If you’re new to blogging it probably feels like there is so much information you couldn't possibly ever learn it all.
It’s so easy to get bogged down on the technical side of things or to feel like your blog is never good enough.
I see this all the time with new bloggers. They often spend way too much time worrying about things that dont' really matter in the end and then don't have time to do the stuff that will actually let them succeed.
The good news is blogging isn’t that complicated!
In fact, you’ll find there are numerous distractions you don’t need to worry about when starting out, and that it’s truly best to keep things simple.
Things You Shouldn’t Worry About When Starting A Blog
As a blogger, the worst thing you can do is to suffer paralysis by analysis. Perfectionism might feel like a good thing but it's actually a distraction from action. If you find yourself unable to move forward until every detail is right then you're likely delaying out of anxiety.
Blogging is quite simple: you need to create valuable content that helps your readers and gives them a reason to keep coming back. Do that over and over and over for years. That's how you build a blog.
Everything else is a distraction, and these are some of most major blogging stumbling blocks you should avoid:
1. Agonizing Over Web Design
I've known several bloggers who actually spent YEARS designing their sites. That's about 23 months and 3 weeks too long.
Designing your website is an iterative process. Your blog might not look exactly how you want in the early stages, but you can gradually fill it with content and improve the design over time.
If you want a quick brand template check out Irresistible Brand Kits by Bethany McCamish. She has a quiz you can take to find your “brand archetype” which will let you know which brand kit to grab.
This is a great place to start if you are new to branding.
2. Blog Hosting
Once I heard a new blogger say they spent three months researching hosts. There is no need! This is just perfectionism, anxiety, and procrastination rolled into one.
Hosting is just storage of digital files. How much time should a person spend researching storage units? Almost none.
If you start searching for the best blog hosts or ask around on social media, you usually end up down a rabbit hole. Some bloggers swear by Bluehost, others Siteground, and there’s dozens of other hosting options in between that also get recommendations.
Don’t overthink the process. As a new blogger, your blog host should be reliable and affordable. You don’t need cutting edge speed, massive server sizes, or an expensive price tag for a new website.
Personally, I use SiteGround since they have affordable plans, excellent uptime, and a very responsive support team.
My suggestion is to stick with SiteGround, but after you do some research, make sure you make a decision and don’t endlessly search for hosts.
You will likely be happy with any choice you make — and if you aren't you can always switch.
3. Your Email Marketing Service
Another common blogging tool people can agonize over is choosing an email marketing platform to start building an email list.
Don’t get me wrong: email marketing is one of the most powerful tools for growing your blog since it’s a list you own. You don’t have to worry about social media algorithm changes, and you can use your email list to drive engaged readers to your best content.
However, as a new blogger, you don’t have to overthink your email marketing plan. Providers like ConvertKit and Mailerlite have free starter plans and affordable monthly pricing for small lists. Both providers also let you automate email blasts, easily design newsletters, and capture subscribers right from your blog.
I personally use ConvertKit and am happy with it.
The truly important part is to begin capturing email subscribers once your blog is running and to learn the basics of email marketing. In the long run, this is one of the most valuable blogging skills you’ll learn, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated at the start.
Here are my full reviews of these two recommended email providers.
Again, pick one and try it. If you don't like it switch.
4. Getting Readers Immediately
Another common thing new bloggers worry about is getting readers and blog subscribers as fast as possible. Honestly, new bloggers often have unrealistic expectations of how long it takes to build traffic.
I don't blame them a bit for this, however. There are so many stories about how someone started a blog and was making $10,000 a month 6 months later. I'm not saying those stories aren't true, I'm just saying they are the VAST minority of blogs.
You never hear about the person who started a blog and was making $500 a month after three years. That person isn't blasting their story all over social media — but it's the more common story.
Realize that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. In the early days, there’s a strong chance no one will read your blog at all.
That's totally OK! In fact, I'm going to say it's actually good.
Yup, you need time to learn the craft of blogging. Do you really WANT 10,000 people watching you learn this new skill? I wouldn't. No one is reading your blog, good. Experiment, try new things, stretch your wings a little.
Your traffic will grow along with you and you'll be ready for big traffic later.
Once you have a foundation of content for your blog and have learned the ropes, you can start to worry about driving traffic to your blog.
5. Making Money Fast
This is kind of a weird story, but I'll share it anyways.
I like doing jigsaw puzzles and I thought it would be fun to record myself doing a puzzle from straight down and then speed it up really fast so I do the whole thing in one minute. I made a quick little video and showed it to my friend who has a popular YouTube channel.
He liked it and told me that it would be perfect for TikTok (which was brand new at the time). So, right then, we started a TikTok channel and put my video on there.
My first question: “So… how do I monetize this?”
I didn't have even ONE view of my video yet and I was already thinking about the money. He just looked at me like “I know you didn't just ask me that.”
So, believe me, I know how easy this trap can be.
For most bloggers, making money is like growing a readership: it takes time and practice.
Again, in the early stages of blogging, focus on writing stellar content and learning how to run your blog. You can begin to worry about your monetization options as you get your feet under you.
