Did you just start a blog or are you thinking about it? There’s so much to do and learn, and it can be totally daunting. I’m in the trenches with you and feeling a bit overwhelmed as a new blogger. There’s so much to set up and organize!
So, I’m pretty much writing this post to myself as a reminder to stay positive and on track. My official launch day was two days ago, and I still feel like I’m scrambling to have everything in place. Can we say hello to the social media accounts that I still have yet to set up?! Lol.
Here’s the 8 things that I’ve been focusing on to keep my head above water and attempt to keep moving forward into this brave new world of blogging. Also, please jump in with the comments! I’d love to hear what you do to keep yourself going in the beginning! Any advice, encouragement, or empathy appreciated!
1. Just Start.
Sometimes you just need to do it. Even if you’re scared. Even if you don’t have it all perfectly figured out.
My husband and I are big fans of Ramit Sethi and his unique perspective on personal finance over at Iwillteachyoutoberich.com. My encouraging husband recently showed me some of Ramit’s earlier videos and pointed out that they are a little rough around the edges. They still get millions of views on YouTube, but they are not nearly the quality and professionalism of his more recent work. It’s neat to see his growth and transformation, and it’s neat to think that you and I can do that, too.
But, we have to start.
Set a firm launch date, and have someone hold you accountable. Remember that you will get the hang of this thing and that you will get better as time goes on. Sometimes, perfection is the enemy of productivity. I know that it’s cliche, but we all really do start somewhere. And, I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
When I get stressed and overwhelmed as a new blogger, it also makes me feel a little better to realize that not many people are even looking at this stuff yet. It’s kind of like singing in the shower in that I don’t even have to be embarrassed by my first, off-key attempts because no even knows I’m here yet.
2. Follow a Plan.
Find a plan, and stick with it. Since I was completely overwhelmed as a new blogger, I tried several (lol, like 10) free courses for setting up a blog, and I ultimately did buy one to give me a blueprint to follow. I’m so glad that I did! Also, as a mom of young kiddos, it can be hard to carve out the time to work on the blog. Having a path already charted out by someone else helps me to save a ton of time and actually accomplish tip #1 of just getting started!
For me personally, it’s been so good to have a road map laid out by someone who is successful at blogging (and making over $30,000 a month from it!). I used Blog by Number by Suzi Whitford, and it’s amazing! It’s a great value for the cost (which is a lot less than many other courses that I looked at), and her course and ebook are packed full of great, actionable info.
Her course is aptly named since she really does make starting a blog as easy as the paint by number kits that I used to love as a kid. She covers everything, including picking your niche, creating a pretty theme (with options for a free one), writing great posts, getting traffic to your new blog, and monetizing.
Suzi’s also a busy mom of three kids age three and under, so she cuts right to the chase with what’s most essential for your blog’s success. She keeps you on track and helps you to maximize the time that you have to work on your blog baby while still taking care of your real ones.
I almost got just the ebook since I learn better from reading than watching videos, but there’s a bunch of great freebies with the course that I have really loved. I have referred back to the videos frequently to figure out how to set up several things on my blog. Both come with a Google docs workbook to help you apply what you’re learning (and to document your choices so that you don’t forget details– I constantly refer to it for my color palette details!).
Additionally, I get distracted easily by all the info floating around online about blogging. As Suzi points out in the course, it’s easy to get off track by the next shiny object. Having a clear plan will help you to accomplish more and to do it more quickly.
If you’re not ready to invest in a blog course yet, her FREE 31-Day First Month Blog Plan is an amazing checklist to get your blog ready to go!
3. Write 10-20 posts before you launch.
Consider writing at least 10-20 posts before you officially launch. This gives readers something to enjoy when they visit your site, and hopefully it’ll keep them around a bit longer. Linking to other articles that you’ve written can also help your search engine rankings so that even more people can find you! Win-win!
Over the course of all those free start-a-blog courses that I took, I have read that you should have anywhere from 5 to 50 posts ready to go when you launch. Personally, I’m finding that 10-20 would be ideal for me since I have a few major categories on my site. I keep wanting to link to posts that I haven’t actually written yet, so I’m scrambling a bit to catch up!
I actually started a free wordpress.com blog before starting this one to get a feel for blogging. It gave me a chance to practice being consistent with posting, but it also was a spot to store some blog posts pre-launch.
You totally get blog bonus points if you create Pinterest and Facebook images before you launch! It’ll save you some time and frustration when you launch, so that your launch time can be all about figuring out your theme, widgets, plugins, and more!
Suzi just released another amazing course, and this one is super inexpensive– just the cost of a couple of drinks from Starbucks! How great is that?!
It’s called Post by Number, and it’s an easy to follow formula to write a great blog post every time! Taking that course also gives you the opportunity to guest post for her new online community to significantly increase your reach as a brand new blogger.
