Well, technically, I’ve blogged for more than 5 years now but I’ve never taken it seriously until last year when I bought a domain and paid proper hosting for my WordPress blog. It’s been a year since and I’ve definitely learned a lot. These are my thoughts as a year old /proper/ blogger.
- Thinking of a blog name is hard, it must be personal but also easy to remember. I can’t count the number of times I’ve thought of changing my blog name and URL this past year. I must admit, sometimes it sounds lame, but it is me and it’s easy to remember. It may not be as unique as I wanted it to be but it has meaning and I suppose, that’s all that matters, really. It’s nice to have a brand that actually represents you. Me. Doing. Things. How can that be false, ever?
- Knowing where to start, despite thousands of tutorials, is difficult. I used to think hosting and domain is just one thing. It could be sourced from one provider but it is two different things. You can pay for your domain name (URL: rondoesthings.com) but not pay for hosting (storage for images, your blog as a whole, wordpress.org account, etc.). This is too complicated, this deserve a whole ‘nother post.
- Speaking of domain + hosting, just because the first year is affordable doesn’t mean the renewal won’t be expensive. I started with less than $100 for both domain + hosting and had to renew for almost $200. Read the terms before committing, because I definitely did not. Ha! This is why I’m now back on Tumblr. I’ve stopped my hosting and moved on with only my domain, you know, just to make things seem official than it actually is. From the supposed $200, I’m now down to just $15 per year. Ka-ching!
- Did you know that your SEO builds up? It doesn’t happen overnight. Just because you have a domain and posted a couple of blogs, you will then appear in Google searches. No. It took me about 4-5 months for my blog to come up as the first result when searching “ron does things”. If I did change my blog name and URL, I will have to build up my SEO again.
- Deciding your niche in the blogger world can be stressful. Much like choosing your profession in the real world, deciding whether you’ll be a full time rambler or an occasional fashion blogger can be quite tricky. Most of the time, you want to keep up with the aura of professionalism in your posts. Sleek images, serious tone. But there are times when your actual personality wants to come through. Blurry images, funny and occasional sarcastic tone. I’ve struggled with this a lot and if I read some of my posts, I wouldn’t be able to recognize my voice in those. Which is sad. If I can’t express who I am because of the standards I set, then what’s the point?
- WordPress is one of the best, if not the best, platforms for bloggers. Everything is laid out for you, functionalities are just one Install Widget click away and free but premium-looking themes are aplenty! I miss it so much, I want to cry. I’ve been brushing up my HTML knowledge the past week just to customize my Tumblr and make it look half as decent as my previous blog. I mean, it’s cute now, but it definitely feels lacking. Or maybe I’m having withdrawals. Hmm. <- Not sponsored, zuh.
- Sponsorships and advertorial offers will not come knocking on your door, or in our case, emails, after your 10th post. No matter how good you think your content is, building up your audience takes time. I mean, I still have less than 200 likes on my Facebook page! But in my case, that’s more of an introvert issue, really. I don’t blab about my blog to my friends. It’s not that I’m not proud of it, I just don’t like forcing people to like it. Luckily for me on Instagram, I’ve gained a few hundred followers since Lookbook featured one of my OOTDs. Hashtag your photos away, invite friends on Facebook to like your page (you know that Invite Your Friends button that won’t need any words, that button is made for introverts and the passive aggressive), continue giving good and regular (oops) content.
- To monetize or not to monetize, that is the question. I’ve never and will never be against sponsored posts and affiliate links as long as the blogger stays true to his/her word about being unbiased. The reader doesn’t pay more than the regular price but the blogger gets commission, win-win. It only really goes wrong if the blogger is promoting bad products and write dishonest good-for-the-company reviews. Blech. Aside from sponsorships, there’s also putting up ads (Adwords & AdSense). However, it just doesn’t work for me, personally. I feel like it makes the blog tacky or maybe I’m not good at finding the right place to incorporate one. Although, I’m okay with sponsored or promotional images being put up carefully within posts or the sidebar. It’s really up to you whether you want to earn from your blog or not, but if you’re just starting, an introvert, doesn’t post regularly and has a 9-to-5 job, don’t expect thousands, not even hundreds, of income from your blog. That’s not how the world works, Stephanie!
- Be willing to invest time and money. The posts that take so much from me are my Ron Wears posts. On top of my personal taste, I need to be in trend therefore I need to buy clothes (I like shopping though, can’t complain). I also need someone to take photos of me and the time to take those photos and the location as to where to take those photos. It’s very stressful but they’re my favorite so there’s that. No matter which type of blogger you are, you will inevitably invest time and/or money. For fashion bloggers, clothes + good location. For photography bloggers, location + good camera. For food review bloggers, restaurants to dine in + money to pay for your meal. For recipe bloggers, ingredients + the actual knowledge of cooking. For travel bloggers, plane tickets + accommodation + a whole lot more. For DIY bloggers, materials. And that’s just the basics, there’s so much more to do behind the scenes and if you’re not willing to do that, welp. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
- After everything, blogging is a lot of fun. You get to be creative every now and then, especially for bloggers with technical jobs. You get to look forward to put up new content or share your music or show your latest fashion haul. It’s fun because you get to have goals, albeit short-term. It’s a distraction and a way to channel stress into something beautiful. You get to be who you are and read back on it, months and years after. It’s fun because you get to learn more about other people but most especially yourself. This is the kind of learning I love. The kind where I get to discover things sans exams and deadlines. It’s fun because you get to do things YOU like.
- Starting and ending posts will always be hard.
And on that note, that’s 11 confessions I have as a year old blogger. If you have read, admired, liked, or stalked my blog in the past year, THANK YOU. I feel almost emotional. Also, don’t be shy to leave a comment behind. It’s always nice to receive feedback. Monologuing can be tiring, yanno.
P.S. So sorry if some of my posts have now incomplete photosets. It’s quite hard to import content from one platform to the other, i.e. WordPress to Tumblr. It would’ve been fine if it was from WordPress.org to WordPress.com, but the free blog promo for WordPress.com is only up to 3GB. And I ain’t got no time for that. Let’s just move forward and be sad together. RIP good quality images.