It is super easy to start a blog here on WordPress. It takes under 30minutes and you are proudly a blog owner and excitedly typing your first blog post. Except you are like me then it will take you a week to come up with one.
After publishing your first post, you’ll feel a sense of purpose and 100 ideas will pop up in your head. You’ll see all the possibilities of blogging and may even envision yourself by the pool in Linda Ikeji’s mansion with an umbrella in your drink. However, I’ll like to share my experience with you so you know what to expect and what to do to avoid making the mistakes I made.
1.) Nobody Is Waiting To Read Your ‘Brilliant Post’.
This is one is pretty serious. No one is looking out for your work because let’s face it, no one knows you. Here in the blogosphere, most people won’t see you untill you get off your high horse and read someone’s post, like it, drop a thoughtful comment or follow. You can even leave your link underneath your comment and ask the blogger to check out your blog. Recognise that you are a freshman and embrace it.
2.) Social Media Is The Shit.
You’ll be making a huge mistake if you feel everyone knows you are blogging. Always assume they do not know and never get tired of posting your link– this is where publicise comes in; publicise automatically posts for you on social media when ever you publish a post on your blog while you chill and do other important things
like not doing anything.
Understand that people may have to see you talking about your blog on social media for months before they actually click through to read a post–I know because before I started my blog I always procrastinated checking those blog links even when I saw them all the time-I finally did.
For Instagram and especially twitter, I recommend using hash tags relevant to the particular post you published. It puts your post more out there. I found this one only recently.
I did not start a Facebook page for my blog untill recently . I have almost 5,000 friends on my private facebook account and a little over 100 likes on my blog’s facebook page. I noticed that my posts that I share from my page to my private account get atleast 200 more views.
So if you have a large friends list you might want to share your page more often. Boosting your post on Facebook is another way of getting more people to see it as you can see from the stats of the last post I boosted. And I did that with less than #500 (less than $2)
3.) Choose quality over quantity – ALWAYS.
Putting up one or two quality posts a week or in a month is so much better than putting up a crappy post everyday. Publishing a post everyday has it’s merits and demerits. Merits are; it gets you more views, visits etc. But, you don’t want people cancelling their subscription because you have crowded their emails with your notifications.
When making a blog post, understand that Google ranks a post with more content higher. It ranks it lower if it appears shallow. So never feel like your post is too lengthy.
Most people myself included, skim a blog’s content before reading and pass a quick judgement as to whether is is worth reading or not. I know that it is not a nice thing to do because the judgement might be wrong.
Regardless, I reckon you take this advice from a skimmer–Use subheads, many paragraphs, bullets and whatever extra thing you think can make your post easy to read and grasps.
Finally, a call to action is important. If you want an active comment section, you should make room for your readers to share their thoughts–Even if you are only asking if they’ll like to read more posts in that category in future.
4.) You can’t please everyone so don’t even bother trying.
Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing new under the sun so whatever you think about writing is already out there. On that note, I advice you bring your own unique voice and perspective to whatever topic you choose.
Bear in mind that some people are never going to like your writing style. Your diction might not be up to standard or your diction might be too serious for what you are writing about. Regardless, do whatever works for you. If swear words are your thing, then you should
fucking use them. Some people will love reading your blog just because of that.
5.) Don’t sweat the typos- Everyone makes them.
Have you read my post titled: “Oh flawed blogger, I know how you feel? Well, get to it. You should also read the comments on that post just so you know you are not alone. Everyone makes typographical errors so don’t let that stop you. It is not a press release. However, if it will make you feel better, grammarly can do the job for you.
6.) Blogging Is Hard
Blogging is not something you should be dragged into, screaming and kicking. You have to voluntarily want to do it and put in the hard work.
It is not a walk in the park. It is hard especially for a professor in procrastination like me. Leave your blog for a week without notice and when you come back, the world has moved on without you. Consistency is key.
Some accomplished bloggers today, started and failed atleast twice at blogging before getting it right. So if you fail, try again and again and again until you succeed.
7.) Chill out! The writer’s block is totally normal.
