Wow, I can’t believe it’s already been a year of blogging. Not only that, this is my hundredth post! Makes me kind of wonder who the heck has been listening to me ramble for 100 posts?! Just kidding, I’m incredibly grateful that anyone manages to stop by here.
Time really flies when you’re having fun doesn’t it? Or is the saying time flies when you’re busy as f*ck? Either way, I still can’t believe a year has gone by. A year in the blogging world can certainly move quickly and if you don’t move with it, in all likeliness you’ll be left behind. I have learned so much about the digital world in the past year of blogging. It hasn’t been easy but like anything I’ve been persistent and that’s worked.
For anyone who has lived through the first year blogging you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s hard work. Sometimes you wonder why you’re doing it or if it’s even worth doing at all but then every once in a while you get a little glimmer of hope or encouragement and you remember why you started in the first place.
I’ve learned quite a bit in the past year, more than I thought I could. It’s really helped me both personally with this blog but has also helped me with my job as a digital marketer. The landscape is always changing and it’s almost a 24 hour job to try and keep up with your audience and give them a reason to keep coming back but it’s worth it, even just getting a few comments here and there from people who have read what you’ve written.
1. How to move my blog to be self-hosted
One of the best things I did for my blog was move it to be self hosted. While wordpress.com was a great way to get the blog started and build some traffic, I was looking to take it to the next level and in order to do so I had to move my URL from therestlessworker.wordpress.com to what you see today. It took some time and energy into making this happen but once I researched a few blogs and learned how to do it, it actually ended up being a lot easier than I thought. Plus Bluehost has fantastic customer service so when it came time to transfer my url and figuring that out, they helped with the bugs and problems I was having. By doing this I was able to upload and customize my blog to how I wanted. There are some really great blog posts that will help you do this on your own – it’s almost idiot proof!
2. Buying and Installing Themes
While WordPress does have some really great themes available for free, they are only so good, or only offer you so much when it comes to responsiveness and customization. The first theme I bought was from Themes Art, and while I loved it, like anything I eventually felt as if I outgrew it and was looking for something that was a little bit more clean looking. Which brought me to purchasing my current theme with Station Svn. They have some fantastic resources on their website that make it easy to use and customize your blog to however you want.
3. Installing Google Analytics
One of the best things I did besides becoming self-hosted and buying a theme was installing Google Analytics. It’s free and gives you some fantastic options when it comes to analyzing your audience, what they like and how to grow your audience even more. I’m lucky in that I know Google Analytics more than most because of my day to day job but I’ve written a post about the basics of what you should look at first to analyze your audience, hopefully it helps!
4. Basic Coding
A year ago I didn’t know the first thing about coding. I didn’t even know how to go about finding where to even use coding. All it takes is a little bit of research and you’ll be able to get yourself coding quite easily. Honestly it’s a lot easier than you think it is. The text tab in WordPress makes it very easy for you to add simple coding structures to bring your post to the next level!
I’m still learning this and definitely not doing it as much as I maybe would want to be but I definitely know how important networking is. Whether this is digitally or in person. There are some amazing Facebook groups out there that help bloggers grow their traffic, get help with problems you’re having, or get advice. If you don’t belong to any of these groups already, I would definitely recommend it.
6. Analyzing the more well-known blogs
There are so many blogs out there. Name a topic I’m sure you’ll be able to find a blog that caters to your interests and is making a living from it, or at least has a large enough audience for you to envy. With travel, and lifestyle that number is endless. It’s true that many blogs often don’t make it past the one year mark but there are so many travel bloggers out there making a living doing what they are doing. Which is the dream is it not? Either way, the best thing you can do for your blog is to follow those big names. See what they are doing right, how often they post, or what social media platforms they participate in. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn by just watching and reading.
7. Commenting on other blogs
This I find is a great way to help bring traffic to your blog while also building up a bit of a network at the same time. It’s a known fact that bloggers comment on each others blog to bring people to their site. It’s not a competition, there are plenty of readers to go around and plenty of destinations to discuss, so why not share the wealth. I found in the beginning, a lot of the traffic I was getting was in fact from commenting so definitely take advantage of that! Plus it’s always nice to hear what people think about your posts.
8. Installing Google Adsense
This was as easy as installing Google Analytics. You have to add a widget in WordPress, sign up, decide where you want the ads placed on your page and get making money! Of course, the bigger the audience, the more money you make. However, I’ve been suspended because I never got my PIN and therefore can’t verify I’m a viable person – so if anyone knows how to get past this please let me know!
9. Utilize Pinterest
In the beginning I never really considered Pinterest as a way to bring audiences to my blog. This was stupid. I’ve been spending some time growing my Pinterest audience. The amount of traffic I’ve had has drastically increased but there’s still of course room for traffic. Anyways I’m going to keep trying to use this platform but I’m always looking for advice to help utilize this tool even more!
10. Getting better at photography
As I continued to blog and continued to analyze other blogs I realized that my pictures just weren’t up to par compared to the better blogs. I’ve always loved photography but never thought I was very good or had the right products for it. That’s why when I started my new job the first purchase I made was a new camera. I bought the Olympus OM-D E-M10 1 and have never loved something so much. It’s simple enough for a beginner but gives the leniency for when I have enough time to learn more about photography. Plus it looks badass! I would definitely recommend beefing up on your photography!
11. Utilizing free tools
My two favourite free tools happen to also be for images. The first is Canva – this website is what many bloggers use to make those images with text overlay. There are so many different image options for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, whatever. The second is Pixabay. I realized that sometimes I don’t always have the best pictures (take this post for example). The best way to get around this is to source free images from Pixabay. It’s such a good resource.
12. Consistency is key
Of all the blogs I read in the beginning about growing traffic, the most popular advice was to blog as much as possible. Growing an audience takes time, it’s not going to happen over night but in order to do that you have to blog regularly. I try to post every three days (ironically I have not done that this week) and by doing this I’ve noticed my blog growing on the DA list as well as traffic increasing from search engines which has been amazing!
Hopefully these have given you some good ideas or ways to build up your blog. It’s definitely not easy and those who pretend otherwise are liars! What lessons have you learned from blogging?