December 4

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Want To Learn To Blog? Here’s What I Did.

By Ashley

December 4, 2017

blogging, career, courses, writing

So, you want to learn to blog and publish your writing online.

I have to tell you, blogging did not come naturally to me. I became a blogger through sheer luck, stubbornness, and hard work. 

Even with experience in website design and marketing, my journey to learn to blog was full of twists and turns!

My previous work helped me understand what I could do with blogging, but I didn’t know what to do.

  • What do I talk about?
  • What do I write about?
  • How much do I share?
  • Do people even care?

The questions kept coming.

  • Could blogging be a real job for someone like me?
  • Would anyone actually read what I wrote?
  • Can I write? (The hardest question!)

What I Knew

I knew I wanted to:

  1. Work from home
  2. Work for me
  3. Make my own schedule
  4. Make a difference

After the birth of my daughter, going back into sales full-time was no longer an option for me. The hours were horrible–my busiest times were after-hours and weekends–and buying houses seems to bring out the worst in so many people (kind of like anonymous blog commenters!).

I knew I needed something more–and knew there was something out there for me.  You know that feeling? I hope you do. It’s optimistic and pessimistic, exciting and scary, all at the same time.

“Just Keeping Swimming...”

I kept researching career alternatives. I kept swimming in new careers, looking for the perfect job.  Back into sales? Or, maybe I should try being a professional organizer, Etsy seller, freelance writer, student...nothing seemed quite right.  But I couldn’t shake the urge to learnt to blog. Whatever that meant. When I voiced my interest, people told me blogging wasn’t a real job and not to do it.  I decided to do it. My family made a lot of sacrifices to launch my blogging career. My partner pulled extra hours to make more and we had limited spending money. I even resold the clothes we no longer wore, but we did what we had to. If I can take the leap into blogging, so can you. But first...

Why Choose Blogging?

Deciding I was going to learn to blog wasn’t easy. But I chose to blog because:

  1. I always wanted to write but didn’t have the courage to call myself a writer
  2. I figured that worst case, I could always take new online skills back into my old job.
  3. I wanted to create a platform where I could collect and share great ideas.
  4. I loved being online.

So I went for it.  Now I had a career choice, but I needed to start a blog. Preferably one that could earn an income.

How I Became A Blogger

I spent months researching ways to start blogs, how to monetize blogs and ways to build successful blogs. In the end, I discovered three things that changed my life.

1. Treat Blogging Like A Real Job

Ever wonder how all these bloggers make thousands of dollars a month and roll out new posts and products at an insane rate?

I wondered. I wanted to know exactly what they were doing that made them so successful.And after watching and learning from some of the best bloggers, I figured out their secret.It’s simple. So simple I feel stupid saying it aloud.The treat blogging like a real job–and it became one.That’s it. There’s no secret sauce, no magic trick, to blogging. I learned to blog by imitating what successful bloggers were doing.And the main thing I noticed?

Blogging for profit is a serious business I have only just started to learn.

2. I Learned To Write

This one is short and simple:

You have to learn to write for an online audience.That's it.

No, it's not easy and most people don't know how to do it.

But that's the beauty of blogging. You don't need a journalism or English degree to succeed.

You just need to learn how to write for online readers.

More on how I learned below.

3. I'm A Copycat

Learn from the best. Copy what works and discard the rest. 

It's a strategy I've used, without fail, over the years. Focus on the long-term results you want, and find people doing what you want to one day be doing.

Blog Launch Formula (now SmartBlogger.com) was an expert website I found while reading about starting a blog. If you’re serious about blogging, you’ve likely been on it.I liked what I was reading; the tips and tricks were helpful and actionable. The website's founder was uber successful and seemed like exactly the type of person I needed in my life.

PSA: Get SmartBlogger.com’s free Headline Hacks: A Cheatsheet to Writing Posts That Go Viral. That’s what got me started on this path.

4. Go To Blogging School

I enrolled in Blog Launch Formula, a year-long course for wannabe bloggers launching their first blog, after loving every email and post that Smart Blogger published. Over the course of 12 months, they promised to help you grow my audience from 0 to 1,000 email subscribers.Oh, and the 1,000 email subscribers was before you published your first blog post.The course wasn’t cheap, but my gut screamed, “Do not pass this by!I split the course fee into as many payments as possible, emptying my savings account and borrowing funds to pay for it.

I promised myself two things: I would take my blogging seriously, and I would complete the course.