The writer’s block is what happens when you are unable to think of what to write or proceed with writing something even when the ideas may be in your head. Anticipate it and remember you are not the only one. Even great writers experience it too.
I did a post on how to stay relevant while having the writer’s block in three easy steps. You should check it out.
8.) Blogging is not a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme.
I have been blogging for some months now and not made a single kobo out of it. I am still running the free plan and it works for me because this is a hobby
Understand that these things take time and the money will
not come like a mighty rushing wind. So if money is your sole motivation for blogging, you’ll have to think again or I will make fun of you.
9.) Choosing between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is a big decision for broke nigerian bloggers.
I already mentioned that I am still running the free plan but I am looking to monetize in the near future so I tried to find out about monetization and which plan works better. I researched a little and made my findings.
Two options appealed to me and I will mention them and briefly highlight their merits and demerits;
- Upgrade to the WordPress business plan
For the WordPress business plan, it runs at almost $300 per annum which may be ice cream money for a blogger in a dollar using country, but for a broke nigerian blogger with an exchange rate of #365 to $1 you know that means almost #110,000 every year. See why atleast 95% of nigerian WordPress bloggers self host?
I love love love the WordPress business plan for many reasons, too many to list out. (you may like the premium plan but only the business plan is a fit for me because I am crazy about plugins).
Apart from the fact that I feel more comfortable dealing directly with the people that run things, I also enjoy all the help support offers because I am a lazy person. But I am broke😭😭
My second choice is self hosting. To self host I need to pay for the hosting services and a domain name and it costs about #20,000 ($54.79) on the high side. Great news, right?
I am just a little bothered about all those tech stuff like the server is down, the system got hacked, this and that etc.
In all, self hosting is much cheaper than the WordPress business plan and the icing on the cake is that the payment is only for the first year. According to what I have gathered, you pay less from the second year.
To know more about what it takes financially READ THIS
10.) Make new friends in the comment section.
Only under 10% of your readers will engage you in the comment section on your blog, so when someone takes out time to read your blog and comments’, always reply– Even if it is just to thank them for their feedback or like the comment.
Do not ignore because it counts against you. There’ll be no need starting a blog and connecting with only people you know. You should have simply started a whatsapp group to tell your stories. Break out of your shell!
11.) Descriptive titles are lit!
Just from the title of your blog I know if I want to read through or if I’ll pass. So far, I have noticed that my posts with descriptive titles have higher views and visits than my posts with none descriptive titles.
Let your titles be specific, clear and point out the benefits of reading it to the reader. Everyone wants to know if your post is worth their time and most people always have the question- “what is in it for me” at the back of their minds. Tell them. I’m not talking about fake click bait. Let it be exactly what your title says it is.
You would agree with me that on social media platforms like twitter, only the post title shows up and sometimes the featured image. So just from the descriptive title and/or featured image, a reader may click to read.
12.) Support actually helps out a lot!
When I newly started my blog, I never asked support anything. I felt like they’ll be too busy to reply me so I had to figure out pretty much everything I know now by myself. Thankfully, I gave it a shot oneday and they promptly replied.
The FAQs on support covers every topic and you can always ask questions and receive timely answers as many times as you want.
13.) Maintaining Relationships Matters.
I make time to check out blog posts of those that comment regularly on my blog as often as possible, even when I don’t see their new post on my reader. I search to see any new posts I might have missed because reciprocating matters. You have to give too.
14.) You don’t need to own a dope camera to get dope pictures.
When I staterted blogging initially, getting good photos was always a struggle. I settled for googled pictures, and edited them with Cymera and most of the good ones weren’t free. Untill I found Canva, Unsplash and Visual hunt. So now I just worry about taking good photos of myself. Airbrush and VSCO are great for editing too.
- Canva has some free pictures for broke bloggers like me and some for a very little fee.
- Unsplash gives every single high quality photo for free from the world’s most generous community of photographers!
- I recently found Visualhunt
- I use Giphy for all my gifs.
All the apps are available for download on play store.
15.) You don’t need to have a niche before you start your blog.
