When I first started blogging, it was extremely hard to stay focused and motivated even though I LOVED the topic I was writing about.
It’s a lot easier now I have a site that’s pulling in consistent traffic, but that really wasn’t the case at the beginning.
I struggled to find an in depth list of how I could keep up that motivation and focus through the first 6 months or so, so I decided to write my own!
Here are a list of 17 things I feel have helped me through some of the hardest beginner days of blogging.
1. Make it discipline, not motivation.
Straight out the gate with this one. It’s vitally important if you want to succeed in blogging for you to distance yourself with motivation.
Yep, I know what the title of this blog post says, but motivation isn’t something you should rely on to build a successful (and more importantly, profitable) blog.
Sure, we all love the sparks of motivation and inspiration that seem to push us harder and faster than we’re normally accustomed to.
But understand that these waves of motivation are fleeting.
It’s a sad fact of work, and indeed life, that motivation won’t be there even in times of absolute need.
The game of blogging, especially for beginners, is one that will have you sparring with motivation from day one.
After going back and forward on different names and niches for a blog, you’ll finally stumble across one that you simply cant get out of your thoughts.
For the next few weeks, or even months, you’ll likely consume hundreds of resources across the internet in an attempt to make your blog grow.
Unfortunately even with the best will in the world, google takes time to index and rank posts.
At the beginning of your blogging journey when google analytics shows you’re getting less than 10 visits a month (that aren’t from bots), it can be a testing few months for your patience.
The moral of this slightly drawn out story is that you absolutely cannot rely on motivation to drag you few those first months.
Stay disciplined, keep up a blogging schedule, and create work even when you don’t want to.
2. Write a list of blog post ideas
One of the most time consuming parts of blogging is finding blog post ideas.
Not only that, but then running some sort of keyword analysis of those ideas (or the other way around) makes that the slowest part of content creation.
There’s nothing worse than having a huge amount of motivation one day (yes, I said motivation!), sitting down to write one of the best articles of your blogging career, only to realise you have no idea what to write about.
It’s for this reason that I have made writing down blog post ideas one of the cornerstones of my creative and practical workflow.
I spend a good deal of time on my computer, as you can probably imagine, so I use a note taking app to write any potential article ideas in. (I use this one if you’re interested)
I have in the past experimented with keeping a journal by the side of my bed because my brain seems to come up with good ideas just before I sleep.
Chose either one, or both, whichever works out best for you.
Every week or so I take some time to go through my list of ideas and move on with the next steps which include analysis, seasonality, type of post
As you can see it’s by no means a quick way to get writing, but by just writing down one or two words as they come to you throughout the day, you’ll have a fantastic place to start.
As time progresses and you get to know your niche better and better, these ideas will flow more and more freely.
Oh, and the dashboard of your WordPress site has a quick draft section where you can write down the name of a possible article and a few notes at a moments notice.
Click on dashboard at the side of the WordPress interface and look for a section like the one pictured below.
3. Focus on you, not the competition
Of course, you will need to focus on the competition at some point but it won’t do you any favours to constantly compare yourself to other blogs each and every day.
Do your research on other blogs in your niche right at the very beginning to see if it’s viable (or even needed) to create content about that subject.
It’s SO easy to get 3 months into your blog and aside from checking your analytics daily, seeing blogs in a similar space to yours and continuously worrying why they have so many daily viewers and you dont.
Your main focus should be making quality, helpful and informative blog posts. You should think of yourself as providing a service that you have authority and knowledge on that other people dont.
Though there are many ways to drive traffic to your blog, this is what is suggest focusing on at the beginning. You can branch out to other ways further down the line.
Wait until you have at least 30 articles before you start analysing each and every thing about your site.
Spend your time wisely!
4. Celebrate mini blogging milestones
This is point that I could (and definitely will!) write an entire blog post alone on.
As you’ve read from point number one, the key to blogging is discipline but also seizing those motivation spurts.
Sometimes though, it can really feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.
So how do you keep up motivation when starting a blog?
Set yourself mini blogging milestones.
I’ve seen a few articles about this topic online and whilst they attempt to suggest achievements to celebrate, they’re all a little to much.
The real key about keeping interest in your site and the work you’ve produced is to focus on tiny milestones so you have a way of quantifying your success.
When you’re stuck inside googles sandbox, it’s hard to know if you’re doing well or not as there is no quantifiable data to analyse.
So what kind of milestones should you aim for as a beginner blogger?
Here are my top 10:
- Your first visitor (That’s not a bot!)
- Your first email subscriber
- Your first article (and later, your first viral article. This was mine!)
- Getting your first backlink (A great sign that you’re helping people!)
- Getting your first comment
- First day you hit 10 visitors
- First day you hit 100 visitors
- First email from a reader (Such a good feeling!)
- First month you hit 10,000 visitors
- The first $1 you make (Maybe you aren’t a beginner blogger anymore!)
