4 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Blogging

13 May 2015

I don't consider myself to be an expert on blogging by any means, but there are definitely a handful of things I wish I'd known before I started my journey. I don't think any of these things would have put me off starting a blog, but a little notice would have been nice. Today, I'm sharing those things I wish I'd known in the hopes that I can help future bloggers decide whether or not a blog is the right path for them.

When I first started blogging back in 2012, I did so without really knowing what I was letting myself in for. I'd seen a couple of blog links on Goodreads, so I decided to check them out. Little did I know that I would fall in love with the idea. Sharing thoughts and feelings about novels on a social media site is an absolutely fantastic thing to do, but doing so in your own little slice of the internet? That thought made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

1. Blogging is hard work.

There's something strangely addictive about blogging, especially at the beginning, and believe me when I say that you will miss it when you don't have your computer handy. I spent the first 6 months of my blogging life posting multiple times a day and absolutely loving every second... and then I burnt out. I ran out of ideas for content, and I wasn't reading because I was blogging so much and I actually ran out of reviews to post. Nevertheless, blogging is a hard hobby to maintain, and the quality of your content will go way down during stressful times. Readers are very understanding if you don't feel able to post, but you don't want to jump into something that's going to take so much of your time away if you're stressed. Maintaining a blog is difficult as it is, so when you throw other complications into the equation, you're going to end up feeling even worse. From thinking of creative, original ideas for content, to actually formatting your posts in just the right way, blogging will take up a lot of your time, and it's not always easy to find a balance between your online hobby and your real life. Always make sure you're calm and collected before sitting down in front of your computer, otherwise you're going to deliver content that isn't your best and, chances are, it'll upset you even more.

2. ARCs aren't the be-all and end-all.

In all honesty, I didn't even know what an ARC was when I first started blogging, let alone have any idea how to get one. Nevertheless, I know that there are bloggers out there whose sole purpose it is to score as many ARCs as possible. I understand that reading novels before they're released is an amazing feeling, but starting a blog just to score free books is only going to disappoint you. Publishers have to spend the same amount of money printing ARCs as they do finished copies - after all, you have to spend money to make money, right? That's how the saying goes, right? Either way, no publisher in their right mind is going to send an ARC to a blog with only a handful of followers. It takes time and dedication to build up a relationship with publishers and authors alike, and if you're not willing to put in the effort, they're not going to work with you. By all means, request as many ARCs as you can handle when you have an established following, but don't start a blog if you're just looking to score free stuff. That story never has a happy ending.

3. You must appreciate your followers.
I'm not going to say that stats aren't important, but I definitely don't think they're the main reason you should be blogging. The first few months are crucial when it comes to building a following, but if you start obsessing over your numbers, you're going to fail before you've even really started. Look at me - I've been blogging for 3 years now, and only have just over 1000 followers. Does it make me question my blog when I see people who have been blogging for only 6 months and already have double or more the amount of followers I have? Absolutely, but all that feeling does is spur me on to become more integrated into the community. I never feel any kind of resentment towards these newer blogs with thousands of followers because I know that they deserve every single view that they're getting. At the end of the day, they're a part of the community, just like me, regardless of numbers, and I couldn't be happier that they're getting the recognition they deserve. Followers are something you have to work for, and if you don't appreciate every person that's reading your blog, you might want to question your motives.

4. Remember, quality over quantity.

When you start blogging you'll want to post every day, and while I definitely admire those people that can keep the original content flowing, posting every day can sometimes get a bit much. I find myself flagging on occasion, and my blog suffers for it. I'm constantly uploading posts days later than I should have, and simply changing the date so my blog remains uniform. I'm stuck in my ways, as I recently found out, but if I'd known what would happen when I first started, I would have definitely leaned more towards upping the quality of my blog, even if that meant only posting a couple of times a week. As it stands, a lot of platforms do have a scheduling option, so if you feel up for it, you can write as many posts in advance as it takes to be able to post every day. That's how I manage it to post 5 times a week, though it's not a fool-proof plan, and blogging slumps are very real - all it takes is one week of not wanting to blog for your careful schedule to crumble apart. Believe me when I say that your readers would definitely prefer you to post less often if it meant keeping your momentum and guaranteeing quality posts.

To be honest, these tips don't even begin to scratch the surface when it comes to things you should know before starting a blog. To my fellow bloggers, do you have any more tips to share? I'd love to hear what you wish you'd known once upon a time.