Insights From My 1st Six Months Of Blogging

Please note that this article contains affiliate links, read disclosures here.


Today I’m summing up my experience from the past six months of blogging. There will be a Q & A at the end with some information that may be helpful to current or aspiring bloggers. 


Towards the last quarter of 2017, I felt the need to start something new.

It was time to do something other than the status quo.

Summer had ended, a contract position was in the books, and I was still in the midst of searching for my next 9-to-5.

Back in 2014, I thought about starting a blog. I never settled on a name, so it just didn’t happen. Those names can be tricky.

Fast forward to 2017, after seeking out a productive way to spend my days, I took the leap.

My husband was 100% supportive (like he always is).

We both relished in the fact that I would be working on something productive and learning new skills in the process.

I was practical and realistic in terms of blogging – therefore, I never set any expectations.

Fulltimedollars.com went live on September 18, 2017.

It became my online space about personal finance – my favorite subject.

I wanted to let EVERYONE in on how they could set their life “ON FIRE”.

Where money is not a prime factor in making life’s decisions!

Other bloggers may be able to relate, but it’s the thought that if you shared your journey – someway, somehow it could change someone else’s life.

That’s why I changed my message from 100% FI/RE to a redefined life away from the 9-to-5.

In this case, the goal is financial freedom with the power to work on what you want, when you want.

My time away from work helped me come to this realization. I needed to find work that would make me happy, and my goal is to inspire readers to do the same.

Whatever that is for you, find your happy place.

From someone that has worked for everything they have – I know it’s hard, but it’s SUPER POSSIBLE, especially here in the land of opportunity.

blogging

The Future Of Full-Time Dollars


I didn’t have a plan for the blog.

It’s unlike me – since I’m a planner at heart.

I had visions in my mind that I might get a visitor here or there.

Someday I could chalk it up to a resting place for 1,000 of my articles.

My vision of blogging hasn’t changed much during this time, but there are a few things that have.

These past few months, I learned that I knew very little about the BTS of operating a blog.

Blogging became all-consuming.

Mainly, there was no balance. I gave myself the okay to slip into a “blogging coma” where it was okay to spend endless hours pouring all my time and energy into the blog.

I was either editing my articles for the 20th time, spending countless hours drafting up a new one, or sitting here staring at the screen determining how to proceed with what I had just read off a help guide.

Did I mention I’m somewhat of a perfectionist? 🙂

It was important to me that I presented a professional-looking website. Visually appealing, easily readable, organized, cohesive – among other things.

This meant that I had to invest in my blog, even if I didn’t have plans of monetizing.

Even if it meant that I would never make money from the blog.

blogging

A few weeks ago, I assessed the situation.

Spending too much time on the website. Check

Getting lax on the job search. Check

Sleeping too late. Check

You may not notice from the number of articles that have been published, but I was always tinkering with something.

Undoubtedly, it seemed like there was always something to learn or fix.

Also, there were circumstances that really took the fun out of blogging for me. I’ll get into that later!

Although I am incredibly grateful for the progress that I have made in the past 6 months – I realize I have a life here in which I want to be present.

Here are a couple things I have taken to heart on this journey.

#1 – Blogging is long-term for me. This is just the beginning, so there’s no rush for me to push out content. As I mentioned early on, I would still be writing even if no one was reading. Though, the goal has always been to build a community of readers.

#2 – Ignore the noise. In an online environment where identities are obscured, you see much more negativity, judgment, and controversy. It’s hard not to notice on social media or on other blogs.

I made this below visual early on for Insta, so I’m going to share it here now to accentuate my point. 🙂

blogging

Let’s Do A Quick Q & A


#1 – What are your most popular articles?

Listicles. 

aka. list-based articles.

The articles I spend tons of time on don’t get as much exposure as some of the listicles that I draft on my phone.

Love them or hate them, it’s the reality.

Don’t get me wrong. It also depends greatly on where you are getting your traffic.

From what I have learned, the PF community is not a fan of listicles, while on Pinterest, list-based articles are preferable. I try to balance different audiences, but either way, I try to frame everything to be helpful.

#2 – What has your traffic been for the past 6 months?

I didn’t have GA early on – other than Jetpack, but it was maybe 5-10 people a day.

Traffic started to pick up when I got added to the Rockstar Finance directory.

Still, I had many early days where I topped out at 18-20 visitors.

These days, most of my traffic comes from social, direct, and referral.

So far, organic is improving month over month – which is AWESOME to see.

