I launched my blog Native Mommy Lawyer on November 29, 2020. I officially concluded my first month of blogging a few days ago. Let’s just say the learning curve is really, really steep. It’s been an exhausting and rewarding month with highs and lows.
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I want to write about my first month of blogging to organize my thoughts and to help others with their blogging journeys. This is definitely a journey and I’m still at the very beginning but here goes.
Why blog in the first place? What am I trying to gain out of this, if anything? I think I’ve always romanticized the idea of blogging. For me, it’s the ability to write about almost anything that interests you and share it with the internet world.
Starting a blog has been a tiny seed in my head for a couple of years now. The thought of actually doing it really came to fruition out of my life experiences. I was constantly googling answers to the questions I had, especially as a first-time mom. Though I did find answers, I wanted to create the type of content I was looking for but did not find.
Writing is and always will be therapeutic for me
I’ve been a fan of journaling on and off for many years. I remember having journals and writing about my experiences as young as nine years old. In writing about some of my personal experiences in these posts, I’ve had to relive some of the not-so-great moments, which allows me to move past them and heal.
Writing for SEO optimization is a new thing for me and something that I’m still adjusting to. I have found that after the first month of blogging, my new writing style tends to naturally lean toward SEO optimization, which is a plus.
The good stuff: the first month of blogging
I will preface this by saying that, prior to November 29, I had absolutely no experience with blogging, SEO, domain hosting, or the like. I had a tiny bit of experience with updating a website using WordPress for a committee that I’m on. Other than that, no other knowledge or experience.
This is the first item I purchased and it cost $12 for one year on Google domains. I didn’t overthink my domain name at all. I chose the three things that define me most at the moment and put it together in a name that would be easy to remember and spell out. After one month, I’m still liking the name.
I chose Namecheap hosting during a Black Friday sale. It was $33 for 2 years of hosting for the Stellar shared hosting package. How could you not start a blog when hosting is that cheap? It’s only been a month but I haven’t had any problems with Namecheap as a host. I haven’t had to contact their customer service yet, so I can’t really speak to the quality of customer service.Get 50% off 2 years of Namecheap Shared Hosting!
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Initial investment in first month of blogging
My initial monetary investment into my blog is the domain and hosting costs, which total $45. That’s it, that’s all I’ve spent so far.
Now, the blogging world has a way of luring you into purchasing more premium and upgraded versions of tools to help you with your blog. They are all very tempting but, for now, I am learning by using a bunch of free tools.
Ideally, once this blog generates some income, I would like to reinvest that money back into the blog for things like better hosting, better layout, and maybe a better keyword research tool. It seems like the more I learn, the more tools I want to upgrade to premium versions. It is what it is for now.
Well, my general niche is “lifestyle”. This can mean anything, right? I find that the more I write, the categories that I’m most passionate about are ‘toddler parenting’ and ‘marriage.’ In my actual life, those two categories are the most important to me.
I don’t find it disappointing or disheartening that the internet is saturated with lifestyle, motherhood, and marriage blogs. If I’m passionate about writing and my content, then it’s something I will stick with.
SEO and keyword research in first month of blogging
In the first days of my blog, I read a few articles every day to learn more about SEO optimization. I didn’t start using Yoast until maybe a week in because I had no clue what I was doing. By then, I had written maybe three posts, which I eventually had to rewrite.
When I first started, I would just use any keyword in Yoast, not knowing that there could be a strategy. I think one of my earlier posts still has a keyword for 8,000 searches per month. Now, after the first month of blogging, I target long-tail keywords with 500 searches per month or less.
I’m a self-professed product junkie, so I signed up for Amazon Affiliates. So far, that seems to be working. I’m able to incorporate affiliate links into about half of my articles. I’ve also had fun writing posts about products I use and love, so it seems to be a natural fit. In the first month, I did not make any money.
Struggles in the first month of blogging
There is no gain without a bit of struggle. I have definitely struggled this past month with various aspects of my blog. There was one time where I seriously thought I might give up and not do it anymore. That was definitely a low moment in my first month.
Other times, I tell myself that I’ve only invested $45 into this blog, so I can walk away at any time. That line of thought is definitely a defense mechanism I use to protect myself from the thought of failure. Aside from the monetary investment, I’ve spent countless personal hours learning and writing.
This is the most frustrating part of my blog. As I mentioned before, I have absolutely no experience with coding, marketing, development, and any other technical aspect of blogging. I rely heavily on themes, widgets, and plugins to do everything for me and the blog.
I am not happy to say that I’m on my third theme right now and I probably have a lot of unnecessary plugins that are slowing down my site. My first theme was the Adorable Blog theme and I didn’t like the mobile layout. At that point, I didn’t know how to customize any aspects of the layout.
I then switched to the Hueman theme and spent a lot of time customizing it to my liking. I stayed with Hueman for most of the month until I started reading about site speed. When I checked my site speed, it was a little above two seconds, which seemed slow for a blog that really had nothing on it.
So, you guessed it, I switched themes again to Generatepress. Unfortunately, the starter templates for Generatepress require paying for the premium theme, which I’m not doing until I can generate some income. Apparently, the premium theme is worth it, so it’s something I might consider down the road. For now, I’m learning how to customize with Elementor.
Right now, I’m not happy with my blog layout and its simple look on the desktop. The pages and overall look aren’t cohesive. Lamenting over it actually stopped me from writing for a couple of days. It’s something that needs to be fixed but I’ve decided that creating content is more important for now.
It turns out the theme wasn’t really my site speed problem. After converting to Generatepress, a very lightweight theme, my site speed didn’t change by much. I think I’m at 1.7 seconds right now. I believe the problem is my shared hosting plan.
Hosting is definitely something I want to change down the road depending on my site’s traffic. Again, my main focus is content, so hosting is something I will worry about later.
Looking at my stats every day is disheartening. Some days, I’m the only visitor on my blog. Native Mommy Lawyer is not on Facebook or Instagram, so the present goal is Google search organic traffic. I know this can take months to develop.
Two weeks ago, I started to dabble with Pinterest and created a business account. Personally, I use Pinterest a lot but have never created my own pins, much less tried to drive traffic to a website. I’m still greatly confused by the whole Pinterest process and how to drive traffic using pins. Some bloggers pin up to 80 times a day, which is still a foreign concept to me. I’m sure buying a tool could automate all of this, so that’s something to look into down the road.
Gains after the first month of blogging
Despite the struggles, there are aspects of blogging that keep me going. For me, the small gains are enough to keep me trudging on after the first month, so I’m grateful.
I am in love with my content because it is 100% me. There are some posts that I have to do some research on to make them more informative and complete but I cite when I do this.
In the first month of blogging, I published 19 articles and wrote approximately 20,000 words. That’s still amazing to me. I can definitely say my writing is so much better even after one month.
I find that the words come out easier when I’m writing now. I’ve gone back to edit a few of my initial articles and was amazed at how naturally I was able to add relevant content and make them better.
My tone has also changed since I started writing. Initially, I was trying to put on a persona that wasn’t me and it didn’t translate well. Now, my writing tone is more of who I truly am.
I figured out how to use Google Search Console to check my ranking articles about three weeks into blogging. Astonishingly, one of my articles ranked 95th for one of my keywords.
At the end of the month, three of my articles ranked for my keywords, with the top one at 26. I did a google search on my keyword and, sure enough, I was on page three! Moments like this make me realize that I’m on the right track and that my plan is working even though I’m only using free tools.
At the time of this writing, approximately 1 month and 1 week into blogging, I have five ranking articles.
The subreddits Blogging and Just Start are helping me immensely. I’m on them every single day and enjoy reading about other blogger journeys, especially the case studies. There are so many helpful and experienced bloggers in the Reddit community and no question is off limits.
When I feel down or unmotivated about blogging in general, I tend to lurk in those subreddits until I read something that inspires me and gives me hope. If you’re looking to learn a little more about blogging, Reddit is a great way to start.
Goals after first month of blogging
My goal for January 2021 is to publish eight articles for the month. I was starting to feel burnout after writing 19 articles in one month on top of a full-time job and a toddler, so eight is definitely more manageable and doable. I also want to improve my ranking articles this month to see if I can bump up my position for those keywords.
Well, that’s it for now. Overall, what a month-long journey! There is truly magic on the other side of a decision and if you’re contemplating whether or not you should start a blog, just do it. For me, it took $45 and a lot of interest in learning and doing.