thoughts and strategies on entering the overwhelming blogging world and tips to make your passion into a budding business
How To Be A Successful Beginner Blogger
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So, I’ve been a real, live, official blogger for about 9 months now. Where in the world did that time go?!
If you really want to know, the time has been spent in the kitchen, on my laptop, behind my camera, wandering through the grocery store, on google ferociously looking up techy jargon like SEO, HTML, CSS, etc., scribbling in my notebook, washing endless dishes, drying frustrated and defeated tears off of my smeary face, and celebrating some gigantic personal milestones.
Creating a blog and launching your own business is a roller coaster, to say the least. As I come closer to completing my first year, I find myself growing less confused, less overwhelmed and less alone. I’m new, and some may argue this, but I don’t really consider myself a total beginner anymore.
I’ve been toying with the idea of writing this post for you for the past few months. I normally write all about food. Miss Allie’s Kitchen is ALL ABOUT THE FOOD, amirite? I never ever thought that I would be providing resources for other bloggers, but here I am. A few have asked how I’ve been doing it, and I’m here to tell all.
I want to share with you the ways that I beat blogger overwhelm in the beginning, and share some of the tools and mindsets that I used to be successful. Success is a relative term, I know. If your definition of success means that you’ll be making six figures through passive, online income, then we may have different definitions. To me, success means that I have 1) not thrown in the towel 2) improved my content and knowledge of the industry 3) made some seriously good eats 4) earned a few bucks through blogging 5) connected with so many readers and community members and built lasting relationships.
If any of those five things that I’ve listed resonate with you, keep reading. I want to help, I want to be there, and if you think you have a passion worth sharing, DO IT. And I’ll be over here, cheering you on. If you want to know HOW I achieved that success, I’ll share my biggest takeaways below.
Educate yourself – you may not be a pro, yet
I’m going to sound like your English Lit professor here, but how can you expect to accomplish something or write about it if you have no education on the subject? My guess is, your college major was not professional blogging (is this a thing, yet?). Yes, you may be a tech whiz, photography genius, culinary master, or your writing skills may match the caliber of Ernest Hemingway’s works, but I will bet you all of the money in my bank account (which ain’t much but whatevs) that you’re not good at ALL of these things. This is not meant to degrade or discourage, but we all need a healthy dose of reality, sometimes.
Getting yourself into educational programs, master classes, mentorships, and summits will be a gigantic game changer. The program that most influenced me, thus far, is Nicole Culver’s Food Entrepreneur Summit. It’s a compilation of videos and interviews that Nicole performs with bloggers, business coaches, legal specialists, goal setting geniuses, food stylists, brands, photographers, sponsorship experts, and SO MUCH MORE complete with interactive worksheets designed to help you learn and then IMPLEMENT the knowledge that you gain. Implementing this info is key, guys. I fully believe that the education I have received has helped me to spend a little less on outsourcing, DIY bigger portions of my blog and gain an all around understanding of the industry. And it is an industry, trust me.
If you’re into this, here’s the LINK. Even if this program isn’t the right fit for you, I can’t stress how important continual learning is. I’m a bull when it comes to doing things my way, but programs like this really help me learn how to achieve my goals in a realistic, and attainable way. There is a reason the speakers are professionals at this craft, and I drink up every bit of knowledge that I can. If you want truth – my page views have now quadrupled since I completed this course in January. Boom.
Work Hard, Work Smart – but learn your breaking point
If you want to grow your blog into some sort of business, you’re going to have to work very hard. You’ll learn to be a smart worker as you go; creating your own systems and workflow, and gaining knowledge, but it all starts with hard work and dedication. Kind of like how being healthy really boils down to eating plenty of veggies & moving your body. Easier said than done, but ultimately a simple concept. Even if I only give it 5 minutes one day, I’m working on this piece of internet real estate 7 days a week. I won’t sugar coat it.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I want you to figure out what your breaking point is, and take a step back from there. Some days, I need a break from Instagram. Others, I can’t look at Facebook, or look at one more photo, etc. Taking time to lead a balanced life is important and you need to respect your mind and body (P.S. I’m still working on this, too). BUT, if you can convince yourself to do just a small bit on those tough days, you’ll keep moving forward. If you’re having a particularly tough day, maybe send one email. Engage with one person on Instagram. Take a step back from there and pat yourself on the back for getting one thing done.
