10 things I wish I knew before I became a part-time blogger
So you’re thinking about starting a blog? That’s awesome! Congratulations. But before you dive into this new venture, consider these 10 things that I learned after becoming a part-time blogger four years ago. You may thank me later. Check it out.
Being a part-time blogger was never one of my hopes and dreams. But the opportunity kind of just fell in my lap and I realized it was something that I really enjoyed. It all started when my friend asked me if I would write some guest articles for her own blog. She paid me for each article and it was easy. Then I realized, “I could create my own blog.” Then the rest is history. But there are a few things that I wish I would have known before I started. Take a look.
#1: Decide your “why” before you start
Are you in it for the money? Do you like to write? Are you passionate about making a difference in the world? Whatever your reasoning, make sure it’s something that will motivate you because creating a blog isn’t easy. I started my mommy blog because I loved sharing my ideas with other moms. Plus, I really enjoy writing, graphic design, crafting and doing fun stuff with my kids.
Let me warn you though, if you’re solely doing a blog for the money, you’re going to be disappointed. Check out tip #4 below for more details.
#2: Pick the name and focus of your blog carefully
The name. I kind of messed up on this one. My blog’s name is My Silly Squirts because it’s about my five crazy kids. It sounds fun and playful, right? However, the word “squirts” also has derogatory implications and sometimes pulls up inappropriate material in a Google search. Ah geez! So, take your time when choosing your blog name because it’s a huge headache if you want to change it down the road. Trust me. Check out this post from a fellow blogger called, “How to come up with a blog name” for more ideas.
The focus. There are so many different types of blogs out there, it’s crazy. I found a lady who’s entire blog is about how to make fun things out of paper mache. I think the most important thing is that you love what you are blogging about. Otherwise, you’re going to get bored really fast. And also make sure there’s enough to write about within that topic so you don’t run out of content a month into it. Here’s some blog ideas:
#3: It’s a marathon, not a sprint
When you start a blog, you’re basically starting from square one. And unless you’re a famous celebrity, it’s going to take time to generate followers. Think years, not months or weeks. When I first started my blog, I was getting 20-40 views per day. Now, after four years, I get an average of 650 views per day. I still feel like I’m the tortoise in the world of blogs, but my blog is growing and that’s what matters. Just don’t give up.
#4: Don’t expect to earn tons of money
If anyone tells you that you’ll make tons of money right away as a part-time blogger, they are lying. I made less than $100 in my first year because I knew from the beginning that I was going to be part-time. There’s a reason why not everyone makes a living off a blogging, because it’s really hard. Consider it a hobby and any money that you make will be a bonus!
If you want to earn a living off of blogging, then you have to put in as much time (if not more) as a full time job. Plain and simple. Here’s a breakdown of the money that I have earned for the past four years from ads and Amazon affiliate links:
- 2018: $80
- 2019: $378
- 2020: $2,073
- 2021: $3,642
The reason why I had such a big jump in earnings in 2020 was because I finally qualified to apply for an ad network company called Monumetric. They require at least 10,000 views per month. Before then I was using Google Adsense because they don’t require a minimum number of views per month but they don’t pay very much. Check out this great post about the 15 best ad networks for bloggers for more information.
#5: Be consistent
Publishing blog posts on a consistent basis is HUGE. It boosts your visibility among search engines and social media platforms. Search engines love fresh content. So, if you’re wondering why you’re not getting any views, make sure your are creating new, quality posts on a regular basis.
#6: Learn how to play the social media algorithm game
Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Google, all of them run off of algorithms and algorithms dictate whether or not anyone will read your blog posts. So what are social media algorithms? According to the Digital Marketing Institute, an algorithm is a mathematical set of rules specifying how a group of data behaves. In social media, algorithms help maintain order and assist in ranking search results and advertisements.
The problem is, social media algorithms are constantly changing, making it difficult for bloggers to keep up. However, there are general rules of thumb that you can follow. Check out this blog post “Everything you need to know about social media algorithms” to learn more.
#7: Prepare yourself for burnout
As a mother of five kids, I don’t have time to invest 40 hours a week in my blog. It’s just not possible. So, I made a goal to write at least one blog post per week. That amounts to about 2-3 hours per week. This has worked for me for the last four years.
Even with only working 2-3 hours per week on my blog, I sometimes get a little burnt out. When that happens, I just take a week or two off. I just need time to reset and not think about it. Then, I usually start thinking of blog ideas and get excited about it again.
I always say, “As long as I’m having fun and enjoying it, I’ll keep being a part-time blogger.” And so far, I have enjoyed it. I think it’s fun and rewarding.
#8: Talk to other bloggers
Sometimes you have a question, need advice or your just need support from other bloggers. That’s why I recommend joining a blogger Facebook group. Check out this post, “The 30 best Facebook groups for bloggers” for more information.
#9: Use social media to generate traffic
Social media is a HUGE part of having a successful blog. Make sure you create your own Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and even YouTube account for your blog.
The table below shows the traffic sources from my blog for the year 2021. As you can see, 51% of the views on my blog came from social media websites. Of those 91,302 views, 90,381 of them came from Pinterest. So, Pinterest is a huge resource for getting views for my blog.
#10: Sign up for Google analytics right away
Google Analytics allows you to track and analyze visitors to your website. You can see where your visitors are coming from, how long they are visiting your page, how often they return to your website and much, much more information.
This is a free and invaluable tool for your blog. Plus, if you want to monetize your blog and apply for an ad network company down the road, they will require data from your Google Analytics account.
If you have a sudden dip in traffic on your blog, you can analyze the data on your analytics account and figure out the source of the problem. This has happened to me on multiple occasions as a part-time blogger and I was so grateful that I had analytics to help me. Check out this video, “Analytics for Beginners” for more information.
I hope this information was helpful for you. Although being a part-time blogger can have it’s ups and downs, I really love it. I love sharing my ideas with the world and helping other moms along the way. Let me know if you have any additional questions. Leave your comments below.