How to Avoid Overwhelm as a New Blogger
So, you’ve decided to start a blog?
First of all, great decision! Blogging is a great way to build confidence as a writer, to meet people, express your passions, help other people, and even make money if you’re so inclined. Presumably, you’ve already sussed that out, as a new blogger. If you’re anything like me, right now you’re feeling a little nervous, a little lost, a lot of excitement and more than a bit overwhelmed. It’s all well and good dreaming up, sculpting and honing your own little corner of the internet (particularly relevant if your blog happens to be of the gardening tips variety) but the reality is that just because your voice is out there doesn’t necessarily mean it will be heard. It’s disheartening when everyone doesn’t immediately recognize your (no doubt) sparkling wit and razor-sharp commentaries, but with so many fantastic blogs already in existence that cover every topic imaginable, it can often feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.
As a new blogger myself I’ve found that it’s so important to manage my own expectations and to gain some perspective to stop myself becoming overwhelmed by the sheer depth and breadth of the blogosphere. Here are my top tips on how to do just that:
Define what success is to you
Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and successful blogs aren’t built in a fortnight. Unbeknownst to us, the people who succeed in blogging have put in hours and hours of hard work, late nights, early mornings and millions of cups of coffee to make themselves stand out. To add to that, everyone’s blogging experience is unique to them: why they began in the first place, what drives them, what they hope to get out of it. Think about what your blog means to you and you alone: do you want to share your love for miniature model boats with a small, select group of like-minded people (you do you, hun), or do you want to hit 500,000 page views and turn your blog into a full-time profession and money-spinner? Once you’ve figured what a successful blog is to you, then you can start creating manageable targets and setting achievable goals.
Stop comparing yourself
In the same vein, I know it’s depressingly easy to sit and scroll through shiny blog after shiny blog until your eyes go a little bit cross-eyed and glassy; to watch your Twitter follower count sit obstinately at 59 whilst others around you are growing by the hundreds every day; to pick over the multitude of blogging success stories (“I get paid to travel the world for my blog – and you can too!”); to see bloggers churn out content daily when you struggle to publish even two a week. Comparison is the thief of joy, and comparison is the thief of valuable time that could be spent, oh, I don’t know…blogging? Everyone works differently, and no one is ever at the exact same stage of their blog’s journey. Stop focussing on what other people are doing too much and just focus on yourself for now!
But at the same time, see what’s out there
That being said, it’s perfectly fine to size yourself up against other blogs and see what they’re doing that makes them interesting or different. Looking at blogs that publish similar content to yours can also prove to be a fantastic source of inspiration if you’re suffering from writer’s blog (get it?), especially ones that are already well-established and still manage to keep their content exciting. Just make sure you always develop these initial ideas to reflect your own style and encompass your own interests – people want to read fresh and unique posts, not half-hearted replicas.
Don’t get caught up
Finally, my advice is to not get caught up in thoughts about blog traffic/ site visitors/ plugins: if you’re really passionate about and committed to your blog, this will all come in time. For now, let it be enough to test the waters. Experiment with your style, reach out to other bloggers and build friendships, change your blog around, maybe even choose a different niche if you can feel yourself leaning in a particular direction. Let yourself try new things and make mistakes, as long as you’re writing about what interests you.
There is so much content on the internet in 2018 about the necessity of growing your blog and getting more site visitors. Don’t get me wrong, this is all useful information to have, but don’t let it overwhelm you in the first stages of building a new blog. Feel free to heed their advice but don’t let it define your style as a blogger: it will feel insincere and forced, and your readers will pick up on the fact that you’re just trying to hit targets. The best thing you can do is be consistent and interactive with other bloggers. Set yourself achievable goals and most importantly, be excited about your content – this will shine through (even if this excitement really is about miniature model boats).