Today marks my one month blogivrsary! Wohoo- cue the champagne toast! I am still baffled every day at the amazing world of blogging and all there is to learn. I’m a strange mixture of excited/intimidated/intrigued with all there is to soak up. I’m sure I’ll look back at this post in a year and think “man, I thought I had learned a lot back then and I knew nothing!” Needless to say, I’m more passionate and in love with blogging as I was on day one, even more so now! The past 30 days have taught me alot. There’s a long list of things I would do differently a second time around. At the same time, I am pretty happy with some moves I made that have already paid off.
Take your time getting started, or it will cost you a lot of time later on
When I decided I wanted to start a blog, I huge ground running a little too fast. I knew there was a difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org but I didn’t take my time to ensure i was setting myself up right with wordpress.org. So about two weeks into blogging I had to switch the site over from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. This type of technical voodoo was wayyy above my head, but I didn’t want to pay someone to do it for me. So I spent about 2 days researching like crazy and calling BlueHost like 17 times for assistance. I finally got it done and it was well worth the work. I really enjoy being able to personalize even the smallest little thing on the site instead of being stuck with a pre-designed theme. However, if I would have just taken a little extra time to school myself on the difference in the beginning I could have saved myself alot of time and confusion.
By the way- if you are looking to start a blog, go with BlueHost! I cannot say enough great things about them. Not only did they help me so much with the switch, but they have been so helpful with even the smallest issue! The other day I contacted them via online chat and it turns out my issue was technically not something they could help me with since it was a visual issue and not a hosting issue, but the customer service rep was nice enough to do some quick research for me and suggest a plug-in that fixed the issue! I was so shocked by the above and beyond service! Just go with them- you won’t regret it!
If you want ads on your page, make sure they are from a reliable source
If you are looking to make some extra cash from your blog- sign up with google AdSense as soon as you have a good amount of content on your blog. It takes longer than they tell you it will take to get approved. It took me almost a month to hear back from them! In the mean time I tried signing up with another ad company (who I won’t name) and it was terrible! I told my mom and sister about my blog while I was with them one day and stood over their shoulder as they visited the site for the first time. There were so many pop ups on my mom’s computer that she couldn’t event make it to my page. I was so embarrassed. Not just because my family witnessed this- but all my readers had been experiencing this too! I deleted all the ads from that company that day and decided I would rather not have any ads at all than to have a pop up crazy site! Luckily I was approved for google AdSense just a few days later and was able to choose small, static ads that weren’t popping up and causing chaotic things to happen. Google is dependable- stick with them!
Interaction will take you far!
Just because you are all alone in your living room on your laptop does not mean you have to be a hermit crab when it comes to interacting with your followers and fellow bloggers! Replying to comments, reaching out to re-pinners and emailing your #WCW blogger will get you far! In one month I have gained 350-ish organic Pinterest followers. That may not seem like much but I got there by reaching out to a huge amount of the people who were re-pinning my pins. I send them a quick thank you message, invite them to my site to see more posts similar to the one they re-pinned and ask them to follow me. I make sure to make every message personal because that is what I would want if I was on the other side of the equation. And of course- I always follow them too! Another great way to increase your presence on social media is through group boards. In order to get added to group board, you have to reach out to the creator of the board. Make this message personal too! I’m sure they get a ton of request so take the time to write a genuine message and always follow them! They are obviously doing something right so take direction from their work. Be sure to respond to all comments too! I get so giddy when I get the comment notification. I love seeing that people a reading what i have written and wanting more insight!
As a side note- I’ve also learned that getting added to group board is easier said than done. In my first month of pinning- I kid you not, I sent over 215 messages to get added to group boards. I have been added to 10. I even sent my sister a test Pinterest message at one point because I was SURE my messenger was broken or something. Now, I am SO grateful for the bloggers that took the time to add me- it has helped tremendously! I know how busy blog life can be and it really was kind of them to do that! Just one of the group boards I was added to had given me over 6,000 re-pins! So if you feel like you are sending endless messages in effort to get added, don’t give up! It only takes one or two good group boards to start boosting your audience! If you are looking to be added to a group board, feel free to check out my group boards I own and if they fit your niche, follow me, send me a message and I’ll add you. I’d love to help you breakout into the blogging world and get your material out there. Also check out my post of Pinterest Group Boards 101.
Your blog photo can make a HUGE difference!
Obviously because of Pinterest. Pinterest has been the single largest source of traffic to my site since day 1. I personally use Canva because I have been using it for years and am very familiar with it. They also have tons of free photos! I know alot of other bloggers use PicMonkey. Whichever you chose to use, be sure to get really familiar with it before you start cranking out pictures. Do your research too! There are a ton of great blogs out there that give you insiht as to how to make a blog photo that will really grab peoples attention!
I also took some time early on to create a bookmark folder of a few great free stock photo sites. If Canva doesn’t have what I’m looking for, I do a quick search through these and am almost ALWAYS able to find what I am looking for. Future post with links to all websites in the works!
The hardest lesson of all- be patient
Maybe you are a more patient person than I am, but this was tough. I was so excited to hit that “publish” button every time I was completed with a post just so I could see how many people would enjoy reading about the things I was so passionately writing about!! I soon found out that quality trumped all. I learned that the more time I invested in a post to ensure it was well organized and filled with content readers would enjoy, the more successful it was. It may be tempting to just get as much content and new pins out there as possible, but it may lead to having readers come to your site once just to be disappointed with the content. You want to build a community of readers who visit your site often because they know it will provide great information they are excited to read! Don’t rush it. I’m still working on this one. It’s a process but I know with a little patience I will get there!