Pinterest continues to be my biggest referrer. In the past 4 months, it has varied between 4k – 10k/month.

Early on, I was getting the sense that Pinterest was a good place to get traffic so I pursued that route. It doesn’t hurt that I love being creative.

Please understand that with any platform, the traffic can change when social media and search algorithms are updated. It’s always good to look for various avenues and not rely on one single mode for traffic.

#3 – How do you get traffic from Pinterest?

I use a combo of pinning services, manual pinning, and group boards.

Pinning service: Tailwind/(Tailwind Tribes).

Manual pinning: It’s mainly when I have time, but generally it’s during the evening. I manually pin from my main boards to boards I created and/or group boards. It takes ~10 minutes max.

Group boards: There are a few group boards that do better than others. I try to pin more consistently to those boards. There are some boards that are stagnant, therefore I leave them out of the automatic pinning schedule entirely and only pin to them manually.

#4 – The inevitable question – Money?

I want my experience to be as organic as possible. I didn’t start this venture in order to make money. It was meant to be a creative outlet, a way for me to meet like-minded people, and a finance + lifestyle resource.

It’s all still a learning process for me, therefore, I have opted to promote services that are relevant to my message and that I personally use or would recommend.

So, if you are curious as to the money situation – I have made money.  Right now, it doesn’t nearly cover the costs of operating the website.

Definitely, if your prime goal is to make money from blogging, it’s possible. If you understand that blogging is not a “get rich quick” scheme, that’s a good start.

#5 – What do you recommend in terms of blogging services?

I can only recommend what I have used and have actually enjoyed using.


ConvertKit:  This service is used to build a subscriber base. I tried free versions and they just weren’t visually appealing. You can definitely get by without having to make an email service purchase, but if you are looking for a paid product, this is my rec. It’s somewhat of a headscratcher for a newbie to learn at first, but then once everything is in place, it’s seamless.

Here are some of the opt-in boxes:

Get Instant Access To Your Action Plan Worksheets

You will have the option to subscribe for blog updates (1-2x a month) upon entering your email and hitting the button. Powered by ConvertKit

Join the newsletter

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Want a new & improved way to rock your money?

Get a preview of the "Budget + Tracking" Spreadsheet that makes you want to budget!

Learn more here.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

I love that it looks SO professional and plus, you can make landing pages. An example here and here.

Check out ConvertKit here.


Tailwind:  I use this service to schedule my pins and other blogger’s pins through the use of “Tailwind Tribes”. This is a great way to get your pin out there to be shared with a whole new community of bloggers. Each week, I go through and either reshare the pins (If I find one I like, I repin it over and over) or find new ones to schedule. It takes ~30 minutes.

Get a free month to use Tailwind here.


#6 – What FREE resources have you used to get a better understanding of blogging?

Read articles on blogging and join relevant Facebook groups. There are tons of free resources out there. Also, I took a free Pinterest beginner course through Melyssa Griffin to get started and it was helpful. I learned the importance of rich pins, setting up a profile, and clearing up my overall message.

#7 – What are the BEST things about blogging for you?

• Receiving thoughtful comments (I respond to ALL non-spam comments. If you take the time to type something up, I’m going to reply!).

• Having people that actually read my content!

• Getting to use my creative side through Pinterest. I love color – can you tell?! 

• Connecting with people that I normally wouldn’t cross paths with.

#8 – What are the WORST things about blogging for you?

I.T. problems and Pinterest pin swipers.

If you are on Pinterest at all, it’s always good to check that your pins are pointing to your domain and not another URL.

An easy way to do this is to search for your keywords. For example, I would go to the search bar, type “financial freedom”, “early retirement”, “how to save money” – so on and so forth. 

If I see one of my pins, I hover over it.

It should have my URL – fulltimedollars.com.

If it doesn’t, I file a report with Pinterest to have it removed.

The process normally takes a couple weeks to clear up, so check periodically.

So far, I have had about 40 pins that I have had to send in for removal.

Also, I always make sure any pins I save from other bloggers have their URL and not a random, fishy one. It only takes an extra few seconds to compare the domain typed on the pin to the URL. I don’t ever want my followers to click on a bad link.

As you can see, there is more GOOD than bad when it comes to blogging.

#9 – What is your focus when writing a blog post?

• Doing things my way, despite what the trends advise. I could easily get sucked into writing articles that do well on one platform, but I’m not going to do 100 variations of the same articles.

• Number of words >1,000 per article. Since I am writing less content, it’s important for me to write longer articles that provide value. Many of my articles are >2,000 words.

• The title is relevant to the content. I’m not going to make off-the-wall names that have no relevance to what I’m actually writing. Example: If I used this title for my 6-month update: Tortoise and the Hare: The Then and Now (Say wha?)

• Keyword ranking. I want to write about what people are searching for. If I am going to do that, I need to do my research. Currently, I use KWFinder to do this.

#10 – What advice do you have for newbie bloggers?

Strive for engaged readers, quality over quantity, write about what people want to read, be authentic, and try a lot of things to see what works for YOU.

#11 – On a scale of 1-10, how difficult is blogging?

Seven. There’s a lot that goes into blogging. Research, writing, editing, visuals, promoting. It may seem like you are always on an endless production wheel.

Don’t let this deter you from blogging though. You can always try it and see if it works for you. It’s been 100% worth it for me.

Shoutouts:

I will take this time to add a running list of all the people behind these websites that have come by and commented. Check them out!!

Also, to the folks without websites, so many thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion! 🙂

This rounds it out for this blogging update. I hope you enjoyed it as much I had fun putting it together. If you have any questions I didn’t cover, feel free to contact me here.

Full-Time Dollars

Read more about my mission HERE.


Join The FTD Community


FOR SUBSCRIBERS:

+ Access to the "FTD Library"

+ BLOG UPDATES 1-2X A MONTH

For more information, read the privacy policy.

No spam. I promise. Unsubscribe at any point in time. Powered by ConvertKit

Fellow bloggers, what is the biggest lesson you have learned since you have started blogging? Readers, if you are looking to start a blog, what are your concerns?


Photo cred: Pixabay
Interested in starting your own blog? Read more and get insights on what it has been like to run a blog from scratch. Article via @fulltimedollars #blogging #bloggingtips

16 Comments

  • Tom from Dividends Diversify

    Hi HP. Thanks for the shout out. We started about the same time and my experiences are similar. I’m taking it easier too behind the scenes. I have learned a ton and will never regret that. I step back and think long term also.

    I have not had nearly 4,000-10,000 page views per month from Pinterest as you have.

    I’m not sure if I haven’t invested enough in to the platform or if my content doesn’t appeal to the more female oriented user demographic.

    I know my homepage could be improved and my pins could be better. But I can’t be something I’m not. Funny though I just looked and I have more than twice as many followers as you. So having followers truly doesn’t translate to blog traffic.

    I know Defined Sight has also had good success. But again their content is a little different than mine.

    Any thoughts?
    Tom

    • Full-Time Dollars

      Hey Tom. I would check out Dividend Growth Masters and Investing Loon. Those are the pins I’ve seen through Pinterest and TW Tribes that stand out that are similar to your content. Also, definitely trial and error. Your pins look good, but they can always be more eye-catching. Remember, you want people to stop and be enticed to learn more since it’s all visual through Pinterest. You don’t have to be “in your face” with it either (if that’s what you are worried about). Mustard Seed Money, Think Save Retire, Young Adult Money are killing it for effective pins, without being too out there.

      I have visited my share of websites with a great pin, with so-so content. Your content is super helpful. You can make it on Pinterest – just keep trying.

        • Full-Time Dollars

          It depends. For BB, I have different boards for different days and I tell it not to pin the same one for 7-14 days. When I pin manually it can be 15-20. So, I’m thinking it’s about 40-50/day. That doesn’t include pins from other bloggers that I schedule and also pin from the feed.

  • Mrs. Defined Sight

    Hi HP!

    Oh wow! Bonus at the end – thank you so much for the shout-out! And happy bloggiversary to you!! Indeed – lots to celebrate!

    I’m so bummed about the whole Pin stealing thing. It’s happened to me too. Are they doing it in Tailwind? I was pumped to see a pin of mine in the “newsfeed” (I dunno what the proper name for that part of the search tab is in my iphone) and then when I clicked on it, I noticed “article from x website” and sure enough – I clicked on it and it went to someone else’s site! I contacted them, and they were like, “Oh, I thought I could just use this image because we write topics kind of the same” (insert palm on forehead). I’m like, “well – the image says http://www.definedsight.com soooooo that’s misleading people to think they are clicking on our site, when it’s directing them to yours, and we own the Defined Sight domain….so please change it or just delete all our pins directing to your website.” (duh). Pinterest – it’s a beast!

    Your site is so pretty and clean – I was going to comment on your sign up! It does look so professional! We have a long way to go…our site is still so slow and not at all as fast as it should be! 🙁 I’d rank IT/website/learning curve issues a frustration level of 10 for me! Trying to keep consistent content flowing, it’s been put on the back burner.

    Overall – such impressive content and site for your first 6 months! I’m glad we’ve gotten to know you as well and looking forward to keep watching you grow!

    • Full-Time Dollars

      Hey, Mrs. DS. I didn’t want to make it awkward and put you in a box by yourself, but you have been the true MVP. 🙂

      You know what I’m talking about then when I say Pin swipers! It didn’t come to mind about TW, but it makes sense that they would use that platform as well to further steal traffic! These people know exactly what they are doing when they swipe the pin. They go and take our pins and then they feign ignorance. The only time I have contacted someone was when I had literally added a pin to a group board and 30 minutes later when searching found it pointing to a different URL. I sent them a message, blocked them, then reported the pin theft.

      Also, something I forgot to note in the article – when searching for your pins, use a different login to make sure you are catching the people that take your pin and block you. Though, some are brazen enough to follow you AND steal your pins.

      Ya know, sometimes I want to use a shelf theme and just type and not worry about it. The theme I have seems to have issues on every update. On further discussion with the makers, they still want me to update every time, BUT they will be there to fix it (after I send an email and wait a few days). 🙂

      Thanks so much for the kind words. Let’s keep going!

  • Mr. Robot

    Thanks for the shout out! 🙂

    Very impressive what you have accomplished in only six months. I can imagine this has taken a lot of effort from you personally and I can totally support taking s step back. Life is about living in the now and present, not on the web 🙂

    • Full-Time Dollars

      Hey, Mr. Robot – YW! Thank you for stopping by and saving me as a website to read. 🙂 I think I’m done “inventing” new stuff to do all the time with the site (for now anyway). It’s time to just type away and help anyone and everyone that wants to know that FI is attainable and RE can be an option before 65 y/o. Let’s live in the present!

  • timeinthemarket

    I haven’t had a ton of success with pinterest but that’s probably because I don’t know how to use it to well.

    Do you repin the same posts multiple times to the same board? How do you even pin stuff to group boards – do you have to be invited to them first?

    I generally just pin stuff to my own created boards, get no hits off them and give up.

    • Full-Time Dollars

      Yes, you have to request to be added. Sometimes you have to send the request more than once. Rest assured, it takes time, but it’s not impossible. I took a look at your pins and they are not bad at all. It looks like you may be using existing templates, which is good because it makes it look professional. To be successful on Pinterest you have to bring your A game with pins and share them often and consistently. I’m going to save your stock market pin to several of my group boards throughout today for ya. Hoping this helps you if not with saves but clicks as well!

      • timeinthemarket

        Is the idea to repost your pins like a lot on a variety of your own and group boards? Let’s say I make a post, do I set it up to basically repost on a different board every day for the rest of time?

  • FULL-TIME DOLLARS

    Pretty much. You want to get your pins out there, but in a non-spammy way. So as an example, I have my popular pins scheduled to pin between a particular time period in the evening. I also have them not to pin to the same group board for 7-14 days (depending). You can set the parameters. If you don’t have a lot of posts, you can also work it manually (which is what I did in the beginning).

  • Erik @ The Mastermind Within

    Congrats on reaching 6 months! Those first 6 months are usually pretty tough, I’m finding months 12-18 tough as well though…

    I love your writing style, 1 sentence at a time – something I’ve been trying to work towards from big blocky paragraphs when I started!

    Have a good weekend!

    • Full-Time Dollars

      Thanks Erik! Initially, for me it was the concept of what kind of blog I wanted and how to portray it. I’m good with it now. In the future, I may make changes, but it’s all a learning process.

      I’m also finding that I want to write in a way that can easily be digested by the reader.

      Thanks, Erik for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful comment! ?

  • GYM

    Thanks for the mention 🙂
    Happy blogiversary!!
    I find that as I’m designing more Pinterest pins, my pins are getting longer and longer and longer. Soon they will take up the whole page Haha kidding!

    Your Pinterest game is rocking! Pinterest has been pretty steady for me but definitely not 4000-10000 pageviews a month. Thanks for the tips!

    • Full-Time Dollars

      Hi GYM! I’m finding that I’m having to shorten my pins. I think I’ve found my happy medium in my most recent ones. This way I don’t have to think about changing them for yet another Pinterest update. We’ll see what the future brings. I’ll be here. Thanks for commenting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected!