If you’ve been with us for awhile, you know that our #1 goal here on Blogging For Keeps is to be transparent and honest. We try really hard to always tell it like it is. That being said, there’s something I want to get real about in this post today.
The excuses we constantly tell ourselves. Or moreover, the LIES, we constantly tell ourselves.
Whether you’ve been blogging since yesterday or for five years, you’ve likely told yourself these 10 lies at one point or another. Worse? You’ve probably let yourself believe them! I wanted to address the most common blogging lies we hear over and over, and put an end to them once and for all!
“I need X amount of followers to be considered a “real blog”
Oh man, this one really gets to me. Answer me this question–Can I type in a URL to go to your website? Do you update your blog with new content on a relatively consistent basis? Well, friend. You have a “real” blog! Don’t discourage yourself just because you don’t think you have enough followers.
The definition of a “blog” does not include a traffic or follower minimum! I’ve seen absolutely fantastic blogs with a very small following, and absolutely horrendous blogs with thousands of followers. Bottom line–own being a blogger. (It’s hard sometimes, I know.) Don’t let yourself–or anyone else–tie your blog’s legitimacy to of how much traffic you do or do not get.
“I shouldn’t pay for anything blogging related until I’m making money with my blog”
#1 biggest mistake right here. The most significant difference between blogs that succeed or fail? Investment.
Let’s look at it another way. Picture yourself in high school. Say you want to try out for the baseball team, but you’ve never played baseball before, and you have no experience. You want it more than anything in the world and hope that will get you a spot on the team. You show up to try-out’s with no practice and no equipment–no cleats, no baseball bat, no gloves, no nothing.
What do you think happens? You don’t make the team–right?
So then, you go back to the drawing board. You go out and buy a bat, gloves, cleats. You hire a private coach to give you lessons. You stay up late watching film. You join an intramural baseball team in the meantime, where you make some great new friends that help you a ton along the way. You treat practice like it’s your full-time job.
Then next semester rolls around, and it’s time for try-outs again. What happens? YOU NAILED IT.
Bringing this example full circle–how can you expect to grow your blog without your version of the baseball bat? The gloves? The intramural practice team? The extra effort and the no-fail attitude?
If you feel like you can’t compete with the other blogs you see out there, and you aren’t investing in things like a good camera, Lightroom, Photoshop, a professional Wordpress website, and other tools you NEED to make your blog the best it can be? The truth is–you’re probably right. If you’re waiting until your blog can make money before you spend any money on it, you’re going to be waiting an awfully long time. You need those things in order to grow your blog and start monetizing in the first place!
Blair and I both made a lot of sacrifices in the beginning to invest in our blogs. We stopped eating out so much, we were smarter about our spending, we trimmed our budgets where we could. I took on babysitting jobs. There are ways you certainly can make it work, if you want to!
Now, I understand, all these things I listed above can be expensive. You don’t have to invest everything all at once–you can do it little by little. By no means should this STOP you from starting you blog until you can afford all of these things! Remember, starting somewhere is better than not starting at all. Do what you can, learn and evolve as you go, and you’ll be in great shape!
“If I post on X channels, X times per day, I’ll be successful”
There is no magic formula for being successful! Focus on building AMAZING content first and foremost.
If you don’t have great content, it’s not going to matter how often you share your posts on Facebook, or post something to Instagram. I’d say, 8 times out of 10, I will hear someone complain about getting no traffic, only to find that when I go to their blogs, their efforts would be better spent not by sharing 10 posts per day on Facebook, but by focusing their efforts on improving their photo editing, for example. Try not to focus so much on growth that you forget about quality–or worse–forget to have fun in the process!
“I can’t “go live” with my blog until I know exactly what my niche and voice is, and until I’ve written X amount of posts”
Lieeeessss! (Do you watch Fixer Upper? I love how Chip says LIIIEEEEESSSS in that one HGTV blooper reel!)
The BEST part about starting out? Nobody knows your blog exists! You can publish posts as often as you want to. Nobody is going to find them unless you start sharing them–know what I mean? I find that the whole idea of “launching” your blog is so daunting, people are afraid to hit the publish button. But in reality, the “launch” part comes when you start sharing your blog to the world!
Let me tell you this–if you saw my blog back when I first started, you would have absolutely no idea it’s the same one you’re looking at today! You’ve got to start somewhere–everyone does! Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to “launch” your blog. You’ll grow, you’ll evolve–and that’s okay! In fact, that’s what you want to do! It’s the internet after all, nothing is permanent. That’s the beauty of blogging!
