10 Things I Have Learned About Blogging

I'm coming up on my two month anniversary since starting Stone Style and I thought it would be a great time for me to reflect on my experience thus far and to share with you some of the things I've learned on my blogging journey.  If you are thinking about starting a blog, you may want to take some of the following things into consideration:

1)      It’s harder than it looks.  

Before I started blogging, I actively read a lot of other people's blogs. I used to think that things like the blog design and side bar features were something you simply picked out from an easy-to-use program. I thought that changing up the way your blog looks was a matter of only a few clicks. This is not true at all. In my opinion, designing a blog template is not beginner-friendly at all.You need at least an intermediate skill level with HTML coding and a pretty good understanding of how a website works. I had neither. Some things you can figure out how to do yourself, for example, side bar gadgets. Once you get the hang of those things, it can become pretty fun once you realize that the possibilities are endless with regards to what you can train your website to do.  That being said, some things are better left to the pros. Templates involve a lot of coding that I don’t know how to do, and a unique and visually-appealing template (or lack thereof) can make or break your blog. Fortunately, there are tons of people on Etsy.com with great templates already made who can even install them for you for an average of $20.00. It’s well worth the investment. Trust me.

2)      It’s easier than it looks. 

While some parts of blogging were harder than I thought, some parts were easier. For example, when it comes down to actually creating posts on a daily basis, that part of the program is really easy to use. It’s almost as easy as making a Facebook post. It’s also pretty easy for me to come up with material. Most likely, if you’re doing a blog, you’re going to be doing it about something that really interests you anyway, so the “research” portion doesn’t really feel like hard work. Furthermore, there is inspiration everywhere you look. Just check other blogs out and see what kinds of things they are posting. You are sure to find something that inspires you. Now that I’m used to posting all the time, I can’t imagine what it would be like not having the blog.

3)      Not everyone will support you.

Not everyone is going to support you in doing a blog. There will be people who think it is stupid, or a waste of time. Furthermore, some people just won't really want to to help you out. I have learned a lot about rejection while doing this blog. I have reached out to many businesses and bloggers to do a collaboration. Some of them were excited to do it, some said no flat-out, some just completely ignored me. One thing to remember is that most of the time it's not personal. Sometimes, your blog just may not be a good fit  for a collaboration with someone else's business or blog. Furthermore, while your blog may be the center of your world, it's not the center of everyone else's. It may not even be on their radar. People these days are really busy with their own lives. The important thing to do is keep putting yourself out there. Eventually, some people are going to say yes, and you will appreciate them all the more for it. Everyone needs a lift up at some point. I will always remember the people and bloggers who collaborated with me when I had barely any readers.

4)      Some people will surprise you with their support.

Speaking of those who helped me, I have been so surprised with how many wonderful bloggers there are out there. I have joined up with some awesome Facebook blog groups, and have been welcomed there with open arms. We support each other daily by promoting each other’s blogs in a “safe” environment with no animosity or judgment. You will find that you can develop lasting and meaningful friendships with other bloggers. Also, don't assume that just because someone's blog is "big" that they won't pay you any mind. One of my favorite bloggers whose views per month are in the six-figure neighborhood was one of the nicest people I ever dealt with when I emailed her asking for advice when I first started my blog. Due to her celebrity-like status, I didn't really expect to hear back. She surprised me when she emailed me back right away with some helpful information and warm words of encouragement. I was extremely impressed that she took the time out to help me when I had nothing to offer her in return. Thanks GarnerStyle! In addition, my non-blogger friends/family have surprised me with how much involvement and interest they have had in my blog as well as how much support they have given me. I am humbled by the experience and forever grateful. 

5)      Blogging is not free.

Sure, the Blogger platform is free to use from Google, but blog promotion is not. Unless you have a massive cult following on social media, it's going to cost a little money to get the word out. I spend money boosting posts on Facebook and I also regularly use StumbleUpon paid discovery. They both have their pros and cons as far as getting traffic to my site. As I mentioned earlier, I bought my template from someone on Etsy. I also ended up buying my own "dot.com" domain on GoDaddy.com, because it was recommended by all of the seasoned bloggers. Additionally, I ordered business cards to give out when I meet people who express interest in my blog. If you have a fashion, travel, or food blog, you will also probably need to invest in a good camera at some point. There is only so much you can do with an iPhone. As you can see, there aren't really any "major" investments that you have to make, but all of the nickel and diming adds up over time. Basically, if you aren’t already "famous" when you first start your blog, you will probably have to spend some money ($5-$10/week) to get your blog to other people's computer screens. This is even more reason to make sure that what you are putting out there is quality! You're paying for someone to give your blog a chance. Make sure your money is being well spent!

