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I just finished my first 6 months of blogging. It’s been such an emotional journey with so many highs and lows! I learned so much about blogging, from other bloggers and also just from trial and error. In this blog post, I am going to share with you the 10 lessons I learned in my first 6 months of blogging!
But first, some stats…
In my first 6 months of blogging, I achieved the following:
- Income: $1,241.70 ($238.35 ads, $1,003.35 affiliates)
- Expenses: $1,789.88
- Page views: 64,561
- Sessions: 47,906
- Email subscribers: 84
- Pinterest followers: 964
I am content with the results from my first 6 months blogging. I’m still technically not “making money” yet since I spent almost $1,800 on my blog. But I’m sure in a few months from now, I’ll be making a great income 😉
I am by no means posting these statistics to brag. There are other bloggers who earned way more than I have in their first 6 months of blogging. But these bloggers are exceptions and you must keep in mind that every blog is made differently!
The 10 lessons I learned In My First 6 Months Blogging
1. Blogging is real work
Don’t listen to the haters who say that blogging isn’t a real job. I’ve worked in corporate accounting as a CPA for 6 years and I have to say that blogging is a lot harder than working as a corporate slave! There is SO MUCH to learn. Blogging is so unbelievably complicated and there isn’t one “quick and dirty” formula that leads to success. There are no rules to follow, you just have to keep throwing spaghetti against the wall until something sticks (quote from Ruth of Elite Blog Academy).
What makes blogging so challenging?
- There is no one way to monetise a blog
- There is no “magic formula” for success
- Blogging is still relatively new as a profession that there isn’t really a lot of (free) material out there to help you out
- A lot of it is just trial and error
- There’s a lot of competition and it’s difficult to distinguish your blog from the masses
- As a newbie blogger, it’s difficult to get traffic which is the foundation for monetisation
2. Blogging is an investment… of money and time
Okay, so when I first started this blog, I must have spent over 100+ hours planning what I would blog about, picking the niche, picking the blog name, writing up posts, etc. Not to mention, I spent over $1,000 on my blog in my first month. The upfront investment was huge! If you don’t believe me, check my March 2018 income report 😉
Was it worth it? Hells yes!
Trust me, I was scared AF investing so much money in a brand new blog when I knew nothing about blogging. In case you are curious, I paid about $100 for hosting and then $900 for a blogging course. I owe everything to blogging courses (and mostly to the Facebook group full of supportive bloggers). Although blogging courses are helpful, I learned the most from asking questions and reading the experiences of other bloggers (only available through the private Facebook group for students).
As a brand new blogger, I’d recommend the following courses/ebooks:
- Pinteresting Strategies – This ebook costs only $32 and is probably one of the most highly-recommended ebooks on Pinterest and traffic I’ve seen on the Internet! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to learn Pinterest for a relatively low price.
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – I love this course that taught me everything about affiliate marketing. I bought this course in my third month of blogging and since then, I had earned over $1,000 in affiliate marketing alone! Totally worth the $197 price tag. Oh, and there’s a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied 😉
Related: How To Pick The Perfect Blog Name
3. “Do-it-yourself” is only going to get you so far
At the beginning of my blogging journey, I tried to do everything on my own. Since I already paid $1,000 up front, I refused to pay anything more unless it was absolutely necessary.
For instance, I spent my first month manually pinning. Though it’s effective, it’s super time consuming. I’m also someone who gets bored easily, so after a while, I just couldn’t keep up with it anymore.
On top of that, I refused to purchase courses to supplement the original course which I had already paid $900 for. I tried to do everything for free just by reading blog posts from other bloggers. What I quickly learned was that most bloggers aren’t going to spill all their secrets in free blog posts. They’re, of course, going to try to monetise by creating courses with the “secrets” that they don’t post in their blog posts. That’s why, I say, save yourself the trouble and just sign up for a reputation and recommended course. This has saved me so many precious hours of hard work. Time is money, and the earlier you are able to monetise your blog, the more money you will make!
If you want to see results, you MUST invest in the tools that will help take your blog to the next level. Things like a premium theme, a scheduler, hosting, blogging courses (this and this), and more.
