Now normally people say I can’t believe It’s been a month of blogging right? But I can’t believe I even STARTED a blog! It was never something I even thought of or had ever considered before.
I’ve always wanted to be self employed ever since I was little because I absolutely hated people telling me what to do. I started seeing all these blogging success stories, and decided what the hell! I’m going for it!
Things that I didn’t think anyone else cared about but me. Turns out, there’s a whole community full of millennials needing help in the adulting world!
By my second month blogging I was already starting to see an income and in my fourth month I was hitting triple digits!
It really hit me that all those success stories I had been reading could ACTUALLY become my reality.
It didn’t take a college degree or years of research. Just a laptop, and the passion to work hard.
And the reason for that? Blogging is actually very simple.
1. Make amazing content that people want that solves their problems
2. Promote that content to the audience that needs it
That’s it. It’s not some hidden secret that no one wants you to know. ANYONE can have a successful blog. It’s all about following those steps and creating a strategy unique to you.
I officially decided to start this blog at the end of January 2017 and had planned on launching in February.
But I realized I had SOOOOOO much to learn and figure out so I took February to do research and write blog posts to get ready for my March 1st Launch.
And to make things a little bit easier for anyone else just starting out, I wrote down everything I wish someone had told me at the beginning.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Which means at no extra cost to you, I will be compensated when you use my links. You can read more about our disclosure here.
More Blog Income Reports
First Month Blogging | How I Made $5
Third Month Blogging | How I Made $47.27
Fourth Month Blogging | How I Made $262.68
Fifth Month Blogging | How I Made $99.38
Sixth Month Blogging | How I Made $280.42
Blog Set Up
Something really important I learned? I am NOT a tech person! There were so many basic terms that I didn’t understand, and most blogging posts didn’t mention.
So to help you out just in case you get frustrated like me, I jotted down some important terms you need to know.
Plugins– Kinda like apps for your phone, but for your blog instead! When you see that pin it button pop up when you hover over an image on a blog post, that’s a plugin!
Plugins can be really helpful when it comes to customizing your blog and making things more user friendly.
Host– The way I like to think of this is you can’t build a house without a foundation, and you can’t build a website without a host.
This is what makes your website, well a website. It’s the company that runs your website from their servers. (You can get a host here for just $3.95 a month!)
Theme– This is what makes all blogs look different and unique. Some may have blue accents and twirly writing with a large header photo.
Some may have pink accents with a simple font and a smaller text-only header. I currently use the Genesis Framework and the Sugar + Code Blogging Babe theme for my blog and I love it! (I explain the benefit of using two themes in more detail here)
Platform– This is the engine that is powering your site, or the place where all the creative writing magic happens!
The majority of successful bloggers use WordPress and for good reason too because it’s amazing. (psssst, BlueHost has WordPress automatically installed for you!)
Domain Name-The name and web address of your blog! This is what your readers will type into the search bar to get to your website.
Posts–These are your actual blog articles you write weekly.
Pages– These are things that stay the same. You could have an about me page, a contact me page, a favorite blogging tools page, etc.
Static Home Page– This is the page someone is automatically directed to when they type in your website. It could be a feed of all your blog posts, or a welcome page.
SEO– Search Engine Optimization, pretty much making sure your website and Pinterest pins are at their absolute best so new users can easily find you. (This is SOOOOO Important!)
Okay just to sum it all up since that was a lot of information at once,
Host– The company that is running your website through their servers (Blue Host)
Domain– The name and website address for your blog (brokeyoungandscrapingby.com)
Platform– The engine that is powering your site/ the writing magic zone (WordPress)
*Tip–Something that really helped me during the setup process was YouTube tutorials! They have a video for almost everything you can possibly think of and I couldn’t have set this blog up without them.
What I Use And Love
Blue Host– Great website hosting for just $3.95 a month. Yes, it’s super cheap so you don’t break the bank starting your dreams! Skip the coffee run every now and then and you’ve got the money ready.
If you’re anything like me then you’re probably going to need some help setting up your blog so you can actually start writing content.
Don’t worry I’m already one step ahead of you. I have a whole post dedicated to walking you through the exact process to get your blog up and running (with pictures too because I know visuals are always helpful!).
If you have any questions along the way don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com and I’d be happy to chat with you!
Sugar + Code Blog Themes– Who here loves to browse the pages of Etsy? Well there are some pretty damn amazing blog themes on their too! My current theme is the Blogging Babe Theme from the Sugar and Code shop and I absolutely LOVE it! It’s simple and feminine while still being fun and fits my brand perfectly.
Sugar + Code has lots of different blog theme options to choose from so I highly recommend browsing their shop!
Genesis– The Genesis framework is one of the best SEO optimized frameworks out there. It’s kind of like the nuts and bolts to your blog. You get all the great behind the scenes work to make your blog the best it can be.
You get all the great behind the scenes work to make your blog the best it can be. You can use it by itself for a super simple and easy theme to get started, or layer a slightly fancier theme on top of it like the one mentioned above.
I even explain more in detail about blog themes and frameworks and how they work together because a good framework can have a HUGE impact on your blog and Genesis has done wonders for me for an affordable price!
What I Did For My Blog In The First Month
- Wrote 6 blog posts for the launch (previous month)
- Signed up for Google Analytics (essential if you’re a blogger so you can track your stats! oh and it’s free)
- Installed various plugins to better customize my blog
- Customized my sidebar, menu, and header
- Created a Blogging Holy Grails page
- Signed up with Mail Chimp for my email list
- Began working on an email freebie to increase email subscriptions
- Read a boatload of blog posts to gain knowledge!
- Signed up for A LOT of free email courses about growing your blog (These are so helpful!)
April Blog Goal–
- Write one blog post per week
- Launch email freebie to increase subscribers
Before you continue learning how to kick start your blog, I wanted to make sure you know one very important thing. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This post isn’t even done yet and I’m sure you’re already feeling slightly overwhelmed.
But that’s what should motivate you!
Is it scary?
Hell yeah it is. You’re investing in something you don’t totally understand yet and that’s scary. But here’s the thing, it will be SO worth it in the end.
I started my blog in February and am now using money I earned from blogging to pay for my families Christmas gifts.
So don’t for a second think it’s not possible! Now you can finish this post with a little motivation on your side.
Unlike a lot of people who start with lots of social media at once, I’ve decided to master one before moving on to the next. Which ended up working out great because in my second month blogging I went from 400 to 4,000 pageviews just by using Pinterest!
There are so many awesome things that go along with Pinterest. I started my Pinterest account a month before my blog launch and ended my first month blogging with 223 followers.
March Pinterest Goal– 200 Followers
End of February– 69 Followers
End of March– 223 Followers (154 increase!)
Woohoo! Now let’s see exactly how I achieved my goal.
Pinning Till My Fingers Fell Off!
Pin in the morning, pin during the day, pin at night, just pin! I noticed when I pinned large amounts spread throughout the day my follower count started to increase.
I’ve mostly been pinning others stuff, and a majority of my own stuff has gone to group boards, but this month I’m going to try to add more of my own things to my personal boards and hopefully gain more traffic to my blog.
Pinterest Group Boards
When I see people re-pinning my pins, 90% of them are pinning from the group boards. I joined 21 group boards in March alone! Yup you heard that right. It’s super easy too.
I usually go to other bloggers in my niche, see what group boards they’re part of, and if they’re a good fit for me, I’ll ask to join.
Group boards are great because the group board followers (some have thousands!) allow you to reach a larger audience, which means more pin exposure.
So if you have a cookie recipe and pin it to a “Best Desserts” group board that has 5,000 followers, you have the potential to reach 5,000 new eyes!
I have two group boards as well and anyone is welcome to join!
Join The Bloggers Defying Odds Group Board Here.
Join The Twenty Somethings Survival Guide Group Board Here.
*Tip– Keep a notebook/binder of all the group boards you join and their rules to refer back to if you need it.
Automated pinning! Yes, BoardBooster is the miracle of all miracles when it comes to blogging! EVERYONE gets busy at some point and can’t constantly be pinning throughout the day.
And when it comes to juggling group boards, it’s so hard to remember which ones you’ve already pinned to and their rules.
But BoardBooster does all the pinning for you! It works by creating a secret board for you to pin images to, and will automatically pin them for you based on the time you set every day.
It even has a Looping function that will take those awesome pins you pinned months ago on your boards, and loop them back to the top of your page.
I love this function because this way no matter what, your boards will always have content rotating.
The great thing? You get your first 100 pins for free, and after that, it’s only one penny per pin. Now that’s what I’m talking about! I would seriously lose my mind without the help of BoardBooster, it’s that good.
You can check out my winning Pinterest strategy using BoardBooster here.
Another great Pinterest scheduler I just had to mention. I Didn’t officially start using Tailwind till my third month blogging but I wanted to update this post and throw it in here because it completely changed my blogging game!
I like to think of BoardBooster and Tailwind as a power couple.
They are both great on their own, but together you can take the best parts of each one and really use them to your advantage to increase your page views.
Tailwind is very similar to BoardBooster but it goes into a little more detail when it comes to pinning your content.
BoardBooster will give you more general pinning times, while Tailwind will get very specific with 7:13 pm and 10:04 am. It will actually let you know when the best times to pin are for YOU specifically for everyday of the week.
This is HUGE because your traffic on Monday won’t be the same as your traffic on Thursday.
So it’s important to have different pinning times that are unique for each day of the week. Tailwind will even let you know which group boards you’re pinning to get the most repins so you can focus your attention on those boards.
If you use my link not only will you get a free trial of Tailwind, but you’ll also get a FREE $15 credit which gives you one month of Tailwind PRO for free!
Once I started using Tailwind and BoardBooster together I quadrupled my page views in one month! You can check out my exact strategy here.
This has been a HUGE factor in the number of people re-pinning my pins. In one month I’ve gone through three versions of pins. The best performing one I started at the very last week of March.
I noticed that my target audience (millennials) seemed to be more apt to pin images with more of the image as the focal point. As well as an image they can best relate to.
I highly recommend trying 2 or three versions out to see which one gets the best response, and then stick to it!
Here are the three generations of my Saving Money In Your 20’s | How I saved $12,000 pin.
*Tip– If you need some awesome free stock photos for your pins, I wrote a whole post with a bunch of different free stock photo websites for you.
Okay this took me sooooo long to figure out what the hell a rich pin was and why I needed it. Go to your Pinterest feed. You see how some images have those black bold titles under the picture? Those are rich pins. So what’s The difference?
Well when you have rich pins, you get that nice bold title at the bottom, as well as one when you click on the image at the very top, along with your website name.
You even get a personal site icon and website name attached to the bottom so everyone knows exactly where that awesome pin came from!
This is great when it comes to branding and SEO optimizing your pins so more people find them. Which means more blog traffic, and ultimately more income! (Food bloggers can even get a nice bold ingredient list attached to the pin)
*Tip– Use this link for easy access to the Rich Pin sign up page.
Pinterest Business Account
This is super great if you want to see how people are interacting with your pins.
It lets you track everything that’s going on with your pins, Pinterest profile, and blog when it comes to engagement, viewers, and impressions.
You can even see which pins are doing the best, and exactly how much you’re improving each month.
*Tip– To switch to a business account go to your setting on your Pinterest profile.
April Pinterest Goal–
- 446 Followers (yup I want to double it!)
- Work on overall strategy to increase speed of follower increase
- Grow my group board
Affiliates/ Ad Networks
One of the many ways bloggers pull in the big bucks! Let’s say you have a bunch of clothing from one brand and you swear they are the best clothing brand out there.
Guess what? You could make money just by talking about how much you love them!
Yup, they’re called affiliate links and they are amazing. Find a product you love, share it with your readers, and BAM! You just made some money.
That right there is called passive income and let me tell ya, it was the best thing ever created! I made $65 while at the gym one day because my blog was producing money by itself. The fact that you can be enjoying a day out with your friends or family while your blog is making money is incredible!
The best part is, signing up for affiliate and ad networks is super easy! Here are some of the ones I’ve joined this month:
- Shareasale– this is my favorite so far! There are a TON of different companies within this network like Checkout 51, Grammarly, and Tailwind so you’re bound to find a company or product you already use and love or one that you’d like to try out and eventually promote.
- CJ (Commission Junction)– This network has tons of companies like Turbo Tax and Credit Sesame, plus companies can reach out to you as well!
- Flex Offers– This network has different categories that you can look through to find companies you love like Hulu, Lyft, and Free Tax USA.
- Viglink– Another great network that has tons of big name brand companies like Groupon and Finish Line to share with your readers.
- Amazon Affiliate– I don’t think I know one person who hasn’t bought something off Amazon at least once in their life. Amazon is great because the possibility of products to promote are endless! That laptop case you ordered that you can’t live without? Share it and make money in the process!
- Media.net– An ad network that’s SUPER easy to join if you’re just starting out.
- Google AdSense– One of the bigger well-known ad networks in the game.
All of the affiliate networks listed, except for Amazon, have multiple different sellers/companies within each one. So, for example, you could use ShareASale and find 3 of your favorite places to shop within the network and promote those!
Another way you can find programs is by going to your favorite brand, product, or apps website and scrolling to the bottom to see if they have a work with us or affiliate section.
Now that I’ve been able to join a bunch of different networks, I’m currently working on finding brands I already love, or ones I’d like to check out and hopefully promote one day if I come to love them.
*Tip– Not every company is the same within each network so don’t hesitate to join more than one!
April Affiliate/Ad Goal–
- Find new products to try/ join more affiliates
- Work on ad placement throughout blog
Overall Goals For My Second Month Blogging
- Officially launch email freebie to increase email subscribers
- 446 Pinterest Followers/ Work on strategy
- Grow Twenty Something’s Survival Guide group board
- Pin/promote more of my own content
- Comment on more blog posts of others
- Read at least 3-5 articles per week to continue learning
- Write one blog post per week
- Join more affiliate programs
- Work on Ad placement throughout my blog
My point of sharing all of this is to show you that you CAN do this! Whether you want a creative outlet, or you need some extra income to support yourself and your family, you CAN succeed.
Remember that more page views DOES NOT necessarily mean more money. So if you are just starting out and wondering if it’s even possible to make money, it definitely is!
It’s all about the relationship you build with your readers so they will want to listen to you and take your product recommendations.
I know starting something new can be scary. Believe me, I was terrified when I brought the idea of blogging up to my boyfriend, but he was all for it!
So if you don’t have someone to say “Hell yeah, go for it!” I’ll say it for you. GO FOR IT! You can 100% do this, and I hope to hear from you with your progress along the way 🙂
Don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need help setting up your blog. I would be happy to help you through the process.
Oh by the way, if you want to get notified about new blogging help posts, join my Blogging Babes!
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