What I Learned My First Month Blogging

Blogging is all the rage right now, it seems like everyone has one! There are bloggers out there making thousands and tens of thousands of dollars JUST off their blog! Must be the sweet life, am I right? I mean how hard can blogging really be anyways? You write a couple blog posts, share them on your Facebook page and then like magic you start making money. Right!?! WRONG! Sorry, to burst your bubble but there is more that goes into blogging than just slapping up a catchy blog post.

What I learned my first month blogging. | thesaraross.com

The Myth About Blogging

1. Anyone can blog.

Yes and No. Yes, anyone can create a blog. However, not everyone who creates a blog will make money blogging.

2. You write a few blog posts, you sit back and just watch the page views start rolling in.

That's a negative. Unless you just happen to be writing about something that NO ONE has written about but EVERYONE is searching for then I can guarantee the flood gates of page views won't open up right away. Building your audience takes time and a lot of effort. There is more marketing and branding that goes into building your blog audience than you may realize. You have to think about social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, search engines like Google, Pinterest and building up your blogging community by following and engaging on other bloggers posts.

3. As soon as you slap a few affiliate links in a blog post your blog will be a money making machine.

That is another negative! Unless you already have a big social media following before you start your blog the chances of making money right away with affiliate links or sponsored posts is very unlikely. You have to get people to your blog before any of your affiliate links will start making you money and then you have to make sure you are providing links to things your readers will click on!

4. Creating a blog post is as simple as jotting down the random thoughts in your head.

If you plan on using your blog as a diary then yes this is true. If you plan on making money with your blog then yes and no. It all depends on what those thoughts rolling around in your head are. Your blog posts have to provide an answer to a problem your readers are having, even if that problem is a place to feel connected with another person, a "me too" moment. Most likely your audience is looking for something in particular, a solution to a problem. Most people, besides your mom, won't stick around if you are ONLY using your blog as a diary.

5. Blogging is an easy job -OR- Blogging isn't a real job.

You go ahead and tell that to those who put hours upon hours into their blog! Plus, if it was easy then EVERYONE would be blogging plus MAKING MONEY! Bottom line, not all bloggers make money and the ones that do put A LOT of WORK into it. I know that I put a lot of time and effort into this blog as well as curating my social media accounts and Pinterest images so that one day I can turn this into a nice side hustle. 

Thinking about starting a blog? Here is a list of what to do FIRST!

So you want to start a blog? YAY!!! I am so excited for you. If your plan is to turn your blog into a money making machine then tip #1 is to treat it like a BUSINESS not a HOBBY!!!

1. Business or Hobby?

You have to decide if you want your blog to me a business or a hobby. If you are just planning on blogging as a hobby then I would suggest using a free blogging site like Wordpress.com.

If you plan on making money then I HIGHLY suggest spending a little money up front to buy your domain name (www.yourblogname.com) and work with a hosting company! I use Squarespace. They host my website for me AND I was able to purchase my domain from them as well. As of now this set up has worked great for me because I am NOT a tech person so the easy set up of Squarespace and the drag and drop options in their website templates work great for me. I know a lot of bloggers use a hosting site like SiteGaurd along with a Wordpress.org (Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org are different... just be aware if you decide to use this platform) blog. I am assuming you can purchase your domain name through one of those or you can purchase it through a site like GoDaddy.com. I would do your own research to find which one works best for you. For me, a one place shop like Squarespace was the best option, especially while I am DIYing my own site.

2. What is your niche going to be? And who is your target audience?

Your blogging niche is what you plan on blogging about. Will you blog about décor, parenting, cooking, crocheting, painting, fashion, a lifestyle blog or a passion of yours. My blog is a Lifestyle Mom Blog! I write about mom life, faith, wellness and self-care tips as well as my journey to living a more intentional lifestyle. I try to stick to those key categories so my readers know what to expect from me. Just because you are a "lifestyle" blogger does not mean you don't need any sort of direction or aim to your blog. I suggest choosing a niche that you are passionate about so the blogging and writing process isn't forced.`

Also, when thinking about your niche you need to think about your target audience. The people you are writing your blog for! In short, my target audience is: MOMS. They are 25-45 years old, who have children from infant to teens, they love Jesus and coffee. They are also seeking a more simple and natural lifestyle. Now, obviously your blog can appeal to others outside of your target audience but when you write you need to be writing with your target audience in mind.

3. Domain name.

Now that you know what you are blogging about and who you are blogging for it is time to pick a domain name!!! What is your website going to be called. I decided to use my name because I am trying to build up my personal brand, a brand that is cohesive between all of my social media platforms... so that if one day I stop blogging about mom stuff or stop blogging in general and transition to offering social media services or start a coaching program then I wouldn't have to start completely over on my website or my brand.

You do not have to use your personal name in your domain name, it can be whatever you choose it to be... as long as it is still available. Are you a baking blogger? You could use YOURNAMEbakes.com, bakerYOURNAME.com, sprinklesandicing.com, the options are endless!! Mommy blogger? What about momofthree.com, jakeandbensmom.com, momplusfive.com. Fitness blogger? Try jumpingjackswithYOURNAME.com, dumbbellsandgreens.com. I know you are way more creative than me! Use something fun and catchy, something your audience will remember. Also, before purchasing a domain make sure you can get that name across all of your social media accounts or at least close to the same as possible. You want your audience to be able to easily find and recognize you between different social media channels.

4. Branding colors plus fonts!

Now this is a hard one!! At least for me because I LOVE all different color schemes! In fact, there is a good chance I have changed my colors once again on this blog. I am tweaking and trying to find what colors and fonts feel right. The good thing is, I haven't spend any extra money on logos or anything of that sort so I can still play around with it until I find what feels right. If you plan on dishing out some money for logos and custom web pages then this step is going to be really important to get figured out before you spend a lot of money.

 Current branding colors and fonts for www.thesaraross.com. Playlist Script is used when making graphic in Canva while Over The Rainbow is used on the blog!

Current branding colors and fonts for www.thesaraross.com. Playlist Script is used when making graphic in Canva while Over The Rainbow is used on the blog!

5. How often to blog?

So you have everything set up! Now it is time to publish that first blog post!! But wait, how often should you be posting? I would recommend being super realistic with yourself and time. When I sat out to blog I said I wanted to post 3 times a week. I found out real fast that didn't fit with my schedule, even 2 posts are hard to achieve. So, I am sticking with 1 post a week for now. The key is to be CONSISTENT!! You need to take a good look at your schedule and be realistic with your time and the effort you can put into blogging. Remember, not only to you have to think about the time it will take to create a blog post (the written words but also graphics), how much time do you need to put into your social media accounts, promoting your blog posts, finding your blogging community, and LEARNING the next steps to making money with your blog. If nothing else start out with once a week and move up from there when you are able.

BONUS TIP: 

Have fun! Blogging has a lot of ins and outs to it but blogging is supposed to be fun. Who doesn't want to make a living working from a computer, anywhere in the world, blogging about things that you are passionate about? Yes, it is work. But it is work well worth the effort.

 



You can find me linked up at these blogs! Happy reading!