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What I Learned in the First 6 Weeks as a New Blogger

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If you made a list of people who would potentially become bloggers at some point in their lives… If you knew me at all, my name would appear near the bottom of the list.

Melvin Knothead

Anita Haircut

Stephen Johnson

OK, you get it? The Bottom.

I do have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I do need to supplement my income from our local business, which is why I would even entertain this idea. However, this is so far out of my wheel house, let’s be honest, blogging was in another galaxy from anything I ever thought I would even attempt to do.

Six Weeks In…

I have learned so much in the last six weeks, and I would like to share it here. Maybe you can benefit, or at least be encouraged that you can do it, too.

Techy Techie Stuff

Theme Selection and Setup

I considered myself a somewhat tech-savvy guy through college. I graduated in 2000, and since then I have been so immersed in work and family, technology had begun to pass me by.

Using technology has always been part of my job, no matter where I was employed, and even more since starting a local business. Nevertheless, I had no idea how to begin a blog on the technical side, and truthfully, I was a bit afraid to try.

Having no money with which to pay someone to do this for me (remember, I needed additional income, not something else to spend on), I began the slow, painstaking process of learning about blog themes. If you asked me what a blog theme was prior to this…

No clue.

My wife definitely had an opinion on the look and feel of the theme, so I left the theme selection process mostly to her.

We chose the Bard theme and went with the Pro version because of the additional options available. Why? They make the theme look and feel more professional to the end user.

Ok, so you’ve chosen a theme. Now you just need to format it to your liking.

I will be honest, I had no experience at all in this, and it terrified me. What I decided to do was look at other blogs that I liked, and through trial and error, toggle options on and off in my theme until I manipulated it to my liking.

I basically copied my way to a theme that appealed to me.

The destination of a perfectly formatted theme I will forever be happy with still seems a few hundred miles away. Even today, I still made some minor changes to the layout of my page.

But, if I can figure this out, you can too.

There are certainly many resources available to help you. Just look at other blogs you like and copy their format in your theme. If you find a theme on a blog you really like, scroll to the bottom of the page. Generally you will find the theme name there, and you can go get it for yourself!

Hosting

In my estimation, hosting is paying a company to “hold” your site for you. This is not a technical definition, because I do not understand the technical definitions. They allow you to choose your domain name (www.youramazingblogname.com). This should not be rushed. I think we spent at least 3 days tossing names around in our heads and batting them back and forth before we settled on ours.

Basically, if you want to make money from your blog, if you want your website (which is really synonymous with your blog) to look professional, you need a hosting company.

A good hosting company, like SiteGround, will walk you through this process with tutorials and even live support, something unheard of these days. SiteGround has award-winning support, something I have already taken advantage of, and they are stellar! I really can’t recommend them enough. If you already have a website and would like to change your hosting company, they can help with that, too.

Writing

I was, generally, a “Low B, High C” student all the way through high school. I never enjoyed writing, and I have finished reading very few books, even to this day.

But blogging is different.

I am sure that there are some super successful bloggers out there that draw on an immense talent of writing. These people could be, and many are, authors. I am the direct opposite of these people.

But blogging is different.

Blogging levels the writing playing field a bit, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong here. Your blog post can’t be full of misspelled words and gross grammatical errors and keep people’s attention. However, blogging is best when it takes a conversational, friend to friend tone. Friend to friend conversation is something I can do, and so can you!

Taking this belief and understanding about blogging, I went with it. I began writing blog posts, and the more I wrote, the better they got.

Believe it or not, I was beginning to enjoy writing. This was shocking but fun to me.

So, even if you don’t enjoy writing, remember that a blog post is a conversation between friends. Imagine you are just chatting with a friend about a subject you enjoy. Before you know it, I bet you will be typing away and starting to enjoy the process. That’s what happened for me!

Promoting Your Blog

You do not have to look very far to find out the best place to promote your blog. Without fail, at least from my research, Pinterest is by far the best way to do this. There are other methods to promoting your blog, and you should try some of these, eventually. Most of the advice for new bloggers is to focus on one platform to start and maximize that.

Again, they all say Pinterest.

But won’t people stumble upon my website by searching for things that I have written about?

No, at least not in the beginning. You will need to promote your content for people to find you.

I knew of Pinterest, but prior to this new journey, I had never pinned anything. I really didn’t understand Pinterest, how it worked, what the purpose was, or anything about it until before this. My wife patiently taught me the basics, and I bought a book, Pinteresting Strategies 2017-18 by Carly Campbell. Carly’s book has helped me a ton.

I finally began to understand what Pinterest really was (it’s not what you think) and how I could use it to get traffic to my website. I am still learning, but Carly’s methods are working!

It really does work! I have gone from 1,723 Pinterest viewers per month to 13,934 in six weeks. I had 44 engaged viewers per month to begin, and now I have 450. I started with about 20 followers and now I am over 200!

Obviously, I haven’t been promoting my blog since day one, either, so these results are in the last four weeks or so. I own and run my own local business, a Coffee Shop, here in Hixson, TN. I also lead music for our church, three services per week, so the blog and promoting it are done in my spare time.

Pinterest Analytics Screenshot | www.thebakeristalife.com

 

Pinterest Analytics Screenshot | www.thebakeristalife.com

Not much of this really matters if it does not turn into views on your website. This takes some time, but remember, we’ve only been at this for a few weeks. I am happy to report that I have grown from 0 Page Views on our blog to 171 in August, 2018. So far in September (today is the 29th) we have received 295 page views.

While these numbers are not high enough to make a significant (at least $1000 per month) income from our blog yet, but there is definite, encouraging growth.

So again, it is working!

This is Your Call to Action (because every good blog post has one, right?)

I write this to encourage you, especially if you are thinking about beginning a blog and fear, no time, or whatever has been holding you back. If I can grow at this rate, you can, too, and you may even grow faster! Be encouraged, and do this!

Comment below, and introduce yourself. Tell us about your journey. Ask us a question. We want to connect with you!

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