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!
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!)
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.
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.
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?
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