September 30th 2020 marks the one year anniversary of when I launched this blog and let the world know I had a website! Today I want to take a look back at why and how I got started and what I’ve learned my first year of blogging!
Starting a Mom Blog
Ever since my daughter was born 10 years ago I have been looking to find ways to make money from home.
Being a stay at home mom has always been a huge priority for me, but personally, I’ve always needed a creative outlet to “fill my bucket” in my role as a stay at home mom.
At first, I started a small business, an Etsy shop selling baby gifts. I really enjoyed creating and selling on Etsy and at local craft shows, but I hadn’t quite figured out how to drive consistent sales to make an income I could count on.
The summer of 2019, I happened upon a blogging/online business bundle called the BC Stack.
I noticed there were amazing resources to help me with my Etsy shop so on a chance, I bought it.
Within the resources bundle, there was an online course teaching how to set up a website with the intent of flipping it. (Creating websites to sell). Fascinated by the topic, I had to dive in.
That online course taught me how to set up a website quickly and with my tech savvy husband’s help I was able to troubleshoot a lot of the chaos that comes with a new site.
In those first few months, it quickly became apparent that being a blogger was so much more than just writing articles.
There are so many moving parts to it. Being a mom blogger is kind of a joke to most people, but honestly it is a LOT of work.
The first year of blogging is kind of a rite of passage. Most bloggers don’t make it past the first few months. Between the tech problems, spinning your wheels, information overload and a lack of traffic, it can be downright discouraging.
Here’s what I learned my first year of blogging
A large part of being successful in blogging is hard work, determination, and perseverance. I know that sounds a little cliché, but it’s true.
Blogging is a long game effort. It’s exceedingly rare to meet a blogger who has instant success. Google doesn’t really “recognize” new sites and doesn’t send much traffic at first. Part of this is probably due to lack of proper SEO technique, but even the blogging gurus will tell you that websites need to “age.”
I started seeing my first organic traffic really start picking up in the 6-8 month mark. It’s been a solid arrow upwards since then.
Successful blogging is hard work. There’s a lot that goes into it. There’s keyword research, optimizing posts, creating images for Pinterest and social media, promoting on social media, creating products and resources, working with advertisers and affiliates and more.
It seems like every time one aspect of blogging gets easier for me, there’s a whole new section to learn and begin.
My Biggest Mistakes in my First Year of Blogging
1) Site Speed
Site speed is huge. If your site takes too long to load, it’s a deal breaker. You won’t have traffic. Everything you add to your site can slow it down. Plug-ins, images that are too big, banner ads, and more.
One of the worst rookie mistakes I made was saving all of my Canva images as .png instead of .jpg, which naturally slowed my site down over time. I had to go back and redo SO MANY images. And there’s still more to do.
2) Waiting to Launch
I had been working on my site constantly the month before I launched it because I wanted to have more than just one article for people to explore. However, knowing what I know now, I would have launched sooner. I probably would have kept it to myself, but let my blog age a little, since every month my blog is live is another month closer to more traffic.
Advice for Your First Year of Blogging
1) Start your Email List Stat
Start your email list as soon as possible. Use Mailerlite, not Mailchimp. Both are free, but Mailerlite is much easier to use than Mailchimp.
Once you set up your email list, provide value for being on your list. Make them look forward to your emails. Provide something especially for them both as an opt-in to receive emails, but also freebies along the way to help them feel valued. If you don’t provide value, they won’t stay on your list.
2) Go to Reliable Sources for Info
There are a TON of blogging about blogging bloggers out there. Sometimes it’s hard to sift the valuable information from the rest.
Use sources that know what they are talking about.
My favorites are Brian Dean from Backlinko and Neil Patel from neilpatel.com. Get on their email lists and soak up the free excellent advice.
3) You can’t do ALL the things
Some great advice I received as a newbie was to claim your website on every social media platform, but don’t focus on every platform.
Choose one and do it well. Once you have one under control, you can always add another.
Keeping up with every social media platform is way too much work and you won’t accomplish much if you are spread too thin.
Focus and work hard on one platform. Pinterest is not a social media platform, it is a visual search engine, so focus your attention on Pinterest (it’s important!) plus one other platform.
4) Don’t compare Yourself to Others
You can’t compare your blogging journey to someone else’s because we all start in different places and have different obstacles to overcome.
Some people start a blog with a background in marketing. Other people start a blog with very little time to dedicate to it each week. Some people have kids, while others are single.
The point is, you can’t compare yourself and your blog to other people. I’ve noticed that the bloggers that started about the same time as me are all completely different than me.
Not only do we all write about different topics and thus have different audiences, we all have went different directions with our focus.
Some have started YouTube channels while some have focused on creating their own communities on Facebook. Others have focused on creating products. It’s interesting to see what everyone chooses to focus on, but you definitely can’t make equal comparisons.
First Year of Blogging Stats:
A few fun landmarks:
I am starting to consistently make some cash through my affiliate links. My email list continues to grow steadily every week. Over half of my traffic comes directly from Google.
I launched my second Etsy store last month, fully dedicated to instant downloads. It’s starting to take off which is so amazing as it is truly passive income. No products to ship!
This past year has been full of challenges, full of learning and full of fun. I love that I am learning something new every day. Being able to grow a business while I stay at home with my kids is an amazing thing.
It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but I am confident that with hard work, determination, and perseverance, this blogging thing is going to take off.
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