Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging

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Ever since I started blogging, many of my friends have come to me for advice about starting their own blog. I love this because it means they notice that I’m doing things and as a blogger, recognition is good. However, having to give advice over Snapchat or Instagram messages is harder and time consuming than I have time for so I decided to write this post. These tips can also apply to anyone in an online creative type of work such as podcasting or running a specialized Instagram page. From one amateur blogger to the next, these are the things I wish I knew when I started blogging.

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  • Put aside a few consecutive hours a week to focus on blog related things. (Really focus!)

Honestly, if you can master this and make it a habit, the rest of these things will come pretty easily to you. My biggest struggle over the last year and half or so has been finding the time to just sit down and work on my blog for extended periods of time, without distractions. I read a post from Mattie James (mattiejames.com) that discusses the concept of batch work. Batch work is basically creating a bunch of content all at once. My effectiveness in this comes and goes but as of lately it’s been something I am aiming to make routine.

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  • Figure out your main topics/focus aka niche (Keep this list small)

When I first started blogging I wanted to talk about everything under the sun: health and fitness, pop culture, social justice issues, self-growth and development, mental health, anything and everything. It wasn’t until after I tried writing about all of these topics and realized that I was headed nowhere fast that I decide to dial back on the topics I was going to focus on for my blog. Now I focus on self-reflection, self-growth/self-development, and goal-setting with a sprinkle of health and fitness and travel thrown in every so often. Keeping your list of topics small is key to avoiding being overwhelmed as a blogger. Even the person who loves writing more than life CAN’T write about everything. I know that once I establish myself as a blogger with a brand, other opportunities to talk about my various interests will present themselves.

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  • Consistently creating content (and posting it) is the hardest thing to master.

It’s so funny because whenever people ask me what advice I have about blogging I tell them “don’t underestimate how hard it is to consistently write and create content.” Many of the time they tell me they’re not worried about that because they have so many things to write about that creating content won’t be hard for them. Fast forward a few weeks later and either 1. They haven’t started their blog because they’re busy or 2. They have started it but only post once in a blue moon (like myself, guilty as charged haha). The thing people don’t understand is that writing a blog post isn’t hard (per say) but what is hard is writing a blog post worth reading. There have been many times I have written a post, read it back, tried to edit it, and just realized it wasn’t even worth reading for me, much less to put out. Creating consistent and worthy content is hard. Don’t underestimate it.

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  • Friends =/= Supporters and that’s okay! (Don’t take it personal)

Just because you are friends with someone does not mean they are obligated to support your blog. I know. That sounds insane. Why wouldn’t your friends support you? They’re your friends! That’s what friends do for each other. I know that’s what we’re taught to believe but the fact of the matter is that friends =/= supporters and that doesn’t make them bad people. Maybe your niche is just not FOR THEM. When I first started blogging I was sad that all of my friends weren’t reading my blog (the clicks don’t lie!) but then I realized that doesn’t matter. I love all of my friends and our differences in interests and hobbies. That being said if one of my friends started a horseback riding podcast I can’t necessarily say I would be tuning in every week to hear about life at the stables. I probably would retweet all of their new episodes but that’s as far as that would go. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Some people won’t even retweet you, and that’s fine too. We are all inclined to support things that interest us. I know my content isn’t for everybody, I focus on writing for the people who it’s intended for.

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  • Reading other bloggers, watching blogging webinars, and whatever else is useless if you don’t apply the knowledge! (Seriously, don’t waste your time)

I tried to read every blog post and watch every webinar I could about blogging when I first started. There where countless Google searches for content about blogging from my phone and laptop. If it was free, it was for me! After reading and watching all of this stuff I can say I have maybe applied 1 or 2 things out of the 25 I’ve learned. That’s because I was more focused on indulging in information to try to imitate the greats instead of reading/learning some and then applying it, reading/learning something else and applying, and so on and so on. I’m sure I would have gotten way farther in a quicker time if I took it one step at time. This whole blogger life is a learning process though and Mara went through it so you don’t have to!

