I had finished full time work and just become a new mum. Obviously, this task alone is hard enough but no no, I decided this was the perfect time to start a blog. I knew I needed something that was just for me. How hard could it possibly be right? I can write a few posts each week (which will obviously gain a ton of followers and make some moolaa instantly), keep the house pristine and be the perfect mum. HA!! What fairy land was I living in?
I guess if you just want to share stories with your friends and family blogging could totally be really simple and easy. But, if you are truly wanting to get serious about it and turn it in a business (like I am) it is definitely not as easy as I first thought. The amount of hours I spent initially researching how to get it set up is crazy enough let alone actually tackling this mammoth task.
But, as many hours as it takes and the one hundred and one things I have learnt and have yet to learn, it is exactly what I need in my new life of being a mummy. I feel like I have something to say, something that may contribute to someone else's life in a positive way. I want to do my part in serving the world. My goal is to (hopefully soon) turn it in to a business to help contribute to my family expenses so I can stay at home with my babe, continue to watch her grow and be there as much as I can.
So, what are the 6 things I have learnt in the first month of blogging?
1. The first 6 months are make or break (so I have been told)
Just starting out in the world of blogging is seriously a tough gig. I should know, I'm living it. I reading and listening to some of my now favourite successful bloggers, I keep hearing that the first six months are the hardest and you just have to stick it out. So far they are spot on!
Personally, I didn't know a thing and I am still learning so much every day. Not only is there all the technical stuff about building your site to learn but then there is everything else, social media, SEO, growing a mailing list, creating opt-ins, the perfect images, and of course writing the content and promoting it etc etc. *One tip I can offer is to find really good scheduling tools and create an editorial calendar.
I am hoping that I will eventually get in to the swing of things and find my own rhythms for everything that needs to be done (which is slowly starting to happen).
Also, it is your duty to get super excited about the small successes! For me, the first success was actually pressing publish and launching my blog. The second was getting a few subscribers that weren't my friend or family haha. These are awesome things YOU have achieved and they deserve recognition. Even your favourite blogger who has 200k email subscribers started where you are.
2. There is such a thing as doing too much research
As I keep saying over and over again there is a heck of a lot to learn when it comes to blogging. This was completely overwhelming to me when I first dove head first in to this world.
I Googled, researched and read until I was dreaming blogging. I subscribed to sooo many blogs I thought would help me bit it was extremely overwhelming and made my head spin. Keeping up with them all was impossible. I have no ended up unsubscribing to the ones that I found that I didn't read. This sounds harsh coming from a new blogger but honestly, if I am not reading their content or actively engaging, then I am of no value to them anyway. That also applies to my readers as well. Sometimes repelling is a really good thing.
My suggestion would be to find a couple of bloggers to follow that you love. That have the information you are looking for and that you are going to actively engage with. Also follow a few for fun. Remember; business and pleasure.
My top business blogger: Jenna Kutcher
My top pleasure blogger: Emily Henderson
Bit of both: The Every Girl
I have really gotten in to podcast. I find they fit in with my life a lot better then reading blogs. I put one on when I'm doing the dishes, going to the gym, my daughters bath time etc. I don't want this to be another 'subscribe overload,' so I am currently sticking to just two.
The Goal Digger Podcast
The Strategy Hour Podcast
Click on the images and they will link you to their sites. Also available on iTunes.
3. Create a schedule
When I first started, each day I would right down a bunch of stuff that I wanted to get done.
An actual example from my first notebook:
- Research and understand SEO and Tags
- Learn how to correctly label photos
- Find some blogging groups to join
- Organise Pins in business folder
- Retake Manuka Biotic photo
- Research how to prepare images for your blog
Looking back, I only got 3/6 items checked off this list that day. Yes, I had a new baby and a house to look after etc but the one pit fall I was making was that there was no rhyme or reason to my to-do list. It was just me rambling things off the top of my head. This was my first mistake.
