I was inspired to start blogging after attending the Google Webmaster Conference in Bali which was in August 2019. It was a place filled with content creators and we were listening to speakers. I have spoken to some interesting website owners, bloggers, and also got to talk with Gary Illyes.
The spark was ignited and an idea came to life, TaleTravels a blog about travel and food. I have been blogging now for almost 8 months. It is a big adventure with some challenges specifically to blogging, content creation. I will let you know what kind of issues and things you should overcome when you are starting a blog.
The information here can be valid for veteran bloggers who have had their blog for years already, but also it will be handy for the people just starting out, the newbies as they say on the net.
Your very first blog article
When you have written your first article, it is a milestone (yeah!). My first article was about my birth town. Something I thought I know a lot about and tell my readers a lot about it. (Ultimate travelers guide for Yogyakarta)
It took me about 3 to 4 days to write. At this moment I knew, blogging is hard work. But also I needed to get used to typing my story, looking up for information, and sharing the source. It took a lot longer than expected But I finally finished.
Ok Google, I have finished writing my first story for my travel blog now show it to my audience. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple. My domain was brand new, and Google was not aware of my site even existed. Nobody came, just the family and friends I showed the links to.
So Google did not find my content and basically I had no other visitors
My second challenge as a blogger was having my content found on Google. I literally started with the idea of writing for an audience. But How can I reach that audience via Google? I already knew a bit of SEO, at least I thought. But apparently it’s a lot more complicated to get your target audience reading.
The solution was to submit my new website to Google via its Search Console. With some tutorials and learning, I came to find out how to do this. It was another learning experience.
My website was submitted and over the days I could see impressions happening. But nobody was clicking…
Patience to rank your blog content in Google
My first articles, or better said, all blog posts I started publishing did not reach even close enough to the first page. I was wondering why? Well, there are several reasons for that I figured out:
- The blog is too new
- A lot of “competition” out there
- No Domain Authority, Page rank and other internet points from Google.
It took 3 months to get one article on the first page. Slowly traffic was incoming. It started out with 1 visitor every few days that came in via Google. This was a few months after publishing content on a regular basis. For me, it was a lot of patience and I was even wondering am I doing something wrong?
Their algorithm is to serve high-quality content to their users. That’s one of the reasons for their success. Google had no way of knowing the quality of my site. So I had to wait, and just keep creating quality content that readers might enjoy.
Staying motivated to keep on blogging
3 months have passed, and I am getting one reader every few days. If you stand still and think about the amount of time spent on creating that content. It sounds like it isn’t really worth it.
I keep reading that blogging is a long term commitment. I already developed a sense of accomplishment: My blog is being found at least. Where there is one visitor, there can be more.
Keeping motivated is key to create quality content. I also had to step up the game for creating such articles and posts. Motivation can easily be lost because of several reasons, be it personal or just the performance not being as expected of the blog. Either way, try to keep motivated and stick to a plan to keep creating interesting things to read.
Inspiration to keep creating relevant content that fits the niche
When you create content on a regular basis, ideas might run out eventually. It can be difficult to find topics to write that you are both passionate and knowledgable about.
To keep ideas and content going I have a red book. In this red book, I write down ideas. It’s my brainstorming outlet where I write everything down. During these moments there are no bad ideas. So I write down everything. I even wrote down that I should have a section SEO or About blogging so I could share this passion with you.
Take inspiration from your daily life. Write them down and try to incorporate them into your blog. It makes it easier to keep inspired that way. Every day I take some time to brainstorm, and eventually, some ideas make it to an article.
Writing articles for my website visitors, but also for Search Engines
The longer I work on my website, the more I fell in love with blogging and SEO. But I noticed I just can’t write all the stuff I want to if I want to be found. There is a demand for information. I call these the queries that people have and type in Google.
Keyword research is one of the ways to increase website traffic. It’s essential to succeed in blogging. I have an article on free keyword tools you can use to increase the traffic of your website
Combining blogging and my normal 9-5 job
One of the challenges I faced is combining blogging with my normal 9-5 job. Currently, it is no problem because of the coronavirus Pandemic and I just have to stay at home. This way I can create plenty of content.
But In the period when I was working, it was a bit difficult. I didn’t have another income and my blog wasn’t generating anything from which we (my family) could survive off.
I still needed to keep up with releasing content regularly. So in my free time when I could, I would write. Even if it was just a paragraph, it was a few dozen words at least. Sometimes I would even write a few hundred words at a time. So whenever you can start writing. Read it later again and re-write if necessary.
Link Building? Reaching out to other site owners. Something I did not like.
I did not understand fully why my blog should get backlinks from other websites. These certain websites linking to me should even have a specific criterion: same kind of topic or niche to the blog post they link to.
Well, that sounded to me like my competitors? Should I ask competitors “hey can you help me by doing some extra work?”
It’s something I did not really do, but upon networking when there was, I would try to exchange some backlinks with the sake of argument that we would get higher ranks in search engines. It helped me gain some domain rank. I did not notice a direct increase, this will probably happen over a longer duration of time.
Laptop crashed, lost all the pictures and data. A learning moment to back up a lot of things
As a blogger should make backups. Preferably automated backups. Now everything related to my website becomes automatically backed up. In case I need a new laptop I can easily start from there with a folder with all my pictures and such.
I am storing my pictures on Microsoft OneDrive. I just have to add it to my local One Drive folder and it’s accessible on the cloud. Next to this, my website is backed up daily in case of emergency I can just rollback.
Applying Social Media
I still have a lot of issues with this. I am no social media expert. Blogging itself costs a lot of time and apparently there is a need to make a social presence to represent the website online.
Any blogger should be on social media. This way you can attract more people to your website that come in via social channels. It does require a lot of time and effort as well.
Does anyone want to help me on this part? 🙂 ([email protected])
The section for travel has no more visitors. It is basically flatlined. There is no demand for information currently what to do in Bali for example. It’s very sad because of this I am also at home. I expanded the food part of my blog and also expanded the niche of blogging itself.
The coronavirus has changed the interest of what people are searching for. Much of my content isn’t currently in demand. It was sad for me but, on the other hand, I decide what comes on my website. Thus Blogging and SEO are added.
Huge Traffic Drop
A mental challenge is to accept that sometimes website visitors are less for several days or even weeks. Honestly, sometimes I feel defeated when I see such a drop. But my motivation is strong enough to keep creating content.
When this happens to you try to find out which pages are affected. Then check the position changes. What did number 1 do to get there? Improve your own pages with regards to your visitor.
Google Algorithm Updates
Google implements regular updates. They want to deliver the best possible content for their users. This can mean that sometimes you will rise significantly or drop significantly.
There are so many Algorithms it’s hard to keep track. All you can do is hope that your content is of high quality and the speed of your website is fast enough.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrom or Tendonitis because of blogging
I actually developed this several days ago. I was told because of the long hours of typing and using the computer I have something called RSI: Repetitive Strain Injury.
Basically it hurts making certain movements. If you are a full-time blogger, do take plenty of breaks and exercise or something else. Non-stop typing is not good or productive for your website.
Potential Blogging burnout
I hope I won’t get to this. But I read some people do get burned out from writing a lot. Do keep it as a passion I would say. It is frustrating to see the traffic drop, especially when it’s your source of income. Because also that will drop.
To prevent burnout, limit yourself from blogging. Do other things like work-out, cooking, or something you like. Having a blog and thousands of readers is fun but also think about your own mental health.
Blogging is a lot of learning, a lot more than I expected. I learned more about running a website than I thought. I learned about the ranking factors, technical things I never thought I would learn. Safe to say I learned more than my high school years by just blogging.
Anticipate and adapt a lot, be ahead of your competitors with world-class articles. Be flexible and the important thing is to entertain your readers. They’re the reason why we bloggers should be writing.
So these were my blogging challenges in 2020. What are yours?