Traffic first, then money.
Need help writing stellar content? Check out my course Hit Publish.
6. Choosing The Right Plugins
There’s an incredible number of WordPress plugins out there that can help you manage and optimize your website.
For the most part, this is great news. It wasn't always this way. At the first blogging conference I ever went to there was a session on how to code your own plugins. Um, pass.
Be glad you don't have to do that anymore. Today there is a plug in for just about everything you could ever want.
Plugins can help you with tasks like:
- Protecting your blog from spam comments and login attempts
- Adding design elements like a table of contents or author bio to articles
- Social media sharing
- Affiliate marketing tracking
- Improving your blog’s SEO profile
Each of these plugin categories have a slew of options. You’ll also find some divisiveness between what’s “best” for bloggers.
Here's the thing, add a plugin when it solves a problem for you. Not before. Fewer plugins, fewer problems.
I actually created a list of the best free WordPress plugins your blog needs. I recommend starting here and branching into extra plugins if they help solve a specific problem for your website.
7. Negative Comments
Negative Comments are the literal worst part of blogging.
If you notice, I have comments turned off on this site. I do that because I am deeply affected by negative comments and they impact the quality of my work. I find that I will stop writing for the people who actually like my stuff and instead start writing just to placate my haters.
They. Get. In. My. Head.
If you’re spending a lot of time worrying about negative comments, or letting negative comments affect the quality of your work, I have some tips.
First off, realize that people only criticize “up”. No experienced blogger is ever going to leave a negative comment on a new blogger's site. So if you got a negative comment it's from someone who has no idea what it takes to create content for the internet.
Secondly, know that negative comments can not be avoided. I don't need to know you or your site to know that someday you will get a negative comment. And if you are human, it will hurt your feelings.
Lastly, know that you don't have allow comments, or if you do allow them, you don't have to read them. You can get a friend or family member to vet your comments for you.
There will always be naysayers for any entrepreneurial endeavor in life. Blogging isn’t an exception, but you can’t let the fear of anonymous internet trolls and negative comments keep you from putting your content out there.
8. The Competition
The bottom line is that the internet is full of content. This is true for every niche, platform, country, and language.
Does this mean you can't be successful with a blog anymore? Of course not.
There are two things to know here:
- You are unique, so therefore you don't actually have any competition. (Don't roll your eyes at me! It's true.)
- You can use the other blogs in your niche to show you the way. Those big blogs have solved all the problems you will face. See how they handled them and follow suit.
I actually have a free training on this called How to Create a Blog that Gets Attention (Even in an Oversaturated Niche). You can register for that right here.
What Should You Focus On Instead?
It’s completely normal to overthink decisions when starting a blog.
There is so much contradictory information out there that it's really easy to get confused. Add that to the fact there is a lot of anxiety around starting something new and you can see why people get stuck in the quagmires of analysis.
Thankfully, if you shift your focus to productive aspects of blogging rather than getting bogged down in endless decision making, you’ll find your blogging journey becomes more enjoyable and successful overall.
Here's where you should be spending your blogging energy.
Building Blogging Habits
Try to write every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes at the start. In the long-run, consistent writing is what makes a blog successful and how you hone your craft.
In my course Consistent Content, I have advice about how to find topic ideas, create an outline, write faster, keep content organized, and an example schedule that will allow you to publish once a week.
Learning New Skills
Always view your blogging challenges as an opportunity, not a reason to quit. Just focus on learning the skills rather than the direct results of your actions. As you grow as a blogger your site will grow along with you.
Plus, the skills you learn from blogging are highly marketable. If you find there is an aspect of blogging you love you can freelance and earn an income doing just that part.
Focus on learning SEO fundamentals as a foundational element of successful blogging. Spend most of your effort on writing and learning how to make readers and search engines happy, and you’ll grow your blogging traffic over time.
This is a much better use of your time over, say, hours spent researching the best email service provider.
Meeting other bloggers in your niche is one of the best parts about starting a blog. I would not be where I am today if I didn't have blogging friends.
Don’t be afraid to share your blogging ambitions with like-minded writers and to make some internet friends. If you find a blog that you really like, don't be shy about reaching out to the site owner to just say hello.
Your Own Growth
Humans are great at comparing themselves to other people. This can be an excellent source of inspiration. However, it’s also important to not get disheartened by bloggers who seem to be doing better than you.
First off, know that only the bloggers who are killing are out there bragging about their stats. The rest of us are hunkered down writing. So it might SEEM like everyone is doing better than you, they aren't.
All you need to do is worry about your own stats. Judge yourself on your own traffic, your own content production, your readers, and the enjoyment you get out of running your site.
Starting anything new can be nerve wracking. However, the only shame is if you let the fear of a new experience prevent you from ever taking that first step.
Blogging is tough work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Plus, while running a blog is complex, you don’t have to sweat the small stuff when you’re just getting started on your blogging journey.
Keep things simple, deliver value to readers, and work consistently. Everything else falls into place afterwards with time.