Advice for Newbie Bloggers | InspirationIndulgence.com

Hello friends!

I’ve been meaning for MONTHS now to write a post for newbie bloggers, and I just haven’t gotten around to it until now! I get tons of messages and emails about blogging, so I thought it would be super fun to write a post about what I’ve learned throughout the years! I’m all about women empowering each other, so I wanted to dedicate today’s post to those of you who have just discovered the magical world of blogging!

First of all, I just want to say CONGRATS! Making the decision to start a blog is one of the most terrifying, yet rewarding decisions you will ever make. It takes guts to put yourself out there, especially on the internet. Kudos to you for being vulnerable and deciding to take the leap!

There are lots of things I wish I would have known before I started blogging, and I’m here to share that insight with you today.

-First off, only blog if you enjoy it.

This might sound like a silly given, but I know lots of people who wanted to start a blog as a “get rich quick” kind of deal. First of all, blogging for income is NOT a get-rich deal. Blogging takes hours of time and effort, and it takes months, even YEARS to build a platform where you could eventually start making money. If you start a blog but don’t really enjoy it, chances are that your blog won’t last 30 days.

Don’t blog for money. Blog because you enjoy the creative process.

-Focus on producing quality content before marketing yourself.

Here’s the big mistake I made. Being the social media freak that I am, wanted to grow my followship the second I created a blog. Food for thought. How can you expect to gain genuine followers if you barely have any content to market? Creating a following takes time. I would seriously suggest having at least 5-10 blog posts published before even telling anyone about your blog. You want that baby to be spruced up and looking nice before you shout about it to everyone on the rooftops!

-Quality trumps quantity. 

In the blogisphere, quality always beats quantity. Don’t worry about the number of posts you are posting; spend your energy trying to make those posts that you are publishing high quality. What constitutes high quality? Engaging material. High-quality photos. Well-written content.  A clean blog aesthetic. When I first started blogging, I had this notion in my head that I HAD to write X amount of blog posts a week. I soon learned that my readers didn’t really care how many posts I published a week. The quality of the content is what kept them coming back.

And by the way, I’m not claiming that you have to become an expert about all aspects of blogging. No way. How can you possibly be an expert at writing, photography, design, digital coding, social media, and marketing all at one?!  Simply put, you can’t. I know some of my blogging friends who dislike writing, but love blogging their photos. They learn to deal. For me, I enjoy photography, but it stresses me out, which is why I rely on others for my photography.

-Don’t compare yourself to bigger bloggers.

Everyone has to start somewhere! For real, even those super famous bloggers like Chiara and Aimee! Let me tell ya peeps…. my site looked a million times different than it does now, and my content was laughable. But who cares if it sucked! As you grow and evolve, so will your blog. Comparing yourself to others will get you NO WHERE, sister. Blogging is all about creativity, so don’t look to others for answers! Pave your own path. Do your own thing. Which brings me to the next point…

-Don’t be afraid to be different.

If I only knew then what I know now. I used to spend hours taking notes on other bloggers’ blogs. It’s great to collect inspiration, but don’t be afraid to do things your way. I’ve learned throughout the years that the most successful bloggers succeeded because they dared to be different. That is actually one of my blogging goals for 2017; to get WEIRD. Haha.

-Keep things visually appealing.

Aesthetic really does matter. There’s nothing more annoying than a cluttered site with bad photography. Keep your site simple, with clear-cut menus and categories. You don’t have to be an expert at photography, but try to do your best to have crisp images with decent lighting. I’ll never forget how horrible my photography was when I first started blogging. Let’s just say I was a little obsessed with the “saturation” filter. Oops! Live and learn, friends.

-Play around with different niches.

As a beginner, I experimented with blogging about a variety of different topics, which I encourage, because it really helps you find your niche! Those of you who have stuck with me since day 1 may recall my food blogging days. I remember how I used to feel about blogging recipes; it was stressful and not fun for me. I didn’t enjoy it AT ALL! Once I started blogging about style, it felt like home. I loved every single aspect of it; from styling clothes, to photographing fashion, to working with clothing brands. It was not a chore for me like food blogging. Experiment with your niche, and know that it’s perfectly okay to blog about more than one topic! It’s okay to switch up your niche, as well! Re-branding is always an option. I’m a huge advocate for self-growth. Like I stated above, as you grow, so will your blog!

14572261_680485455440121_6299742119374849418_n

-Get vulnerable.