4. The burnout is real
I can’t count the number of times I’ve experienced blogger burnout during the past 6 months. It’s strange. I can go some days writing one blog day everyday for 10 days straight, and then I can go 2 weeks without posting anything at all. I really can’t explain it but I’m certain it has nothing to do with my menstrual cycle (lol)!
When I’m feeling burnt out, I give myself the “okay” to just take a rest and not worry about my blog. I feel like beginning bloggers are too hard on themselves. It’s totally okay to take a day or a week or a month off blogging. Your mental/physical health is worth a lot more!
My strategies for coping with burnout are:
- Reading my favourite blogs for inspiration
- Writing some goals/visualising through the law of attraction
- Establishing a morning routine
- Using a scheduler to give yourself a well-deserved break
5. Your blog voice and direction will change, and that’s okay
When I first started blogging, I talked about 4 broad topics: blogging, career tips, personal finance, living abroad. That’s because those are the topics I’m most passionate about.
However, over time, I’ve migrated away from career tips and now I’m also blogging less about living abroad. Why? Because my audience dictates what I write about. I study the posts that are doing well and then I keep writing similar content!
6. Slow and steady wins the race
It’s so easy to get caught up with chasing page views. I admit, I also have a bad habit of comparing my blog to other blogs and feeling crappy about myself.
I’ve heard so many times that, “slow and steady wins the race.” Don’t compare the progress of your brand new blog to someone who has already been blogging for years. Further, don’t compare your blog to someone who has a newer blog than yours and think that you’re behind just because you’re not earning as much money!
As I mentioned earlier, every blog has a unique path to monetisation and success. I personally believe that if you put the effort in, you will be rewarded for it. So, it might be a few weeks from now, a few months from now, or even a few years from now. Who knows. But just keep blogging at a consistent rhythm and you will find success, I promise!
7. Building a connection is key to success
Connecting with your audience and other bloggers is a must when it comes to blogging.
I tend to write as if I am talking to a friend. You wouldn’t believe how often I get messages about how so-and-so loves my blog because it feels like I’m talking to a friend. That is my goal. I’m also extremely transparent about everything on my blog and that’s what keeps my readers coming back for more!
Secondly, connecting with other bloggers is a must. I’ve met so many bloggers in the last 6 months and they’ve all helped me in some way on my blogging journey. We share tips and tricks with each other. We keep each other motivated. And we are always there to cheer each other on. It’s never too late to start networking with other bloggers.
My networking tips are:
- Joining blogging Facebook groups and being active in discussions
- Commenting on blogs you love
- Sending emails to bloggers
- Working on a collaboration with other bloggers (i.e. through guest posts, etc.)
8. Traffic isn’t the only driver of success!
I used to think that you needed hundreds of thousands of page views every month in order to make money blogging. But as my latest blog income report shows, I made almost $400 and my page views were only around 10,000.
Sure, traffic is great, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to get more traffic and earn more ad income. I’d also love to get more traffic and convert them into email subscribers and sales.
However, I believe that working on building a rapport with your audience is much more important than getting high traffic. The majority of my income is from affiliate marketing, which basically means that someone buys a product or service that I recommend (and this is 100% based on trust).
9. Set goals and aim high
When I first started blogging, my goal was to earn $1,000 within my first 6 months of blogging. Why $1,000? Because I had spent $1,000 on hosting and a blogging course.
If I could go back in time, I would have been even more ambitious and aimed higher with my blog goals!
My blog goals are what keep me motivated and also holds me accountable for blogging tasks. For example, I know that in order to earn $x,xxx, I must do activity a, b, and c.
You should check out my income reports to see exactly what kind of goals I set! They’re usually “stretch” goals and I almost always end up missing them!
10. Keep calm and blog on
Lastly, I’d recommend that you just have fun! Keep calm and blog on!
There will be haters, but don’t let them get to you. From time to time I get the occasional hate message. “This blog post sucks” or “This post is so dumb” are things that I’ve heard before. I learned to not let it get to me because for every douchebag hate mail I receive, I receive at least 20 awesome and inspiring messages from loyal fans.
These are the 10 lessons I learned in my first 6 months blogging. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next 6 months! One thing I know for sure is that next month, I will be attending my first blogging conference where I’ll be meeting and networking with even more bloggers! I can’t wait!
If you’re interested in starting a blog of your own, don’t forget to check out my ultimate guide to starting a blog!
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