As a new blogger, you’re probably ready to jump head first into this fast-paced world of infopreneurs and influencers. Blogging can no doubt be life changing with some perseverance and consistency. But with any new habit or business, you must FIRST learn the basics of blogging if you intend on seeing steady progress over the next year.
I’ll tell you a story….A few years ago, I started a blog with a friend of mine that eventually failed.
At the time I was smitten with the idea of blogging and the prospect of influencing others while making an income. While it was not a crime to become a blogger for those reasons, I was absolutely not prepared for the uphill journey that blogging really is. There were so many questions I didn’t have the answers to. And, honestly, I chickened myself out of continuing with my first blog because I told myself I couldn’t learn everything – AND try to keep up with more experienced bloggers that were already earning five figures a month.
Real talk: I blamed my blog failing on my lack of knowledge, but it was REALLY lack of resourcefulness!
Skip to four months ago when I came back around to the idea of blogging. With the pressure of having quit my call center sales job, I was desperate for a chance to make my dream a reality…again. But this time, I wanted to do it differently. After I purchased my hosting through Bluehost, I further invested in my business by spending several hours a day reading other blogger’s articles.
Yes, there are a ton of courses you can purchase ranging from just $50 to hundreds of dollars. But if you are savvy online and have at least a couple hours a day of free time, there is NO REASON to spend your hard earned income and savings learning the fundamentals of being a new blogger.
Here, I’ll show you how I learned to blog without paying a dime for beginner blog courses!
By the way, if you haven’t started your blog yet, head on over to my post, Starting a Lifestyle Blog (An Easy Step by Step Tutorial).
New Blogger? Learn the Basics for FREE Before Investing Money in Paid Courses
(THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.)
So, you’re probably wondering what this secret sauce is to learn what you need to know as a new blogger. It’s pretty simple.
DO YO’ RESEARCH!
Okay, I know it sounds so simple. But you’d be crazy to find out that many bloggers out there just kind of wing it. Don’t get me wrong…I, too, have been guilty of that in my blog journey a time or two. One incident – involving the night I experienced the white screen of death! (A story for another time, though!) I digress. What is mean is, do not underestimate the power of a search engine. Search engines are like a magical, never-ending library that serves a purpose: to fill our brains with new information.
I might be a little overdramatic, but you all get my point – Research is important for a new blogger so you have, at the very minimum, a general understanding of the subject areas involved that will make you:
- A blogger
- A successful blogger
I can’t stress this enough: Blogging is so much more than writing and web design. The average blogger will not only be proficient in writing about their chosen niche but in other areas such as marketing, branding, SEO, graphic design/photography, monetization and so much more. It is this combination of ‘hats’ a blogger wears that truly makes them a well-rounded “blogger”.
And who better to learn from than, well…other bloggers. I’m happy to say I did all of my own research as a new blogger and paid nothing to anyone by surfing the web and taking notes from reputable bloggers that offered information freely.
What subject areas should you research as a new blogger?
Even though I started a blog previously, my depth of blogging knowledge was incredibly shallow when I started Kimi Was Here. For instance, I had zero familiarity with terms such as: nofollow/follow links, image alt attributes, click-through rate, link cloaking, pingbacks and trackbacks…and the list goes on! To get familiar with blogging terms like these, the best way is to start by reading up on some important subject areas in a thoughtful way. Don’t just go cracking out on information on Pinterest that will confuse and intimidate you right out of the gates.
Start with what you need to know first and work toward the more intermediate blogging subjects when you’re ready to move on.
Below is a list of broad blogging topics for you to get familiar with if you haven’t already. I recommend working your way down and only skipping the areas that you might be more advanced in (for instance if you’re a graphic designer, you can probably handle the graphics and logo part).
Also, this is not a complete list. But, it is a starting point to help you establish a good, solid foundation as you learn how to blog.
Note: Keep in mind this is for those bloggers that have decided to purchase their own hosting and use the WordPress.org platform. But I’m sure there are plenty of tutorials and information on the web for free platforms like Blogger or WordPress.com.
- Choosing a Blog Name
- Hosting —-> I use BlueHost 🙂
- Choosing Your Niche(s)
- How to Use WordPress/Plugins
- Establishing a Brand for Your Blog
- Creating a Logo
- Choosing a Theme/Customizing Theme
- Tools and Tips for Blog Writing
- Ways to Monetize Your Blog
- SEO Blog Basics
- Using Stock Photos/Making Your Own Graphics
- Using Pinterest for Exposure/Group Boards
- Pinterest Schedulers
- Promoting on Social Media + Schedulers
- Creating an Email List
- Understanding Analytics + Applying the Learnings
- Establishing a Content Schedule
- Blog Legalities: disclosures, ect.
A Few Tips to get you Organized While you Research
As you begin your blog research, use these tips to help you stay organized and on task:
- Use Pinterest to conduct your research. Pinterest is, in my opinion, the most powerful search engine for bloggers. So, it just makes sense to research from there. And, believe me. You will absolutely want to get familiar with the platform from the get-go. Pinterest is responsible for thousands of bloggers’ success because of it’s unique platform and algorithm. DO NOT make the mistake of putting this off till later. Start getting comfortable as soon as reasonably possible and thank me later.
- Use Google as a second research source. As you start to learn more about SEO, pay close attention to the websites that rank high for the keywords you searched for in Google. Google can be a wealth of information and another opportunity to hone your SEO keyword and niche skills.
