The month of May has come and gone, and this blogging journey has been an eye opening experience. In this post, I want to share what we’ve learned in our first month of blogging. Perhaps I can shed light on what to expect if you are just starting out.
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Since May 1st, Brett and I have been traveling around Costa Rica with Jack, and exploring this beautiful country. When we left Canada for our travels, we had a rough idea of what we wanted to do with the blog, but not a concrete plan. I had done a ton of research, and I felt like we had enough knowledge to go off of that we’d be able to hit the road running. Boy was I wrong. In hindsight, a better marketing plan would have helped tremendously. We were on all social media platforms, but we didn’t necessarily know how to use them for our business. So needless to say, our first month of blogging was all about learning, adjusting, and planning for a successful June.
I’ve compiled the top 5 things we learned in our first month of blogging, and how we are going to restructure them, so June will be twice as amazing as May. As I write this, it sounds like we had a horrible month, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! We set a goal for ourselves, and we surpassed it before the month was even over! That is a success to be celebrated! In reviewing the month of May, we discovered several missed opportunities that we should have implemented.
Here are the top 5 things we learned in our first month of blogging
1. Social Media- Your favorite platform may not be the right one for your business
Twitter is a goldmine. Instagram is great for influencers. There I said it. When you are first starting out blogging, and you probably don’t have many follower on Instagram, Twitter is the best.
We kind of used twitter at the beginning, but we had no idea what we were doing. Brett started following a ton of users on twitter, and built the profile for The Christopher Collective. He completely owned Twitter, and I’ve only recently gotten on board. Twitter is great because if you ask a question, or you need help with something; usually you get a quick response. Twitter is where all the bloggers come together to support each other. There is always a follow/ like/ comment/ share/ subscribe thread somewhere on Twitter that gets users to your blog. This is great, bloggers helping bloggers, and when you are first starting out, you NEED that.
A very unsuspecting platform, Ello, got us the most views on Brett’s Black Tusk post. Ello is create for creatives, artists, photographers, etc. People who create things. Ello got us a lot of exposure, but it is not necessarily driving all of our traffic either. LinkedIn is another one of those unsuspecting platforms that gave us tons of views, but not very much traffic. Most of our traffic came from Twitter.
We still haven’t found our stride on Facebook, because it is a beast all on its own. Facebook is a little harder to build organic followers. If you have a Facebook page (which you should), this is where most businesses find they get the most leads. Facebook requires paid advertisement for it to really have any affect on your business/ Facebook page. Because we are still developing the products we want to sell, our Facebook ads have been nothing more than to test the waters. If you have a second, please give our Facebook page a like, it would mean a lot to us!
That being said, Facebook, like Twitter, has many, MANY groups, chats, pages, etc, for bloggers to connect. These groups have been super helpful in more networking, searching for support, etc. I love how with Facebook, you can find niche specific groups for bloggers more easily, which is terrific when you are starting out.
2. Bloggers Are Your Best Friends- these are the people who want to read your blog
Social media is also a great way to network. Find other bloggers in your niche. Find ones that aren’t! Maybe someone is an SEO guru, and you’re a photography pro. Exchanging insight or services can be a lifesaver! I love to go through niche specific Twitter hashtags, and find other bloggers who are like me, and I can see what they’re doing. How is their blog doing compared to mine? I’ve learned so many different techniques from searching bloggers in our niche. What might seem like saturated competition to some, is a serious goldmine to others.
Every time I write a blog post, I research other bloggers to see what they’ve written on that topic. Did that topic perform well for them? What about Google? I read a hand full of blogs religiously, but I love surfing through new blogs, blogs I haven’t read in a while, and seeing what’s trending! There are literally millions of bloggers out there. One of my favorite posts to search for, is how other bloggers did in their first month of blogging.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers. Blogging is extremely popular, but it isn’t like some industries where everyone is competitive and petty. Even someone who is 10x more established that you are, could be more than willing to give you a hand with something you’re struggling with! But don’t be lazy, do your research and your homework before sourcing out someone else to do it for you.
3. Don’t Depend On SEO- Google isn’t going to put you in the spotlight for you
Even if you have all of your posts perfectly optimized, but you aren’t doing the heavy lifting promoting your post; don’t expect anyone to read your blog. No one knows to Google your blog if they don’t know about it. Get your head out of the clouds and come back to reality please! SEO is SO important, but that is not where your marketing and promotion should stop.
Doing the aforementioned, getting your name, brand, links out into the online world will drive your traffic. Word of “mouth” is the best form of unpaid marketing. You need SEO if you’re writing a post about “How to Start a Blog”, and you want to be ranked on the front page of Google. But like I said, Google isn’t going to put you on a shiny pedestal and say to the world, “Hey everyone! This post is SEO optimized perfectly! It deserves to be the number one result on Google!” Google needs to see that people are searching your blog posts repetitively; weeks, months even years later.
4. This IS NOT a Get Rich Quick Gig- this a full-time job, that takes hard work
This goes without saying, and if you didn’t already know this, than maybe you are in the wrong industry. There is a lot of hard work that is involved, and money will come with time, if ever.
I can honestly say that we made pennies in our first month of blogging, because we were focusing on the wrong things. The hard work was there, but this month we will double the amount of work we put into this blog. If we can double what we did in our first month of blogging, and put our focus into the right methods and tools, than June will be a very lucrative month for us. Not just financially. We really want this blog to grow as a brand, diversify, and become an authority in our respective niches.
I am happier to take 100 loyal readers than $100. Why? Because the money will come eventually, but having loyal, repeat, and engaging readers are really hard to come by. Building relationships and networking is a full-time job. That is why we are so luck to be doing this as a team. Brett and I have worked together once before (save that one for the archives), and we swore we’d never do it again. This time around though, it is completely different. We are working on a bigger picture that plays off of our passions and values, and not a 9-5 job.
5. Have a Plan- don’t go into this completely blind, or you’ll fail before you start
When you read about the successful blogs that have made a couple hundred dollars in their first month of blogging, or have thousands of followers right off the bat. Either they paid someone to help them, or they set out with a plan from the beginning. These are the blogs I love reading most; the posts about other bloggers’ first month of blogging. This is where we reevaluate what we are doing right, wrong, and are able brainstorm new ideas.
As I said in the beginning of this post. We had a plan, but it wasn’t fool proof, and it needed to be. So going forward we have a list of things we expect to see change in the month of June. There will be new products, new tools, and a new routine to get the blog to where it should have been after the first month live.
Take Aways from our First Month of Blogging
After all is said and done, we are extremely proud of the blog we’ve launched. There is exponential growth at our finger tips. There are so many ideas we’ve cultivated, and cannot wait to implement. Not to mention the amazing fact that we’ve taken our now 6 month old son on a month long journey! Not many people get to do that, and not many people have the guts to take a big trip like this, especially with a baby.
I’ve written about all of our journeys (driving from the Pacifc to the Caribbean, and our first week in Costa Rica), all of Brett’s favorite hikes in BC, and how I started this crazy blog. To find out what we are planning for the month of June, please subscribe to our mailing list if you haven’t already!