Hello and welcome to the first every Centsible Report! (still working out the name…) This will be my outlet for ramblings not necessarily personal finance focused, but maybe more related to my journey creating and growing this blog.
My idea is to make this a monthly series to give some updates and such. It will almost be my diary of sorts that I can look back on and see what I was dealing with at the time and hopefully see progress.
I think in the future, I may do income or blog traffic reports, but probably only on a quarterly basis. I know a lot of personal finance bloggers do monthly income reports and they’re very popular, but I think (at least at this stage in my blog) it’s more important to focus on the learnings and struggles of creating a new blog.
BESIDES, this website probably ain’t getting much income any time soon and the traffic is definitely diddly squat at the moment.
I think there are 3 topics I want to cover today.
Spread the struggle. PIN me please!
The first is consistency. The goal I gave myself for my first month of blogging was to publish twice a week. Did I achieve that?
Sorta. I did publish 8 articles, but here’s the kicker… 6 of those articles were already somewhat drafted from when I had the idea to start my blog last year. So really, I only wrote 2 new articles for the month. Not a good sign of things to come…
I think it’s especially hard for a new blogger to keep writing consistently because they are dealing with many other aspects of their blog, such as the technical aspects of building a website, email marketing (not on it yet), relationship building (not on it yet), etc… I really do want to strive for consistent QUALITY content, as I believe it will be one of the biggest contributors to growing this blog. This leads to my next point…
Blogging ≠ Just Writing
If you asked someone who was aware of blogging, but not that familiar with it, my gut tells me that person would say that a blogger just writes a bunch of posts and calls it a day. I’ve come to realize there is a whole lot more that goes into a blog post than just “writing” it.
At least for me and the personal finance niche, you gotta first start out with researching about what you’re going to write about because you don’t want to be giving people inaccurate information.
Then you need to draft your article, which for me right now can take anywhere from 3-4 hours depending on how long it is.
Next, it’s probably a good idea to proofread it and edit it so you’re not putting crap out there on your website.
Following that, you should format it so that it’s web friendly. This is something new I’ve learned and never really noticed when reading other websites. Basically, your articles can’t look like an essay you wrote for high school English class with blocks and blocks of paragraphs. It needs to be broken up into smaller snippets of text that is easier for a web reader to take in.
Which leads into the next task, which is finding images to insert into your article. I’m still struggling to decide whether or not this is worth my time at the moment. On one hand, images help break up the text for a reader. On the other hand, so far most of my images don’t provide any relevant additional information for the reader. They are simply stock images inserted to break up the text. Even the simple task of finding a few good stock images can take up some time. I know there are successful bloggers out there who don’t really insert any images into their post, so I may or may not try that moving forward.
Once you’ve got your article all jazzed up, it’s a good idea to throw some relevant links in there as well. I don’t even have a good library of articles to inter-link to, but just dealing with inserting links sometimes is a hassle.
Next up on the to-do list is trying to implement basic SEO practices for the article. I’m not even going to begin to try to act like I know what I’m doing with regards to this, but I hope I’m doing something right that will help pay off in the long-term.
After all that, you can finally hit publish… BUT WAIT! You thought you were done, huh? Well you’re not getting off that easy… This leads to my last point.
There’s a famous line in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner. (By the way, I’m pretty sure this movie is labeled as a classic by whatever important organization that does these things, so if you’ve never seen this movie before, please do me a favor and at least add it to your queue)
In relation to blog traffic, to that I say:
I think if my website were a cricket farm, it would be wildly successful right now because that’s the only sound you can hear coming out of it. Can I get a show of hands from bloggers who remember when they started their blog checking their Google Analytics dashboard multiple times a day just to see if someone new visited your website? *raises hand* It’s a really bad habit and probably not productive at all.
Anyway, I think getting traffic is one of the biggest struggles new bloggers tackle (among half a dozen other things). I’m dabbling with Pinterest a little bit because that’s what everyone seems to be raving about, although I think the golden age of Pinterest may have passed already.
I think a lot of my traffic right now (which isn’t much at all) aren’t even people in my target audience. In the short term, I think I’m still going to try to focus on Pinterest. In the long term, I’m hoping doing some of the basic SEO work on my posts will help me get some organic traffic. I also need to start doing some more outreach and connecting with other bloggers to help build my reach.
So I’m not saying any of this was necessarily unexpected, but I just wanted to share my thoughts and experiences of my first month blogging. Keep in mind this is with me still working full-time and being a new dad to a 4 month old. I’m not expecting miracles here.
If you’re a blogger, how has my first month of blogging compared to yours? If you have any suggestions on how to grow my blog, please leave them in the comments below. If you’re not a blogger but have been considering starting a blog, did you learn anything new from my experience? If you like what I’ve written, please consider signing up for my email list so that you can keep up-to-date on my blogging journey.