6 Things I’ve Learned in My First Three Months of Blogging
I’ve been at this blogging thing for just over three months now. Enough time to get my feet wet, but I still feel very much like the new kid on the block. While this is still fresh in my mind, and I can remember what it was like to have absolutely no idea what I was doing, I wanted to share 6 things I’ve learned in my first three months of blogging.
1. There is SO much to learn
When I launched my blog (“launch” being a very generous term), I had NO idea what I was getting myself into. I knew I loved writing, I knew I wanted an outlet, and I thought I had some idea what being a blogger was like. Haha – nope!
There is so much more to blogging than meets the eye. Most obviously, the technical side. While I built some rocking GeoCities websites back in the day (does anybody else remember those??), my technical competence when I started this blog was average, at best. Blogging introduces you to a whole new world, with an entirely different language. Domain names, hosting, themes, SEO, keywords, widgets, plugins, HTML, CSS, SSL certificates – all of this meant very little to me four months ago.
Once you have a basic framework for your blog, you will quickly realize that nobody is going to read what you’re writing if they don’t know about it. Enter social media. Not only do you have to learn the ins and outs of each social media outlet, you need to create eye-catching graphics, learn about algorithms and schedulers, and generate a constant stream of unique content. Trying to master everything at once can be overwhelming, to say the least!
After three months, I feel like I understand the basics of blogging. However, the more I learn, the more I realize I’m only scratching the surface.
2. Getting your content in front of the right people is HARD
As I mentioned above, social media is the key to driving traffic to a new blog. However, due to ever-changing algorithms, getting people to actually see your content is very difficult.
Take Facebook for example. Currently, just over 300 people like or follow my Facebook page. However, when I publish something new on my Facebook page, whether it’s a link to my latest post or some other content, it will organically reach less than 10 people. That’s less than 5% of the people who have liked my page! In order to reach more people, Facebook encourages page owners to pay to “boost” a post, which will increase it’s potential audience. However, for a new blogger who is generating very little income (more on that below), paying to boost posts regularly is simply not an option.
The organic reach of other social media outlets is better, but I find that the click-through rate on Twitter and Instagram (meaning the people who will actually click through and read the post) is not nearly as high.
Sidenote – if you want to make sure you actually see my posts, here’s what to do:
- Subscribe from right here on the blog to receive notifications of new posts by email.
- On my Facebook page, click the Following button right underneath the cover photo (see below). This will bring up a drop-down menu where you can elect to “See First” in your News Feed.
- Like, react, and comment on my Facebook posts. The more you engage with a Facebook page, the more likely those posts are going to show up in your News Feed (and the more engagement a post has, the more likely that it will show up in others’ News Feeds).
3. Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme
How many blog posts have you seen that are titled something like, “How I Made $10,000 in my First Month Blogging”? Probably a lot! When I starting blogging back in December 2017, I was on maternity leave, and was legitimately worried that I would soon be generating enough income to jeopardize my maternity leave benefits. Fellow bloggers, I will give you a minute to laugh at my naiveté!
Needless to say, this was NOT a big concern. After three months of blogging, I’ve earned a grand total of (drumroll please)…$10.04! And there’s a good chance I will never see a good portion of my impressive earnings because I won’t meet the minimum payment threshold.
If making money is your ONLY reason for starting a blog, DON’T DO IT. While a very small percentage of people may stumble upon overnight success, for the vast majority of us it takes time and a whole lot of effort. If you’re only in it for the money, there’s a good chance you will not make it through those long weeks and months where you are putting in hours and hours of work and seeing very little return.
Now, I’m not saying that monetization should never be your goal. On the contrary, I think bloggers should absolutely be compensated for the time and effort they put into content creation. However, if you don’t have another reason for starting a blog – like a love of writing, a desire to build a community, or a desire for a creative outlet – you will likely find that the return is not worth the time spent, especially in the beginning.
