This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. You can read more about it–>HERE.
I completed my first month as a new blogger!! Happiness is an understatement, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it didn’t come with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Okay.. maybe no blood, but you get my drift. I learned at least 16 foundational layers that I think every new blogger should know.
First, I will say some of my goals were met and some weren’t, but that is A-Okay in my book. Perfection is not what I am striving for on my blog. I want this blog to be a place for others to see REAL results on how obtainable (or unobtainable) becoming a blogger is.
I made the list below to reflect on 16 Foundational Layers I learned and that every new blogger should know. To be honest, I was not prepared to deal with half of this list.
I spent way too much time in some areas I shouldn’t have and made some mistakes, but this small list will detail what I use and what I recommend when starting a blog.
Before I made the decision to start my blog, I remember searching for a “first blog post”, “new blogger experiences”, and what have you. I couldn’t find the information that I really wanted to know. Many of the posts I saw were bloggers that were well into their careers.
I decided right then that I am creating this blog to be an educator, talk about life, art, and recommend some bomb brands and products along the way! If I can help just ONE person, I’d say a job well done.
So, keep on reading to see what I learned in my 1st month as a new blogger!!
P.S. I’m going to layout a solid foundation for what you may need if you want to start a blog. If you are here to see my journey, I welcome you!
A Start To a New Beginning…
On November 16th, 2020, I went public with my FIRST blog post and the hard work had just begun. Becoming a blogger is not for the faint of heart… at least that is what I have gathered so far. It’s hard to juggle life, work, and continuous learning how deep the blogging world can go.
I am a VERY shy person so I really have to pump myself up before hitting that “Publish” button.
Now, before I started this blog I made several goals and also expected to not have much going on. I wanted my goals to be small and obtainable and I recommend you do the same.
To say the least, the small goals that I did reach BLEW ME AWAY! They might have been small compared to others, but it was still astounding to see the page clicks and views.
I didn’t have a big social media following and just casually posted about my new website here and there.
Small and obtainable goals will help you stay motivated and on track. TRUST ME… you need to do this because self-doubt, lack of motivation, and even lack of time management can slowly take over.
To keep my goals obtainable I followed this simple saying that an experienced Archer once told me, “Aim small, miss small.” Do you think this saying aligns with being a blogger? I do and I will tell you why, but first I have a little fact for you.
DID YOU KNOW: In the movie, The Patriot, a trainer named Mark Baker once gave Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger advice about aiming. He told them to “aim small, miss small, meaning that if you aim at a man and miss, you miss the man, while if you aim at a button (for instance) and miss, you still hit the man.”
You can read more about it from my source Research as a Second Language.
New bloggers shouldn’t aim to start making money as soon as they hit publish. If you “release that arrow”, you will surely miss the target.
New bloggers should aim at learning marketing strategies, posting quality content, investing in the business, or how to promote themselves. Doing this will increase the chances of hitting one of those targets.
As long as you make obtainable goals, there is no reason you cannot succeed. If you want to start a money-making blog, that’s awesome, but you need to aim at smaller targets to reach that big goal. Make sense?
Just take your time, learn, and grow from any mistakes.
It is cliche to say, but “Rome wasn’t built overnight” and neither is building a profitable blog. Think of a blog as your business and run with it. You will have to get legal through your state anyway, so treating it as such is an important way to view it.
Whether you spend $60 or $600 creating a blog, you need to have patience and perseverance to see the hard work pay off.
If it was easy to make money blogging, then everyone would be doing it. It will be one of the hardest ventures you choose, but the potential of what it could be is worth the risk if you are willing to work it.
DID YOU KNOW that 80% of blogs fail within the first three months??
I don’t tell you that to scare you. Shoot, it scares me! You have to show up and show out when stepping into the blogging world. So, choosing a niche and remaining consistent is a must!
In all honesty, I probably spent 20-40 hours a week on my blog. I worked my promo codes, made Youtube videos, promoted myself, and that’s with a full-time job. There were many late nights, early mornings, and stress that built up.
The main takeaway from this is you can’t expect to hop out of the gate knowing EVERYTHING! Even after five years of wanting to be a blogger, I still did not have the knowledge I thought I would after casually researching.
Man… I was so wrong. It takes a LOT to start a blog. Before you even begin, you need to see if you have the extra time, patience, and determination to keep going when you aren’t seeing goals being reached.
Remember: Being a BLOGGER is not the only job title you will take on.
You are the CEO, Accountant, Marketing Manager, IT, Advertising Manager, Public Relations, HR, Legal Aid, Researcher, Video Editor, Press Editor, Social Media Manager, Scheduler, Graphic Designer, Content Creator, Customer Service Agent, & Writer. (If not more job titles… )
Just keep in mind that with all those titles, that you are still HUMAN. If you have a family of your own, don’t forget to prioritize time with them. I know I failed miserably in this area.
Okay, if I haven’t scared you off and you decided you want to be a blogger… what else do you need to know?
Below are 16 foundational layers I learned when I started this blog. It can get overwhelming, so I will try to make it as simple as possible. I am working on a workbook you can use, so check back regularly and subscribe to know when it is ready! In the workbook, I will help you with each foundational layer to get you prepared.
P.S. My subscribers will be the first to grab their copy!
1. Choosing a Niche
I chose a lifestyle blog because there are so many topics to choose from. It would be hard to create content if you focus on one thing. But, anything is possible, so you do you! Choosing a niche is hard, but if you have a passion or love a certain topic better, it will be easier to create content.
2. Domain Name
This is the address of your site. It’s important to make your domain name simple, easy-to-remember, and if you want to go one more step– make it relatable to your blog.
I chose my domain because it reminded me of the simple days of gaming with my sister while being at our dad’s house. My dad passed away in February 2020, so having a domain that reminds me of the old times is really near and dear to my heart. I still remember when my sister and I were about to play some Call of Duty and she needed a Gamertag for her new system. As soon as a random name generated, I knew it was the one! I told her that if I ever had a business I would use that name. So, here’s a HUGE SHOUTOUT to my sis! 🙂
I chose to purchase my domain name from Namecheap. It was so affordable, I could have purchased 11 years’ worth for less than $100!! I only chose to get two years at first. Get your .com for just $8.88 with Namecheap.
3. Hosting Site
A hosting site is where all of your files and information are stored. I recommend Namecheap once again because I use them, but there are a lot of good options out there. My second option was here!
This is what visitors will see when they first visit your blog. The layout of the blog is a learning curve, but there are several videos and pages that help you understand what to do. I recommend you keep it as simple as possible at first. No one will care how pretty it is when you are first starting out. I struggled with this concept because I am a designing perfectionist. So, I spent more time designing than I should have.
I have several of them! Plugins allow more customization to your site and they are a great tool to make the blog more user-accessible for you and your audience.
6. Email List
Start one RIGHT AWAY. I laughed at other bloggers who suggested this since I thought no one would want to hear from me or view my website. In fact, I had wonderful people sign up from all over the United States within my first month. It was shocking to me. I literally sat there staring at the computer screen until it all soaked in. I use the free plan offered by Mailchimp to generate emails. It’s simple to use and with the free plan, you can have up to 2,000 subscribers. That’s plenty for a new blogger.Powered by Mailchimp
8. HTML Coding
This is actually really easy because the majority of codes are basic copy and pasting practices. An HTML code can provide links and banners for your audience to click on. For example, numbers two and three on this list have HTML codes that provided a banner for each company I recommended. HTML codes have content that becomes an ad, link, picture, video, or whatever else a blogger may need. They are super handy and provide a direct link for affiliate marketers to receive a commission at no additional cost to the buyer.
9. Affiliate Marketing
Oh, jeez. This has been a doozy. With affiliate marketing, you can recommend brands and products you use and love. If your audience finds your recommendation enticing they can click on the links provided and make a purchase at no additional cost. Affiliate marketing is pretty cool and if you love certain brands and would like to promote them on your blog you can sign up for their program.
Keep in mind that there are many rules you have to follow Just because one company has certain rules doesn’t mean the other company will. You must always be compliant with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and abide by the Terms and Conditions of each business you partner with. For example, at the beginning of this blog post, you saw my disclosure statement that says: “This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.” You have to have this statement whenever you choose to recommend brands or products. It’s also recommended that disclosure statements are above any links to remain compliant.
10. Pinterest Marketing
I haven’t used Pinterest to its fullest extent, so I cannot provide my results. However, you can tell in the graph above when I started ads and when I stopped them. It was a huge difference! Even if you don’t use ads on Pinterest, it’s a good idea to start Pinterest marketing ASAP. Make pins for your content and share away. I received thousands of views and some of my Etsy sales came from Pinterest! I got these results from creating my own pins, pinning content from other people when you don’t have enough (we are all in this together), and ads. To remain active, the recommended pins per day are 20-40. That may seem like a lot, but I have found a pretty sweet software that cuts down the time of manually pinning and you can even schedule up to a month of pins!!
