Beginner Blogging: The Honest Truth – April 2019

honest truth about blogging for beginners

Welcome to something a little different today: I have decided to start my blogging journey as a new monthly series on my site. Beginner Blogging: The Honest Truth!

I want to create a completely honest and transparent guide into the world of blogging that has become so popular within recent years. My aim is to log monthly what goals I have set myself for my new blogging venture, my experience and the outcomes.

Income reports are my guilty pleasure right now. They’re so motivational and make you realise how your dreams of working from home can be achieved.

However, they also make blogging seem very simple and suggest it is a get rich quick scheme. I have a strong BS detector, so I usually have a good inkling of who is being honest and those who are bragging. You know those youtubers who claim they made £100 k in a month whilst they’re filming themselves in a rented fancy house with a Lamborghini conveniently parked within camera shot. Cool story bro.

A little backstory

It was mainly my journey into a more minimalist lifestyle that really opened my eyes. Realising where my future was going and what other opportunities could be out there for me and my family was game changing.

Going way back, I graduated University in 2008 with an English Degree just as the recession hit. Awesome timing! I didn’t have a career plan when I started Uni, or even when I finished.

I fell into a management position in retail, and ended up staying there for over 10 years. It became a convenient job after having my two children as they were flexible around my family needs. I recently managed to change career completely and now work in Education. I love it so much!

Simplifying everything made me realise that my job was making me feel very unfulfilled and I’m so glad I managed to make the change that I so desperately needed.

Side hustles have always been an alluring concept to me. I ran my own e-commerce business for a few years whilst on round one of maternity leave. After deciding to take a break from that after my son was born, I looked into other opportunities ranging from dessert bars to digital art.

I discovered the wonderful world of blogging, and the rest is history! All of my skills and interests seem to slot into one job description -perfect!

It has taken me a long time to shake off my hesitations and just do it, but I am enjoying every step of the process. I want to share my experiences as a complete and utter newbie and hopefully help some others in the process.

Disclaimer: This post contains referral links on which I make a very small commission if you decide to make a purchase. This is at no extra cost to you and I would only recommend products that I would buy, or have bought, myself.

#1: April 2019

So here we go. I am two – three months into my blogging venture, and so far it has been a mixed bag. Emotions have ranged from excitement and enthusiastic, to confusion and defeated.

Income Report:

£0.

I don’t expect this to change any time soon. I understand blogging is a long term focus, and I’m willing to put in the work to hopefully see some small reward at some point in the next 6, 12 or 24 months.

Highlights

Guest Post Acceptance

Probably the biggest highlight of my journey so far is that I have a guest post scheduled on boostmybudget.com. I’m super excited to feature on Becca’s personal finance site and hopefully get a little bit of traffic from it. Don’t be afraid to contact other bloggers in your niche, even if you’re a beginner. They might just say yes 🙂

‘Viral’ Post

I wrote the post 8 Baby Products to Never Buy Second Hand around 2-3 weeks ago. After a small daily trickle of between 8-12 viewers per day, I was shocked to check 24 hours after publishing to find 200 people had viewed my post. It contributed to around 1k pageviews (over half of my total view) for the month of March.

It’s frustrating to not know why it did so well, as I’ve not had as much traction from any of my other posts, but have not promoted them any differently.

Choosing the Best Hosts

Siteground have been amazing web hosts, I am a complete and utter newbie when it comes to starting a blog and the technicalities behind the site are completely out of my league.

After purchasing my domain with godaddy, I registered my hosting with Siteground. I hadn’t realised at the time that Siteground offer a free domain name when you join – hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

I was immediately stuck transferring the domain over to the host (I didn’t realise you had to do that- duh!) and ready to throw in the towel before I had even really began.

Siteground‘s 24/7 online technical support is amazing. They respond instantly and are so helpful. This was one of the major things I looked for when deciding on a hosting company. I need all the help I can get, so to have this reassurance is invaluable.

