Top tips for new bloggers (what experienced bloggers wish they knew)
Have you ever wanted to know what successful bloggers would have done differently if they could back and start all over? Well, I’ve invited 6 successful bloggers to share with you what they wish they’d known before they started blogging.
Resources and Guests mentioned in this post:
Chrissy – Ministering Printables
Crystalee – The Mama Ladder, High Five Grant
Camille – Camille’s Primary Ideas
Janet – Utah Bloggers Connect, Newspaper Mom, Clean Freak & Germaphobe
Kim – Life’s Journey to Perfection
Maria – MeckMom
If you’re ready to get started with your website, check out all the tools I recommend after years of trial and error.
Getting started in the online business world is…well, it’s a lot. And there are so many pieces to figure out: tech, social media, setting up an online shop, creating products and so much more.
I thought it would be helpful to hear from some amazing women who have built their online business with light and goodness. They have some great tips to share with you.
Blogging is a business
First up is Chrissy, from Ministering Printables. I’ve known Chrissy for a few years. We met at a blogging conference a few years back and she quickly became one of my favorite bloggers because she truly cares about her audience and those that follow her. She cares about the one and sincerely wants to help people.
Her website is MinisteringPrintables.com and she creates printables for Latter-Day Saint women because she believes that printables can make teaching, leading and ministering easier and more fun. She can actually teach you how to make your own printables, too. Make sure you check out her website.
Here is what Chrissy says is one thing she wished she would have known when she started blogging.
CHRISSY: The one thing I wish I would have known when I started blogging is that blogging is a business. When I started blogging back in 2016 I really wanted to be known as the blogger who was very generous, and I just gave everything away for free. I knew that a blog was taking away tons of time from my family and I was not getting compensated for it, but I wasn’t sure how to get compensated.
I was so afraid of selling, afraid that I was going to be known as a cop-out, especially since I was selling Latter-day Saint printables to a faith audience. It really scared me because I wanted to be known as giving and kind.
What I didn’t realize is that I wasn’t having the impact that I could have had because the reality is we don’t appreciate what we don’t pay for. When we don’t have any skin in the game, we are not committed. I mean, how many free downloads have you downloaded and never even opened or ever used?
If you’re going to buy a download, you’re going to open it and you’re going to read it or you’re going to use it, you’re going to consume it. And if it is a good download, it is going to be transformational. It’s going to change you. Once I started charging for my printables, not only was I making a difference for my family, but I could also give back more.
I was also in a position where I could help other people by hiring people and by hiring out jobs. But also, the people who bought from me, they were benefited as well. And in all my years of blogging to a faith community not once has someone called me out and told me that I was a cop-out.
Now, that has happened to some of my friends. I’m not naive enough to think that it won’t ever happen to me, but even if people call me out on my journey, I won’t let it stop me because the people who are the most thankful for my work are the people who have paid for my work and I am most memorable to the people who have paid for my work.
So I would tell young, blogging Chrissy, don’t be afraid to sell. You can sell in a way that is not slimy, that doesn’t feel sales-y. In a way that is a blessing to the person who receives it. That is what I would tell my younger self.
And Misty, I just listened to your course on mindset one and I felt like you hit it spot on.
Focus on what matters most
The other thing that I wish I would’ve known back when I first started is to not worry so much about the things that aren’t that important. When picking brand colors, it doesn’t really matter if I pick teal, pink and yellow or if I pick yellow, blue and green. Right?
I think what held me back so much in the beginning was I waited so long to make decisions and I felt like the decisions were so important, when really you can go back and change anything on the internet and you can go back and make changes and rebrand.
I have changed so many things over the years, but you just have to stop ruminating at some point and just jump in and start making good content and that great content will speak to your audience.
I let so many things hold me back in the beginning that really I look back and I think, that doesn’t really matter. I should have been creating really good content or honing in my skills at that point instead of just ruminating over things that were easy to change later.
The other thing I would’ve told myself is to realize that the average audience member or subscriber sticks around for about 18 months, so I can reuse old content and I needed to understand that my audience will shift and change over time. When I have people who leave me or don’t come back to visit my site, that’s okay because I don’t go back and necessarily visit all the sites that I subscribed to two years ago. Right?
