December 4, 2020
Last Updated on December 4, 2020
It’s been about four months since I started this blog, and I’ve made a lot of progress in that time. I started prepping in early August and my first post went out on August 20th. Now, in December, I realize I’ve failed to document my journey so far! I’d like to start doing progress reports on my blogging journey for those who may be in the same boat as me, and as something to look back on as my blog (hopefully) grows & evolves.
This update is going to mostly revolve around progress I’ve made & lessons I’ve learned. I will only briefly be touching on income. ?
I’d been dreaming of creating an online brand of some sort for a few years now. I always felt like this would be a great hobby for me to combine my love for technology, design, fashion, and more— but I never was exactly sure what I wanted it to be. For this reason combined with a general lack of time and motivation, I never took action. When 2020 came along, the pandemic gave me just enough extra time and boredom to start looking into things more seriously. I started becoming inspired and motivated by blogs I found on Pinterest. This eventually led to me taking the baby steps to get started like buying a domain name, setting up a WordPress site, getting a Pinterest account, and more. Some of this was familiar to me due to my background in tech. Other parts were a total learning experience, and still are!
So what exactly did I do in my first 4 months blogging? As I tried to recount everything I’ve created, published, and written in the past 4 months, I realized how many things I’ve actually done. It turns out, there’s a lot of steps that need to be taken to create & maintain a blog. This list doesn’t include everything, but here are the main things I’ve done so far:
Like many expert bloggers suggest, I set up my website as a self-hosted WordPress site. I used Go Daddy’s domain services & hosting simply for the low prices.
I started my website using a pre-made theme, not knowing much about what themes actually were and how I could customize them. Last month, I realized I wanted to take my website to the next level from a design perspective and completely redesigned my website. I built my redesigned website using the Divi theme and Divi Builder from Elegant Themes. This tool is AWESOME and allowed my goals for my website to come to life with just some HTML and CSS experience.
I have spent a ton of time on this, and still feel like there’s a lot of room for improvement. Many bloggers would tell you to avoid spending so much time on design, that content is king, and overly designing your website is a waste of time in the beginning. While I see where they are coming from, the fact of it is, this is just something I care a lot about and have fun doing. Even if hours spent designing and developing a custom website won’t have an immediate return on investment, its been worth it to me to create something I’m proud of.
In the first four months of blogging, I wrote & published 20 different posts. While I’ve tried a few different style posts, The majority of these (and best performing) are list-style posts about fashion and beauty trends. Due to best practices, I’ve been trying to make most of my posts around 1000 words or more. I think about 15 of my posts are 1000 words or more. I don’t have an exact count, but this means I’ve probably written around 15,000 words on my blog so far!
Before I even launched my blog, I setup a Pinterest business account and started building some boards. Now, I’ve created 2,622 pins in my first four months. This includes re-pins of others’ content as well. I’ve been able to pin so frequently and consistently with the help of Tailwind, which allows you to schedule you pins in advance. This way, I can focus more on things like writing content & building my site. Tailwind is an excellent tool, and has been a great investment for me in terms of Pinterest growth and site traffic. You can read more about that in my post about how I grew my Pinterest so quickly. Or, get started with Tailwind today. Tailwind offers a free trial up to 100 pins, but If you’re looking for more information first, check out Tailwind’s Typical Results of Tailwind for Pinterest Members.
Four months in, my perspective on my blog is so much different than it was before I started. That said, I didn’t go in completely blind. I was prepared by some lessons I learned from other blogs that I read prior to starting my own. I believe coming in with these lessons has really helped me stick with this and not give up.
A few things I knew coming in, thanks to other bloggers sharing their knowledge & advice:
Almost anyone with a successful blog or website will tell you this. It’s common to go over a year of blogging without making any money. And that’s even the case when you are working a ton of hours every week to produce and promote quality content. I have engrained this in my head and am thankful I did so! Building traction has been hard so far, but this advice has allowed me to celebrate the small wins and never give up ?
If you really dig into some of the successful blogs out there, you’ll likely realize that they have a TON of content. Not only that, but likely well built-out social pages as well. I remember thinking— it must have taken so much time to create all of this! Now, I can confirm how true that was. It can take hours to write a blog post alone. Not to mention the time it takes to do things like keyword research and promote your posts. This was important knowledge to come in with and has kept me from becoming easily discouraged at the amount of time it takes me to do things. (especially while just learning!)
Even coming in with some helpful knowledge, there’s a lot I’ve learned so far:
A few lessons I’ve learned in the past 4 months:
When you start a blog, there will be so many things you want to do. You’ll want to write a ton of content, add things to your website, design products to sell, and more… So many bloggers will tell you how doing these things have amounted to their success and it’ll likely make you want to follow in their footsteps. These are great goals & plans to have, but you can’t do it all at once! In my first four months, I learned how important it is to focus on the things in front of you and accept that this takes time. Many of the bloggers giving advice have been doing this for years! I have to keep peace of mind knowing that I’ll get there eventually, it just not be today or tomorrow.
“Done is better than perfect” has been my motto since starting this journey. I sometimes feel like starting a business is a perfectionists worst nightmare. There are so nit-picky imperfections on my site that I feel like I need to fix. However, it could take some time. When I get hung up on these things, I have to ask myself— what impact does this small imperfection actually have on my goals? It’s okay to have some imperfections, and it’s important to constantly evaluate if the time and effort it will take to fix them is worth it.
I’ve been writing a good amount of seasonal content on my blog since the beginning. Honestly, the first few seasonal posts totally flopped. Why? I didn’t post & promote them soon enough! While I want to maintain some amount of adaptability and flexibility when it comes to my blog content, I have had to come face to face with the importance of planning. In fact, Pinterest recommends publishing seasonal content 45-60 days in advance. This means you’d be publishing pins about Christmas in October. This has been one of the biggest lessons so far. As a blogger, you have to be super proactive about your content.
While I don’t want the focus of this retrospective to be on stats, I did think it would be nice to document. As I’ve learned, it can take a long time to build traction on a blog and I’m prepared for this to be a long journey.
According to Google Analytics, here are my website sessions over time:
Ultimately, I’m super proud of these numbers! Im not setting specific goals on traffic yet and am working on building quality content.
From August to December, I achieved 9.85 Million Pinterest impressions & reached a total audience of 5.5 Million. I only have 140 followers, but this number continues to grow. I cannot believe how quickly I’ve seen growth on Pinterest, and attribute a lot of it to my use of Tailwind. Tailwind has allowed me to schedule pins in advance has well as see in depth insights related to my pins. It’s important to note, that these are just my personal results with Tailwind. Tailwind has transparently provided Typical Results of Tailwind for Pinterest Members to get an accurate view of average metrics.
I did not expect this at all, but I have achieved some impressions in Google search. Since August, I’ve had 519 impressions on Google search & 17 clicks. These have been mostly for random search terms, but have encouraged me to keep pursuing longer content that could rank on Google.
Drumroll, please!……I’ve made a total of $5.28 so far through affiliate links. Again, this is not something I’m super worried about right now. I realize that by focusing on quality content now, I can worry about monetization later.
It’s amazing how much my perspective and goals have shifted in the past four months. At a high level, here’s some things I’d like to focus on in the near future:
This is a given, but no matter my other goals, it’s important for me to keep publishing content at a rate of about two posts per week. From what I have learned from others and my experience so far, I believe this is one of the most important things for me to continue doing. It’s easy to get sidetracked when there are other things I want to spend my time on, but my goal is to stick with this.
I started an email list, but I don’t have many signups yet. Upcoming, I’d like to focus on growing this with more effective opt-in forms and freebies.
In the past 4 months, I’ve learned a lot about what kinds of content I like to write, and what I might want my blog to become in the future. Something I’m working on this coming quarter is to develop a strategy for the content I am creating and a more clear future for Days Inspired. When I started this blog, I made a conscious decision to not box myself into a specific niche. While many advise against this, I knew that in time, I would be able to find common themes in my best posts and begin to narrow in. I feel like I am finally at that point where I can develop a more clear vision for the future of Days Inspired
When I reflect on the past four months, it’s not really any of these accomplishments that matter the most to me. What I am most proud of is that I have been able to make building my blog a part of my daily life, and have put sustained effort into it over the past four months. This is a huge accomplishment for someone who waited years to ever get started in the first place! Now, it would feel strange to not at least do a bit of work on my blog every day. When I feel frustrated, I just think— what am I going to do, quit? And the answer is always no! At this point, it would be so hard to put this down and not pick it back up again. I’m really proud that I’ve been able to find the time and make building this a priority. I’ve found writing, even about simple things, to be stress relieving, and building my website has been an excellent creative and technical exercise. I am surprised and delighted at how rewarding this experience has been, even without making any money.
That’s all for my four month recap! Overall, I’ve learned a lot, I feel incredibly proud of how far I’ve come, and I’m looking forward to do so much more in the coming months.
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