Lessons Learned From 3 Years Blogging

I started the Allison Lindstrom blog back in 2015 when I was nursing my baby boy. It's been a long journey over the past three years. And I've learned a few things that I wanted to pass along. 

This way, if you're new to blogging, or are ready to turn your blog into a blogging business, you don't have to start where I did. You can avoid some of the mistakes I've made and learn from my experiences.

6 Lessons Learned Blogging for Three Years

1. Running a blogging business isn't all about you

2. Sometimes you have to pretend no other blogs exist

3. You need to be in it for the long haul

4. There are a lot of dishonest people online

5. Your followers help you get through the bad days

6. Always create backups

If you're interested in learning how to start your own blog/website, click here!

Being a Full Time Blogger

As I've mentioned, I've been a professional blogger for over three years now. It's been amazing in so many ways! I've watched my income reports go from making my first $200 blogging to making over $12,000 a month.

I don't share that to boast in any way. I share that to let you know that I've been through the trenches!

And, I have a ton of experience growing a blogging business. I'm only able to share the information in this post with you because I've been on the same journey of building a blog and brand full-time for years now.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase something. Don’t worry, I only recommend stuff I love or trust. You can read my Disclaimer here.

1. Running a blogging business isn't all about you

Running a blogging business isn't just about the person running the blog. You can't really separate your personal life from your blogging life 100%. You're running the blog from within your home so you can't just think you can make it work without it touching your family's schedule and affecting other people.

Your blog will bleed into your personal life. It will bleed into your family's life. Don't believe the lie that building a blogging business is something that's going to only impact you.

I think that truly running a successful blogging business means you have to take your family's schedule into consideration. It needs to be a family affair.

Now, don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean your child or husband needs to have a say in your blogging strategy. And, you don't have to sit down together to create your blogging business plan.

...running a successful blogging business means you have to take your family’s schedule into consideration. It needs to be a family affair.

You need to work on scheduling together

But, you do need to think of this business as a "real job". Think of it the same way you would think of a job that made you leave the house every weekday.

If you just took a new 9-5 job somewhere, it would cause you and your husband to sit down and look over the schedule together, right?

You'd have to figure out who was handling soccer practice on Tuesday. Or, who was going to take off to get the kids to the dentist next week.

Thinking that you can continue doing all of the same things that you've done in the past while also building a profitable blog is going to lead to frustration and overwhelm for your entire family.

You have to be on the same page to make sure that both parents are getting their jobs done while the kids also get the attention they need.

I truly believe (from my own experience) that if I'm going to run a successful blogging business then I need to communicate the stresses, worries, and joys that I experience within that business with my husband.

I don't believe there's any business or career that's so important that you should put your family or health on the wayside. There just isn't. What's the point of living if you aren't going to have a happy, healthy life with strong relationships?

So, if you're feeling stressed or have plans, talk to your family about it. Don't feel that you have to completely separate that blogging life from your personal life because it just won't happen.

 2. Sometimes you have to pretend no other blog exists

There is a lot that you can learn from other successful bloggers. BUT, sometimes becoming the best blogger you can be means that you have to pretend that no other blogs exist. Now I don't mean to pretend they don't exist because you already know it all and can't benefit from other blogs.

Here's what I do mean. It's really easy to be influenced by other bloggers. Sometimes that's a good thing because you are learning from them and finding inspiration. But, sometimes it means that the other blogs in your niche are having too much of an influence over what you blog about.

Say you're a food blogger and you've been planning on writing a blog post about incorporating the farmer's market into your meal planning. But, then you start looking around at other blogs in your niche and notice that everyone else is writing about paleo meal planning.

It can be tempting to switch your blog topic to paleo diets. You don't want to feel like you're getting left behind in your blog so it makes it tempting to switch your topic. DONT' DO THAT!

Go ahead and write about incorporating the farmer’s market into your meal planning because that’s still a fabulous idea.

Do your research but be unique

Obviously, you need to pay close attention to what your target audience is searching for. It's important that you do market research such as using the Google Keyword Planner to see what people in your target market are searching for. But, you don't want to just throw away your plans because everyone else is doing something different.

It might just be that there are people that would rather read your post about Farmer's Markets than Paleo Diets. But, if you decide not to write it because you're following the crowd, then that person may never find your blog.

It can be really refreshing to stop reading other blogs for a few weeks or months, and to just focus on the ideas that you have. That way you know that what you're working on is what you're actually passionate about and what you want to write about.

