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This past month has been pretty insane. I never could have imagined how much work it takes to start a blog, let alone make it into something you can one day earn a living from. And I did months of research before I launched!
I’m going to share with you what I’ve learnt and the progress I’ve made, if you’ve been wondering what I’m so obsessed about, or if you’ve been feeling the itch to give it a try yourself, hopefully you’ll find this interesting and useful!
Is it easy?
It is easy to just set up and start writing, sure. In fact, WordPress.com makes it laughably fast and simple.
But if you want it to look professional, have the structure and stability that makes people want to come back and read more, get exposure and an audience beyond your immediate family and Facebook friends?
You’d better be prepared to put in a minimum of 30+ hours per week, just to get it off the ground.
Also, you’re going to want to be ‘self-hosted’, which means Bluehost. Blue host is the biggest and the best, I chose them for that reason but also for the fact they have ‘flash’ sales almost every month, with hosting reduced to as little as $2.95! I strongly urge you to go this route if you want a legit, ready to earn blog.
Of course, I’m not trying to dissuade or dishearten anyone by emphasising the difficulty. Launching A Life in Practice has been by far one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences of my life, I really can see my future spread out ahead of me like never before.
If you think this might be something you want to do, do it. I promise it’ll be worth it.
But, unless you’re happy to take the very long, very slow road to success, it will require dedication and time.
For reference, I have set myself a goal of earning a part time income from blogging after one year. That will seem like a small, easy goal to some of you. But with a blog like mine, the time I will have to put into it and how I plan on earning from it, that is a determined, realistic goal.
The thing is, unless you have an extremely sought after or unique set of skills you can monetise, blogging is just not a ‘get rich quick’ solution.
Most bloggers take 3+ years before they get to a full-time income, if not longer. If you don’t love what you’re doing, that kinda time commitment probably isn’t for you.
As well as writing, editing, selecting stock photos, creating printables, updating and designing the site, there is social media.
Dear God, no one warned me about Social Media.
I spend at least as much time on social media as I do writing, possibly more. The thing about the blogging world is that because it’s so easy to start a blog, lots of people do.
There are thousands upon thousands of blogs out there for each genre, or niche, you can think of. Food, parenting, travel, beauty etc.
You cannot simply throw a website together, stick a few posts up and expect the world to find you. You need to get out there, form connections, let people know you exist and that your content is something they want, no need, to read.
Getting the hang of that side of things can be difficult if you aren’t particularly comfortable or familiar with all the different social sites. Personally I’ve spent the first month focused on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, slowly building my Instagram also. I am next to tackle Google+, Reddit and Linkedin, I think.
In my first month I’ve managed to go from:
Pinterest: 0 – 114 followers and member of 11 groups
Twitter 0 – 339 followers
That’s pretty good, in my opinion, especially when you consider I’ve never used Twitter before and never actively pinned on Pinterest!
I am hoping that in a years’ time I will be able to look back at this post and scoff at how adorably naive I was, but hey, even a small victory is a victory, and starting out from zero the small numbers mean much more.
Another side of this is just ‘being social’ in general. I started with some facebook blogging groups and I’m branching out slowly, trying to actually forge connections. This is nerve-wracking for introverts like me, even if it’s all online.
Over and over again I read that I’d need to go to other blogs, leave comments, network etc, but I never really understood how important that actually was.
I thought it was something that wouldn’t really be as necessary as everyone made out. I mean, how can you form a community on the internet where there are billions of people and millions of blogs?
At first I just wanted to just stay in my little corner and hide.
Then I joined a link party. Wow, did that force me out of my comfort zone!
A link party is where you share your post on another blog, along with a list of others. You are guaranteed exposure from this, but are also required to visit and comment on other posts in the list. So, I was forced to go to other blogs and actually comment and interact.
I’m so glad I did! I found some really interesting blogs I will continue to visit. I’ve also had some lovely comments from other bloggers, who intend to visit my blog again!
My page views began to grow as soon as I posted to the first link party, I’ve since joined five more and these happen every week! There are hundreds, if not thousands to choose from.
What comes next.
The big challenges ahead that I will be focusing on next include; growing my email subscribers and completing and publishing my eBooks!
Yes, there’s an ‘S’ on the end of eBook, because since starting I’ve had inspiration for two more titles! I can’t wait to write them but alongside the blog, two small children and soon to be part-time work again, it can be hard to keep up with.
The wonderful thing about this blog; about writing every day, about being forced to face what I am going to write about and who I’m going to write for, is that I’ve already learnt more about myself than I had ever imagined I could.
I want to help people.
I never realised before just how badly!
Or how easily a blog can become a platform to do so.
After one month I had:
- 1091 Page views
- 79 Comments
Okay, so some of those might have been supportive family members and some of the comments can be accounted for by my replies! But really, that’s a lot of people to come visit my little blog in its first month of existence!
That many people have stopped by in the first month; half of the people who left comments did so thanking me for how some of my posts helped them. Just imagine how many more people I can help if I keep going.
That thought makes all the hard work worth it.
There are a million and one blog posts and articles you can read on ‘how to start a blog’. Not to mention ‘how to grow your social media’, ‘how to monetise your blog’ and so on. Some are really well written and worth reading, however:
No amount of research can tell you the most important stuff, like how blogging makes you feel.
That is something you can only learn by doing.
What is your calling? You’ll never know unless you go looking!
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