If you don’t get started now, you likely never will. Rip off the band-aid! Starting with ANYTHING is better than not starting at all.
What I would recommend is that you try to publish at least one post per vertical before you officially “launch.” (The reason for this is that you don’t want someone to click under a certain topic and get a “coming soon” message. That’s a total buzzkill, right?)
Decide on a posting cadence, and stick to it for a few weeks. Make sure that you’re comfortable with the whole “blogging” thing, and THEN start sharing it.
“If I can just do X, I’ll be able to leave my corporate job to pursue blogging full time”
There are so many things to consider when you’re weighing on if/when you can go full-time with your blog! Remember, everyone’s situation is very different. I often get asked, “when did you know you were ready to quit your full-time job?” The answer is–it’s complicated. There is no one answer that works for everyone.
It all depends on factors like what financial obligations you have currently (student loans, car payments, insurance, etc), how much you need to live on (and what you’re willing to live on), how much of a pay cut you’re willing to take, and what else you’re willing to do to make ends meet (Side hustles, freelance jobs, etc.). More importantly, how much “unknown” are you comfortable living with? Are you going to be OK not knowing what you’ll be making from one month to another?
You need to do the math, boil it down, and figure out what the best situation for you is, and know that it’s not the same as anyone else’s situation!
“Blogging is my dream, but I just don’t have the time to do it right now”
Time is one thing nobody ever seems to have enough of, right? You and me both!
But what many people don’t understand is that they are very capable of finding several more hours in their day, if they look hard enough. It’s not about having enough time, it’s about making sacrifices and prioritizing. Things like getting up earlier, blogging on your lunch break, skipping out on happy hours to work on your blog, and coming up with a blogging schedule that you dedicate yourself to.
You can’t use time as an excuse. The hours are there, but you have to want it bad enough to find them.
“I have no business writing a blog, who am I to be giving people advice? They’ll just think I’m stupid.”
I struggled with this so much in my first year of blogging. Everyone goes through this, and if you’re feeling this way, I promise, you aren’t alone. But what you don’t realize is that people aren’t expecting you to be an expert. Your readers aren’t expecting you to know everything. If they want professional advice, they’ll go to a professional. People love blogs because there are real people behind them. People come to your blog because they WANT your opinion. I could go to 100 blogs to find the same advice on a given subject, but I go to my favorite blogs because I love the people behind them, and I want THEIR personal take on it. Make sense?
“I really love X subject, but that’s not what’s going to grow my blog, so instead, I feel like I should write about mainstream subjects like Y and Z.”
The #1 reason you’re starting your blog is for fun, right? A creative outlet, a passion project. So, why would you write about something you weren’t passionate about, just because you think it’s what people want to hear? That’s just silly!
Stick to what you love, write about the things that you’re passionate about, and that will shine through. Even if it’s a niche that you think is too narrow! That’s actually a good thing! The more narrow your niche, the faster you’ll grow! Think of it as a big fish in a little pond sort of thing. There are a ton of blogs out there who blog about the mainstream “lifestyle” subjects. If you want to stand out, stick to what you believe in, and you’ll attract an audience who has that in common with you!
“I want to start a blog, but I don’t know where to begin.”
Yes you do! I know it’s overwhelming, but you do have an inkling on where to begin. We have a whole blog post on that right over here 😉
“I will never have the confidence to make by blog a success”
You know that saying, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t–you’re right”?
It’s so true, especially when it comes to blogging. Gaining confidence with your blog is going to be a gradual process. You have to know that it’s hard at first, but it gets easier as time goes on. What always helped me in the beginning was to…
A. Make it clear that my blog was a hobby.
For whatever reason, it helped approach my blog as “a hobby” in the beginning, because that’s exactly what it was. I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying too hard or that I thought I cool, and phrasing it as “I’m just having fun” made it easier for me to do without feeling stupid. For whatever reason, it worked. Eventually, as time went on, and I got better and made my blog a lot more professional, my confidence grew!
B. Not try to be anyone else.
Here’s the thing. When you try to be someone you aren’t, or you try to be a certain way because that’s what you see other bloggers doing, it’s really obvious–even to people who don’t know you! (Don’t ask me why, but it is!)
I went through plenty of this when I was trying to find my voice, figuring out how to pose in my outfit photos, etc. It’s hard! And it takes some practice, but as long as you stay true to who you are, people will never think you’re being a “try hard.”
The truth is this: Blogging is NOT rocket science. You do have the ability to make something of your blog. The beauty of it is that blogging success just boils down to practice and dedication. The confidence will come as a result!