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  • katherinestano

New to Blogging? Me, Too!

Have you been wondering if you should start a blog? Or are you needing some company as you discover your voice and learn all there is to know about being a successful blogger? Are you exhausted, befuddled, doubtful, hopeful, enlightened, lonely, or unsure of how to do, like, everything?

I see you. I hear you. I am you.

I've wanted to start a blog for a long time. I'd agonize over it all, though:

What is my niche?

Will I have enough to write about, as in content people will actually crave?

How do I switch on the internet?

And don't even get me started on all of the passwords!

It hasn't been a piece of cake to get here and I've honestly built myself up little by little. And if you must know, I still cling to all of the insecurities and comparisons that are very popular hobbies amongst many of us writers. Thinky brains are great until we think ourselves into a frenzy!

As I continue to grow, make mistakes, and give myself grace (I hope you give me grace, too!), I wanted to share what I've discovered along the way. Maybe it can help you as well.

This post features affiliate marketing links, which is a fancy way of saying I might get paid a small amount of money if you click on one of those links and make a purchase at no extra cost to you. I thank you in advance, as I have a fluffy, little dog who has very expensive taste. She can't help it. She's a schnoodle.

Close-up of vintage typewriter keys partially bathed in sunlight
I've never written with a typewriter, but I sure as heck like to pretend I do!

Here are 6 things I've learned so far and how I'm managing this whole new-to-blogging journey:

There are so many facets within the blogging world. SO MANY FACETS.

When you're new to blogging, it's easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you have no clue what you're doing, but that's my default for most of life, so I embrace it!

I've welcomed the advice of "you don't need to know everything" and "you'll learn more as you go." Again, this is pretty much life.

Here are some things that have boggled my mind on HOW to do them or WHAT to do about them, but have also gotten me out of my comfort zone. (The figurative one. Not the couch one. I'm happily stuck to the couch.)

Literally The Very Beginning Stuff:

  • Where to even begin your blog. I already had my professional site on Wix, so I went ahead and threw in a blog! A lot of bloggers like Wordpress (the org version) because it sounds super customizable. But I'm sticking with Wix for now. They're really user-friendly for those with a propensity for tech fails (right here!) and have super nice and helpful customer service. Like, you can actually message with someone who sounds human. I've VERY MUCH appreciated that. (Also, Wix didn't tell me to say this. I just thought sharing was caring!)

Techy Stuff:

  • SEO

  • Site Verification

  • Alt Text

  • Plug-Ins

  • Widgets

  • Automations

  • Sitemaps

  • Crawling and indexing and ranking? Oh my.

  • Linking things here and there and everywhere!

Legal Stuff:

  • Legal notices. Yeah, there's that little ol' law-abiding thing, y'all! More on that later in the post! But this is something I've learned is best to do the proper way.

  • Cookie Policy (and I'm not talking chocolate chip here)

  • Making your site accessible to people with disabilities

Linky Stuff:

  • Marketing across other platforms like YouTube and Instagram and Pinterest. Which, quite frankly, I love all of those, so, yes please.

  • Creating a nifty email newsletter that people will actually want to read

Money Stuff:

  • Domain and website management costs

  • Monetizing your blog. Okay, WHAT???

  • Affiliates

  • Sponsored Posts

  • GoogleAds, Google Analytics, Google this and Google that

Creativity Stuff (You know, what the blog is actually about!):

  • Oh, and all the post ideas you need. Which, honestly, is the easiest part!

  • Planning calendars

  • Scheduled posts

Here are some of my current solutions:

  • Making to-do lists. Lots of to-do lists.

  • Watching PLENTY of YouTube videos and finding many great accounts to follow

  • Reading blog posts with tips and advice from experienced bloggers

  • Joining a blogging community

  • Saying, "Girl, you've got this!"

  • Not crying. Yet.

I will not know everything on Day One. Or Day 101.

No one's an overnight expert in anything. But if you are, I remain in awe.

And to keep my project moving AND not get too anxious, I have to say to myself, "Research one topic today, then do another thing on your list tomorrow."