The big guns say you need a niche to be more professional but I do not agree. You may have a niche from the beginning and you might not have a niche. Not having a niche doesn’t make you any less of a good blogger so I advice you give yourself permission to be your own kind of blogger. You are just a newborn in the blogosphere and you’ll need time to grow and choose your
occupation niche or not. Test the waters and continue to reinvent yourself until you are your best version.
16.) Using your personal email as your blog email is a very wrong move!
Don’t do it! I did and I regretted it every day. I got so many emails that I couldn’t keep up with reading. My main heartache was it was the same email on my CV so I was worried about getting an interview invite and never seeing it or readers contacting me and me not getting to read it untill 3018. Thankfully, with directions from support, I changed it. Phew.
Note: Try to check your email more often. It pilled up this much because it takes weeks before I look at my mail box which is not a nice thing to do. I have repented. I promise.☺
17.) Celebrate your little wins because growing your audience will take time.
An occassional pat on the back is healthy for you. Like my mum would say;
The agama lizard doesn’t wait for you to praise it after falling down from the top of an iroko tree, it raises it’s shoulders in pride and nods.
Okay. Maybe this was a wrong proverb to use because my mum has never seen an agama lizard descending an iroko tree and all lizards nod every chance they get.
However, tooting your horn every once in a while isn’t a bad thing. It takes a lot of hardwork, patience and consistency to get to be the blogger of your dreams.
18.) Google is your friend.
In other not to be called out for passing wrong information, you’ll have to do a lot of research to get your facts right. Your relationship with Google will wax stronger and you may sometimes need to link your google source so they take all the blame😉
19.) Mentioning other blogs actually helps you too.
I noticed that whenever I search a blog on my reader, the blog and all other blogs that have mentioned it, pop up. Most times, after achieving my aim on the blog, I check out the other blogs.
If you can bring yourself to do this, it is a three-way win; for your readers, for yourself and for the blogs you send traffic to.
20.) Grab ALL opportunities to share your link.
I’ll recommend 3 ways for you to do this:
B.) The daily post has provided 2 avenues for bloggers to grow their audiences(the friday / community pool). The first friday is for first time bloggers held every first friday of a month, while the community pool which holds on most mondays is for all bloggers to connect with each other and learn from each other. The daily post also puts up word prompts to help bloggers get inspired and create content on a daily basis-ALL bloggers can participate in the community pool and daily word prompt by looking up and helping out new bloggers in the first friday post. And in the process make new friends.
C.) The blogger award nomination: Some blogs are awards free and you can choose to tread that path too. However, in my experience, participating in the blogger award nominations puts your blog out there. You’ll be doing number 19 with very little effort and it is a great way to connect with your readers. You’ll be surprised the nice things people have to say about your blog.
21.) Do not follow too many people at once.
When I started newly, I set out one day to search, read and follow blogs I liked. I followed God-knows-how-many blogs within a couple of hours and faced some consequences. My reader got suffocated I was banned from following more people and had to write to support to lift the ban.
It was a very wrong move- Rome wasnt built in a day.
22.) Don’t expect a follow back or a like just because you followed a blog or liked a post.
I recently noticed that I do not follow some bloggers who follow me and like my posts religiously. Likes are great but comments are way better and get all my attention.
Albeit, once in a while, I visit the blogs of people who recently liked my post and more often than not, I find a couple of really nice blogs, I ask myself how on earth I am not following such awesome blogs and literally spend hours on those blogs going back to read posts from early 2017 and sometimes 2016.
Imagine if those bloggers had unfollowed me because I did not follow back. It is like that for many bloggers. Blogging isn’t a #follow4follow #like4like #shoutoutforshoutout zone.
Try not to bombard a blog with 20 likes in 10seconds because it is already obvious you want attention and did not bother reading anything. Most bloggers will not give you that attention and will see you as a spammer. Liking a post or two (that you actually read and enjoyed) and maybe leaving a comment is way more effective.
Bonus info: I WILL BE SELF-HOSTING THE BLOG SOON.
Soon is next month😉
Please let me know in the comment section if you:
- Use any of these blogging tips.
- Found this post helpful
- Have any other blogging tips you can share in the comment section.
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