Blogging

What I’ve Learnt in 3 Months as a Blogger

Blogging for beginners

Happy 3 months to me!

It’s been 3 months since I started my blog, and GIIIIRL (or BOYYYY), it was a huge learning curve. It is no easy feat to start and maintain a blog so kudos to all of you who have managed to keep their blog up and running!

I started as a lifestyle and travel blog and quickly developed a focus on self-development and blogging + social media tips. Before you say, “Girl, where’s your niche?” (I’ll touch on that soon), I will share what I’ve learnt during my first 3 months of blogging (including why you don’t need a niche for your blog 😉 )

1. Go self-hosted

First and foremost, I emphasise the importance of going self-hosted straight from the beginning.

What is self-hosted?

Going self-hosted means that you own your website i.e you have the ability to customise your layout, have more monetisation opportunities, and more plugin options, PLUS you won’t have the risk of being shut down by the host, such as WordPress.com or Blogger.

By going self-hosted, you will also need a domain name and web hosting. A domain name is your website’s address on the internet – mine is stephanievivienne.com. Web hosting is where your website files are stored on the internet a.k.a your storage facility.

I recommend using Dreamhost for hosting your website as they are one of the most reputable web hosting companies. They help you install WordPress and even offer a free domain to their users so you’re technically killing two birds with one stone (metaphorically speaking, of course! No animal cruelty over here!). Once signing up with Dreamhost, you’ll have your domain name and web hosting checked off, then you’ll officially be self-hosted!

Why I went self-hosted straight from the beginning

Aside from the perks of going self-hosted that I mentioned above, the main reason why is for accountability. My thought process was this: if I spent $$$ on web hosting for the year, I won’t be inclined to forget about my blog because I paid $$$ out of my own pocket. I will then be more determined to grow my blog and build my online presence.

But wait, if I love writing, I won’t forget about my blog, right?

True, to an extent. If I didn’t go self-hosted, I think there would be times where I wouldn’t prioritise my blog because heck, I didn’t spend any money on it but if I invested in my blog from the beginning, my blog will be part of my life, not a temporary project.

2. A blogger’s life is NOT a lonely life

A huge misconception about blogging is that it gets really lonely. Bloggers sit on their laptops all day typing away and once they are done, they hit publish, and the cycle repeats.

Oh how wrong people are!

Blogging is not THAT straight forward.

Everyday, a chunk of my time is dedicated to networking with other bloggers. This is because I genuinely enjoy socialising with like-minded people, sharing ideas, and motivating each other to do better. This is one of the highlights of being in the blogging community! By creating a community rather than competition, I am sure you will find your blogging experience so much more enjoyable and less lonely because let’s be honest, sometimes people in real life don’t understand the world of blogging. Plus it’s nice to have friends from all over the world and who knows, one day you can meet each other in real life! Just say HELLO to another blogger!

Blogging for beginners \\ blogger tips

3. Start your mailing list early

I know what you are thinking. Starting your mailing list when you just launched may seem sketchy but here’s the thing. It doesn’t hurt to start early. It’s better to start early than late, right? Even if you have zero readers, starting your mailing list early will be beneficial as you grow. Imagine in your first month of blogging, you suddenly have a HUUUUGE boom in traffic! That is amazing but if you don’t have your mailing list ready, you may be disappointed that you didn’t create one earlier!

Even if you have 2 subscribers, send them emails! Don’t forget about them! They subscribed to you because they are interested in what you have to say 🙂

My favourite email marketing platform is Mailerlite. Here I create my weekly newsletters and landing pages, and it is so easy to design! (No PRO graphic design skills needed) You can get $20 credit when you sign up through my link here! Plus it is free up to 1000 subscribers!

Want to sign up to my mailing list?

Head over here (You’ll also receive my free weekly blogging checklist and social media schedule!)

Blogging checklist and social media schedule printable for bloggers

4. Driving traffic to your blog isn’t rocket science!

Okay, maybe it is when you are just starting your blog but let me tell you some of the things that have worked for me this past 3 months.

My tips on how to drive traffic to your blog

  • Stay active on twitter. Join in Twitter chats and blogger threads. Be open minded about meeting new people and staying connected to your online friends.
  • Post your blog posts on twitter. Don’t forget to promote older posts as well! I like to promote my blog posts 3-5 times per day. By being active on twitter, you won’t be spamming your followers with promotional content 🙂
  • Get on the Pinterest bandwagon! Pinterest is a traffic driving machine! Don’t believe me? You can read this post about how I went from 0 to 6,800 viewers on Pinterest in 30 days! (and this is the result of an absolute Pinterest newbie)
  • Share your blog posts on Facebook groups. You can join my Facebook group full of positive and supportive online creators.
  • Leave meaningful comments on other bloggers’ posts. To receive support, you also have to give support. It has become one of my habits to read other bloggers’ posts because I enjoy what people have to say and to learn new things. When I leave comments, I add my name and blog link, like this: “Stephanie | www.stephanievivienne.com”. This helps strengthen backlinks to your blog and lets the blogger know who is commenting. I always encourage people to leave their blog link with their comment but only if they actually read my post and didn’t just comment “Great post!”.

Read further for more traffic driving strategies that I use.

How to drive traffic on pinterest as a blogger

5. You don’t need to have a niche

You have probably heard that you can only become a successful blogger if you have a niche.

The truth is you don’t need to have a niche but what you must have is a focus point(s).

But wait Stephanie, there is no difference between a niche and a focus point(s)?

Let me explain.

A niche is a very distinct topic while a focus point(s) are particular areas that you focus on.

For example, I could have a niche for budget travellers and budget travellers ONLY, but if I had a focus point(s), it could be travelling on a budget and learning how to make money whilst travelling to possibly spend on more luxurious experiences and lifestyle changes for digital nomads.

Another niche could be beauty for acne prone skin. The focus points you can consider include dietary and lifestyle habits to improve acne prone skin, and how to gain confidence.

By having focus points, you are not confined to writing about a singular topic but topics that are related to each other. This will give you more freedom to write and diversify your blog content for your target audience.

6. It’s okay to take a break

Recently, I took a break from blogging and social media. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted since the 9th of February but I needed a break.

I’ve had so many things on my mind including my trip to Thailand and Malaysia in 2 weeks, my future career, feelings on self-doubt, and pure negativity, I just didn’t want to spread any of these bad vibes. Instead I took time to myself to do things that I loved which included watching 20 hours of Korean Drama, crocheting, and thinking about how I want to approach things.

Life as a graduate is so hard. If you are a university graduate, university student, or looking for a job, I feel you! You are not alone. It is tough trying to please employers but it is not the end of the world. An opportunity will come your way so give it time.

For now, I am looking at the brighter things life has to offer me including working on my blog/business, freelancing, travelling, and getting to know myself 🙂

7. Make a media kit

Making a media kit is one of the best things that I’ve done in the first 3 months as a blogger. Not only does it lay out my blog summary in a concise manner, it also gives me the motivation to keep on growing my blog. It is nice to see those statistics rise when I update it every month! If you are looking to work with brands, a media kit is necessary.

how to make a media kit for your blog // blogger tips

If you have no idea what a media kit is, head over to this post where I provide an in depth guide to the land of media kits.

What have you learnt since you became a blogger?

This blog post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, it helps me to keep this site running and provide great content for you. You can read more in my privacy and disclosure sections. Thank you for your support!

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  • Lauren 💕

    This post has been super helpful!! I am not self hosted at the moment, but eventually I want to be. As I have a certain look in mind for my blog. But honestly have no clue, what to do and how to go about it. So your info and advice has really helped. Your blog is so beautiful by the way! Thank you for sharing this post.

    Lauren
    http://www.bournemouthgirl.wordpress.com

    • Thank you, Lauren! Going self-hosted can be a confusing process (trust me, before I even starting blogging, making my site self-hosted was absolute… hell!) I’m glad you learnt something, and thank you so much💕

  • You continue to impress me with every post! You were born to be a blogger girl 💕

  • journey continues..