6)      Social Media is everything.

One thing I regret now that I have a blog is not having been more active on my Twitter and Instagram accounts in the past. I am basically having to build them from the ground up now. Getting followers takes time and work, and how many followers you have on social media is one of the main ways potential advertisers evaluate how much your blog is worth to them. Most major networks want you to have at least 20K views a month before they will work with you. If you don’t know, I’m here to tell you that that is A LOT of views.  I am working my butt off for 5K/month. If you want your blog to make money, you HAVE to be extremely active on social media. Once you manage to get a pretty substantial following, you should see your following increase exponentially, as more and more of your followers are sharing your material. At least that's what I've been told. 

7)      Blogging success takes time.

Success in blogging is similar to success in weight loss. You have to keep putting out quality stuff on a consistent basis for a long time. If you are doing this, you will see your numbers gradually increase. Sometimes that can be so hard for me. I like to see instant results if I work really hard on something. Unfortunately, that’s not how blogging works. You are primarily accommodating people who read your blog for leisure. This means your success completely hinges on their whims. And whims are fleeting and highly unpredictable. One thing you can control is making sure that when they do decide to visit your blog, there is excellent content there ready for their enjoyment. If you do this, they will become regulars. 

8)     Popularity is extremely unpredictable

You just NEVER know what is going to be popular. Some posts that I think are complete masterpieces totally flop, while others that I put very little work and time into end up getting tons and tons of views. And you will never know why, because you won’t know who the majority of your readers are to ask them why they liked one thing and not another. One of the frustrating parts about blogging is the lack of tangible feedback. People don't tend to comment a lot on Facebook or on my blog about my posts. I can tell what was popular or not based on how many views it got. What I can't tell is why. Bloggers LOVE comments, because they help us understand what we are doing right or wrong. Next time you read a blog, remember to leave thoughtful and honest commentary. I promise you it will be appreciated!

9) Blogging is time consuming.

Before I started blogging, I used to wonder how anyone could be a "full time blogger." Now I totally get it. There just aren't enough hours in the day! My favorite part of blogging is creating the content, but it's really only about 25% of the job. The other 75% of my time is spent promoting my blog anywhere and everywhere I can. In addition to promoting every single post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram,  I have to plug into about 3 blogger networks per day, and make sure I am getting the word out about what I'm posting. I am very active in several Facebook blog groups which require me to be constantly visiting other blogs and leaving feedback throughout the day. I enjoy doing it, but it does take up a ton of my time.  I think over time I can expect to see the amount of time I spend creating start to balance more with the time spent promoting. It makes sense that when you aren't having to constantly hustle to get more readers, you can focus more of  your time on developing excellent content. 

10) The money part is very slow.

Unless you are already famous, it's going to take a long time for you to see any monetary return on your investment, if ever. Advertisers have extremely high standards you must meet before they will consider investing in your blog. If you are thinking of starting a blog just to make money, don't. You will get frustrated quickly and your readers will know that you don't truly care about the content you are serving to them. It's like the difference between watching a prime time TV drama and watching the commercials. People will quickly lose interest and even stop coming to your blog if they feel like your blog is just one big commercial.

 I apologize for the length of this post. However, hopefully, you have gained some insight into the blogging world, and if you are already a blogger, you probably can relate to all the things I am talking about! I believe that starting a blog should be motivated by your passion for a particular subject, and your desire to share your passion with others. If your heart isn't in it, it won't work. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have about blogging and I will be happy to answer them publicly or privately to the best of my ability!

As always, thanks for reading!

- XOXO Dana 


  1. VERY good points! I do think for two months your blog looks amazing! Good work! It is a rather painstaking path to take and it is great you are pointing out the pros and cons!

  2. I think you're doing a great job! Everything you wrote is spot on. I have had my blog for about a year and a half where I was focused on making it a business, and it has been time consuming and at times, exhausting. But keep at it! You're awesome! xo