My blog is 3 months old! I’ve absolutely loved my blogging adventure so far. It’s been fun, and challenging in a good way. I’m beyond thrilled with the results I’ve had so far. I’m learning new things everyday and I’m so excited for what the future holds.
In this post I want to share the story of my blog’s beginnings. I’ll tell you what’s been working for me in my first 3 months blogging. I’ll also tell you how I’ve been able to jump start my blog and get off to a successful start.
My First 3 Months Blogging
This post may contain affiliate links.
I love reading blogs. There are many great blogs that I like to read on a regular basis. A few months before my blog started I found myself becoming very interested in bloggers that wrote about how they began their blogs and what it was like to be a blogger.
I was inspired to start a blog of my own. I wasn’t sure if anyone would actually want to read what I had to say, but I figured I didn’t really have anything to lose. And what a great idea that was!
I haven’t really shared this before but it’s been really important to my blog and so I’m going to include it in this post.
I’ve been super motivated to make this blog as successful as possible from the very beginning because I know how what a big impact it could have on my family’s future. My goal is to use this year to develop and nurture my blog while I continue to work my day job in the hopes that by next year I could work from home and be a full-time blogger. If I can make this happen, I’ll be able to stay home with my future children. That is my dream!
I have used that motivation to drive me during my blogging journey so far. And I’ll continue to do so. If anyone reading this is just getting started with blogging (or with anything really), that is the best advice I could give you. Figure out why you want to do it first and then use that to motivate you along the way.
I made the decision to pursue blogging full-force. I went into it with confidence that I would be successful. This was so vital. It influenced every choice that I made. I didn’t doubt myself. I didn’t second guess myself and wonder what would happen if my blog didn’t work out, because I feel sure that it will be.
Setting up my blog
When I first started thinking about blogging I thought that I would just start with a free Blogger or WordPress.com blog and then transfer it to a self-hosted blog in the future if I decided to. I assumed this was the best thing to do because I’d read posts by many of the bloggers that I love that had mentioned that’s what they did in the beginning of their blogging career.
I started looking into this more, and reading everything I could about it. What I found is the large majority of experienced bloggers urging new bloggers to go with a self-hosted blog from the start. What really stood out to me was that bloggers who had actually started with a free blogging platform regretted that decision. They wished that they had made the choice to go with a self-hosted blog from the start.
So, I decided to learn from their mistake. When I was ready to create my blog, I went with a self-hosted blog. I used Bluehost as my hosting provider because from all my digging I also found that they are super highly recommended by everyone who uses them (or so it seems to me atleast!) And I have to tell you that was a great choice!
Bluehost was super easy to use — especially since I am far from technically inclined. The entire process so much easier than I expected it to be.
Awesome side-note about hosting: Bluehost comes with some awesome free bonuses! I want to mention this because I didn’t fully understand the value of these things when I created my blog, but I am so glad to have them!
- The first thing is that Bluehost includes a free domain name. Now, a domain name (like www.happyhumblehome.com for example) usually costs about $12 a year, but this is more than a $12 value! It saves you a step, and precious time, when you are creating your blog.
- Bluehost also includes a free email address and your blog’s domain! (heather@happyhumblehome, for example) I did not appreciate how great this was at the time but it is awesome! I can’t tell you how many times I see other bloggers asking how to get an email address at their blog’s domain. Mine was included for free and beyond easy to set up!
- The best thing about Bluehost is that they have amazing customer service! Their incredible Help Center is available 24/7. And they are super helpful! I love this feature, and it has definitely come in handy.
Free blog options
I wanted to keep things low cost when I was setting up my blog. I wasn’t making money from my blog yet, and I anticipated that it would be quite a while before I actually started making money.
So, when I was creating my blog I went with free options when I could. One place that I used a free option was in choosing my blog’s theme. I looked through tons of free themes and I chose the one that was a little different and that fit the vision I had for my blog. I made sure that it was responsive (almost everyone is reading from a mobile device) and I checked out some other blogs that were using the theme.
Spoiler: Now that I’m making money from my blog, I have invested in a beautiful theme from Restored 316 and I’m going to be redesigning soon!
I also decided to use a free logo instead of purchasing one. How do you get a free logo? Make one yourself with PicMonkey or Canva. It’s great practice in the graphic design skills you’ll need as a blogger.
When I decided to start blogging, I knew I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could about how to blog. And more importantly, how to blog well.
