Somehow a year has gone by since I started this blog. This blog was an idea I fantasized about starting for years. A lot changed since I started this blog in my personal life, which have given me more time to give to the blog and enjoying blogging. So, how was my first year of blogging- keep reading to find out. At the end of the post, I give my tips if you are thinking of starting a blog.
Why did I want to start a blog?
I started the blog as a hobby. I wanted something besides work as an attorney and life as a mom. I did not have a creative outlet. Plus I saw so many people online supposedly making money from blogs or being influencers. So I started my blog to write about gardening.
Less than 6 months later, I quit my job. I wrote about quitting my job and become a stay at home mom a lot (check out the posts here). The impetus to quitting was my daughter constantly being sick from daycare but looking back now with a clear head, I was burned-out. So I quit and now I am a full time SAHM mom. I have slightly more time to devote to my blog, but I try to get in a little time each day to work on it and to learn. There is so much to learn about blogging, which I love doing. I watch videos, read other blogs all the time.
Did I make any money my first year- well about $4.00. I did not start my blog to make money, but I am now looking into how to monetize the blog. There are so many avenues for monetizing a blog- from ads, affiliate sales, guest blog posts. I am not working no, the first time in a very long time I do not have an income, so I wouldn’t mind actually making some money off of my hobby.
But right now, I am still focusing on content and growing an audience. Some of that is through social media, building a community to read my posts. I also want to make sure I am creating good blog posts that add something.
Obvously, the blog is more about gardening now, but also the transition to SAHM life from a workaholic attorney and my ever growing expanse of hobbies.
What is next after my first year of blogging?
Continue growing! I really like blogging. It gives me a chance to be creative and continue to learn. I am continuing to research how to grow my blog, through SEO and social media. I want to learn to take better pictures to improve the quality of the images on the blog.
I keep hearing advice from others in the industry to pick a niche. I had a niche of gardening, but that changed when I quit my job. Although gardening is still a big part of my blog, I have a lot of other things to write about now.
I don’t know if I want to really have a niche for my blog- although maybe my new niche is a workaholic to SAHM- and everything that means. Going from workaholic to SAHM is a major transition and one which I am still working on. I a little more time to work on different hobbies (I have two kids, so not a lot of time). I am also spending more time at home and realizing I have a lot of work to do at home.
What I have learned my first year of blogging
- SEO is critical to growth – and it is not as easy as it sounds. Have a keyword and use it- that is what I thought I needed to know about SEO. It is so much more than that. I am not an expert on SEO- but there is a ton of info out on the internet to give you a good education. SEO is “search engine optimization” and it is important for how search engines find your blog. This is critical to getting people to visit your blog and will take some time to learn enough about it to use to help get traffic.
- How your posts look is important and building a nice looking blog is hard work. Starting a blog from nothing is hard work- not just the blog posts- I am walking the technical aspects of it and making the site look nice. If people cannot read your blog easily- well then they will not read it. I spent hours and hours working on ways to make the blog look nice. I learned a lot of the technical aspects of blogging and actually got the site looking pretty good. But, after a few months, I found out that you could purchase layouts on Etsy for less than $100 that looked really, really good- nicer than anything I could ever do. These layouts are made by professionals, offer step by step guides to set up- and look amazing. I went for it, invested a little money and I think the blog looks great. I am working on learning more and utilizing Canva even more to add great quality images in the blog.
- Show off. Show off your blog on social media- use whatever platform you have to showcase your posts. I get a ton of visits from Pinterest and Instagram because I highlight my posts on these platforms. Instagram has given me a great gardening community which is so much fun. My followers on Instagram love gardening and I love sharing my gardening experience with them.
- Read, watch, listen, research everything on blogging. You can find podcasts, blog posts, YouTube videos all about blogging, blog design, blog growth.. everything about blogging. Blogging is so much more than putting your thoughts out there. I have learned about SEO, design, marketing, growth strategies.
- Don’t get frustrated. I posted every week for a year and it wasn’t until month 8 or 9 that I started to get a noticeable increase in the amount of views. It takes time to build a blog and gain viewers. I have been trying to grow my Instagram and Pinterest accounts to funnel people to my site. It just takes time.
Getting frustrated about your blog, the last point on my list, could be its own blog post. I felt frustrated a lot this last year. From not being able to make the blog look nice- or add in the widgets I saw so many other blogs use (I am not great with technology so this did not come easily to me). I also was not getting any traffic from my site. I worked on SEO early on, had a Pinterest and Instagram account, but barely any hits each week.
I read about growth strategies, watched YouTube Videos, and followed every social media growth account I could find. I have seen far too many blog posts from bloggers who talk about massive growth of their websites in a one month period. Maybe they had a strategy that worked for them at that time, but I think massive growth like that is not the norm.
I think consistency of posting and utilizing SEO to the max- along with time and patience is really how you grow. From what I have learned, it takes time for Google to notice your site and time for your posts to be seen as important/expert in your field. You need to have content out on the internet for you blog to get noticed- so start writing.
I still think you should start a blog- even though blogging is hard
You should start your blog. If you have any interest in blogging, then just go ahead and do it. I wasted so much time thinking about starting a blog, what I would write about, what I would say- and I could have just been doing it. What I thought I would write about (gardening) actually involved in to so much more as my life changed. Blogging is not a very expensive hobby, for around $100.00 you can buy a domain name, pay for hosting for a year and purchase an amazing layout for your blog to look professional from day one.
If you liked this post, keep reading: