I’ve been in the blogging game for a long time…three years, to be exact! Some days, it feels like there’s no course I haven’t taken, no eBook I haven’t downloaded, and no blog post about blogging I haven’t read. (How meta is that, by the way?) Naturally, I’ve seen and heard it all – from BS sales-pitches to outright lies. Here are 7 lies that everyone tells you about blogging, and the ugly truths that no one talks about.
Lie Number One: Blogging Is Easy!
If I had a nickel for every time I heard this line, I would need to have a blogging business at all!
Bloggers like to tell non-bloggers that blogging is easy as a way to stimulate interest in starting a blog. Why would they do that? Usually, because they want to sell you a product that you will need to start your blog.
My question is: If blogging is so easy, why are there so many paid courses for it?
For the longest time, I believed the lie that blogging (as a business) was easy. You might think that this belief made me feel better, but I assure you – it didn’t. Instead of feeling comforted by the fact that blogging is so easy, I felt like a failure for finding it hard. I thought I was the problem and that I was stupid for not figuring it out.
The ugly truth is that blogging is competitive, challenging, and complicated. There’s a steep learning curve – not to mention a lot of time and money you’ll need to invest if you’re ever going to be successful.
If it were easy, everyone would do it. Everyone would hop online and start up a six-figure blog in no time.
But it’s not that easy – and I’m glad.
The challenge is what makes it worth it. The daily grind, improving my craft, and getting feedback from my audience is worth it.
No, blogging is not easy. But it’s hands-down one of the best careers out there.
Lie Number Two: You Can Start a Blog with Just $5!
Technically…yes. But it would be the world’s crappiest blog, and you wouldn’t actually own any of your content.
Here are just a few examples of things that real bloggers pay for (some items, monthly):
- Business WordPress account
- Quality WordPress theme
- High-quality hosting
- Stock photo library membership
- Analytics tools
- Scheduling software
- Email marketing software
- Legal templates
- SEO tools
- Advanced plug-ins
- Blogging courses
- Graphic design tools (like Canva)
- Pinterest templates
As seven-figure blogger, Alex Nerney, puts it:
So don’t fall for it, the next time someone tries to sell you the line that starting a blog only costs $5. They are probably just talking about the cost of a domain name and some cheap web hosting.
If you want to start a blog that becomes a profitable business, you’ll need to invest in some start-up costs.
Lie Number Three: You Can Start Blogging TODAY
Again, this is technically true. But it’s a big misstep to start a blog without choosing a niche and creating a content plan.
In the best-case scenario, a new blogger should take a blogging course. I promise you that the number of hours you will waste tracking down free tutorials makes paid courses worthwhile.
An excellent blogging course will help you develop an idea of your niche, identify your target audience, create your initial content, and learn marketing basics.
Jumping right into blogging without doing your diligence is a big “no,” from me. I did that three times and failed astronomically.
Before starting Pretty Little Grind, I finally invested in the Launch Your Blog Biz course from Alex and Lauren at Create-and-Go. They are seven-figure bloggers that I trust. Their no-bull-shit approach to blogging and teaching has been a massive game-changer for me.
Lie Number Four: If You Build It, They Will Come
Back in the early 2000s, you could create a blog that quickly earned a top spot in Google’s ranking system. That’s because the Internet was much less competitive and less saturated with content than it is today.
The ugly truth is that marketing is half the battle of blogging.
“Content may be king. But marketing is queen, and she wears the pants.”
To generate traffic for your blog, do the following: consistently create quality content and market it like crazy.
Most bloggers use Pinterest to drive organic traffic to their blogs. Google is an excellent option, as your blog grows.
Ensure that any visitor to your blog can sign up to your email list with beautiful opt-ins in exchange for awesome freebies!
Lie Number Five: You Don’t Need to Be Techy At All!
You don’t need to know how to write code, but…be prepared to learn techy stuff!
Here are just a few examples of skills you will need to develop as a blogger:
- Install and use plug-ins
- Understand and manage widget areas on your blog
- Extract relevant information from analytics
- Optimize your blog posts for search engines
- Work with page-builders and themes
- Automate email sequences and broadcasts
- Create landing pages for your email opt-ins
- Design beautiful pins for Pinterest
- Optimize images for quicker loading times
- Organize menus, sidebars, tags, categories, and metadata
…and a whole lot more.
I wholeheartedly believe that anyone can learn how to blog. Just don’t underestimate its complexity.
Lie Number Six: Bloggers Are Living the Dream!
I’ll repeat it – blogging is an awesome career. We will talk more about the perks at the end of the post. For now, it’s time for some ugly truth!
A tiny percentage of bloggers make it big. In fact, blogging is such an arduous journey that about 95% of bloggers quit before they hit their stride.
Maybe you follow a prominent blogger on social media. What you see is an Instagram baddie promoting their freedom lifestyle and world travels.
What you don’t see is:
- The hours and hours of content writing, revising, and editing
- The blogging courses they worked through to learn the necessary skills
- The ad dollars that went into promoting their brand
- The months of frustration over inconsistent blog traffic
- The struggle to build a solid email marketing list with loyal readers
- The imposter syndrome and self-doubt that keeps them awake at night
- The failed attempts to apply for great affiliate programs
- The daily grind
Of course, not all bloggers you see on social media are legitimate. Both those that are really fought their way to the top. And it was hard.
Starting a blogging business often means years of blood, sweat, and tears before seeing financial pay-off. Building a business takes time and a whole lot of effort.
Blogging can also be very lonely. We don’t have coworkers to chat with or bosses to keep us accountable. It’s overwhelming and scary at times – the whole “striking out on your own” thing. You constantly realize all there is to learn. You’ll feel inadequate, and you’ll add super long hours sitting in front of your laptop.
Quite simply, you’re going to have a lot of bad days. Then, you’re going to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and solve your own problems. Because that’s what it means to be a blogger.
Lie Number Seven: Make Money FAST with a Blog!
Of course, this is a headline that sells, and many bloggers know that. I mean, who doesn’t want to get rich quick?
Anyone who has blogged for any length of time knows that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
Some people make money faster than others, but that’s the exception and not the rule.
For part-time bloggers, it can take an entire year or more to make your first dollars with a blog. That is an entirely reasonable time frame, and anyone who tells you differently probably wants to sell you something.
People who blog just to make money fast have a scheme, not a business. They are often bloggers who try to sell products before providing value to their audience. Real blogging is about building trust with your readers and pointing them to products that can solve their problem. Don’t get it confused!
Put in the work, set up the money-making systems, and perfect the art of blogging. It’s a slow start with very little income involved. But the sky is the limit with blogging! If you start right, there’s no limit to the amount of money you can make.
Some Truths to Leave You With
This post has been a bit of a downer, I won’t lie! But it’s better to have the ugly truth than to be sucked into catchy headlines and scammy sales pitches. If you’re a little wiser, I’ve done my job!
Still, I’d like to leave you with some happy truths that I cling to on the hard days.
Blogging is so rewarding.
It’s an exciting feeling when people read and respond to your content. Here at Pretty Little Grind, I love helping fellow millennials thrive – mentally and financially. Guiding the way for your readers to succeed in your niche makes the long hours of content creation more than worth it.
Creating is powerful.
A blog is your personal creative space on the Internet. The more time and creative energy you invest it in, the more it grows! It almost feels like building your own little online kingdom. You are the creator – constructing articles and courses that didn’t exist before. The power of you is powerful, indeed!
You learn something new every day.
Literally, every single day! It doesn’t matter if this is your first day blogging or your tenth year, blogging will always keep you on your toes. It is an industry that is continuously evolving, and bloggers must evolve along with it! I love working in a field with no knowledge ceiling. I get to grow as a blogger all the time.
You meet really cool people.
One of my favorite things about blogging is when I have the opportunity to collaborate with other bloggers. They always have something to teach me, and we often end up working together on several different projects! Bloggers are creative, hard-working people, and I greatly value such a fantastic professional community.
The world needs what you have to offer.
Does that sound too self-righteous? What I mean is simply this: there are people out there looking for the answers you have. Whether you blog about gardening or digital marketing, you have a solution to a problem that someone else is desperately trying to solve. Never underestimate your expertise. What seems simple to you can be life-changing to others.
Looking for more blogging content? I’ve got you covered!
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- The Most Affordable Way to Legally Protect Your Blog
- 3 Stupid Reasons Your Pinterest Traffic is Down
- How to Grow Your Email List as a New Blogger