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What I Learned My First Month Blogging

It’s been quite a month.  There have been a lot of ups and downs, trials and errors, excitement and frustration.  I read other people’s stories about their first month blogging (which inspired me to reflect on my own), watched a lot of how-to videos, overwhelmed myself with information about writing and marketing and networking.  I spent a lot of time wondering what I was doing.  A few times, I even came close to wanting to quit.  But somehow, I made it through the first month, and came out with renewed conviction that I can do this.

Basics

I had a lot to figure out; I’ve only ever blogged on free platforms like Tumblr, Blogger, and Xanga (dating myself a bit there, aren’t I).  All I had to do for those blogs were write and post.  Often, I wouldn’t even bother to read what I had written until after I posted it.  Not here though.  Here I had to learn to buy a domain and set up hosting, to install WordPress and customize themes, to build up an email list and monetize my site.  I still haven’t gotten to SEO and social media promotion!  Even before I launched my site, I was freaking out.  But it’s actually quite fun learning how to set up a website, and I’ve been offering to help set up blogs for people left and right hahaha.

Consistency

My original plan was to post weekly; a quick glance will show that that did not happen.  I didn’t realize how much work goes into one post.  Not only do I have to read the book and take notes, I have to draft, edit, edit again, and again, and again, proofread, photograph, link, optimize keywords, and schedule emails before the post goes live.  It’s exhausting!  That doesn’t even include all the promotion and follow-up I’m supposed to do after it’s posted (most of which I haven’t been doing).  I need to have a concrete schedule for creating content if I want to meet my weekly deadline.

Quality

I have been preoccupied with learning how to do everything other than write.  I’m not happy with the posts I’ve published so far. I know I can write better than that.  I have written better than that; I have seven-year-old posts on Tumblr that are higher quality than what I have up.  This past month, I spent countless hours messing with my theme and figuring out how to monetize.  How will I be able to retain readers if I don’t have the content to draw them in and make them stay? I shouldn’t be worrying about monetizing my blog when there isn’t anything to monetize!  My priority needs to be the writing.

Authenticity

That said, I need to be myself.  Part of the reason the quality of my posts have been low is because I was trying to appeal to readers.  I was trying too hard to write something I think other people will want to read.  All the how-to videos and seminars on blogging say you have to write for your audience, but I don’t have an established audience yet.  And I’m definitely not going to get an audience with the work I’ve been doing.  I need to create quality posts that I can be proud to share with others.  It would be more entertaining for my readers and will better convey the value of what I’m writing if I’m true to myself.

My goals for the next two months:
  • Post every Monday.  This will force me to write consistently, and to work smarter to create higher-quality content, if only to avoid publishing things I’m not proud of.
  • Network with other bloggers.  I spend way too much time, in all aspects of my life, feeling like I’m on the outside looking in.  Since I’m starting fresh with this, I want to start right.  I’m aiming to find five blogs to follow and be active on, to start building relationships and be a part of the blogging community.  Bonus if they are also new bloggers and we can help each other grow together.
  • Share my posts.  I will stop being scared to tell people about my blog.  I’ve always been a private person, so it’s hard for me to actively promote myself.  And since my first goal is to produce quality content I can be proud of, I now have no reason to not share my blog with everyone.

So that’s my story so far.  I’ve been having a lot of fun, and I’m pretty optimistic about the future (it’s a weird feeling – I’m very much a worst-case-scenario person).  And the funny thing is, I can already feel things improving – this is probably my best post to date 😅.

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Comments (18)

  • Barbara J Starmans 8 months ago Reply

    I love the fresh, clean look of your new blog! I am also addicted to reading. To say that reading is a hobby is a little like saying that breathing is a hobby, but I’m sure that some would consider it one. Keep up the great work!

    Lily 8 months ago Reply

    Thank you, Barbara! Hobby or necessity, I’m happy to meet anyone who reads, and hopefully can encourage some non-readers to give it a try!

  • Ryan M. Williams 8 months ago Reply

    Hi! I get that fear of sharing your work. It’s hard. You want your blog to do well. I think you’re off to a good start!

    Lily 8 months ago Reply

    Thank you, Ryan!

  • Lyn 7 months ago Reply

    I agree. Your blog really appeals to me. I’m gradually checking out all the new blogs but I can’t follow them all. So I only follow the ones that I feel I can commit to.
    It’s funny isn’t it that we love writing so much but are so reluctant to start. I have just spent all Friday evening NOT writing and I am cross with myself!
    Good luck with your 31 day’s challenge.

    Lily 7 months ago Reply

    Thank you Lyn! I’m glad you enjoy it! I agree, there are so many amazing blogs out there! I’m pretty overwhelmed trying to keep up with everyone.

  • I just launched my blog a week or so ago, and I can relate to all of this! I had a goal of posting three times a week, but I think that’s going to kill me. For now, if I can get 1-2 up, I’m going to be happy. I’m a food blogger, so I’m having to learn photography, too (just using my iPhone for now). Good luck — you’ve got a good thing going here!

    Lily 7 months ago Reply

    Thank you Sandi! I love your blog! You are going to be amazing!

  • susan5minutesformom 7 months ago Reply

    Blogging is truly a ton of work. Congrats on getting started!

    Lily 7 months ago Reply

    Thank you Susan!

  • Kristyna 7 months ago Reply

    I just started a blog as well and I was nodding my head through your whole post!! Yes to focusing more on great content so that we can serve our readers well.

    Lily 7 months ago Reply

    Your blog is pretty awesome, can’t wait to see more!

  • Katie Moses 7 months ago Reply

    Right now I’m in that first month of blogging, so this post was really helpful! Thanks so much for writing it. 🙂

    Lily 7 months ago Reply

    Glad you found it helpful, Katie! Good luck on your blog!

  • apatheticcam 7 months ago Reply

    Great post! I have little experience so no authority on the subject, but I agree with you. I’ll add, in my opinion you’ll have many more return and active readers, writing whatever it is you want genuinely, in place of trying to predict what your audience wants, to your point. This comment section can attest to that.

  • Johanne 7 months ago Reply

    Blogging is definitely not easy! My first month felt like a rollercoaster. I never realized I would spend so much time on writing, sharing etc. I love the idea/purpose of your blog btw. Going to follow on Bloglovin’!

    Lily 7 months ago Reply

    Thank you, Johanne! I enjoy the writing part very much, all the promotion is overwhelming 🙁

  • Rana 6 months ago Reply

    Nice ! This is an outstanding blogs .. thanks for sharing

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