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.
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.
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!
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.