How Did I Get Here? Second Month Blogging Lessons
I survived my second month blogging! Woot!! Coming into blogging I had a very warped idea about how you get followers, pins, page views, and monetize your blog.
I honestly thought that you just start a blog one day, all of the layouts and graphics are done for you online, and things just magically appeared on all of your social media accounts. And then you wake up with 8 million followers the next day.
To say the least, I was VERY wrong.
There’s been a LOT of work that goes into everything that happens in blogs. And I give every blogger so much credit for doing it all!
First, a little bit about me:
Just a few months ago,I thought that it was a joke to be a “full-time blogger.” And now here I am trying my hand at it!
If you only remember one thing about me, it’s that I’m not special. Not even close. I’m so average. I’m not a millionaire (far from it!). I don’t have the time to spend 24 hours a day working on my blog. I don’t have an English or journalism degree. And I’m definitely not a grammar pro (thanks to a free app called Grammarly, I don’t have to worry about looking like an idiot when I post things!).
I do love to write and I love to help people. And I’m really good at cutting out spending and finding new ways to save money. Through my blog, I have a way to help people find answers to their questions about how to save money, live on a budget, and get in control of their finances.
By writing about what I love, I’m hoping to be able to provide my family with a second income, while getting to stay at home with my children.
*Update (6/28/16): If you’re thinking about starting your blog for profit, you need to read Abby Lawson’s book Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook. If I had this book when I was starting out, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to figure out what I was doing! She has 209 pages of seriously amazing content for you to know exactly how she went from a hobby blog to earning a six-figure income!
So here’s what I’ve learned since my first month blogging.
Get them, use them, overuse them, make some money. I’ve had a really great experience with Share-a-Sale. They have a great selection of affiliates on there.
Personal favorites so far from Share-a-Sale:
- Julep – Their free welcome boxes are a great way to bring people in. Who wouldn’t want 3 gorgeous nail polishes and a shimmery eyeliner for $2.99? It basically sells itself!
- Fanatics – I’m a HUGE football fan, so I live tweet my team’s games on Sunday along with the link to get 20-50% off your team’s gear.
- Cents of Style – I’ve always loved Cents of Style! Their pictures are great and so are their products. Definitely a high-click company.
Other affiliates are out there, but these have been my biggest clicks from Share-A-Sale.
Amazon Affiliates: Get. It. NOW. I’ve actually started making money off of this! Not much at all, but some is better than none!
I’ve also been shocked by how many websites I love have their own affiliate programs! Check at the very bottom of your favorite websites
Ad placement makes a difference
If your when someone comes to your page and the first thing they see are 100 ads, do you think they’d stay on the site? Would YOU stay on a site like that?
Try out new marketing plans
My initial marketing plan was to find every single blog hop that I could and add my links. While that did increase my page views, I spent WAY too much time finding link ups.
A week ago, I changed it up and increased my internet presence on Facebook and Twitter. Initially, it went very poorly. I hadn’t discovered Hootsuite yet and I was overwhelmed by the constant posting.
Once I found Hootsuite, it was on. I was able to post all the time and never need to ACTUALLY post. But more on my love of Hootsuite at the bottom.
I post at least 6 times a day on Facebook:
- My post
- Morning and/or coffee picture and quote
- Shared post from friend blogger or Pinterest
- Shared recipe
- A quote/ funny picture
- Shared post
I’ve seen a huge increase in my followers on Facebook once I started posting more frequently.
(Note: Do NOT use Hootsuite or any other scheduling site to post to Facebook! Always post directly to Facebook using their scheduler! Otherwise, they get grumpy and don’t show your posts to people. Yes, I’m serious.)
Make a planner for each day
That may seem to some like a “duh” moment but I got more than halfway through October and found myself needing a checklist of things to do before I posted anything because I kept forgetting. Or I’d forget to post anything on Twitter all day. Or it’s 10pm and I forgot to make my image for my post that’s scheduled for 6am.
I got this planner because it had SUCH great reviews! And so far it really does help me keep everything that I need to do neatly in order.
Wake up earlier
I go to bed at 1am and get up at 7am no matter what. The kids get up and then I won’t be able to get ANYTHING done.
Get your butt on Pinterest and link to Twitter!
I always worry that I’m spammy on Twitter. I want people to say “she has good stuff on Twitter” and not “oh great, another ad for Julep.” So I linked my Twitter to my Pinterest account. Now anytime I Pin something, I have the option to post it to Twitter, too. Love doing that!
Social media needs to be social!
Connect with people! The blogging community is just that: a COMMUNITY! I absolutely LOVE the communities of Sverve and Blogher. Not only do they make money (I had my first sponsored post from Sverve this month! And I just got approved to be a social media influencer on Blogher), but it’s also great exposure for your blog!
*Update (6/28/16): Pinterest has a lot of tips and tricks that I wish I’d known from the beginning! This is the Pinterest Strategy Guide that I wish I’d known about from the beginning. If you’re serious about your blog, check it out for sure!
This is the book that took my friend, Brittany Ann from Equipping Godly Women, from 1,000 to 100,000 Facebook likes! Start off on the right foot with Pinterest and with Facebook!
Post everything you do to social media
Here’s how my social media life is broken down:
- Instagram – I’m taking a page from Crystal Paine and using Instagram for the “behind the scenes” view and my #30daysofthanks. I also use this as a platform to find some awesome small businesses on Etsy. I LOVE supporting small businesses, so if I can share their posts, I will! Even better if I’m looking to buy something for myself!
- Twitter – Quotes and intermittent affiliate ads. And funny pictures!
- Pinterest – Best pins are things about saving money and recipes. Repin and share some on Facebook.
- Facebook – This gets a little bit of everything. IG is linked, I share at least 3 ideas from Pinterest here, and I post some funny pictures or quotes that I’ve posted on Twitter.
Spam is a pain!
Seriously. Somehow, one of my links got posted on a spammer site and I woke up and had 150 comments overnight! I was so excited… until I realized they were ALL. SPAM.
I had to change the link to that post in order to get the spam to stop! But the best part about the spam: no one but me saw it thanks to needing to approve comments before they got published!
I love that glorious little delete button!!
Schedule posts to social media
Hootsuite is my new best friend. I may have gone a little crazy with the scheduling when I first figured it out. But I love it. I schedule probably 15 tweets or more each day. About half are affiliates and the other half are quotes or funny pictures. That’s not including what I post to Pinterest that gets tweeted. So far this ratio of posts is giving me a high yield.
I’ve increased my followers on all of my social media platforms 150%. On all of them. I’m blown away by that!
Make sure that you schedule Facebook posts right from Facebook! It’s easy to use on Facebook, and Facebook gets grumpy and won’t show people your posts if you use things like Hootsuite!
Bottom line from my second month in the blogosphere… I love it!
I absolutely love it. I’m learning so much and it’s fun to start connecting more! I know so little, but I’m always learning and growing. The blogging world is huge and it’s so important to differentiate yourself from everyone, while still supporting each other.
So much blog traffic comes from other bloggers. I’m finally starting to see a little trickle of money coming in and it’s very exciting! Not to mention that I’ve already broken even for the year on my startup expenses. Little victories here!
Grab your free copy of my Blog Resource Guide below!
MaryThe boondocks blog says
Congratulations Caroline on your second month. I’m on my ninth and still learning. And I still have not started making money so you are ahead of me there. We are all learning from each other. Good luck to you and keep building bridges.
Thanks, Mary! I really jumped in with both feet into the blogosphere and it’s been both overwhelming and a lot of fun, too!
You have done so much in your first two months… definitely saving this post so I can learn a thing or two 🙂
Wow! You are absolutely rocking it! Way to go! You’re ahead of me I would say 🙂
Thanks so much for linking up with The Alder Collective! Both of your links have been pinned to the board.
Thanks so much, Kelsie! It’s always so good to get positive feedback!
Manda Rozsa @ Sweet Right Here says
Oh my goodness, Congratulations!! I had no idea you were such a new blogger, you’re doing amazing! I literally just started my blog three weeks ago, so I am completely relating with you on all of this right now. I’m so excited to find someone else who is around the same place I am with my blog! It makes me feel not so alone haha.
