Wow, the first month of blogging went by so fast! & I honestly learned SO DAMN MUCH. I didn’t realize how much went into blogging until I actually jumped in (that’s what they all say, right?) But truthfully, there is so much more to blogging than just writing and editing and slapping a pretty picture on it. There’s blood (if you count the paper cut I gave myself two days ago), sweat, and tears. Here are some of the most important things I’ve learned this first month of blogging.
*This post contains some affiliate links. Please know that I may receive a percentage or commission from a link included on this page, at no cost to you. I will only recommend a product or service that I have used or believe has substantial value to my readers.*
Getting your domain and hosting set up
I used Name Cheap to purchase my domain name. I spent $8.66 on my domain, as opposed to the $15 fee that other companies charge.
My hosting site was SiteGround. I only needed the customer service one time, when I first started – because I had NO idea what I was doing or what to do next. They were prompt and helpful and I didn’t feel like I was waiting on the phone forever. I paid $3.95 for hosting. If you look at BlueHost or HostGator, they offer plans for around the same price.
I shopped around for WEEKS before I finally decided on my domain and hosting companies. All in all, it comes down to what you think will benefit you the most.
Before launching my blog, I had 12 articles waiting to be published. Honestly, having those articles helped me give my audience something to read and to look at on my site.
Would you hang out on a site that only has 2 articles? Probably not.
I would recommend having at least 10 articles ready to go, and another 2 or 3 in the process of getting ready to publish. Otherwise, you won’t have enough content to keep your audience engaged.
Another helpful tip about writing content, is to be consistent. I know, I know, every one says this. But I promise you, it is important. Even if you’re only posting once a week, you’re still being consistent.
If you have a Type A Personality (like me – little Miss OCD), here’s how you can make your own editorial calendar to plan your blog posts weeks or months in advance.
Make sure that you have chosen your niche before you begin writing. You don’t want to be scatterbrained when it comes to having relevant content. Your specific audience is reading your niche-related posts. They don’t want to see things that aren’t important to them.
For example, if you’re writing a food blog where you share recipes and meal plans, you don’t want to suddenly start posting about fashion. Your audience looks forward to your food related posts. They’re not on your blog for fashion, they’re on your blog for food.
You smellin’ what I’m stepping in? …
WordPress has this FANTASTIC 🙌 option to schedule posts in advance. I have blog posts ready to be published two weeks from now and I don’t have to lift a finger to do it. Once I’ve completely finished a blog post (written, edited, graphics, all that jazz) I schedule it to be published on a specific day. I’ve done all the hard work, so now I just set it and forget it.
Until it’s time to promote…
Which brings me to…
I told myself I wouldn’t get roped into Tailwind because I’m not making any money yet. But y’all, the gains are real! I tried the free trial and I’m hooked! The VERY FIRST DAY I started scheduling my pins with Tailwind, I got double my normal page views, and I was found in google search for the first time! Maybe the google thing is a coincidence, but Tailwind is the real deal, friends. You can sign up here to get your first 100 pins free!
Tailwind is the easiest way to schedule pins. I’m sure if you’ve done your research on blogging, you know what Tailwind is.
You can see my HUGE jump in traffic once I started using Tailwind in the photo below. The data begins to increase after October 1st. That was the day I started using Tailwind and it just keeps going up!
I could go on an on about Tailwind, but I will save it for another time!
Another scheduling tool I use is RecurPost
RecurPost is used to recycle your content, so that you can promote your blog posts effortlessly across your social media accounts. I use RecurPost to schedule Twitter and Google+ posts, but you can also link Facebook accounts (which I don’t use for promoting – yet!), Instagram accounts, and even LinkedIn accounts (which is another platform I don’t use yet for promoting).
When scheduling Twitter posts you must have different variations of a tweet. You cannot retweet the same tweet 50 times. The tweet must be different in some way because of Twitter’s automation policy’s. You can read more about Twitter variation’s here.
With that being said, Google+ has no stipulations on how many times you can post the same post (word for word). Therefore, every time I publish a new post, I write an SEO rich description, copy & paste my link, add some relevant #hashtags, set it & forget it. RecurPost does all of the work for you!
Another popular post scheduling tool is Hootsuite. I wasn’t a fan of Hootsuite because of the layout. There was a lot going on and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. Now that doesn’t mean that you won’t like it, you should give it a try.
You can schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest accounts. So basically, any social media platform that you can think of, can be found on Hootsuite. Here’s a general link to Hootsuite (note: this is not an affiliate link, as I do not use Hootsuite).
Yes, followers needed it’s own category. I’ll explain why.
For starters, you WILL get creepy, unsolicited messages from weird, old (and young) men. I’ve gotten hundreds and I’ve only had my blog and social media sites published for ONE month. These people like to follow you and when you follow them back (because it’s the polite thing to do), they throw themselves at you. I’ve ignored them because it’s not professional to tell them off, but to each their own, my friends 😉.
You will also get other followers that only follow you for your follow back. Once you follow them back, they unfollow you. FRICKEN RUDE!
I suggest getting an app like Crowdfire. Then you can see who followed you just to unfollow you after you followed them back.
Another unfollow app I love (for Instagram) is Follow Cop (note: not an affiliate link). Follow Cop has unlimited unfollows. So you can do what I do and unfollow everyone that isn’t following you each morning.
