Starting a blog can be daunting for even the most experienced writers – and staying motivated to keep blogging is even harder! These tips on how to start and sustain your blog are inspired by a reader.
“I’ve been told I’m a good writer by several people, judging by my lengthy Facebook posts,” says Jerry on Best Jobs for Introverts and People Who Like to Be Alone. “Many have said I should be a writer. I’m an introvert also. But how do you get into blogging and get paid for it? I have no idea where to begin. Any advice?”
Well, my friend, it so happens that I’ve written a gazillion posts about starting a blog, making money blogging, finding ideas to blog about, and even search engine optimization (SEO) tips for bloggers. In this post, I’ll share some of my best tips not only for starting a blog, but also for staying motivated to keep blogging when you’re only making a few dollars a day.
Learning how to stay motivated is one of the most important aspects of working as a self-employed blogger. Why? Because blogging as a job is a long-term investment of your time and energy. Like any type of work, it gets boring and frustrating.
In 8 Ways I Make Crazy Money With My Blossom Blogs, I share how much I’ve been earning lately as a blogger. Last year I made over $100,000 (which even I can barely believe!) – but the bad news is I owe over $20,000 in taxes. Luckily, I paid a few thousand bucks every few months last year, so my tax bill isn’t too painful.
How to Stay Motivated When You’re Starting a Blog
There are a million “how to start a blog” posts online, so I won’t rewrite what has already been written well. Instead, I’m pulling back and offering a more general, overall perspective on how to stay motivated when you feel discouraged.
These tips are based on my experience blogging. I started in 2008 – and I have to admit that I’m mildly embarrassed about the topics and quality of my early posts. That’s the downside of blogging: whatever you write online will be there forever! Remember this when you’re starting a blog.
Dedicate 1 or 2 hours a day to blogging
You have alot to learn about blogging. Even if you’re not starting a new blog – even if you started blogging a few years ago and abandoned it – the learning is CONSTANT. I know, because just this morning I spent two whole hours rescuing and updating my blogs; first, they crashed because of a plugin conflict and then I had to update my themes. This required updating my modifications.
Decide that you will spend at least an hour a day on your blog, and block that time off in your daytimer or online calendar. One of the best tips on how to stay motivated to accomplish anything is to build it into your schedule.
Spend a little time learning how to blog – and lots of time actually blogging
You could easily spend hours, days, months, and even years learning how to start a blog. There is a TON of information, tips, stories, tutorials, YouTube videos, websites, and blogging blogs on the internet. This is both good and bad news. It’s good because there is so much info about starting a blog, but it’s bad because it would take forever to read it all.
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Read posts like Want to Blog, But Don’t Know Where to Start? 5 Tips for Newbies, but don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the black hole of the internet. If you schedule two hours a day for starting a blog, spend at least half that time actually working on your blog.
The best way to learn about starting a blog is to actually start your blog. Jump right in. Both feet.
Build your blog one brick at a time
Don’t try to learn everything at once, and don’t try to push beyond where you are. Take it one step at a time. Give yourself space to learn and grow. When you’re starting a blog, it’s not time to learn how to start an email newsletter or how to put fancy dancy fonts, bells and whistles on your blog.
Go slow. Start where you are now. Maybe this means researching the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com, or maybe it means importing your blog posts from Blogspot or Blogger over to WordPress. Focus on what you need to do right now to take your blog one step further. Don’t take on more than you can handle.
Find what motivates you
Blogging is my full-time job, so I had to learn ways to stay motivated to work even when I felt bored, uninspired, or sick. And it really does get boring, and frustrating, and lonely. Well actually I’m an introvert, so I’ve never been lonely as a blogger.
I’m also motivated by God, and my desire to write articles that shine light into dark places. I want to be creative and encouraging! And my motivation has always been my desire to be a writer. It really is an amazing job – even though I took a couple years off to get my Master of Social Work. I thought I was done blogging until I did two social work field placements (internships or practicum)…and then I realized that blogging is my calling.
Learn the difference between blogging for money and writing for yourself
In SEO Tips for WordPress Blogs, I describe how important search engine optimization is for bloggers who actually want to earn a living. Even if you’re a good writer who writes long enchanting posts on Facebook or short pithy quips on Twitter, you’ll have to learn how to write posts that help readers solve problems.
There is a huge and important difference between personal writing and writing blog posts that readers find. You won’t have to hunt for ways to stay motivated when you’re starting a blog if you can find the sweet spot between search engine optimization and writing from your heart.
Learn how professional bloggers work, and then blog your way
The beauty of blogging is that it is YOURS. There is no one “right way” to start a blog, and there aren’t even any one-size-fits-all tips on how to stay motivated. You need to do what feels right (write) to you.
Don’t be afraid to jump right in. Experiment with your blog. Let yourself make mistakes. Have fun with it – and remember that if you actually want to make money blogging, you need to find ways to balance the fun with the professional.
- Schedule time every day to start and maintain their blogs
- Invest in their blogs financially (eg, web host fees, books about blogging, SEO workshops or courses)
- Spend at least 20 hours a week learning about online writing, especially when they’re just starting to blog
- Listen to podcasts from other professional bloggers (Darren Rowse of ProBlogger is a great resource for new bloggers) and experienced online marketers (remember how much I earned last year? Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income makes that in one month!)
- Do not give up or succumb to lack of motivation
- Know they are entrepreneurs
- Realize that starting a small business (which blogging can be) takes a huge amount of effort and energy
- Are motivated by both internal and external rewards
I really believe that not feeling motivated to keep blogging is the number one reason that thousands of blogs are started every week, and 75% of them are abandoned (those aren’t official startistics). You need to find your reason for blogging – your purpose and mission – so you keep going.
Starting a blog is easy. Lots of people do it! Sticking to your blog for years is hard. Few people do that.
Ready for your next step? Read How to Start Writing a Blog – Tips for New Bloggers.
Fellow scribes, what do you think of my tips on how to stay motivated when you’re starting a blog? Comments welcome below.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” ~Stephen King.