This sounds very levelheaded of me. I'm not even sure I recognize myself anymore!

I also remind my vexatious little brain that I'm not always going to understand certain terminology or processes until I get a variety of perspectives and dig into the research. As I stated earlier, I'm trying to give myself more grace.

We should all give ourselves more grace. (Especially if we're learning something new, like blogging!)

There are so many awesome blogs out there.

But I'm pretty sure there's room for another one! If you feel like someone's "already said it," here's something to ponder:

Have YOU already said it?

We're all unique creators with diverse backgrounds and stories. We're all going to approach even the same exact subject with our own personality, nuance, and flair!

There are so many ways to express ourselves. And as writers, we cannot underestimate the power of our imaginations!

Exhibit A:

How I imagined my writing oasis to be:

Beautiful castle with turrets and surrounding creek, trees, and flowers
A castle would be nice.

How it pretty much is:

Girl slouching and looking defeated in uncomfortable school desk chair
Except her outfit is MUCH cuter.

Posting the proper legal documents to your website is very important.

First of all, I'm not an attorney, legal professional, accountant, financial guru, or any type of business advisor so these are just my opinions purely based on recommendations from others I've discovered along my journey.

I am, in fact, a human rule follower whom the only time I like the word "sue" is when I have a friend whose name is actually Sue.

In order to run a successful business and/or blog, a solid foundation is essential, according to the pros. There are a few options, including hiring your own lawyer, to obtain all of the documentation required by law.

Based on warm reviews from other bloggers, I chose to purchase customizable legal documents from attorney and blogger, Amira Irfan. This was a decision I put a lot of thought into, knowing I wanted to establish a properly-run website and protect myself from any harmful financial issues in the future.

I also pride myself in being honest, sincere, and inclusive––and I want my web presence to reflect those aspects of my character.

I bought one of her legal bundles, which include these three primary documents that are required to be compliant with the laws:

  • Privacy Policy

  • Disclaimer

  • Terms and Conditions

I also purchased an Accessibility Statement to follow the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act. It's important to make your website accessible. For instance, there are tests you can run and steps to take to ensure your site will be user-friendly.

Amira included step-by-step instructions on how to tailor the Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, and Terms and Conditions to my needs, plus the best way to post them on my site.

I can do unlimited downloads of my documents through my login on Amira's affiliate page. This is an important link to remember, along with your password, so be sure to save this info where you can easily access it!

You also have access to a private Facebook group to get additional questions answered and find out about any other services or products you might need down the road.

And Amira's team writes you back promptly when you email them question after question like I do. They're on-the-ball.

It costs a small chunk of change, but it's a quite reasonable small chunk of change versus hiring a private lawyer.

And if you're so inclined, Amira offers an affiliate program that gives you the possibility of recouping your investment. I said, "Hey! Let me try that!" Breaking out of my comfort zone, while still on the couch: I call this PROGRESS.

But, ultimately, I feel so much more peace of mind.

And I really like peace of mind.

I'm enjoying letting my voice shine. Or at least wink.

I'm SO GRATEFUL to write for a living, but blogging has given me such a fresh way to express my personality and ideas. I also like the opportunities for building community and connecting with other creatives around the world.

It's like a blank page with potential for all kinds of art!

This post features Amazon Associates affiliate marketing links, which is a fancy way of saying as an Amazon affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases...which is another fancy way of saying I might get paid a small amount of money if you click on one of those links and make a purchase at no extra cost to you. Fun fact: These are all products I believe in.

I will know so much more about blogging in the future. Probably even tomorrow.

If you're new to blogging like I am, you're learning all of the time. I know it's definitely keeping my Gen X brain sharp. Added value!

And if you're vacillating back and forth with creating your own blog and web presence, too, I hope this post helps you to feel less alone.

We all start somewhere (usually the beginning!), and in that uncomfortable place is where the magic can happen.

They even sing about it in The Sound of Music--–starting from the beginning is "a very good place to start." I agree, von Trapp family singers!

How have you grown in your blogging journey? (I've grown a pants size, but we won't talk about that.) Please share your kind thoughts or helpful tips in the comments!

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