I started my first blog about three years ago after searching Google for “ways to make money on the internet.” The list was short but distinguished. YouTube? Not camera ready. Responsive content marketing? Learning curve too high. Porn? Not camera ready.
Yeah, I could get into that. If 500,000 other illiterate dip shits (myself included) could make money ranting about their own personal hell, why couldn’t I? The truth is it takes a lot of work and even more patience to get anything out of a blog. On the scale of 100 things I still don’t know, here are 5 I learned right away.
1 | You Won’t Make Any Money
Boy was my face red. Your first blog won’t make any money, at least not at first and probably not for a long time. Solvent blogs take years to build because loyal readers are hard to cultivate. There are no get-rich-quick schemes here. If you plan to make money from a blog, expect to pour many hours into it with little in return. If you keep writing – keep creating – eventually the readers will come, and the potential will grow.
2 | Haters Will Hate
The internet is a shitty place to look for a pat on the back. At first your website will be viewed exclusively by friends and family who will shower you with praise for nothing more than slobbering on your keyboard because you “really put yourself out there.” They know you personally and have an emotional obligation to fluff your junk and stroke your…ego. As soon as your readership expands beyond your Google Circles you’ll be exposed to vicious dark side of the world wide web: anonymous commenters. They call them trolls for a reason, folks. Ignore them with the strength of Preparation H, because that’s what your dealing with (hemorrhoids. I’m talking about hemorrhoids).
3 | You Become A Better Writer…Quickly
This especially goes for people like me who hadn’t done much consistent writing before. The most recent benchmark I had for my literary skills brings me back to the essay I wrote about the thematic significance of Tom Berenger and Willem Defoe’s characters in Platoon for my obligatory Freshman English class (Elias!). The keys needed some dusting. Once I started writing every day I was amazed with how quickly I improved, and even more amazed with how much worse I got when I didn’t write.
4 | WordPress Is Really Easy, Except For When It’s Not
Know how to code? Back end edit? shortcode? Yeah me neither. WordPress made my transition from sidewalk chalk to digital print about as smooth as I’d ever hoped, but there were still issues. MANY issues. My best advice for people who are starting out is to invest a bit of money into a stable, lightweight, supported WordPress Theme that requires as little maintenance as possible. Eventually certain bits of how it all works will seep into your subconscious, but you don’t want to spend those first months wrestling with a bear when you could be – you know – not wrestling with a bear.
5 | Your Second Blog Will Be Much MUCH Better
It might be version 2.0 of your first effort, but things will improve. The more you do something the better you get at it (see item 3). This can’t be overstated. Keep cranking. Before you know it those same trolling hemorrhoids will be crawling back to slurp up every morsel of knowledge you drip down their dank, slimy little holes because you have something they don’t: authority. Authority is the currency of the internet, and it can only be earned through a fuck-ton of work. Keep writing. Keep creating. Get better and never look back.