People want to know there is a living, breathing person with the same struggles and fears as them behind that pretty face of yours. I know it’s scary, but don’t be afraid to get vulnerable with your readers. My most shared posts have been the ones where I was the most raw and personal with my readers. Ironically, I just polled my readers via Twitter which posts they would like to see more of in 2017, and 53% voted that they would like to read more personal posts about my life! Sharing your life is how others find you relatable. It keeps people wanting to know more about you. Don’t be afraid to show your imperfections; we all have them! Trust me, your readers will appreciate it and will be coming back for more.

-Find blogging friends to seek support.

This one is huge. No matter how close you may be with your brother or your BFF, if they don’t blog, they may not understand why you are so upset that your pageviews were down by 30% this month, or why you are obsessing over your Instagram aesthetic. I’ve met so many amazing blogging ladies throughout the years; ladies I regularly email, Skype, text, and some of which I have even met up with in real life! These ladies are your TRIBE!

-Be respectful even amidst negativity.

Unfortunately, there are internet trolls out there, and at some point, you will probably be the victim of online bullying via your blog. I have received some pretty nasty blog comments throughout the years, especially when I was blogging for Huffington Post. When someone is calling you names or mocking your writing, it might take everything in you not to rip the person to shreds, but remember to take the high road. Simply delete the comment, or type a polite, yet honest response, such as, “Hello, I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my blog, however, I found your comment very hurtful and disrespectful. I believe everyone has the fundamental right to express their opinion, but I wish you would have expressed yours with more kindness. Thank you, Chelsea.” Those who take the high road are ALWAYS winners.

-Take breaks when you need to.

Blogging can get EXTREMELY overwhelming. As a beginner, I used to think the world was ending if I didn’t publish a post every 3-5 days. Guess what? Honestly, you’re not as important as you think you are. Lol! I know that sounds mean, and I’m not intending it to sound mean. What I’m trying to say is, we are all our own worst critic. It’s okay if you need to take some time off.

Taking breaks is crucial to foster your creativity and refresh. It’s important to stay consistent with your blog, but know when you are approaching burnout. It’s totally okay to take breaks, and your readers will understand (and WANT you to be mentally + physically healthy!)

-Know your limits with social media.

Man, social media can be obsessive, especially as a blogger. In fact, with influencer networking, I can honestly say that I put in more effort growing my social networks (especially my Instagram) than my blog itself. The hard thing about social media is that it never stops. I can easily put away my laptop for the night; my phone, on the other hand, is another story. I’m always getting notifications and whatnot.

When you find that social media is getting the best of you, I’ve found that it’s helpful to just turn off all notification settings. (Seriously, you’ll thank me later.) In addition, don’t ever put social media before your friends/ family/partner. I’m not proud to admit that I have made mistakes in the past regarding putting my social media over quality time with my fiancé. Make rules for yourself, such as no social media after 9pm, or no phone out when you’re getting drinks and dinner.

-Be genuine.

I saved the most important tip for last. The thing is, I can’t really tell you to be genuine. That has to come from within. But I will say this. Authenticity will get you far. Everyone wants to be loved and treated with kindness. Treat your readers like family. Respond to all your blog comments, if you can. Respond to your social media comments (if you can). Take time to engage. Be yourself in your blog, don’t try to be like someone else. Not only is this important because it will cultivate an honest following, but brands whom may be interested in working with you will pick up on this as well. Authenticity is always my #1 goal while blogging.

//

Remember, take my advice with a grain of salt. The beautiful thing about blogging is that the journey is all about creativity. I don’t want to squash yours. Do your own thing. I want you to flourish, babes.

Do you have any blogging questions for me? Leave them in the comments below, or I will answer them on my Snapchat! {Username InspoIndulgence).

Xoxo,

You may also like these posts from the archives related to blogging:
45 Ways to Increase Your Blog’s Pageviews
35 Blogs That Inspire Me
5 Ways Non-Bloggers Can Support Their Blogging Friends

  • Mackenzie

    Ohhh I love your tips!! I started my blog in March, and have come so far since then. It’s funny how you think you know everything and then low and behold, you’re always learning as a blogger. I struggle finding a balance between social media and spending quality time with loved ones. I have to learn to give it a rest, and it will be there when I come back to it! Great post, love! xo

    http://www.brunchonsunday.com

    • Girl I was just at your blog, and I love it! You’re totally rocking it! Finding balance is so hard- I strongly believe you just have to make rules for yourself!

