Diary of a New Blogger
This is a diary of my journey into the blogosphere. My blogventure!
Sometime during lockdown I had an epiphany. I realised that my business would forever be limited by the amount of child-free hours I had available.
As mum to two small children, this was never an equation that was going to work in my favour. Especially when lockdown took away my childcare! So I started researching different ways to create new sources of income that weren't so dependent on per-hour work.
When considering pivoting or diversifying your business, I think it’s important to look to your current knowledge and expertise.
As a copywriter, I knew I needed an outlet where I could harness my existing skillset, but wouldn’t be tied to other people’s deadlines. Something that could earn me money and had no limit on growth potential. Blogging seemed to tick many boxes.
So, how much can you earn from a blog? The sky is the limit! More on this later ...
Want to start a blog? Where to begin
I started with Emma Drew’s 90 Days to a Profitable Blog. I have an online contact who successfully monetised her blog by following this programme and she recommended it to me. At £9.99 it seemed an inexpensive place to start. Emma provides a checklist for buying your domain and hosting, setting up and ideas for monetising.
Choosing a niche - what to blog about?
There are many “experts” out there selling lists of so-called profitable niches for blogging. But essentially what choosing a niche boils down to is a) lifestyle or b) professional expertise. Professional expertise gives you scope to sell courses, webinars, ebooks and memberships, whereas lifestyle blogging has more potential for affiliate marketing and sponsorship.
Practically speaking, choosing a niche just because it’s theoretically profitable is not going to sustain you in the long term. Because in all honestly, you will only be able to write long-term about something that genuinely interests you. So my tip would be to go with what you know and pick something you’re going to enjoy writing about!
How did I choose my niche?
I spent some time weighing up the pros and cons of a lifestyle vs professional blog. I plan to grow my blog into a separate business from copywriting, so I didn’t want to write about that.
Firstly, I considered an English education blog. As a former English teacher, I have years of expertise in teaching language and literature, so I gave this some careful thought. However, in doing so I realised my passion doesn’t lie in education anymore. So instead I decided to focus on my current life.
As a parent of young children, our family life dominates everything and provides a rich source of content ideas on a daily basis. Parenting seemed like the obvious choice.
And, for a mum who constantly Googles questions like – “Why won’t my baby sleep?!!” – it seemed like a natural fit. I knew there was going to be an audience for this.
I also wanted to give it a lean towards mental health and coping strategies. Many parents feel overwhelmed by the demands of family life (myself included) so I wanted to send the message that support is out there. Lazy Mum Short cuts and life hacks for busy parents was born!
So how do you monetise a blog?
I’ve learned there are multiple ways to monetise a blog. Affiliate links, sponsorships, advertising, ebooks, courses and subscription memberships.
Emma Drew’s approach is to focus on building your Domain Authority which means gaining as many high quality backlinks to your site as possible. A score of 20 or more denotes a good reach which can then be used to negotiate sponsorship opportunities. This is a good target metric for a lifestyle blogger. More on this in future posts!
Join a community or two
There is no better way to learn about blogging than by talking to people who’ve done it already. I’m a member of several Facebook communities for freelancers so I initially reached out to them for advice.
I’ve been lucky to have some fantastic conversations with people who’ve successfully made the shift from day-job to full-time blogger, and were kind enough to let me pick their brains. They all advised me to join blogging communities on Facebook and take a course in SEO - because many blogging principles remain the same whether your choose lifestyle or professional - like posting frequently, marketing through social media and optimising your posts.
Time management is key
There is a wealth of blogging knowledge to be had online – both free and paid-for – and it can be overwhelming. I’m struggling to divide my time between learning, doing and marketing, so I need to employ some strategic planning!
However, the blogging community is really generous and everyone helps each other out, especially newbies. So as long as I have that support I think it will be a successful venture.
Building The Blog
Emma Drew’s ebook contains a step-by-step guide to creating a WordPress.com site; choosing a theme, plugins you will need and legal pages required.
After the setup phase, she advises creating 10 blog posts, About and Contact pages. This is the fun bit! I write content for clients all the time so it’s been really enjoyable writing something personal for once. I’ve set up my social media accounts and am gradually growing a following.
However, as someone who usually relies on other people for website building, the technical side has presented a very steep learning curve! Emma Drew sets out the basics but is scant on detail so it took me far longer to learn WordPress than her book implies. And progress has been slow because of my trial-and-error approach so I’m not sure I would recommend this book to another newbie blogger.
My next steps will be an SEO course and writing guest posts for other bloggers. My short-term goal is to get my Domain Authority up to 10, so networking with blogs and businesses connected to my theme (for guest blogs and quality backlinks), is crucial. I also hear on the blogging grapevine that Pinterest is the best platform for driving traffic to lifestyle blogs - so to Pinterest I must go!
Getting Lazy Mum off the ground has been a huge challenge over the past few weeks. But now I have a product that I am proud of, and I’m excited about the opportunities it presents. Having the freedom to write on a wide range of topics at times that suit my family is fantastic. And a side benefit is that I am also far more confident in managing my copywriting website!
More of my blogventure to follow shortly, covering Courses, Monetising and SEO…
Please comment below with your experiences and questions. Are they different to mine?
See more copywriting blogs here and stay tuned for my next blogging diary!
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