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Starting a blog for the first time

Starting a Blog for the First Time: 5 Things I’ve Learnt in My First Month of Blogging

Starting a Blog for the First Time

I launched this blog just under a month ago (19th Nov). It totally feels like I’ve had the site forever already. I haven’t blogged personally since I was around 14 – 15 years old (so a good decade ago), on Tumblr. Back then it was nothing serious, just me talking about typical teenage stuff and boys. Then 10 years later I thought about starting a blog for the first time (properly).

For my job I do write for an online expat magazine though. It’s very chatty and blog like, but it’s nothing personal. I’ve learnt a bit of SEO and marketing knowledge along the way, but nothing extensive. This is my first venture on my own and I’ve learnt a lot already in my first month of blogging.

Here’s what I learned in my first month when starting a blog for the first time.

1. It Takes a Lot More Time Than It Looks

If you start your blogging journey by the book, it literally takes an age starting a blog for the first time. Even when you have set everything up, you then have to start building your followers. This is a trek in itself. Every article you write takes time and then sharing it around takes even longer. You really do underestimate just how much time and effort goes into making your blog perfect. Linking all those social media platforms to it takes time too. I still haven’t got my head around Pinterest either – I’m literally a complete Pinterest virgin.

It’s made harder if you’re working too, because all your free time is spent just pumping life into your website. I find it hard because I write as a job anyway, so it’s like I can never switch off. (For example, right now I’ve just got home from a day of writing articles and straight away I’m in bed with a hot chocolate writing this).

I planned to publish a new article every Monday, Thursday and Sunday. I’ve stuck to it, but I’m definitely dropping down to 2 articles per week in 2019. It’s far too much with all my commitments.

Starting a blog for the first time

It takes time to plan things this perfect…I joke! 😉

2. Adsense Was Easy to Get (IMO)

I built my blog solely to write about what I love and make bit of money out of it along the way and hopefully eventually have it as like a mini business venture. The building blocks of this usually start with Google AdSense and then build up to bigger and better ad agencies when you start meeting the viewing criteria. Then of course you have affiliate links.

I always knew that you could apply for AdSense as many times as you wanted and then just fix the issues if they decline you, but for some reason I wanted to wait until I had a certain amount of posts. I extensively searched for how to get accepted right away for AdSense and everything said different things as of course it depends on many factors. It seemed that you had to have a good amount of traffic, a good website layout, niche and lengthy posts (at least 10 of them). After 3 weeks I decided to apply and was accepted quickly (just over a day) and my ads were live within a few hours. Now I just wish I did it earlier and I likely would have been accepted beforehand. Major face palm right here.

 

3. You Should Ideally Launch with Lots of Posts Already Live

Okay, so I’d already read this somewhere and decided to ignore it because I thought it wouldn’t make much difference and sometimes it probably won’t, but on this occasion I think it would have. I took so long to plan what I wanted to do, along with picking a theme, that writing 5 – 10 articles would have taken even far too long. One of my biggest flaws is that I lose interest easily, so I just had to launch (it had already been 3 weeks by this point). By the time I launched I had an introductory article and 2 main articles, but I wish I had more looking back.

My first day of traffic was by far my highest numbers, with 1.25k readers on my site within that 24 hours, all because my first post ended up being popular. I could see from Google analytics that people were navigating around my website, but there was nothing to read. Stupid move. I haven’t got viewing numbers quite like it since either. So, it would have been good to have had more content on there when this happened. Especially as people were clearly looking for more of them – urgh.

 

4. Your Viewing Numbers Usually Change Dramatically

Before you’ve established yourself as a brand, you likely won’t have a regular readership. (And if you do then that’s frigging ace). For this reason your numbers are likely to be all over the place at the beginning. My days range from as high as 1,250 visitors in one day to as little as 10. Every day is entirely different. 4 weeks today is when I launched and I’ve received 3,354 users and 4,644 views (my clicks aren’t counted in this). So that’s on average 120 users per day and 166 views per day.

These sound good (I think, please let me know if it’s actually s**t), but most is from social media as SEO organic searches take time, so they aren’t permanent users.

Starting a blog for the first time

Don’t give up, even if your numbers fluctuate!

 

5. It’s Hard to Find Places to Share Your Articles

Okay, so I had no idea that blogging groups were even a thing and even then I had no idea that most of them had such strict rules. Some allow no ‘self-promotion’ at all, some you couldn’t post on at all (not even to ask questions) it was just the admin sharing those whole ‘link your blog, no preview allowed, click these posts on this site and like it or you get removed etc.’ I had no idea the bloody blogging police existed. The worst is when they make you like and click on their website, yet you have to follow crazy rules to even be allowed to post one preview-less link.

