You know that saying “everyone has a novel in them”? Well, in today’s digital world, I believe everyone has a blog in them.
Gone are the days when blogging was a hobby of nerds. Nowadays blogging is a lucrative industry for brands, creatives and just about anybody with an idea and a laptop. I often receive messages from people asking how to start a successful blog in 2020 or telling me they feel called to write but they don’t know how to start. Today I’m sharing this post to provide all the depth an Instagram DM can’t. Sorry Instagram. It’s not me, it’s you.
If you’re wondering how to start a successful blog in 2020 keep reading for those all important secrets that will give you the jumpstart you’re looking for. But before we dive in let’s talk a little bit about what success actually means.
For everyone it will be different and it’s likely as your blog grows your definition of success will stretch and change. Remember while it’s encouraging to set goals everything is a process and takes time. So that being said grab a cuppa, get yourself cosied up and let’s start at the beginning.
We’re about to get real deep – I’m talking sell outs, monetising and just sharing the TRUTH. Because that’s what we’re all here for, right?
What are your motivations for starting a blog? I don’t just mean the desire to make money or the desire to be heard. What are your true motivations? What drives you? If you’re stuck on this ask yourself why five times and drill down to the root of your answer.
You’ll hear a lot of people saying don’t start a blog if you have the intention of doing it for money. I disagree and here’s why.
I think starting a blog only for money with no value to share with potential readers is where the problems start to arise. If you have a subject you’re passionate about or a problem you believe you can solve then I see no issue in monetising. Isn’t that the basis for every business that was ever made – why should blogging be any different? A girls gotta eat.
You wanna know how to start a successful blog in 2020? There are two non-negotiable assets you must have as a writer.
One is your skill and your ability to craft content and tell a story in a way that no one else can. Even as a brand new blogger. I believe everybody has a unique way of being able to deliver a message – it’s just about finding your feet and getting a feel for what that is.
I read some of my first blog posts and I absolutely cringe. But you know what? I’m glad I do because it shows just how far I’ve come. No doubt in another five years I’ll look back at what I’ve written today and feel the same.
Second is your integrity. It is crucial for your success because without trust you have nothing. There will be times when your integrity is tested and you have to choose between the paycheck and being honest with yourself and your readers. It can be hard, but it is always a choice.
While we’re on the topic of being honest have there been times when I have compromised my own integrity? In the beginning – yes. Because I was naive and I didn’t know better. Looking back I’m glad I made those lapses in judgment as it made me crystal clear on what I don’t want to promote going forward. If an offer lands in my inbox and isn’t a hell yes it just isn’t worth it.
Okay so you’ve decided your motivations for blogging and come up with a topic/s you’d like to write about. Now what? Now young padawan you must choose the platform where your blog is going to live for the foreseeable future. But before we dive into that there’s something you need to hear. I know setting up your blog on a new platform can seem scary and the easy option seems to be just setting it up on Instagram or Facebook. Please don’t do it!
Facebook and Instagram
Whilst it is entirely feasible, there’s one major flaw. You don’t own Facebook or Instagram. Knowing what we know about the longevity of social media platforms – a moments silence for Bebo, Myspace and Vine and countless others – it’s not sensible to put all your blogging eggs in one basket. No matter how appealing, or well woven that basket may seem. Social media is that flakey boy who may or may not text you back.
You know how it goes. Things are going well. You’re moving in the right direction. Then boom all of a sudden he disappears into the witness protection programme never to be seen or heard from again. By creating your blog and self-hosting you are in charge of all that creative gold you have come up with. You have tech support and backups. Should something happen to the platform you’re using you can just pick up your blog and move it to another platform. Unfortunately, on Facebook an Instagram once it’s gone it’s gone.
Blogger and WordPress
There are hundreds of platforms out there and I don’t want to overwhelm you with choices so I’m just going to tell you about the big two. Blogger and WordPress. I’ve used both and love both. Here are the differences. Blogger is incredibly easy to set up. It’s where I started and honestly, I would’ve been happy staying there. Now I’m self hosted with WordPress. This means WordPress is the platform I use but I own my site through Siteground.
