One month down, a lifetime to go!
I just passed my one month blogging milestone and I am so happy! *happy dance* My little corner of the Internet is alive and well! *gushes*
I am here to share with you all of the things that I’ve learned during the past 30 days. I’m going to assume that since you are reading this, you are either wanting to start a blog of your own or you have started already and are in need of some lovin’ guidance!
Just an FYI, this is a long post. Blogging is no joke. It’s serious business if you’re hoping to grow and monetize your blog. I’m going to share what I learned during my first month blogging and certain things I wish I knew before I started.
*This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through my link, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.*
Branding + Business Plan
You need to give your blog an identity. Who are you? What do you want to blog about? Niche? What are you going to name your blog? You have to understand that your blog is a part of you! You have to love yourself and your blog. It will help you push through tough moments that are bound to happen.
Your blog’s personality is your branding. How do you want others to perceive your blog. Branding includes your blogs content, logo, font and color choices, signature phrases and imagery. It’s being constant with your graphic styling and photography taking. It sets the tone and feeling of your blog. It helps your audience identify you.
You need a business plan if you want to be successful. If you want to eventually monetize your blog, you definitely need one. A business plan identifies your target audience, how you want to be perceived, how you plan to monetize your blog and how you plan to market yourself.
I’m referring to this month as “Brand Me, January” even though I started in December. I didn’t realize that branding and business planning are important until after I already started. So now I’m trying to focus this month on getting my blog to be the way I want – picking the colors, the fonts, the design schemes.. you name it.
Serious blogging takes up some serious time!
I’ve wanted to blog for so long and I would love to be a professional blogger but I never really understood just how much work goes into blogging… if you want your blog to be successful that is.
It takes me a good 2-3 hours (sometimes even longer) to write a post – a good post. You don’t just want to post something just for the sake of posting. You want a good length. There’s a lot of numbers going around saying the magic number is this many words or that many words but a good thing to remember… something I ask myself before posting is “would I want to read this? would the topic of the post catch my attention enough to stop me from scrolling?” If the answer is no, I don’t post it.
A good post has pictures!! So take photography into consideration. Something Mr. J told me which really helped was “Just because you love Nala doesn’t mean the rest of the world does.” Have some “professionally” looking photographs of yourself. By that I mean… not so many selfies. That doesn’t necessarily mean go to a studio and have your picture done – you can if you want – but just as an example, my profile pic is taken by Mr. J.
I was worried about having the blog “empty”. But I quickly realized that just because I have posts up it doesn’t mean it’s going to be successful.
I’ve always thought it was such an awesome thing to have your own domain. What’s a domain? It’s your www.ohmygoodnessihavemyownblog.com ! To be self-hosted is such a great thing! It means YOU are the boss. YOU own your blog. Pictures you post belong to you. You can choose to monetize your blog by having advertisements. If you aren’t going to be self-hosted, it means your domain is going to be something like ohmygoodnessihavemyownblog.wordpress.com and you can’t have advertising.
But in order to have your own domain, you need a host.
I am with Siteground and they are so helpful! What I love is that they even transferred my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org for me! You get your own emails as well – so that’s pretty cool. Now you can contact me through chelle[at]coffeeheartmind.com instead of a Hotmail account or Gmail; I think it looks more professional. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with having ohmygoodnessihavemyownblog@hotmail or gmail or yahoo or whichever.
Social Media Heaven + Marketing
There are so many social networks out there! Social media is so important nowadays. It’s how we connect with people. Heck, I learn about worldwide news from my Facebook feed not from the 6 o’clock news. I learn about traffic through Twitter. Social media is how we connect! If you want to be successful, you need to learn to market yourself through social media. You want people to know that your blog exists! There are so many networks that you can join. Of course you don’t need to join all of them… but I did anyway. It’s good to reserve your name (mine is CoffeeHeartMind) on every social media network that you can. You don’t have to use that network but at least it’s yours if you ever choose to.
Plus! When people look for you on Google, you want it to be YOU who pops up – not someone else who happened to just sign up with your blog name on some other network. Remember, your blog is an extension of yourself. I don’t want to sign up on a platform under CoffeeHeartMind1 because someone already chose CoffeeHeartMind.
Canva is your friend
Canva is such an amazing find! I can create such great images for social media! I didn’t go to school for graphic design or anything, but Canva makes it so easy! They have the specific sizes required for specific social networks all ready for you! Once you choose one, they give you templates you can use or to give you inspiration.
You get to change the font style, color, and size, you get to change the background image or colors, and they have a search bar in which you can look for specific art pieces you want to add to your design (such as social network logos). Your imagination is the limit!
This is definitely a must use!
All of the images that you see on CoffeeHeartMind was either edited or created with Canva! That includes the name, the logo, post images, and my profile pic. I even designed the “don’t forget to subscribe” image on the sidebar.
Email list + MailerLite
You want to start collecting emails right away! Asking your readers to subscribe to your blog so that they never miss a post or to receive your newsletter. Whatever the reason, it helps you reach your audience. When they subscribe, they are giving you permission to send some love in their inbox! So make sure you’re not sending spam. No-one likes spam mail.
I switched from MailChimp to MailerLite. MailerLite provides multiple ways to attract subscribers to your blog but my favourite option in MailerLite is the integration. It lets you add a subscription form with social media.
There are so many ways to monetize your blog and affiliate marketing is one of them. I’m still learning them myself.
This is such a great tool! It lets you know all of the numbers that you would ever want to know and then some! Using Analytics, I can see how many people have been on my blog, what country most of my traffic lives in, age and gender. It tells me which pages my audience visits the most so that I know what topics my audience is mostly interested in.
Organization is key, people! I didn’t start with one initially but within a week, I was looking into it. It’s such a great thing to have a paper copy of all of your thoughts. You might think that you don’t need one but I totally recommend having a blogger planner right from the start! It keeps post ideas, social network passwords, notes and whatever else you may need!
There are so many versions that you can find on Pinterest. At the end of the day, I ended up creating my own. I wrote a post about it and you can read it here. I find it so useful. I like how everything is in one place.
I’m sure I’ll continue learning as I go… but I hope these help you! Learning all of these during the past month has been tiring. It’s definitely a lot to take in and I wish I knew some of this before I started. Learning as you go consumes so much of your time!