Celebrate with me please. I’ve officially passed the 6 month mark on this blogging journey and things are finally starting to make sense! As a newbie blogger, it was definitely a steep learning curve that I will never forget. Learning how to create a pretty site, identify my target audience, understand SEO, choose a social media platform to promote my blog, etc… it was a lot!
If you have just started out, don’t feel overwhelmed. We have all been there and know just how hard those first few months are. What is amazing is the rewarding feeling of getting it right and learning new skills. Here are some of the things that changed in my first six months as a blogger.
Social media for the blog
Most advice will warn bloggers to avoid using all social media platforms and just focus on one or two. As a millennial who has a few years of experience using social media under my belt, this advice flew right over my head. I thought I was going to be Captain Marvel in the blogging sphere by taking everything on! Everyone was shouting praises about Pinterest, so that was the platform I chose to dedicate most of my time to. After 3 months of tirelessly creating Pinterest-worthy covers and shamelessly promoting my Pinterest account, I came to the realisation that this just wasn’t for me.
Was that a gasp I heard? A newbie blogger choosing to step away from Pinterest? Yes, that is exactly what I did and I’ll tell you why. Pinterest is a very visual site that people usually refer to for inspiration. If your posts are mainly about mental health, the likelihood of someone looking for emotional support on Pinterest isn’t quite high. Given my target audience, interacting with readers on twitter and instagram seemed to be a better and more enjoyable fit. So if you want to see the social side of GWS, let’s hang out there!
When GWS first went live, I was obviously on a free account to see if this blogging thing was really for me. However, within the first week of going live, I quickly moved to the Personal plan. This was probably the best option given the little amount of experience and viewers I had at the time. Funny enough, due to some personal misstep, I accidentally moved onto the Premium plan. You know that tiny line at the bottom of the plans that says you can get a refund if you request it within 30 days? Yeah, I completely missed that and ended up using the plan for the first 6 months.
Since the Premium plan gives you the option to display ads on your page, I figured I could make up the difference and console myself for the extra expenditure. What a joke! The CPM was nowhere near what I had expected it to be but it was too late to turn back. With a measly $0.63 in ad revenue, you can only imagine my hesitation to upgrade even further in month six. I took the leap anyway and here we are with a business plan for a non-business blog. I’ll let you in on that experience on another day because that deserves a post of its own.
My blog niche
When you first start something new, it is only normal that you explore a little before settling down. This was no different for GWS – I knew I wanted to write, I just wasn’t sure what to write about. Six months later, this blog has gone through almost every colour in the rainbow and finally settled into one. If you followed my site hoping to, well, ‘grow with Spawn’, then you’re probably aware that she hasn’t been making many appearances. I’ve written a post about why I decided to stop sharenting and I daresay it was the best decision for the blog.
Focusing on one niche can be limiting if you aren’t an expert , or if you choose to hold back. With mommy blogs, it is too easy to go into hyper sharing mode then fall into regret. That is something I tried to avoid from day one, but it was too exhausting. By the same token, it was also important to share relevant and useful information to my readers. So as much as I love my baby girl, I don’t see what the point of having her on the internet really is! Having transitioned to a lifestyle blog, this journey has become more enjoyable and less restricting.
Even if a blog is a hobby, there still needs to be structure around it. This is something that I had to learn the hard way, but am truly glad to have learnt. In late May, I remember writing a few blog posts and being in a rush to publish them because the blog just had to go live. I was excited, okay! What that meant was that a lot of the posts were not edited or SEO friendly at all! Looking back, I should’ve taken the time to really edit every post before posting. That being said, I am proud of the passion that was evident in the writing and would not change that for the world.
What I have learnt from these past six months is that being a blogger, you really only have one chance to leave an impression before you lose readers’ interest – especially if you hope to grow a decent following. Not many people are keen on reading posts with grammatical errors or sentence structures that don’t make sense. Nowadays, I take the time out to make sure my posts are logical and relevant, before they get published. This means that more time is spent perfecting, selecting images and making them SEO friendly for a wider reach.
I have also become besties with the scheduler because life will always come first but shouldn’t impact the blog. So even though many of my posts are ready in the same week, they can be scheduled as far out as a month! Many bloggers post every day, or at least more frequently than I do and see great results from it. Unfortunately, I do not have as much time so three times a week is a happy medium. This means that even though I have close to forty drafts, they will still go through the scheduler for consistency. It’s kind of like passing through airport security, you know? If you don’t schedule your posts, I would highly recommend it!
I’ve mentioned this a few times in this post, but do we all know just how important it is? SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the key to getting your blog found through a simple Google search. I’ve searched for some of my posts before but lost hope after reaching page twenty-something and still not finding them. For anyone with a blog, you know that it’s a horrible feeling knowing that your hard work will never be found even after all of the research and passion that went into your craft. While I haven’t made it to page 1 of Google yet, my knowledge of SEO has improved quite a bit. So while I have not mastered the craft, I know what not to do. It’s definitely a start!
If you have noticed that there is a little more structure now than in the earlier posts, SEO is the reason. My passion for writing has not changed, but as GWS grows, so must my approach.
If you’re a blogger too, what have you learnt during your online journey?