Hello everyone! I officially launched my first post here at The Vibrant Dreamer on November 19, which means today is my one-month blogiversary! It’s been a beautiful and confusing journey all at once, but I’m obsessed with it if I’m being honest!
Here are the real results of my first month blogging (current as of December 18, 2018), including what I spent money on and my follower counts. Starting a successful blog doesn’t happen overnight, and I’m excited to see what my second month will bring!
If you haven’t started your own blog yet but are interested in doing so, I’ve created a step-by-step guide you can follow along with and I also have a page of general blogging resources I’ve been using this year.
Disclaimer: Some links below are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase via my link, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support my blog! More details here.
My First Month Blogging Recap
I spent a lot of time researching about blogging and how to start a blog before I actually started. I would scour Pinterest constantly looking for blogging resources! I knew I wanted to self-host from day one, and I ultimately decided to go with Siteground’s web hosting services.
I purchased one year of hosting under their StartUp plan, which was perfect for my first month blogging and beyond, as this plan supports up to 10,000 monthly visits. I also purchased my domain name, domain protection to hide my personal information, and automated malware scanning through Siteground. The combined total for all of that was 95.15 USD, which will last for one year.
I ended up changing domain names (more on that later), and it turns out when you do that you also need to make sure the web servers are pointing to the correct domain. Now usually, I’m pretty confident when it comes to technical stuff so I just tried to do it all by myself (despite the button that literally says, “do NOT do this unless you are sure you know what you’re doing!”). I can usually fix what I break when it comes to technology.
Turns out… I couldn’t do it on my own. My site was down. I was locked out of WordPress. It was 1am. I don’t exactly have tech guru friends who can fix things for me (and I was actually out of town when I was messing with this!)
I knew that Siteground has 24/7 support but honestly I didn’t really believe it… but I had no other choice but to try anyway. I had a short wait time before I was connected with a professional who had received 5-star customer service ratings from literally thousands of people. We got the issue fixed as fast as possible and he got me back into WordPress. I was pretty confident at that point that I had chosen the right website host! Since then, I’ve had absolutely zero issues.
Another thing I learned from my research is that email lists are important for your blog to be successful. (And I really need to focus on mine more!) But did you know you’re legally required to have a mailing address at the footer of your emails? I was not about to put my real address out there for the world to see! So I decided to get a small PO Box in a small town not too far from where I live. Going to a smaller post office also meant the PO Box was slightly cheaper! I pay 12.95 USD every 3 months for my PO Box.
I use Canva Pro to create my Pinterest pins and my Instagram story highlight covers. There is a free version, just called Canva, which lets you upload your own images so you can add text, filters, and overlays to them. You can also buy stock photos on there.
I prefer Canva Pro because you also get access to additional stock photos that don’t cost anything extra. You can also resize your images to any size you want, and you can save fonts and color palettes for easier branding. I pay 12.95 USD per month for Canva Pro.
So I actually launched my first blog four months ago, but it went nowhere fast. I hated the name I chose to the point where it was almost embarrassing to promote it anywhere. Like I said earlier, I got my original domain through SiteGround for 15.95 USD when I bought my hosting, but this time I wanted to see if I could do it for cheaper than that. Turns out, I could get a new, shiny, non-embarrassing domain name for about half the price!! I bought my current domain name, thevibrantdreamer.com, through Namecheap for a whopping 8.16 USD for one year.
Now, in fairness not all domains are that cheap through Namecheap, but a good majority of them are. Most domains I’ve seen are anywhere between $8-12.
Tailwind is a pin scheduler that allows you to schedule posts in advance so you can pin to certain boards at specific times. Tailwind has two different plans depending on how often you want to be billed. You can pay either 14.95 USD per month or 119 USD per year. There is a limit to the amount of times you can pin per month on the monthly plan, but with the yearly plan you can pin unlimited pins. I currently have the monthly membership, which is fine for now, but sometime in 2019 I do plan on switching to the annual billing plan.
Okay, so full disclosure here… I got my first three months of Tailwind for free. Well, kinda. I purchased a bundle that’s no longer available and one of the ~freebies~ was a $45 Tailwind credit. That’s literally the only reason I signed up for Tailwind. And I even waited until the last possible day to get it because I wasn’t sure about Tailwind at all! But now that I’ve been using it, I honestly love it and I feel like it’s done wonders for my Pinterest engagement.
If you’re like I was and wasn’t 100% sure about Tailwind, you can try it out right here and get your first month for free!
Pinterest Strategies eCourse
I took a super affordable eCourse on Pinterest strategies that helped me a lot in my first month blogging! I’ve always heard about how essential Pinterest is for bloggers… but I couldn’t quite figure out their secrets before I took this course! The course costs 32 USD! It’s the cheapest Pinterest course I’ve ever seen, and these strategies work wonders.
The course was created by Ell Duclos, who was able to turn her blog into her main source of income in only six months! She’s a huge inspiration to me, and I had honestly been wanting to take her course for a while. She breaks down exactly what you need to do to set up your Pinterest properly, tips for joining group boards, how to make your very own pins, and more! I 100% believe her course + Tailwind is what helped increase my Pinterest viewers so quickly. If you’re interested in the course, you can enroll right here!
Follower Counts after my First Month Blogging
I’m actually shocked at how well Pinterest has been working for me in my first month blogging. As of December 17, 2018 I have 85.7k monthly viewers!! I converted my personal Pinterest account to a business account, and I think I had maybe 1,000 monthly viewers just a month ago! My Pinterest viewers literally SKYROCKETED in a matter of weeks and I wasn’t expecting it at all.
The reality is that my Pinterest traffic hasn’t translated into much engagement on my blog, but my pins are circulating, which is more of a start than I expected. It has surprisingly resulted in clicks on my affiliate links, but no sales yet. About 60% of my blog’s traffic comes from Pinterest! At this point, it’s about keeping up my traction and making sure my pins get noticed by the right people. I also don’t have a lot of pins out there yet, because I’m still new!
By the way, I currently have 248 followers on Pinterest.
I didn’t start focusing on Instagram immediately, and I’m still working a theme and figuring out what the heck to post. I’ve never been super consistent with even my personal instagram! But I have grown my blog’s instagram to 79 followers which is a great start for my first month blogging. I’ve made a couple connections with people on there already. Ultimately, from Instagram, I want engagement more than anything.
I created a new Instagram account for my blog, and I made it a business account. It’s totally free to do so and it allows you to view your analytics on your posts and your stories. I also made Instagram story highlight covers. It’s super easy to do on Canva, and they add to my feed’s cohesiveness. They also provide something for new followers to potentially interact with, which is what I’m going for!
Facebook & Twitter
I made a Facebook page for my blog and invited some of my friends to like it, but that’s about it! It currently has 23 likes. All I have done with Facebook so far is simply share my blog posts to my page and leave it at that. At this time, I’m not super invested in growing my Facebook as I would rather focus on Instagram and Pinterest, but I like having it because you never know where you might get noticed!
I do use Facebook to promote my blog through blogging groups! The Facebook group that has been most helpful to me so far is Boss Girl Bloggers. The community is super supportive and helpful, and the admin is super involved. I am also a member of Blogging for New Bloggers but I am not as active on there yet. I’ve joined a couple of other groups, but am waiting to be approved.
I have 39 followers on Twitter, which is definitely the social media I’ve been focusing on the least up until… literally two days ago! I’ve heard a lot of bloggers say that Twitter has helped them, so I’ve been giving it more of a chance in recent days.
Reflections && Going Forward
I’m pretty happy with my first month blogging overall! It is definitely a slow and steady process for sure, and it takes a lot of work and a decent chunk of change to get started out. I am super excited to be on this journey though, and I feel like I’m constantly growing and learning.
Here are a few of my short-term blogging goals:
- Reach 100k monthly viewers on Pinterest!
- Reach 100 followers on Instagram!
- Make my first affiliate sale!
What about you? What was your first month blogging like, and what are some of your goals? I’d love to know!!
Thanks for reading!!