Let Other’s Work Inspire You – not intimidate you
Falling into the comparison trap is an extremely easy thing to do. You log onto social media, see a blogger friend working with an awesome brand and all of a sudden you’re wondering why you even have a blog because you’ll never be THAT good. STOP RIGHT THERE, SISTER (or bother).
I find that an effective way to deal with comparison and intimidation is to take a closer look at the work I’m admiring. What do I like about it? The beautiful photo? The honest writing style? The layout of a web page? Then, I write down what I’m admiring and think about the small steps I can take to get my work to be of that caliber. I had to do this with photography. My photography was one of the poorest aspects of my blog when I started and I have no problem admitting that. I would log on to Instagram and just stare at the stunning photos and compare them to my inexperienced work. Instead of accepting that photography just wasn’t my thing, I started learning about my camera (the Food Entrepreneur Summit helped tremendously), practicing and slowly, they improved. I’ll let my work speak for it’self. Below is a photo from my first recipe on the blog and then a photo from the now. These are both taken with the same camera.
Figure Out Who You’re Writing To – and create for them with reckless abandon
We’re all so unique and we have different ways of reaching so many different people. I think that’s why there is room for everyone in the blogging industry. This point kind of goes along with my thoughts above in regards to the comparison trap: don’t get caught up in who everyone else is writing for, find out who you want to reach and take small steps to create content for THEM.
Say everyone you blog with is trying to reach a 28-year-old single girl who lives in the city, is a yogi, had a high-powered tech job and shops at Whole Food every day (which is awesome, BTW). BUT, you want to reach an older age bracket consisting of individuals who love to bake with butter, sugar and create lavish treats for their grandkids. That’s fantastic! Don’t feel the need to use every trendy food item in your recipes. Stick with what your reader likes. Find out where your audience goes to grab resources and hang out there. Share your content there. For example, I find that a lot of my readers spend a good bit of time on Facebook and they like the ease of clicking directly to a link. So, I make sure all of my content is easily accessible there, and I make sure to chat with them when I can on FB!
Join a Community – and embrace new relationships
We all need support and encouragement. This is a funky industry to be in because it has grown and changed so much over the last 10 years, so it’s tough to find helpful information and resources. Joining a community of like-minded bloggers has been such a huge game changer. They’re there to provide resources, cheer me on, give me advice, and are super helpful when I’m in a pickle. Actually, I found Nicole Culver, the creator of the Food Entrepreneur Summit, through one of my blogging communities.
When I started out, this is the piece of advice that I was given the most, and now I understand why!
Slow Growth is a Blessing – but they will come
Slow growth is something I’m grateful for because I wasn’t always interested in working 7 days a week. When I started, my burnout threshold was much lower than it is now. By burnout threshold, I mean the amount of time it took me to say “ENOUGH – I need a break”! I think this coincides with the fact that I now see that my work has purpose, and does gain traction, but in the beginning, it wasn’t that way and I got burnt out more easily.
Honestly, in the beginning, I didn’t have the knowledge to do the amount of work that I do now. My growth felt stagnant at times, but I was always learning. 3 months in, I wouldn’t have been able to balance freelance clients, chat with brands, engage with hundreds of Instagram followers, create content and work 8 hours a day. And that was the way things were supposed to happen.
When I started, the only people really reading my blog were my parents, Jared’s parents, and a few friends and family members. They still loved me when I crashed my own site multiple times, had crazy spelling errors on weekly emails and crummy photos. Does that sound like you? Oh, get ready, friend, those readers are coming. I promise.
Blogging is a profession that I’m passionate about, so when I say I’m here for you, I mean it. Send me an email, shoot me a note on Instagram if you feel alone. There’s room for everyone & we’re all in this blogging world together!
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