This is a report for anyone who wants to know the reality of starting a blog. I’ve focused on the first 3 months of blogging in this post, based upon my own experiences of putting up the SideGains blog. It includes an honest examination of my activities and consequently the results of my efforts.
The intention is to give you a true picture of what it takes to start a blog, by reporting in 3 month blocks so you’re clear about what you can expect.
I’ll make another post like this one after 6 months, 9 months, 12 months etc.
Before I begin, if you haven’t yet started your blogging journey, I’ve written the following articles just for you!
Can You Start a Blog for Free?
How to Start a Blog
31 Reasons Blogs Fail
There is a lot of information in these posts that’ll help you get started.
Summary of My First 3 Months Blogging
I probably had a head start of many others who start blogging because I have a background in building websites and promoting them online. If you’re interested, you can read about my experiences here: What Happened and How The Heck Did I Get Here?
Many new bloggers might know very little about things like WordPress, SEO, PPC and the many others tools and skills you need to get to grips with. I’m lucky I haven’t had to overcome some of the challenges many new bloggers face because of my past experience.
However, I am in the same boat when it comes to the day to day commitment required, or what I call…
The Blog Slog
The actual blogging experience (writing content, promoting it and remaining committed) has been exactly the same for me as it is for anyone else starting off… as I’m a new blogger after all:
Write blog post. Edit. Publish. Promote. Write blog post. Edit. Publish. Promote. Write blog post…
It’s a slog!
Perhaps not so much in your first month when you’re hyped and packed full of enthusiasm! But 3 months in you have to find ways to fire up the engine!
So what have I been up to?
I installed WordPress at the end of June 2019, so the SideGains blog was up and running ready for July 2019.
In terms of on blog activity, here’s a high level view:
SideGains Blog Posts
|Month||Number of Posts||Total Word Count|
|3 Month Total||51||84,993|
You can see my guns blazed in July, but to be fair I had been prepping content prior to putting SideGains live.
I probably had most of my static page content ready (About, Disclaimer, How SideGains Makes Money etc.) as well as a few posts.
This helped me to hit the ground running.
August took a bit of a hit content-wise because I took a two week vacation to Greece… which was lovely. I still managed to write and publish 3-4 articles while I was away, since I was paranoid about losing the good ground I’d made up to that point.
In September I came back swinging and nearly doubled the number of posts I published in August. I also started to be a lot more active in my social media accounts, particularly Twitter and Pinterest.
Pinterest is something I know can increase my reach enormously and if I use it correctly it will also create a lot of visits.
I’m still learning how to use Pinterest to properly promote SideGains though, and creating images and pinning them is quite a big overhead on top of everything else.
It’s important though, as are all social media channels of course. But you have to choose your battles according to the time you have.
Anyhow… let’s take a look at what kind of visits you might expect in your first 3 months!
|3 Month Total||451|
These are interesting numbers showing the harsh reality for most new bloggers because it shows you have to put in a lot of effort upfront for pretty poor returns.
I knew this before starting, but I can’t pretend it’s encouraging.
On the bright side, at this point SideGains is beginning to fatten up in terms of content (not to mention the quality of it), so that gives me a better platform to promote myself harder going forward.
In my view, it doesn’t look great to anybody (not least search engines) if you’re pitching your blog as a useful resource to get visitors to your blog, only for them to find that it’s, ahem, not a very useful resource when they get there.
Content is important.
Promotion is now taking a much bigger part of my day at the end of month 3, which I feel is correct now SideGains has something to shout about.
How Do I Feel after My First 3 Months of Blogging?
I won’t lie to you…. didn’t I say I’d be honest? 🙂
It takes a long time to build up blog content, I know that. Additionally I know it takes a long time to grow traffic to a blog.
Furthermore, I understand search engines tend to hold back on placing your pages high in the search results until they understand you’re the real deal.
Domain age and authority, high-quality content, on-page SEO and inbound links all play a huge role in helping you to rank for searches… but it takes a while to work on these areas in a way that does not look unnatural to search engines.
This is important since activity on a new blog (or any website actually) that appears unnatural to search engines is a red-flag to them suggesting you’re trying to game the results black hat marketing way.
There are also things like the Google sandbox to get over!
Regardless of the leg up that my online background gives me, I totally understand the frustration of working super hard for 3 months to see tiny amounts of traffic dribbling in at the end of it.
As a consequence, some days blogging feels like pushing a rock up a hill, in particular if I’m thinking about the number of visits I’m “enjoying” right now!
But not every day is like this. Some days I feel I am able to write blog posts like a pro!
Regardless, it’s important to be committed. I know that a lack of commitment (especially in the early days) is one of the reasons why blogs fail. But boy it’s tough be committed when you’re not seeing much by way of a return.
You have to serve a pretty challenging and lengthy apprenticeship before you can break on through to the other side… any successful blogger will tell you this I’m sure.
And yet… even though I know all this, it’s still hard to push on. In the first 3 months of blogging it’s all give, give, give.
3 Month Summary
- It’s been an interesting 3 months of blogging.
- I started with a raging fire in my belly naturally… but 3 months in I have to feed it a little… actually a lot sometimes!
- Commitment is vital, as with anything.
- After every blog post goes live, I try to tell myself I’ve just invested in my blog and expanded my content portfolio. As with many investments, growth only occurs over time!
- Though SideGains traffic is almost insignificant right now, I’m interested to see what the picture looks like in 3 month’s time! I’ll still be here, I can tell you that.
Something important to remember if you’re in my shoes is there are only so many hours available to us each day. Try not to be too hard on yourself if you’re not running as quickly as you’d like or i some days don’t go quite as well as you’d like.
It’s a long game!
I’d love to hear where you are on your blogging journey. Does this post ring any bells? Do you have any advice for people like me? Leave a message below if it tickles your fancy!
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