5 Fundamental Blogging Lessons That Help Me Become a Thriving Full-time Blogger

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“What should I do to start a blog on the right foot?”

This is the question I often asked myself when I first had the idea of owning a blog. 

I don’t know about you, but what I did was read other bloggers sharing their blogging lessons as much as possible. Those lessons helped me have an idea of what is waiting ahead to prepare myself better. 

After being in the industry for a while and running a few blogs, I’ve collected some blogging lessons that I know if I had learned them earlier, my blogging journey would have been much easier. And, I think it’s my duty to pay it forward by sharing what I’ve learned about blogging with aspiring bloggers. 

Let’s dive in. 

1. Blogging is Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme

Chances are you once came across some blog posts with a catchy title like: “How I made $1,000 on my first month of blogging”, or “How I earned a full-time living with blogging within six months,” etc. While these stories may be true, it’s rare.

Difference bloggers have different answers for the question of how long they can make money from a blog. Some can earn $100 within a few days right after they launch their blog, while others need at least one year to earn a few bucks. And, it’s sad that most bloggers fall into the second situation.

Why does this happen?

To monetize a blog, you need to do tons of things, for example:

  • Publishing high-quality content that delivers value to your target audience
  • Implementing on-page and off-page SEO to increase site ranking on Google 
  • Building an email list 
  •  Determining a monetizing strategy that fits your blog and audiences
  • Promoting your blog 

Don’t get me wrong. 

I don’t mean you need to complete all the above tasks at once. You can learn and apply one by one on the go. 

But, I want to emphasize that there are so many things to learn and do before your blog can generate $1. Besides, not all tasks you do will deliver your desired outcome on the first shot. Not all monetizations are suitable for your blog, even that’s what other bloggers are doing. 

That’s why you need to test different strategies to figure out what works best for you. This process takes time (a lot of time).

What I did:

Prepare myself for a long run in terms of setting goals and finance. 

Right from the beginning, I determined that blogging is a job that I would do in the next 10 years (at least), so there is no reason to rush.

At the very beginning, I spent nearly 3 months reading everything about blogging on the Internet. This step laid the foundation stone of my blogging journey and saved me a lot headaches later on.  

Next, I set a realistic goal: Making $1,000 after the first year of blogging. With this modest goal, I felt no pressure to blog. 

And, guess what? 

The actual amount of money I earned in the first year as a blogger is $3,930 (mainly from selling starter websites and providing service). I think it’s not a bad result for a new blogger. 

It’s also a great idea to have a 9-to-5 job (or another main income stream) and blog as a side hustle. In doing this, you ensure your financial security while immersing yourself in the industry without being stressed about money.

Back when I first put my one leg into the blogging world, I was doing a corporate job. That boring and restrained work financed my blogging dream. And, when my blog started to generate a stable income, I decided to become a full-time blogger. 

2. Blogging is an Online Business

It’s not because you can monetize a blog that makes blogging is a business. The truth is: You need to treat blogging as a business from the beginning to make money off of it.

It means you need to have a basic understanding of running an online business. So, what skills do you need? Below are some essential ones:

  • Planning
  • Marketing and sales
  • Tasks organization
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Communication and negotiation
  • Finance management (bookkeeping, accounting, taxation, etc.)
  • Networking
  • The technical issue and legal stuff of a digital business

The list goes on.

Once again, a long list may scare you. But, there are always solutions for problems.

What I did: 

Back to the phrase I first studied about blogging, I also learned about the basics of online business models. Why does this matter?

Plain and simple, an online business model will define how you make money. Below are some main models and their main earning methods: 

  • Service-based business: providing services such as writing, proofreading, designing, coaching, etc
  • Digital business:  selling digital products like ebooks, courses, printables, etc
  • Membership sites: charging members in your circle according to a period of time (monthly, quarterly, or yearly)
  • Affiliate marketing: earning money by promoting third parties’ products
  • Content creation: displaying ads, sponsorship, etc.

Of course, you can combine models to maximize your earnings. For example, if you are a health coach, you can create and sell an ebook about eating organically along with your main service.  

The key here is, you need to know each model’s pros and cons to pick your suitable ones and implement them strategically. 

Also, as a solopreneur, it’s necessary to understand some basic finance-related terms such as revenue, expenses, profit, etc. Having a simple spreadsheet to track your finance will be useful too.

