February marks the 6th month of blogging. I love blogging and loved that I learned so many things during my first 6 months blogging. It has not been an easy journey, but nothing in life is easy. This is essentially an update on my blogging journey to give beginners a realistic, non-hyperbolic view of what is going blogging really is in 2021.
If you haven’t read my first 3 months blogging post, then I’d recommend it.
Also, let me clarify that I am not fully starting as a complete beginner. I had an interest in blogging since I was 16-17 and still in high school. I managed a whole Wattpad account which helped my last-minute writing skills. To add, I also am a natural writer and have always been into social media, blogging, and making content online. I am a Zillennial (Gen Z+ Millennial), I grew up on the Internet and have had a Pinterest account since the waiting list days. Finally, I am a Mass Communication major, focusing on social media marketing. SO, I know a lot; I just work on the behind-the-scenes part of all of this.
This past year is the first year I started actually doing blogging. I started a weird blog that I mentioned in my 3 months blogging post. Then, in 2019, I turned my first blog into my digital portfolio/part-time music blog. Finally, in the spring of 2020, I tried again at starting a blogging business and caught a sale on Siteground hosting. And here I am.
6 Months Blogging Update:
After being a blogger consistently for 6 months, I have to say that I’ve most of my time focusing on SEO. This past month I turned my attention to getting a start on my social media marketing. But I’m planning ahead of the curve for my blogging niche’s peak. It’s crunch time.
1. I’ve turned into an SEO nerd.
Seriously, this is what I tell every job that I’m applying to for copywriting. I AM AN SEO NERD. With Pinterest algorithms being difficult to grasp, I’ve moved on to honing my SEO skills.
Organic traffic is my ultimate goal. Google SEO will most likely take the longest, but in the long run, it’s more consistent than Pinterest. Even as a new blogger, I have a few pages ranking #1 on long-tail keywords. Those give me more views daily than the 100s of Pins I have on Pinterest. Pinterest also has been so weird to break out in and needs a lot of attention. Unfortunately, it’s not a return on investment for me right now.
2. I did a whole blog makeover.
Since SEO is my main focus, I’m going to be working on speeding my website and making sure Google likes my blog. I might switch hosts. In the middle of writing this article, I changed my theme due to my last one being too heavy and not being SEO compatible. I do not want to handle those things and worry about them in the future.
3. No more 2 blog posts weekly and now only 1 new post and a weekly SEO edit
So 2 blog posts a week is a lot for me right now as a student. My major involves writing and doing social media content, and I’m on the cusp of burning out from being on my computer 24/7. I also have tons of marketable content that just needs to be edited, replace my affiliate links (because Amazon kicked me off in January), and organize my content’s categories.
There is a lot of meticulous things on my blog’s to do list. Writing a blog post a week should be enough. I also have to make tons of pins in Canva for each post. That was only put me behind because I’m working with a different Pinterest strategy right now.
4. Finally made income.
I’m so proud of myself. Someone used one of my affiliate links. LOL, I was calling everyone and telling my friends. So it’s possible! I’m doing something right. It really pushed me to keep trying and promoting my content. Like I mentioned, in January, I got kicked off of Amazon’s affiliate program (which also put even more behind). Again, I wasn’t consistent for more than half of my time on the program. I signed up in June or July and wasn’t really do anything until October. It sucked, but also motivated me to keep going.
Anyway, let just get to the real meat of the blog post.
What I Learned So Far 6 Months Blogging:
1. Make realistic monthly goals
If I could tell my younger blogger self anything, it would be to make realistic monthly goals. I am a student, working 2 jobs and involved in several clubs. I needed to wake up and stop telling myself that I could write 2 blog posts and edit 2 while editing 5 other old posts a week to be SEO optimized. It was impossible. I should have known better, especially after consistently blogging for 6 months. I placed so much pressure on myself to complete goals that were almost impossible under the conditions I was living under. Now, I have to pick and choose what is important for me to work on and what is not.
My monthly goals are now like: research long-tail keywords, SEO edit 4 posts, or make x amount of pins in Canva.
2. Never stop learning.
I have taken several new blogging courses over the past weeks. Yes, over the past few weeks, I also have been busy adjusting back to college life. I had time over Christmas Break to research and take some blogging courses. These courses were related to mainly Pinterest because my free resources were scared when it came to the new algorithm. The only free source that I could find was Amy LeBlanc’s 2021 Pinterest Strategy Guide.
