You started a blog! YEAH!! You are reading blogs from others telling you to make sure you have an email list immediately, and someone else says Pinterest is most important. And when should you start learning about SEO?
It is enough to make you want to quit. But don’t. There are many steps to launching a blog, but knowing what to do in the first six months will help you keep your sanity.
When you started your blog, you probably did so because you want to make money. That may be so you can quit your regular job or supplement your income. You may have also started one just because you have something you want to share with the world.
Whatever the reason, it is yours, and it is a great reason to blog.
As you start, you may be trying to read everything you can on the topic. You find yourself being pulled in 20 different directions, just trying to figure it all out. It can leave you more confused (and frustrated) than anything.
That is why 80% of bloggers quit within their first six months of blogging. It happens because they don’t understand or have unrealistic expectations. Some of them are not willing to learn. Don’t be like them.
To help you achieve your blogging goals, you need to know what to do (and not to do) during your first six months of blogging. You’ll feel more in control and have a clear path to help you reach your blogging goals.
TEN THINGS TO DO DURING YOUR FIRST SIX MONTHS OF BLOGGING
There is a lot you need to do to start a blog and make money. But, when you first start, you do not need to do it all. You can’t. Here are the ten things you should focus on during the first six months when you start blogging.
1. Set up your blog
2. Add a theme
3. Learn the technical aspects of blogging
4. Find your person or tribe
5. Learn SEO
6. Produce content
7. Use Pinterest to start getting traffic
8. Start your email list
9. Never stop learning
10. Love what you do
Now, that is a lot you need to do. Let’s make this easier by helping you know what you need to do every step of the way.
YOUR FIRST SIX MONTHS OF BLOGGING – WEEK BY WEEK
FIRST 2 WEEKS
Set up your site
The first thing you should do is set up your site. I don’t recommend the free (or premium) version of WordPress or Blogger. You really should start by getting your domain and hosting. It will be much more cost-effective in the long run. If you aren’t sure where to start, you can read more about How to Set Up Your Self Hosted Site.
Learn how to use WordPress
Once your blog is set up, you should focus on learning how to use it. That means getting some technical knowledge and understanding of how to set up your menus. You will want to learn how to write a post and add widgets. Also, make sure you are using the right plugins, adding legal pages, and learning the terms bloggers use.
Install a Theme
You will also need to get a theme. Don’t get hung up on this. Your theme will not make or break your site.
Start with a free theme, such as Astra. You can invest in a paid theme once you make money (and know you want to continue). The only thing you need to worry about with your theme is: 1) That it is mobile responsive. That means it reformats for your mobile users, and 2) It has a look and layout you like.
That’s it. Don’t get hung up on a fancy header or lots of buttons and features. Start small. You can add more as time goes on.
2 – 4 WEEKS
Without content, you don’t have a site. Learn how to configure your blog posts properly and then get busy writing! You need content and articles so Google can learn what your site is about, and people can find you through Pinterest and other social channels.
Aim to produce at least one quality article each week – two if you can swing it. But don’t write simply because you think more articles are better. You will be better served with 10 quality articles than 100 that are lackluster and not helpful to your reader.
Put Pinterest to work
Once you hit that three to five weeks and have at least 5 – 10 articles, it is time to dip your toes into Pinterest. Why Pinterest? It is one of the simplest and quickest ways to start to get traffic to your blog.
But, you can’t just start pinning willy-nilly. You need to understand what it takes to get started on Pinterest (grab my free Pinterest Quick Start Guide to get started). Then you need to develop a pinning strategy.
You can also start your other social media channels simultaneously (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). You don’t have to use these if you do not want to. And, to be honest, if your ideal reader is not on those platforms, it is a waste of your time to focus your efforts there anyhow.
Start pinning and sharing on social media to get some initial traffic coming your way.
4 – 6 WEEKS
At this time, you need to continue writing. That’s it. But again, make sure the content you produce is well-written. Your on-page SEO matters at this time as well, so be willing to invest in learning how to do just that.
Find your people
There is a lot of information out there. You need to determine who you can trust and follow them.
Stick with the people who have been blogging for years and have the know-how and proof to show you they know what they are doing. You need to have the right person or people in your corner, so you know who to follow, listen to, and reach out to for advice.
Check some of the free Facebook Groups to help you find that person you will listen to and help you on your journey. Then, look for up to five people you will follow.
8 – 12 Weeks
Yep. I’m repeating it. You need to continue writing. Keep pushing out at least one article every single week. Don’t let the foot of the gas now.
By the time you reach your third month of blogging, it is time to learn all you can learn about SEO (search engine optimization). You may have some basic understanding, but this is the time to invest your time and money in learning.
SEO is how your articles can get found through searches on Google and Bing. If you have been relying on the YOAST plugin up for your SEO, you need to do more. YOAST is excellent, but it is also merely a guide. It will not guarantee you will rank.
Sure, you could learn this later, but the truth is, you need to learn it from the start. It is one of the most important aspects of blogging. Backlinko and Neil Patel teach some easy-to-follow SEO strategies.
As amazing and helpful as these two sites are, that may not be enough for you. You may want to invest money in your SEO education (but you don’t have to go broke doing it).
Resources to consider include:
- FREE SEO mini-course He helps give you some basic understanding and practical ideas to implement to start improving your SEO.
- Easy Backlinks book Part of a good SEO strategy includes quality backlinks to your site. This book is filled with lots of ways to get those links from the websites you want quickly.