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  • This shit is not cheap/free (If you want to be next level)

Okay so I never knew that I was going to have to spend so much money JUST to make blog appear legit. Between having my own domain, needing a PO Box for my newsletter, paying for stock photos, and eventually attending blogging conventions, this blogging life gets REAL costly REAL quick! If blogging is just a hobby for you it’s not something you have to worry about but I eventually want to take my blog to another level as a source of income like many of the women I admire. If you have similar ambitions as me, it’s going to cost you before it pays you. Don’t get discouraged and make sure you can finance your dreams.

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  • Engagement is a major key.

Okay so something I’ve recently learned is blogging doesn’t stop at the blog posts. In order to have people actually give a damn about what you have to say, you have to engage with your social media followers. I know that is so obvious…how didn’t realize it before? I don’t know, honestly. Even after reading it from many people who blog it never clicked until recently.

This is just a little bit of what I wosh I knew when I started blogging. Even with utilizing these tips there are still so many things left for bloggers to learn. The best thing is to do your research! Here are some of my favorite blogging resources where I read up on blogging tips and sometimes even score a free webinar or two. 

  • MattieJames.com
  • Bloguettes.com
  • LostGenYGirl.com 

If you are fellow blogger or have a postcast/website, I wish you luck and success! It’s not an easy task to be successful on these e-streets. 

Are you a blogger? What is one thing you wish you knew when you started blogging? Let me know in the comments! 

10 Random Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Me

Every few weeks or so I try to share a blog post with my readers on different things. Something I’ve noticed is that while I do share a good portion of my life happenings, I’m never really shared too much about me as a person. That promoted my idea of sharing 10 Facts my average reader won’t know about me!

My Mom stayed putting me in these extra ass dresses

  1. I was born with a broken hip: It’s hard for me to believe because I’ve never had hip problems *knocks on wood* but it’s true! My mom says I had a difficult birth and broke my hip on the way out. 
  2. I’m named after my dad and his beat friend (at the time): My birth name is JerMara and the Jer comes from my dad Jerome and the Mar comes from the name Marlin, who was my dad’s best friend when I was born. Apparently they don’t really talk anymore. A shame. I used to hate my name but it’s grown on me haha.  
  3. I started pre-school when I was 3 years old: I also almost skipped a grade when I was in kindergarten to go to 1st grade. I believe this is why I was overdue for a break from school when I graduated college haha. 
  4. I have oral allergies to MOST raw fruits: It always surprises people when I tell them I like veggies more than fruits but raw fruits give me soooo many problems! The only fruits I can feel completely eat raw are strawberries. I also like apples, peaches, mangoes (without the skin).
  5. I’m deeply terrified of snakes: I literally can’t even watch them on tv. Thanks to my family for letting me watch the movie anaconda at 3 years old. 
  6. I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was 13: Before I wanted to be a lawyer I wanted to be teacher and an author. I still want to write a book (or books) some day but as a substitute teacher now I know forsure I would never want to be a teacher (hug a teacher and give them money, they don’t get paid enough for what they do!)
  7. I’m so 16% fluent in spanish according to Duolingo: I should be way more fluent considering I took it 3 or 4 years in HS and one semester in college but just give me like 5 years! Haha.
  8. I don’t like puzzles: I also don’t like most board games. I might tell a story about why on instagram live one of these days. We’ll see. 
  9. I’ve been to 7 countries in Europe: For my college graduation I got a grad-trip that was two weeks long. I went to Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and The U.K. I loved Verona, Italy the most and Switzerland the least (our money is shit over there). 
  10.  At some point in my life I want to live in Washington DC and Italy for an extended period of time: I loved the cities I visited in Italy and want to live there. I also visited Washington DC in 2016 and fell in love. I feel like at some point I have to live in both those places, even if it’s just for 6 months to a year. I want to visit Ghana and I feel like it will also get added to my list of places I want to live once I do. I just have a feeling. 

Me in Verona, Italy under Juliet’s balcony

What’s something random nobody knows about you? Leave a comment and let me know! Xoxo