It’s been one month since I posted my very first blog post! Time really does fly! In my first month of blogging I have learned and focused on launching and designing my blog, writing posts, maintaining a social media presence, connecting with other people, and learning all about blogging itself.
The process of starting a blog is relatively easy; choose a domain name, sign up through a content management system (WordPress), and a host site (Siteground). Ta-da! You have a blog! What comes after is the hard part! Content creation, SEO, social media, connecting with a community, increasing traffic, engaging images, analytics, ads, affiliate marketing… all while managing a 9-5 job, running around with kids, making dinner, or whatever else life throws at you. Take a deep breath because it’s possible. I know it’s possible because that’s the boat I’m in right now, minus the kids, no kids yet.
This is what I’ve learned in my first-month blogging to hopefully encourage you to start or continue blogging:
Focus on Increasing Traffic to your Blog
The keyword here is: BLOG. While Instagram is a great blogging tool (if used correctly), focusing on posting pretty pictures with unrelated captions and following back accounts just because they followed you in hopes that someone will click on your blog link will not get you very far. That’s tough love. Instead post high-quality content with related captions that will engage your followers. For instance, a travel picture from Italy should include a caption that provides new knowledge to your readers (photo location tip, must eat pizza recommendation, best beach, etc.) In the same caption, place a call to action to your followers, “Continue reading the Top 10 Places to Visit in Italy on my blog. Link in my bio!”
More caption ideas: ask questions, tell a story or share something personal. Utilize Instagram stories to increase engagement by using polls, quizzes, and sharing your day to day life. Trust me, we all want to see it!
Don’t forget to answer your DM’s and reply to comments! Most importantly, be 100% yourself. Ingenuity can be spotted from a mile away. Think about what you enjoy most from your favorite bloggers and their social media. Do those and you will organically grow an engaged following.
Pinterest is your Best Friend
Pinterest is the best social media platform to drive traffic to your blog, AKA your bestie! Since I started using the tips and tricks below, my Pinterest audience and engagements have skyrocketed and continue to do so. In return, my blog traffic has increased as well.
- Use keywords in your bio, board, and pin descriptions. To find keywords, Pinterest search your topic. For example, you are writing a blog post on “10 Place you Must Visit in Europe”. Search “Europe travel”, “Europe Destinations”, and “Europe Itinerary” to discover keywords for this topic. Use the keywords in the description of the pin and use the same process for creating board descriptions. Pinterest will recognize the keywords to place your pins in the correct categories and increase the likelihood of your pin being viewed.
- PIN as often as you can! Although I have researched it, I currently do not utilize Tailwind; however, I am exploring the option! It is possible to build your Pinterest audience by manually pinning. Create your own pins and pin posts from other users! I create 5-10 pins per blog post and pin them throughout the week to different but relative boards.
- I use Canva to create my pins – you can choose to upgrade to Canva premium but the free version has plenty of features to create Pinterest worthy pins! When creating a design, search “Pinterest Pin” and Canva will reveal the perfect size templates that you can then customize.
- It is crucial to include your pin in your blog post. Not just the photo, but a clickable pin that will lead your reader to pin your post easily! You can use an embed or install a Pinterest social button plugin. I prefer the plugin, it excludes any excess clutter.
- Lastly, create a “Best of ____” board. Pin all of your organic posts here. Set it as your featured board and when a user visits your blog, it will be the first board they see.
Include Visuals in Posts
The first blog posts I wrote included only the banner image. As I started reading other blogs I noticed how many beautiful photos bloggers sprinkled throughout their blog posts. It totally makes sense! Have you ever caught yourself reading a post and leaving because it was just not intriguing? Including images, maps, and diagrams drive your engagement and keep your reader on your blog for longer!
It is best to include photos you have taken; however, if photography is not your strong suit, there are plenty of websites that will provide you with free stock photos to use. My suggestion: Unsplash, IvoryMix, Pixabay, ReShot, and Pexels. Remember, stock photos are accessible by websites and bloggers all over the world. This means that you may see the images you choose on other websites and blogs as well. I recommend taking a free photography crash course to create your own look. You don’t need a professional camera, I shoot on my iPhone!
It’s hard not to compare yourself to other bloggers, how much traffic they have, and how much money they are making especially when you scroll past Pinterest posts that read “How I made 10,000 blogging last month”. Comparing finances, traffic, and engagements is the biggest way to discourage yourself. Think of these posts as resources and tools for you to utilize to increase your traffic and build a community. No blog is the same and there is room for us all in this growing industry.
Determine how many quality blog posts you can write per week. Is it one-two? Maybe three? Take into consideration your day to day obligations; work, school, kids, working out, and set a realistic posting schedule. Carve out specific times of the day when you only work on your blog – mine is mornings and nights. Your readers expect consistency and there is nothing worse than creating content-rich posts consistently for a couple of months and then disappearing for weeks at a time. Understandably unexpected things do happen, but do your absolute best to stick to your posting schedule.
TOP TIP: Keep a running list of blog topics. Whenever I am having a writer’s block, I refer back to my list and always feel inspired to begin writing.
Related: How to Successfully Work from Home
Good things take time and nothing happens overnight. Focus on driving traffic to your blog especially through Pinterest, include visuals that contribute to your post and consider a photography course, don’t compare your blog, finances, or traffic, and stay consistent with your blog post output. Lastly, be kind to yourself. I remind myself every day. This is a new process, you are learning and it’s okay to make mistakes – that’s how we learn!
GOALS FOR THE NEXT MONTH:
- Start an email subscription
- Set up Google Adsense
- Explore Facebook Groups
- 150-200 Pinterest followers
I hope you enjoyed my recap of everything I’ve learned from my first month of blogging. Would you be interested in reading about what I learned in my second month of blogging?
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