    Hi Dear , It’s really good to have a self hosted site. I am also planning for newsletters in future. I think this post will be great help for me.

  • Dani🦁

    I absolutely loved reading this! You were so brave to go self hosted right from the beginning!

    Suffering Wanderlust

    • It was a scary process for someone that knows nothing about self-hosting but I got there! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Happy 3 months Steph! You’re honestly such a doll and I’m proud of you and your blog…This was such a well constructed post and I definitely agree with your points. One the things I can say without a doubt that I don’t regret is going self hosted and the flexibility behind it. I’m still fairly new and I’m still learning things lol like how to use Pinterest effectively. A have to create a new media kit, hopefully today if I can get time away from my boss…Whether old or new, any blogger that stumbles upon this info will be very happy. Thank you for sharing! 🙂 <3

    xx Lena | https://lenadeexo.com

    • Thank you, Lena!! Aww you are sooo sweet! 🙂 I agree!! There are soooo many things you can do on a self-hosted site and you aren’t limited to anything! Don’t worry! It’s a huge learning curve & you’ll learn new things everyday 😀 I am glad this post was valuable to you! <3

  • Anna

    Great post Stephanie! I wasn’t self hosted in the beginning because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest in it. But, now that I’ve switched over, it makes such a big difference and I love it!

    • Thank you, Anna! For me, it was either I invest from the start, or I’ll fail midway! I’m glad you made the switch! 🙂

  • RIkki Parker

    You learned SO much SO quickly and I just love it! I want to go self hosted soooooooo badly but it’ll take me time because i don’t have a laptop (so my entire blog is ran on my outdated phone) and I don’t have the money YET to get one and pay for my own official website. I will though one day and I’m excited about it! Love your post AND your tips!

    • Countless hours were spent into researching everything tbh 😛 Ahh you’re doing so good right now!! Hope in the near future you can get a laptop and go self-hosted ^.^ Thank you so much! So happy you enjoyed it!

  • Alisha Copeland

    Stephanie, you have done a great job. I just started my blog and launched it 2/1. I think I spend most of days just trying to create the look I want and creating images on PicMonkey for social media. My actual blogging time gets the short end of the stick.

    • Thank you, Alisha! I can understand the struggle of creating content for social media – it’s tough!

  • Jackie Busha

    These are great tips. You have learned a great deal! Thank you for sharing. I am going to start putting my mailing list together!

    • Thank you! I’m glad this helps you! Good luck putting your mailing list together, Jackie!

  • I love your list and your unique tips like thinking of a focus point instead of a full-on niche! I enjoy reading non-niche blogs a lot but having that guideline for yourself sounds so helpful!

    And good on you for taking a break when you needed it! I’m also trying to be more mindful and noticing when I’m really tired, so it’s nice to have that reminder that it’s ok to not give 100% all the time. I hope you feel better and that upcoming trip sounds AWESOME!
    Which drama did you watch by the way? 🙂

    • I’m so glad you love the list! I also enjoy reading non-niche blogs, mainly because it’s refreshing to read about different topics!

      Yes definitely! I’ve always been one to be hard on myself but I’m trying to realise that taking breaks are okay 🙂 I watched I am not a robot! Enjoyed it a lot!! The artificial intelligence concept of the drama was so unique 😀

      • Yes, I always like non-niche blogs because they feel a bit like browsing a magazine (in the best way!)
        Oh, sounds interesting! Anything with robots is good in my book haha…

  • MJ Cagadas

    Happy 3 months to your amazing blog, Stephanie! 😘
    This isn’t the first post that I enjoyed reading on your blog because it has helped me learn more about blogging and your tips are amazing!!! I am actually struggling with my blog’s niche but this post really helped me think that I don’t really have to stress myself out for that!!! This has been really helpful in terms of getting self-hosted and the mailing list!

    Love,
    Mary

    marychronicles.wordpress.com

    • Thank you so much, Mary!💗
      I am truly grateful for your support! I am so happy that my blog is helping you with your blog! Yes! You don’t have to stress yourself out about not having a niche – it is absolutely A-okay 😀

  • Cherish | The Bold Millennial

    One question: did you get a PO box right when you opened your blog? I can’t seem to justify paying for one when I’m not making money (yet), but I also know you need to provide a mailing adress when sending email to be CAN-SPAM appliant. Suggestions?

