12 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

Blogging is a process of learning while doing. You can be really prepared and go into blogging thinking that you know everything, but I’m sure there are things that you later realise you could have done differently. This is my second blog, and there are already a lot of things I started doing differently than when I created my first blog.

So if you are a newbie blogger, these 12 things that I wish I would have known before I started blogging, might be interesting to you.

1. Not making sure to reduce image size before uploading pictures

Maybe this is an obvious one for you. But it wasn’t for me! I kept uploading images to my blog that were 5GB big and slowed down my entire website. I didn’t care about my images at all and never edited them either. Only after three years of blogging and 110 uploaded blog posts, did I see other bloggers discussing the best tools to reduce image size before uploading in a Facebook group. I only realised then, that I probably should have done this from the beginning on.

Going back through every single post and reuploading images was a real pain in the ass, let me tell you this. I now use tinypng to first reduce the size of my images and then additionally scale them in WordPress itself.

Person editing images on a laptop while sitting on a desk

2. Not investing in a paid theme early on

I always hear people say that before you do start making money from your blog, you have to invest in it first. And yes, totally! After all, you are paying a huge amount of money on hosting and a domain. (Because a blog that is called blog738264.blogspot dot com probably isn’t going to make you any money).

But one thing that you should also invest in is a nice blog theme. Because it was such a pricey investment, I waited a long time to get my first paid theme (about 3 years). But let me tell you, blogging has been way more fun since then, and I am way happier with the way my blog looks and the way I get to customise it.

For the very best blog themes, I’d suggest checking out Themeforest. They have so many awesome themes to choose from.

3. Not caring about Font Size

This for once does not have much to do with ranking or marketing, but is related to the user experience. I have started increasing my font size, which is just a minimal change, but I feel like it makes my blog posts much more enjoyable and easier to read. I wish I would have done this from the beginning on. However, at least it was not that much work to go back and do the changes later on.

writing in a notebook

4. Not properly doing Keyword Research

It’s not like I didn’t know what keyword research was at the beginning, but it just seemed like too much effort too actually do some research to see what keywords might be ranking. I still barely do this now as I just like to write something because I feel like it. But it is definitely something that I should have prioritised more.

5. Not focusing on an internal linking structure

I used to think that only external links are important, but that is not the case. Also internal links are important. They don’t only give a user an idea of what to read next but they also signal to Google which pages can be related and just give your page some more structure. Do make sure to use internal links!

6. Not paying attention to site speed

Site speed was something that I did not consider at all. I thought my blog was quite okay based on site speed until I started using websites to track my site speed (almost 3 (!) years later as well).

These mentioned websites are Google Page Speed Insight and GTMetrix. I do recommend looking at them early enough so you can always identify if there is a plug in or theme that is massively slowing down your website.

And also check out these 7 ways to improve your website site speed.

7. Not editing my pictures

If there is one thing that I wish I would have known before I started blogging, it would be the importance of editing pictures before uploading them. And I still believe out of all the things I mentioned, this would probably be the most obvious one that I should have definitely known about.

I used to absolutely do nothing with my pictures and upload them straight from the camera to the blog. I didn’t even change the name of the pictures, so they were all called DSC89234 and so on. The data files were absolutely enormous and just loaded so slowly. And a bit of editing would have improved the look and feel of a blog post a lot.

Let me tell you, barely anything has been as annoying as reuploading and renaming pictures. So if you are starting out with your blog my biggest tip would definitely be to rename pictures before uploading, use tinypng to reduce image size and to also do some editing, so they go well together and fit your blog aesthetics.

Looking for inspirations? Check out these 50 topics to start a blog about!

8. Not focusing on Pinterest Marketing early on

I do believe I started getting into Pinterest pretty early on, but definitely not when I first started blogging. My earlier posts definitely did not have any pins included, and also the way my pins looked hasn’t been great when I first started creating them.

So my tip is definitely to start focusing on Pinterest early on: create relevant boards, optimise your pins and boards with relevant keywords and create a lot of Pinterest pins early on. For a lot of bloggers, Pinterest is their number one source of traffic.

Pinterest app logo on phone

9. Not including Call to Actions (CTA)

I never really paid much attention to that. But CTA’s are important because they can definitely increase conversions. Of course only include them when it is relevant but include them in Meta descriptions or at the end of your posts to encourage blog visitors to take action.

10. Not updating old content

Updating old content is always important. Often Google favours content that is frequently updated and continues to stay relevant. So do update your old blog posts occasionally: try out new keywords, add new information etc.

11. Not planning out content in advance

When I first started blogging, I tried to have a little buffer of posts that I had waiting in drafts, but then as the first few weeks passed, I just posted content whenever I finished a post. Sometimes I posted twice a week, then I didn’t post for a month.

What was I lacking? Consistency. And a good content strategy! In the end, it is quality over quantity and there is no need in posting twice a week or twice a month. But there is a need for a strategy to figure out beforehand what you will publish at what point and to have consistency when it comes to the posts you publish.

person writing notes in a notebook while sitting in front of a laptop

12. Not picking a better URL

The URL I had picked for my travel website wasn’t super practical and in hindsight I should have picked something different. You don’t want to have any dashes in your URL or something that is easy to forget or people don’t know how to spell.

While it is possible to refer your content to a new domain, it does seem like a lot of work and it can impact your ranking. Social media accounts, logos and pictures would need to be adapted. Make sure to choose a URL that you will still be happy with a few years later.

This blog now is still relatively new, and it is a new topic that I am diving in here. While I won’t be making these mistakes again, I am sure there are some other ones that I will make at some point.

But that’s a whole other story.

The blogging landscape is constantly changing as well. With new Google updates and different attributes that determine ranking, there is always something new to learn.

Which are some things that you wish you would have known before you started blogging?

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