Or, how you can blog even if your life is largely uneventful

Last month, I celebrated having 500 likes on my Facebook page. 500 likes over 2 years! For someone who:

1. blogs about "feelings" like it's 2006

2. doesn't belong to a formal blogging group

3. doesn't really try to get followers or go to events like a modern-day blogger should

4. doesn't even have a real niche (I don't think feelings count)

5. blogs about "feelings"

I'd consider it a win! See, I even made a graphic for it:

Thank you to everyone who regularly reads KFTI! I appreciate this a lot. I'm baking brownies for all of you!

Now, this "milestone" made me realize that I really didn't know what I was getting into when I first started KFTI. 

All I wanted to do was to write about things that I thought were interesting. It was a way to keep the daily stress at bay. But as word about my "hobby" spread, I found that a lot of people actually want to go into blogging as well. Some of them even started asking me for "advice". So I thought, hey, why not? 

If you're interested in blogging, let me share a few things I wish I knew before I started this and hopefully, this can help you along the way!

1. The Niche Game

The first mistake aspiring bloggers (me included) make: not choosing a niche. 

What's a niche, Krish? 

Well dear padawan, you can call a niche your...category. It's where you belong. The internets is big and wide. Millions of blogs are being created daily. So you have to belong somewhere. Do you wanna blog about fashion? How about food? Travel? Gadgets? Books? DIY? You need to identify who you are. The more specific, the better. And it's always best if you are passionate about it, too. That way you can get the attention of people who are also passionate about the same thing, and you can build a tribe of your own from there. 

Full disclosure? 

This is one crucial step I missed and I learned it the hard way. 

When people ask, what is your blog about? I can't give them a definitive answer and in turn, I couldn't find a "tribe" that I could belong to. I guess it's been a two-year work in progress. Now I know that I wanna blog about adulting, and things that are relevant to 20-something Cebuano millennials who are figuring their way out in the world. (How's that for specific?) If I'd figured that one out sooner, I'd have built a community faster. So, if you're planning to start a blog, make up your mind and know what it's about. That would help you establish your identity and your brand.

2. Get a custom domain!

I spent about a year with krishafromtheisland.blogspot.com before getting a custom domain. Big, fat mistake. If you want your blog to stand out, get rid of the fugly extension! Get your own domain. 

If you can't afford to self-host (as in, pay for hosting instead of setting it up for free), at least get your own custom domain. It shouldn't be so expensive. I got mine from Hover for about Php 700/ year and I know you can get domains for cheaper than that, too.

A custom domain helps people to recognize who you are. Branding is everything. Again, the internet is big and wide and you have to stand out. Here' something my boss said: if in real estate it's location, location, location, on the internet it's name, name, name. So think about a catchy domain. Keep it short and witty and it should describe what you are about in a few characters. Krishafromtheisland is...well, because I'm from the island, right?

Also, it sure is easier to remember a yourblogname.com compared to yourblogname.blogspot.com. So think long and hard about that blog name. You can do it!

3. Choose Wordpress (sorry, Blogger!)

Okay, so I recently had the opportunity to play around Wordpress, both the self-hosted (wordpress.org) and the free (wordpress.com) versions. Either one works like a dream. And as much as I want to do an overhaul and transfer my blog there, I found that it's too much work and time. So, if you want to start a blog, I do suggest doing in on Wordpress. It's convenient and has awesome SEO functionalities. If you can afford it, self-host. You won't regret it. Don't have any idea about what self-hosting means? Carlo explained it pretty well here.

4. It's more than just doing a "blogger pose"

Okay, trigger warning!

I don't have anything against people who want to do a "blogger pose". I do the blogger pose, even if I'm not angayan lol! But some people associate blogging with just doing fancy poses in OOTDs with nice backgrounds. Which is unfortunately not right. 

Blogging actually takes a bit of work, time and effort. If you're starting out, always remember to keep your content relevant and helpful. Take great photos. Make awesome content. You are taking time out of your readers' day. Make it count! Be a resource or at least, a source of insightful, entertaining content. Share something of value. And hey, if your readers love that, they'll be sure to share it to other people who can relate. And that's pretty good right?

5. Consistency is the name of the game

Stay consistent. One thing I learned really late in the game. You can't blog about clothes one day and the next, blog about survival in a forest a la Bear Grylls. When you're consistently good, people would know what to expect. You're setting the bar. Even more important, you're setting your brand. Again, (and I can't say this enough), you must establish who you are and what you're for in this big, wide world called the internet. Post regularly. Update when you say you will. Consistency will earn you a steady following. 

6. Don't do this if you wanna be rich and famous

Ah, that. 

"I wish to run a blog so I can be rich and famous". 

"I wanna be like those cool bloggers so I can have an extravagant lifestyle and meet really famous personalities and we can all be extravagant together"

I might be exaggerating, but it does resonate with a bit of truth.

So, a couple of things, my friend. First, blogging will earn you zero to little money, especially in the first couple of years. Sure, you can earn some money on the side through affiliate marketing or putting ads but that actually takes some time to build. If you want to blog solely for the purpose of making money alone, I don't think it's a very good idea.

Now, if you want to do this to be famous...well, I don't know. Blogging is a great way to find friends and an audience who appreciates your work. But blog just because you want to be famous or to get invited to events and get free stuff? I really think it's kind of skewed. Those famous bloggers you're talking about? They put in work and blogged for years before breaking through. 

Fame or recognition are consequences of blogging, but those shouldn't be its purpose. Does that make sense? You get recognized because you blog; you don't blog just to get recognized. So if you want to blog just because you want to attract attention? Maybe you should think twice.

Okay, so that's that! I learned these things the hard way (lol) but still I'm thankful for the insight and lessons it gave me. Hopefully I can apply these to the new book blog I'm launching. And more importantly, I hope these six things would help you in your own blogging journey. Here's to smooth sailing ahead!

All the love, 

K x

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