I’m celebrating a big day today. My blog turned one month old today! I am so excited to have made it through my first month blogging. I’ve learned a lot (but I have a loooooong way to go) and I want to share my successes, failures and goals with you.
First, I want to tell you a little bit about why I chose to start a blog and how I ended up with Living for the Sunshine.
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My Long Journey Towards Blogging
I have been interested in blogging for a while. For years I’ve been intrigued by teacher blogs and TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers, for those of you who are unfamiliar). After thinking about it for years, I decided to start during the part school year, using Google’s Blogger free platform. I had about three posts up and promptly got pregnant, succumbed to morning sickness, had some personal and family struggles and by the time I had my feet under me, I had completely lost my momentum and didn’t put anymore effort in. Plus, it was the end of the school year, so not much to write about!
This summer, my interest for blogging was piqued again and I decided to jump in. This time, I decided to blog from the perspective of a mom instead of a teacher. I was looking forward to a summer spent with my daughter and was looking forward to documenting out time together, as well as having an outlet for my creativity (I’m not good at relaxing).
A Big Realization: Pay For Your Own Webhosting!
I took the plunge and started researching. I learned that I was actually doing myself a disservice by starting on Blogger and I would be better off purchasing a domain name and paying for web hosting. It turns out if you are using a free platform, the platform, not you, owns your content and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to effectively monetize your blog! Definitely not what I had in mind!
I kept researching and discovered the Bluehost was a reliable, widely used and popular platform. They have great deals on right now, starting at $3.95/month, so I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I started a blog through WordPress and haven’t looked back.
So far, I have had no serious problems and have not had to call their 24/7 customer service, but I feel reassured that I can count on them at anytime. I’d like to think of myself as a techy person, but I have discovered I have a lot to learn now that I’m in the world of blogging.
If you are also considering taking the plunge into blogging,and especially thinking about monetizing your blog (read: getting paid), I would strongly encourage you to skip a free platform and jump right into a self-hosted website like Bluehost.
Tips for Bloggers Starting Out
I feel like I have learned so much in my first month blogging. I’ve struggled with getting page views and exposure. I’ve gone from being thrilled at over 10 page views a day to disappointed with under 100. Here are my tips for newbie bloggers trying to gain exposure.
- Above all else, create good old “killer content.” If you are the only one who cares about what you read, your exposure will be limited at best. Try to think about your audience and write something that will help their lives. For example, two of my most successful posts during my first month blogging have been about getting toddlers to eat vegetables, and how to grow your own succulents. You can see how a lot of people would be interested about these topics. Both solve problems and give information to others.
- Choose one social media platform and get comfortable with it before moving on to another. For me, I began my Instagram account before officially launching my blog. I began engaging with other moms and mommy bloggers, as well as gaining followers before even launching my blog.
- Make sure you have Pinterest-friendly images ready on your blog posts. This means images that are vertical images and include text. I use Canva to create my images and use StockSnap for free stock images..
- Get involved with some Facebook groups in your niche. I’ve been very lucky to join a few wonderful and supportive groups from which I’ve learned so much. These groups are also key for helping your posts gain exposure.
First Month Blogging Stats
With these tips, I’m going to share my current blog stats. I am a complete newbie, so these may not seem impressive, but I am very proud of the progress I’ve made in my first month blogging.
- Blog Posts: 22
- Pageviews: 2,807
- Visitors: 1,887
- E-mail subscribers: 5 whole subscribers! Click Here if you would like to help me reach a respectable number!
- Instagram Followers: 662
- Twitter Followers: 305
- Facebook Page Likes: 165
- Pinterest Followers: 97
A Very Modest Income Report
I’m also going to share what accounts for my income. It is pretty tiny at the moment, but I want to include it, in part to keep me accountable with my goals. I also think it’s important to set realistic expectations for other new bloggers. Personally, I can’t stand reading blog posts claiming to have made $1000 in their first month blogging (looking at a post that claims this right now). I think these posts are more clickbait than anything else. If that much money was available to be made in a first month of a blog, everyone would be doing it. I’m committed to building an authentic blog based on my values, and there are no short cuts for quality work. That being said, here are my measly numbers!
Google Adsense: a whopping $2.64 (this will not be paid out until I’ve earned A LOT more)
Amazon Affiliates: 0.00
So, clearly not much money yet, but I have hope that this will continue to grow with patience and hard work!
Goals for Next Month:
Here are my goals for next month. I have been listing to some blogging podcasts and heard some great advice that you should always be looking to grow by 10%. Your goal will always increase, but you won’t set yourself up for failure. So rather than pick an arbitrary number, I am going to set my goals following this advice and see where it takes me.
- Blog Posts: I want to have blog posts ready to publish for the first six weeks of school, plus two a week for the next two weeks, so hoping to write at least 16 this month!
- Page views: 5894
- E-mail subscribers: (I really would like to double this. Click Here to opt-in, it would thrill me to get to double digits!) 10
- Instagram Followers: 728
- Twitter Followers: 335
- Facebook Page likes: 182
- Pinterest Followers: 105
- Adsense: $2.90
- Amazon Affiliates: one sale, no matter how insignificant would thrill me. I am already worried about the looming six month deadline!
Things to accomplish in the month to come
This month will be quite tricky for me, as in just a couple weeks, I will be starting back to school teaching Kindergarten. This time of year is so so busy for teachers, so I hope to accomplish a lot in the next few weeks and then automate what I can to get me through the first month of school. I’m nervous for what this will do to my numbers, but fingers crossed, I will continue to make progress. That being said, here are my goals for month two of the blog.
- Create a freebie (or two) for opting-in to my e-mail subscription
- Sign up for Tailwind and automate most of my Pinterest
- Write enough posts to publish twice a week through to Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving is halfway through October.. I’m not crazy!)
- Have Instagram posts set up through Later through to October 1st
Thanks for reading the report on my very modest first month blogging! Please stay tuned for Month Two and keep your fingers crossed that I continue to make some progress!
Bloggers, what are your top tips for newbies like me? If you are not a blogger, have you ever thought about blogging? If yes, what is holding you back?