There are so many things I wish I’d known when starting a blog. I’m often asked what made me start one, and I really couldn’t say other than I’ve always LOVED writing and wordplay, and I wanted a place to be creative and just do what I want. While girl for granted is definitely this space for me, there are still a lot of things I had to figure out or learn the hard way. Just like anything in life, everyone’s blogging experience is different. These aren’t hard and fast rules of blogging, nor are they watch outs for anyone else. It’s simply the stuff I wish I’d known.
1// The time thing
Blogging is time consuming – so much more so than I’d ever realised. At first, I thought it was just a matter of writing something and posting it. In essence, yes, that is what a blog is. But I’m a perfectionist and constantly seek to improve this little slice of the world wide web, and I want to be proud of the content I put out there and create an archive of interesting, engaging content. Hence, maintaining a blog is time consuming.
There is so much more that goes into this website than the writing and the pretty pictures. These things in themselves take time, and they’re definitely my favourite parts. The social media, I don’t enjoy quite so much. Except for Instagram. I love Instagram. Pulling posts together takes time, especially if it’s a shopping post – gotta find all of those items, pull them into a collage, link to each item. It’s not a fast process for me. This is not a complaint, just a reality check.
2// Google Analytics
To start with, this blog was just for me and my enjoyment. It still largely is, but I am aware that I have readers now. I’d feel presumptuous writing that, but I use Google Analytics, so I know you’re out there (thank you thank you thank you!!). I wish I’d used Google Analytics from the start – it helps me work out what you guys want to read and which posts perform well, and I get a real buzz out of seeing how many people this little website reaches each time I check my stats.
3// Go self-hosted
I initially set up this blog on the WordPress.com platform, on which your blog is free. It was really great while I was learning the ropes of blogging and working out the WordPress interface, which is essentially the same whether you are on WordPress.com or using a self-hosted WordPress blog. As time went on though, it started to become obvious that WordPress.org, and a self-hosted WordPress blog, was the way to go. The freedoms of customisation are almost endless, but the game changer for me was that I finally had access to Google Analytics – aka my favourite blogging tool ever.
Self-hosted blogging doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Work out how much you’re willing to pay, then shop around. You’ll definitely land on something that works for you.
4// Self-promotion is okay
This was a hard one. For a really long time, I didn’t tell anyone about this website. When I finally started to talk about it, I still felt really uncomfortable promoting it. I think part of this came down to the fact that I’m not an expert in anything I write about. Except for maybe books, considering I have a degree in English. But the support I was shown when I did start talking about my blog more than made up for that moment of discomfort. Now, I love talking about my blog with my friends and family, and they’re my biggest advocates. Posting on social media no longer bothers me either, though I think that’s also part of getting older and not really caring what people think. At the end of the day, I’m the one who benefits most from this anyway – sure, you might find out about an awesome new product or get a great book recommendation or some outfit inspo, but I guarantee you that the satisfaction I get out of that is much greater than yours. So excuse me, but I’m going to talk and self-promote the shit outta this website.
5// There’s a whole community of bloggers
And we prop each other up and support each other and love each other. I used to think it was kind of nerdy, the whole blogging community, online friends thing. Now I love it. There are many of these amazing women who I’ll never meet in real life, but I feel a real connection with and I interact with on at least a weekly basis. From commenting on each other’s posts, to emailing each other and tweeting at each other, we’re always in touch. That authentic connection is hard enough to come by in real life, let alone online, so it blows me away each and every day how supportive and awesome these chicks (and guys) are. There should be more of this in the world, rather than nastiness.
Any questions for me re blogging? x