A year ago today, I published my first post here on this blog. I hear a lot of people say that they are afraid to start a blog, so they spend months and months planning all the details. They get everything set up first. The website, the social media, they have their theme perfect etc. Not me. I just wrote and when I thought it was good enough, I clicked the publish button. That’s not to say I didn’t give my blog any thought. I did. I struggled to come up with a name. I had created another blog, published one post and decided it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. I tested out Blogger and WordPress. I did some research about which platform would be best and which hosting company would meet my needs. Eventually I settled on one, but I didn’t have any content planned. I figured I’d write whatever comes to mind. This brings me to the first lesson I learned with the launch of my new blog.
Make a Plan
I knew from the beginning I wanted to monetize my blog, but it sounds silly not to plan ahead when it could potentially become a business. I suppose it’s apart of my self limiting beliefs. Sometimes I wonder who will read my blog? Will anyone care about what I have to say? Then will anyone buy the products I recommend? The only way to know is to try, but there has to be strategy involved. Over the past year, I didn’t make a dime, but I’ve learned to plan ahead. I have a master list of posts, a posting schedule that I stick to as much as possible and am working on strategies for using social media to bring traffic to my blog. I also have a strategy for working on posts. I start with a basic outline or full rough draft depending on how well my writing comes together. Next, I do some editing and then search for pictures. Usually this takes place over multiple days. By the final day, I’m making the final edits, adding tags and finally creating a pin image before publishing. I still write from the heart, but there is now a method to this madness.
Community is Everything
In the blogging world, you need to connect with other bloggers. Facebook groups have become so valuable to me in the past year. If it weren’t for the members of these groups, my blog would get virtually no traffic. Something that I already understood was the importance of commenting on others blogs. This is one way to build a connection. Yes, it leaves a back link to your site, but more importantly you are giving attention to another blogger’s work and often times, they will reciprocate. I love getting comments on my blog. My greatest accomplishments are the comments where readers tell me, “I really needed to read this today.” Making someone feel less alone and or offering support to other moms is the whole reason I created this blog. I like sharing children’s activities, but the posts I love the most are the ones where I share something more meaningful. Something that can connect with other human beings on a deeper level. If I’ve done that, then I’ve succeeded.
When I first created the blog, I was on fire. I had so many ideas. I was posting a lot more. I knew consistency was key, but I ran out of steam quickly. Life got busy and I started feeling guilty if I didn’t post every day or three times per week. Now I’m lucky if I post twice which is my goal, but I’ve learned that one really great post is better than five posts that were thrown together at the last minute. I feel guilty about posting less, but I’ve learned that I need to use my time and energy wisely. I need to spend time with Rosebud. I need to occasionally take a night for self care. Sometimes I just need to step away from the screen and that’s okay. Building a following, monetization and my overall goal of using my blog as apart of my future business is going slower than I would like, but that has to be okay if I don’t want to become totally burnt out.
It’s Hard Work
I knew blogging wasn’t easy, but I had no idea there was so much involved. I spend a lot of time creating content, but you know what takes up just as much time? Promotion on social media. Not only self promotion, but sharing and commenting on other people’s content. Remember I said we needed to build community? Well, making those connections is hard work. You have to keep commenting and keep sharing content so that fellow bloggers will comment on and share yours as well. I never realized how much time it would take to build up a following on social media. These days, most blogs are on multiple platforms which can be a full-time job in itself. I’ve learned that I can’t always be on social media posting every day. Although you need to keep posting to keep your followers engaged, I don’t have enough hours in the day, but I do my best to keep everything up to date.
There’s Still a lot to Learn
Finally, I’ve realized that there’s still so much to learn. I’m starting to explore seo. Pinterest is barely accessible, but I have been working with it over the past month. I will write more about that in a future post, but it’s another platform to get used to. I’ve recently began using Amazon affiliate links again. I have to redo the links in my previous posts, but I will be working hard to create content that make people interested in the products. I still have some things to learn about affiliate marketing. I’m always trying to improve my writing and to generate more ideas. There is always room for improvement, but at the same time, I have to be proud of what I’ve learned so far. I never thought I could set this blog up on my own, but I have. I didn’t know if I’d still be up and running after a year, but here I am.
Here’s to another year of blogging, learning, growing and achieving my blogging goals. what are your blogging goals? What are your biggest accomplishments so far? Tell me in the comments.