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“What I’ve Learned From My First Year Blogging…”
Those are not words I thought would ever come out of my mouth! That’s right, although I’d been reading several blogs pretty regularly for years, I never aspired to be a blogger myself…until just over a year ago!
All I know is that at some point in the second half of 2016, I started to research more seriously about how to start a blog, learned that it was an attainable goal, and went for it!
I still have a way to go but I wanted to share some of the most helpful information I’ve learned to date. This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but it does cover the highlights!
Here is some of what I’ve learned so far:
Take advantage of resources:
There are a lot of experienced, successful bloggers out there who generously share their knowledge for free! I’m very grateful to The Busy Budgeter, for example, for pointing me in the right direction about some of the technical, behind-the-scenes stuff. If you are considering starting your own blog, first look into some free resources to get a feel for what’s involved!
That being said, it is definitely worth it to invest in a blog course that will guide you step-by-step through the process of not only getting your blog up and off the ground, but also developing it in a way that builds up a following and could potentially become profitable as a business. I opted to take Elite Blog Academy (thanks, Dad!) and have found it to be very insightful. EBA’s creator has built her blog into a very successful business, and she’s genuinely excited to share what she’s learned along the way with new bloggers!
Starting a blog doesn’t mean you’ll get rich quick:
While blogging can be very lucrative, not all bloggers make money, and some actually lose money. If you’re looking to get rich quick, read this article for some better ideas!
There are several ways to monetize a blog, ranging from ad placement, affiliate sales, direct sales, and creating and selling a product or service. I’ve dabbled in all of these, and I’m still in the process of finding out what is the most profitable and what “feels right” to me.
Decide what types of social media to use:
The idea behind promoting your blog on social media is to drive traffic back to your actual blog. So, even if you have 100,000 followers on Pinterest, if they aren’t viewing your blog, they are just vanity points. The same goes for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Accounting My Blessings is on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. I consciously decided not to use Twitter or YouTube (at least for now). I personally also use Facebook as an individual. For the time being, I’m promoting new blog posts on both my personal and blog Facebook pages, but the idea is to try to get more followers on the blog page, then phase out promoting on my personal page. My goal is to tastefully promote new blog posts that my “followers” would be interested in reading without completely annoying my “friends!” We shall see…! A lot of blogging is trial and error! You simply have to try something to see if it works for your target audience!
Define your avatar:
Speaking of your target audience (also known as your “avatar”), be very specific about who you are writing to! As I added to my blog over the past year, I felt like I got a better idea of what my avatar really wants to read about. (I wrote about my target avatar here!)
Additionally, my husband and I together made the conscious decision for me to use my mannequin for fashion-related posts, instead of me being the “model.” This is in the effort to guide the focus to the actual topic of the post (tying a scarf, or wearing a skirt 5 different ways), rather than on how I look. It’s also way more time-efficient for me to dress the mannequin and take one or two shots, rather than asking my daughter to take 10 shots of me in a certain outfit until I feel like we got it just right! (And she’s a great photographer!) There are some awesome fashion blogs out there, and I do love fashion, but this is not a fashion blog, per se! Thus the mannequin…! I feel that my true avatar will identify with this decision.
I decided I needed to tighten up my focus to the topics my avatar (and I) am most interested in reading about, so I recently replaced my earlier menu categories with these:
- Purposeful Homemaking
- Pour Into Your Family
- Encouragement for You
Sometimes, bloggers have a hard time letting go of their original plan or idea, but it’s important to periodically evaluate whether the content you are posting is truly what your avatar wants to read!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important:
One task that I was not familiar with before I began blogging is learning is how to make each blog post have the best SEO possible. An example of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is that when a person Googles a topic that is central to your blog’s mission, your blog would appear as one of the very first links on the very first page in Google. In order to accomplish this, a blogger needs to do quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work. For instance, I need to create appealing graphics, and fill in titles, descriptions, and alternate text on each one. I also need to modify the meta description of each post, and define a focus word. The list goes on! A great plug in to help with SEO and readability is Yoast SEO!
Keep it Simple:
I use my IPhone 7 that has a fantastic built-in camera for all my photography these days. We do have a “real” camera, but I just prefer to keep things streamlined and simple. I edit the photos I take, or the stock photos, using PicMonkey, and that has worked really well for me. When I use stock photos, I usual find them on Pixabay or Unsplash, which are free sites. I recently reduced the number of edited photos in each blog post, again to be able to simplify my posting process and get more content posted more frequently. It is not my goal or mission for my blog to be the most polished and professional website, but I do want my avatar to find it appealing, inviting and easy to navigate!
If you are a new blogger, I hope some of what I’ve shared is helpful to you! Please feel from to email me or comment below if you have any questions!
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Gracia y paz,