Last updated on August 1st, 2018 at 06:49 pm
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Wow, time flies when you’re having fun and learning so much. I’ve officially made it through my first year blogging and I can’t believe it.
This may not be much of an accomplishment to you, but it is for me. Let me tell you why.
My Past Blogging Ventures
This isn’t my first blog, in fact, I’ve told you about my big blogging mistakes that I made in the past.
I’ve been known to start niche blogs just in hopes of making money. In fact, I’ve started several niche sites in the past, even in niches I didn’t know or care anything about.
When I didn’t see instant results from those sites, I found myself jumping ship.
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I’d go on the hunt for the next shiny object that promised overnight success.
Well, I NEVER found that magic bullet. So here I am again starting from ground zero with this blog.
Take it from me, there is no magic bullet to success. If you need some motivation and want to know what it takes to create success a profitable blog, listen to this podcast.
With this blog, I’ve thrown out the bad habits and have developed new better habits. (it’s taken work but I’m sticking with it.)
I’ve made it a point to treat this blog like a business. I make sure that I am always doing something to help it grow each and everyday. Except maybe the weekends.
I don’t work on it as much as I used to when I first started the blog, however, I do spend a lot of time growing my blogging business.
My goal is to turn this into a profitable business that allows me to walk away from my freelancing business. That’s why I’ve stopped jumping and focusing.
Once, I my goal, I will be walking away from my WordPress freelance business. I am NOT a fool and I know that it’s going to take time.
The only way that I’ll fail is if I quit taking my blog seriously. Since it’s been a full year of blogging on this blog, I thought I’d give you an inside look at what I’ve learned and what I’m still learning.
A Look At My First Year Blogging
I purchased the Elite Blogging Academy course when this blog was about 5 months old. I only purchased the course because I had no idea on how to turn this blog into a business.
In the past, I had no clue what I was doing. My blog was set up because I wanted to earn money, but I wasn’t building a business.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any business sense. I come from a blue-collar background and I’ve never ever had a business of my own. Much less trying to build one.
The whole process of thinking like a business owner was completely new to me. So I figured instead of failing again like I had in the past, I figured I would pick up the EBA course to help me learn the business part of blogging.
It’s NOT a cheap course and it won’t be for everyone. I probably could’ve figured everything out that I needed to know on my own.
But the truth is that I’ve learned quite a bit from the course. It’s geared more towards beginners who have NEVER had a blog or don’t know how to blog.
Don’t expect to find any technique tutorials or in-depth tutorials for advanced bloggers. Overall, just like any course you purchase, you get out of it what you put into it.
I’ve learned a lot and the truth is that I already knew a lot of what is taught in the course.
Overall, I think I am pretty good at knowing what to do.
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Learning Social Media
With my past blogs, I never used social media. For some reason, I just didn’t want to take the time to learn.
When I went live with this blog, I set up my social media channels. I had no clue how to start using them, I pretty much just learned everything along the way.
To this day, I have to admit, I sometimes still don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not going to lie 🙂
The difference is that I am no longer trying to be everywhere every day.
Instead, what I’ve chosen to do is find out which social networks are sending me the most traffic. Then I’ll spend my time trying to learn that network.
Right now at the time of this writing, Pinterest is sending me the most traffic.
So instead of spending my time on the networks that don’t send me a lot of traffic. I thought I’d make the time to learn Pinterest. (Notice how I said make the time.)
I don’t have a lot of extra time, especially as I am still freelancing. This means that I’ve had to sacrifice on watching television on the Amazon Firestick, which I love.
Instead of sitting down to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy, which I love. I spend some time every evening trying to learn a little bit more about how to use Pinterest to help me grow.
Growing My Email List
I’ve never been good at growing an email list. This is the biggest that my email list has ever been.
I’m sure there are some things that I could do to improve my email subscribers. The truth is that as long as I see the numbers going up every month, I am happy.
I know, I know I should put more effort into growing my email list. I really enjoy writing content for my blog, if I put the pressure on myself that I need to grow my email list.
Blogging won’t be as fun for me. So I choose not to stress about the things that I seem to struggle with.
With time and more experience, I’ll learn how to do those things. Right now, I choose to work and focus on the things I love doing.
I have no doubt that as my blog continues to grow, so will my email list.
Consistent With My Blogging
I’ve gotten to where I am more consistent with my blogging schedule. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I publish new blog posts every Tuesday and Fridays.
The only way that I’ve managed to keep this blogging schedule is that I make it a point to write my blog posts months in advance.
My editorial calendar is filled up for the next 2-3 months in advance. I’m currently working on getting more content written for the next couple of months.
With the holidays coming up, I want to make sure that my blog doesn’t suffer. Especially, since I’ll be taking time off to spend with my family.