      • Mackenzie

        Aw thank you so much, Chelsea!! You’re so sweet xoxo

  • Claire Melzer

    Thanks for the tips! I am a new blogger and I love reading tips from experienced bloggers. It is really nice to take all of the advice and apply it to my own situation and figure out what I can do to take my blogging to the next step.

    • Yeah girl! Congrats, blogging is so exciting! Remember to just have fun with it, there are no rules!

  • linda spiker

    I completely agree with your tips!

  • Leah

    These tips are amazing! I know I’ve reached out to you about advice for my own blog and you’ve been so kind and helpful. I like that these goals are about being yourself and authentic. I know I tend to focus on what’s “the right way though blog” and it’s easy to lose site of who I am through my blog. What a great reminder :)
    -Leah
    http://Www.bloomboutiqueblog.com

    • Hey girl!! Absolutely. I know it’s so hard to try and mimic what others are doing, but I think you will eventually find that being your true self will have such a better turnout :) I’m so proud of you, and I love your blog! You are doing an amazing job!

  • Sarah Jean

    I’m not a newbie but I sure wish I had had this advice when I started. I kept turning out crappy posts and wondering why I couldn’t get anyone on my site. haha

    • lol! We all live and learn! Haha, no shame, girlfriend!

  • YES YES YES to all of these. Never compare yourself to others is definitely a must otherwise you’re going to find yourself wanting to give up.

    • Exactly. You just have to do you!

  • Awesome tips! Being a newbie blogger myself I’ve made more than one mistake. But I always tell people who ask me how its going that I LOVE blogging and that is the most important thing!

    • Hey girl! That really is the most important thing. We blog because we love it! Not to impress others. Never forget that!

  • Jodi-Kay Edwards

    These are such helpful tips! I’m starting an e-course/ free webinar for new bloggers we have similar tips! Just proof that everyone goes through it at one point. :)
    http://lifestylefinesse.com/reminder-giveaway/

    • Aw that is so awesome!!! :) Thanks for stopping by, love!

  • Very good advice. Aesthetics really do count – it’s a first impression one gets when they view a blog.

    I’ve been blogging on Oh Chel for over a year and even in that time I’ve switched and changed what I originally posted content for. I love the fact that blogging can be fluid like and change as easily as we change.

    I think the one that I need to focus on more is taking the breaks when I need it. (And most importantly being okay with that.)

    This whole year for me is balancing everything – instead of focusing too much on blogging and social media… I need to figure out which to post more in – SnapChat or Instagram Stories. Gasp!

    Totally pinning this and sharing it because I might not be a newbie blogger – but others out there that are starting need to read this. Lovely Chels as usual.

    Hope that this week is fantastic for you! Cheers

    • Aw thanks lady! I appreciate you stopping by and sharing so much! Don’t be afraid to set that computer down for a few days. It’s totally okay!! :)

  • This is awesome advice and seriously every bit of it is spot on! I think it’s always good to reflect on how far you’ve come as a blogger so that you don’t get so caught up in the comparison game with other bloggers out there. Like you said, everyone starts somewhere and being real and genuine is what it’s all about.

    • Thanks for stopping by, love! XOXO

  • Michelle Koch

    I’m not a total newbie, but recently started taking it seriously. I appreciate the tips, especially those on setting boundaries!

    • Boundaries are SO important!!

  • Brandi Matthews

    Seriously such an awesome post Chelsea!! I can’t wait to see you get WEIRD haha I’m still semi new to this whole world and its so great to have women like you supporting other women and being such an encouragement. Thanks for being so authentic!

    Xx Brandi
    http://www.brandilocks.com

    • Thanks Brandi! I SO appreciate you being a part of my journey! I love being a part of yours as well 😉

      LET’S GET WEIRD.

  • Courtney Patterson

    I read a lot of these types of posts because I’m always interested to hear the advice other bloggers give and hands down, this has to be one of the best lists I’ve ever read. This is genuine, realistic advice that even works for established bloggers. Great job.

    • Aw thank you Courtney! It means the world to me that you enjoy the list :) Just trying to keep it real.

  • Great tips! I actually made the shift over towards quality content and it has been better over all for my brand. Google also likes me better. :)

    • Good for you, lady! It makes all the difference!

  • Kaitlin

    All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! This is exactly the kind of post I needed right now! I’m a fairly new blogger and sometimes find it’s hard to “turn off”. I truly appreciate the thought that went into this post – you’ve helped me feel like it’s totally okay to take a break sometimes!

    – Kaitlin
    kedgotwed.com

    • Oh girl- it TOTALLY IS!!!! Can’t stress that enough. You’ll thank yourself later. It’s totally okay to not be giving your blog 24/7!! You need to refresh and be inspired :)

  • Rachel @ Kitchen Cents

    I loved this article! I’m just starting out and this was perfect. Thank you!

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    I needed to read this today. Even though I have been blogging for three years I know I still have so much to learn. I compare myself to big bloggers all the time and I know I shouldn’t and I always get discouraged. I need to stay steady on my course and not wish for someone else’s. Also, I feel ya on the social media. It is a vicious cycle that never ends. For a while I tried so hard to put the same time and energy into every social media platform but I got burned out real quick. Finding that balance is tough but I know it is totally worth it. Thanks for this!

    • Oh girl, I feel you! It’s impossible to put the same amount of effort into all your socials. I would suggest picking two forms of social media and working on those. i.e. I focus on my Instagram and Facebook. I have a Twitter & a Pinterest, but I don’t put as much effort into it.

  • These are all so important to remember!! Being a blogger takes a lot of work and is not easy at all. I thought it was going to be a walk in the park when I started, boy was I wrong. This will be very helpful to new bloggers. Making blogging friends is one of the best things about blogging. Also being genuine is the #1 thing I look for when I read other’s blogs. Sometimes as bloggers we strive to be perfect which may lead to us not being our true selves. I find that when it comes to social media, what you see is what you get (when it comes to me). Such great tips girl!

    • Aw thanks girl! I totally agree…I thought blogging would be a walk in the park. Wrong!! I love every crazy second of it though. I appreciate you stopping by! XO

  • I think taking breaks sometimes is really important. Breaks can relive stress, allow brainstorming to happen and just free up time for a little while. I took a break over Christmas and it was the best thing!

    • Good for you, girl! We all need to take breaks from time to time!! :)

  • I love these tips! I’ve struggled to find a niche ever since day 1 of blogging, but I think I’m going to narrow it down in 2017. I can’t wait to see how that impacts my blog!

    • It’s totally okay if you don’t have a niche, too! Write what you are passionate about, and if there is a niche, it will come! :)

  • I think this post is great. I’ve been blogging for almost six years now, but last year was the first time I started to take it more seriously (more than just a way to get my thoughts out there for my family to read) it’s been hard but also so rewarding. I have to know my limits. I also have to try different things to see what works best for me, but this list is perfect for anyone who’s wanting to get serious about blogging!

    • Thanks girl! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed my list! Congrats on sharing your blog with others besides family/friends…that takes guts!!

  • I love this Chels! I think even if you’ve been blogging for a while this is so helpful! Agreed on finding a blogging BFF to help you with it all since it’s so overwhelming!

    Rachel | The Confused Millennial

    • <3 So happy I have you in my inner corner! XO

  • Yes to all of this! Being vulnerable is so important. People are more likely to connect with you that way.

    • It’s so true. I know I personally love when bloggers share their personal life and struggles.

  • Brittany Daoud

    These are all great tips! I think the hardest part about being a blogger is to remember to not be so hard on yourself, and to also always be yourself and open up to your readers! Thanks for sharing!

    • Ya girl!! Don’t be so hard on yourself! You’re awesome just the way you are!

  • pennyanddash

    Love this post! As a fellow new blogger myself, I cannot agree more with all of your tips. Being genuine and actually loving to blog is definitely the key to doing well :)

    http://www.pennyanddash.com

    • There has to be passion. If there isn’t your readers will be able to sense that.

  • Ali Mageehon

    Great tips! I learned some of this by accident as I was going along. Sometimes it’s hard to be patient with what seems like such slow growth on my blog, but on the other hand, when I stop and check myself to see if I still enjoy the process, I realize it’s been a great creative outlet in my life. I just have to not get caught up in the statistics and number of followers.

    • Getting caught up in statistics can be detrimental to your growth. Just keep focusing on building great content, and building those social media accounts, and the stats will come.

  • Greta Hollar

    I wish I read this when I was a newbie. You have such good advice!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  • Jennifer Ostroski

    My faves are “Take Breaks When You Need”, and “Don’t Be Afraid to Be Different”. Both ring so true to me and I have to remind myself of these two things over and over again.