5. Pick a topic that interests you
Hate personal finance, but decided to make a blog on it? Probably not one of your best ideas…
Even though blog topics like personal finance and technology do, on the whole, provide the highest EPMV/RPM if you’re using ads, it won’t mean a thing if you get bored of writing about it 2 weeks after you start.
I picked I based my first blog on travel because I absolutely love it. I get a pretty low amount per 1000 views, but a year after starting it and I’m just as passionate about it.
Oh and you’re correct, I started a travel blog just before covid hit. So if I can be successful with those odds, you’ve got no excuse!
6. Use a content calendar
The idea when starting a blog is create an environment that allows the least amount of things to go wrong as possible.
So if we think about some of the things most likely to go wrong when you start a blog, consistent content would probably be on that list for a lot of people.
By creating a content calendar, you’re eliminating the excuse of ‘I dont want to write today’. Working for yourself can sometimes seem like you dont have deadlines which inevitably leads to complacency.
As I’ve said previously, in the beginning when you’re writing a blog it’s easy to take a few days off because technically it’s not your full time job.
The only way you’re going to make it in the field is by treating it with the respect and seriousness it deserves.
Treat it like a business (With respect of hours put in) from day one, and you’ll start seeing results far more quickly that a few half hearted attempts to write each month.
Oh, and listening to a study playlist will definitely help too!
7. Start a blogging brain dump
Similar to the point about writing down a list of post ideas, but broader in scope.
The idea behind starting a blogging brain dump is to never lose an idea at whatever point in time you have it.
For instance, I have a note taking app on my computer and phone, and also a notebook floating around my house.
By having each of these ways to take notes I can be sure I’ll get any idea down on paper (or screen!) when it strikes.
So what exactly should you write down?
Words, sentences, blog ideas, to-do lists, sketches of site designs, etc.
It doesn’t have to make total sense, as long as you can distill your scribblings later on.
Each week or two I’ll take some time to go through everything (Similar to the post ideas) and sort them into their respective places, delete them, or panic madly that I haven’t yet got round to it!
8. Study those who do it well
I talked earlier about not comparing yourself to others because it can be disheartening to learn how well everyone else is doing when you only have a few daily visitors.
But before you decide on a blog design, writing style, and smash out 100’s of posts, take a look at some of the top blogs in your niche.
Take a look in the most analytical way possible, don’t take others success as your downfall. Instead use it as motivation, find out what they’ve done well and see what you may (and may not) want to replicate!
9. Deep work is the best kind of work
If something’s worth doing, it should be worth doing well.
To create the work and build the website of your dreams, you need to go deep.
That means no distractions, complete focus, and a dedicated work environment.
Yes, it’s true. Even I sometimes finish off a blog post whilst sitting in-front of the T`V but the bulk of that article was created whilst sitting at a desk listening to these study playlists.
I often find the hardest thing about writing a blog article is getting started. Once I’m about 15 minutes into my work, everything just naturally flows.
For this reason I like to spend the first of creating the article (after the research) by setting up the blog template
This includes: Headers (H2+Smaller), any media, and alt text.
Once this is finished it’s much easier to see what the article will look like when it’s finished and therefore slightly more motivating at a blank page.
All that’s left after this is writing. Lots of writing!
But luckily it can all be completed inside of the WordPress editor, so no distractions!
10. Change your writing environment
Yes, I have literally just told you to do most of your work at a desk but there are some occasions when you’ll benefit by changing up your writing environment.
If you’ve spent the last 3 months sat down every evening at your desk staring at the same four walls, you probably need a change.
Your change in location doesn’t have to be massively dramatic. Simply changing rooms so you can look out of a different window is likely to spark different ideas and thoughts whilst you’re writing.
Keep alternating between different locations in your house (or maybe a coffee shop if you’re feeling fancy), and you should find it will help increase your motivation to get writing and keep the cogs turning when it comes to writing fresh quality content.
And maybe one day you can turn that coffee shop into a beach sun lounger!
11. Ritualise everything
Before you wonder, I don’t mean you literally have to do a ritual evertime you blog, especially if it’s like the photo!
I mean if that works for you then go ahead! But what I mean is a little more habitual that spiritual.
Like I’ve previously mentioned, it really can be hard to keep things going day after day when you’re working from home.
But there are a few ways I’ve found to keep blogging as a daily activity.
My favourite way is to incorporate it as part of a routine. So that’s exactly what I recommend you do as well.
For instance I brush my teeth in the morning, shower, meditate, eat breakfast, hoover, and blog.
All I had to do was add it on at the end of my morning ritual and slowly but surely it felt completely natural.
Now I can’t imagine my morning without it!
Remember you dont have to keep these rituals up, but they will be there to help you in the beginning and to support you before you start seeing results.