Other blogging courses that I’ve taken or have referred back were:
In general, as a blogger, I feel that learning is something that I’ll always need to do due to the fact that social media is always changing and Google’s SEO standards. I like hearing different blogger’s strategies and learning about different skills.
3. This is the time to make tons of mistakes.
Seriously. Imagine having 50k monthly viewers seeing my website without posts. (Yes, I literally somehow made all my posts disappear from my homepage.) Luckily, it was a slow day that happened.
A lot of people (including myself with music) hold off from doing several things due to failure. Failure, in my mind, is when you don’t try or quit. Failure teaches you what not to do. After 6 months blogging, I’m glad that I spent most of it learning. It is preparing me for how to react when I encounter the same problem in the future.
For example, those months of me writing tons and tons of blog posts without knowing the correct SEO strategies actually helped because I wasn’t working from scratch. I had around 20 posts to edit and test. There is always a positive to a negative.
4. It’s okay that you aren’t making money…yet.
I’m not here to make quick money. Several people know that quick money won’t last long. As I mentioned in my first 3 months blogging post, I’m not here for a sprint. I’m here for a marathon. I spent most of my months learning and adjusting to SEO and creating the best blog posts that can last for years. Money will come.
Blogging is not a quick way to make money. It takes most bloggers a year to make money. Same with YouTube. The thing about the internet is that consistency often pays off, especially if have a realistic outlook on things. A lot of content takes time to gain traction and to build credibility.
Seeing blogging as a hobby is the best thing to do.
Patience is key to success.
5. Seasonal content and time matter.
So this blog is all about college content. I really got invested in my blog in the late fall/winter… Right when seasonal content was popular. Time is a big part of blogging, especially scheduling when to write content. This is why I’m so busy right now because I’m trying to make sure that when the summer hits that my blog is at its best. College content peaks from May to August because of high school students heading off to college and a little during December and January due to people moving in the spring.
Learning these things is so important. For the first 6 months blogging, I couldn’t take advantage of seasonal content because of how long it takes to rank on Google and Pinterest. Even though it sucked, I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
6. Social media should not be your only source of page views.
I know that I’ve ranted about this in almost every blog post so far, but algorithms are so annoying. The first 6 months blogging are the hardest because social media takes time and don’t trust new accounts yet. Pinterest literally suspended my account for a few days, then I had to email/rant to them to get it back within a few hours.
I’m going against the grain of most bloggers by saying that Pinterest shouldn’t be the main focus for beginner bloggers, but hear me out. You do not own your account. You are renting space on that platforms and any day now, Pinterest/Instagram/etc. can disappear or delete your account. Focus on organic traffic as well as social media referrals.
Pinterest is AMAZING at getting quick views and sign-ups. I’m all for it. I love Pinterest. I literally had a Pin finally go viral, but it only lasted at max one week. I was back on the drawing board and rewatching my Pinterest courses to figure it out. Now, with ANOTHER algorithm change, bloggers are scrambling. I’ll finish my rant later, but Google/Bing SEO offers organic traffic.
Tons of other bloggers use SEO tactics to gain traffic that lasts WITHOUT any social media. I’m all for using Pinterest for marketing and promoting but it shouldn’t be the only place your blog gains traffic. Just like income; you shouldn’t only have one source of traffic. Your blog should have different places to gain views. I’ve joined Facebook groups with bloggers and interacted more on Instagram.
Focus on one social media and SEO, but don’t neglect other sources of traffic.
7. Email lists matter.
Again, I must give you all my tips from my social media classes. Email lists and your website is owned media. No one can take that away from you. Social media is also owned media, but it’s essentially your rental space.
Another thing that blogging for 6 months taught me is that I should have focused on my email list from the beginning. I know some bloggers recommended this. My list is small, but it’s so important. I did not listen because I wasn’t getting views. But after speaking to a few bloggers, I decided to make an opt-in for visitors and it has been converting. Seriously, I’m gaining more subscribers than I ever expected.
I just haven’t had time to write an email out. I’m still focusing on getting pageviews and SEO, so I think later on my email list will be a bigger priority. I’m aiming to at least write one email a month and eventually take a course on email lists when I make some sort of profit.