I was the same way, Manda! I totally thought that every other blogger in the world had been a blogger for… forever! So when I found a bunch of ladies that got into it right around the time I did, I was so happy to not be alone anymore! There’s a lot of newbies out there, since apparently the average blog lasts 6 months of something (can’t remember where I heard that…).
Wow you are doing fabulous! Can’t say I have gotten that far yet. Thanks for reminding me to connect Twitter and Pinterest, forgot that I can do that!
Definitely do that Marjan! It’s a great way to gain followers on Twitter!
Angela @ Setting My Intention says
Thanks for sharing your FB schedule and types of posts you put up. I’m not very good about posting regularly on my blog’s FB page. I’ve been focusing on twitter and will try to focus on FB next! Visiting from Alder Collective
I was the same way, Angela! I never really wanted to get on Facebook until I heard Crystal Paine saying that Facebook is her number one source of traffic. Definitely worth the investment! I just started LAST WEEK and every day since I started, now my number one referral is from Facebook!
[email protected] says
Wow, Caroline! You are doing amazingly for only 2 months! I’ve been blogging for 6 months and still haven’t made up the money I invested, what are your main streams of income?
Good for you having plans for social media. I’m still working on that (I just watched Crystal’s scope on facebook) and am hoping to be more consistent in all of them. Do you get many referrals from Pinterest? So far, Pinterest has referred me WAY more traffic than facebook, but I’ve also put a lot more time into it.
I’m curious, how much time a week do you spend blogging? I’ve just started to invest more time, so I’m hoping to see some return. Thanks for the tips!
For me, I didn’t invest a whole lot in start-up. So covering my cost wasn’t a huge amount at all. I made it back off of one sponsored post on Sverve (which is awesome for everything from $.10 tweets to $500 sponsored posts). It’s amazing how after posting on Facebook every 6 hours (moving it to every 4 hours this week) has increased my traffic so much! I hardly ever had referrals from Facebook and now it’s my number one almost every day. Second only to Pinterest. Each week I spend probably 6-8 hours a day blogging. As you know, though, “blogging” really means networking, scheduling, posting, editing, making graphics, responding to comments, checking affiliates…”
I’m excited for when my traffic gets high enough for my adsense to start to pay off, too!
Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows says
Wow, Caroline. That’s a pretty impressive learning curve. Well done you. I really want to put more time into social media but it’s time I don’t have at the moment. You’ve taught me a few things during this post, thanks 🙂
Thanks so much for linking up to #fartglitter xxx
Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows says
Thanks for linking up to #fartglitter again this week x
Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows says
Oh, and please could you link back to my site and #fartglitter either through adding a link or adding the linky badge? Thank you x
Sure thing! #fartglitter
You are so welcome!
Blogging is such an adventure, isn’t it? Thanks for the great post. I’m taking notes!
Wow! I need you as my coach, you are rocking this! Congratulations! It sounds like you are doing great at this. I am definitely saving this and trying to implement these nuggets of information. Thank you for sharing!
This is really impressive! Thanks for breaking it down. I am also in my 2nd month of blogging but haven’t accomplished nearly as much as you! 🙁 Feeling a little down about it actually. How did you get your readers? I know affiliate sales aren’t possible without pageviews and that is where I struggle!
WOW, Great job on your blog. It looks like I could learn a lot from you! I’m so glad you joined us at #100HappyDays!
Mary Hill says
I am on my third year and still growing, but you are so ahead of where I was. Congrats on your first sponsored post too. I tried some of those, but I am not totally in blogging for the money. For me it is about writing and building community and then making money when my first book is published and is a best seller. 😉
Congratulations! I am a newbie as well, but I haven’t seen any income yet. I definitely think these tips could help. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Claudia H. Blanton says
a wonderful and inspiring blog post – great tips! Blessings!