3. You need to be in it for the long haul

If you want to succeed at growing a blogging business then you need to be thinking long term. Don't think that you are going to see results within a certain amount of days, weeks, or months. If you want to succeed you can't just be in it for the immediate success.

You are creating a startup business from your home. So you're very fortunate, but you also have a lot of work in front of you. And, unfortunately, a lot of that work is going to be unpaid. Don't be thinking in terms of days or weeks. Think in terms of months or years.

You are creating a startup business from your home. So you’re very fortunate, but you also have a lot of work in front of you. And, unfortunately, a lot of that work is going to be unpaid. Don’t be thinking in terms of days or weeks. Think in terms of months or years.

The minute you change your mindset from days to years is the minute that you shift the focus of your business and give yourself an edge. That doesn't mean that success can't come earlier for you. It just means that you shouldn't expect it to.

There are a lot of promises out there online. If someone tells you that you can $10k in X number of days there are one of two things that are likely happening:

  1. They're lying to you because they want to sell you something

  2. They're making a lot of assumptions about your situation and the qualifications that you need to have in order to get to that magic number. It could be that they're assuming you have a certain degree, certain experience, or a certain amount of hours available to make it work. In that case, if you have children, you better add a lot of time on to what they estimate. And, if you happen to work outside of the home you can plan on it taking you a lot longer.

Get okay with the idea that it's going to take some time. Hard work never hurt anybody. You can do it!

4. There are a lot of dishonest people online

There are a lot of dishonest people out there online. I can't tell you the number of times that I've received an email conversation that goes something like:

Anonymous emailer:  "Hey, I bought your course but I can't get access to it. Can you just send me access at this email?"

Me: "Sure, can you just go ahead and send me the confirmation number so I can get the right account set up?"

Anonymous emailer: "Oh, yeah, I don't have that email anymore, so you're just going to have to send it to my new one."

Me: "Okay, can you send me a quick snapshot showing the purchase was paid from your bank account or credit card statement?"

Anonymous emailer: "I don't have that bank account anymore either. So I can't send you any proof of purchase."

Really?! I mean, really? If you have a product to sell, people are going to try to finagle their way into getting it for free. At the end of the day, it's just business so treat it like a business transaction.

If someone claims they purchased your product and can't access it, there is nothing wrong with asking for a proof of purchase. You're simply protecting your business. it's a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

Anyone that has legitimately purchased a product for you will have no problem showing you the proof.

5. Your followers help you get through the bad days

The people that you're impacting will make up for all the bad days that come along with running and growing a blogging business. And, it makes up for the chaos and frustration. Trust me, you'll have those days!

It's your readers that make all the work you do worth it. To make sure you are finding fulfillment in your blogging business make sure that you are writing content that is actually helping people. You want to change their lives in some way or inspire them to do something in particular.

I love being able to learn more about my readers. You all are the reason that I do what I do.

I shared a little of my own story with you. I started this blog with my baby bog in my arms. I'd love to hear your story. Why do you want to succeed at starting a blogging business? What's your motivation?

Leave a comment below sharing why you do what you do or hop on over to the Allison Lindstrom YouTube channel and leave your response there.

Thank you for following along with me. You make my 5:00AM mornings and days full of struggle with technology totally worth it.

6. Always create backups

This is a hard lesson that I learned just a couple of weeks ago. I was on my site one day fiddling around with the design, looking to simply freshen it up a bit for the season. It was just minor changes I was looking to make.

In my efforts, I tried to delete the link to my blog post page. Instead, I deleted every single blog post that I've ever written since 2015!

Did I cry? Yes, I bawled hysterically.

Did I eventually figure out how to restore those blog posts? Yes, but it was hours later after I had cried and made a lot of phone calls trying to get the technical help I needed to fix the mess I had caused.

I kept thinking about all those hours that I spent working on those blog posts. I kept asking myself, "Allison, why do you not have a back up of those posts?"

How I create my backups now

A lot of times bloggers, like me, will just hop on their blogging platform and start writing blog posts. It's easy to just put them and keep them in one place. Then, when the post is complete you can easily publish it and walk away. That's what I used to do.

But, what I should have been doing is creating a word document or Google doc backup. And, because I didn't have that plan in place at that time I panicked.

If I would have had those backups in place I wouldn't have spent all those hours stressing over my lost work thinking that I had no way to get it back.

So, get an external hard drive. The one that I use and love is the My Passport Ultra (affiliate link). Then start putting your blog posts into word documents and saving them on that external drive.

