Starting a blog has not been easy but it has been a journey that I want to share with you! I wanted to write this post for multiple reasons. One is for others to understand the ins & outs in case you are wondering if starting a blog is right for you. Second, is for me to get real with you about how challenging and rewarding it can be before you make the plunge! So, this is not your typical how to start a blog post but a post about my journey as along the way — in my honest opinion.
Let’s be honest, starting a blog is a lot of work; If you have any hopes of making money from your blog, you have treat it like you are starting your own business. I started Jenn on the Rocks in hopes to eventually turn this into my own business so that I can stay at home with my child(ren) and have the freedom & success that I’ve desired for so long. I am a very independent person and I have always dreamed of starting my own or running my own business but for years I never knew what it was. Over the past few years, I’ve realized that I
like LOVE to shop. I love to try out all the new techy gadgets and I love to travel. I have also experienced a lot of things in life worth sharing because others may relate and connect. Also, when it comes to writing, I used to love the aspect of journaling and writing notes. I wrote all the time and read 100s of books – yes I was a nerd.
When Pinterest blew up, it really opened my eyes to all the different bloggers and blogs out there who had the cutest websites with tons of recipes, tips/tricks on just about anything that I wanted to know, and the most funny and relatable stories that made an impact in my life. I admired the pretty pages, the thought out advice, how relatable most of them were and it really resonated with me that this is something I might be interested in.
I actually started my blog a few years ago, when I was pregnant with Leighton. I wanted to document the process and share everything with the world. However, as most of you can relate too…life got in the way. I worked full time, had a home, a husband and this was put on the back burner. I attempted again when Leighton was a newborn before I went back to work, and then a little after that. However, recently I have been going through a personal journey to find myself again and to find happiness in this crazy thing called life. I’m trying to balance my work and personal life, and this journey back to finding myself has been so hard.
First off, this SH*T is HARD! I do not have a marketing or communication background (hmmm should I go back to school??) and I knew nothing about starting a blog, running a website, writing content, or photography. You’d think I’d quit right there. However, I went to the big ol’ world wide internet and boom. There is an endless amount of training, articles, tutorials, classes, advise, free tools, and so much more so that just about anyone with the will-power and drive can start their own blog. Just be kind to yourself. Do not think that you have to know it all or be perfect on day 1, or day 5 or even 6 months later. This can be a long process and my biggest advice is to just keep pushing. When you get super frustrated, take a step back for a day or a week and then come back with fresh eyes and start digging. I have had to do that one too many times and 9 times out of 10, I was able to fix whatever issue I had by myself with a little patience and searching.
Head on over to my resources tab, for all the tools and training courses that I’ve used throughout this journey(or the ones I can remember).
Okay, the next big step in starting a blog is to determine your Passion. What do you want to share with the world? What can you do every day that doesn’t bore you to death? What value can you bring and to who are you targeting. You must understand who your Ideal Target Audience is so you can cater your blog to them. Writing a blog for business, shouldn’t be 100% focused on you. I’ve had to learn this the hard way! 🙂 Yes, you should share your experiences, your favorite products, or your recipes but turn the story around so it’s bringing something of value to the reader. It makes a huge difference in engagement. I am still struggling with this today to ensure that I turn my experiences around to bring something positive or of value to my readers. But please stay with me as I get the hang of all this.
Lately, I have struggled with what this really means – and I think the rest of the world is too! The definition of authentic is:
When writing a blog post, grammer should be top of mind after your content. O.k. that’s all I know! lol. Honestly, I am horrible at grammer. I like to write (or type) like I am speaking. Sometimes it’s ok and then sometimes, it comes off horribly wrong. I have to remind myself to go back and reread everything. Check for spelling errors and to make sure that it reads easily. If I can’t afford a writer, I need to make sure that my posts eb and flow and make it easy for you to read. I do not always get it right but it’s just something else I’m working on… This is where I am in my blogging journey. I think it will be amazing when I can afford to hire content writers or someone to edit my posts before publishing.
The next thing I want to share with you is engagement. Blogging and social media is all about engagement today. Facebook and Instagram update their algorithms more times than I can count but just know that you need engagement to get shown. I have found that in order to receive engagement, you must engage first. Take at least 20 minutes everyday liking, commenting, sharing, and engaging with other people. Make real connections – be authentic with your comments – read their captions – chime in on the topics etc – answer questions. This is a huge part of blogging and as a blogger you hope that other will engage with your content so return the favor – or be the first to initiate a conversation or relationship. Also, as you go along, you should explain to your readers and followers what engagement means to you and how it would help. Most likely, your real followers will help you out!
For this last section, I want to go over a few things. Starting a blog is very time consuming – a typical blog post could take up to 8 hours depending on the content. I don’t want to overwhelm you here, but a blog post should include 300-500 words plus, photos that relate to what your saying, and links to items or products. You have to think about your blog design, theme, logo, and invest in certain tools depending on the type of blog you plan to have. Investing in your business is crucial but you want to make sure you invest in the areas that matter and will provide the biggest return on your investment. Do go buy an expensive camera before you’ve got everything set up on your website. Do not pay for training until you have researched youtube and Pinterest for all the free training available. Believe me, there is very little that you can’t find free on the internet. However, as your blog continues to grow and you are ready to invest in your business, I highly suggest starting with paying someone to design your logo and web design. Next, I would invest in areas that you’re blogging about.whether that’s fashion, fitness, food, etc – invest in things that relate to that area.