4. Comparison is the thief of joy
The parenting blog niche is SO saturated. That doesn’t mean that there’s not room for new bloggers, but it does mean that there are literally thousands of blogs that you can compare yours to.
It’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t have as much traffic or as many followers as fellow bloggers do, or you can’t seem to master the technical side like they’ve been able to. When others are more successful you may question what you’re doing wrong, and why you’re not having the same success.
Critically evaluating your blogging strategy is a good thing, but constantly comparing yourself to others is not. We all bring different skills and experiences to the table. We all have different resources available, and we may have different goals in mind for our blogs.
If I could offer one piece of advice to new bloggers in this regard, it would be to focus on support and community-building, not comparison. The world of internet users is inconceivably vast, and there is plenty of room for all of us to succeed.
5. Re-learning how to write is difficult
I’m a lawyer, and have spent more than ten years refining my ability to write formally and precisely. I can draft an excellent contract, and spot inconsistencies in language that others might miss.
None of this matters in blogging. In fact, I’d say my writing style is a detriment as a blogger. Most successful blogs use a casual, conversational writing style. Reading a parenting blog should be like going for coffee with a friend, not like reading documents at your lawyer’s office.
I’m continually trying to adapt my writing style to be more casual and allow more of my personality to come through. However, undoing years of training is not an easy task. This is likely why it takes me so long to write a blog post!
6. Blogging is a lot of fun
If I were to weigh the cost/benefits of blogging, looking only at the measurable outcomes, it’s hard to justify continuing. It consumes a significant amount of my very-limited free time, has caused me to neglect or procrastinate on other things I should be doing, and is costing me money, not making me money.
However, I love it! I love diving back into a more creative writing style. I love connecting with fellow bloggers and readers. I love learning all about the technical side and graphic design (and recounting everything I’ve learned to my poor husband!). And I love having the creative outlet, and a reason to pause and reflect on this unique season of life. It’s a wonderful hobby, and I’m glad I finally made the leap to do this.
Now, just for fun, a look back at my top 10 blog posts (as measured by pageviews) from the first three months, as well as a little behind-the-scenes insight:
- The Reality of Being a Working Mom (This was my first Scary Mommy article, and also the piece that prompted me to share this blog with friends in real-life.)
- Must-Have Baby Products: 0-6 Months (This is the post I wish I had when I was pregnant! Part 2 is coming eventually.)
- First Child Versus Second Child: How Parenting Changes (Nothing changed my parenting more than having a second child – it becomes all about survival!)
- Febrile Seizures: What Every Parent Needs to Know (This was a hard one for me to write, and I debated long and hard whether or not this was an experience I wanted to share. It’s been viewed quite a bit, so I’m hoping it’s helped other parents have a better understanding of febrile seizures.)
- Childproofing: 6 Hidden Dangers You Might Have Missed (We’re in the thick of this right now with my daughter. The other day, she managed to stand up on the child-sized picnic table at her grandparents’ house – I had to laugh at her demonstration of one of the dangers mentioned in this article [she was scooped up before falling, thank goodness!])
- Nobody Told Me (This is one of my favourite posts, but because it’s a feel-good post, not a problem-solving post, it doesn’t do as well on Pinterest as others. If you missed this one, and heartwarming parenting articles are your thing, make sure you check it out!)
- Should You Have a Third Child? (Turns out that this is a frequently Googled question!)
- The Invisible Mental Load and How to Reduce It (My very first post.)
- 12 Practical Tips to Help You to Thrive as an Introverted Parent (Another very early post – apparently I’m not alone in my struggles as an introverted parent.)
- Choose Kindness (I am so happy this one made the list! We had so much fun with our random acts of kindness activity – although this is a good reminder for me that we need to finish the last few things on our list. Check out this post for some great random acts of kindness ideas for little kids.)
If you’re debating starting a blog, and have any questions that I haven’t covered, please reach out to me. I love connecting with new bloggers, and you can rest assured that I will give you my honest take on the good, the bad, and the ugly!