This is important because I've had laptops that have completely crashed on me before. Like crashed to the point that I couldn't recover anything. Baby pictures... nothing!

So, it's important to have an external drive because if your computer crashes, you still have all that hard work saved away and it won't go anywhere. 

Blogging Tips and Tricks for Day One

I started the Allison Lindstrom blog back in 2015 when I was nursing my baby boy. It's been a long journey over the past three years. And I've learned a few things that I wanted to pass along.  That way if you're new to blogging, or are ready to turn your blog into a blogging business, you don't have to start where I did. You can avoid some of the mistakes I've made and learn from my experiences. Allison Lindstrom

So, what if you're back on Day One of your blogging business? What if you aren't even really sure how to get started? Here are some blogging questions and answers that will help you get started:

Do I need to spend money to get started?

The good news is it doesn't take very much money to get started. But, it does take a little. There are two things you absolutely need to have from the start—a domain name and a host. 

This is the point where many want-to-be-bloggers ask something like, "Can't I just start on a free platform?" I get it, I'm frugal too and don't like to spend money when I don't need to.

But, if you want to grow a blogging business you really NEED to cough up the money for these two things. 

Free platforms are great for hobby bloggers. If you simply want to share your experience or thoughts online but aren't worried about ever monetizing your blog, then, by all means, use a free platform. There's no reason to spend money if you don't need to.

But, if you want your blog to eventually pay your bills, you need to invest in it. 

Your domain name helps you set yourself up as a professional blogger. It allows your URL to look something like yourblogname.com instead of yourblogname.blogger.com.

Your target audience will take you more seriously when you give them the impression that you are a serious blogger with your own site. 

When it comes to free hosting, there are restrictions that you don't want to deal with when building a blogging business. You are restricted on placing ads on your site and your free host site actually owns all of your content.

So, if you want to build a profitable blog, you really need to pay for your own hosting and own your domain name. 

Which niche is best for a blog?

One of your first steps to building a blogging business is choosing what you want to blog about. But, I urge you to choose your topic and then choose a niche within your topic.

For example, instead of choosing to be a "food blogger", find a smaller niche within that topic. And if you’re having a hard time choosing, I have 160+ blog topic ideas that can give you some ideas.

Maybe you could be a food blogger that's focused on kid-friendly meals that your little one can help with. Or, a paleo meal planner. Or, a food blogger that shares tips to turn convenience items like store-bought crescent roll dough into gourmet meals. You get the point. 

When you choose a niche it's going to help you get super focused on a target audience. It's also going to help you build your credibility faster within your niche because everything you do is going to be geared in one direction. Your readers will instantly know what it is you blog about when they land on your site. 

If you want more information on choosing a niche, check out my post Top 5 Blog Niche Ideas My 3,000+ Blogging Students Choose

How do I start making money blogging?

This one is a loaded question that I won't be able to cover fully in this one post. But, there are many ways that you can make money from your blog. 

  • Affiliate income

  • Ad revenue

  • Write sponsored posts

  • Create and sell your own products

  • Provide a service such as coaching or meal planning

All of these options fall under one of two categories: passive income or active income. The latter is when you trade time for money.

An example of active income would be one-on-one coaching. Your customer pays you for an hour of your time and you give them that one hour. When the transaction is over, it's over. 

With passive income, you can make money repeatedly on the work that you've already completed. For example, online courses like my Blogging to Win course, allow the blogger to invest time up front on creating the course and then sell it over and over again. 

If you are interested in how to build a profitable blogging business then I encourage you to check out the following posts:

Interested in more blogging tips? 

There's a lot to learn when growing a blogging business. As you can see from above, I've learned more than a few lessons myself. And, I know I'm always going to be learning!

That's the thing with having a blogging business. The majority of our work involves the internet. It's always changing and evolving, and that means our jobs are going to be as well.

Sometimes it can feel like you just get something figured out and then an algorithm change comes along and you have to create a new strategy for moving forward. 

Recently I did a series called 30 Days of Blogging Tips & Mom Hacks. During the series, I cover topics from how I entertain my little guy so I have time to work on my blog without leaving him feeling neglected to ideas for creating passive income from your blog.

I'd encourage you to check out the series, especially if you are just starting out!

There's a lot to learn, and admitting that is the first step in moving forward. If you've been on the journey for a while, or even a short time, I'm guessing you've learned your share of lessons as well.

I'd love for you to post them in the comments! It's a great way to learn from others and help others out in the blogging community.