Our audience has changed and shifted, and that’s normal and that’s part of the process. Don’t let that freak you out and just keep moving forward. Just make small steps every single day and you’ll get to where you want to be.
we need to get over the fear of charging for what we do
One of the ways in which I think we do that is changing our mindset about what it means to charge for something.
Yes, it will bless our lives. Absolutely. But when we understand and really accept that it also enables us to bless more people’s lives, I think that’s something that can help us to get over that fear.
Bloggers also really struggle with not really knowing what to expect from this whole endeavor. So I really appreciate that you pointed out that our audiences shift and change over time. In your situation, someone may follow you while they are teaching a primary class, and then they may no longer have need of your printables for a period of time.
In my situation, I can help new bloggers and once they’re up and running and doing great, they might not follow me any longer and that is okay. When we understand that we need to expect that, then we don’t fear it and we don’t freak out when it happens.
One of my favorite sayings is that done is better than perfect. This is probably the number one thing I have struggled with as a blogger is to be okay with things not being perfect because when things are done, they’re out there and they help people. And when they’re not done, they don’t.
Alright, you can find Chrissy at Ministering Printables. She’s got things you can print out and use right away or she can teach you how to make your own printables.
Crystalee – The Mama Ladder
Our next guest is Crystalee and she runs the website The Mama Ladder. Now, I don’t know Crystalee very well, but when I found her website, I was incredibly impressed by something called the High Five Grant for moms. She actually gives away thousands of dollars every year to mom entrepreneurs and with my
own mission of wanting to help mom entrepreneurs, I knew that she was someone I would want to get to know better.
I’m really grateful that she has taken the time to share a tip with us here. Once again, she runs the website The Mama Ladder, where she serves women at the intersection of motherhood and entrepreneurship. She’s extremely passionate about supporting mom business owners. Crystalee, what do you wish you had known before you started blogging?
Blogging is a skill
Crystalee: What I wish that I knew before blogging, first go back nine years ago, 2011 I started my first public blog Delighted to Write. I was really just doing it for fun. I had no idea how to monetize it. Now, fast forward nine years, and I own two companies and one of them is a copywriting business. I have a team of writers at Comma copywriters and we do a lot of corporate blogging. We write for companies and we go straight for executives and CEOs and help them build their thought leadership.
So when I think back to what I wish I knew before I started blogging, I wish I would’ve known what a valuable skillset that blogging was and that it’s totally worth being paid for.
I coach mom entrepreneurs and I teach them that a blog or a podcast is one of the tools you have in your marketing toolkit. It’s a way to reach an audience as a way to build trust with them. It’s a way to provide value. And it’s also a way to help people be aware of you and aware of the services or products that you offer.
I wish I would’ve known how valuable the skill is to be able to blog and how to monetize it and that it’s possible. So if you are currently blogging and you want to make money from your blog, you absolutely can.
Thank you, Crystalee. I could not agree more. Blogging is absolutely worth being paid for and it is a skill that is essential and valuable. Thank you so much for your time. If you are a mom entrepreneur, make sure that you check out Crystalee’s website, which is The Mama Ladder.
Camille – Camille’s Primary Ideas
Alright, our next guest is Camille from Camille’s Primary Ideas, and I have
to say I am a little bit starstruck that Camille is here on my podcast. I have not known Camille personally for very long, maybe six months or so, but I have followed her for a very long time.
She teaches primary singing time leaders how to be effective, and she has thousands of ideas. Her website’s been around forever and she has top-notch content, helping primary singing time leaders be effective teachers of the gospel. It was really exciting to actually meet her in person a few months back, and I can’t wait for you to hear her simple, but important tip. Camille, what is one thing you wish you knew before you started blogging?
WordPress is an essential blogging tool
Camille: The one thing that I wish that I had known about blogging before I started was WordPress. I started on Blogger because that’s all I knew. And 10 years later I have this huge website on Blogger and I had to transfer it over to WordPress eventually. I knew that was going be a headache. And it was.
If I just started on WordPress from the get-go, I think I would have been leaps and bounds ahead of where I am now. So, yeah, I wish I had just known about WordPress and a little more how it worked when I first started blogging.
Misty: Thank you Camille. I actually started my very first website on Blogger as well, and I moved over to WordPress. It definitely wasn’t as painful and difficult as your recent move was. To anyone out there who has not yet started a blog or is a new blogger move over to WordPress as soon as you can. It is a fantastic platform that gives you an enormous amount of control over anything and everything on your website.