    • No I didn’t! I have no idea what a CAN-SPAM appliant is.. I am in Australia so I don’t think that legal term applies to us so I can’t be much of help 🙁

  • Tatianna Gabrielle Alvarez

    love this! I’ve been blogging for a year now and I wish I had learned all that I had in just 3 months!

  • LifeWithFernie

    I adore your posts so much! I always read them feeling that my brain is full of new ideas and it always motivates me to grow and expand my blog! Keep up the work your doing incredible! 💗

    • Aw thank you so much, Fernie! I am glad my posts are thought-provoking!💗

  • Vibrant Sloth

    Just wanted to say that You have the prettiest blog I have seen for a long time! Keep up the awesome work.
    Creetings from Estonia!

  • Madi Dearson

    Girl! how on EARTH are you a blogger for only 3 months?? you are SO on top of your game! I have learned so much from you in the few weeks I have been exposed to your work I was literally sure you were at it for years. Congratulations on your 3 very very successful 3 months:) Hope you have a fantastic trip.

    • Aww shucks… THANK YOU SO MUCH! My ultimate aim is to teach people the things I know and that absolutely makes me so happy to hear that you’re learning from me! 😀 Thank you, Madi!💗

  • Wow just wow! I’ve been blogging for three years and have had so much success already! My first 8 months of blogging I was on it! Absolutely smashing my goals and starting to monetise my blog too, but then personal life got in the way and I lost the time to be able to blog, I relaunched before the end of the year and still been struggling to get back in my flow. I go through fits and starts of doing really well then my uni life gets in the way and I’m back at square one. I graduate in July so really want to set myself up well for then! Good luck with all the success! I’m over at http://www.lalivilou.com if you fancy checking me out! Ox

    • Aww sometimes life just gets in the way but I am glad you are back! You should definitely prioritise uni first, your blog can wait 🙂 Once you’re out of uni, you have all the time in the world to work on your blog and brand! 😀 I wish you the best of luck for your final term at uni, and your blog! P.S your blog looks great!! xo💗

      • Thank you so much! Not long to go! Ox

  • Jasmine

    Amazing insight! I’ve been blogging for a several months and there definitely is a learning curve! Patience is key.

    • Thank you!! Yes, blogging definitely requires patience! Good luck with your blog!

  • Juhita

    Your Pinterest growth is phenomenal. I agree with a lot of the things you have said here, especially about networking with other bloggers. I don’t think it can be emphasised enough.

    • Thank you! I am still getting the hang of the platform but it’s definitely one of my must-haves!

  • Elizabeth

    3 months? I’m jealous! All the best gurl & I’ll bookmark to read more

  • Kelly 켈리

    Nice!! Happy 3 months!! But really only 3 months?!
    I definitely agree with staying active, especially on twitter. The more you promote and interact with other bloggers, the more your blog is seen!
    I’m not self hosting and can’t be bothered to make the switch. Mostly because I don’t know how 😂!!

    Kelly

    • Thank you, Kelly! Yes! I feel like people underestimate the power of Twitter! It has to be one of my favourite platforms! Self-hosting is a pain in the butt but once it’s done, I have never felt more free😂

  • I can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for three months!

    I’ve noticed that you really dived in head first with blogging, especially with self-hosting right off the bat, and it really shows. I can also see why you needed to take a break.
    I’ve essentially been easing myself in for three years but I can quickly burn out if I go overboard on the blogging side especially when I am also keeping up with my university studies. Self-hosting isn’t for everyone, and it’s not quite for me at the moment and I am hoping to see where I am with my blog next year before I switch.

    X

    http://www.twentyswans.com

    • Oh yes! I had the mindset of either I go ALL IN or it’ll be a temporary project😂 Definitely didn’t foresee the burn out, but thankfully I am past that and getting back into the groove!
      Ahhh yes! Balancing blogging and university studies is hard work! I commend you for that!

  • I seriously can’t believe it’s only been three months, your blog is as put together and professional as someone who has been blogging for years! I’ve been a lot more active on twitter lately and it’s been really helping my blog views increase like crazy, it’s so important to network with other bloggers!

    http://www.borntobebright.com

    • Aww thank you so much! That makes me so happy to hear! Yes! Twitter is amazing! One of the best platforms in my opinion 😀

      • I totally agree, it’s so nice to chat more casually with other bloggers on Twitter!

  • Karla Robichaud

    This is awesome! I wish I had started on the ground running like you! It took me a whole year before I realized how important emailing lists are and how beneficial it is to join a facebook group. Bloggers are so helpful and insightful, it’s crazy how I did not think of it sooner! I’m glad you’re doing so great!

    • Better late than never as I always say! You learn something new every day as a blogger! I am also learning new things and regularly sharing what works for me with others 🙂 I wish you the best for your blog, Karla!

  • These are such great lessons and tips. I agree with the self hosting. I went from free blogger account to self hosting with WordPress at the start of last year and it was the best thing!

    • I am glad you enjoyed this post! Yay! I’m glad you made the switch! It feels so much less constraining, doesn’t it!?

  • Cheyenne 🌸

    Happy 3 months, great info ! I couldn’t agree with you more, engaging with other bloggers has helped me as well. Blogging takes a lot of patience and there’s alot of learning to be done.

    http://www.notsofaux.com

    • Thank you girl! I love all the new connections I’ve made – friends from all over the world – woo! Good luck with your blog lovely!

  • I can’t believe you have only been blogging for 3 months Stephanie, you write relevant and informative blog posts and even experienced bloggers learn from your post. Keep writing those tips as we love reading.

  • Happy 3 months, girl! You have some amazing tips here! And I’ve been self-hosted from the start for the same reasons!

  • Sarah McIntosh

    These are great tips! I’ve had my blog for over a year and am still working on some of these things, so that is great you’ve done all of this in 3 months!! I’ll have to check out your other blogging posts that you linked!

    💜 Sarah
    http://www.thepolishedpalette.com

  • First of all – I love your printables, they’re gorgeous!

    Second – my favorite part about blogging is the community. I’ve made some lifelong friends through people I’ve met blogging. In a dog eat dog world, it’s incredible to be surrounded by people passionate about sharing + creating!

    • Awww thank you so much, Krista!!

      I 100% agree with you!! So many bloggers are such kind-hearted and supportive people!

  • Wow only 3 months? You have achieved amazing results and you’re such an inspiring blogger, I subscribed so can’t wait to read your next post 🙂

  • Florence

    Wow, this is so helpful! Having just had a massive (like a few years) break from blogging, I wanted to come back to it. However, I am practically having to start a fresh.
    Definitely my favourite part is the whole community. Also congrats on achieving so much in only three months!
    Would love it if you checked the blog out!
    https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/beyond-imagination-4883453

  • Ema Brewer

    Awh. I just want to say. You are doing so well, can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for 3 months – your blog is incredible. I’ve been blogging for years and my blog isn’t doing half as well as yours (in all fairness, previous years I fell in and out of it due to uni/life) but yeah, 1000000000% agree with the self hosted tip you gave … since I did that, I’ve noticed a change in interaction.
    It’s hard work but once you get used to it, it becomes daily routine, defo!
    Can NOT get my head around Pinterest though (apart from making boards of my ideal future life) hor hor hor … x x x

    http://www.allthegoodblognamesweretaken.com

    • Aww thank you so much, Ema! That means so much! Ahhh don’t worry, I’m sure you will improve your blog! 😀 When I started creating my blog, I had no idea what to do! It’s definitely a learning curve 🙂
      Aha pinterest is difficult to get your head around (although I haven’t been pinteresting at all lately….oops!)

      Thank you for stopping by!
      xoxo

  • • AshadahFashion •

    I have not tried self-hosting, but I will pretty soon once I dedicate time for it. Thank you for the useful tips !