5 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging
Before I Started
5 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging Before I Started: I started blogging a long time ago, and over the years taught myself as much as I could and tried to bumble through and find out things as I went along. Looking back, I wish I had someone to help me out at the time but I figure I’ve done my best! Here are some of the things I have learnt along the way. I hope these will save you time.
1- I Would Have Started Out Self-hosted
This is specifically if you are planning on blogging professionally or for a long time as a hobby you take seriously. You know what takes time, money and effort? Moving your blog around like a caravan. Save yourself a lot of time and hassle and start with a self-hosted blog such as using your own domain and using WordPress.org or just fully having your own website with a blogging template set up.
This avoids at any point having to switch over from free to self-hosted which is a HUGE pain in the butt. Another pain in the butt is switching from Blogger to WordPress, which is what I also had to do. I totally outgrew Blogger’s limited capabilities and then had to pay to have Pipdig to transfer me over, as I just didn’t have the time or knowledge to do it myself.
I have also heard that some free sites sometimes won’t let you have ads or do sponsored posts (I checked wordpress and that looks fine) but if you have the goal of monetizing your blog, you’re going to want to at least consider being self-hosted. When choosing a self-hosted option, just go for the cheapest starter plan. That will be fine and you can increase the plan when you are getting lots of page views and blog hits per day.
2 – I Wouldn’t Have Made The Mistake Of Ignoring Facebook
Despite the fact that I hate personal facebook pages with a passion you really need one for your blog. What I totally underestimated was that a Facebook presence is crucial and helps you working with brands and building a connection with your audience. And despite me personally hating it, millions of people love it, and use it all day every day.
I am still totally behind the curve and I believe, only have 37 Facebook likes on my Iheartcosmetics page because I only started it a couple of months ago and haven’t had time to sit down and set up a plan of how to improve this. After blogging for EIGHT YEARS! Learn from my mistakes and set up a fan page as soon as you start your blog. If I had done that I could have built my following in line with all of my other social media channels.
3 – I Would Have Claimed All My Social Media Handles ASAP
The most important Social Media accounts you need to set up are Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Try and keep the same @handles for all of them if you can. I ended up stuck with Sarahloolaa for Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram and only managed to get I Heart Cosmetics for the blog and Facebook. It was the best I could do as Iheartcosmetics was taken and back then twitter was just for chatting to your mates. I had no idea how integrated it would become in the future with blogging. Nowadays, having a consistent branded name across all platforms looks much more professional and will stick in people’s minds so they will think to search for you by name.
When you are trying to decide on a blog name, first check the URL is available and then after that make sure the same name is available on all the other social media platforms you plan to use. As soon as you find a URL and username like this claim them all ASAP!
4 – I Wouldn’t Have Spent So Much Money On Review Products
I always spent a fair bit on beauty products anyway but sometimes fell into the trap of buying new things because they were trendy, not because I needed one at the time, just to blog about them.
Luckily (from my terrible old photos you can tell) I had no idea about photography, editing software, blog props etc. So I was spending absolutely no money on that so I wasn’t getting myself into debt or anything but I was wasting money. Don’t spend money you don’t have buying products, please!
Why not team up with another smaller blogger and share products, for example, they buy 2 lipstick shades, you buy two eyeshadow shades, then you can swap and each review the other one. I used to be part of the website Makeupalley a long time ago, we would try out products and if we didn’t like them or wanted to trade for something else, we would just sanitise them and swap them and it saved so much money. As long as you don’t share any liquid eye products and find someone normal and sanitary that you trust to swap with, this could save you a lot of money.
Perhaps find a kindly blogger who gets sent free product and see if they would mind giving you one or two things they have reviewed but don’t really want anymore. I’ve sent plenty of boxes of products out over the years to other bloggers as I only have one face and I couldn’t possibly use everything up that I get sent, I’d never get around to reviewing the next cleanser if I am still trying to use up the entire bottle of the previous one! Obviously, not everyone will say yes but if you politely ask and offer to pay the postage I am sure I’m not the only one happy to make some space in their bathroom cabinets/entire spare room full of products.
5 – I Would Have Bought, Borrowed or Rented a Better Camera
There can be a temptation to buy fancy equipment as that’s what everyone else seems to have. But I recommend keeping your overheads as low as possible for as long as possible!
I purchased a DSLR from Hong Kong which basically halved the price. Now you may not know anyone over in Asia who can help you like I did. But see if any friends work in a camera shop or department store that will lend you their discount card. Or see if anyone you know is selling a used camera that’s in good condition/buy a refurbished one.
You could try seeing if you can rent a DSLR from your local camera shop rather than buying one, save up all your products and rent it for a weekend and take a months worth of product photos.
For photography accessories, I saved money by buying a similar but half the price ring light from Amazon. Another thing I recommend (which I bought on MakeupSavvy’s recommendation ) is a pop-up reflector.
This is amazing if your house is quite dingy. It’s only £7.99 from eBay: 5 in 1 Light Diffuser Round Reflector Disc with Carrying Bag
This is now a must have and I wish I had one of these earlier. It’s great even if you haven’t got any photography lights as it will reflect natural light from a window. You can move it around and ensure your products are lit perfectly. Also handy for a selfie if you can get someone else to hold it. Or just hold it yourself like a loony (like me below lol)!
The Good News!
Even if you have created a blog and done some/all of the things on the list above you can always go back to things, Just try and improve and reassess old blog posts and try new things in future. I constantly try and revamp the blog and improve wherever I can and I’m always looking for ways to better my blogging!
What do you wish you knew when you started blogging?