I decided to start this monthly report in order to help more bloggers who think about starting this type of business, or who already started, but would like to improve their blog. I will be honestly writing my opinion about each tool I am using and each company I am working with.
Originally, I am a scientist and researcher. I personally have written two Ph.D. theses, so I take all these things very seriously and I spend a lot of time learning deeply and fundamentally. Before applying any feature to my website, I really spend a lot of time reading about it. Some things can work great for others, but they can be very bad for your website.
There are different types of people, each treats their websites differently: some of them pay more attention for design, some for protection, other for functionality and so on. In my case, I want it to look professional, protected and user-friendly, of course with the high quality of content.
So, let’s get started:
Each person has very different reasons for deciding to start blogging, as well as deciding what type of blogs to write. You can find tons of material about how to start your blog and how to promote it. It is very-very useful, but first of all, you should filter a lot of information.
1. Filter information you read about blogging.
A lot of people write really honestly how they work, which applications they use to improve their site, but a lot of them don’t. “Affiliate marketing” is a very popular term. Actually, I am sure you have heard about it. Almost everybody who would like to become a blogger heard about it and knows it can be a good source of income. But here is a problem – how to find out if the recommendations which you read about are pure and honest, or the authors of some articles are just paid to promote somebody’s brand? To be honest with you, I was really disappointed a couple of times. I trust some author’s recommendation, I sign up for some program, but after some time I find some hidden things behind it. No-no, I don’t want to say that authors didn’t mention it on purpose in their articles, even though some of them did, I want to say that they didn’t use it personally to find plusses and minuses. Sometimes it is frustrating….
2. Be ready to learn continuously.
Since the first day, I have started blogging, I didn’t spend any day when I didn’t read something new to improve my website. I do it daily and continuously. It is so funny when some people think that, if they quit their 9 to 5 job, they will finally get freedom. Honestly, they will have a 24/7 job instead. If you want to treat your blog as a business – believe me it is a business that requires 24/7 availability. Even when you are sleeping – your site is working and people from different time zones are reading your information, so you should do your best to make it work perfectly. You should schedule your posts for that time when you are resting, to give people from different time zones some fresh portion of the information on different social media.
3. Your friends are great, but they might not support/encourage you.
People are very different, but mostly what I read and by my own experience, it is unfortunately true. I remember when I first mentioned to some of my friends about my idea to start my blog, some of them were really surprised. When I said that I want to do everything by myself – create the website, promote, and improve – they didn’t believe in it at all. I kept hearing: “You are not an IT person, it is impossible”, or “ok, start if you want so much, but anyways you will need to hire some professional down the road”. However, I decided to learn how to do it. In also, if I have some problem on my website, I decided to learn how to fix it.
Please don’t get discouraged by somebody’s comments. If you feel that someone might tell you something that can have some negative influence on your decision, you better do what you decide to do, and then just show them results later. To be honest with you – I did it exactly this way; even my parents and brother only knew about this website after it was created and ready.
I remember asking some of my friends to share some of my posts to help me reach more people. You know, not so many of them have done it. I didn’t really ask so many of them, but still – I expected more support. All of them said: “yes, of course”, but just a couple of them really did it. However, some of my friends really pleasantly surprised me, they have shared my FB page, posts and even invited their friends to like my FB page without asking them about it. I really appreciate their help and honest friendship. Result – try to avoid getting disappointed in some of your friends!
4. You will spend more time than you expect.
After reading a lot of articles and other people’s experience in blogging, you think that it is not so hard, you would even think that it’s even very easy and very simple. Especially when some people write that they only spend 2 to 4 hours daily. Maybe some of them really do. However, here’s how it works for them:
a) They will learn everything longer. And it will take them really long time to have a great and fast website.
b) They pay a lot of money for somebody to maintain and promote their site.
c) They don’t care about technical things at all, they treat it as a hobby. Accordingly, the results they receive are – low traffic, slow and very unprofessional website.
Believe me, it is impossible to have a great quality website without spending a lot of time for it. It is up to you to decide who will spend time on your website – you, or somebody for whom you will pay. Of course, if you decide to hire some professional, it will take them much less time than it would take you, and most probably they will have better results much faster than you. However, you need to pay them for their services, and usually, it is not cheap, and it is not a one-time payment. You can have different problems, daily threats – you should know how to protect your site and how to fix it, or you need to have somebody who will do it for you. Especially at the very beginning of your blogging business and you don’t know which results you will get out of it, I am not sure you will be willing to invest a lot of money in it.
5. Make money blogging.
You should treat your blog as a child and have real passion for it to make money out of it. Hundreds of new blogging websites are registered every day, but very few of them are really making money. I would say, during the first year, you will spend more money on it than you will make out of it. Ok, maybe some people see different results but believe me this would not be their first blog. They have experience in it and they have gone through their tough first year of blogging a long time ago. So you can’t compare their fresh blog to yours. They have knowledge, they tried many different things to know which things work the best for them, but you still need to learn it. Quite often I find articles with titles: “I started making money from blogging on my first (or second) month” – but honestly, they made money from freelancing – they are offering some skills which they got during their blogging experience from before. Some of them made some small amount of money with affiliate marketing or ads.
On my first month, I made zero dollars from blogging. Ok, to be honest with you, there wasn’t so many ways how I could make money. I don’t have any ads, I signed up for Amazon affiliate, but I had some issues with inserting their banner in my widgets area, so I am still working on it. Yes, it can happen too. For many people, it can work smoothly, but some other people have some different experience and they need to learn how to fix it in different ways. I will keep you informed in my next report on how it is going. I hope I will be able to inform you about some more optimistic results.
6. Social media – is very important.
Especially in the first stage of your blogging, social media is the only way to get traffic to your website. If you already have a website, then you know that it is very important to have a good content, but it is much more important to have visitors who would read your content. How to attract them? How to find more visitors? It depends on your niche, your content, and definitely how you promote your website. As I mentioned before, you can hire somebody to do it for you, or you can do it yourself, but be ready to spend a lot of time working on it every day. For me, it is so visible that when I spend less time promoting my content, I automatically notice fewer visitors to the website. When I work hard to share my content, I always see great results in the evening and for the next couple of days. If you are interested to know more about my experience, please let me know in the comments and I will make sure to include more details in my next reports.
I currently have five social media profiles:
Feel free to follow me on your favorite social media to receive daily motivation and inspiration.
7. Your hosting is very important.
When I started making my research about blogging, it was the first time I heard the word “hosting”. I totally didn’t know what it means and why I need it. To be honest with you, on the first day I took the decision to start searching for information on how to create a website, I bought a beautiful notebook and beautiful pen to make it more pleasant to write notes every day. So I began by writing terms such as “domain”, “hosting”, “plugin” – maybe you are laughing now, but yes, I didn’t have any knowledge about any of those things at all. If I see myself 3 months ago, I knew nothing about all of these things. I was scared to start, but I wanted to start and to learn all of those things. I have done a lot of research on all these terms and here is my opinion about them:
There are a lot of hosting companies. To start your website, choose a hosting company whom you believe, whom you can easily contact, and which can help you to fix your problems for free, and most importantly fast. Different hosting companies have different loading page speed. It is very important because, besides other factors, first of all, it depends on hosting how fast your visitors will open the pages of your website. I didn’t know it before. There are different types of hosting too. You can have shared hosting (you will share a server with other websites), cloud hosting – in price it is in the middle, actually the speed too, or to have your personal server (dedicated hosting – the server is only for your website). I am currently on a shared server, so I will be writing about it. When I will move to dedicated hosting in the future, I will tell you about my experience
If one of the websites that are on the same shared server with you is having a lot of visitors at a certain time, your website will be loading slower for you visitors. Of course, every hosting company will tell you that your visitors almost won’t feel it, but on some hosting companies, believe me, they will “feel it”. Even shared hosting have different plans – depending on the hosting company. The price can usually vary from 7$ to 25$ per month – depending on the plan you choose when you subscribe, as well as the period and the hosting itself.
