I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for six months already! Soon enough it will be a year and knowing that I have so many ideas and goals for this blog, it’s safe to say I’m definitely here to stay.
I started this little blog in December because I knew I had a lot to share, and personal finance was a niche I was passionate about.
I was a little nervous because I started a couple of blogs before in the past in other niches and they didn’t last. I felt different though with this one because I educated myself and observed how others successfully ran their blog beforehand. In December I just literally decided to through myself out there and I’m so glad I did.
It’s been a wild ride and an amazing journey so far. Here are the key things I learned after 6 months of blogging.
1. Organization is Key
When you start a blog, getting organized is crucial if you don’t want to get extremely overwhelmed. I started out pretty organized and I actually had several posts written ahead of time before I even bought my domain name. I started out posting three times a week which was doable at first then switched to two times a week when I started writing for other websites.
Now I’m lucky if I can get a few days ahead on my posts. I don’t even use CoSchedule yet to schedule out my posts since I’m basically posting as I go. But I do have my own version of an editorial calendar via an Excel spreadsheet and handwritten in my planner. I brainstorm topic ideas in Excel but I change my mind so much as to when I will publish a particular post so I pencil in a rough calendar in my planner so I know when to have each post ready to go live.
Tools like Twitter feed and Hootsuite have helped me schedule Tweets and share posts from my favorite blogs. I also use a weekly schedule to prioritize my blogging tasks. I have specific days and times when I work on branding my blog, writing and preparing posts, commenting on other blogs and so on. I could definitely be more organized but the way I have things set up now keeps me from going off the deep end 🙂
2. Content is Everything
quality no amazing content is the #1 thing I’ve been focused on these past few months. I admire a lot of successful bloggers but I’m happy I didn’t try to mimic everything they did on their blogs. Part of the hype about having my own blog was getting the chance to write about topics that were important to me and use my own voice and my own writing style.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a bit scary to put myself and my writing out there at first for everyone to judge but I’d rather be myself from the get go. When you blog it’s important to be yourself and understand that exceptional content can build readership and keep people coming back. I learned quickly that several (maybe hundreds) of other personal finance bloggers have similar experiences to me and tend to write about the same topics.
The best post ideas and content I’ve come up with have just come from everyday experiences and not the current fad in the blogosphere:
My Version of the Secret
How to Prepare Financially for an Unexpected Disaster
Why Creating a Vision Board is Worth Every Penny
The Man I Never Knew Who Changed My Life
What Do Your Friends Think of Your Frugal Ways?
How Do You Motivate Yourself Each Day?
The Unglamarous Side of the Personal Finance Journey
3. Blogging Can Be Extremely Time Consuming
People told me that blogging takes time, but I never really understood it until I started a blog of my own. I’ve probably spent countless hours on my blog already between writing, generating post ideas, finding pictures for posts, optimizing posts and pages for search engines, working on my them, website functionality and logo etc., and I still have so much more to do.
With blogging, you it can seem like your work is never done. No matter what you finish and achieve, there will always be another task lined up to complete and the trick is just to find a good stopping point from time-to-time and accept that fact that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Given the time that it takes to successfully run and manage a blog, I’d say you have to be extremely passionate about your blog because if you’re not, it’s going to fall apart. Fitting blogging in to my already busy schedule has been tough and I’m actually sitting here at 5:30 a.m. typing this post because it’s one of the only times I can get my thoughts out clearly without being distracted by my son or boyfriend.
I probably never would have woken up at 5a.m. to work on any of my other blogs and that’s why they failed. With blogging time management is everything.
4. Say Thank You
I love how each blog niche has its own community and I’m super grateful to be engaged with the personal finance community. When I first started my blog, Kay and Tonya were some of the first people to comment and keep up with my posts and that’s when I initially got the feeling that a supportive community of bloggers had my back.
While I try to offer helpful advice and tips to help readers save time, stress and money, I learn so much from reading other blogs and I love how everyone is so generous and supportive. So I just want to say thank you to anyone who came across my blog and stuck around for a while.
Whether you comment or not, thank you for taking the time to read and share my posts with others. It really means a lot, and I’m a firm believer that communities help keep bloggers going.
5. That Task I Keep Putting off Just Needs to Be Taken Care of Already
Speaking of managing time, managing tasks is just as important. I’m not a major procrastinator by nature, but there are quite a few things I need to do for my blog that I just keep putting off. Some of them are simple, like adding a few new pages, working on my sidebar, and changing a few other things around but others are massive projects like a complete redesign I’d like to get started with before I reach my one-year mark.
I find that I’ve been getting overwhelmed with what I need done and I’m simply not doing it. Time is a big factor, but if I can prioritize these special tasks and just start knocking them out one-at-a-time I’d honestly feel sooooooo much better. What tasks am I talking about you might ask? Check out my goals for this blog below.
Goals for This Blog
I tend to share my life goals more often than my blog goals, but that doesn’t mean I’m not working on growing this little blog. Here are some of my plans for the near future, in no particular order but I’m shooting for some goals sooner than others.
- Launch my Newsletter: I’m almost ready at this point. I’ve been building my email list since I started this blog and I’m planning to share a monthly newsletter with readers. In my newsletter I plan to open up more about my financial journey and share the latest news on the blog. I will also be including featured recipe ideas for those of you who have been struggling with dining out less. I love to cook and I’m drawn to new and easy recipes, so for the masses of people who are looking to trim down or maintain their grocery budget, I’m hoping I can help out in this area. So if you haven’t signed up yet, make sure you do!
- Get More Established on Social Media, Maybe Start a Facebook Page: I’ve never been a fan of Twitter, but I am coming around and I do see how helpful it is to establish a social media presence for your blog. Currently, I have Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. I haven’t been as proactive about growing my following and that’s something I can improve on. The thing about social media is that I’d rather have more readers than a bunch of followers who don’t even engage with my blog. But, I know I need to step my social media game up though, especially on Pinterest since it can help generate more traffic to my blog.
- Grow my Page Views and Readership:
Ever since I started this blog my traffic has been steadily increasing and I optimize most of my posts for SEO and I believe it’s helping. I had the most traffic in April so far but I’m not sure if May will surpass it since there are only a few days left. After six months, I do think I’m doing well but I’d like to see my traffic increase to 5,000 – 10,000 page views a month within the next few months. I know that utilizing social media and Pinterest and continuing to post great content will help with this.
- Host a Giveaway: To help me thank my readers I really want to host a giveaway this year as well. I should hopefully be doing something this summer but my issue is just finding something worthwhile to give away, haha.
- Update My Design Theme
- I’m content with my current theme and design, but I know it could be better so I’m on the lookout for a new blog design that will really depict my brand and I just have a ton of things to do visually so I will probably look into working with a graphic designer. My deadline for updating my blog’s design is by the end of this year.
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