I was looking at the calendar recently and realized that this February will mark my 5th year as a blogger. Whoa! If you had asked me about 2 years ago if I would still be a blogger in 2017, I think the answer might have been no. It’s not that I don’t enjoy blogging, because I do. It is just a whole lot of work. Professional bloggers are a special breed, rooted in a traditional work ethic, but buffeted by a stream of change and technology. It really isn’t for the faint-of-heart.
Over the years, I have sadly watched too many bloggers start out so full of energy and great ideas only to watch them come crashing into the wall of inevitability. At this point I can almost pinpoint the exact moment when that demise begins for a blogger. Maybe it is work or family complications or a change in priorities. Sometimes, it is just a matter of unmet expectations. So I am here to help! Here is my list of 7 unrealistic expectations to avoid as a blogger.
Do not expect blogging to be easy money.
It’s hard, sometimes tedious work, and a lot of people aren’t going to be cut out for it. The biggest issue is that it becomes even harder the more successful you become. Even professional writers rarely need to come up with 2 or 3 writing prompts a week for any number of years.
Do not think you can succeed in blogging without utilizing social media.
I have accounts on all of the major social media channels, but there are some I focus more on. Since there is no large company pushing my “wares” or posts per se, that’s my job, and I do it via social media. I don’t force my posts into people’s faces, but rather work hard to create a community around these social media platforms who look forward to seeing what I have going on.
Writers block is a real thing.
This is why calendaring should be important to a blogger as well as a commitment to work through those patches where blogging is just not so much fun anymore.
If you are struggling with maintaining your blog, a new re-designed website or theme change will not bring hordes of new audience members rushing in.
Quite often I see a tendency for bloggers to think that if they change blogging subjects or that if they re-design their website doing so will help them stay motivated. Staying motivated and consistent is a constant challenge for bloggers. Most of us are our own bosses, and so no one else is providing motivation or external pressure. There is no immediate penalty for slacking, other than your eventual loss of audience, and it will be a quiet, non-eventful thing. It really is as simple as that. Of course if you are making money, then it is less hard, but it’s still work. Finding clients, applying for jobs and keeping up the blog in between when those opportunities arise is pretty much a 365 day kind of job.
Do not expect to blog without a tribe.
Bloggers feed off of community. It’s our life source, and until you have established your own community base, you will need other bloggers. Heck, even once you have done that you will still need other bloggers. For example, I appreciate when my blogging friends tweet, pin or share my posts, because some of these bloggers have thousands of followers and by their single share, my material was put out to their entire audience. That is winning! So I am happy to reciprocate and do the same back, because I have a very bad ass group of blogging tribe members who regularly put out top notch posts that I think the world should read anyways.
Don’t expect to make money blogging without spending a little money.
This is important. If you want to make it as a professional blogger there are tons of great free resources out there for you, but to be taken seriously, you need to have your own hosting and some other tools. Some of these tools are free and some of them are not. I have talked about some of the tools I use in another post, you are welcome to check it out.
Don’t underestimate photography.
This one also could fall under the heading of spending money to make money, but I thought it was important enough to have it’s own section. I do not have a natural gift for photography. I wish I did, but prior to my recent blogging career I had never even owned a “real” camera. I cringe when I look at some of the photos from of my earlier posts, but this has definitely been a learning process and something I have worked very hard on over the years. Right now I am taking a free photography course through Harvard. It is awesome! I also regularly pick up props, new lighting and other camera related accessories and equipment every year to make sure my images shine. I hope every year they just keep getting better and better.
Also, if you would like to learn how to make your images shine and be “pin-worthy”, I have a few posts you might like to read.
Thanks for popping in and if you are a blogger, I hope 2017 is your best blogging year yet!
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