What The Heck Am I Doing?! First Month Blogging Lessons – Everything that I learned in my first month blogging; from someone who blogs full-time earning $8,000/month 14 months later!
What the Heck am I Doing?! Lessons from my First Month Blogging
It’s been a month since I started writing daily and made blogging into more of a job and less of a hobby. I’m still such a blogging newbie, but I’m picking things up as I go. It’s been really interesting, honestly! I’ve really learned a lot and I’m hoping to keep learning and growing.
My goal is that by this time next year, I’ll be making some kind of money. Whether that’s $100 a month or $10,000 a month, I don’t know! But I know that is my goal.
First, a little bit about me:
Last month, 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.
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 : In less than 1 year since I started getting serious about blogging, I made more than $8,300 in one month alone.
That said, here’s everything that I learned in my first real month of blogging as a job.
You can’t start a blog that makes money for free.
I wish you could start a money making blog for free, but that’s not how it works. You do in fact have to pay to start a blog if your goal is to get serious with it.
So if you know that you want to take it seriously, then you need to start by paying for your hosting. It’s not like it’s terribly expensive – you can get Bluehost for $2.95 a month. And the best news: that’s ALL you need to buy in the beginning!
Don’t buy upgraded hosting, just the basic plan is perfect. Don’t get the expensive things that they offer you in the beginning (the paid themes, the plug-ins, the tech support, etc.). You won’t need them!
Social media presence starts in the first month blogging!
There are a few important things about social media that you should know early on:
- Make sure that you create your pages on all social channels with your blog name.
- If you have a personal Pinterest account that goes along with your blog niche, convert your personal page into a business account and change your name and handle. No one will notice and you will start you Pinterest with more than 0 followers! 🙂
- Don’t feel like you need to share everything to your own personal Facebook. Save that for the page of your blog on Facebook.
- You will need to have a personal Facebook in order to start a page.
- Don’t feel like you need to be everywhere 100% on social media! It’s just not possible.
- Pick 2-3 social media platforms where you personally hang out. If you like those channels, chances are good that your readers share your favorite channels.
- Don’t feel like you have to spend hours and hours working on Twitter if your people are on Instagram.
Post regularly in your first month of blogging
Do what works for you, but stick with it! If you’re posting daily, stick to posting daily. Every other day, stick to it! Don’t push yourself too far and publish bad content. But remember the beauty of blogging: you can always go back and edit!
Here’s what you need to know about writing in the first month blogging:
- It doesn’t need to be perfect, just get it out there.
- You can always edit your posts or delete them later on – don’t pressure yourself into making it perfect.
- Writing is your craft. You might not start your blog as the best writer. And that’s fine! Writing more and more will help you get better at it and then it’ll become second nature.
- Plan to post often. 2-3 times a week at least.
- The more often you post, the more content that you can get out there and the better the chances are to get your stuff seen. And traffic to your blog is awesome.
- No, you don’t need to start bugging your friends and family to check out your blog.
- You won’t “get big” overnight. It takes time! A LOT of time!
- When you first start blogging, the only people who are going to see your site is you, your mom and Russian hackers. So there’s no pressure to make it perfect right off the bat. It’s ok to be imperfect!
Related post: How to Start a Profitable Blog the Right Way
Don’t compare your start to someone else’s middle when you’re in your first month blogging!
The comparison game is a real thing and it is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re no good because someone else made $1,000 and you made nothing.
Remember that EVERY. SINGLE. BLOGGER. stated at 0. 0 pageviews. $0 dollars. 0 email subscriber. 0 Amazon sales.
Starting is HARD. There’s so much to do and all you wanted to do when you started was just… write! Keep your head down and don’t let the success of others distract you. I know that can be hard, but try to remember to work on you and your stuff first.
Start getting into the mindset of using affiliates (or selling) from the first month blogging.
Get used to thinking about what products you can recommend to your readers. This will help you add affiliate links which will make you money as a blogger.
There are a lot of ways that bloggers can make money, but affiliate income is a great place to start in the beginning.
Here’s what you need to know really quickly about affiliate marketing in the first month:
- Don’t try to be an affiliate for everything. Only join affiliate programs that make sense for your niche.
- An affiliate link is a special link. You can’t just send people to amazon.com and expect to make money. You need to have that special link.
- I use ShareaSale and CJ.com to find affiliate programs to join.
- You can find affiliate programs for your favorite products right on their sites (usually) by scrolling all the way to the bottom of their website and looking for anything that says “affiliate,” “partner,” “work with us,” or “media.”
Don’t try to be everywhere all the time on social media.
While you NEED to make sure to claim your social media handles, don’t feel like you need to spend all day trying to be all over the internet.
There are some social channels that work better for certain niches. Find the ones where most people in your niche are already and start to build an idea of what you want to do on that channel.
My personal favorites are:
Write until you figure out the BIG THING you can’t shut up about – but don’t try to be the “blogging about EVERYTHING” blogger.
This is the big thing here! SO many bloggers start off their blog with the idea of “having a lifestyle blog” or “just blogging about what they feel like”… those are really just journals are likely going to be tough to monetize.
You need to have ONE single topic that you are going to talk about or cover on your blog. And if you start off super broad, that’s ok! But the more and more you write, you will start to see a pattern emerge in your writing. There will usually be one topic that you keep coming back to.
If you’re always talking about organizing inside of all of your posts even if they’re about an unrelated topic, then you might find that having a blog about organizing is your best bet. But find that common theme that you always bring up in your writing.
This will take some time and might not happen in your first month blogging. But the more specific you get with your theme, the better off your blog will be in the long run.
