Blogging for beginners can be a daunting task. There’re more than 600 million blogs out there, so you can assume it’s already a very competitive arena.
And you want to stand out from the crowd.
So, you want to launch a blog …
- And then you Google it.
- And then you’ll find those blog posts with shiny titles such as “How to start a blog in 10 minutes”, or “How to start a blog in 10 easy steps.”
- And then you buy into.
When I started, I wanted to make sure that everything is properly laid out. I read three books written about blogging, listened to podcasts, consumed dozens of articles, completed ProBlogger’s Ultimate Guide to Start a Blog Course, and reached out to 5 influential bloggers from various niches to find out how to start a successful blog and what mistakes to avoid.
I was more than prepared. I was armed with the wisdom of my predecessors.
At least, I thought so …
And yet, upon launching my blog, I encountered multiple challenges that professional bloggers rarely talk about.
In this post, I want to share with you the challenges and pitfalls I faced as a new blogger.
Still want to start a blog? Read on this beginner guide to discover the 6 myths every new blogger should know.
Disclaimer: This post does not contain affiliate links.
Myth #1: Blogging is for everybody
Blogging for beginners isn’t easy. You have to create a solid writing habit to polish your writing skills and find your unique voice.
Blogging, therefore, is for those who are passionate about writing. If you don’t like writing or you don’t feel like writing a few hundred words each day, then probably blogging isn’t the best option for you.
If I were to summarize what blogging means to me, I’d put it like that:
- Blogging is the beauty of putting words together that stick.
- Blogging is a journey.
- Blogging is a passion.
- Blogging is sharing something valuable with the world.
- Blogging is fun.
- Blogging is pain.
Of course, there’s no need to take things to heart. If you want to start a blog just for fun or to improve your writing skills, just do it.
Before you begin, however, make sure that you don’t fall prey to those claiming that you have a properly functioning website in 10 minutes.
Myth #2: Launching a blog from scratch takes a few hours
There’re folks out there claiming that it takes 10 minutes to launch a blog as a beginner.
Nothing can be farther from the truth.
Just to review the available hosting services takes more than 10 minutes. If you’re a beginner, it takes more time to familiarize yourself with the terms like WHOIS and the like.
You can, of course, choose your plan and hosting service by clicking the affiliate link of a trusted blogger. And there’s no reason why you should procrastinate about launching your blog.
If there’s a bottleneck, however, your hosting plan truly is.
Site speed is a crucial factor both in terms of SEO and user engagement. It’s therefore important that you choose a trusted host.
The second biggest timewaster is properly setting up your Control Panel and installing WordPress. If you have zero experience with web hosting and CMS, as I did, you will spend a couple of hours on your dashboard wondering how you can set up your theme.
And the most painful things are just lurking out there …
Myth #3: Privacy acts don’t apply to me
Do you know what do GDPR and CCPA stand for?
If not, you’d better familiarize yourself with these terms, because they’ll follow you wherever you go.
These are privacy acts to protect the rights of customers and users.
The GDPR, for example, requires that you collect only the necessary personal data about your customers and inform them about why you collect those data and how they can withdraw their consent.
If you offer a freebie, for example, you can’t force your readers to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for your freebie.
You might display a checkbox below your sign-up form to inform users that they can sign up for your newsletter, and this is optional. Importantly, pre-ticked checkboxes are prohibited under the GDPR.
On top of that, while the GDPR comes from the European Union, it’s directly binding to websites operating outside the EU as long as they serve EU visitors.
I don’t know what the future brings, but without harmonizing privacy acts, the Internet will become a crowded place.
Beyond question, there wasn’t a time in human history when customer rights were subject to such a great risk of infringement. Local privacy legislation, however, makes the online landscape quite fragmented.
Anyway, I spent dozens of hours digesting GDPR and friends.
I found Iubenda a very robust and trusted company with nice customer service. They’re hosting webinars and have nice guidelines in place to help you deal with the dead-boring legal stuff.
If you want to ensure that your blog is legally compliant, Mariam Tsaturyan’s site is the best place to start with. Mariam is a licensed attorney. She has in-depth articles and free as well as paid resources to help bloggers deal with the legal stuff.
Myth #4: SEO is for the geeks
Content is king, relationship is queen,
Sonia Simone, chief content officer of Copyblogger Media would say.
Notably, Sonia didn’t refer directly to social media. Today, however, many of us will assume that social media is queen. Although it can be central to build an audience and engage with your readers, SEO is what delivers the long-term benefit and a stable audience.
After getting three certificates of SEO and attending an SEO meetup, I was single-handedly convinced that focusing my efforts on SEO over social media is the best thing I can do.
You might expect that your SEO efforts will pay out in the long run. A single blog post cleverly optimized for search (and for the audience, by the way), as I learned, will begin to drive organic traffic to your blog after 3-4 months.
Importantly, the social media landscape is so diverse that it’s difficult to channel your efforts into the right place. Build on SEO instead.
Myth #5: Investing in a premium theme from day one is wasted money
If you take your blogging journey seriously, investing in a premium theme shouldn’t be wasted money.
A premium theme comes with:
- Perfect customer support
- More features
- Improved security
- Reliable code
- Regular updates
- Professionally looking design
Of course, it was me who didn’t invest in a premium theme from day one. And after a half year of blogging, I purchased a paid theme.
The transition to a new theme should be smooth sailing.
Some functions simply didn’t work out the way they did before. I needed to MacGyver things to have a properly functioning website after the transition. It was a lot of work.
A premium WordPress theme starts from $60 and mostly comes with lifetime support. It’s well worth the price.
I recommend StudioPress, which has carved out a major reputation as a brand.
Myth #6: Following experts’ advice is a reliable predictor of success
Sometimes, there’s a mismatch between what professionals say and what they do. Maybe they’re blind to acknowledge what makes them successful.
Don’t do what experts say, just do what they do.Jeff Goins
This is what I learned from Jeff Goins, founder of Goinswriter.
And this is in perfect alignment with the wisdom of Brian Tracy: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just follow through the path of your predecessors, and you’ll inevitably become successful.
Just figure out what successful people do and capitalize on that knowledge.
Blogging for beginners: The takeaways
Here’s, in a nutshell, what I learned as a new blogger:
- Blogging isn’t for everybody
- Launching a blog as a newbie takes a hard time (but it is worth it)
- Privacy acts are increasingly important to deal with: GDPR, CCPA, and friends
- Social media isn’t your best friend—SEO is
- Not investing in a premium theme from day one is a mistake
- Paying attention to what experts do is a smart decision
Hopefully, this post helps you addressing the challenges over your first year of blogging.
What are your biggest challenges as a new blogger? Let me know in the comments below.
Don’t forget to share this post.