[email protected] says
you have done far more in 2 months than I have done in 12 months! I am always in awe of people who start blogging with the intention of making it earn its way. I’m still in the blogging for fun group because I could never invest the time and energy that getting serious involves – really interesting to see it pay off for you though – good on you 🙂
Hi Caroline and welcome to the world of blogging! You’ve certainly approached it full on (which I think is great). I was clueless when I first started (probably still am to be honest), and found it a bit overwhelming, but once you find what works for you, blogging is great.
I’ve never been great on Facebook (I find it a bit scary), but I love the way you approach sharing on there and may give it a go (recently promised myself I’d make more of an effort there, but wasn’t sure how).
Hope your trickle turns into a river.
Alexandra @ My Urban Family says
Congrats!! I really need to spend some more time loving my social media accounts. And thanks for linking up! #FridayFrivolity
Mudpie Fridays says
Oh my goodness I am very impressed I have been blogging for coming up 8 months and I haven’t done half if these! I am sure you will be a real success at this 🙂 sounds like you have the right mindset xx #fartflitter
Verily Victoria Vocalises says
Crikey! It sounds like you have it all sewn up and that you know exactly where you want to go. That is great news 🙂 Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x
Cristina @ I Say Nomato says
Great list! There’s such a steep learning curve to blogging, eh? I’ve been hearing about Share-a-Sale for a while, and I might have to look into it! Great Facebook tips! Thanks for sharing with the Wednesday Showcase!
This is great news. I am just on my 4th week blogging (I had several weeks before going live just trying to get the site up) and go thru ups and downs but have yet to figure out how to get anyone to read my site yet. I have just started to focus this week on Blog Hops to just get out there and meet people. I am going to follow along with you since you seem to be a step ahead of me. I am now a new follower. Keep up the good work!
You’ve come a long way in 2 months, it’s quite impressive actually! Blogging can be overwhelming not because of the blog content itself, but because of everything else that goes with it (promoting blogposts, social media, affiliate programs, etc etc). Kudos to all the bloggers out there who make it look so easy! 😀
What a great collection of tips for harnessing the social media monster – excellent blog! Thanks for sharing, I’m pinning this!
Jessica Powell says
That blog planner looks amazing! I really need to up my social media game too – I do wish it all worked the way you outlined at the top though! 😉 #twinklytuesday
Wow these are a lot of great tips! I’m definitely not learning/experimenting that fast since I’ve been blogging about 5 or 6 months and hardly knew any of this 🙂
Sarah Eliza says
Congratulations on such a great start! You are wayyyyy on top of things. 🙂 I might need to take lessons!!
Thank you for linking up at Friday Frivolity!
Rhonda Swan says
Great blog post. Affiliate marketing is a great way to bring in income on your blog. Many people, like me are online marketers and have a lot of experience in being profitable with affiliate links. Connecting to your audience through blogging is so important.
It’s true. Building a relationship of trust is so important.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! This is all great advice. I was just saying to my husband the other day that I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to using social media to increase my blog traffic. I once thought, “if you build it they will come” too! Thankfully by linking up to #100HappyDaysLinkUp just last week I have gotten some exposure from being spotlighted, but I know there’s more work to do. 🙂
That’s so great Marisa! Congrats!
Lisa (mummascribbles) says
You are doing brilliantly! I wish I had time to do all of this! I definitely need to work on my Facebook! There are days when I’m OK and days where I’m terrible! I’ve been getting a few more sponsored posts recently which is great but my current affiliates aren’t really working so I may need to have a look at others! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
Thanks, Lisa! I’m feeling the same way about affiliates. I’m not terribly fond of the inundation of links on a page to try and entice people to click, but every once in a while it works!
Great points! I definitely need to up my social media game.
Thanks for linking up with The Alder Collective! Your post has been pinned to our group board. We hope you’ll join us again tomorrow at 8 pm EST!
Amanda | The Chunky Chef says
I remember when I started blogging, I was SO overwhelmed by all the work that goes into it! I always thought it was super easy… WRONG lol. You seem like you’re definitely on the right track 🙂 Congrats on your first sponsored post and being approved to be a Social Media Influencer!
Thanks, Amanda! I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who thought it was so easy… and who was SO wrong about that!