Today’s post is a different kind of post to my usual offering. It is reflective and about setting myself targets for the future. I can’t believe it, but I have survived six months of blogging. The six month blog anniversary of Budgeting is a Challenge was on the the 6th December! So I’m here today to offer an honest reflection of where I am at, so you can get an idea of the highs and lows of blogging as a potential side hustle.
This post contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but rest assured, I only promote products I believe in and trust.
Successes so Far
Setting up My Blog
Firstly, I wanted a certain look to my blog – this I feel I achieved in the first month. Being a clearly branded website has helped my blog, when I have asked to be included into group boards on Pinterest, and when I have applied to write guest posts for other blogs. Read how I set up my blog in my step by step guide.
So successful blogs rely on page views right? When I first started out you want to see mine! Almost non-existent. However this month, I am regularly seeing 40-50 views a day.
My pins on Pinterest is where I am really interested in analysing.
Blog Views November 2018
Every month, blog views are building, so this indicates to me that some things I am trying are working. I recently hit 100o views, which is a mountain at one point, I thought I would never get to the top of. This has changed significantly since I have started to use Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog.
Here is an updated picture of my audience now on Pinterest. It has jumped up in 3 weeks from 16k to 36.5k! (Update – today 41K!)
Update at Christmas – 61.1K – woot!
Back to Google Analytics…
Blog Views so Far December
I have nearly reached the page views I had last month, on the 18th December!
I always believe in education, to inform myself when learning something new. Therefore, 2 months ago I began reading Ana’s ebook (The She Approach) Making Pinterest Possible. This has been a complete game-changer – it has taught me things about Pinterest that only someone with years of experience would know. A snip at $35 dollars.
With my voucher code, TSA5OFF you can get the ebook for $30 only. Well worth the hours of time saved, when you would potentially be trying to find free content, scattered around the internet. Her book is full of tips and tricks from setting up your Pinterest account and boards up properly, to making your pins go viral. I am working through it now – personally I print off each chapter and cover it with notes. I know I will have to return to it, to check I am still implementing Ana’s strategies.
One of my proudest moments, was having my first guest post published. I honestly never thought it would happen, when I emailed out to the bloggers I had seen. These blogs were so successful, had a domain authority of far higher than my blog and have large audiences. Read my article on How to Make up to £1000 a month Online Tutoring, as featured on the Humble Penny.
My advice, is that this is a great way of building a network with like-minded bloggers, it enabled Google and your audience to regularly see you reporting on your specialist subject. Therefore this builds confidence and trust in your content. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to be featured on this award winning blog. Ken has been awesome – you should check out his content – it is full of brilliant budgeting ideas and ways to get out debt, and build wealth. Have a couple of posts spare if you can, so you can pitch an idea, then send it to the blog, if the subject is agreed. Also, have a professional sounding initial email draft ready to go, so if you see an opportunity, you can take it with both hands and act on it!
My next guest post, is in the process of writing – again for another superb blog I have actively followed and admired their content. I am writing another post about side income, so watch out for this!
Help for Beginner Bloggers
Along with writing one blog post a week about budgeting or saving money, I wanted also to provide a guide as to how I blog. My aim was to write some tutorial posts for blogging beginners, as I learnt something new. This has been particularly successful and I have many views on these posts. This kind of thing really helped me originally to get to grips with WordPress, and the whole concept of starting a blog, so I’m glad that people have found it really useful.
My next steps will be to produce an ebook detailing how to start a blog and brand it properly, along with how to build page views. I want to also produce more free content on how to budget effectively and how to guides for other areas of blogging. Vlogging is also something I need to urgently start – I realised that some people learn more effectively from written blog posts, but others prefer a step by step video, so this is my challenge in the next 6 months!
Organising my Time When Blogging
Posting twice a week seems to be the sweet spot for me. I tried originally to post once, but my blog traffic completely stalled instead of increased. My week is divided up into different aspects every night. Since I work full time, my blog time is straight after work for two hours a night. Mr Budget and I were finding that I could blog all evening, which wasn’t great for life balance, so this is the compromise. Now we have time together, which is ace!