Self hosting gives your blog a lot more capabilities like being able to place ads and round the clock tech support. However, you do have to part with some dolla bills. I’d recommend WordPress as a platform as in my opinion it’s more professional. Also, you can add loads of handy plugins that will make things easier for you and prettier for your viewers.
If you can’t afford the paid version starting with the free version is perfectly fine. Don’t feel pressured to buy loads of things before you’re ready.
The best advice I can give you is just to start. Read everything. Ask other bloggers for advice. Listen to podcasts. Find inspiration in the every day. Collaborate with others. Build and engage in communities.
Speaking of communities *shameless self-plug* I’ve recently started a Facebook support group for female bloggers with an interest in personal development and blog/social media growth. It’s the support group I wish existed when I first started. The group hosts an incredible community of new and seasoned bloggers alike who all have unique perspectives to share. If you’re looking to interact with other bloggers and ask questions I’d highly recommend joining. I often do live videos in there as well so yay for real time answers to problems!
Another Facebook group I absolutely love is the Write Better, Blog Better: Writing Support Group for Bloggers, which offers practical writing advice and tips. Rigel is an absolute powerhouse and always has well thought out responses to writing queries. No matter how long you’ve been writing it’s wise to continually look for ways to improve.
I’m going to give it to you straight. I started blogging six years ago and back then things sort of had a romantic haze. Allow me to set the scene. Blogging was still the new thing. It wasn’t difficult to build communities. Connecting with brands was a breeze. Instagram didn’t exist yet and influencers were just beginning to make their mark.
Today customers prefer to connect with real people over empty advertisements and promises. We’re desperate for something real. In 2020 bloggers and influencers are recognised for their $$$ potential in what is now a BILLION dollar industry. As a result, the scene has become saturated. Now, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to make money. But it is harder and that’s the truth.
Continuing on with the full transparency when I started my blog I never dreamed of making a career out of it. It really was a now and then kind of hobby. Over the last six months I’ve realised I’m incredibly passionate about writing and I know I have a lot of value to share.
I also realised looking around at all the top bloggers there were few people who looked like me. While I have nothing against beautiful, able-bodied blondes in their twenties, I think this year it’s time for a bit of a shakeup. I think we’re ready for some diversity. Wouldn’t you agree?
So if you want to know how to start a successful blog here’s what you need to remember. There are hundreds of thousands who have been before you. They may be more skilled than you. They may even be more beautiful than you. But here’s what they don’t have. They don’t have your passion and your fire. And they don’t have whatever makes you, well, you.
Ask yourself how can I shake things up? How can my content provide massive value to my audience?
Never ever compromise that authentic spark or shy away from your truth.
That is what will keep people reading, keep people coming back and keep this industry interesting.
The Truth About Blogging
If you’ve ever worried that you have nothing to write about this piece of advice is for you. If people can invest weeks of their life watching Love Island, they can spend ten minutes reading what you have to say. You’re more interesting than you think. I see so many people try to copy the styles of other bloggers and honestly it just doesn’t work. Stick to your unique voice. The followers will come.
Starting a successful blog in 2020 is a lot of hard work between promoting and creating content. You take on so many different hats – social media manager, content creator, web designer to name a few. That being said – it is worth it. You become so proud of what you’ve created and you love it not despite all the work you’ve put into it, but because of it.
I want to end on this note. Anything for the first time is scary. It takes practice and finding your feet. But somewhere out there there’s a girl shaving her eyebrows and applying painstaking amounts of light blue eyeshadow that needs your beauty advice. If you could save her from that terrible fate – wouldn’t you?
Whatever it is that’s holding you back from getting started – just know this.
There is a least one person out there who’s life you can impact by sharing your stories.
What about you guys? What’s the one thing that’s holding you back/held you back from starting a blog?
Let me know in the comments!
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