So you’ve decided to start a blog and now you’re giddy from all the ideas running through your head.
The adrenalin is pumping through your veins because blogging seems like a side hustle idea so amazing that you simply cannot wait to start.
You would even justify its endless potential from the countless bloggers who make it seem so easy to earn $5,000 within 3 months of starting a blog.
You have even thought of a name (yourname.com) and you think this is the best idea in the world!
You are light-headed from the high and you don’t want it to stop.
So you sit down, flick on your laptop and you are soon hit with the sobering reality of the question ”how”.
You attempt to whip up the coolest blog post into Word that everyone would be raving about but you couldn’t even make yourself type the first couple of sentences. And then…
The realization you wish you never had…
You suddenly get this sinking feeling that this is not all what every “successful” blogger is making it out to be.
Can you relate?
Have you ever had the best business idea only to grasp how hard it would be, making you curl up into a fetal position sobbing like a baby.
Not the sobbing part but the fetal position? Absolutely. I even remember gorging on a brownie while doing this! #thestruggleisreal
Starting a blog is hard and comes with many challenges. And we haven’t even talked about blogging itself!
Many aspiring professional full-time bloggers start blogs and then give up because of all the challenges they face.
According to Blog Tyrant, 59.3% of people have started blogs then abandoned them.
Isn’t that sad? But it’s so easy to fall into this trap as a new blogger. The moment a roadblock appears, many bloggers run the other way…
Here are 15 challenges of starting a blog and ways to help you overcome them.
1. You can’t decide on a niche to write about.
Challenge: You can talk underwater in person yet feel stumped when you’re about to write.
Solution: You have to figure out what topic you can talk about all day and use that as you niche. Another example you can use as a niche is an expertise or talent of yours that you would like to share with the world: are you amazing at budgeting? What about gardening? Cars? Can you teach people how to play the guitar?
2. You don’t know who your avatar is.
Challenge: We’re not talking about Sam Worthington and the world of Pandora here. Your avatar is just a fancy name for saying your “reader.” Who do you want to read your posts?
Solution: Describe your ideal reader to the very last detail. For example, what is your reader’s name? Her age? Job? Interests? Problems, etc. Knowing your target reader or audience will help you develop your unique voice and your style of writing.
Case in point, if my avatar is a female Philosophy student whose conundrum is to choose between being a peripatetic Sophist or an austere Stoic, I will henceforth proceed incontestably to write in this fashion.
It makes your eyes bleed, right?
Unless of course your avatar is female Philosophy student…
But if you want to connect with a millennial who tlks like dis punctuating everything with hashtags, lolz and thumbs up, then your style needs to adapt, sistah! #knowyouravatar
If you want to attract a particular demographic, you have to speak in their language, know what they want and solve their pain points.
3. You know nothing about branding.
Challenge: You struggle to project a brand that is true to yourself and your message.
Solution: Try to stick to a few fonts (2-3) with a colour palette that you can use over and over again. This will make your brand recognizable down the track.
I see many blogs who only use 2 distinguishable colors. I use about 3. If you’re a blue and black person, you don’t want to suddenly use pink and brown on your fonts and images.
Also, if you plan to write about frugal living, you don’t want to splash photos of you carrying Louis Vuitton bags on your blog or social media channels and FOMOing in the Greek Islands.
4. It is TMI.
Challenge: You thought blogging was as simple as writing about random stuff. But now you’re bogged down under Too Much Information.
Solution: It is going to be a hard slog and you should brace yourself for it. If you are serious about monetizing your blog, you need to be realistic about your expectations.
Blogging is almost akin to going to university. You enroll but you don’t expect to know everything and graduate a week after term 1 starts, do you?
Same with blogging. There is a. Lot. To. Learn.
For the majority of bloggers, money won’t even come into the picture until about a year into starting a blog. The only time you’ll see money is when it comes out of your account to pay for blog expenses.
Once again, it’s like university. You pay first, even get into debt, then learn what you need to learn for a few years.
Try not to get too excited and learn everything all at once. You don’t want to lose all your marbles before you even get into the thick of it.
5. It is too technical.
Challenge: You scratch your head and see double when you come across terms like SEO, sitemaps, H1, H2, plugins, 301 redirects and the list goes on…
Solution: Take your time to learn everything from the beginning – step-by-step. Learn one term at a time and try to fully understand it and implement it before moving on to learning new things. You can also watch Youtube videos or take courses to help you better understand the technicalities of blogging.
I am still learning and even those expert bloggers who have courses on blogging are still learning. There is always something changing in the blogging world and you have to be willing to keep up with the changes.
Learning is something inherent in blogging so I can safely say that whatever stage you’re at, you’re not alone.
6. You have no creative bone in your body.
Challenge: You can’t color within the lines to save your life and you flunked art class. How are you supposed to come up with a logo, design your blog, create feature images for your blog posts and social media?
Solution: For blog posts and social media images, there are free stock photos you can use like the ones found here in Styled Stock.
There are also free programs like Canva which has done-for-you templates that you could customize to fit your branding.
If you want inspiration for your blog design, you can google similar websites who use the same theme as you do. This will give you ideas about what you are capable of doing with your blog theme.
If you are still struggling, you can hire a web designer to do all the heavy lifting for you. That way, you can just focus on what truly matters or what you actually want to do.
7. You find promotion and marketing challenging.
Challenge: You are too introverted to network and promote yourself. Or you could simply be clueless with marketing and promotion in general.
Solution: Trust me, we’ve all been there! There is no shame in starting from nothing and knowing nothing about marketing and promotion. But if making money from your blog is crucial, then you must learn to promote yourself and your blog.