Suzi’s courses and resources give you the skills and exposure you need to make a great start as a new blogger!
If you need an amazing, free checklist of other things that you should include for your launch, check out this great Free Blog Launch Checklist by Kermilia over at the Millennial Stay-at-Home Mom.
4. Focus on the Next Big Thing (and finish it).
Keep a notebook or to do list so that you don’t forget things and can focus on each day’s task. It’s easy for me to get distracted and want to do all the things all at once (ha- like writing this post instead of setting up my social media accounts).
When you start to feel overwhelmed as a new blogger, make yourself short lists. I find that short, daily lists help me to hold myself accountable. If there’s only 2 or 3 things on the list, you’ll get a big boost of confidence from crossing them off when they’re done. It’ll also keep you on track with your editorial or blogging calendar.
Refer to the notebook, add to it, and tell yourself, “This won’t take as long as I think it will!” Even if it does take a while, you’ll still be focused and at least moving forward or figuring things out!
Here’s the planner that I use to keep me on track, and it has focused sections for each day’s top tasks. The Living Well Planner also makes it really easy to time block for specific tasks (see below).
Honestly, though, any planner or even a simple spiral notepad can keep you on track.
5. Block Out Two or Three Hours a Day to Work.
This tip is similar to the one above, but it’s a way to structure your day. Despite the popularity of multitasking, people tend to get more done when they work in concentrated shifts. Consider your daily schedule, and see if you can sneak in an hour in the early morning or after the kids go to bed to work on specific things.
I’m trying to get up an hour earlier (no small feat at 36 weeks pregnant) to write while the house is still quiet. My second block for blogging is an hour or two during my sweet and chatty toddler’s nap time. Occasionally, I can work on images or formatting in the evening while watching Netflix with my hubby.
Time blocking seems to work best when you plan the work out in advance. I like to make a quick plan the night before so that I can get right to work (and coffee) in the early morning quiet.
If you need something to help you keep on track with your time blocking, here’s a link to my favorite planner that makes it super-easy (it’s also a really pretty planner, and pretty helps me stay inspired!):
6. Hang on to Encouraging Thoughts When You Feel Overwhelmed as a New Blogger.
Do your best to stay focused on the positive. Write motivational sayings on your planner, your mirror, and your phone wallpaper where you can see them and stay encouraged. What happy thoughts keep you going?
Here are my favorite mantras/thoughts when I feel completely overwhelmed as a new blogger:
- There’s no real pressure on me– no even knows that this site exists yet!
- I’m only going to get better from here (hopefully)!
- A bunch of these things only have to be done once! (like the disclosure policy, an about me page, etc)
- So many of these things are going to be second-nature soon! Anything new is awkward and uncomfortable until you get used to it. I’m a little embarrassed at how long it took me to create my first pin, but now I know how incredibly easy it is!
7. Set Goals for Things that You Can Control
While it’s nice to have goals for monthly pageviews and such, it can also be challenging because you don’t have direct control over so many things.
Instead, consider setting daily and weekly goals for things that you can do something about. Make a goal to repin a certain number of posts, comment or post 2 or 3 times a week in FB groups related to your niche, or plan to connect with a certain number of bloggers in your field. Set a goal to create an affiliate account with a product or course that you love, and write a review post for it. You can even plan to take courses or read ebooks covering topics that you want to grow in.
8. Read 1st Month/Time Income Reports and Get Inspired.
This tip is my favorite! It’s the thing that I come back to the most often when I feel overwhelmed as a new blogger. I absolutely love reading reports from people’s first few months blogging! It makes me feel like maybe I can be a success, too, and it’s fun to see what worked to help them start down the path to making money with their blog.
Here’s some of my favorite reports from bloggers at the beginning of their journeys:
- Lori from My Journey Along the Way– I ended up buying Suzi’s Blog By Number course thanks to this awesome post! If she can do it (with Suzi’s help), so can we! It’s so encouraging to see that a new blogger could make almost $200 in her first month blogging from affiliates and Adsense (no one makes money with Adsense right away, right?!).
- Ashli from The Million Dollar Mama– By her 8th month blogging, this mama was making over $5k a month with her site! But in her first income report, she shares how she made $276 through affiliate links and ad income.
- Kermilia from The Millennial Stay-At-Home Mom– The second day after she launched her blog, this mama landed a sponsored post! Talk about inspirational! She also shares how she grew her traffic to over 6000 pageviews in her second income report and made over $360.
Blogging can be fun, exciting, and totally overwhelming. These 8 tips can help to keep you on track and stay positive as you start this journey!
If you’re thinking about starting a blog (and want to make money from it) but haven’t taken the leap yet, consider going with Siteground for your hosting. They are amazing! They have a fantastic and speedy support team, they make installing WordPress crazy-easy, and they have great options to grow with you!
What helps you to stay motivated when you feel overwhelmed?
What encouraged you to stick with it in your first few months blogging?