This made it essential to do tasks quickly – I set myself time limits for each task. If I have less time one evening, I tend to focus on pinning on Pinterest, or making a pin on Canva. This was inspired by Finsavvypanda, who is an expert at personal organisation also. Read how she juggles a full time job whilst making 2K+ every month on her blog in my latest interview. She also made me realise that I need to change my ideas if they aren’t working like I want them to – flexible ideas.
To create a blog post, I think of 3 topics each week and skeleton plan them all. Then I take two of them and produce the content on my blog then. Keywords are next, using Google keyword planner to check the likelihood of ranking for these words. I go for low or medium volume keywords, that give my blog chance to be seen. I weave in my keywords, so that my blog writing sounds natural. Google recognises the blog post as a trustworthy source then, not just a post with keywords stuffed everywhere.
Interviewing New Successful Bloggers
In order to learn more, as a beginner blogger myself, I developed a series, that will run long term, of interviews where bloggers explain their top secrets of their success. Not only am I building a great network of great blogger friends around me, but I feel inspired now with new ideas myself.
Lows so Far
Lack of sleep
Sometimes, to enable me to get content out on time, I have to get up incredibly early. This, I am getting used to know and over time, I realise will get easier.
Learning so much all at once, can be frustrating. Ana from the She Approach is correct when she says that you should take time for yourself every day to unwind. Since I have been doing this, I have been way more productive. Mr Budget and I regularly try to go for a medium pace walk and enjoy chatting whilst doing this, to unwind.
Sometimes, throughout the journey, I have become overwhelmed by the amount of things I felt I had to learn. Comparing myself to other bloggers at the same point didn’t help either. What I learned to do was take inspiration from them, try their strategies instead of comparing. This positivity has led me, as a completely technically clueless blogger, to become technically able to do all the blogging things I need to do. If you need any help with specific technical aspects of blogging, these articles will help. My step by step Canva tutorial, for producing stunning images on Pinterest, or maybe my guide to using Tailwind as a traffic builder to your blog (used alongside Pinterest). For a further guide to how I beat the overwhelm by focusing on learning from good quality material, read my guide as to what blog tools I am using right now, to build my traffic, email list and produce excellent content.
One day, my website completely disappeared. Fortunately, the staff at Bluehost were amazing. Through the webchat, they reassured me everything was fine and we were back online within 5 minutes. Now I have the plugin Updraft installed, that backs up my files!
Pin me for later!
My next challenge will be to properly monetise my blog, so it is producing passive income. This is my challenging plan – aghh!!
By June 2019
- Increasing my blog traffic to 20,000 page views +
- Learning how to use affiliate marketing
- Make $500 of affiliate sales
- Learning how to drive traffic to my blog using Twitter, Instagram and other social media
Other Blog Targets
By June 2019
- 3 more guest posts on successful money blogs
- 5 more interview posts in my ‘Successful Bloggers’ series
- Domain authority up from 7 to 25
I definitely need to grow social media:
- Pinterest followers 110 up to 2000 – follow me here
- Instagram followers from 66 to 1000 – follow me here
- Facebook likes : 8 – to 1000 – follow me here
For the next six months my dreams would be:
- To produce online content such as a free ecourse, about budgeting.
- Expand my range of budgeting help resources
- Get enough page views to start monetizing the blog with Mediavine (you need 25,000 sessions, not just page views a months to be considered for these ads)
Back to You
This is where your views are very important. What is it about my content that you find so useful? What would you like to see more of? Feel free to leave comments, email or get in touch via social media, to let me know. My mission is that this blog is useful for everyone out there, whether it be your blogging journey or your journey into budgeting and financial independence.
As you can see, although sometimes it has been tough, my journey to my six month blog anniversary so far has been amazing and successful. I might not have built my blog traffic as high as some people say they have, but I bring you my reality. That juggling a 60 hour job and this is possible. You can achieve blog growth over time – it just needs consistency. If I could sum this journey up so far, it would be – consistency and balance lead to success over time. I can’t wait for the next 6 months! Mr Budget has commented recently that he has noticed a sparkle about me – you should try this. I have discovered a new love – blogging!
Has this article made you assess your blog journey? Do let me know how you are doing. Has it made you want to start a blog? There is never a better time for your unique take on the world. What are you waiting for?