8. Bulk create pins.
One thing that I have to say has been my biggest tip or trick with Canva is to make bulk pins for Pinterest. I’m not kidding when I say this is my main focus right now. I recommend Canva Pro to everyone, including my classmates for their internships’ graphics. It’s simple and allows you to do so much without having to Google so many things, like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
From what I learned in Pinterest with Ell is that Pinterest wants fresh content. Even in Amy Leblanc’s Pinterest course and resources, she mentions this, too. Pinterest’s latest algorithm is different from the past.
I schedule my pins for two weeks now and only pin my own content. I rarely pin tons of other content. Creating bulk pins on Canva Pro has helped my page views.
9. QUIT COMPARING!
During my first 6 months blogging, I have compared myself a lot to other bloggers. I’m to the point now where I avoid those blog income pins on Pinterest because it’s so damaging to my work ethic. I’ve tried so many things and still wasn’t making thousands of dollars or having tons of pins go viral.
I was feeling like a failure after blogging for 6 months! YES, ONLY 6 MONTHS BLOGGING!
Like I do with other social media, I had to realize what I was seeing what only a part of the post. Similar to Instagram, where you see only a photo, you don’t see the hours of makeup, the person’s hours of picking poses, and possible editing. On Pinterest, I don’t see the months and even years of people working on their blog.
Comparing others was also a waste of time. Instead of scrolling, I could have been actually working on my blog.
10. Focus on one task at a time.
My biggest weakness while blogging is getting too distracted. I have tons of tools to block websites and social media, yet I’m always doing 2-3 different things while blogging, especially while writing. I need to adjust my working schedule to writing down tasks on my to-do list. Each day, I need to write no more than 2 things to do.
If I focused on one task for a few minutes instead of jumping from task to task, I would have completed way more.
11. Create a virtual content calendar.
Another great thing I’ve learned during my first 6 months blogging was creating a content calendar. I had a separate planner with my content calendar for my blog and anything related to social media. You have no idea how much this was a game-changer. I made one on my computer which is great for when I’m working away from my desk. I also add notes in my Google sheets on what to change and any critiques I have on my own work ethic.
12. Longer = high rank
6 months blogging is young compared to a lot of websites on the internet. One thing I’m considering doing writing longer, high-quality content from now on. A few of my blog posts can be combined into nice SEO-optimized post(s) instead of several shorter posts. Also, my longer posts are usually the ones that rank the highest. I know some SEO blog posts I’ve read don’t recommend just writing long posts to get Google’s attention, but it honestly matters on how the quality of the content.
Also, I want to have the best content out there so it’s not an issue. I love writing and blogging.
My Next Huge Blogging Goals:
1. I want to have a consistent Pinterest strategy that yields results.
One thing that blogging for 6 months has definitely taught me is that I underestimated the power and importance of Pinterest. In the next few months, I’ll definitely work on my Pinterest strategy and might write a blog post on it.
2. Network with other bloggers my age (and older)!
I’ve enjoyed speaking with bloggers my age and finding older ones. It’s a great way to learn new tips and tricks. I definitely will join more blogging groups on Facebook and interact more. Also, I love helping other bloggers!
3. I want to make more college advice content and start making YouTube and TikTok videos.
This will probably happen once I graduate with the way my schedule is. I’m testing things out on TikTok and had to create a YouTube video for one of my classes, so it’s a huge working progress. TikTok is easy to gain views, but I have no idea how it actually converts over to blogs. I have also wanted to start a YouTube channel, but video editing is just a pain for me.
4. Have my own digital products. I’m thinking about making Canva templates because I love Canva.
Like I mentioned before, I love Canva. I can’t function without Canva even for school. I really want to make pin templates in a few months. I’ll work on new Canva templates for myself and see how they convert, then offer them to people.
5. Make even or make a profit.
This is really ambitious of me to say because other bloggers I’ve seen have made money from blogging after blogging for 6 months. But I can’t compare myself because I just can’t. The Pinterest algorithm has changed, I haven’t been consistent, and there are plenty of other factors. But I’m not giving up. Once again, blogging is a slow burn which I don’t mind.
This blog post is all about my first 6 months blogging.