Things I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

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It was in the summer of 2017 that I decided I wanted to become a blogger. I had the big dreams of where I wanted this to go.

I had read many stories of different bloggers making huge money and living the carefree lifestyle, and I wanted a piece of that.

But to be honest with you, my first year journey was more like being in a small row boat in the middle of the ocean. Some days calm, the others stormy weather. Not at all what I had read about previously.

I did manage to start earning a little money from my blog within the first 90 days, but with no consistency at all.

I remember the day I earned my first dollar blogging. It’s a day I will never forget. I was at the store shopping when I received a notification on my phone that I had just earned an affiliate commission.

I was like a kid in the candy store.

But from that extreme excitement, came the lows that come from things not working out.

What was I doing wrong?

I struggled for a long time with some successes and also some set backs.

Being the stubborn person I am and not wanting to ask for help, I continued trying to learn things the hard way.

But along the way I learned some valuable points that I will share with you in hopes it will help you grow your blog faster than I did. And with a lot less frustration.

 

Interact With Other Bloggers

When I started blogging I looked at other bloggers as my competition and felt I needed to do things on my own.

How very wrong I was!

Don’t make this mistake yourself.

You should start interacting and promoting with other bloggers right from the start. Doing this you will make new friendships with people that you can work with to increase traffic to your blog.

By sharing each others posts and linking back to each others sites will do wonders at helping you both to increase traffic.

 

Grow Your Email List For Traffic

In the early stages of blogging, you probably won’t have any digital products you have made ready for sale yet.

But right from the very beginning of your blog you should be concentrating on growing your email list. This list will be so valuable to you for making money in the future.

There are many email providers you can go with, even some free wordpress plugins that you can use. Each of them work differently, but you have to decide what your main goal is. Some are free and most are paid services only.

Due to the fact that I believe that your email list is so important to the growth and profitability of your blog. This is an area that you shouldn’t cheap out on.

ConvertKit has been designed specifically for bloggers and is the best on the market. This is the email platform I use personally here at Responsive Blogging. They have plans for all sizes of blogs but start at $29 per month, which in my mind is very affordable. If you are serious about making money online, you should have this service.

Make it easy for your readers to sign up to your newsletter. Perhaps make up some sort of digital product that you can offer them for free in exchange for their email address.

Your email address list will become an extremely important tool to the growth and earning potential of your blog.

If you don’t do this, your missing out on what I consider the most important aspect of being able to monetize your blog.

 

Social Media is Key

Regardless what your thoughts are about social media, you need to embrace it.

With so many people using social media, you have no choice. It is a powerful way to get yourself and your content noticed.

But beware, you can also get caught up in it and find you are spending huge amounts of your time on it and getting nothing accomplished.

Work yourself out a schedule for posting and promoting your articles, and stick to it.

It is so easy to waste an entire day chatting and end up getting nothing constructive done.

 

Invest in Your Business

When I first got into blogging I started with the least expenses possible. Got cheap hosting, used a free wordpress theme and many free plugins.

Probably the way most of us start out.

Which is totally alright if you are just looking to share your posts with the world.

But if you are serious about turning blogging into a business, then it is the wrong approach.

Why would you want to start a business without having the proper tools to succeed?

Starting any kind of business requires you make an investment in it to be able to earn a reasonable return on your investments.

So stop wasting your time on free tools.

If you really want this to be profitable, be willing to make the proper investment in both tools and your time commitment to make it work.

By only going part way, will only give you partial results, ending up with frustration because you are not making the progress you desire.

If this is your dream for the future, do yourself a favor and invest in it!

 

Join Blogger Communities and Groups

Join blogger communities and facebook blogger groups. You need to make connections with like minded people to work with to grow your blog. Working together will help yours and the other persons blogs grow.

Also by making friends, you will have people you can ask for help when you get stuck on things.

 

SEO and Link Building

Learning SEO and link building skills are a must to be successful as a blogger. When you work really hard at writing your articles, you want the world to read it.

Nothing is worse that working real hard and then nobody sees it.

That is where the importance of SEO and keywords come into play. Learning how to build quality links is an absolute must. Having friends to work with on this is key.

If you install the Yoast SEO plugin, it will give you tips on how to optimize your site. This plugin is available in both free and paid versions.

I highly recommend the paid version as it allows you to use multiple keywords per post.

 

Follow Bloggers in Your Niche

Follow bloggers that you can relate to and are either where you want to be or are well on their way. They are farther along in the blogging journey than you are. By following them you can see and learn the things they are doing that is making them successful.

This doesn’t mean to copy them. Copying other bloggers is NOT the way to go.

 

Don’t Compare Your Blog to Others

When you see another blog that is bigger than yours, growing faster, or making more money. Don’t compare yourself to them. Doing so only hurts your self esteem.

Be proud of what your building. Building a business from scratch is something to be very proud of.

So what if it takes you longer. This isn’t a race! You’re building a business to ultimately change your lifestyle.

So be patient!

Remember ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day‘ neither will your blog.

