan is a huuuuuge waste of time because nine times out of ten (less if you're lucky), you'll sit down and spend a majority of your dedicated blogging time trying to come up with something to write and by the time you actually start writing, the kids are awake, the dishes need to be done, and life is swirling around you. Start an editorial calendar and start planning ahead so when you do show up to blog, you know exactly what to write about and can get right to work. 

I created the Fempire Academy Daily for these exact moments — when you're uninspired, lacking ideas, and are hungry to start planning ahead. Seriously, you'll never ask "what should I blog about?" again. 

 

Expectation: It Shouldn't Take Too Long to Write a Blog Post

Reality: Blogging Tends to Take a Backseat to Your Life

Between kids, your spouse, the demands of your home, friends, family, your job, and time to take a decent shower or eat a meal, blogging tends to take a back seat to everything else unless you make it a priority. 

Lesson: Treat your blog like a business if you want it to be one. Setting aside time to blog is super important, but so is planning ahead. Like I mentioned above, simply showing up to your computer and expecting the words to fall out of your brain to your fingers and on the virtual page is setting yourself up for failure. In addition to blocking out time to blog (whether that be every day, twice a week, or once a week), block out time to brainstorm your blog posts ahead of time and plan an editorial calendar. 

If you've never done either, it can be very frustrating. Writers block is a real thing and you'll feel at times like your creativity has dried right up. Again, this is exactly why I created the Fempire Academy Daily because I know the struggle is real. I've also got a FREE editorial calendar template printable for you in the Fempire Academy Public Library. Take advantage and plan ahead! 

 

Expectation: I'll Get 10k Visitors in No Time

Reality: you should prioritize marketing over more blogging

In the early days, I'd spend all of my time writing post after post after post, hoping to generate enough posts to draw in big traffic numbers. But what I didn't realize then was that I was doing it wrong – more specifically, backwards. 

Lesson: Spend more time marketing your content than you do creating it. If you want meaningful growth for your blog, you're going to need to spend more time getting quality eyeballs on your content. That means, spending most of your time seeding it in Facebook groups, pushing it out on Twitter and Instagram, answering questions and adding meaningful comments to other posts, starting a conversation around it on Instagram. I'd say 20% of your time should be spent creating the content, while 80% of your time should be spent marketing it.

This lesson is especially hard to wrap your head around when you've got a creative block since you could spend all of your designated blogging time trying to come up with an idea in the first place. That's why lesson three above is so important — planning ahead, knowing what you're blogging about, and treating your blog like a business will keep you focused and productive. 

 

Want to know how I keep the idea train moving at full speed? Check out the Fempire Academy Daily — a daily blog post idea email plus a weekly, monthly, and quarterly planning and productivity email that will help you take your blog to the next level — more traffic, bigger audience, brand interest, and more.

Sign up today and get inspired!