Most of us are new to this game and we need a little bit of help. I’ve even got declined on Reddit for posting ONE generally helpful guide, just because it was mine, yet it generally would have helped the community. It’s frustrating. It makes you feel like your hard work is wasted and you have to jump through 8 million hoops to get there.

Starting a Blog for the First Time? Come Say Hello!

Note: I’ve actually just created my own Facebook group so we can all share our stuff to it freely. Feel free to join! (The likelihood is it will just be me in there for now hahaha, I’m busy okay. But trust me, I’ll find a way to make it grow over the next couple of weeks). 

I’ve actually finished this article with the biggest glass of wine. True story. See, things can be stressful when starting a blog for the first time. 😉 Here’s to month 2!

– me.

Are you thinking of starting a blog for the first time? Or where are you now in your blogging journey? Drop it in the comments, I’d love to get to know more of you! I’m planning on writing more guides, SEO, Adsense etc as I go along my journey, so stay tuned. 

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36 Comments

  • Sara

    18th December 2018 at 6:27 am

    I’ve been blogging for over 5 years, but it was only this year that I got a self – hosted site and have just now started to navigate SEO stuff. I’ve just started using Yoast, and while it was a pain at the start, it is actually a good tool.

    When I first started my blog, I actually got good traffic and a decent views/ visitors ratio. I’ve realised, though, that it’s dropped a fair bit the past few weeks and I haven’t had any new followers (it’s been two months, actually). I wonder if my blog is a bit of a drag to read somwtimes, due to paragrapghs being too long, no headings, etc. Now this comment’s probably getting too long, ha, ha.

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:39 pm

      Wow, 5 years! I’m still a baby in the blogging world. I love Yoast, it’s such a good tool and definitely works when it comes to ranking. Have you been promoting it much? Link me your blog, I’ll totally come and check it out. Thanks so much for reading!

      Reply
  • Anissa | Mama Goes Beyond

    13th January 2019 at 12:48 pm

    My blog baby is about one month old, too, and I really identified with this post. You have inspired me to apply for Google Adsense. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:06 pm

      Happy one month! Time is going so slow for me, I still can’t believe how young my blog is haha. AdSense is a great starting point and it was really easy to get started, so deffo try it. Thanks so much for reading!

      Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Thank you! I wasn’t entirely certain if they were good numbers – when you’re new you aren’t always sure where you need to be. I’ll be starting the group properly soon, so we can all engage in blogs in small numbers. Thanks so much for reading and joining my group!

      Reply
  • Julia

    13th January 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Great tips! I started my blog last month so these tips are really relevant for me right now. I have about 20 posts up now so I’m going to look into Google AdSense. Thanks for the tip, I would have waited longer before applying!

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:10 pm

      Happy one month for your blog too! Early days and so much work isn’t it? 20 is a great number and AdSense is really easy to get started. I wish I didn’t wait either, so definitely look into it and apply! Thanks for reading too.

      Reply
  • Mary

    13th January 2019 at 2:04 pm

    I’ve been blogging on and off for about a decade. I can say I’ve had months with great viewership and others with almost none. I find the upkeep is a lot harder than people think. You are right about exposure. Sometimes I wonder HOW the big influencers do it. Ok, not sometimes-always!!!

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:13 pm

      That’s exactly it! Viewing numbers never seem to stabilise – that’s deffo my goal for the year to have them more consistent. I know, it’s so hard and I too wonder how on earth people do it. Hopefully we will all realise soon because we’ve made it. 😉

      Reply
  • Jessica

    13th January 2019 at 2:15 pm

    That’s awesome that you’ve been so successful so early on! I’ve been blogging for a few months but I just don’t have the time to put into it that it needs. I’m also learning mostly by trial and error. I love your writing style too! Hope your blog continues to grow and be successful! I’m joining your Facebook group now!

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:16 pm

      Well I hope I’m doing well hahaha, I have nothing to compare it to and there is no knowing if you’re truly on track if you’re new to it all! Thank you though. I know, it’s exhausting and I’m definitely going to need to slow down a bit because I feel myself burning out already. Thank you so much – I hope the same for yours too. And thank you for joining the group! I’m starting the group properly soon, that way we can all be a small group and can engage with our stuff often. 🙂

      Reply
  • Elizabeth

    13th January 2019 at 2:58 pm

    I recently started my own blog and didn’t realize how much work it was going to be. With a fulltime job it’s hard to find time to work on it. It’s a work in progress every day.

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:18 pm

      Yes, you just have no idea until you start! It’s so much work. I’m also struggling nowadays with a job and social life to stick with my targets. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Reply
  • Pamela Schmidlin

    13th January 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Ok, I hear you, things I’ve learned from blogging, are pretty much the same……it does take more time than it looks. I’m still trying to learn Adsense and use it properly! Viewing numbers do change day to day, depending on how you promote your blog! I am trying to make blogging my overall career and it’s not as easy as it seems but still doable. Bloggers can learn from one another and must help one another out! (actually the last is the most important lesson- I really do want to get to know fellow bloggers and learn from each other!!

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:30 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one! Yeah, it’s all to do with promotion and then the viewers are all over the place haha. I’m the exact same! I generally want to have a few blogger friends so we can all help each other out – I feel alone! Thanks so much for reading. 🙂

      Reply
  • Stephanie Remsing

    13th January 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Great read! I am new to blogging as well! I didn’t realize all the work it entailed, but I’m so in love with it! Thanks for all the advice!! 🙂

    Reply
  • Courtney

    13th January 2019 at 7:15 pm

    The time commitment is definitely true! I made sure to pick a true passion so I could keep my interest up. Thanks for sharing these tips!!

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:23 pm

      Definitely – being interested in it certainly makes it easier. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it. Thanks so much for reading!

      Reply
  • Rachel Newlon

    14th January 2019 at 3:25 pm

    How did you get Adsense loaded on your blog? I recently tried and when it scans my site, it can’t find it! Suggestions? I want to use it and I have enough exposure and content…

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      14th January 2019 at 8:25 pm

      When I was approved I got an HTML code to put into the header/footer and it loaded within a few hours. How long ago since you were accepted? That’s so weird it’s not showing. If you’ve deffo put the code in the right place, then contact AdSense if you can because that’s really weird. Let me know if you find a solution!

      Reply
  • Jenna

    14th January 2019 at 8:36 pm

    I am new to blogging as well and completely agree with all of these! Finding time to work on it while being a SAHM to 2 under 2 is challenging, but I enjoy it so I’m willing to give up some of my free time to work.

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      28th January 2019 at 10:06 pm

      Wow, well done! I’m struggling ANYWAY, let alone with small children (I could never do that, so kudos to you). Good luck with your blog and thank you so much for reading!

      Reply
  • Melody Dunithan

    14th January 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Great insights. I started my blog last May and then went MIA after a month so my initial posts were minimal. Thanks for the tips. I have definitely had many of the same experiences you’ve had so far. I’ll be looking more into AdSense as a possibility. Good luck with your blog!

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      28th January 2019 at 10:09 pm

      It’s so hard to keep up with it, isn’t it? It’s continuous and once you’re out of the routine, it’s so hard to get back at it. Good luck with your blog too and thank you so much for reading!

      Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      28th January 2019 at 8:34 pm

      I’m yet to find time to crack Pinterest! I’ve heard so many people say the same as you, I really should get my ass in gear. Thanks so much for reading!

      Reply
  • Eva-Marie Amiya

    18th January 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Read the post with so many Yep, that is happening to me…my head is swimming in this new world for me. Thank you for writing about your own personal struggles and approach to blogging. My head is still spinning from trying to figure out all the widgets. I think I myself need that extremely large glass of vino.

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      28th January 2019 at 9:56 pm

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one, thank you for telling me you feel the same! Hahaha, vino is our friend (well, it certainly helps me anyway). Good luck and thank you so much for reading.

      Reply
  • Http://www.fourkrestaurant.com/

    19th February 2019 at 10:53 pm

    First of all I want to say superb blog! I had
    a quick question that I’d like to ask if yoou don’t mind.

    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.
    I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my thoughts
    out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it
    just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
    Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Never Say Nether

      20th February 2019 at 12:37 am

      Thank you so much, that’s very kind!

      In all fairness, I rarely have a clear head, but sometimes that weirdly makes me more productive! If I don’t feel in the mood to write, I tend to write things that don’t involve too much thinking – such as this article where I just rant a bit haha. But no, I totally get what you mean and I usually lie down and listen to some music before I write. Then I begin planning it (so writing the subheaders and structuring the whole article), this way I have that 10 – 15 minutes to still be productive, but not actually write anything yet. So if you are literally starting from a blank canvas every time, I really would consider at least writing down the subheaders or some bullet points and that will really help (that helps me anyway). Thanks so much for reading!

      Reply

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