9 Things I Wish My Readers Knew About Blogging
For your convenience, this post contains an affiliate link from Bluehost. That means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I make a commission at no additional charge to you! You can read more in my disclosure located here.
To say that I’m new to the blogging world is a bit of an understatement. Before I started my blog, I never followed anyone else’s. In fact the closest I got to that was following a couple of fitness ladies Facebook business pages. I didn’t check their blog, I didn’t subscribe to their email list, and I definitely didn’t contribute to their online communities in any way. I was an empty follower. But just because I was an empty follower, doesn’t mean that I was intentionally disengaged, I just didn’t understand what they wanted (or even needed) from me and why?
I purchased my domain in March of 2017 and officially launched my page in May. Since that time, I’ve learned how complicated and time consuming blogging can be. I initially thought that I would build this beautiful website, I would publish it to the web and people would come flocking to my page. Those thoughts couldn’t have been any further from the truth. Now I realize that when you start your blog, people typically don’t come stampeding your domain to hangout for several hours. As a blogger you have to go find those people, entice them to come to your website, and try to keep them there as long as possible.
The driving force behind this post must be the teacher in me. As a professor I try to make sure it’s very clear what I expect out of my students, because I can’t expect them to succeed if I don’t tell them HOW. I routinely judge how successful I am at teaching based on how engaged my students are, both inside the classroom and out. Analogously, I want you (my blog reader) to be engaged and actively contributing to Super Savvy Sarah. So in order to help you understand what I want from you, I decided to make a list of 9 things I want (actually need) you to know.
- My number one goal is to build an online community. I want Super Savvy Sarah to be about more than just my website, I want it to be an online community. I want to connect with people I never would have due to geography and develop relationships similar to the ones I have with my neighbors down the street. What that means is that I want to hear from YOU! As mentioned, before I was a blogger, I never commented or emailed the bloggers I followed on Facebook. First of all, I was too intimated, these are highly successful people; they’re practically celebrities. I also thought that since they had large followings, they wouldn’t care about what I had to say. Now that I’m part of the blogging community, I realize that most bloggers LOVE to hear from their readers! I want to know what you think of my page (the good or *constructively* the bad) but I also want to know what you want me to write about. Did one of my posts really speak to you? Feel free to send me a message even just to introduce yourself. Not only will it make my day, but I promise that I will respond!
- Visiting my website is similar to visiting a retailer with a storefront. Just like a retailer with a physical address, my website has some (all be it small) expenses associated with keeping it running. Analogous to rent, I pay Bluehost to “house” all the data from my website. Additionally I’ve encountered some expenses associated with the design of my website and educational resources (since I have no formal education in website design).
- Eventually I’d like to make an income from my blog. I want to be upfront and honest about this, but I’m not in a hurry. Right now I want to build my trust and reputation with my readers. Blogging is not a “get rich quick scheme.” As pointed out above, I have invested some money into my blog, so my goal for this year is to negate those expenses. However, in the two months I’ve been blogging, I’ve made less than $10.00 total from the ads on my page while putting in a HUGE amount of time (it’s basically been a second job, minus the paycheck). I am definitely not complaining, I am loving the journey, but eventually I’d like to build this to be a business with an income.
- If you look behind the curtain… SURPRISE – it’s just me. Before I became a blogger, I figured that most people hired someone to set up and run their site. Although some bloggers do, I’m guessing a majority do it all on their own. That means everything you see on my site and social media pages was set up and designed by me, not a website designer. That means all pictures on this site and all my pins on Pinterest were designed and made by me! Maybe these words will give you hope that you too can set up a blog and if that’s the case, where there’s a will, there’s a way! Blogging takes a substantial amount of time, but it doesn’t feel like work to me and I thoroughly enjoy it. If you have any interest in starting a blog, you’re going to need a host. Me being frugal, chose Bluehost, because besides being a very popular host for new bloggers, their prices are very reasonable. If you want to check out the prices for Bluehost, click here.
- You shouldn’t be afraid of affiliate links. Before I was a blogger, affiliate links made me nervous. I didn’t really know what an affiliate link was and what all of those disclaimers meant. “This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I make a small profit at no additional cost to you.” What do you mean you make a small profit? When I click on this link where is it going to take me? And how exactly does it not cost me anymore, but you make a profit? These are all valid questions. Basically companies use bloggers to bring customers to their website. There are literally thousands of companies that form affiliate relationships with bloggers, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Melissa and Doug. So what that means, is if I put in an affiliate link for a product on my site (posts containing affiliate links will always have a disclosure at the top of the page), if you go through my link to the company, I make a small commission from your entire purchase. The retailer then rewards me for recommending their product and for getting you to their website. Just to be clear, I will NEVER recommend a product that I don’t personally own and LOVE. I will never try to sell you something just to make a buck. EVER.
- Facebook is complicated and I want (actually NEED) you to engage with my posts, for more than the obvious reasons. Before I started my blog, I was very apprehensive about giving away “Likes” on Facebook. I didn’t want all of my Facebook friends to see what I was up to. But in all honesty, Facebook most likely won’t display what you’re “liking” on all your friends’ news feeds. (Even if it does, does it really matter?) To explain why I need you to engage with my posts, I’m going to have to give you a little Facebook 101. When you open a free Business page on Facebook, you get access to analytics, meaning you get to see how many people see your posts, how many clicked on the picture, how many clicked on the link, etc. It doesn’t tell you WHO saw or it WHO clicked it on, but just the numbers. So here’s the real kicker, when I make a post on Facebook, Facebook doesn’t show it to all of my followers. It randomly chooses a portion of my followers and shows them the post. Facebook doesn’t divulge their secrets as to how this exactly works, but for the sake of keeping it simple let’s say it shows the post to 30 people. If none of those 30 people engage with my post, by either liking, commenting or sharing, Facebook deems that it’s not a very good post and stops sharing it with people, including the rest of my followers. So especially while I’m in the early phases of building Super Savvy Sarah, please don’t hesitate to like, comment, or share anything you find useful, because chances are if you found it useful, other people will too!
- If you enjoy reading Super Savvy Sarah, you should subscribe to my page via email. Subscribing to my page is different than liking it on Facebook. In fact, I share different things on each of the various social media platforms (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter). But as mentioned earlier, those platforms don’t show all my posts to all my followers. The only way that I can reliable share new posts, current sales, or even what’s going on in my life is via email. If you and I are connected via email, I have a guaranteed way to stay in contact with you. I promise that I won’t spam you with emails, in fact my track record proves that you most likely will only get ONE email every 1-2 weeks.
- If you like a post, share it with anyone and everyone who might enjoy it. If you enjoyed reading a post, on a desktop the share buttons are located on the left hand side of the screen; on mobile the share buttons are at the bottom of the page. Simply click on your desired platform and share away! If you click on the Pinterest button, I’d like you to select the tallest image on my page, as that image was designed with Pinterest in mind.
- If you like Super Savvy Sarah, tell your friends, your family, your daycare center, or even your mailman about it. I mean who doesn’t like to save money, simplify their meal plans, and watch a real mom sharing her chaotic journey through life with kids?
At minimum, I hope you learned a few things in reading this post. I know as a former non-blog reader that many of these things surprised me. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have. If you are a blogger, what are some other things you want (or actually need) your readers to know?