- Decide how you want to take notes. Are you a paper and pen type of person? Or a word processor type of person? Either way, just make sure you keep your notes organized. For me, I like to use Evernote on my iMac for my notes. That way, I can create separate notebooks and notes in one seamless program. Evernote also happens to be the place where I keep some of my to-do lists. Bonus tip: for quick notes you want to jot down while surfing the web, go to rapid tables. It allows you to type and save your notes in one long notepad stored with your browser. A BIG timesaver, especially if your computer is slow.
- Save important websites and articles as bookmarks for easy access. There will be articles and websites you will want to save and refer back to later. Yes, you can also use Pinterest boards, but I think the ability to save your resources in a bookmark ‘hierarchy’ format is easier to access. Bonus tip: make specific folders to help you organize your resources. See a screenshot of my “Blog” bookmark folders below:
Take Notes from the Blogger(s) You Follow and Trust
You might have been influenced to start blogging after reading and perhaps becoming a bit obsessed/inspired by another blogger. That’s wonderful! Blogging wouldn’t be worthwhile for the many women and men across the world if we didn’t get inspired to try something different by those that have already done it.
That being said…find a blogger that you may already follow and whose story you identify with. Chances are they have some blogging tutorials and articles that you can explore and take note of. If you find them credible, honest and easy to identify with, they can be a great site to source information from and to get an idea of what that blogger’s experience has been.
I personally love and am a frequent reader of too many blogs to count. But I always take the advice given by Sarah Titus in her blog posts to heart maybe a little more than others. So, guys, check out her site. She’s like seriously my blogging spirit animal.
Just a side note: it’s great to take notes and follow tutorials from a blogger you like. Just don’t take it to an extreme level and straight up copy them. – not that you would of course, right? It’s fine to peruse their site for some inspiration, but also follow your unique perspective and voice with your own branding, site, and mission. Trust me, you’ll be rewarded if you can stand out amongst the pack rather then blending in.
Should You Write While You Learn How to Blog?
Absolutely. As long as you are familiar with WordPress’ post functionality, there is no reason to delay getting your words typed and into a draft format.
I recommend you write your first post about why you wanted to start your blog and some goals that you have for it. Then, publish your first post so you have at least one article to place on your website while you learn and decide the design and look of your site.
As you continue your research, apply the skills and techniques you learn to your blog posts while you write. If you proportion your time efficiently, you will be able to build up a nice collection of blog posts when it comes time to launch and promote.
Tip: DON’T launch your blog (meaning – promote any of your blog posts on social media/Pinterest) until you have at least 10-15 blog posts on your site. You might be a new blogger, but you don’t want to lose out on readers when they realize you only have less than a handful of blog posts to read.
My Thoughts on Paid Courses and Ebooks
You might think I’m one of those bloggers that promote doing everything “free”. I am definitely for saving money (blame that on my tight-wad father LOL). BUT I am also a fan of investing in education when it comes time for more intermediate and advanced training. In fact, I like to think of my investments as paying it forward to more seasoned bloggers that have paved the way for us to learn from them.
So far, I have invested money into my blogging education with the purchase of Carly Campbell’s (www.MommyonPurpose.com) ebook “Pinteresting Strategies” and Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s (www.MakingSenseoutofCents.com) Affiliate Course “Making Sense Out of Affiliate Marketing“.
Carly’s ebook is easy to read, but very informative regarding her strategy for manual pinning in Pinterest (as opposed to relying solely on Pinterest schedulers like Tailwind and Boardbooster). And did I mention it is SUPER inexpensive at only $32?! It’s seriously a steal when you think about the gold nuggets of information she discloses in her book. There were definitely some key pieces missing from my Pinterest strategy that I would never have thought about had it not been for her advice.
As for Michelle’s affiliate course – I am currently halfway through it! I will do a proper review of it once I am finished and have implemented her teachings on my site.
Don’t Discount Free Mini E-mail Course Signups
Okay, so you’re probably going to see a mega amount of bloggers asking for you to provide your email address in exchange for a free mini-course on how to start a blog. I was quite hesitant to sign up for any of these emails because I had the idea they were all going to be filled with mumbo-jumbo sales tactics to get me to buy their full course material for hundreds of dollars I didn’t have.
I can GLADLY say I was wrong! There are actually bloggers out there that aren’t super-salesy or sleezy.
Free email courses are also a great way to stay motivated and consistent in your learning process. After a bit of a burn out from blog researching in my first month, I signed up for Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s free email course. It was super easy to follow and it gave me some real insider tips from an expert that has actually made a million dollar business from blogging.
Connect and Ask Questions in Facebook Blogging Groups
So, this is an area that I also tried to skip when I started to learn about blogging. Don’t do what I did!
As you begin your blogging adventure, you will run into issues. You might have an issue with WordPress or just have a ‘what the heck’ question that you need to be answered. Whatever that case is, start by joining a few highly engaged Facebook Blogging Groups.
Within these Facebook Groups, you’ll find new bloggers and experienced bloggers – and everything in between.
Sometimes no matter how much you surf the web, it’s just easier to ask a group of people what their thoughts are on a particular blog subject. My favorite Facebook Groups for asking blogging questions are Blogger Insights and Blogging Newbs.
So there you have it! I truly hope this article was helpful to inspire you to help you research the things you need to know as a new blogger. Just remember that most everything you want to know as a new blogger can most definitely be taught online, but ONLY if you truly have a desire to learn. And if you haven’t started your blog yet, head on over to my blog post, Starting a Lifestyle Blog (An Easy Step by Step Tutorial) for easy instructions.
And remember that blogging is a continual journey. Don’t expect to learn everything you need to know right from the start. As your blog grows, so will your knowledge base. 🙂