Friends, if you are a singing time leader or if you know one, which you do if you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, make sure you check out Camille’s website. She has the best ideas for primary singing time leaders. That website is Camille’s Primary Ideas.
Janet – Clean Freak & Germaphobe
MISTY: Our next guest is Janet. I know Janet because she owns and runs the admin for a fantastic Facebook group called Utah Bloggers Connect. I’ve been a part of that group for a few years, and she does a great job there.
In addition, she runs the website Newspaper Mom and the YouTube channel Clean Freak & Germaphobe. She is a huge advocate for other bloggers and I have been impressed with her efforts to help and support them inside of her Facebook group.
Janet has been an author and a blogger for some time and a while back she was asked to consult for a mattress company and she eventually found a passion around sleep and mattresses. She has proven that you can still make money, even if you don’t have huge numbers, with affiliate marketing. Janet what do you wish you knew before you started blogging?
How to make $$ with affiliate marketing
Janet: The one thing that I wish I knew sooner is how to make money blogging. I was afraid to do it, so it took me some time. I started blogging as a passion because I love to write. I was really focused on that passion, but you need to find something that you’re passionate about, that you have an interest in, that you can sustain, but that can make you money.
For years, I just wrote about whatever I was interested in and I’m kind of ADD, so that was a lot of different things. But then a mattress company hired me to do some consulting. The product sold really well and that turned me on to this industry that I’ve totally loved.
Over time, it’s become most of my income. I didn’t find my niche for several years, but now I love it and I created a blog post about it: mattresses and sleep products. I’ve been blogging for many years and I don’t have the biggest numbers, but I probably make more than other people with the numbers that I have.
In the beginning, people hired me to consult or to do a job because they saw my blog posts and they trusted me and wanted to hire me. But over time I’ve wanted to switch from doing consulting jobs to having passive income with affiliate marketing. So I recommend something, somebody clicks a link and they buy something and I make a percentage because I use an affiliate link.
Here are some quick tips:
- I wish I used video sooner. I usually start out with a video and put it on YouTube. And here’s why – on a blog, you don’t get paid for ads unless you have massive amounts of traffic. But on YouTube, once you get approved for ads, you can make money every time someone views that video. I really loved that. And then I use a script that I wrote for my video to make a blog post out of that or I use rev.com – they’ll take whatever you said in the video and give you back the text and it takes like five minutes.
- I wish I knew about Pretty Links sooner. That’s a WordPress plugin. The free version is just great. Instead of this long, ugly affiliate URL that you get from Amazon or other affiliate programs, it makes it nice. It’s just your domain forward-slash whatever word or words that you put in there. So for example, I know that my affiliate link for purple mattress, which is my favorite mattress, is newspapermom.com/purple. That makes it super easy to remember and to share.
Don’t be afraid to let blogging be your main income. Good luck in your blogging journey. And thanks for listening.
Misty: Thank you Janet. That was jam-packed with some great advice – niche down. Janet got really successful when she focused on just mattresses and sleep. I know it seems counterintuitive but Janet is absolutely right that when you niche down, you will find more success.
I also love that she mentioned repurposing content. So you create a video for YouTube, and then you have that video transcribed and you now have a blog post. Sometimes we feel like it is extremely difficult to be successful online because we feel like we have to be all the different places at once, but what Janet is teaching here is that you can be in multiple places at once with very little additional work.
And last, affiliate marketing is a favorite of mine. My first website became successful based on affiliate marketing, for the first few years. It is an easy way to get started and you don’t have to create your own product. You can simply recommend someone else’s product. Make sure that the products you recommend are ones that you personally use and love and you will be successful.
Kim – Life’s Journey to Perfection
MISTY: Our next guest is Kim. I first met Kim when I reached out to her about an e-course I was creating. She then did all she could to help me promote and sell that e-course. I actually met her in person shortly thereafter and have been impressed with her confidence and her mission.
Her passion is sharing ideas and resources to help individuals and families come closer to Christ and then to help each other on our journey of life. Her website is Life’s Journey to Perfection. All right Kim, what do you wish you had known before you started blogging?