Next, you may need to acquire some foundation in sale funnels and marketing, which is crucial for promoting your blog and converting your target audience into sales. 

I saw some new bloggers concerned about legal stuff (something like whether they should file for establishing an LLC to blog or not) and taxation right after they start their blog. From my experience, while those are things that a business should care about, you don’t need to pay attention to them when you just start out blogging. You can learn this part with other aspects of being an entrepreneur down the road when your blog gets traction. 

All of these lead to my next point. 

3. Blogging Success Requires Investment

Recently, a new blogger asked me if it was okay to blog on a free blogging platform (WordPress.com) since she’s a beginner and not ready for being all-in in blogging. She would wait until she knew how to monetize a blog to invest in one. Here is my answer:

If you blog as a hobby, it’s totally fine to go with any free option. But if your blogging purpose is building your branding, portfolio, making some extra money, or a full-time income, you should own a self-hosted website with a unique domain. It gives you more control over your site and helps you build your credibility.

Moreover, blogging on a free platform is quite different from doing it on a self-hosted one. While the former is quite simple, the latter involves tons of complicated tasks. 

Besides, you can’t truly learn about blogging monetization only by reading other bloggers’ sharing. You must roll up your sleeves and put what you learned into practice. Remember, trial and error is the most effective and fastest way to learn.

There are there main things you should consider investing in

  • Initial investment: You need to pay for web hosting to start. The good news is this won’t cost you much (as low as $3.45/month), and most web hosting providers offer a free domain for the first year. A paid theme is optional. That is enough for you to ready to go.
  • Training: You can indeed learn everything for free online. But investing in a few high-quality courses will help you significantly cut the corner. The unique experience of the course creator will shorten your learning process and ensure you do things properly, increasing your chance of success.
  • Tools: When your blog grows, you’ll need some paid tools like plugins to customize your blog, an email marketing platform to send your newsletters, a platform to host and sell your courses, ebooks, etc. 

What I did: 

When I realized I was serious about starting a blog to earn money, I considered web hosting and domain is an essential investment to run my business and they’ll pay off in the future. With this mindset, I found it easier to pay them upfront. 

For education investment, while I was willing to purchase blogging courses, I always reminded myself that I don’t need to learn everything at a time. It’s better to learn things at the right time. 

So, I divided the blogging journey into three phrases: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Each period requires different knowledge. In the beginning, I focused on learning how to get my blog ready for launch with less resistance. After that, I learned to grow it with SEO, Pinterest, social media. Finally, it’s time to master the technique to level up the game and turn my blog into a scalable business.

In doing so, I purchase courses that I truly need, not because of other bloggers’ promotions. 

4. Blogging Means Wearing Many Hats

If you think blogging means writing over and over again, you’re making a mistake. 

In fact, blogging is a lot of time spent not writing, and most bloggers find themselves wearing many hats.

A blogger is a writer with an intention.

Their intention is shown in picking topics and writing-related tasks.

Instead of choosing a random topic or what they personally like to write, modern bloggers always have their target audience’s intent in their mind. They don’t try to write for everyone, which is translated into writing for no one. They do research, collect and test data to figure out how to craft a blog post that not only satisfies both audiences and search engines but also leads to conversion.

A blogger needs basic design skills.  

There is no need to become a professional graphic designer to support your blogging career. But you may find yourself struggling with creating infographics, Pinterest pins, or ebooks if you don’t know some basic design skills.

A blogger is a planner and a strategist.

After setting your blogging goals, your next step is planning.

In the short term, you may need to outline your content calendar and your detailed roadmap to grow your blog in the next 6-12 months. All this stuff is for making sure you know what to do to meet your given goals.

In the long run, you should create a business plan that clearly sets out ways to monetize your blog, turn your blog into a scalable business, manage your business operation, etc. 

The story doesn’t stop here.

Implementing your plan strategically is also a big problem. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve adjusted my scheme and tried different strategies to find out what works best for my blog. 

A blogger is a marketer.

It’s no surprise when a blogger says she spends much more time promoting her blog than writing. How come?

Let’s talk about how you blog. 

If you’re focusing too much on the “build it” part, then hope that “they’ll come,” you’re making a serious mistake. What so-called “build it, and they’ll come” doesn’t exist in the blogging world. 

Why does the audience bother finding your site to read something that million other blogs out there already write about? They even don’t know who you are. That’s why you need to bring your site to your target audience’s front. And, here is marketing comes in handy.

