7 Tips For New Bloggers | Self Hosting, Setting Goals & Authenticity

Are you wanting to start a blog, or have you just started a blog, and have no idea what to do next? Keep reading, because I’m here to share 7 magical tips on how to set up and run a blog without wanting to pull your hair out in frustration and confusion.

I’ve been blogging for over a year now, and when I started I had limited knowledge on how to actually run a blog. Sure, I had been reading them for years, but moving from the viewpoint of a blog reader to a blog writer is more eye-opening than one would first think.

I by no means am saying I’m the best/most successful blogger that ever lived because you and I both know that is a complete lie. To be honest, most of the time I hardly have a clue what I’m doing either.

Before I get started, please remember that really, there are no ‘rules’ to blogging. Everyone approaches it in their own way and have different intentions with what they want to achieve from their blog. So please, take all this advice with a grain of salt. I don’t want anyone to think this post is me telling them how to do things, when in reality all I want to do is share my personal experience, and the things that I wish I knew at beginning. Take what you will from this post – you may agree, you may disagree. And that’s fine!

Over the relatively short time I’ve been blogging, here are some of the thing I have noticed that make the process a bit smoother and less confusing.

Do Your Research

Make sure you research what platform you want to have your blog on. There are so many out there and it can be quite daunting trying to select one that suits your needs. I found this article helped out a lot, so if you’re a bit confused, I suggest you give it a read.

Don’t Invest Too Much At The Beginning

I was very tempted to go with wordpress.org or purchase a premium account straightaway. It gives you more control over your blog, and let’s be honest, the custom domain name does look more professional if that’s what you’re after.

But I decided to hold off and stick with a free wordpress.com account to start with. Doing that gave me a feel for blogging and allowed me to work out if it was something I enjoyed and wanted to do more long-term, without financial commitment. If I decided it wasn’t for me, then I hadn’t wasted any money. I told myself that if after 6 months of blogging, I was still enjoying it more than ever then I will move over to wordpress.org, get my own domain, etc. if that’s what I still wanted. And I did!

However, things don’t always go to plan. Once I became self-hosted, I found myself completely out of my depth. I speak more about that in this blog post, but ultimately, I decided that self-hosted was not for me and went back to wordpress.com.

I know this is probably quite a rare and unpopular opinion, but I did not enjoy being self-hosted. Sure, there were great aspects (getting a pipdig theme was definitely a highlight) but personally, for me, the negatives outweighed the positives. It is such a big commitment, and one not to be taken lightly.

Although I’m most likely part of a small group with this viewpoint, I think it’s important to share my experience because you often hear such great things about being self-hosted (that’s what drew me to it in the first place), but in my experience, it just wasn’t the case.

By no means am I saying not to go self-hosted. Do your research, weigh up the pros and cons, and make the decision that is right for YOU. I just want to provide an alternate insight and express my personal views on the topic.

I think being self-hosted is great for those who wish to expand their blog into a business or career and have the technical skills and resources to effectively manage their self-hosted blog. But for beginners like myself who blog purely for a hobby and aren’t massively gifted when it comes to technology, it was just too much trouble for what it’s worth.

If I could go back, I would’ve waited MUCH longer before going self-hosted, but you live and you learn.

Interact With Other Bloggers

Get in touch with the blogging community. Follow other bloggers on Instagram, Twitter, etc. and actually read and comment on other blogs. Doing this can:

1. Give you inspiration on what type of blogger you want to be, and

2. It will make your blog seen and known, meaning more people are likely to be aware that it exists.

I found that my blog increased in traffic once I started interacting with other bloggers. Because think about it, if you don’t make an effort to make yourself known, how are others supposed to find your blog? Sure, some people go viral at the start and blow up overnight, but that’s a rarity. Most of us have to work for months upon months, even years to grow our blogs.

Be Authentic

People won’t want to read your blog if you’re anything other than yourself. Create your own blogging/writing voice and you’ll attract the right audience.

Think about it, if you decide to blog a lot about a particular topic that you’re not so passionate about (for example, fashion) because you think it’ll make your blog really popular in a short amount of time, you’ll attract people who like reading about fashion.

This means your audience will expect to see new fashion posts everytime they visit your page, and you’ll be stuck trying to satisfy your audience with posts that you don’t really want to write.

Therefore, you are more likely to not sound authentic in your writing, as you’re not genuinely passionate in what you’re blogging about.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

We all need a little help sometimes, and blogging is no exception. Blogging can be very confusing and difficult to figure out at times, and it can be beneficial to ask fellow bloggers for help because they’ve been in the exact same boat as you at some point.