And I did.Because taking your work seriously and enrolling in a course from one of the top bloggers in the world turns out to be the secret formula for success.

Within four months of signing up for the course, I hit the course’s goal of 1k subscribers.

  • My first piece of writing was accepted by The Washington Post, and I gained 50 new email subscribers to my unlaunched blog.
  • My second piece got me 250 new email subscribers and thousands of shares.
  • My third piece went viral, with over a million likes and around 1k email subscribers.

All that, and I hadn't even launched my blog!

Instead, through guest posting (writing for other people’s websites), I built a strong portfolio of published work and worked on my writing voice at the same time.It worked. Because if you can’t connect, you can’t blog. If you want to learn to blog, learn to connect. Simple as that. The best bloggers connect with you. You feel like they know you. The technical stuff comes AFTER the writing, never before.

Not all my writing was a hit, but when I followed the formula, my posts found success.

5 Requirements For Successful Blogging:

  1. Treat blogging like a business, from the start.
  2. Enroll in a killer course and do exactly what the instructors tell you.
  3. Listen to only ONE expert at a time. The temptation to learn an easier or faster way is hard to resist, but you end up going in too many directions.
  4. Finish your courses and training. Follow-through is the key to success. 
  5. Listen to feedback.

Personally, my stumbling blocks didn’t come until much later, once I had launched the blog. Then I had to decide what to write about, where to share, and what to sell.I’ll write more about that later, but my advice is: don’t try to be everything to everyone.

It doesn't work.

Lessons Learned

Looking back, I should have monetized my blog way sooner. (Monetized means your blog earns money.)

I should have published the book I wrote on how to get your writing paid and published in the parenting niche.

But I didn’t feel ready to put myself out there as an expert. I still don’t.Because the truth is, I’m not an expert. I’m confident that how I learned to blog has worked for me, and I’m convinced it’s the best way for you, too.

And by you, I mean college professor to college dropout.

Honestly, it seemed like the more college degrees my fellow bloggers had, the harder it was for them to find success in connecting with an online audience. Not to say they couldn't, but it was harder for them to change their writing style and vision. 

Learning and Dedication Make It Work

My three biggest takeaways on learning how to blog:

  1. Learn–really learn–how to write for an online audience. (Don’t brush this one off, or I will say I told you so.)
  2. Treat your dreams like a job.
  3. Successful blogging is about attracting the right kind of attention.

Start with learning the basics and build on them. That's how you learn to blog. 

And don’t make the mistake I made, of assuming that blogging is about learning how to blog.

Blogging is about:

  1. Learning how to write
  2. Learning how to help others
  3. Learning how to connect

It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.So that’s my story about how I learned to blog! There are more courses and specifics that came after my initial course, but that’s how I learned to blog.

Basically, I signed up for the right course at the right time and treated it like a real job.

Anyone can learn to blog for profit with the right teachers and mentors. 

If you're already a blogger, the following courses will take your website and income to the next level. I've listed them in the order I would take them in, if I could do it all over:

  1. Better Branding Course: This course helps you connect with your readers by branding your site to be you. Caroline helps you own your origin story, promote your self and products, and settle on a design and brand that's all about you and your readers. This seems counter-intuitive to recommend design and before writing, but it puts you on the right path and identifies your ideal audience. 
  2.  Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging courses. It will change your life. Learn what to write, how to write, and how to get published every time. Life-changing. I went from no blog to 1k+ email subscribers in four months... and all I had was one-page landing site and no content!
  3. Elite Blogging Academy Course. 
  4. Carolina King's Affiliate Marketing. Now you now how and what to write, it's time to make some money.

Just want to freelance write and not run a website as a business? Take the Guest Blogging Course and Gina Horkey's 30 Days or Less To Freelance Writing Success Course. A magical combination. Jon teaches you how to write and Gina trains you how to earn. I earned my highest rate per word after just 5 days of Gina's freelancing course. 

Oh, and if you’re looking for someone that has all the answers to all your questions, you’ll have to go somewhere else. But if you’re looking for someone who wants to help you succeed and is willing to share what works –and more importantly, what doesn’t work– then stick around.We’ve got lots more to talk about.

If you have experience blogging, how did you learn to blog? Let me know in the comments; I’m curious!

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About the author 

Ashley

Ashley Trexler is a blogger and consultant who helps passionate people build websites that work to better spread their message. Her writing has been featured well, all over the place. She's committed to raising little humans who want to make the world a better place (which is why this website exists).

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