I now use a wall planner and plan my week in advance. I designate specific tasks to each day.
Example of what my current week looks like:
Monday: Photos Day
- Take scheduled photos
- Lightroom research
- Lightroom keywords
- Start editing
Tuesday: Scheduling Day
- What posts are coming up in the next month? (I have an editorial calendar to look at)
- Plan social media for each upcoming post
- Schedule emails for each post
- Plan and schedule extra social media posts for the week
- Plan photos for next week
Wednesday & Thursday: Writing Days
- Start drafting new posts
Friday: No Work Day
- Read other blogs and actively engage
- Actively engage with Facebook groups
Ok, I get this still looks like work but, to me it isn't. I try and give myself one or two days a week where I just focus on these few little things. My main focus is spending time with my daughter and Josh (if he is home.... army wife, remember? He is away a lot), while also getting around to any house work that I have neglected.
Saturday: Research Day
- Post ideas
- Photo inspiration
- Possible Girlbosses
- Possible charities
- Other projects (these are specific, but I can't share them just yet)
This week, this day may not plan out like this. Josh has a football game in Palmerston North so Eva and I are thinking about going to watch him play. Also, I usually have a 'Woocommerce Day' as I am currently working on opening a store as an extension to my blog - work in progress.
Sunday: Review Day
- Review posts scheduled for the week
- Review emails and social media posts scheduled for the week
As you can see, each day has a purpose and is designated to a specific subject. I highly recommend creating a schedule like this. It will help to keep you focused and stop you from bouncing from one topic to the next. Before I started planning my week like this, it felt like I was constantly working but not really getting anything done. My brain was a mushy overload and it was actually quite stressful.
I still use a notebook. I constantly have 'light-bulb' moments of new posts and ideas and I need to get them out of my head to continue focusing on the tasks for the day. Definitely stop to write them down but, don't let yourself be completely side tracked by it (I know, that is super hard sometimes).
Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't get it all ticked off. If you are like me and have a wee babe to think about as well as a house and a partner then sometimes the day is just not going to go as planned. Life happens and that is totally OK.
4. Designate a work area
One thing I don't currently have, due to our house being so tiny and also a limited budget, is a dedicated work space. Oh how I would love to have a Pinterest worthy office but, that is just not realistic for us right now. However, if you do have the space and money to make this happen I would definitely recommend it.
Right now, I currently work from the couch or the dinning table (mainly the couch as it is too cold in the kitchen). Pillows prop my laptop and mouse, I have to move everything around if I need to take notes or get up to grab something, I end up with a sore back and generally just feel unorganised and not as productive as I could be. Also it would be great to be able to walk away from my work without having to pack it all up. Just makes it a mission when you want to pop back to it for a few minutes here and there in-between changing nappies and giggling with a 7 month old.
5. This blog does not define me
Continually reminding myself that the success or failure of this blog is not the deciding factor of my worth. First and foremost I am a mum and that is my priority. It is so easy to get caught up in this thing. The possibilities are endless but it is not the end of the world if it doesn't work. That doesn't mean I am willing to give up it just means that if for some reason I had to or it didn't work out, that's OK. My life will not be over, haha.
6. Remembering this is meant to be fun
Remember, this is meant to be fun! It is not worth getting COMPLETELY stressed about (there is bound to be a little stress). I mean, if something comes up and you don't get that post out on time, yeah its annoying but who cares? No one out there is following your EVERY move except you (and maybe your mum).
Have a plan and get serious but, know that it is not the most important thing in life. LIVING is the most important thing in life. Always keep in the back of your mind why you started your blog to begin with and keep going back to that place.
If you are thinking of starting a blog these are some of the things you can expect. It is hard and involves A LOT of time and effort but it is totally worth it. It is the perfect project for me as a new mum.
Are you thinking about starting a blog? I would love to know if you found this helpful and if you would be interested in more posts related to blogging. let me know, email me, comment or find me on social media via the icon links on the side bar.