Set Realistic Goals

The keyword here: Realistic. If you’ve just started your blog, you can’t expect to rake up millions of views/followers within the first few months, even years. It’s good to be optimistic, but remember to be realistic in what you want to attain, or else you’ll just end up disappointed.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Other Bloggers

In the world of blogging, I’ve learned it’s generally best to run your own race because comparing yourself to other bloggers often brings disappointment.

Instead of comparing your blog to another blog that has been running for years, compare your blog to what it was previously, and see how far you’ve come as a blogger. You’d be surprised to see how your writing style has changed, and if you take photos to accompany your blog, your photography skills.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give your previous blogging self?

– Karen xx

31 thoughts on “7 Tips For New Bloggers | Self Hosting, Setting Goals & Authenticity

  1. Great tips! πŸ™‚ I think there are a lot of blogs out there who push self-hosted. I do encourage people to do it, but only if I know it’s something they are interested in, and want to grow their blog into something more, as you said. But I do agree with you – I don’t think it’s necessarily right to do it from the start. I did, but that’s only because it worked for me. I have the knowledge to work with it, and I knew I’d have to put a bit of money into blogging to keep me motivated πŸ˜‰ I do think it’s good to try the free platform when you’re brand new to blogging to get a feel for it – I’d tried it in the past with other blogging attempts and never really enjoyed it, which is the other reason I chose a different route this time.

    Sorry, rambled a bit there. Will be sharing this one on Twitter πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a helpful article – and i will def take on some of the tips (as a new blogger myself) particularly like the self-hosted discussion it was something I thought about but decided to leave initially – i’m glad other people also have the same internal discussions πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post – and really interesting to read about how you found self hosting! I’m a very new blogger, and these tips are really helpful. I’ve just gone self hosted, and am enjoying it so far, but it’s really refreshing to read different people’s perspectives on it!
    Thanks for the tips around social media too! I have set up a Twitter but not yet ventured to instragram for my blog!

    Sarah x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarah! I’m so glad you’re enjoying being self hosted. I thought it was important for me to share another insight into self hosted because I’ve heard so many positive experiences, but nothing that I could relate to when it didn’t work out for me xx

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  4. This post was exactly what I needed! I do want to go self hosted, or upgrade to premium on wordpress, but I don’t think now is best for me! I want to wait a while, until my posts become better, and engage more people! Thank you! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. These are all great tips! It can be difficult to stick with it and keep posting, even when you don’t see the numbers & stats. But it is important to keep pushing through and keep posting if you truly want to blog. Blogging about what you love & are interested in definitely helps.

    I would say that my piece of advice is to have a core purpose for your blog and write with that purpose in mind. This will make everything flow & work together.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I just started my blog a little over a month ago and I will definitely take these tips to heart. I’m completely new in this blogging world but right now I’m loving it! It can be pretty daunting doing something on your own so I’m not too sure if I would like self hosting either but in the future (if my blog goes well and if it’s something I would enjoy doing for the long term) I will definitely try it for a month or so just to get a feel as to how it’s like.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a question.. for you personally, does upgrade-plan give a big impact to your blog? Because I’ve almost blogging for months ago and still considering do I have to upgrade now, because in IDR, wordpress-plan is quite expensive, especially I have two blogs. The first one is my personal blog, which has already gain more followers and nice feedbacks than the other one. But I really want to upgrade my second blog too, and I want to make it a business blog.. because I think it will help me to gain viewers. What do you think? I really wish you want to give me and advice?

    Like

    1. Thank you for reading! In regards to your question, I think you have to weigh up your options and how much you are willing to pay, especially considering you have two blogs. Personally, I would upgrade the blog that I used the most and is more successful. If you really want to upgrade your second blog, maybe use the cheapest plan to start with and as that blog grows over time, upgrade to a business plan later. I hope that helped!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Completely agree with so much of this! I’ve blogged on and off as a hobby for as long as I can remember, but when I needed to start taking it more seriously (to stop me leaving my flat and spending money) I decided self-hosted was best because it motivated me to put in the hours (of which there are a lot!)… still so true though! Great post xx

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  9. I advise my clients to at least buy their domain name and set up the accounts on social media. They don’t have to purchase hosting but buying the name secures their space online. A domain name is anywhere from 2.99 – 12.00 and if they give up 1-3 pumpkin spiced lattes, not buy a new eyeshadow palette or buy cheaper wine for the month, they can afford it.

    I feel it’s okay to use the free version of anything but secure your space online as soon as possible.

    Olli – http://www.olliviette.com

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