Tailwind saves you time by scheduling your pins in the hours your audience is most active. I recently joined so I don’t have statistics for you just yet, but I can already tell that this company is going to be worth sticking with. As a new blogger, you need all the help and time you can get and I believe Tailwind will be a great place to start. They even have communities (tribes) you can join where you help each other by re-pinning! You can even try a free month of Tailwind Plus to see if it will fit your needs.
Also, you can visit the Tailwind blog to view typical results–> HERE!
I signed up for ads on Etsy and Pinterest. The pictures above show you how many views, revenue, and clicks I received with Etsy. Now, I wanted to explore how ads worked so I did a trial run. The very first night I started an Etsy Ad, I woke up the next morning to a sale!! However, you can see a big dip when I cut off my ads. I only budgeted a dollar a day to keep it simple and it seemed to work.
Etsy says that it takes up to 30 days to see max potential, but I didn’t wait because I did not want to eat any more expenses. I do plan on running another ad through them to see how month two goes. I think ads are important and if I didn’t have digital products listed on Etsy, I probably wouldn’t have run them anyway. If you aren’t comfortable with the extra expense at first, it is okay to wait. If you don’t have products to sell, you can always use Pinterest!
12. Understanding SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and if you use this correctly, your blog will show up on the search pages for people to find. This is easier to understand with the Yoast SEO plugin. As soon as you install WordPress, download this plugin, because it rates your keyword, gives you recommendations to improve your posts, and some other neat features that will increase your chances of being seen.
13. Understanding Analytics
I didn’t announce that I had a website until November 23rd. I have enjoyed viewing my stats, but my main focus was not my blog and you can see that with how many sessions and page views I did receive. Don’t be discouraged if page views are lower than expected. My first pageview goal was 500, so remember to make your goals obtainable. You can always tweak the tactics you are using until you find what works best for you. Plus, you could knock my statistics out of the ballpark…you just never know. Hopefully, I will gain more sessions and pageviews by the 23rd of December and I will provide you an update if I do.
To view stats, I used Adsense, MonsterInsights, Pinterest & other pages that show you how many visitors, clicks, and how many times your post showed up somewhere. In my workbook that I am creating, I am putting all the definitions you need when understanding your statistics. I looked up what they meant constantly because I had no IDEA! Ultimately, statistics should help you see what areas you can improve in.
I used Excel, Word, and Canva when creating pins, pictures, and printables. I am knowledgeable and creative when it comes to design so this was easy for me to pick up. Canva is very user-friendly and I recommend them because they have really cute designs, fonts, and neat options when creating content. You can use the link below to get started for free. I have the Pro account, simply because I love their layout and what they offer.
15. Writing Clickable Titles
This has become easier using the Headline Analyzer plugin by MonsterInsights. This plugin scores your blog title to see how clickable it is. It recommends you score between 60-70 out of 100 to have a decent clickable title. Surprisingly, this post scored an 84/100. Let me know if you were inclined to check this post compared to others. It’s a neat feature to have, but don’t be discouraged if some titles don’t hit that range. It will be okay because you can always go back and change it later. Clickable titles should be what you strive for to drive traffic to your site.
16. Quality Content
Always aim for quality over quantity when posting. A good goal to have is to post two times a month or once a week. Don’t forget to proofread and make sure everything flows (I am awful with this), and that you are creating original content. Don’t take credit for someone else work. That’s a no-no. I recommend Grammarly, you can get it as an extension on your browser and it helps find mistakes and even rates how your text sounds to readers. I have to have Grammarly because, as silly as it may sound for a native English speaker, I had a better grade in Spanish than I did in English!! English grammar is not my forte.
SO, WHAT'S NEXT?
Now, that you have read everything that I have learned in my first month as a blogger and all of my recommendations, can you see how everything can add up? It's almost imperative to start a blog as soon as you can and this is especially true if you are a visual learner. You can research and read all the blog posts in the world, but if you don't use what you've learned or grow from the mistakes made, then it's pointless. Do you feel me? 🙂
I cannot wait to see how MONTH TWO goes. If you are invested in learning more about becoming a blogger, you can subscribe to my email list to get the updated details of my experience. My subscribers will be the very first to grab the workbook once it is completed! You don't want to miss out on that.
- Traffic & Financial Report: December 2020 (Coming Soon!)
- Namecheap Vs. Bluehost
- Determination to Make a Money-Making Blog
- 30 Before 30
Thanks for reading and hope you all have a great day!!
This post was proofread by Grammarly