My blog has survived! It’s Tips2LiveBy’s first birthday! Exactly one year ago today, I officially “launched” Tips2LiveBy. I posted my first article, and created pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In honor of our first birthday, I thought it would be fun to take a look back and reflect on the year. There have been ups and downs. Some days, I wonder if I’ve gotten in over my head. Other days, I get discouraged because I feel like no one is reading what I’m putting out there. But, overall, I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, and I’m excited about where things are heading.
Keep reading to learn more about my journey, as well as my 10 tips for any of you that might be thinking about starting your own blog!
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
I HAVE THIS IDEA, BUT NOW WHAT?
The idea of starting a blog came to me about 18 months ago. I’ve always liked to write, and I felt like I had something to say. So, why not start a blog? Of course, that’s easier said than done.
I googled “starting a blog” and found some pretty good resources. But honestly, it felt a bit overwhelming. In my head, I thought I could just come up with a name and start writing. I didn’t realize I was going to have to build a website, create social media pages, market my blog, etc.
I kept pushing the idea of starting a blog to the side.
In April of 2017, my husband and I took an amazing trip to Portugal and Spain. I got home from the trip and had all these great tips and things I wanted to share with people, but no platform to do it on.
So, I decided to take the time to focus on creating my blog, and within a couple of weeks, Tips2LiveBy was born!
The first thing I did was come up with the name. Coming up with a name is not as easy as you might think. First, the domain name must be available to purchase. Second, the name needs to be available on social media. Third, it needs to be something short and easy to remember.
My husband came up with the basic idea of the name, and with a little fine-tuning, Tips2LiveBy became my brand.
While it wasn’t easy coming up with a name, that was a picnic compared to figuring out how to build an actual website. I would consider myself just average in technical ability. Building a website is out of my league. The good news is that I’m very good at following instructions, and I found a great guide from someone else’s blog to help me build my WordPress site.
After a lot of trial and error, I got the site to a point that it was ready for prime time. Next came creating my Facebook page, and Twitter and Instagram accounts.
MAY 1, 2017 – THE FIRST BLOG POST
I recently went back and read the first post that I ever published. You can read it here as well:
I hope you would agree that my writing has improved! While I’ve always been a good writer, writing a contract or an e-mail at work is a lot different than writing a blog post. I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way.
Regardless of the quality, I wrote that first post and hit publish to send it out into Internet world! I shared it on my Facebook and Twitter, and we were off!
WHERE WE’VE BEEN
I am not a famous blogger. I don’t have a bunch of followers, and I don’t get a lot of views. Since I started a year ago, I have:
– Posted 93 articles (this is #94)
– Had 8,851 views on my website
– Had 5,068 unique visitors to my page
– 369 followers on Facebook
– 298 followers on Instagram
– 155 followers on Twitter
But while my stats are not going to blow anyone away, I feel good about the fact that they were all earned with nothing more than my hard work. I don’t do “like for likes” on blogging Facebook pages. I also don’t “follow” people on Twitter and Instagram just to get them to follow me back. And, I have not spent one penny to “boost” my posts on social media.
WHAT HAVE I ACCOMPLISHED?
Even though I’m not setting the world on fire with my stats, I’ve had some pretty major accomplishments over the last year that I’m proud of. Those include:
– Having the first people “follow” me on Facebook that weren’t people I know personally, and having them comment on my posts.
– Getting an e-mail (and several have followed) from people that said they “found” my blog and had questions to ask me about my posts.
– Doing a google search and finding the link to one of my articles on the first page.
– Getting my first “perk” after reaching out to a local music venue to let them know I was going to be covering them in one of my posts. The venue accommodated us with a special dinner before the show, which was really cool, even though we had to pay.
– Getting my first “press ticket” to cover a concert just a couple of weeks ago. It was a small band at a small venue, but it felt really cool to have my name on the “special list” when I walked in the venue.
WHAT DO I STILL WANT TO ACCOMPLISH ON MY BLOG?
First and foremost, I’m still figuring out this web design stuff. I’ve learned a lot over the past 12 months, and my page looks much better than it did before. I taught myself how to use Canva to make better graphics. I also got a new cellphone that takes much higher quality pictures. Most recently, I even taught myself how to add a pop-up window to try and get more e-mail subscribers.