Answering Readers Questions
Every month I’ll go to Facebook Groups and search for a question that new bloggers are struggling with. I’ll then write a tutorial or blog post based on that question.
I started doing this about 2 months ago. While I admit that I can’t answer all the questions that bloggers have, I do my best to answer it or point them in the right direction.
I’ve noticed that people like me doing this. Plus I figure this is another great way for me to come up with blogging ideas for my blog.
My YouTube Channel
When I first started my YouTube channel, I was scared shitless. Instead of conquering my fear and getting in front of the camera. My first couple of videos are screencast videos.
After the first few videos, I got out of my shell and stepped in front of the camera.
Today, I don’t mind being in front of the camera. Yes, I am still a little nervous, but I don’t stress it anymore.
I love creating the videos for my channel. Just like my blog, I make it a point to batch create my videos.
I finally figured out that I can schedule my YouTube videos in advance just like my blog. That’s definitely made it easier for me than uploading them on Wednesday mornings.
My channel is growing slowly and at the time of this writing, I have 58 subscribers.
Again that may not seem like a lot, but just like this blog, I started from zero.
Plus, I don’t take the time to promote my videos, besides using Pinterest.
Ventured Into Guest Blogging
This was very scary for me, and I almost didn’t do it. However, I’ve heard other bloggers talk about how guest blogging is a huge part of their marketing.
In the past, I focused 100% on SEO and when Google rolled out their algorithm updates, my sites plummeted like a rock.
This time around, I make it a point to promote my blog using several different methods. Guest blogging is just one of the methods I’m using.
I’m taking it slow because I don’t have a ton of time to work on my blog. With my freelancing business and my blog business, I have managed to write 2-3 guest posts per month for the past 3-4 months.
There are a couple of things that I’ve learned from guest posting.
I may have to share my personal experience in a post later.
You Don’t Have to Know It All
It took me forever to become a WordPress freelancer. I thought I had to know everything, that’s actually why I didn’t want to start this blog.
I don’t know everything about blogging and WordPress. There are a lot of people who know more than I do.
The great thing about blogging is that you don’t need to know everything. You can share what you’re doing and what you know.
It’s going to be easier to write content if you know something about your niche or are at least willing to keep learning about it.
If you’ve been wanting to start a blog, don’t feel like you need to know everything.
It Takes Time to Grow A Blog
I don’t care what anyone says about growing a blog. You can’t compare yourself to others. The minute you start comparing yourself, you’re doomed.
You might have read some of those overnight success reports where bloggers say that it only took them a month or 6 months to see success.
While it’s possible to grow a blog in 6 months. It doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to do it. Your journey will be totally different than mine or anyone else’s.
The worst thing you can do is start comparing yourself to others. It’s easy to get frustrated and start wondering what you’re doing wrong.
The truth is that as long as you’re treating your blog like a business and working on it every day. You’re on the road to success, you just need to give it time.
Focus On Your Important A Tasks
Most likely you’re blogging on the side and have a full-time job.
As I mentioned, I’m a WordPress freelancer so I still have client work to do. Sometimes I have to meet clients in their office, not to mention I have a life outside of my blog.
Therefore, I make it a point to know what I am going to work on each and every day. I’ve gotten to a point where I know which tasks need to be done every day.
I call these my A Tasks. These are the tasks that I am using to help me grow my blog so I can reach my blogging goals. Your blog goals will vary, but it’s important that you set some.
Whenever I start working every morning, I’ll work on my important A tasks. Since I want to walk away from my freelancing business, I won’t even touch any client work until I’ve completed my A Tasks.
As long as my A Tasks get done for the day, I feel accomplished.
I guess you can say that I’ve developed blogging habits.
Just like it’s a habit to brush your teeth and floss every night before you go to bed.
Eventually, your daily blogging tasks become a daily habit that you just do without needing reminders.
Setting Realistic Daily Goals
One of the things that have been working for me is to set realistic daily goals. In the past, I used to try to do hundreds of things every day.
At the end of the day, I realized that I didn’t accomplish anything.
Now, instead of trying to do so much in one day. My goal is to only do 3 blogging tasks every day. It’s much easier to get things done if I don’t have to do hundreds of things.
Plus it helps me feel like I’ve accomplished more at the end of the day.
Not Stressing the Small Stuff
I see it every time in Facebook groups. People spend hours trying to align their social media icons, create amazing logos, researching which plugins they should use, what colors they should use for their blog and etc.
I’m not saying that those things aren’t important. The truth is that it’s not that important when you start your blog.
As soon as you hit publish, you’re not going to get bombarded with a bunch of visitors. I didn’t get any visitors when I published my first post.
It takes time to start getting regular traffic. At the beginning, it’s important to write content that helps your readers and promote your blog.
When you’ve completed your 3 most important blogging tasks for the day. Then you can focus on those not-so-important Task B projects.
