There are times in every bloggers life where you think “well why the hell did no one tell me that when I started?!” and I’d be lying if I said this didn’t happen a fair bit to me. So today I’m breaking down a few of the choicest morsels of information that I wish I’d known about before I started my blog. If just one person starts a blog and is grateful for this list, I’ve done my duty well!
You will spend all your free time on the floor
I spend hours every Saturday and Sunday on the floor in the Gypsy Van with my camera in one hand, while the other hand is generally pushing a cat out of frame. This is, of course, optional, but let’s be honest, if you want good blog photos you have to put the work in, and that often means being very, very uncomfortable. Bloggers with a professional still life set up, you are geniuses.
You have to be patient
Do not crack open that new palette. Do not swatch it. Do not pass go. Until you’ve taken photos of any product you get, you can’t use it or ruin it at all. If you’re doing a post on empties or similar, then a used product is ok, but generally, used or messy products are not photogenic. Be patient grasshopper. Shoot first, swatch later.
Link checking is a thing and it’s hell
Google rates your blog for search results in a number of ways. One of the biggest is the number of useful, usable links to other sites or other pages of your own site. Every now and again, pages are taken down, addresses changed etc. so the link on your blog post is now defunct. This means that every now and again you will need to sit down and trawl through your links, checking they’re still valid, and fixing any that aren’t. This is horrible, boring, mundane, and the worst part of blogging, but if you want your blog to rank anywhere near Google’s coveted first page, you’ll have to do it.
Blogging can be lonely
I’m very lucky as a small blogger that my family and friends know about my blog, read it, support me, and at least try to understand it. But blogging is still a rather niche thing, and I know so many amazing, talented bloggers whose families don’t know they blog, or if they do they don’t understand why. The simple act of not having anyone at home or in your friends who know about a hobby you’re so passionate about can be quite isolating. A blog is an all-consuming thing – you think about it all the time, you spend more hours a week on your blog than you do at work or anywhere else, and to have no one to talk to about it can obviously be quite lonely.
It’s expensive as all hell
People think that blogging makes money, and it can, but way, way down the line after a lot of hard work. Until that happens though, you have to spend money to make your blog work for you. From domains, web hosting, Google services, right through to actually buying products to feature, photo props, and all the fun cute stuff, it takes money to make a blog. Once you start adding it all up, a blog can cost you well into the thousands in the first couple of years alone. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, but you’re not willing to invest in it, it simply won’t grow.
Blogging is my absolute favourite hobby that I’ve ever had. I love everything about it, from the friends I’ve made to the content I create. But I wish I’d known all of these things when I was starting up. I feel like I’d be a lot further on than I currently am if I’d thought about how and where to take my photos, how to get my blog’s Google ranking up, and how much money I would need to invest to make it what it is today. If I’d known those things, I’d have been able to plan for them better rather than being reactionary about it all. When I first started, I was lonely in it, as only my Mum knew about it, and it’s difficult to explain to someone when you’ve got no clue what you’re doing!
To anyone starting a blog, I say do it. You’ll love it, you’ll be frustrated by it, and you’ll become one of many who write what they love to a captive audience who also love the hobby side of blogging.