 

Have Integrity

You don’t have to be the best authority on your niche when starting out. Just be honest about what you say. Because if you don’t tell the truth, your readers will find out and then it hurts your integrity.

So always be honest, and as time goes by you will learn more about whatever your niche is about. When you write, use your OWN style and personality, and the real you will shrine thru.

As time goes by and you continue writing this way, you will build credibility with your readers and become an authority in your niche.

So stay true to yourself and your readers.

 

Final Thoughts

The things learned blogging in my first year have changed the way I look at blogging. Having wasted a lot of valuable time doing unproductive things, I hope this article helps you avoid the same mistakes. If you are really stuck and need more detailed help, feel free to work with me.

Hopefully you have found something here that helps you.

What have you learned blogging? Please tell me in the comments below!

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Doug Paulson

I'm a Canadian solopreneur that blogs at Responsive Blogging. This blog is where I share my knowledge and experiences of working online. My goals are to help others to break free from the 9 to 5 routine.
Doug Paulson
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14 Comments
  1. Stephy 9 months ago

    Hei,
    I launched my blog five days ago. I can relate to what you described in the blog. I don’t have much visitors yet but like you said I joined the groups and everything. Let us see!
    If you get time, do stop by https://www.yourbosomfriend.com/ I would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you!

    • Author
      Doug Paulson 9 months ago

      Glad to hear you have started on your blogging journey. Visitors take time. Of course I will be checking out your blog shortly. Thanks for commenting Stephy!

  2. Swagata 9 months ago

    Very useful piece with lot of valuable iinformation for new bloggers like me. Being in a small row boat in the middle of the ocean is exactly how I feel niw. Thanks for sharing such a great post.

    • Author
      Doug Paulson 9 months ago

      Glad to hear it was helpful. Let me know if you need a life jacket for that boat. Thanks for commenting Swagata!

  3. Hi Doug,

    Great post and fantastic points. I like what you said about joining blogger groups and communities. I have always held the view that although content is king, connection is key!

    Let me just add this additional point.

    To succeed as a top blogger, one must learn to master one of the most important skills every serious blogger must have: The ability to make your readership curious!

    This is what I mean: The headlines you choose for your blog posts serve the same purpose as headlines in a magazine or newspaper. Their number one job is to grab the reader’s attention. They either draw the reader in, or push them away.

    Your goal as a blogger or writer is to craft captivating headlines. Jon Morrow calls them winning headlines. He recommends you spend a quarter to half of the time you spend writing the post on the headline. For example, he spends an average of 2 hours writing his headlines!

    This is an art that you must master. According to blogger extraordinaire, Jon Morrow, “If you look carefully at any great headline, you can distill it down to a fill-in-the blank “template” that works for almost every topic in any niche. The best writers I know have thousands of them either saved to a file on their computers or floating around in their heads, where they can reference them at a moment’s notice to develop a winning headline of their own.

    Stir up your readers’ curiosity. Jon puts it this way, “The more curious your headlines make people, the more they’ll read your posts. The more they read your posts, the better your chance of building a relationship with them. The more relationships you have, the more influential you become in your niche.

    Thanks again for sharing this fascinating post.

    I’m off to share on Twitter.

    Best regards,

    Pedro

    • Author
      Doug Paulson 9 months ago

      Your absolutely right that connection is key. Without that you don’t have any readers. Thanks for the excellent comment Pedro!

  4. Meaghan 9 months ago

    Great tips! SEO has been my biggest downfall since starting but it’s improving!

    • Author
      Doug Paulson 9 months ago

      Glad you found the tips helpful! Thanks for commenting Meaghan!

  5. Navin Rao 9 months ago

    This is so cool. Blogging is awesome without any doubt. I been blogging since 2016 and learnt a hell lot of things, infact every individual day teaches something new. I agree with all of your points. Social media is awesome in several ways connecting with bloggers, engaging with others content, branding, traffic and no limits at all.

    When said driving traffic, one of the finest way includes email marketing, so it quite wise to collect emails from the visitors and turn them into regular readers. You can not afford to loose any of them.

    Glad you shared your experience Doug!

    Have a great day ahead.

    • Author
      Doug Paulson 9 months ago

      I agree that a person continues to grow and learn everyday blogging. Thanks for the nice comments Navin!

  6. Jon Rogers 9 months ago

    Interacting with other bloggers and joining communities has been my weak spot so far. Definitely trying to improve on that!

    It’s great advice, too. It’s easy to get caught up in all the work that needs to get done as a blogger. Sometimes you can forget to pick up your head and say hello to the world! At least that’s what happens to me, I notice.

    Thanks for this post, Doug!

    • Author
      Doug Paulson 9 months ago

      Me also, but I’m working on it! Networking is a key thing we must work on to grow our blogs. Thanks for comment Jon!

  7. Nancy Anderson 9 months ago

    Doug,

    Following other bloggers in my niche makes so much sense. We all have a different take or angle to an issue. We all have a different voice to lend.

    Thanks for the article.

    Nancy

    • Author
      Doug Paulson 8 months ago

      Working together is the key! Thanks for commenting Nancy!

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