A study by Growth Badger suggests that 70% of bloggers they surveyed are actively promoting on social media, which in turn earn them over $50,000 a year.
If social media is simply way over our head, then it might be best to take up a social media course or consider paying someone to manage your social media marketing for you.
8. It takes a lot of hardwork and dedication.
Challenge: You are stumped at the work you actually need to put into blogging.
Solution: Take it one thing at a time. Create a blog plan that highlights the stages you need to reach. And don’t jump 3 or 5 steps ahead when you don’t have to. Not even if you’re curious. Focus on one task at a time.
9. It is time consuming.
Challenge: What’s supposed to take an hour turns into 4 days. And that’s not even an exaggeration.
Solution: Rest assured that this is pretty common. And it could take even longer if you let the big task of blogging defeat your spirit. Many bloggers get bogged down by all the stuff they need to learn and do then simply give up.
If you can, use a planner or a diary to block out time specifically for blog-related tasks. For example, if you can block out 2 hours before you go to bed and stop right at the 2-hour mark. This will keep you disciplined and motivated to get a lot done within the 2 hours allotted to blogging.
Also, give yourself some grace because you won’t be a super blogger overnight. This is a fact. And it’s better to give yourself a break and some self-care in the process.
10. It can be expensive.
Challenge: 3 bucks a month for hosting suddenly blows up to 100 bucks a month.
Solution: I feel ya! I really do. What’s supposed to be the cheapest side hustle to start becomes increasingly expensive.
You now realize that besides hosting, there are now other costs you need to cover. There are also courses to purchase, an email marketing service, schedulers, themes, plugins and the list just goes on.
There’s really no way around this because having blog expenses is just the reality of it. The best way to deal with it is to re-frame your mindset to treat your blog like a business because it is. Invest in it as if you would invest in a brick and mortar business.
It’s so easy to think of a blog like a hobby but if you want to make money from it, you have to spend money on it first.
11. You wear too many hats.
Challenge: When you started blogging, you thought you would primarily be a writer, which is true. Buuuuuuut… Quickly and surely, you now also have to be a web builder, a graphics designer, an SEO expert and a marketer.
Solution: Time or money. Let me explain.
But first, I’ll jog your memory a bit and take you back to point number 4. There is simply lots to learn which is why you need to take your time to learn everything.
You will hear very often that blogging is not a sprint. It is a marathon. You need to have the motivation to be in it for the long haul. It is very challenging being a new blogger but certainly worth it if you can stick it out.
And if you don’t have time? Well you’d better have money, which is in line with point number 10.
If you’re simply too busy with other commitments but still want your dream of becoming a successful blogger to happen, then you’re just going to have to cough up the money to hire someone to do some tasks for you. Some tasks you can offload are web design, writing, social media management and even SEO tasks.
According to Neil Patel, blogging these days is no longer a hobby. Either you put in time and energy OR you put in money.
12. It is overwhelming.
Challenge: By now, you’re probably already feeling frazzled and overwhelmed from all the things you need to do and it feels like you’re drowning and can never get on top of things.
Solution: Plain and simple – take a break. Take stock of what needs to be given priority and when you’re ready, start again where you left off.
Not many bloggers realize this but it is okay to be out of action for a bit. It is okay to give yourself permission to clear your head and pursue blogging at a pace you’re comfortable with. It may take longer than others to monetize your blog but if you are consistently giving it your best effort, you will see results eventually.
13. You will inevitably feel the effects of burnout if you’re not careful.
Challenge: This is the part where all you ever want to do is lie down every time you have to sit at your desk to blog. Deep down, you know that blogging shouldn’t be a drag, yet that is exactly how it feels right now.
Solution: Re-evaluate your priorities. If blogging needs to be put on hold, do it. It can wait. It always can.
Your health and well-being are more important than blogging ever is. If you have a demanding job and a family that needs your attention, then focus on those. But more importantly, make sure you get some time to rest and recover from the daily stresses of life.
14. Self-doubt is starting to creep up on you.
Challenge: With all the trying encounters blogging has thrown at your so far, you’re probably now at a stage where you are starting to doubt if you are cut out for blogging at all. It also doesn’t help that you see so many bloggers doing so well and you can’t help but fall into a comparison trap.
Solution: Take comfort in the fact that most new bloggers have, in one way or another, felt a sense of inferiority compared to successful bloggers.
But why compare? You are on your own journey with different circumstances so just keep your blinders on.
Bloggers who are doing well now are great if you want inspiration but if you’re just going to compare your progress (or lack thereof) to theirs, then you are bound for Doom and Gloom-ville.
15. You’re struggling to find the motivation to keep going.
Challenge: And lastly, you’re on the verge of giving up because you feel so incapable of moving forward with blogging.
Solution: You have to be clear about your expectations and set your goals the right way. Be realistic with what you can handle.
Sometimes, all it takes is looking for inspirational stories of bloggers who managed to beat the odds to get to where they are now.
Oh and one more thing, always remind yourself of your “why”.
Is it because you eventually want to get out of the 9-5 grind? Perhaps you want this to work so bad because you want to work from home to have more time with your family. It could be that making money from blogging will greatly help you reduce your debts.
Or maybe, it could be that you want something you could be proud of. Something you can call your own.
Never forget what got you started to begin with and that should carry you through all the struggles of starting and running a blog.
You got this!
Corinne Rootsey from my jEARNey
My mission is to help people manage their personal finances better, improve their wellness and learn useful tips about blogging.
I live in Australia with my dear husband and our chocolate Labrador, Molly. In my spare time, I like to read, watch tennis, go to the beach and bake.