I started blogging for one main reason–to find a career that I can do from home. To tell you that my initial purpose in starting my blog was to help others with similar struggles would simply not be the full truth.
Of course, I wanted to help others (and one day leave this world a better place than I found it), but I feel that way in everything I do in life. You probably do too.
So, whatever your initial reason is for starting a blog, you need to just own it and leave the guilt at the door.
Blogging is an amazing way to make money, especially if a traditional 9-5 job just makes you want to RUN. AWAY. FAST.
But, getting to the point of making a full-time dependable income doesn't always come as soon as we expect and without tears. Let's just say that my first year of blogging emptied our liquor cabinet 😉 But it also was exhilarating because it was the only job in my life (except for being a wife and mother) that I didn't want to quit! I would have saved myself from living on an emotional roller coaster that first year of blogging if I had only known these 6 common myths about starting a blog.
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One day, I was scrolling through Pinterest and came upon a pin that was titled, “How I Made $2000 last month on Pinterest.” Intrigued to, say the least, I clicked through to a post on someone’s blog. The post made blogging sound so simple. Just find something you are passionate about and write. Write about things that help others and use your personality to make it unique.
Have you seen that kind of pin?
After 15 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I was excited about the possibility of making some extra income. My health is simply not the same as it was when I was a middle school English teacher, so going back to teaching simply isn’t an option. Having a chronic illness makes it nearly impossible for me to have a traditional job. I need flexibility and I really don’t want to give up being a stay-at-home mom. Blogging is a perfect fit for me and I am sure it can be for you too!
All these pins on Pinterest convinced me that within a few months I would be making money. In fact, I read a story that one blogger, who I greatly admire, was making a full-time income within 10 months of starting her blog. (She did it by taking Elite Blog Academy. You can get on the waitlist here.)
Or get the FREE Blog Structure Blueprint here!
Those first 10 months of blogging disappointed me, to say the least. I had fully expected that if she (rock star blogger) did it by working her butt off and completing EBA, then I could do it too. Maybe not a full-time income (after all, she is a rock star blogger), but at least a few hundred dollars a month. I know that not everyone can be a rock star (whether in blogging or life in general), but I couldn’t help but feel that I had failed.
If I had only known these 6 myths about starting a blog, I would not have felt like a failure at my one-year “blog-aversary.”
I don’t want you to have to go through that too. That’s why I have put together this list of the most common myths about starting a blog that I learned in my first year of blogging.
Myth #1 You Can Get Your Blog Up and Running in Just a Few Minutes
Sure, you can sign up for a Word Press account, buy your domain name, and get hosting for your blog in as little as a few minutes. But, that is not everything you will want to do when starting a blog.
You have to learn about which plugins to use (heck, I had to learn what a plugin is).
Then, you have to decide on a domain name for your blog. This should go further than just your initial brainstorm or what you think sounds “cute.”
In fact, Ruth Soukup, the founder and creator of Elite Blog Academy, spends time in her comprehensive course on blogging to teach you how you should decide on a name and message for your blog. It is soooo much more important than you think.
I decided on my blog name and what I was going to write about before I started her course—not what I would recommend at all! I actually had to change my blog name and my domain name after I worked through that part of her course. UGH!
The legal side of blogging is another area that you have to learn about once you start a blog. You are giving advice and suggesting products or services to your readers (think affiliate marketing) and with that comes both ethical and legal responsibilities.
And of course, taxes—not just income tax that the IRS collects, but sales tax. Did you even know that sometimes you also have to collect sales tax for services or digital products you provide? (Don’t freak out, just check out the post I wrote about sales tax.)
As a blogger, you will quickly realize how important images are in conveying your message and your brand. Understanding copyright laws and how to choose/edit images are necessary skills you need to develop and hone when you become a blogger.
Myth #2 It Costs Just a Few Bucks to Start a Blog
You can sign up for a WordPress account for free. The domain name you choose can cost be as little as $7/year. Purchasing hosting can cost as little as $3.95/month (you definitely need to have a self-hosted WordPress account). Those are only some of the expenses when starting and growing your blog. Granted, it is considerably cheaper to start a blog, than say, a traditional business. Traditional businesses often require you to invest in inventory, employees, a physical location and much more. Although starting a blog can technically just cost a few dollars, I don’t believe you can lay a strong foundation for a successful blog without investing in other services as well. You do want to make this a successful career, don't you? So just accept the fact that you will have to spend money in order to make money. Successful entrepreneurs know that starting a new business comes with taking a risk and investing some money. With blogging, that risk and dollar amount just happens to be on a much smaller scale.
*Tip–Paying for a quality hosting company, like Site Ground, is worth the few extra bucks per month.
One such expense is tech help for your blog. From the beginning, I have worked with Grayson Bell of iMark Interactive for technical support for my website. His monthly plans are very reasonable. I believe there is nothing worse than spending so much time and effort in setting up your blog and adding your content only to lose all of that work when your site is hacked and you don’t have a recent backup. Or maybe a bot finds your website and spams your comment section only to crash your site.
*Tip–Budget for the monthly expense of technical service with Word Press that Grayson Bell provides with his company, iMark Interactive.
Myth #3 – If You Do Everything “Right,” You Will Start Making Money Within a Few Months of Starting Your Blog
Some bloggers hit the social media “jackpot” on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. What I mean by that is they just happen to start their blog at a time when that particular social media channel’s algorithm drives traffic to them for free. Inevitably, that social media channel eventually figures that out and changes their algorithm to force bloggers to pay for advertising in order to get themselves in front of new potential readers.
When I decided to start a blog, I had read all kind of testimonials from new bloggers who received insane amounts of traffic from Pinterest, specifically group boards—all for free! Once I started my blog, Pinterest changed its algorithm and group boards were no longer a powerful method of bringing traffic to your blog. I was devastated and thought that maybe my content just wasn’t good enough. I even spent money taking courses and getting “tips” from bloggers who hit the Pinterest “Jackpot” and believed they had the “secret” to success.
*Tip–If you want to learn about being successful on Pinterest, listen to someone like Kate Ahl of Simple Pin Media. She has a Podcast solely about how to be successful on Pinterest. Her company also provides consulting Pinterest account management services. You can be sure that anything you learn from Kate is based on a sound and in-depth collection of knowledge on Pinterest–long-term strategies that will withstand any algorithm changes Pinterest makes in the future.
Different circumstances also have a huge impact on how soon your blog starts making money. Some bloggers happened to choose a topic that is very popular at the time. Others are fortunate to make a “connection” with a significantly more successful blogger who then decides to share your content with their audience.
Myth #4 If You Don’t See Immediate Traffic, You Are Doing Something Wrong
Traffic from social media is great, but it is more of a short-term strategy. Optimizing your content for search engines, such as Google, is a smart strategy for driving traffic to your blog.
Yet, it takes time to see traffic from search engines. Thus, the SEO optimization of each of your posts is a long-term strategy. So, if you want your blog to become successful and remain successful, you have to be patient.
Elite Blog Academy does an amazing job of teaching you how to optimize for SEO.
*Tip–Once you finish EBA and are ready to dive deeper into SEO, I highly recommend learning about SEO from Lena Gott, creator of Adventures in Blogging and Traffic Bootcamp. You can always find her blogging at What Mommy Does.
Myth #5 You Should Use Several Types of Social Media If You Want to Grow Your Audience
Focusing on more than one Social Media channel at a time is simply exhausting. When you are first starting your blog, your energy is better spent creating awesome content. Elite Blog Academy taught me how to create that amazing content. I wish I would have spent a whole lot less time trying to master Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram and more time creating content in my first year of blogging.
I alluded to this in Myth #1, but if you find yourself dependent on social media for all of your traffic, you are putting yourself at risk of losing traffic you worked so hard to obtain at every algorithm change. Social media is a great source of traffic and when you are a new blogger, but you can easily be tempted on focusing all of your energy on it. I am embarrassed to admit I spent so much time, sweat, and money trying to “master” Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram in all at the same time!
*Tip–As Ruth Soukup says, you should never “put all of your eggs in one basket.”
Myth #6 You Don’t Always Figure Out Who Your Audience Is and What You Want to Blog About On Your First Try
Just like we, as bloggers, continue to grow and change, so will your blog. You may start a blog about DIY projects only to realize 6 months in that you really want to write about healthy eating. That is okay. I started my blog to teach other Christian moms to reframe their perspectives about facing challenges to instead see a challenge as an opportunity for personal growth.
Nine months after starting my blog, I attended the Activate Conference put on by Elite Blog Academy. As part of my ticket purchase, I was able to have a one-on-one coaching session with a super successful and experienced blogger. Within a few minutes, she was able to pinpoint that I need to narrow down my focus to helping moms with a chronic illness or condition. Since then, I feel like everything is starting to “click.” I no longer have trouble deciding what to write about regarding what I can offer my readers from my own experiences of being a mom with a chronic illness. Everything needed for my blog to become successful has just fallen into place.
Ruth Soukup offers a printable Blog Structure Blueprint for organizing your thoughts and the content structure of your blog. You can grab it here.
*Tip–Plan to invest in a comprehensive course like Elite Blog Academy. Ruth guides you through the process from how to decide on a topic all the way through scaling your business to levels beyond your wildest dreams!
Looking back, I don’t regret any decisions I made in my first year of blogging. I tend to look for the lessons I learned rather than dwell on the mistakes I made.
One decision that I know I nailed is investing in Elite Blog Academy. I got on the waitlist as soon as I found out about the course. It only opens for enrollment once a year, so it is best to get on the waitlist now. Even if you miss the enrollment for this year, by getting on the waitlist, you will start receiving highly valuable emails each week with some of Ruth’s best tips and strategies.
And by no means should you let these myths or your fears keep you from starting a blog. One of my favorite sayings Ruth is known for on her blog, Living Well Spending Less, is “Do it scared!”
Sometimes you’ve just gotta jump in feet first. Instead of worrying about making the right decisions, you just have to focus on making your decisions right. . .