Life Lessons from Our First Month Blogging

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Has it really already been a month since our blog launch? Where has the time gone? In honor of our 1 month blog anniversary, we want to give you an update on how things are going. We are having so much fun with our blog. This crazy new adventure has taught us a lot, and we figured we also ought to share a few of the life lessons we have learned in our first month blogging.

But first, we would like to take a moment to thank you for all your support. Thanks for the encouraging words that have bolstered our confidence. Thanks for reading our blog so that we don’t feel as if we are writing to a void. We especially want to thank all of you who read our blog on a regular basis. Thanks for all the likes, shares and repins that have helped us find new readers.

It has been so much fun to get comments from people we don’t know. We never really thought we’d be helping random strangers! Starting a new venture is always hard, but we know we are so very fortunate to have such wonderful people supporting us. We can’t thank you enough.

In life, we believe learning plays a crucial role. No matter the situation, there is always a lesson that can be learned if you let yourself stop and ponder. That’s why it is so important to occasionally pause and reflect on the greater meaning of our circumstances.

It’s easy to get caught up in the all-consuming now. Sometimes, it seems all you can do to manage with the ups and downs, worries and fears, joys and sorrows of the every day. However, if you can see beyond the now and look at the big picture, there is so much to be learned. If we don’t grow, we stagnate. Learning is what makes us grow.

Reflecting on our first month blogging, we noticed a few life lessons that particularly struck us as warranting a mention. Though our life lessons were learned through blogging, we could have just as easily learned them in other circumstances. I guess that’s why they are life lessons; they apply equally across all facets of life.

And yes, we know many of you are curious to know exactly how well the blog is doing. We know we would be if the situation were reversed. Does anyone actually read your blog? Can you really make money blogging? To appease your curiosity, we also have some numbers for you. Follower counts. Page views. And even how much money we made this month. If you want more details about starting a blog, on Thursday we are sharing our advice for new bloggers.

But first, let’s think deep thoughts and talk about the life lessons we’ve learned from our first month blogging.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read our Disclosures.

woman in floral dress in a meadow

Find Your Focus

Rachael – When I first considered starting a blog, I sat down and wrote up as many blog post ideas as I could think of. And my ideas were all over the place. Almost all the advice for new bloggers says that you have to find a niche. Vegan gardening, for example. While having a specific niche is great, we didn’t have one.

Where did that leave us? We are both mothers, but we didn’t want a typical mommy blog. I want to write about my travels, but I don’t travel enough to write just about my travels. I’m a voracious reader, but I don’t want to just talk books all day every day.

I realized, it’s okay not to have a specific niche. However, you absolutely need to have a focus. You’ll drift off into a million random directions without one. That’s the first of our  life lessons. In my research, I read two key pieces of advice that helped me find the focus of our blog.

To start with, the blogging queen Melyssa Griffin suggested I make up an imaginary reader. Meet Jane. She’s a savvy millennial woman – and doesn’t that dress look fabulous on her? I can tell you all about her; I know her interests and concerns. By targeting one specific person, even if she was fictional, I was able to bring my focus in. Now when I write, I write to her.

You can do the same thing if you have to give a speech or recruit investors. Instead of trying to please everyone, you focus your attention on pleasing that one person. Then the rest will just fall into place.

Once you have your target audience in mind, you just need to picture your version of Jane asking, “What’s in it for me?” When it comes to buying a product, you don’t want to buy a camera because the salesperson earns the highest commission on it. You buy it because it will help you take pretty pictures. This is the same thing Jaclyn talked about her in resume post. It’s not about how the company is a good fit for you; it’s about how you are a great fit for the company.

When I first wrote up my Read This Not That post, Jaclyn described my reviews as too academic. Boy, was she right! I had lost my focus. I went back through with the question ringing through my head. What’s in it for me? Now if you read my post, you’ll notice my descriptions focus on how it will benefit you. In life, we need to make sure we maintain our focus.

Related: Advice For New Bloggers Beyond the First Steps

 

woman staring at drawings at an art gallery

Look for Inspiration

Jaclyn – They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Well then lots of people should feel flattered. When it comes to being creative, sometimes I feel like I can’t come up with an original idea for the life of me. Give me a blank sheet of paper and ask me to design a beautiful graphic, and I’ll just be drawing a complete blank.

