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Admittedly, I did not use WordPress when I was first starting my own blog.
Instead, I started with Squarespace (which is both easy to use and pretty, but not as good with SEO and has no plugin options). Once I realized how limited I was with Squarespace I moved over to WordPress. And I have been so much happier since. It was a huge pain in the rear, it caused me a lot of unnecessary stress and I lost time I will never get back.
Here are a few reasons why WordPress is the way to go:
If you have not started your blog and want a step-by-step guide to setting up a WordPress blog on Bluehost check this out! (I go into more detail about why you need a WordPress blog and why web-hosting with Bluehost is the best thing you can do as a new blogger.
In my very early beginner blogging days I had no focus and wrote about everything: my favorite roasted pumpkin seed recipe, how limiting social media helps brain function, all aspects of motherhood, how to travel with toddlers, my nursing career, yoga, toddler foods…. you get the point. I was pretty much all over the place.
Then a blogger friend said to me: “You must find your niche. Then, take your niche and niche it down even more.” In essence, she was telling me to get really super specific about who my audience was going to be.
For example, if I just called myself a “nurse blogger” that doesn’t say very much about who I am or what my niche is about (except, of course, that I am one of 2.2 million other nurses in the US). Its just too vague.
So, I refer to myself as a “nurse mom lifestyle blogger who helps other nurses take better care of themselves with an emphasis on self-care.” I like to think of myself as a nurse mom advocate. That sounds a little better, doesn’t it?
Having a specific niche increases your engagement with a very specific group and gives you the opportunity to be an expert in a small area. You just cant be everything to everyone, and you cant be an expert at everything.
What do you do when you have been blogging for months and you’ve just run into your 20th roadblock?
What ever you do, don’t quit!
Here are a few reasons why you need to just keep writing (even when you feel like giving up):
Every single dollar you make through your blog was won entirely by your own efforts. You didn’t have to wait around for someone to employ you: instead, you created something valuable all on your own.
Even if you’re only making a couple of dollars a month, it’s something. And if you’re making nothing at all, it’s just a matter of time.
Don’t try and write about topics that you know nothing about. This is one of the best tips for new bloggers who are trying to find their “voice.”
For example, if you are not already an expert in the kitchen, then you probably don’t want to compete with other food bloggers (that is a highly saturated niche already!).
You also don’t want to write a post called “My Top 10 Favorite Dinner Recipes That All Children Will Love!” It would take you ten times longer to write recipe posts then it would for someone who is awesome at cooking and passionate about sharing recipes. You will burnout as a blogger. Fast.
Instead, think of what you are already an expert at and go from there. What are you passionate about?
Quality content is king. It is the ONE thing that keeps visitors coming back to your blog.
Strive to over-deliver on the value you provide with your blog. Otherwise, why would anyone want (or need) to continue reading about what you say.
Quality writing is good, but are you giving your readers something that can be used to help them somehow in their daily lives? Are you helping to answer a question about something they need to know about. Its all about value.
Think about what phrases your readers would type into Google and then go from there. Not only will it help you with SEO but it also helps you fill a void for a topic that a reader on the internet need answers to.
Here are a few good delivery methods to easily provide value to readers about a topic you already know a lot about:
I have a secret that no one told me in my beginning months of blogging…
Your first 5 -10 posts might actually suck. Really, bad actually.
In fact, I cringe when I look at my first blog posts. Not only were they full of improperly constructed sentences, they had sneaky grammatical errors that my brain wasn’t used to sniffing out. And they kept popping out even after 2 or 3 post revisions!
But, alas! There is great news! The more you blog, the better you get. I promise! Over time not only will your writing improve, but you also won’t spend a week writing and editing a single post. You’ll get better, faster, more creative, more clever and more confident each time you push “publish” on a new post.
Sometimes I go back and think what the heck was I thinking when I wrote that? On a positive note it is great to see how far I have come in the blogging world. Everybody has to start somewhere.
As with any new business, you will need to invest a little money so you can learn the ropes from people who actually know what they are talking about. When deciding where to invest money, I highly recommend focusing on three things:
I am a blogger who has made friends with many other bloggers who happen to create GREAT courses. Here are two blogging experts that I can, in good faith, recommend. (If you don’t believe me, look at their recommendations. They are amazing!).
Life is busy, but there are also a lot of distractions out there. The number 1 biggest time waster of them all = social media! I know people who spend hours on Instagram every single day, yet they swear they are so busy that they never have time to get anything done! I bet if you quit using social media for 1 week you would find that you are suddenly so much more productive. And probably happier and living more in the present to boot!
If you are going to be a blogger you have to get really good at using your time wisely. Be overprotective about your time. My time is the most important asset I have and it is important to me. As a result, I rarely use Instagram anymore. Hopefully one day I will be able to source out a lot of my work (except content creation, of course), but until then I have a lot of work to do. There is no time to waste.
This is an excellent tip for new bloggers, as well as anyone trying to find more time for more productive activities.
Blogging is not always all work and no play. Reach out and make other blogging friends. Don’t take your writing too seriously. Remember, blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to be in it for the long game in order to be successful.
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!
Sarah Jividen is a registered nurse, blogger, writer, wife, and mother with an aspiration to empower nurses and moms to take better care of themselves. Sarah lives with her husband in a beach suburb outside of Los Angeles where they are raising their two-year-old daughter, newborn son and two rescue kitties. In a rare moment of free time you may find Sarah practicing yoga, socializing with friends, sampling dark beers or attending a local concert venue with her husband.