I wanted to give my blog a strong start. But I had no idea what I was doing. So, I turned to some of the best bloggers out there and I’ve been soaking up their knowledge like a sponge.
The first book I read about blogging
I read How to Blog for Profit without Selling your Soul by Ruth Soukup. Ruth (from Living Well, Spending Less) is one of the most successful, best known bloggers out there. How to Blog for Profit without Selling your Soul gave me a strong understanding of blogging basics. I learned about the terms and buzzwords that I had been hearing and reading about and didn’t fully understand.
After reading How to Blog for Profit without Selling your Soul, I had a basic understanding of how this whole blogging thing worked. I had a vision of where I wanted my blog to go and I had an idea of how to get there.
I wanted to keep learning about blogging and so I turned to another expert in the field Bob Lotich. Bob has a very successful (and well-run) blog at Seedtime.com. He also has an awesome blogging course Pro-Blogging Secrets.
I was so excited to take the Pro-Blogging Secrets course. It is a series of videos and resources that cover the spectrum of all blogging areas. It covers blogging basics, gaining traffic, monetization, and the business of blogging. I learned so much from this course.
PBS also came with an awesome Facebook support group. This was an amazing opportunity to ask questions and exchange ideas with other bloggers.
After I finished Pro-Blogging Secrets, I decided I could really benefit from blogging courses and gaining the perspective of other highly successful bloggers.
Then, I found…
Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook by Abby Lawson. Abby is a super successful blogger at Just a Girl and her Blog. This comprehensive program walked me through the process of laying a strong foundation for my blog.
Abby holds nothing back in Building a Framework. She even shares the mistakes she made when she started her blog. I was so thankful to learn from her mistakes right from the start with Happy Humble Home. The program covers everything from creating content and building relationships to growing your blog and monetizing.
Building a Framework also includes premium packages that include step-by-step video tutorials, which taught me so much about the technical aspects of blogging that I couldn’t figure out on my own.
In my opinion, the most valuable part of the program is that it includes a Facebook Mastermind group that you’re able to join once you purchase the program. This has been so helpful to me! I’m able to ask questions and talk to other bloggers about things that my non-blogging friends just don’t understand.
Continuing my education
Last month I read some more great books about blogging:
- Becca Ludlum’s Everything But the Posts
- Kayla Aimee’s The Must-Have Guide To Blogging: How I Built and Grew a Profitable Blog (and You Can, Too!)
- Lena Gott’s 17 Strategies I Used to Go from 17K to 350K+ Pageviews in 9 Months
I recommend all three of these books. They each offer new information and a new perspective on how to make your blog successful.
What am I going to do next
I’m super excited to continue my blog education in the coming year. I have pre-ordered Elite Blog Academy, which is created and taught by Ruth Soukup (who also wrote that first blogging book I read How to Blog for Profit without Selling your Soul). EBA is only available once a year and it won’t begin until February but I know it will make a huge impact on my blog.
Blogging is more fun with Friends
Everything I’ve read about blogging has taught me that relationships between bloggers are vital to blogging success. So, I made it a point to reach out to a few other (super awesome) beginning bloggers during my first month blogging and I created a mastermind group.
This mastermind group is one of my favorite things that has happened in my blog adventure so far. It’s an amazing group of like-minded bloggers who are super determined to make their blogs a success. We support each other, share ideas, and help each other along the way.
In writing this post, I realized I had a lot to say about this so I’m going to be writing a post about how I created this mastermind group, so I’m going to be writing a separate post about that soon. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss that post.
I’ve also made it a priority to network with a wide range of bloggers by joining things like link parties (Here’s a great list of parties), joining Facebook groups with other bloggers, and linking to other blogs that I admire in my posts. The blog community has been so welcoming and I’m so glad to be a part of it!
I expected it to take a several months before I really started seeing traffic coming to my blog. I am absolutely blown away by how much traffic I’ve gotten to my blog during these first 3 months.
Total Pageviews: 51,456
Here’s the breakdown of pageviews by month:
- 1st Month: 10,145
- 2nd Month: 18,512
- 3rd Month: 22,799
How did I get so many pageviews so soon?
Pinterest is by far my main traffic source. In fact, according to my Google Analytics, 93% of my traffic has come from Pinterest!
This is probably because I devote the large majority of my social sharing time to Pinterest. I decided to do this from the very beginning because everything I’d read from other bloggers taught me that Pinterest is the easiest and most effective avenue for gaining traffic. Pinterest is also my favorite social network in general so it made that “Pinterest work” much easier.
I’ve worked hard to build up my Pinterest profile, gain some followers, and pin my posts everywhere I can.
Group boards have been essential to my Pinterest success. I’ve worked hard (and been lucky) to gain some amazing group boards, which to my understanding is the key to Pinterest success. I’ve been feeling brave and reaching out to big name bloggers. It turns out, they are people too! And they’re generally happy to help. I am so thankful for how welcoming the blogging community has been to me.
I’ve also worked hard to create pinnable images for each post. Before my blog was born (a month ago, mind you) I’d never done anything like this before. But with the help of PicMonkey, I’ve created some pretty cool images. In my opinion at least…
And I get better at this with each image I create. PicMonkey is really awesome because it makes it so simple to edit any image, even if you are as technically challenged as I am.
The only real problem with Pinterest is that it can be extremely time consuming if you are pinning all your pins manually. I started using BoardBooster during my first month and it has been such a time saver!
With BoardBooster, I am able to easily schedule my pins and set it on autopilot. This gave me back so much time each day that I am now able to spend doing much more productive things.
Show me the money
I knew from the beginning that I wanted my blog to be profitable. This is my future career after all! I’m happy to share what has worked for me in the hopes that you may find it helpful if you’re just starting out with your own blog.
The main way that I’ve started monetizing thus far has with affiliate marketing.
First, I became an Amazon associate. This was great because I was able to go back through my posts and add links to products I’d already mentioned. I like this as a way to show my readers exactly which product I’m referencing, as well as a means to make a small commission on that product without costing my reader anything.
Then, I became an affiliate for some of the products that I mention often (like those blogging courses I took). These are all products that I strongly believe in and would refer my readers to anyway.
I also became an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. They a great resource for bloggers. Ultimate Bundles always create a phenomenal product, they have a 40% affiliate rate, and they have great resources for learning how to best market affiliate products.
Ultimate Bundles is the one source that I’ve made the most money from so far (271.60 in my 2nd month blogging). If you’re interested in getting started with affiliate marketing, I strongly recommend looking into Ultimate Bundles – you can check them out here.
And then, there’s Google Adsense.
I was rejected from Adsense the first two times I applied. In the all the abundant blogging information out there I haven’t seen hardly anything about being rejected from Adsense, but I know it has happened to a few of my other blogging friends too.
The first time I applied I’d just launched my blog and so it’s not surprising that I was rejected. I (impatiently) applied again towards the end of my first month and again was rejected.
Then, I became frustrated and I was determined to find a different ad network. I thought this would be possible because I already had more than 10,000 pageviews. However, because my blog was still so new I had trouble getting accepted to any other ad networks.
So, after I finished my second month blogging, I applied to Adsense again expected to be rejected. To my pleasant surprise, they finally accepted me!
I’ve been using Adsense for about 3 weeks now and I’ve liked working with them so far. It’s super easy to use. I’ve also been generating quite a bit more income from Adsense than I expected to.
1st Month Total: $12.80 (Amazon)
2nd Month Total: $308.85
- Amazon: $17.25
- Ultimate Bundles: $271.60
- Other courses: $20
3rd Month Total: $195.56
- Affiliate Income: $119
- Ebates: $75
- Private Affiliate (for a book I recommend): $10
- Adsense: $76.56
Total Income for my first 3 months: $517.21!
I’m beyond thrilled at that number. When I started my blog I thought it would be a long time before my blog was actually making money. I’m so glad that my blog has already started generating an income.
To be completely honest though… I’ve been working on this blog for about 25 hours a week for the past 15 weeks. This includes 2 weeks before my blog was launched in which I was writing posts and getting it all set up. So that works out to be about $1.40 per hour.
Blogging is definitely not a way to get rich quick but I do believe it will be completely worth the investment over time.
So what am I going to do with the money?
I’m going to reinvest it back into the blog. I’ve already spent some of it on the EBA presale and my new theme. I’m just going to get a few more things for my redesign.
I’m so glad that my blog is off to a good start. I’m going to continue to put in the work I feel confident that it will continue to pay off.
I really hope that this behind-the-scenes post was helpful to you wherever you are on your blogging journey.
What worked for you during your first few months of blogging? Share in the comments below.