Now that I’ve “retired” from the blog owning business of things for a few months, I’d thought I’d share my thoughts.
Everyone dreams to make it big while doing what they love, sharing their opinions, and being creative. Blogging can be a great avenue for this. As someone who was able to make four figures on a consistent monthly basis, I would say I was one of the lucky ones generate a little bit of income from being passionate about personal finance and writing.
I certainly didn’t start off this way and have had many moments where I thought I would just hang up my hat and call it a day. Certainly in the first 6 months to 1 year of blogging I felt that more often than not. This all changed when I was given the big break through the creation of the Yakezie.
Although I did many things right- like get an avatar, host my own site (instead of using wordpress.com or blogger to start), and write detailed content, in hindsight (because we all know it’s 20/20 looking in the rear view mirror) I wish I did things differently when I started blogging.
There were some essential blogging lessons I learned from the 2.5 years of turning my hobby blog into a business.
One of the key messages I learned is that blogging as a business is NOT passive (unless of course you create a niche site). I spent hours and hours every day after work on my blog- to the point that my relationship with my boyfriend was feeling neglected lol.
This is huge and I can’t stress it enough. It took me 6 months to one year to actually have regular Google Adsense income. I went from earning $0.01 to $0.10 a month (oh that penny was so well deserved- that’s worse than slave labour really) when I first started to breaking the $100 threshold in about 3 months time after 6 months. It takes time for Google to find your site and crawl it.
After 1 year, the Google Adsense became more consistent and I was breaking the $100 threshold on a regular monthly basis. I know that there are many bloggers who are successful at doing this in less than one year.
There were so many fantastically great bloggers with great potential (they had a unique site design, excellent content, great presence) but just disappeared. Tell yourself that you won’t become that statistic.
Have Plenty of Posts Ready
When I first started Young and Thrifty I think I had about a month’s worth of posts and I thought this would suffice. I ignored the recommendations to have at least 6 months worth of posts to one year’s worth of posts ready before you start your blog.
This was one major regret I had when Youngandthrifty.ca became bigger and more popular… I wished I had more posts ready. With work constraints, school constraints, and needing to focus on my relationship, I was often “burning the midnight candle” and writing posts well after midnight. Unfortunately when you’re tired and exhausted after a long day, it’s difficult to get the creative juices flowing to be able to write freely.
So the lesson of the day is to have 6 months to 1 year of posts ready! That means that if you post three times a week, make sure you have 72 posts ready to go. You don’t necessarily have to schedule 6 months in advance, but having them ready in a word file for when you want to pull them and load them up in wordpress is essential.
After 2.5 years, I have come to the realization that writing on a word document is a bazillion times easier than writing on wordpress. For some reason, I get easily distracted on wordpress and tend to get more “writer’s block”.
This is another lesson that is so important. Social media is important, there is absolutely no doubt about it, but being conscious of how your time is spent is important too. Limit your time spent on social media to certain times of the day. Spend time in advance scheduling tweets (Hootsuite is pretty awesome for that) on some old stellar posts that you want others to see. HOWEVER one important thing to note is not to over-schedule tweets. It gets kind of annoying seeing the same post referenced 50 times a day in the twitter timeline.
Answering emails can be very time consuming and if you limit your time to answering emails for 30 minutes a day.
Spend 30 minutes or 1 hour a day commenting on other sites. I made it a habit to visit the sites of other bloggers that took the time to visit and comment on mine. I think this is one aspect of the giving selflessly concept in the Yakezie that is important to be cognizant of.
Outsource tasks that you’re not good at because they will be a guaranteed time sucker. I don’t know how many hours (probably hundreds and hundreds) I spent working on coding the html to fix things and in the end, ended screwing up my site. This caused the plug-ins to malfunction. I spend hundreds of hours trying to find the source of the problem but in the end decided to spend money on creating a new site design courtesy of Dividend Ninja. Getting rid of the headache was so worth it. My University Money is lucky to have JB dedicated to doing the coding/html/computer side of things.
Because I was always so busy writing for my own site (remember, I didn’t have a backlog of 6 months of posts available) and playing catch up, I never got the opportunity to write for others consistently.
Guest posts on well established blogs are so important for Page Rank and this is another important lesson I cannot stress enough. The person you are guest posting for will often be so grateful for the opportunity for the guest post (unless you are spammy of course).
The important thing to remember about this is that you need to develop a relationship with the blog you are guest posting for first. I remember feeling “put off” when people who never even visited my site let alone commented on my site asked to have a guest post on my site.
So to Recap…
These are all lessons that I wish I adhered to when I created Youngandthrifty.ca. Hope that they are helpful to you if you are interested in turning your hobby blog to a side business
PF Bloggers, are there any other invaluable lessons that you have learned since starting blogging?