In March 2018 I created this blog without any previous blogging knowledge. I didn’t know how to use WordPress, implement SEO or write proper blog posts. I also didn’t have any social media presence, other than my closest friends and family on Facebook.
I am not a full-time blogger. In fact, I can only dedicate a couple of hours per week to blogging. I am a mom of two toddlers and a full-time translator.
Juggling that and keeping this blog alive was too much at times, but I refused to give up.
Somehow, I managed to do at least one little thing for my blog every single week. Some weeks, I could dedicate 5 hours, and some weeks I barely managed to spend 1 hour on it.
But here is what I did manage to do: I created 63 blog posts, 5 freebies, gained over 1000 Pinterest subscribers and reached around 4000 monthly pageviews.
For many people, these results are not amazing, but I know how little time I have to dedicate to blogging so I am very happy with my small achievements.
In this post, I want to share with you my journey, my ups and downs, and also my thoughts about the future.
I do not like when bloggers sugar coat blogging or when they say you can easily earn thousands of dollars after just a couple of months.
The truth is, there is no blogging course that will help you succeed in two months. Blogging is hard and takes a lot of work and practice.
Yes, you can find some blogs that succeed after only a couple of months. But pay attention to details. Did that blogger already have a following on social media? Is this his/her first blog? How much time did this blogger spend preparing for launch?
You have to take all these details into account because they significantly affect their blogging journey and success.
My blogging journey
I find blogging very motivating and inspiring. It is my little outlet from my everyday work and chores. I get to sit down and write about things that can help people start their online business, work on their daily habits, improve their productivity and change their mindset.
When I created this space, I wanted to write about freelancing primarily (hence the title, Onfreelancing). But the blog topics changed over time and I started writing more about my own blogging and self-development journey. I started sharing tips on how you can succeed online, bring visitors from Pinterest and how you can keep your motivation and productivity up over a longer period of time.
I believe all three things (online presence, traffic, and motivation) are something you need to work on if you want to succeed, and I wanted to share everything I learned and everything that helped me become a successful freelancer and business owner.
I did not have any income goals in 2018, my only goal was to keep blogging consistently, create as much content as possible and increase traffic.
Although I am celebrating 1 year of blogging, I want to stress that I did not spend any time preparing for blog launch. In fact, I launched this blog with only one blog post and many website bugs.
But slowly, the number of my blog posts increased and traffic as well. Most of my visitors come from Pinterest and organic search.
10 blogging truths for new bloggers
#1 You will spend a lot more money blogging than you anticipated
Expenses just kept piling up. Aside from domain and hosting, I purchased two WordPress themes, subscriptions for Hautestock, Tailwind, Convertkit, Milotree, Canva, G Suite. I also purchased 3 blogging ebooks and 3 Pinterest courses.
So if you are starting a blog, just be prepared to pay a lot more than you expected. As you learn about different tools and apps, you want to try and do your best and use them as all other bloggers do.
So investing money in your blog is something you will probably have to do in order to grow.
Related: True Cost of Blogging: List of Blogging Costs
#2 You will feel overwhelmed and uninspired at times
Life got on top of me sometimes. With sick kids, my full-time job and all the chores at home I really felt overwhelmed at times.
But I refused to stop and give up and I would always get back to blogging, as soon as I could.
For me, the most difficult part of blogging is trying to keep your motivation up when you do not see results, and when your blog is still new and unpopular.
I experienced quite a few productivity slumps in 2018, but I found some ways that helped me get out of them as fast as possible.
Related: How to be productive when you do not feel motivated
#3 You will probably start making money but not enough to cover all expenses
Yes, some income started coming from my affiliate links. It is not a consistent income and some months it is higher than the other.
But as I never had any income related goals last year, I did not really bother to try and increase my affiliate links or create any digital products.
I feel that you first need a good foundation, a lot of useful content and then it is time to concentrate on making money.
Related: How I made my first affiliate sale
#4 You will probably not experience explosive growth
Sometimes you read online how a blogger got 20,000 page views their second-month blogging. This is not really going to happen to the majority of new bloggers. Unless you are an experienced blogger, you cannot really expect such huge results right away.
And there is no course or ebook that will help you reach that goal.
But if you see that your traffic is growing every single month, that is enough. That means you are on the good track and you just have to keep working hard.
#5 You will learn a lot as a blogger
I really learned a lot this year about various tools, affiliate marketing, content promotion, and Pinterest. I think this is the biggest and most important positive side of blogging.
You learn how to use WordPress, how to improve your writing, how to promote your content. And all these skills are really great to have even if you one day stop blogging.
#6 Your blog planner or journal will be your best friend
When you have very little time to dedicate to blogging, it is very important to be organized. You need to plan your blogging activity every single day, otherwise, you will just end up reading posts and checking what other bloggers are doing.
You need to learn, that is true. But you also need to implement that knowledge and actually do work on your own blog.
I dedicated one notebook to blogging and there I keep all my stats, post ideas and other important information that help me be focused and motivated every single day.
So if you can only dedicate 1 hour every single day to blogging, make that hour count!
#7 You will have to constantly evolve and change as a blogger
One of the biggest lessons I learned is that I have to change and evolve constantly. I have to check my stats and really see what people want to read, why they are coming to my website.
I had a different idea when I started this blog, but it turned out that people liked other types of content much more. So it is important to keep changing and keep growing.
Do not insist on something even when you see it is not working.
Study your stats and try to figure out what people like to read and see on your website.
#8 Setting unrealistic goals will only bring you down
Yes, I set unrealistic goals that I failed to reach. So now I am taking things slow. I have smaller goals, that I know I can work on and reach some time this year.
I want to create more digital products, increase the number of my posts and I want to double my pageviews in 2019.
Last year, I had no idea what blogging looks like so I could not really set appropriate goals. Instead, I read various posts where bloggers claim they succeeded after only 1 or 2 months. And that made me believe that I could do it, too.
#9 Blogging is difficult without a posting schedule
I posted whenever I could. It was sometimes once a week, and then 3 times a week. I had no plan and no schedule. I also did not manage to prepare posts ahead of time so that I could have a week off if I was sick.
This year I want to prepare a schedule and stick to it. But let’s see if that really happens. It is March now, and I still have no posing schedule.
#10 Blogging is very time-consuming
I used to chill and watch movies on Sundays, and now I write posts, edit photos, work on Pinterest, reply to emails and comments…Running a blog is very time consuming and I had to give up everything I enjoyed doing in my free time.
Even a small website tweak, can take you hours and I constantly stay up late to publish new blog posts.
Where to go from here?
Well, I can really only go forward!
I plan to continue writing and improving this year. I want to create my home page, improve my blog posts and change my organization process.
Will I continue to struggle this year?
Well, there is no doubt I will. Unfortunately, I am at a point in my life where I have huge work and life commitments. And blogging comes after all that.
But I plan to keep working on my blog and keep growing and improving both as a blogger and as a person. The good thing is that blogging is very addictive and very motivating. And hopefully, that will help me keep my motivation and productivity up.
Let’s see where this second year takes us!
- Goal planning for bloggers in 2019
- 6 month blog update – my biggest mistakes
- How to write SEO friendly blog posts – my top 10 tips
- How I made my first affiliate sale