Remember nothing’s permanent on your blog. If you need to change something or remove something, you can always do it later.
The important thing is to focus on writing helpful amazing content that actually helps people. If your content helps people, they probably won’t really care about those small things that are stressing you out.
Don’t Listen To Others
This can be a catch 22 because I know that sometimes we learn from others. What I’m talking about is to stop listening to others when they tell you how to run your blog.
It’s your blog and you’re in total control of it.
By now you know that there are so many other bloggers who want to tell you how you should be doing something.
Everyone always wants to tell us that we’re doing things wrong. I used to care what people thought about me and my blog.
The truth is that now, I don’t care. I do my best to provide the best content that I know how to provide and I don’t care what others think. Hope that doesn’t sound harsh.
When I first started posting my blog growth stats on my blog, I was scared of what people would think. Would people tell me that I suck at traffic generation?
Maybe they would tell me that my blog is growing too slow.
I don’t post my blog growth reports to brag.
I figure it’s a great way to share what I’m personally doing to grow my blog. Plus it’s a great way for me to keep a journal of what I’m doing so I can improve things.
I’ve never claimed to be a traffic expert. In fact, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not. I can only share what I’m doing and learning.
Be Ready to Work For Free
Most of us start a blog because we want to monetize it with affiliate marketing, ads, sponsored posts, products, and services.
We’ve heard about so many bloggers who are living the Internet dream. We figure why not us?
I know that I started my blog in hopes of replacing my freelancing income with the income from this blog.
At the time of this writing, I am still working as a freelancer. My blog does make a little bit of money, but it’s so sporadic and it’s not enough to replace my freelancing business yet.
When I started this blog, I knew that it was going to take time. I really enjoy what I’m doing and it doesn’t feel like work.
I don’t know how long it’ll take me to replace my freelancing business.
The great thing is that I don’t really care how long it takes. I’m going to stick with growing this blog because I know that this is my future.
Think of your blog as a long-term plan. If you start with this mentality, you’re more likely to succeed.
Focus On Growth
As I said before and I’ll continue to say it. Starting a blog is the easy part. The hard part is growing it and turning it into a profitable venture.
Do something every day that will help you grow your blog. I know that your blog needs to be updated with fresh content.
But if you’re just blogging on your own blog, no one is ever going to find your blog.
Don’t make the same mistake I made. I waited about 5 months before I started promoting my blog.
Be Willing to Invest In Your Blog
One of the mistakes that new bloggers make is that they don’t want to spend any money. They’ll spend hours trying to find ways to do things for free.
I know because I used to do that as well. It was hard to justify spending money on my blog when it wasn’t making a penny.
If you’re trying to grow a profitable blog, you’re going to have to invest in it. The great thing is that you don’t have to spend a fortune.
Don’t start buying all kinds of automated tools, software and plugins that promise you overnight success. Invest your money wisely and you won’t be disappointed.
Network With Other Bloggers
Make it a point to get off your blog and network with other bloggers. I know that it’s extremely easy to want to spend all our extra time on our own blog.
It’s much easier to grow your blog with the help of others.
There’s no way that I could’ve written over 11 guest posts for other bloggers if I hadn’t taken the time to network and build those connections.
It takes time to build up those networks, but I’ve met a lot of great bloggers online. It’s definitely been worth my time.
Write An Ebook
I truly believe that every blogger should write an ebook. You probably won’t make a lot of money right out of the gate. Especially, if you don’t do a huge product launch.
I personally think that people take bloggers more seriously if they are selling something on their blog. If you have an Ebook, in my opinion, you look more like a business blogger as opposed to just a blogger who is trying to monetize with ads.
Don’t think for an instance that you don’t have what it takes to write an ebook. I used to think that as well until I published my first Kindle Ebook.
Plus this experience will give you great skills you’ll need when you start monetizing your blog.
I thought that publishing on Kindle would be hard. It’s not as hard as you might think, I eventually plan on writing another one.
It’s just a little challenging with everything that I am doing right now.
Final Take Away
I’m sure that I’ve learned a lot more, but I don’t want to bore you with everything that I’ve learned.
If you still haven’t reached your first year of blogging, I’m sure that you’ll probably learn different things that I learned.
We all have our own blogging journey to take. It takes some of us longer to learn the skills that we need to run a blog.
It’s definitely taken me a long time to realize that I need to find something that I love doing and keep persisting. Hopefully, it won’t take you as long as it too me to realize it 🙂
It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to learn how to blog. The important thing is to start one and work towards your goals.
Growing a blog isn’t hard, it just takes time. Stick with it and then come back and let me know what you’ve learned in your first full year of blogging.
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How long have you been blogging? What did you learn from your first year that I haven’t shared here?
I’m sure that people will get value out of all of us sharing what we’ve learned in our blogging journey.