5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

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When my husband, Ryan and I first got married in 2014, I was getting ready to graduate from community college with my Associate’s degree in sign language interpreting. When I graduated and got my first job at the start of 2015, Ryan was on deployment and I was so happy that I was now able to contribute to our little family, a change from my prior job as a desk clerk making a small hourly wage. This was a huge step for me and I thought that I was fulfilling what I had always wanted to do. I was really happy with my job and when Ryan returned from deployment we bought a new car and even began thinking about buying our first home. We bought our first house in September 2015 and things were great.

Then, things took a strange turn. I had gotten placed interpreting for a student for the school year and honestly, it was the worst experience I’ve had to date as an interpreter. In the midst of all of this, I was beginning to feel that interpreting just wasn’t making me happy. We had started talking about having children and I knew that when we did have kids, I’d want to stay home with them because it’s something that’s important to me.

I hated freelancing as an interpreter and educational interpreting was not going to allow me to stay at home with my babies. So, I started really thinking about what options I had to make money as a stay at home mom. I found this article from Rosemarie Groner at The Busy Budgeter on how to make money as a stay-at-home mom and I was inspired. I read what she had to say about starting a blog and my wheels immediately started turning.

I approached my husband with this idea of starting a blog and how told him about how cheap it was to start a blog (y’all I think I literally started my blog for less than $100) and how this could be such an amazing thing for me to do and something that I could really be good at. Of course, being the amazing, do-er of a husband he is, he told me to go for it. So, I started Oh Happy Hotalings and I’ve been going hard at it since.

However, there are several things I really wish I would have known before I started a blog. Today, I’m here to tell you what I wish I had known before I made this decision.


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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

tips for new bloggers

1. Blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme

Honestly, I don’t think that I ever thought it was a “get rich quick” scheme but I guess I just wish I had known how long it would take for me to start earning an income from my blog. Blogging is certainly not something you do right away (or for a while at that rate) for the money.

I started Oh Happy Hotalings over a year ago and have made maybe a total of a couple bucks but I still go hard at it because I love it. I know that I will make an income from it someday and for now, that dream is good enough for me.

2. Getting readers and growing an audience is really hard

I think many of us go into blogging with this grandiose idea that since our content is amazing (which it is, without a doubt), people will just find us and stick around and stay hanging on our every word. However, you really get into the thick of it, and you realize that it’s a great bit harder than just having amazing content.

I know that everyone says that “content is king” and don’t get me wrong, having amazing content is what’s going to keep people around but you’ve gotta market yourself. And let me tell you, marketing yourself is not always easy when you consider how many ways there are to market your blog.

Going along with that…

3. Facebook groups are actually God’s way of telling bloggers He loves us.

If you’ve ever been a part of a Facebook group aimed at bloggers, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve learned an insane amount from fellow bloggers on Facebook groups that have been invaluable! As a new blogger, when I first started I just thought I could do it all on my own. I thought Facebook groups were overrated, and that I didn’t need them.

Boy, was I wrong.

I’ve seen a huge growth in my readership and social media followers since becoming a part of these groups! If you’re starting a blog…for the love of all that is holy, just join a Facebook group.

4. Scheduling apps and websites are your new BFF

When I first started Oh Happy Hotalings, I honestly had no schedule. I put up a post when I felt like it, not knowing from one day to the next what I was going to be writing, or when I was going to be putting up another post and I got burnt out so stinking fast it’s embarrassing. The problem was stemming from two things: 1. I wasn’t taking it seriously and treating it like a business and, 2. I didn’t have a schedule or a list of topics to fill in a schedule with.

Find a good scheduling app (I like Later), have a posting schedule and take your blog seriously. Next, realize that website speed has always been a big issue, and you should use different plugins and websites to help optimize your site for speed. Use plugins or search for the best image compressor, so your blog can load lightning fast. Every millisecond counts.

5. Blogging is really f*cking hard.

All-in-all, if I hadn’t known anything else, I wish someone would have told me how f*cking hard blogging is. Just the other night I was talking to Ryan about my strategy for marketing myself, contacting brands and monetizing and it hit me that blogging is seriously hard. Trying to grow a business is really freaking hard. Blogging and growing my brand is easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, or tried to do. This has required so much more commitment, effort, discipline and strategy than anything I’ve ever done in my life.

Blogging is really hard but it’s also insanely satisfying and I know that every single bit of effort I put into this will pay off someday.

Until then, the best advice I can offer any new bloggers is to stick with it. You will come to love the amazing blogging community and you will come to lean on them more than you’d think. Blogging is hard but it’s worth everything and if you can stick it out through the hard parts, you’ll be happy you did, I promise.

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About the author

Noelle Hotaling
Noelle Hotaling is the woman behind the blog at Oh Happy Hotalings. A millennial herself, at 24 she is a wife, a pup mama, a coffee lover, fitness enthusiast and of course, a blogger.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Great post =) Personally, I just wish I had known about blogging SOONER. I mean, I knew about it. But I always thought it was for “other” people. But I’ve found it to be very therapeutic. It’s like journaling, an outlet. And in many ways, it’s better than the traditional journaling route because you get other people’s feedback. And along the way, help them as well if something jives with them. I agree that the monetization aspect is the hard part of it. I honestly think that blogging, like anything, can be profitable. It’s a business at the end of the day. And 80% of businesses don’t survive.

    • Thanks so much Tim! I definitely run my blog as business but I do find it extremely therapeutic for sure and I’ve definitely used it as an outlet like journaling as you said and I love that since it is mine, I can use it however I like. I do agree with you on wishing I had discovered blogging sooner, now that I’m in the thick of it, I am kicking myself for not having done it sooner!

  2. I couldn’t agree more with almost all of these…the only exception is with Facebook because I’ve only partially jumped into that. I fell into blogging just for fun and hit publish on my first post with practically know understanding of blogging or what I was doing. There’s been A LOT of learning since then but I’m still having fun with it.

    • Hey Sarah, I’m so glad that you can relate! Blogging is A LOT of fun but there is definitely so much to learn. Even though I’ve been at this for a year I’m still learning so much about it every single day!

  3. This message needs to be sent out again and again, loud and clear to the masses. So many people seem to join blogging thinking it’s a get rich quick scheme but it really isn’t. The amount of work hasn’t decreased over the years of blogging, in fact it’s gotten way more. But luckily the finance blogging scene is still sincere and genuinely supportive, much like how the other niches I was blogging in used to be 10 – 15 years ago. Hope it never changes!

    • Hey Pia, thanks for your comment and I’m really glad that you are hearing what I’m saying and you’re right, people need to hear this! I had sent out a tweet the other day (the inspiration for this post) about how if people knew how much work blogging really was, people would take it much more seriously. I love being part of the blogging community but sometimes it’s hard being the only one around me blogging because people don’t get it. They say things like “oh wow that must me fun” and “you sure are lucky you get to work from home, I wish I got that lucky” it’s not about luck. It’s about hard work and dedication every single day.

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