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Single Girl’s Essential Guide to Blogging (part 2)
Congratulations, you did it!
Now here’s what it’s really like…
THE HARD PART
Like I said before, I started on Blogger because I tend to look (twice) before I leap, and then look again. That’s exactly what happened when I started My Early Retirement Journey (the blog). I tried Blogger, then after six posts, I tried Bluehost. Learning WordPress got in the way. I just wanted to write before I exploded, so I ran away scared. I went back to Blogger. (Sidenote: Bluehost and Siteground really do give you your money back without hassle.) Then I thought about it some more and really decided to give blogging a second chance. I came back to Bluehost. I trudged through and got acclimated to WordPress and added a lot of nice stock photos. My blog was beautiful…but it was so slow. All those darn pictures really slow down* your site’s load time. I got tired of all the tech stuff, and asked for my money back yet again from Bluehost. They gave it back to me. I did this all within the 30 days because I thought that’s all the time I had to get a refund, but I later learned from other bloggers that even after the 30 days, they’ll pro-rate whatever part of the plan you don’t use. After 100 posts, I decided to really try to take blogging more seriously, even if just as a serious hobby. So I decided to start over with Siteground. All I’m trying to say in a very verbose way is this – the struggle is real, but don’t let that deter you. If I can do it, you definitely can!
Read more of my story here:
But how do I…
Here are some quick and dirty tips to frequently asked questions. A lot of bloggers push paid courses or lead-ins to get you to sign up for their newsletter. It’s a good strategy, but it’s time consuming for the reader wading through all the words and ads and courses. Here’s the single girl’s take on some of these popular questions.
What’s a plug in and do I need one?
Plugins are useful to add features to your blog to make it do a specific function. It’s basically code that someone else wrote to make your life easier. Choose plug-ins that have good reviews, good documentation (instructions), and have been around for awhile. Be selective as too many can make your site slow or cause your site break. Here are some common ones used by most bloggers:
- Akismet (spam blocker)
- Jetpack (adds dashboard stats, and the subscribe to comments/posts check box you see at the end of comments)
- Monster Insights (helps integrate your Google Analytics)
- Yoast (for SEO (helps you show up in Google searches), descriptions, and publishing to Twitter)
- W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache (helps make your site load faster)
What’s Pinterest and how do I use it?
Pinterest is a visual search engine. People search the internet to find solutions. Pinterest provides the visuals. Lots of bloggers swear by Pinterest to help drive traffic to their site. There a lot of paid e-courses and strategies, but here’s what I gleaned so far:
- Make 100 boards
- Use hashtags
- Join 25 group boards
- Get Tailwind (it schedules pins for you, but you still have to make pins, free for 1 month)
- For stock images: choose Unsplash* (free)
- For creating pins: Choose Canva (more aesthetics) or Quote Cover (easier)
How do I use Facebook/ Twitter for my blog?
- Join 15 groups on Facebook.
- Create a Facebook page for your site.
- Create a Twitter page to share your new posts and retweet old ones. Also to connect with other bloggers.
- Use IFTT (free) to help automate some your sharing across platforms.
Do I need to comment on other blogs?
- Yes. This is your introduction to your blogging community.
- Leave thoughtful comments on newer and more established blogs you enjoy. Join the conversation; entrench yourself in the community.
- Pro tip: for personal finance bloggers, join the following directories: Rockstar Finance, Rockstar Finance Forums, Women Who Money, Camp FIRE, Tread Lightly, Retire Early
Do my first posts need to be the best thing ever written?
- No. Before you get googley-eyed or discouraged over your favorite blogger’s wild success, scroll to their first post and be amazed. No one was banging out blockbuster posts their first month blogging. You can also not bang out great posts at first too. Take your time and get comfortable with WordPress and all the tech stuff you will inevitably have to learn. Be assured, we’ve all been there! I’m a big technophobe and I’ve persevered. You can too!
- For your viewing pleasure, here are some first posts of some now really successful blogs:
What milestones should I hit?
Here’s a good starting place. You would obviously want to ramp this up if you have bigger monetizing goals. But if you’re taking your time, like me, these are some reasonable milestones.
- MONTH 1: Figure out WordPress.
- MONTH 2: Publish at least 6 posts on a regular posting schedule.
- MONTH 3: Work on your social media marketing, including Tailwind (if applicable).
- MONTH 6: Shoot for at least 100 followers across all social media platforms. Do at least 3 guest posts.
- MONTH 12: If you plan to monetize, and you didn’t already start with ads, get ads. Get involved in affiliate marketing. Try to make at least one sale. It can take 3 years to really get your blog to a good place, and some people who blog and market aggressively can get there in 3 months. It’s your blog, do it the way you want.
Subscribe and check out my Wednesday Weekly posts for other great blogging tips! Like this one. *To reduce file size of images, do this: open Microsoft Publisher > Insert photo > right click > save as picture > change resolution to web> save filename with your blog name as part of filename.