Hello and welcome to my fourth weekly update. This week is different for two reasons. Firstly I realised that this is an anniversary of sorts – I set up my blog around a year ago. Secondly I have decided to split the blog progress updates from the crochet blog because I am not sure whether all readers would want to see both.
The realisation that I have been working at this in my spare time for a little over a year now surprised me. It feels like I have only really been working on this for a couple of months. I didn’t put much time into it at first and I didn’t set myself any goals when I started. Big mistake. Everything feels a lot more focussed now and in the last two months I have started to make real progress.
My top tips from a year of blogging.
1. GET STARTED
I spent so long dreaming about starting a blog; talking about starting a blog; reading the work of other people who were starting a blog…. you get the idea. I spent so long doing everything BUT start this blog. It can all feel a bit daunting at first but it is like all large tasks, you make a start and chip away at it and before you know it you have a blog! One thing is certain, if you don’t start, you will never have a blog. The first step I recommend is get yourself a domain. I use 1&1. Many people recommend Blue Host. If you want real ownership of your content and flexibility to monetise your blog one day it is better to host it on your own domain. The link below will take you to 1&1 where you can have fun checking out potential names for your blog. 1&1 have very low pricing for starter packages. At the time of writing these start at £0.99 per month for the first year, £4.99 per month thereafter. You probably won’t need more than a starter package – if you do that would mean your blog had really taken off and would be a nice problem to have!! Don’t let anything hold you back – make a start today and get your blog off the ground.
WordPress is a really easy way to get your blog up and running and it is free. 1&1 offer a download which takes minutes to load. I paid for a ‘theme’ when I started because I read that some of the free themes do not allow you to set up advertising. Here is a link to one of my first posts from last year where I went into more detail on setting up your blog and included a link to the free tutorials that helped me get started. The more you work with WordPress the easier it gets so again my recommendation is JUST GET STARTED!!
3. MONETISE straight away but don’t stress if nothing much happens!
I waited until the last few months to get started with monetising my blog but there is no reason to wait. Many of the affiliate schemes out there and advertising plans accept newbies. I am a member of the 1&1 affiliate programme as you can see from the link above. This has not brought me any income so far but it could do – at no additional cost to my readers.
I also use Google AdSense which is great fun if only for the trackers that show how many page views and clicks your site has gained. See my status report at the bottom of this post.
My final recommendation is to join Shareasale through which you can apply for links for products and services you want to recommend. There is no charge to you for this. When readers of your blog click on these links you will earn a small income at no additional cost to your reader – everybody wins! Join shareasale.com, Earn Cash!
4. USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Use social media to build up a following which will then drive traffic to your blog. Whatever your niche build up a profile in that subject area. This year I have used Pinterest mainly. There is a huge amount of help and advice out there on Pinterest and facebook in particular where you can also link up with other bloggers who help and share in your progress. I have found Pinterest to be a quick way to build a following. Facebook seems to require more work and I haven’t really used very much as yet. Twitter and Instagram also help drive traffic but again need more time spending on them. These are on my list for this coming year.
5. PUT OUT CONTENT REGULARLY
I have had the most success when I have put out content on my blog weekly or bi weekly. With Pinterest I have gained the most followers when I have pinned around 20 times per day. My pins are partly my own content but also quality content that I have found on Pinterest. Pinning takes time and to be effective needs to be spaced through the week.
I use Tailwind to schedule my own pins and pins from my Tailwind tribes. This allows me to put in a couple of hours on my blog at the weekend and benefit all through the week when I am busy with my day job! Using Tailwind has enabled me to build my Pinterest following quickly.
Tailwind tribes are genuis – they allow you to find like minded bloggers and make connections that give you the chance to promote their work whilst showing them your posts and gaining help from them.
I am a member of the Tailwind affiliate programme but have not yet earned any income. Tailwind is free to use at entry level but I have now upgraded to a paid service. I simply couldn’t run my blog without Tailwind as I am so pushed for time during the week.
The other recommendations I have read up on but cannot claim to have experience of yet are as follows:
- Build a mailing list – I just set mine up so will report when I know more
- Guest post on other blogs – I received my first invitation to do this and I plan to take that up when I have some really good content to share
- Build your network – comment on other blogs and follow like minded bloggers. This is very much in my plan for the coming year.There is so much you can do when you have a blog, so many strategies to try. It doesn’t have to take up all your time though. To repeat myself (again) – my heartfelt recommendation is to give it a go – just get started. I have had so much fun doing this this year and I am looking forward to a successful second year.
Finally – here is my status report. Showing progress in the last seven days:
- Pinterest followers – 602 (up 27 this week)
- AdSense income to date – 40p (up 8p this week)
- Subscribers – 1 (me – it was a test)
- Etsy listings – 10
- Etsy sales – 0
- Page views last seven days – 61 (up 27 this week)
My focus this last week was on Pinterest board descriptions and I have increased my following more rapidly so it could be that that has been paying off. Next week I plan to work on my group board applications. That’s all from me. More next week.