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I can’t believe it’s been a little over a month since I started blogging! Time flies when you’re having fun! I’m still very much a newbie, but I’m learning a lot as I go along. Even though I don’t usually blog about blogging, I have decided to share what I learned from my first month of blogging.
But first, a little bit about why I blog
My initial reason for starting to blog was to try to drive traffic to my proofreading and copyediting website. I was finding it difficult to get clients to find me just through having a website, so I decided to add content marketing (blogging) to my marketing strategy. I’m certainly getting a lot more page views (already 3 times as many!), but it’s too early to tell if it will bring me more proofreading clients.
Since I started, I’ve found more reasons to blog.
I knew that some people blog as their full-time job. I didn’t really know how they made that work, but since learning more about affiliate marketing, I’m interested in seeing if that would work for me. Not necessarily as a full-time job because I love proofreading but as another income stream.
I’ve also found that I actually love blogging. I’ll go into this in more detail below.
Without further ado, here’s what I learned from my first month of blogging!
Blogging is hard work
You often read about bloggers who only work on their blog for 4 hours a week. I call bullshit on that! Maybe when you get to a million page views a month, have loads of content, and can afford to outsource some tasks, then you can reduce the time you spend blogging. But for a blogger starting out, it’s more like 40 hours or more!
I fit blogging in around my other work. I work from home as a freelance proofreader and copy editor. If you want to learn about how to set up your own freelance proofreading business, then read my in-depth guide.
I don’t mind spending the time on my blog though because I believe I’ll get out of it what I put into it.
Also, I’m working on strategies to make sure I’m using my time efficiently.
- As I’m a brand-new blogger, I can’t afford to pay for scheduling yet, so I manually promote on all social media platforms. I’ve created Excel spreadsheets to track what I have promoted and where I promoted it.
- I created a content calendar so that I know what I want to write about for the next few months.
- I’m experimenting with batch creating my content. I focus on writing one day and creating graphics the next day, etc.
I do find blogging difficult sometimes because of the technology involved. You need to buy a domain name, set up hosting, get a theme, figure out which plugins will help you do what you want to do, make your site look pretty, create graphics and opt-in freebies, and start building your email list. The to-do list is endless!
To help me get over the technical issues, I did some courses and read blog posts and ebooks. I’ve since written a post on how to set up a website based on my experience. I chose SiteGround as my website host and WordPress as my content management system after reading up about my options. If you want to set up your own blog, but you don’t know where to start, read my step-by-step guide (includes screenshots!).
Bloggers are a friendly bunch
One of my favorite things about blogging so far is the community of bloggers I’ve met in Facebook groups. Other bloggers aren’t afraid to share what’s working for them or what isn’t working. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time by taking advantage of all their tips and advice.
If you’re a new blogger, I recommend that you join some Facebook groups so that you can meet other bloggers and also promote your posts in promo threads. You’ll benefit by learning from more experienced bloggers. Also, some of the big name bloggers hang out in these groups. It’s really cool getting to interact with them.
Some of my favorite Facebook groups so far are
- Blogger Insights
- Blogging with Purpose
- Team of One Biz Owners
- Blogging Like We Mean It
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing (You have to be a student of the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course to be part of this group, but the course fee is worth access to the Facebook group alone!)
Through joining these groups, I also had the opportunity to create a small accountability group with some other bloggers. This group keeps me motivated to meet my weekly goals. It’s also a safe place to share my thoughts when I get overwhelmed with it all. I highly recommend that you link up with a small number of other bloggers and create an accountability group.
Investing in education is important
If you’re anything like me, then you don’t have the patience to trawl through the whole internet to figure out how to do something on your blog or how to grow your traffic. As a result, blogging ebooks and courses have been the key to retaining my sanity. If I had tried to teach myself everything, I might have given up already. Learning from more experienced bloggers has cut months off the time it would take me to get my blog up and running.
Over the last couple of months and especially over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, I picked up some ebooks and courses about various aspects of blogging.
Here are some that I recommend:
- Pinteresting Strategies—I was intrigued by this course because Carly (the blogger who created it) explains how she used a manual pinning strategy to grow her page views from 0–200K. I don’t have the budget yet to use social media schedulers, so I was all over this. I can already see my page views increasing from implementing just some of her tips.
- The One-Hour Content Plan—Amazing book that will help you identify your niche and learn how to brainstorm tons of content ideas quickly. It’s super affordable as well, so it’s a great book to get you started. The content is worth a lot more than the price it is!
- How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul—This book gives a very detailed overview of how to create great content, how to grow your traffic, and how to earn income from your blog through ad revenue, sponsored posts, and affiliate income.
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing—If you have any interest in earning money from your blog, then you need to do this course. The course is really detailed and tells you where to find affiliate marketing opportunities, how to promote products/services, what kind of disclaimers you need to be aware of, and so much more.***Heads up! If you want to learn how to be an affiliate marketer, there’s a sale on the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course until October 14, 2018. Use the coupon code OCTOBER2018CC28OFF to receive $28 off the course.***
- How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 hours—You don’t even need a blog to get involved with affiliate marketing. Some companies will allow you to promote their product just on social media. This course is specifically about using Pinterest to make affiliate income. I bought House of Brazen’s course earlier this year, implemented the tips I learned, and I’ve been having quite a bit of success with it lately! This course takes you through exactly how to earn money through affiliate marketing on Pinterest and how to do it on autopilot. Passive income, here we come!
Related Content: 8 Online Courses That Teach You How to Earn Money from Home
Promoting is more important than writing
I keep reading that you should spend 20% of your time writing and creating content and 80% promoting it.
I was under the misconception that if I write good content, people will read it. As much as I would love that to be true, it’s not as simple as that. Without promotion, it’s nearly impossible to be found. Of course, if your blog post doesn’t provide any value, then promoting it won’t help!
The social media platforms I use are Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Facebook. It’s extremely time-consuming to promote your blog, but it’s worth it when you see your page views increasing.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook, but I know that it’s an essential part of promoting a blog. As I’ve mentioned above, there are a lot of benefits to joining Facebook groups like getting advice from other bloggers and participating in promo threads.
Also, since I work from home, it can sometimes feel a bit isolating. Through Facebook, I’ve been able to connect with other bloggers. This has made me feel part of a community and that I’m not alone. I’m keeping my eye out for in-person meet ups in my area too as I’d love to chat to other bloggers in real life.
I love blogging!
Since my original intention was to blog just to try to drive traffic to my proofreading website, I’m a bit surprised to find that I love blogging itself.
I knew that I love to proofread, but I’m surprised that I love to write as well. I didn’t like my English classes in school because I always felt that I didn’t have the imagination to write a story. Writing a blog is different. You’re writing about something you know about or have an interest in. It comes more naturally than trying to write a fictional story (to me anyway!).
Another thing that I love about blogging is how proud I feel when I publish a post I put a lot of work into. Being able to create something feels good. My former job was in a bank, so I didn’t often get the opportunity to be creative. Now I get to write and create graphics every day.
So if you think you don’t like writing, just give it a chance. You might be surprised!
Worried that your blog writing skills aren’t up to scratch? Luckily, improving your writing skills is easier than you think. Follow my tips and take your blog posts from hard-to-read to can’t-stop-reading!
Haven’t started your own blog yet? Now is the perfect time! But if you’re not sure where to start, grab the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. It includes everything you’ll ever need to start and grow your blog! You’ll have to be quick though. It’s only on sale until October 15, 2018.
Are you a new blogger too? What have you learned about blogging since you started? Or if you’ve been blogging for years, what advice would you give to newbie bloggers?
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