Blogging – How to make the best use of your TIME
The first 30 days of blogging have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Mainly, I’ve found how vulnerable it makes me feel, having a sort of “online diary” up for world to read. Now I realize many start a blog to feel connected to others and to share and receive advice. These were not my reasons.
As many stay at home mom bloggers, I wanted to start a business, an entrepreneurial business from home. While deciding to be a stay at home mom is a great career in and of itself, I wanted something to challenge me. I wanted an adventure that caused my brain to grind on a deeper level than nap times and play dates.
In comes website design, affiliate marking, Pinterest marking and site content. Exciting stuff!
But writing posts that are real and relatable is challenging and can make you feel exposed as people are naturally judgmental.
So my goal when creating content: focus on the positive, consider the constructive, ignore the negative.
Learning to build a web page, create content, and generate traffic has all been a struggle and yet a success. I had over 1,000 page views, tons of positive feedback, and gained subscribers as well as social media followers. I’ve learned the do’s and don’ts when it comes to affiliates and Pinterest marketing. There’s so much out there regarding advice on how to start a blog, but I’ve finally settled on what actually works: Keep things Simple and Organized and here’s how you can do just that.
Keeping it Simple
Creating relatable content is no small task. There are so many topics out there to write about. You can choose to write about recipes, DIY projects, create free printables, lifestyle articles, create your own e-book, giveaways, challenges, How-To’s… the list is endless!
I’ve explored and written about almost all of these my first 30 days and I’ve decided to tone it down. They say that creating tons of content is important for people to stick around on your site… which I agree. But you need to be known for something special. What makes you unique? How are you more special than so-in-so mom blogger or lifestyle blogger #854?? Focus in on YOUR niche. Give your readers a clear understand of who you are. What makes you special? Once you answer this question affirmatively, then get to writing.
Affiliate Marking made Simple
The two sites I recommend for the first 30 days are Amazon Prime and Purple Trail. Two great affiliate programs that you can center around your niche. (Remember your brand and carry it through your entire blog, keep reading for more info on branding!). Now if you’ve been blogging for longer than 30 days, check out Flexoffer and Shareasale, both affiliate programs helping small bloggers with a range of merchants to choose from, everything from fashion to credit cards. Plenty to choose from and keep you busy so there’s no need to apply to a million different websites wasting valuable time!
Place your ads in appropriate spots including your sidebars and footers for greater viability, but please don’t clutter your site with ads, it’s just not a fun thing for your readers to scroll through. You can also write about certain products that you believe in, recommend and feel passionate about! Again, relatable content people will trust to generate sales. See this example on Purple Trail’s Mom Journals.
Pinterest Pins and Group Boards kept Simple
Best advice, like a broken record, keep it simple. At first, my Pins were all over the place, in size and design. Now I keep two designs, a long pin and the smaller pin with a similar look unique to Boehme Like Poem. I have used Pic Monkey, but now I prefer Canva, a free app. I can design on my laptop where I seem to have more options than on my phone. I use a custom size for my long pins, 735×2102 and the smaller pins are in their template options labeled as Pinterest.
I chose a look that I can use for the majority of my posts, matching my brand, colors and web design. My posts and advertisements have now become more cohesive. Mismatched and eclectic can be fun and exciting but can also be harder to pull off and often looks cluttered and disorganized. So keep your pins cohesive, eye catching and clickable. Large, legible titles are a must. Choose sayings and titles that make people HAVE to answer the question you’ve raised, such as How To or Tips on. Pins that create a question in your reader’s mind making them want to click and find out the answer.
Recently, I started used a Pinterest publisher you’ve probably all heard of, Tailwind. And I must say that they are certainly worth the hype. Tailwind makes your job as a new blogger and easier one, between scheduling pins to post onto boards throughout the month so that you don’t have to (saves precious time!) and getting you involved in some high reach tribes, we’re talking huge exposure!
In just two days I saw a noticeable difference in my site’s stats when using Tailwind to market my Pins and my only regret is not signing up sooner. Remember to sign up for the FREE version to get your feet wet!
Clean Cohesive Website
Making my website has been challenging. Choosing what host I wanted to sign up with, and slowly figuring out how to build the look of what I wanted to present. Over the last 30 days, the look has changed, over and over again. So I urge all start ups to remember to make a basic design plan in the beginning with pen and paper.
Start with three to four colors you want to represent your brand. I often see bloggers use the ever so popular black, grey and white scheme and everything they stamp has this theme including Pins and Instagram posts. For me personally, I knew I needed more color, especially when writing about the PNW, not to mention when traveling subjects us to so many beautiful cultures full of color, I just can’t shut myself off from this variety.
But all things considered, branding is important. A unified website is also important. So coming up with a color scheme is a must. I landed on Peach-Green-Black-White for all things such as site Header, Logo, Pins and Photos. It isn’t an absolute rule and I will still post many other colors representing my specific articles but these colors will be sprinkled throughout, tying things together. I feel so much better knowing my site will be buttoned up and eye catching.
Less Screen Time for the Blogger
Especially as a new blogger, you will find yourself concerned about your site and its progress, especially that first 30 days. You will be using your tech to check stats and content or promoting your posts via Social Media, in front of a screen for a more than the “what’s healthy” amount.
For the first two weeks especially all I found myself doing was gluing my eyes to a screen. This got old very fast! I knew I had to make some changes in order to continue enjoying my entrepreneurial career. My daily routine had to change. I decided to only work during set parts of the day, as if I was at an office away from the house. I give myself three hours, three days a week to work on writing, designing and then marketing. This seemed to put work in its place so that I’m not shutting out my family or my other important tasks.
I still use other times during the week to “work” that includes my family. For instance, taking pictures of our breakfast for a Pancake Recipe post, or traveling to a new city in the PNW knowing I’ll write about the trip when coming home. Hikes and outdoor activities all have a spot in our day to day lives as well as something I can share on the website.
For even less screen time, I made another adjustment. I started using a real, old fashioned pen and paper. I use my journal from Purple Trail to write down my goals for the week and month, as well as my daily to-do list. Then I use a pad of paper to write my rough draft for my next post.
Actually seeing coffee rings made from the bottom of my mug on a piece of paper, screams perfect to me. It makes me feel connected to what I’m writing, makes it feel REAL, tangible, less digital.
To me, less screen time keeps me focused and goal oriented. Have you ever grabbed your phone to do a task but then found yourself browsing social media or Pinterest aimlessly? Online shopping trip you up now and then? Yeah, I had to set boundaries and time frames, and this helped me achieve goals. Now I get out my tech with a purpose and achieve that purpose!
All in all, my first 30 days have been successful, growing and learning while having fun. When done right, blogging can be a source of extra income while also being your creative outlet. I hope this post helps you keep things simple and streamlined.