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In just two days, I’ll have been blogging for an entire month.
Well, it’s been a month since I purchased my domain name through SiteGround – which was a huge step! (You can take this big step too for just $3.95 a month if you follow my link!)
I’d been toying with the idea of blogging for quite some time. It wasn’t until we were sitting in the airport in Honolulu, coming home from Hawaii, when inspiration finally struck me. I was feeling down because we were leaving Disney’s Aulani resort, and as I scrolled through my Pinterest feed mindlessly on my food, inspiration struck me.
I’d always held off on blogging because I didn’t think I knew enough about anything to make it an actual hobby. I can’t cook, and I’m not very crafty, and I can’t be a mommy blogger, I don’t have kids! It wasn’t until that moment that it finally clicked – I know about DISNEY! I’ll be a Disney blogger!
Seriously, I can’t believe it took me that long to realize it.
Selecting a niche was just the start – I’ve learned valuable lessons this past month that can translate to ANY blogger. I’ve made a few mistakes too, just as any newbie blogger has. I think I’m off to a solid start though, and here is a bit about what I’ve learned since launching my site.
Things I Learned:
Don’t Underestimate Tailwind!
I knew that eventually, I was going to have to sign up for an automated Pinterest scheduler. After taking the Pinterest Primer course (which I highly recommend to EVERYONE, it’s so helpful and helped boost my page views almost overnight!) I decided to just bite the bullet and go with Tailwind. Up until that point I had been pinning manually, which wasn’t BAD, considering I had only a few followers – but I knew I could do better.
Tailwind is so much better than I ever imagined. Yes, the scheduling is great, but the TRIBES are what really make Tailwind worth the investment. I’m part of SO many tribes on Pinterest – many of them pertaining to Disney – and THIS is what gets me the exposure. It’s very similar to the concept of Pinterest boards.
You share a pin to your Tailwind tribe. Your tribe members then schedule it to their own boards, and now your exposure has skyrocketed! I’ve got hundreds of thousands of potential viewers (note the word POTENTIAL, this doesn’t mean I’ll actually get that many site views!) all thanks to the Tribes feature. If you follow my link, you’ll get your first 100 pins free – which goes a LONG way!
Customizing Your Site Is SOOOOO Easy!
I’m sort of familiar with HTML, so I figured I could make any blog theme work for me by changing around a few things in the code to make it really personal to ME and my brand. After purchasing my first theme, however, I realized it was so much easier than I had originally thought! Widgets are super easy to drag and drop, and there are plugins for virtually EVERYTHING. The best part is that widgets are available on ANY theme, not just the premium ones you pay for!
See that Instagram feed on the bottom of my page? Plugin. The Facebook feed on my sidebar? Plugin. I don’t need to figure out how to code or link to my Facebook page – someone has done that for me, and it’s super easy to customize! Many themes come with lists of recommended plugins, as well as readme files on how to go about changing things like the header. Now, I have a site I’m proud of – and is super cute and visually appealing!
SEO is Your Best Friend. Seriously
What is SEO? Quite simply, it is search engine optimization. This is how search engines like Google and Bing find your blog and recommend it to others. Yoast SEO is the BEST plugin to help you optimize your site. It’ll scan your posts and make sure they’re readable, and they’ll help you add keywords that’ll help get your site bumped to the top of the list when users search for keywords pertaining to your site.
SEO also helps you get verified for Rich Pins via Pinterest – which I’ll get in to in just a minute!
Things I Wish I’d Learned Sooner:
Pinterest > Facebook
I’ve always been very well versed in the ways of Facebook, so I figured that I’d be able to find blogging groups and get involved that way. While I have found some awesome groups on Facebook – mostly pertaining to my niche – I’ve found that the “blogging” groups are too…general.
It seems great at first – many of these groups post a picture saying “Post your blog here!” but they often have certain guidelines you have to follow. For example, you can post a link to your latest post, but in order to stay in the group and participate, you have to follow or subscribe to all the blogs ALSO posted on that post. Which is a great way to get exposure, but what if it’s to a bridal blog and you’re already married? Or an eating vegan blog when you’re a hardcore carnivore? Unfortunately, I didn’t join a bunch of Pinterest group boards right off the bat because I thought I could make Facebook work for me. In the end, it turned out to not be the case.
Pinterest group boards are much easier to use than these Facebook groups. Join the board, post your pins, get repins and traffic!
Set Up An Email List
This is another thing I unfortunately neglected. I had no idea what I would put in a newsletter, so I simply put my email list to the back burner. Finally, it occurred to me that I was missing out on possible traffic – how many people had read my blog and wished they could subscribe? Would they come back if I had sent them an email when I posted a new post? For that first month, I’ll never know – thankfully I’ve gotten an email list set up, and now I can start collecting subscribers!
ConvertKit is what I use, and I highly recommend it. The list set up is extremely easy and is so simple to integrate into your site. In case you were wondering, yes – they have a free trial!
Rich Pins = More Exposure
What is a rich pin? This is a pin through Pinterest that looks more professional and sleek, and also links directly to your site (or your shop, if you run an online business). If you customize your SEO (see my tip above about Yoast SEO) you can get your pins verified for Rich Pins by clicking HERE. It’s super quick and easy, and takes just a few minutes to get approved most of the time. Rich pins help boost your traffic, and I found many blogs that claimed their traffic spiked thanks to getting verified for rich pins. I won’t know for a few more days (I literally JUST did this today) but will update if I see tremendous results!
There you have it – a quick list of 3 things I learned this month, and 3 things I wish I’d learned a LOT sooner.
Oh, and an income report?
Nah, I’m not at that point yet. I WILL tell you, however, that I have Google AdSense up and running, and I have had it going for about a week. In that week, I’ve made a grand total of….0.18! Yup, EIGHTEEN WHOLE CENTS!
It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I’m enjoying the journey! Be sure to bookmark my Blogging Resources page to help you build your own successful blog!
Any other blogging tips you think I missed? Leave a comment below, or better yet – subscribe to my newsletter!