Next, I’d love to figure out a way to get some more “perks”. I am not interested in monetizing this. Outside of my Amazon Affiliates program which pays pennies on the dollar (and I haven’t even earned enough pennies yet to have them write me my first $10 check), I don’t want this page to turn into a big advertisement. I see a lot of my fellow bloggers doing that, and it’s just not me. But, I would love to get a discounted hotel stay, or a free wine tasting, or more free concert tickets.
Finally, I want to continue to build the base of something that is great! I want to have quality content that people find helpful. One of the things that I love the most about doing this blog, is when people reach out and tell me that something I’ve written or posted has been helpful to them. That’s the whole reason why I started this thing, and what keeps me motivated to keep it going.
MY 10 TIPS FOR NEW BLOGGERS
Since I started my blog, I’ve had a couple of friends reach out to me and ask me how I got started. They are interested in starting their own blog, and are looking for help to get going. I could write a book at this point about everything you need to know, but here are the 10 tips I wish someone had given me when I started.
Tip #1: Secure Your Brand. One of the first – and best – pieces of advice I got when I started was from my brother. He told me to pick my name and then buy all the domains – .com, .net, .org. Even though it might cost you a little more, you’ll protect yourself from anyone else buying and using those domains. Also, set up social media pages with your name too – even if you aren’t ready to use them all. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Gmail, etc.
Tip #2: Pick a Niche. You need to decide what you want to write about. You don’t want your niche to be too broad, because you won’t know how to market to your audience. You also don’t want your niche to be too narrow, because you won’t have enough to write about.
Tip #3: Be Consistent. I don’t post on every form of social media every day, but I try and post often. I also try and write new content at least once per week. If you are going to commit to doing a blog, you need to commit to posting content with some regularity. That will keep people engaged and looking forward to what’s coming next.
Tip #4: Quality Over Quantity. While you want to post content consistently, you want that content to be high quality. If you don’t have something that people find value in reading, they won’t come back.
Tip #5: Be Patient. You will not have hundreds (or even dozens) of followers when you first start out. There are ways to build your followers – i.e. “like for like” posts in blogging Facebook groups. However, those people will come and go and are not the type of followers you want. Instead, you want followers that are genuinely interested in your content. It takes time to grow those followers.
Tip #6: Be Persistent. One of the things I had to get comfortable with, is putting myself out there. I’m the kind of person that gets nervous sending out a friend request on Facebook, because I’m afraid the person will decline my request. It pained me to send invitations to most of my friends to follow my page on Facebook. Then, I had to start sending e-mails to bands, hotels, PR agents, etc. to introduce myself and see if they could help me with my blog. To this day, every time I send one of those e-mails, I dread getting a rejection. But, that’s the only way to build your brand.
Tip #7: Be Prepared to Commit the Time. Doing this is time consuming. I spend my lunch almost every day working on it. When I get home, I often sit on my laptop for a couple hours at night. I also usually spend 3-4 hours every weekend. And that’s now that I have a pretty good system down. I spent countless hours when I first started. You must love it and be passionate about it, or it’s not worth the time you need to spend.
Tip #8: Be True to Yourself. I do not want to be a sell-out. I don’t want to have links to “the best hosting company out there” that pop up on my page. I also don’t want to pay for promoted pages. What I want is for my blog to be informative and be something that people look to for help.
Tip #9: Set Goals. My goal is not to make money. Instead, it’s to put quality information out there that I hope people find informative and helpful. If your goal is to make money, this is probably not the business for you.
Tip #10: Don’t Get Discouraged. There are times when I’m trying to figure out how to change something on my website, and I get frustrated. I also have times when I spend hours on a post and think it’s fantastic, and only a couple of people read it. That’s ok. I still love what I’m doing and I plan to keep going.
So, that’s my story for the last year. I’m excited about the next year and where things are going. I have a couple of big trips planned this year, that will make great blog posts. And of course, there are plenty of concerts on the schedule.
For those of you that have supported me – thank you very much! If you find what I write interesting or helpful, please share it. Those few seconds to share something can mean a lot to getting my stuff out there!
Do you have any of your own tips about getting started blogging? Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you like what you read? Want to keep up on live music, drink, food and travel? Make sure you follow us on social media! Click on the links at the top of our homepage on our website, and follow us for regular updates on where we are, what we are eating and drinking, and what music we are listening to!