  • Knowing your limits with social media is a good one! I kept trying to be everywhere at once, flailing around, not really knowing what I was doing with my social media when I first started. It took me a while to realize that I have limits both on how much time I should be spending on social media, AND on how many things I can (and should) be doing at once. I don’t have to be great at every social media platform and I don’t have to do things the same way everyone else does.

    • Exactly!! I like to only focus on one or two platforms. I have a Twitter & a Google Plus, but I only focus my energy on Facebook and Instagram.

  • Even if i am blogging for about a year now, i am still learning how to to do it properly..Thanks for this tips xoxo

    http://www.theninebyivana.blogspot.com

    • Of course! Thanks for stopping by! XO

  • Be genuine is my #1 tip. These are all great, though! Finding friends was also a huge help :)

    • Finding blogging friends is so huge! They have been there for me every step of this journey!

  • Great tips! I’m still struggling with making the photos on my blog nice and crisp after I compress them for the web (bc I don’t have Adobe Creative Suite :/ )

    P.S. One more tip: make your font bigger.

  • Deb

    This is all amazing tips for a newbie

  • I love these tips! I just started in August and it’s hard sometimes to not compare yourself to others who are bigger and better!
    Xo,
    Alexandra Christine Blog
    http://www.alexandrachristineblog.com

    • Don’t do it, girl! You will just destroy yourself! Everyone has to start somewhere!

  • Sooooo true! I still struggle with comparing my blog/achievments to others!

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlifeblog.com

  • YAAAAAAAAAAAAAS to all of the above girlfriend! Also I am *obsessed* with your answer to the HuffPo commenting a$$hat. You handled it with such grace. Like we talked about yesterday on our date…some people are just jerks. Way to rise above!

    Coming Up Roses

    • Ugh sometimes it’s such a struggle to be nice but you have to do it! lol

  • Carly Ferguson

    I totally agree with EVERYTHING you said and is still such a great reminder after having been blogging for some time! I’ve taken some mega breaks lately and was so afraid I would have to start from scratch again, but I think people totally understand when a break is in order! And guess what? No one has gone anywhere, so it’s okay to give yourself some grace once in a while!

    • Exactly. Blogs don’t leave! I used to never take breaks and feel guilty if I didn’t post every week. I used to post 3 times a week. Now, I post 1-2 times a week, am less stressed, and have better quality content. Overall, this system is working better for me.

  • These tips are spot on! I think my favorite ones are to not compare yourself to bigger bloggers and blog only because you enjoy it. I feel that there are so many people who blog because everyone else is doing it. When I tell people that I blog or show them merchandise that I received because of blogging, they make the comment, I should blog and get free stuff. That totally drives me nuts because 1) I don’t blog to get freebies and 2) blogging is hard, it’s not just something that happens. You have to work hard to get great content, great photos, and get noticed.

    • Yes, that’s exactly why I wrote that tip down. You can’t just expect to get free stuff. lol.

  • Me being a new blogger, I really appreciate this advice. I love referencing it as a way to get creative. Xoxo

    • I’m so happy it helps, girl!! <3

  • Marissa

    Such great tips here! As a newcomer to blogging, it’s hard not to compare yourself to what others are doing. I do feel like I’m slowly getting the hang of it…and I can’t wait to get a little “WEIRD” on my page real soon! haha. Also, any tips on building your blogging girl tribe?

    -Marissa
    http://www.quartzandleisure.com

    • Yea girl! Let’s get WEIRD!! haha. Are you a part of any facebook blogging groups? I met TONS of blogging gals there! Try this one- it’s my fave!! https://www.facebook.com/groups/blogpassionproject/

      • Marissa

        I’m not part of any FB groups yet, as I’m not really active on that platform…But I guess I need to start! 😖 Thanks for the suggestion, I’m going to check it out right now! 😃

      • You totally should. That’s honestly where I probably found 50% of my blog readers, from other bloggers via those platforms!

  • Chelsea Hodges

    Great post – very inspiring and helpful for me, I’m a newbie blogger, been at it for 2 weeks now and am learning a lot of things along the way haha.

    • Congrats, girl!! Starting a blog is a huge decision and you should be very proud of yourself for making the leap! XO

  • Megan

    Chelsea,
    Thank you SO much for sharing. I’ve read countless tips from different bloggers and I will definitely remember yours! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your insights!

    • aw I’m so glad it helped, girl!! xoxo