It seems selfish, but it’s just business.
And last, but most definitely not least. Followers that are bloggers.
Other bloggers are NOT your enemies. Even if a blogger is in your same niche, they are NOT out to get you. Some of the most supportive people I’ve met since starting my blog are other bloggers in my same niche.
If they follow you, reach out to them – tell them thank you, leave a nice comment, interact with them. You want to leave a good impression on other bloggers so that they know who you are.
Now, on to the fun part!
Social media is EXTREMELY overwhelming. I would recommend starting with 2 social platforms, mastering them and then branching out. I’ve only been blogging for a month and I am on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+. & I’m going to be honest with you, I neglect my Google+ and my Twitter because it’s so damn hard to keep up. You WILL stretch yourself thin and neglect some of your social media platforms if you try to manage too many.
Now let me talk about a couple different platforms:
Pinterest is a GODSEND. This is where LITERALLY 90% of my traffic comes from. Especially since I started using Tailwind.
The only thing I have to say about Pinterest is to make sure that you are creating enticing graphics. People don’t want to click on boring pictures and Pinterest graphics. They click on things with bright colors and bold words. I use Canva to quickly create Pinterest graphics. The website is easy to navigate and has tons of free stock photos to use for your pins.
Along with enticing graphics, make sure you’re putting relevant keywords into your pin descriptions. If no one can find your pin, no one can find your blog. Makes sense, right?
I know earlier that I said I don’t use Facebook to promote my blog & technically I don’t. BUT, I am a member of a few groups that have other bloggers in them. These groups have helped me build relationships, connect, and learn with other bloggers.
Here are two of my favorite groups :
I gained 120 Instagram followers IN ONE DAY just for participating in a “Follow Friday” post. I put my Instagram link in the blog post and 120 other bloggers followed me. Just make sure that you follow them back, because if you don’t… well, then you’re kinda rude 🤷♀️.
I will be writing an entire post on gaining Instagram followers soon, so keep your eyes peeled! I will also update this post with the link as soon as I have published the post!
I’m still getting the hang of monetizing because it’s all new to me still. But so far, this is what I’ve learned…
Amazon (note: not an affiliate link) offers affiliate marketing. You just have to sign up for an account and then add affiliate links to your posts. You only earn a commission if someone buys something within 24 hours. Like I said, this is new to me so I don’t have a lot of information to give on this aspect.
Share A Sale is another affiliate marketer, but I was just accepted yesterday so I haven’t learned the ropes yet. More on that in next months update!
Google Adsense and Media.net both allow you to put ads on your account for a pay per view rate. So for a certain amount of views you get a set amount of money. This is also still new to me, so I don’t know exactly how this works either.
I’ve been waiting to get approved for Google Adsense for almost the ENTIRE month my blog has been published. I’m not sure what’s taking so long or why they’re not approving/denying it, but oh well 🤷♀️.
Your own products:
Another way to monetize your blog is by creating and selling a product of your own. For example, an ebook or course. Obviously, I’m not offering any of these at the moment, but maybe eventually.
I’m just starting out so monetizing isn’t a priority for me right now. I’m just trying to get my name out there!
BUT, I did make $0.09 this month from advertisements! It’s not a lot at all but my blog is still growing so that amount will increase over time.
Internal linking means that you link to other blog posts that YOU have written. You want to do this because you want your readers to stay on your site longer.
You want your readers to stay on your site longer so they can see what you have to offer.
That is how you develop a following.
When you link to someone else’s blog – for instance, to share a recipe – you are linking externally to someone else. You are referring your readers to their blog. But that’s okay!
Remember, other bloggers are NOT enemies.
I linked from one of my blog posts to another blog because I loved a recipe she shared. After the post had been published for a while, I got a very heartfelt thank you for linking to her blog.
Maybe she will return the favor, and maybe not. But I know she had no idea who I was until I linked back to her blog, but now she will probably remember me.
So apparently an email list is “important” but it’s really hard for me right now. It’s a work in progress, but I did get my first 6 subscribers this week, so that’s a WIN!
The only advice I have on growing your email list is to offer freebies – charts, lists, anything useful that your reader can’t wait to get their hands on. Offer them a freebie that they can only get by signing up for your newsletter.
I send out bi-weekly blog updates. You can sign up here, if you are interested in receiving those! I don’t have a freebie for you today, but I do send them out sometimes in my newsletters!
Next month’s goals:
For my first month blogging, I didn’t make goals that were set in stone. I wanted to get the feel of the blogosphere before I pushed myself too hard. Now that I have a basic understanding of how my blog is doing and the type of exposure I can get, I will be setting monthly goals.
P.S. My blog has WAY over-exceeded my expectations. If you’re hesitant to start a blog because of the cost, it’s honestly such a small part in everything that comes into play. You should go for it!
My October blogging goals :
Publish 20 new blog posts
Reach 750 followers on Instagram
Reach 500 followers on Twitter
Reach 350 followers on Pinterest
Reach 25 followers on Google+
Make $5 from my blog!
Reach 20 email subscribers
Have 5,000 daily pageviews on my blog (I get about 1,000 now)
Are there any parts of blogging that you would like me to talk about specifically? What goals do you have for your blog? Leave it in the comments below! & remember sharing is caring!!