Learn From My Mistakes
After monetizing my blog, I managed to earn a 3-figure income in my first month of blogging. However, this article is not about the income I generated, it’s about the several mistakes I’ve made so far and what I’ve learned from them. Hopefully, after reading this, you can learn a thing or two and avoid these bumps.
I took the leap of faith and built the courage to finally start following my dreams – to one day become my own boss and escape the 9-5. Before I turn 30, I wish to become a millionaire, and that’s the reason I started blogging.
Now looking back, starting my own blog has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life! The journey so far has truly been life changing – both personally and professionally.
*This post contains affiliate links which helps support this blog. To read the full disclaimer, click here.
1st Month (March 2017): What I Did Right
In February I started researching the hosting company I wanted to host my blog on. After reading hundreds of reviews on Bluehost and HostGator, I decided to go with HostGator due to their excellent customer service and affordable prices. In the end, HostGator cost me $30 less than what I would’ve paid for Bluehost.
Furthermore, I became familiar with all the big name bloggers in my niche and started to write down their best practices on blogging. I studied their way of writing, their method of delivery and most importantly, their blog’s user-interface. I took notes of the various tools and resources they used to enhance their blogs. Afterward, I compiled all this information either in google docs or Evernote (very handy when taking notes on your phone) for easy access.
1st Month (March 2017): What I Did Wrong
I spent way too much time learning the advanced lessons on blogging when I was only 2 weeks into my blog. I felt this was such a waste of time. Instead of focusing on beginner tips, I tried to skip steps and jump from square 1 to 100. BIG MISTAKE. No wonder I felt so overwhelmed!
One thing I learned about blogging is that it’s not a one-night-wonder business. It takes time to grow your audience and start earning a full-time income. Invest your time on perfecting the basics of your blog in order to be successful in the long run. Blogging is all about user-experience, and if that’s lacking, your blog will fail miserably. Patience is key.
One of the BIGGEST mistakes I made was overwhelming myself by reading the success of other bloggers – specifically their income reports. This affected 2 things
- Decreasing the time I spent on my own blog.
- I went from one blogger to another trying to figure out their secret formula
- Tried to replicate other blog themes and designs
- This gave my blog a very unprofessional look as I had a blog mixed with several different designs inspired by various bloggers
I’m sure all of you can relate that as soon as you start comparing yourself to another blogger’s success, you find yourself in a loophole. You start focusing more on their blog and less on yours. You try to do something which took them 2 years to accomplish in 2 days. You spend more time reading their articles and less time writing your own.
OVERUSE OF PLUGINS & THEMES
After reading and evaluating 40 different blogs in 2 weeks, I had over 50 different plugins installed and downloaded over 35 different themes. Unfortunately, one of the plugins crashed and ended up wiping out 3 of my blog posts (which were the only ones I wrote at that time).
So there I was, staring at my WordPress dashboard with no content on my page anymore. Basically starting from square one. So much for trying to jump ahead. I wish I can go back and smack myself in the face for wasting so much time on finding the best plugins. I should’ve spent more time putting out content and improving user-experience.
Oh well, you live and learn.
As I tried to keep myself focused on my goal and pull through the plugin failure, I deleted all but 7 must-have plugins:
- Yoast SEO (Best plugin ever! It will boost your SEO score and make your blog Google-friendly)
- WP Super Cache (Fast caching which frees up your WordPress site page)
- WP Smush (Reduce image file sizes, improve performance and boost your SEO)
- Pretty Link (Makes those ugly and long looking URLs pretty. You can make your own URLs!)
- Mailchimp for WordPress (Mailing list to build your subscriber base)
- SumoMe (Free tools to automate your site with Call to Action Buttons, Hello Bar and Social Share icons)
- Akismet Anti-Spam (Protects your blog from spam)
If you’re starting a new business, your organization skills will play a key factor towards your early success. What I did was the complete opposite. Even though I took notes from various bloggers, I didn’t bother to organize them according to their category. When it came time to referencing back to my notes, it took several minutes just to find the damn piece of paper! It was so frustrating and I should’ve pre-planned all this from the beginning.
I also made the mistake of not creating a monthly calendar to set goals for myself. By having a calendar on your side, you’re constantly reminded of tasks you have to complete and it creates a natural urgency in your mind. Furthermore, it helps you focus on one particular task and track its progress in relation to your timeline.
However, I’ve recently started using the good old google calendar and it is a-mazing! I know a lot of bloggers out there are offering printable calendars but those are just not for me. I mean, how can I possible cram a days worth of work into a tiny square!?
First Month’s Conclusion
This month honestly FLEW by! All that was on my mind was trying to enhance my blog’s online presence in hopes to get it discovered. I would come home from work at 6:30 pm, eat dinner by 7:30 pm and then from 8:30 pm to 2:30 am I would work on my blog all night. Wake up at 5:30 am and head to work. Then I come back home and repeat.
Till this day, I still repeat this cycle. Although I feel exhausted when I’m back home, the hunger for success keeps me going. I visualize my goal of becoming a millionaire by 30 on a daily basis. I know that if I can just grind out these starting months, I will be one step towards reaching my goal. No one becomes rich overnight. Success requires determination and persistence. And this time, I’m not giving up under any circumstances.
I admit I made some really stupid mistakes in my first month. As you can see, the ratio between what I did right and what I did wrong was significant. However, as a result, I went into my 2nd month with more knowledge and experience to avoid these pitfalls.
2nd Month (April 2017): What I did Right
REBRANDED MY BLOG
Remember how I mentioned going from one theme to another? Well, that wasn’t working out very well for me. I wanted a theme which I can fully customize according to my brand image and needs. After researching on several themes, I narrowed my choices down to 2 themes. Genesis Framework and Divi. In the end, it wasn’t really a tough choice – Divi Theme from ElegantThemes was the winner!
Holly fudgesticks! When I landed on this site, everything changed. Let me tell you why.
- Divi Theme is FULLY customizable
- The theme has a drag and drop feature. Yes, that’s right, a bloody DRAG & DROP feature where you can literally type, add widgets, and create eye-catching visuals all at once! Best thing of all, you don’t need to know how to code for all this. No more of that CSS bs that I spent hours trying to learn about.
- For $69, it’s a steal!
I won’t go too in-depth about Divi as I’ll be making a post about their features and benefits later on. However, feel free to check out their page, it literally sells itself – no explanation needed. If you need a live example, feel free to browse my website to check out the different features I’ve been able to build using Divi.
As part my blog’s rebranding, I got my logo made by a professional graphic designer. By paying only $8 CAD, I was able to get a kick-ass logo within 12 hours with unlimited revisions! I highly recommend using Fiverr if you’re looking to outsource any graphic design or web design tasks. As the name states, all the services provided by freelancers start at only $5! Check out Fiverr here and give your blog a more professional feel 🙂
INCREASED SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
I wanted to increase my social media presence now that my blog was looking sharp and had a professional touch to it. So I decided to crank out my first post 7 Ways to Create Irresistible Blog Titles That Drive Traffic which contained a Pinterest-Friendly Infographic image. You can follow my Pinterest profile here.
I also started to offer free consulting services towards blog critiquing which allowed me to receive some really great testimonials! I’ll be using these later when I launch my Get Discovered course.
To grow my brand presence on Facebook, I joined several blogging groups that have provided tremendous support so far! I also created a Facebook group called Blog Booster – Academy for Beginners. If you wish to join, please click here and request access to be a part of this awesome mastermind group!
MONETIZED MY BLOG
Since I’ve expensed a great amount of my budget so far, I need a way to generate a return on my investment. Therefore, I started to monetize my blog. I’ve heard Thrive is great for bloggers who have over 100,000 monthly visitors. However, for a beginner like me, I became part of these 2 must-join affiliate networks.
- AWIN – formerly known as Affiliate Window. The best thing about their network is that the site is very easy to navigate. You can literally find deals on anything and everything! They do ask for a $5 upfront deposit to sign-up, however, you get your money back with your first monthly payment.
- My first payment from them was for $325!
- You can join AWIN’s affiliate network by clicking here.
- Flex Offers – this is a beauty of an affiliate program! No matter what your niche is, you will always find an affiliate partner.
- My first payment from them was for $130!
- You can join Flex Offers by clicking here.
As a result of rebranding my website, my traffic started to increase immediately. I was able to increase my newsletter subscribers to over 100 people in less than 3 weeks! It was such a rewarding feeling to know that others were interested in my content and what I had to talk about. Overall, I finally felt like I was on the right path in my blogging journey. However, not everything is perfect and this month also came with its fair share of failures.
2nd Month (April 2017): What I did Wrong
FOCUSED LESS ON BUILDING AN EMAIL LIST
Due to the rebranding of my website, I failed to realize that my email list was taking a hard hit. As soon as I created a call to action on my homepage, I got over 60 subscribers in 5 days! This was mainly due to the traffic I was pulling in from participating in discussions on several Facebook Groups.
I believe I could’ve ended up with over 150 subscribers if I continued to focus on my traffic.
I tend to learn really fast from my mistakes and that’s why I didn’t see any significant failures in my 2nd month. Instead, I saw a very positive increase towards the number of monthly visitors and subscribers on my blog. It’s good to know that my hard work is finally starting to pay off!
Let me say it again, the more mistakes you make up front, the faster you will learn. It’s okay to make mistakes, don’t get discouraged by your failures! Instead look at them as learning curves. Every road has a few bumps, but hopefully, this article will help you mitigate those mistakes from the beginning.
Let me ask you:
What are some mistakes you’ve made so far in your blogging journey?