- Beginner SEO If you are not sure where to start with SEO, this is the book for you. You’ll learn the basics, including how to ensure your articles are written with SEO in mind.
You know you want to make money blogging. However, you aren’t quite ready to implement it on your site. You need content and traffic, and you also need to know how you will monetize.
Now is the time to research how you want to monetize. Which partners are a fit for you? Do you want to use ads or affiliate marketing?
Don’t worry about making money quite yet – you need to have your plan first.
Yeah. I know—broken record. But keep on writing. You aren’t ready to be able to scale back yet.
By the fourth month, you should have a least 30 – 50 articles on your site. If you are over this, keep writing. If you don’t yet, get busy and try to push yourself a little harder to get more articles written.
Monetize your site
Now, let’s get busy making you money!
First off, you want to get traffic so you can apply to an ad network such as Monumetric or Mediavine. Please, whatever you do, do not use AdSense, Gourmet Ad, Ezoic, or Media.net as they will not pay you what you are worth. And, to be honest, the code they use can reduce your site speed.
You are doing the right things with an excellent social media strategy and implementing SEO. But traffic can still take time. Don’t give up on this, but keep in mind you may be a little ways away from reaching the eligibility requirements to apply for ads.
Now is also the time when you need to be working on adding affiliate links to your posts. Affiliate links are links that partners (like Amazon, for example) give to you to add to your posts. When someone clicks and buys, you make money. That is affiliate marketing.
Since this is new, you will want to take the time to read more about affiliate marketing, why you need it, and how to get started using it.
You need more growth at this time. Check your social accounts and continue promoting that way.
Make sure you are using Pinterest to get some traffic clicking. Update your content for SEO.
Remember that it all takes time. You are laying the foundation now for a successful blog.
You’ve reached month five of blogging. You’ve learned a lot, but it does not stop. There is still much to learn.
Turn to the experts you have come to trust. Get signed up for their lists and follow them on social media. They are here to help, so listen to them.
Keep writing! You’ve been doing great, so don’t stop now.
Start your email list
You are now reaching the six-month mark. You have not quit and made the conscious decision to continue blogging. Now you need to focus on growing your email list.
Why a list?
Because as great as traffic can be from your social channels, algorithms change. That means someone could see what you share on Pinterest today, and tomorrow it could disappear.
But, when you have an email list, you have a direct connection to your reader. You can direct them to your site or to products you want to promote (so you can make money). You don’t have to worry about algorithm changes.
Learn how to create the perfect lead magnet and what to say to your list. You don’t want to email your latest post simply – that is not email marketing. That is an alert. 😉
Take the time to invest in email newsletter growth and education.
Reinvest your income
You may see some money starting to trickle in. Don’t spend that on yourself – invest it in your site!
Buy that course you have been eyeing. It could be time to get upgraded hosting, hire an IT professional, or get that new theme and layout you want.
Yes. That again.
In case you haven’t noticed, the content creation doesn’t stop. Once you reach 100 posts, you can scale back and focus on updating what you have and other areas of income and growth opportunities (like products, for example).
WHAT ARE REALISTIC SIX MONTH GOALS?
You’ve probably read posts about people making $1,000 and more within six months of blogging. Or other stories of people who are getting 300,000 page views a month to their site after four months.
Sorry. That’s not probably going to be what you see.
The truth is that those stories are exceptions rather than the rule.
How much can I expect to make?
So, how much can you expect to make within six months? I can’t answer that as there are just too many variables at play. But, many bloggers are making $100 – $400 by that time.
How long will it take for you to hit $1,000 or more? It can take up to 12 months before you reach that lofty goal. Most bloggers do not make a full-time income until they are in the 12 – 18-month mark.
If you aren’t making money by six months, you aren’t doing anything wrong. It just takes time. Keep working at it and blog because you love it and know that you can eventually reach your goals.
How much traffic can I expect?
Everyone needs traffic. It doesn’t matter if you are starting or have been blogging for five years. But, how much can you expect within your first six months? That’s another issue with too many variables.
If you figure out Pinterest and get things to take off, you could reach 25,000 sessions within six months and be on your way to getting approved by an ad network. But, you may still struggle to reach 10,000 page views a month.
You can’t compare what you are doing to anyone else. Just keep working on SEO and Pinterest. If you are still not getting traffic or not converting to affiliate sales, you may want to get a site audit done or meet with a blogging coach. Hire someone to review your site, and find ways to improve it to achieve your goals.
How many email subscribers should I have?
By now, you will hopefully have at least 100 – 250 subscribers. But again, if you do not, that does not mean you are doing anything wrong. It just means there is room for improvement.
Review your articles and come up with different freebies (or opt-ins) specific for the post. For example, if you have a menu plan and share it on a post about potty training, that won’t convert. If you have ten tips to help with potty training in that same article, it will get more sign-ups.
You want to continue to focus on your list and what you can provide for them that gives them the value and help they need.
What are the signs I should quit blogging?
If you find yourself struggling to write, you don’t want to invest money in learning or don’t enjoy it, then by all means – quit. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to do.
But, before you do, take another look at it and see if you can make some simple changes.
For instance, if you don’t enjoy writing, it could be the topic. Maybe you need to change directions and blog about a different niche you enjoy. If you don’t have money to invest, make sure you are in free groups and take all of the free courses you can.
If, after you’ve tried everything and you find you still do not like it, then you can stop. No one should do anything they don’t love.
But, I challenge you to try to make it better in any way you can before giving up. You don’t want to live with any regrets.