After writing for Slutty Girl Problems for a number of years, I was convinced I was ready to start my own blog. This has been a total adventure for me, and things didn’t turn out the way I expected, but that’s okay! Here are five things I wish I knew before I started blogging.

A niche is important.

I blog about whatever I feel like, but I generally try to stick with a bookish theme. Talking about similar things throughout the various pages and posts on your site is better for SEO and makes you more reliable.

You’re probably not going to make a huge income.

My blog is more of an expense than a source of income for me, but it’s a fun hobby so I stick with it. There are folks who make money from advertising, outsourcing, paid posts, sponsorships, and more, but if this isn’t your full time job, that can be hard to get into. You’re also going to need some savviness and/or investment to start seeing a return through these various methods, which just isn’t doable for most bloggers.

Your biggest supporters will be other bloggers.

Most of my comments and clicks come from other bloggers. Get involved in Facebook groups or shared Pinterest boards to connect with other bloggers. Search relevant hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to find like-minded influencers and bloggers. Continue connecting with them and supporting them. Bigger influencers might not notice you, but micro-influencers or their followers will.

You can do something similar on social media platforms and get more attention there.

Is blogging really what you want to do? It’s fun if you’re good with words, particularly in the long form, but you will likely get more attention on algorithm-based social media platforms, especially if you follow others in your niche. If you’re good with short form language, adapting to memes or trends, taking photos, or shooting videos, consider checking out your social media options.

It’s a great way to get free things!

I always tell people I spend $250 every two years on blogging and probably earn back about $20 of that. But, I do get a ton of free things. I’m a book blogger, so I score free books through NetGalley, Edelweiss, and from authors just reaching out to me. But other companies see that micro-influencer benefit, and just having your own URL can lead to other freebies.

Overall, I’d say if you think you’ll find joy out of blogging, get into it. But if you’re expecting to make an income in the 2020s through this career path, expect to invest a lot of time and/or money!