But, Jaclyn, your blog has such beautiful graphics is what you should be saying right about now. At least, I think they look appealing. But I could never do it alone. Isaac Newton said, “If I can see further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

When I need to create something beautiful, I look at other people’s work and imitate it. I don’t copy it or steal their work. But I notice what elements I like – the font pairings, colors, and placement – and take the pieces I like and combine them to create a whole new image inspired by the originals.

And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, in life we should be striving to imitate the best work of others. My mother has been a source of inspiration, and many of the parenting decisions I have made in my life have mirrored choices she made. Of course, I put a unique spin on them to make it fit my circumstances.

We don’t need to compare ourselves – I am definitely not a carbon copy of my mother! But we can notice and appreciate the good we see around us and assimilate what we can into our own lives.

Related: The 4 Types of Pinterest Boards Every Blogger Needs

 

woman being helped over some rocks

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Rachael – “The only way to have a friend is to be one” is an oft quoted phrase from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Did you ever notice that it also works in reverse? If you let someone be your friend by helping you, you will make a friend. Service sincerely given and genuinely appreciated will always bring people closer together.

Being new to blogging, there have been a lot of things I’ve had to learn. I’ll be honest, I spent the first month we had the blog researching every piece of blogging advice under the sun: content creation, social media scheduling, affiliate marketing, email marketing, SEO, and so much more. I read everything I could get my hands on. I looked at other blogs that inspired me and, as Jaclyn mentioned, imitated the elements I liked best.


Service sincerely given and genuinely appreciated will always bring people closer together. Tweet this


Yet, inevitably research can only get you so far. There is always something that you just can’t seem to figure out how to do no matter how much you search Google for the solution. Self-reliance is great and all, but once you’ve put in your best effort, it’s okay to ask for help.

When we received the Mystery Blogger Award, I wrote about how kind Sincerely Julie Anna has been in helping us. I just want to share one more example.

Take my quote shown above. If you are on Twitter, you can click on Tweet this and a window will pull up so you can tweet my quote. Pretty cool, huh? At least, I am terribly proud of it.

When I wrote up my travel plans for the year, my friend My Son’s Father (you really should check out his blog) was kind enough to refer my post to Chris at KeepThrifty. After chatting with Chris about vacation plans, I read his excellent post about cutting the other cord. That’s when I saw it. The most beautiful Click to Tweet quote.

I knew that was exactly what I wanted in my blog. On the off chance, I sent him an email asking him how he did it. He went above and beyond my expectations and wrote me a detailed email not only providing his code but also explaining the code and how I could adapt it to my website.

And I try to pass it forward. When I notice a broken link or typo, I shoot the blogger a quick message so they can fix it. That’s where it all comes full circle. To make a friend, ask for help. Then in your gratitude, reach out and help someone else. As the old Quaker proverb goes, You lift me and I’ll lift you, and we’ll ascend together. 

 

Advice for New Bloggers: Beyond the First Few Steps

Blogging is Hard Work

Jaclyn – If you want to make serious money off of your blog, you’re going to have to spend more than fifteen minutes blurting out whatever is on the top of your mind. I have been amazed at how much time it takes me to write a blog post and create the graphics. I spend at least one to two hours writing out a full blog post. That doesn’t include the time Rachael spends editing!

And before you think just writing the posts is enough, wait until you consider the time it takes to write weekly newsletters, social media posts, and more. After all, there’s no point in writing a blog if no one is going to read it!

As you write, you want to be as professional as possible. You want your readers to feel that you are an expert in the field. It builds trust and confidence and will encourage your readers to stay with your blog for the long haul.

The best way to exude professionalism is to do your research. We may have launched a month ago, but Rachael spent six weeks prior to our launch learning every technical aspect of maintaining a successful blog. I used my work experience in design to help guide our branding and style guide.

Along the way, we’ve learned that done is better than perfect – though we strive to do it right the first time! Time management has been crucial to getting things up and ready to go on time, and I may have pushed a few deadlines closer than I meant this past month. I have to take a deep breath, accept that it’s better that I have something than nothing, and, most importantly, recognize what did and didn’t work.

At first, I planned to do most of my blog posts on Saturday morning. That plan crashed and burned really quick. I am most efficient during times I can create a professional setting – working at my kitchen table, convincing my child to go play somewhere else, and at night when I’m most awake. Saturday morning is the exact opposite of the work environment that I need. My stress level has gone down now that I’ve identified what works for me personally.