You can google many companies and make your own research about it. When I was choosing my hosting company I was choosing between Bluehost, Godaddy and A2 Hosting.
I started with Bluehost, but moved to SiteGround. I will write a different post about my hosting experience because it will take too long… I have so much to say about it. The first I thought to buy my domain name www.academyofhappylife.com from Godaddy, but when I read and knew that they can charge you a big amount if you forget to make some payment in time, I decided to have all my payments in one place.
In the beginning, I was glad that I can talk with them and solve my problem immediately, but after almost two months continuously facing problems, I decided to change that company. Up to now – it is the best decision that I have ever made for my website. To be honest with you – I was calling really often. My husband was making jokes on me, when I spend some time without calling them, he says “they probably miss you, I think they might call you soon to ask how you’re doing” or “did you talk today with your ‘friends’?”. Really, I was calling them every time I notice some problem on my site and the problems were appearing daily. Actually more or less, it was the main reason page loading time.
I have signed up for the affiliate with them, but I would never recommend it, anybody before I was sure that it is working correctly. So, I am not recommending it to you too, but I totally recomending to you SiteGround hosting company. Maybe for some people, it is good, but I had different experience with them. In my case, it was a lot of wasted hours talking with them by phone trying to solve my problems, which actually they have created for me.
8. Check what is behind the scene.
Actually, it is very important to know what is happening with your website. One day I had a curiosity to check the technical sides of some “Guru Bloggers” and I was so surprised that their websites had so low technical scores according to some testing websites. This is one more proof that the best way is to do it yourself. I am 100% sure that they have professional web developers (I have read it in their articles), but the score of their website is still not perfect. Maybe they personally even don’t know about it. Technical scores of your website are very important. From it will depend on how fast your readers will open your information, how fast the photos will load and so on.
I am checking my scores daily on GTmetrix.com. I have a friend who is blogging for almost one year now. One time I asked him about his website and scores – he even didn’t know what I was talking about. He was sure that his website works perfectly and he never had any problems with it. When I checked it on GTmetrix, we were very surprised. If you have a website – check it too. You will know a lot of useful information about it. You will see what’s happening behind the scenes. Check it every time you implement some changes to your website (new plugin, theme, even widget)
9. Carefully choose your theme.
The theme, oh this is almost as important as hosting. Your theme should be user-friendly, mobile friendly, and more. The first I didn’t know so much about it. I didn’t know even how to customize it. So I had to watch a lot of Youtube videos and they helped me a lot. I am currently on a free WordPress theme called “Spacious”. I am very happy with it. One time I decided to change to some other premium theme, and it wasn’t the best experience. It was a very popular website – I will not name it, I don’t intend to create any bad reputation to anybody, I am just sharing my experience. First of all, they could communicate with me just by e-mails. Their response time for answering my emails was from 24 to 72 hours. Can you imagine it? To wait up to three days to get some support? I am in Canada, their time zone is 10 hours ahead of mine. Their working hours were from 1 AM to 8 AM Canadian time. I had a couple of nights with no sleep, waiting for their answer, but anyways it didn’t work for me, so I just moved back to my free theme. If you need to buy a theme – be careful about their support. Believe me, you will need it, especially if you are a beginner. Don’t read users reviews, some companies are not so honest and they just delete negative reviews and leave only positive ones. That premium theme which I used had so many positive reviews, especially about the customer support, but I faced a totally different reality.
Generally, I am happy with what I am doing now. I am enjoying helping people, motivating them, seeing how my followers are increasing, reading great comments. It is even much more important than money. People and their reviews are my rewards now. I enjoy writing articles based on my own experience, writing something that really works and helps people, making them more successful and happier!
I am a full-time blogger. I am a new blogger. I spend all my time learning, creating new content and sharing it. I know a lot, but I still need to learn much more. I am happy to have new friends from the same field as me – bloggers same as me. We are talking together, we are helping and supporting each other.
I am sure you have million questions in your head now. Don’t worry, let me know in the comments which topics you would like to read about next time. If you would need some support, just write what you need, and I will help you as much as possible. Good luck!