Know your why
Kim: Something I wish I had known before I started blogging, and maybe some advice to anyone thinking about blogging or new to blogging, would be to share what you’re passionate about and to come up with a why – like a reason of why you are doing what you’re doing. Why are you blogging? When we understand what our why is, it is going to help us stay focused and it’s going to help us overcome any discouragements that we may get along the way. It will help us avoid comparisons with others, and it’s going to help us from getting burned out.
It is easy to get caught up in the numbers, but I have realized throughout the years that I have been blogging that it really isn’t about the numbers. It’s about the person and it’s about connection. If I can help just one person, then my time and efforts are so worth it. I hope that this little bit of advice is helpful and best wishes to you.
Misty: Thanks, Kim. Having a purpose beyond making money is essential to see true success as a blogger. We have to remember that the people on the other side of all those numbers are actual people. You have human beings with needs that we are hoping to meet and when we know exactly what it is, we want to help them.
When we know what our why is, as Kim put it, we are more successful. One of the important lessons I’ve learned is that there are some numbers that are simply vanity numbers. You might get a whole bunch of likes on a social media post, but if you weren’t actually changing someone’s life and helping them to grow and be better, then those numbers really don’t mean anything.
I appreciate your perspective, Kim. For all of you who would like to learn more from Kim and about her mission to bring others closer to Christ on
this journey of life. You can visit her website Life’s Journey to Perfection.
Maria – MeckMom
MISTY: Our next guest is my friend, Maria. She is another wonderful blogger that I have met in real life. She is fun and happy. In fact, her website MECK Mom, is all about helping you to be the fun mom. She does this in a way that does not complicate your life and make it harder.
She’s a regular guest on KSL Studio 5, where she shares some incredible mom hacks. My very favorite of hers, that we use, is to use a balloon as a flexible lid on top of all those really annoying little ponytail holders, and then to use a seam ripper to get them out. She is full of these types of ideas. I have no idea how she continues to come up with them. If you want to check out more of those, check out her website Meck Mom. All right, Maria, what is something you wish you knew before you started blogging?
Collaboration helps your blog grow
Maria: One of the things I wish I’d known before I started blogging almost 15 years ago is that the best way to grow is to collaborate. But for people to want to collaborate with you, you have to have a niche that stands out.
I like to think of it kind of like a sports team. I played volleyball all growing up and I was a setter, and the better I got at being a setter, the more people wanted me on their team. I didn’t have all-around skills in every area, but I was really good at this one spot.
What I’ve found is, in the blogging world, if you have a specialty or a niche (mine is all about being the fun mom and mom hacks) it’s really easy to dovetail with other bloggers, with other influencers, because they can find ways that your two skills can work in harmony with each other.
I have found that one of my best strategies is to seek out people who have slightly different skills than me, rather than people who are also into mom hacking and fun mom stuff. I search for people who are in that area of helping moms but focus on a different spot. I find that when we collaborate together, we are a more powerful force.
If you just find your niche and you then make an effort to highlight other people’s specialties, especially those that complement yours, then opportunities to collaborate are more natural and they have a more lasting impact. That has made a huge difference in both the growth of my brand and also just the enjoyment that I get out of working with it.
I find being able to work with other women who are in that same zone as me, but who have different skills and specialties, is so rewarding. I wish I’d known that earlier. I wish I had done it faster so that I could have been reaping the rewards of that all this time. I hope that helps.
Misty: Yes, very helpful Maria. Thank you so much for your time being here today. I think one thing that panics new bloggers, and if I’m honest even myself still with years of experience, it is hard when you’re in a space and you see somebody who’s doing the same thing that you’re doing or something similar, it can freak you out and you think, “oh my goodness, I’m never going to be successful because this person is already doing exactly what I’m trying to do.” But that’s not true.
We all have our unique gifts and talents, and when we can embrace those and truly embrace what our own niche is, then we’re able to collaborate with those women and lift and help each other instead. Thank you again for your time, Maria. Remember you can check out Maria’s website at MECK Mom.
I hope these tips are helpful. No one does it perfectly, not the first time and not with years of experience. But, it really benefits you to take advice from those who have gone before so you don’t have to make the same mistakes.
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This post originally aired as an episode of The Goodness Squad podcast. New episodes are no longer being recorded, but you can still listen to past episodes on your favorite podcast app.
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