Web Hosting

Affiliate Acceptance

I’ve been accepted on to a few affiliate programs like AWIN, which I didn’t think would be possible yet as a newbie. I have a few ideas as to how I can be an affiliate for certain other companies, but I’m going to hold off until I have enough content and so it doesn’t look spammy.

Lessons Learned

Amazon

I set up my Amazon Affiliates account just after I set up my hosting plan (stupid, stupid!) but so far have had zero sales. I only have about a month to make three sales or I’m pretty sure I’ll be kicked off.

Legal Pages

I realised that I had actually been blogging illegally recently. I had no disclaimers, affiliate warnings or privacy policies in place. This is particularly important if you are operating in a country which has GDPR laws.

The ‘big blogging’ guides fail to mention the importance of this step. Yes it’s boring, but very necessary. Make sure you do this!

Don’t compare yourself

This is the curse of the internet. It opens your eyes to what others are doing and the opportunities you do have. But, it also lets you see what everyone else is doing / making!

You have to keep your green eye in check and think about the context of others experiences. The honest truth to beginner blogging is that it is not quick, nor easy.

Everyone is doing things at different stages in their lives and may be much more experienced than you. I found it hard to know that others can blog all day, every day if they liked. Meanwhile I have a young family and a part-time job. I love it, but it makes blogging time limited and so may mean it takes longer for me to progress.

It’s motivating to see where you could go, but it’s also important to step back and focus on your individual steps. Set achievable goals on a daily basis, and you could get yourself ahead further than you think.

Other lessons:

  • The difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org are pretty significant. I didn’t know anything about this until I had already started a whole blog on  the .com version, and moved it all over to a .org. So much time wasted!
  • SEO and Keyword research is pretty confusing – I’m still getting my head around it.
  • Pinterest and Tailwind Tribes provide basically 98% of my traffic source – a great source for new bloggers with limited SEO rankings.
  • When someone says niche down, you had better niche way down. There’s way more competition out there than I ever imagined.

My Goals for April 2019

Average 1000 pageviews per month – My views have dropped significantly since my ‘viral’ post has lost its momentum. MFM was ranging between 60-100 pageviews at one point, but right now I’m down to about 10-15. I’m going to try and perfect Tailwind scheduling to boost this slightly, and hopefully get similar traffic.

15 Posts Published – This is a big one for me, as my life is pretty hectic! I’m going to throw myself into writing and hopefully get a bulk of content out there by the end of the month.

Have 5 Comments from readers – I’m actively trying to build up relationships with other bloggers as, if I’m honest, I’m feeling a little lonely!

I’m immersing myself into other’s writing and letting them know how useful I find their content – as most of the time that is definitely the case. Our limited attention spans mean that sometimes we are so quick to bounce without showing them gratitude for their helpful post. I’m hoping I can get some more feedback on my work, as so far I have 1 comment total!

Pizza Day! – I have been following the guys at Income School and have found them to be immensely helpful. They are no BS BFF’s who between them have created multi-million dollar niche websites. Project24 is a course offered to new blogger, which for me at the moment is a little expensive.

I would really like to participate when I can afford it as I know for sure it would be an amazing investment. They update their Youtube channel regularly and I’ve found their content to be genuinely transparent and helpful.

According to Jim and Ricky, Pizza Day is the day you earn your first $5 blogging. Even if I earn $1, I will be over the moon. It will mean that my hard work will hopefully be going in the right direction. Fingers crossed guys!

In Summary

I had periods of feeling really unmotivated. I hit a bit of a wall, and felt I had to step back to look at the bigger picture.

Right now, I’m feeling enthusiastic and motivated to just keep going. I’m stubborn enough to just keep pushing and not let my mind get the better of me – stay focused!

I would really love to hear about your blogging journeys, your experiences and the lessons you have learned so far. It makes us feel less alone in our uncertain journeys.

I’d also love to hear any tips or great resources you have found along your journey. Thanks for reading!

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