When you choose to start your blog (or any other new project!), make sure you are ready to commit serious time and energy, do your research and continue to learn new skills in order to become an expert in your area. Recognize that there will be a learning curve, and be brave enough to put yourself out there! You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

 

graphs and samsung galaxy

Our First Month By the Numbers

Let’s get down to the juicy details. How well is our blog really doing? Well here are our social media followers. Remember, you can join in and follow along with us on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Pingel Sisters 1 Month Instagram PreviewInstagram Followers
Goal: 400
Actual: 424

Pingel Sisters 1 Month Twitter PreviewTwitter Followers
Goal: 600
Actual: 770

Pingel Sisters 1 Month Pinterest Preview

Pinterest Followers
Goal: 100
Actual: 132

But do social media followers really translate to page views? Is any one actually reading our blog? Apparently, our blog is being read by more than just our friends and family. This past month, we have had 7,736 page views on our blog! We can hardly believe it. That translates to 5,014 unique visitors.

Where does it all come from? And what are they reading? 78% of our traffic is coming from Pinterest. Rachael’s post Read This Not That had over 1,000 page views one Friday alone! Our other popular posts include 30 Books Every Millennial Needs to Read and Four Tips for Your First Time at the Gym.

Now the real question is:
Do any of those page views translate into income? Can you really make money blogging?

And the answer is …. YES!

We are rolling in the pennies over here!

Our two sources of income are from advertising and from being an Amazon affiliate. Every time you see an ad on our site, we make a tiny bit of money. Thus far, we have earned $1.30 from our advertising company, Google AdSense.

Like many bloggers, we are also a participant in the Amazon Associate program. Here’s how it works. When someone clicks a link to a product we recommend (like our all-time favorite book or our favorite kitchen item) and then buys anything on Amazon within the next day, we get a small percentage of Amazon’s profit for the referral – at no cost to you! And it really is a small percentage. Our Amazon earnings in our first month are $3.64.

That makes a grand total of $4.94! We’ll try not to spend it all in one place.

Do you want to learn more about blogging? On Thursday, we are sharing our advice for new bloggers.

Want to follow us along on our journey? Join our other subscribers and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Can you really make money blogging? Our blog has been up for one month, and we are sharing the life lessons we've learned this past month, as well as peek into our stats - including how much money we have made. blogging | blogging tips | blogging advice | income report | new blogger | new blog | blog launch | social media accounts | giveaway | first month blogging | blog post checklist | free printable

Can you really make money blogging? Our blog has been up for one month, and we are sharing the life lessons we've learned this past month, as well as peek into our stats - including how much money we have made. blogging | blogging tips | blogging advice | income report | new blogger | new blog | blog launch | social media accounts | giveaway | first month blogging | blog post checklist | free printable
Can you really make money blogging? Our blog has been up for one month, and we are sharing the life lessons we've learned this past month, as well as peek into our stats - including how much money we have made. blogging | blogging tips | blogging advice | income report | new blogger | new blog | blog launch | social media accounts | giveaway | first month blogging | blog post checklist | free printable
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7 Comments

  • Reply My Sons Father April 3, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Congrats on the month milestone and exceeding your social media goals!! I’m glad I was able to play some small part in your first month, Chris has been really encouraging and helpful for me as well.

    Looking forward to the future and watching you guys grow your blog. Already so many great lessons after a month, imagine how well versed you’ll be after 6 months!

    • Reply Jaclyn April 4, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      Thank you! We’ve appreciated all of the support you’ve given us. I imagine there will still be plenty to learn after we hit the six month mark. 🙂

  • Reply Julie Anna April 4, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Congratulations! You’ve been working so hard and I’m so glad to see that the blog is really taking off already!

    • Reply Rachael April 5, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you! This blog has definitely been a lot of work, but totally worth it. Thanks for all your help and support!

  • Reply Clare May 25, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Amazing results, and thanks for the realistic view on earnings! It is hard. I also like that you let other bloggers know about typos etc. I’ve wondered about this and have been hesitant to reach out to others to point out stuff like that, but thinking about it, I’d be happy if someone let me know about a typo. Looking forward to keeping up with your blog.

    • Reply Rachael May 25, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      We figure that as long as we point out errors in a genuine way, most people are grateful.

  • Reply Melissia August 30, 2018 at 10:02 am

    I’m brand new to blogging as well! I have a few more months under my belt but I think you guys are ahead of my game. I look forward to learning from your journey as well.

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