Making the most of words of mouth, building your social media presence, investing in paid ads, networking, etc. Among tons of marketing methods, pick out some, try them out, and see whether it helps you promote your site effectively. 

What I did:

I don’t spread myself too thin. 

I know, easier said than done. Below are some of my ways to save myself from burnout: 

Planning, planning, and planning: I set goals for both the short and long term. But, when it comes to planning, I’d like to plan what I need to do in the next 6 months, 1 month, and during the week. That’s the way I set priorities and organize my tasks to keep myself staying away from overwhelming. 

Focusing on one thing (which really counts) at a time: the number one priority of a starter blog is high-quality content. So, I concentrated on publishing 15 posts as soon as possible without caring about promoting them. When I reached my number, I changed to one post per week  and started using Pinterest to drive traffic to my site.

Instead of Pinterest, you can choose Instagram, Tiktok, or Facebook to bring your site to your target audience’s front. But, remember to focus on one channel long enough before switching to another. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself spending hours and hours hanging out on social media without gaining any significant results. 

Making the most of tools: There are various tools for you to choose from (tools for designing, tools for scheduling your social media posts, etc.). You can start with whatever makes you feel comfortable to use. 

I personally use Canva for design. It’s easy to use and offers hundreds of templates. I often work in batches: creating a week-worth of designs and scheduling the posting time. In doing this, I save a lot of time and effort. 

Moreover, if finance is not your concern, you can consider outsourcing some tasks to spend time on more crucial ones. It could be hiring a freelancer to set up your website, design your logos, take care of your social media accounts, etc. 

At the end of the day, blogging is a long run, don’t let yourself be exhausted right from the beginning. 

5. The Technical Side of Blogging May Drive You Crazy

Launching a blog is more than just building a website.  

You’ll also need to secure your blog from hackers, speed up the loading time to optimize readers’ experience, back up your site regularly so you won’t lose all your hard work on a crazy day. Not to mention, one day, you mess your site up with a website builder (it’s me) or theme customization, then you have to spend hours and hours (even weeks) fixing it. Yikes!

What I did:

While you don’t need to be tech-savvy, learning some tech stuff will help.

First of all, let’s get familiar with your WordPress dashboard and learn how to manage your site. And the good news is the longer you stay in the blogging world, the easier it’s for you to improve your understanding of the technical side.

One more important thing, whenever you make a purchase (web hosting, domain, plugins, software, etc.), put sellers’ support into your criteria list.

Take me as an example. 

When it comes to choosing a web hosting provider, what are your considerations? The web speed? Pricing? The popularity? 

As for me, it’s customer service. 

Different bloggers have different experiences with the same web hosting provider. While many bloggers may advise beginners to stay away from Bluehost at all costs, I’m on the opposite side. I often recommend Bluehost to new bloggers, especially those on a tight budget. The reason I chose them is that their support team is super helpful. Whenever I face a technical issue, I jump into a 24/7 live chat to get immediate help. 

You can also hire someone to do the hard job for you and join some communities, for example, a Facebook group, to pick other bloggers’ brains.

Final Thoughts

By now, do you still want to become a blogger? Just kidding!

I hope I don’t scare you with the above blogging lessons. I just want to make sure you’re aware of the fact that there is no road with only sunshine and roses. Especially, when you’re a beginner, learning curves and difficulties are inevitable. 

I’m 100% sure that blogging is fun and worth it. If you want to start a blog, go for it. By being well-prepared, learning through mistakes, and moving forward consistently, you, your blog, and your business will flourish. 

So, what do you think? Let me know in the comment section below.


Other helpful posts for new bloggers:

Best free online blogging courses for beginners

Blogging effectiveness and 6 things new bloggers should know to successfully monetize a blog

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  1. I must thank you for the efforts youve put in penning this site. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own blog now 😉

    • Selena says:

      Thank you for your kinds words. I’m glad that you find my blog helpful and motivating. I’ll keep on writing high-quality blog posts for sure, even them take me a lot of time to craft (That’s why I only publish 2 times/month). You sharing motivate me a lot as well. Many thanks!

  2. bookmarked!!, I like your web site!

    • Selena says:

      Hi Estella,

      Thank you for your compliment and your time. I hope you can walk away with some helpful tips from my post. Enjoy it!

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