After a while if you end up getting comfortable with the idea of blogging everyday, fit it in at any point that’s convenient for you, as long as you’ve built a strong and healthy habit of daily blogging beforehand.
12. Re-affirm your reasons for starting a blog
Remind yourself why you started this journey.
Is it because you love the topic you’re blogging about and want to reach as many people as possible?
Maybe it’s because you’re looking to make your first $1 online and ultimately turn it into a side hustle.
Or maybe you want a strong portfolio of sites that can eventually replace your day job.
No matter what your personal reason for starting this blogging journey is, write it down and remind yourself constantly.
I won’t lie to you I’ve had moments where I’ve asked myself ‘Is this really worth it?’ and they arent all that uncommon in the beginning.
I’ll tell you right now that more likely than not your blog won’t see organic traffic for many, many months.
Whilst that’s totally normal and all part of the journey it can be extremely hard for someone who’s never been down that path before.
So remind yourself why you started your blog especially when times get hard, and it might just give you that extra boost of motivation you need to finish that post and press publish.
13. Write. Just Write.
This is sometimes quite a controversial topic when blogging is concerned.
If you explore different sites that show you how to start a blog, some of them will tell you content is king and you need to write more, and others will push a heavy marketing curriculum in-front of you, insisting that you can’t just create great content but have to promote it as well.
Incase you haven’t already realised, I fall into the first category.
Content is and always will be king.
Before I realised that I was stuck trying to promote utterly unhelpful webpages and wondering why I wasn’t getting any traffic from google.
Of course, learn to write as well as you can so you’re able to create top quality content. But I wouldn’t properly worry about content promotion until you’re bringing in at least a 5 figure audience every month.
And even then it’s not too much of an issue as to whether you start or not.
So to keep your motivation up in the beginning when you start a blog, I would advise you to write as much as you possibly can.
And not just on your blog either. Get as much practice writing as you can, whether it be a story, technical writing, poetry, academic, etc.
This way you’ll continue to improve your writing skills and won’t get blogger burnout every 10,000 words.
Remember, you’re a blogger NOT a marketer or promoter.
14. Get the technical stuff out the of way
Whilst you cant fully get rid of the technical part of blogging, there’s certainly a lot to do right at the beginning.
I’ll write a fully detailed article about the easiest way to start a blog, but for now just know it’s not that hard.
Every bloggers dream is to write all day every day, but the reality is slightly different.
To become a great blogger you’ll have to develop confidence working with WordPress, figure out why things are broken, and understand who to contact when you want technical problems fixed.
This isn’t really something you’ll have to worry about daily, but it is something to keep your mind on.
One way to not be constantly worrying about it is to spend a bulk of time during the creation phase of your blog sorting everything out.
Whilst the actual building of your blog with theme, hosting, and domain will only take around thirty minutes or so, getting your blogs design sorted out with all the extras may take a couple of days.
As I say, I’ll write a big post on it in the future but just make sure you dedicate some time at the beginning to sorting it all out to the best you can make it and then you won’t be worrying about it when you need that free brain space to create amazing content!
15. Forget about social media
Social media is constantly touted as the be all and end all of user engagement and traffic.
It’s simply not the case and you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT need it when you’re starting a blog.
I know other people will completely disagree, but remember you’re a blogger and not a social media influencer.
When you start pulling in some impressive traffic from google, then maybe you can start to consider one of the social medias to bolster your monthly visitors.
The problem with doing this at the beginning of your blogging journey is that you’ll spread yourself far too thin.
Building a social media brand is a completely different ball game to creating a blog, and it’ll only suck your valuable writing time away from you at the beginning.
And then not only will you see no traffic from blogging, but also from social media which is bound to make even the most iron willed person completely unmotivated
I’ve never liked social media (believe it or not), and though I will hire an assistant to build a following for me, blogging will always be my number one priority because I know I can provide something helpful for my audience.
16. Not everything will work
When I very first started my other blog, it took years before it became as popular as it is today.
That’s partly because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and partly because I was experimenting with a load of different things.
Here’s a google analytics screenshot of my first few years working on my first blog:
That’s about 2 visitors a day for a year and a half, as well as some strange bot traffic.
But after taking note of what did and didn’t work, I was able to grow the blog until it had tens of thousands of people every month!
My point is that you shouldn’t be disheartened when things don’t work like you thought they would.
Use it as a learning exercise and come back stronger and smarter that you were before!
17. Take some time off
Most clever people will always tell you to write consistently and write a lotif you want to succeed with blogging.
That’s absolutely true (at least that’s how it’s worked for me) but bloggers burnout is far too real.
If you’ve tried all of the suggestions on this list but still don’t have any motivation or energy to make content for your blog, then maybe you need a few days or weeks off.
It’s no big deal, as long as you commit yourself to coming back even if it seems like the path of most resistance.
Even if you find yourself making excuses just remember you’re working now to forge a future that you’ve always dreamed of.