Have a way to capture your ideas when they come to you.
This might sound silly, but it works: I text or email myself ideas. That way, I have them down in writing without worrying about losing a random piece of paper. Another way to do this is to use Google Docs to save ideas. Anything that will keep your ideas in one place and will help you capture the idea when you have it is a huge help!
Related post: How I Earn Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom
Set a schedule ahead of time in your first month blogging.
This is HUGE. It’s so easy to get sucked into trying to do everything in the first month blogging that you’ll end up spending 10 hours a day on the blog doing… nothing of great importance.
Set a schedule for yourself. Make a plan to write a post, make 1 Pinterest graphic, then brainstorm a freebie to make. Don’t just pop open the computer and see where the day takes you. Because let’s be real… you’re going to end up on Facebook trapped in an endless loop of Facebook group drama.
Have a list of half-fully written posts ready to go when writer’s block hits.
This is how I avoid writer’s block: I brainstorm all of my ideas and keep the titles or the subjects as a blog post. When I can’t think of anything to write about, I go back and add some to the post, and tada! Done post with writer’s block!
It’s always good to have some ideas on standby. If you can only make it halfway through a post without thinking of a good ending, save it for later. When you go back to it, you’ll have a fresh set of eyes and be able to finish it well and easily. I have about 15 half-written posts and 5 complete ones just waiting to be published.
Related post: 10+ Incredible FREE Blogging Resources
Respond to comments.
Both on your blog and on Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter, etc. It’s really nice, and truly shows people how much you care about your blog. You might get long-time readers from doing this. You want to make sure that you come off as friendly and approachable.
Go to link parties!
HO. LEE. COW. I never knew about these things until I found them in my second (or third… oops) week blogging. It’s a fantastic way to meet the bloggers, read some fantastic content, support each other, and see other bloggers’ processes.
You get to see what other bloggers pages look like, the kinds of pictures they use, and the kinds of content they have. It’s really great to be part of these groups! Not to mention you can find a TON of people to follow on all different social media outlets!
(Note: once you’ve grown your blog, link parties become less important. But starting off, they’re a lot of fun!)
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!
If you disagree with someone else’s post, just don’t say anything. No one likes a troll. If you wouldn’t want someone to post something on your blog, don’t say it.
Picmonkey.com is your new best friend.
I’m so sad I’ve only had a relationship with Picmonkey.com for a month! I could’ve used this site for SO much! I love it! And you can download new fonts onto your computer and use them if you want! Love it, and I use it every single day.
All of the graphics made on my site are made from Picmonkey.com. I’m not a graphic designer and I don’t have money to hire one, but Picmonkey lets me make amazing looking images!
Related post: 6 Steps to Take To Become A Full-Time Blogger
Go out on a limb.
I was really hesitant to publish my page on Facebook. That would mean that everyone that I KNOW will see what I’ve been working on each day! That was a big deal for me. I didn’t know what they would think.
What if they think I’m a loser? Or just a bored housewife? Maybe that I need to get a REAL job? I’m sure there were some who thought that, but no one outright SAID it to me! Putting myself out there brought me new followers and a personal way to see who connects with my content.
Don’t lose yourself.
It’s hard not to lose yourself blogging. There’s a fine line between being yourself and trying to emulate someone else who is more successful in hopes of getting to their level.
Related post: Can You Make Money Blogging in One Year?
Decide if you want to blog just to chit-chat or if you’d like to try to make some money off of it.
I like to socialize and write, so it’s just a bonus for me that I can potentially get paid for doing so!
Now, don’t get crazy and think that you can make a ton of money in your first month! I’ve probably logged the same amount of time into blogging as I would have into a full-time job and I’ve made $.30 doing some sponsored tweets, $4.53 off of Google Adsense, and have yet to make anything off of affiliate income.
Don’t go overboard trying to promote your blog in the first month blogging!
I’ll be honest… this one was tough. I honeslty started my blog expecting hoards of people to come to my site the very second I published my first post… but that’s not what happened.
In fact, I found out that almost all of the 100 pageviews I got were from myself, my mom, and Russian hackers. Yes, you read that right.
But believe it or not… this is actually a GOOD thing! This means that you can start and grow your blog almost completely anonymously. Sure, it’s not like you’re going to be making money if no one sees your stuff, but you want to be able to spend time in your first month blogging working on the most important thing: your writing and your message.
If you don’t know what it is you want to talk about, then no one will know what to expect when they come to your blog. So you need to really dig into what it is that you want to talk about and how you want to write those posts.
You don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize Winning author to be a good blogger. But you do have to understand what people want to see from a blog. That’s all. 🙂
I enjoy writing, and getting to know people, and looking at recipes for delicious cupcakes that I can’t eat. So this has been a lot of fun for me. Once it becomes tedious or I just lose interest, I’ll stop doing it. But for now, I’m having a lot of fun!
It’s really been a wild ride! And I can’t wait to see what next month has in store for me!!
- How to Start a Profitable Blog the Right Way
- Blogging Freebies!
- 5 Signs Blogging Isn’t for You (& 1 Sign You Should Start Today!)
- Surefire Ways to Promote Your Blog and Grow Your Audience
- How to Start Using Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
- The Blogging Class that Made Me a Full Time Blogger
- Best Blogging Podcasts to Follow
- How I Made a Full-Time Income From My 9 Month Old Blog
- The Best Blog Hosting Sites for Making Money
- Best Tips for a New Blogger From a Blogging Pro
- Free Blog Resource Guide
- How Bloggers Make Money
Get your free copy of all of my resources to get started blogging here: