Before starting a blog, I was looking for new platforms to offer to clients. I was writing website code for my sites, and clients. It was simply too time-consuming. I felt I wasn’t being efficient enough and needed to find a way to effectively market client websites, grow my business, program all night, while continually searching for the perfect content management system (CMS).
I started diving into WordPress, SquareSpace and Wix. And, from a programmer and marketer point-of-view, for a few reasons, I settled on WordPress. At the same time, I came across an article where someone claimed making $170,000 a month off their website blog! I was floored. Seemingly a perfect time in my life because I needed to find additional income to support my family, I signed up for a couple of online intro How-to free email courses and bought some books (I finished one!). The courses were good but in marketing, success starts with implementation.
Starting a Blog, Slow and Steady
My journey started off a little rougher than expected. I have very high standards, which means I’m hard on myself, but must learn to stop! Although I’m working 50-60 hours a week, running my boys to basketball, my daughter to work and school every night, I still need to throw something together. My issue? I get wrapped up on design, everything must be perfect because of the content of my site.
After the courses and book, I dove into blogging and learning WordPress. There’s a HUGE learning curve between programming a site myself and using an enterprise content management system (CMS) like Dot Net Nuke. The difference? When programming and creating code, I design it how I need it to be in a matter of time, to be polished how I need it to be polished. Being unfamiliar using a CMS, there’s trial and error. Like in WordPress, I must find the right themes and plugins that give the needed results.
This reminded me of the difference between my iPhone and an Android phone. There are a lot of free polished apps on the iPhone and the interface is very polished. On the flipside, Android devices can be more flexible if you want to put in extra time or money finding the apps that are as polished as the iPhone default apps.
It’s very frustrating to me, someone with tons of online experience, I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to someone who’s not technical or has programming experience! I spent hours and hours trying to find the perfect theme with as much flexibility as I’m used to. I spent more time trying to find out how to get my site to do everything I needed and wanted from SEO to a simple back to the top button.
I’m documenting everything and figure if I needed the information, someone else could use that same information. I am making a list of all the free, or very cheap plug-ins that I would recommend using to polish that blog. I’ve decided to add them as supplements to my blog.
My first month I was torn between creating a visually appealing site that promoted my brand, one that I had always envisioned, and a site for just getting content out the door. I know in my heart I need content to drive visitors and traffic but, admittedly, I got so wrapped up in the functionality with the visualization of the website.
One bright spot is the WordPress and Blogging Communities. I joined a few Facebook groups. Everyone’s very open, more so than I ever found. I could post questions on blogs or threads and even ask the programmers themselves. Both themes I tried, the programmers were very willing to help me tweak my theme with the code itself.
Each month I post once a week, maybe twice at the most. I want to be more active but will wait once my site has content.
My recommendation is find your niche, secure your website information, secure social media names, then, start writing and don’t get down on yourself! Find an inspiriting and encouraging Facebook group. When you write an article, publish it on social media, share it with every one of your social community platforms, in groups, and on pages you Like. This happens to be Next Month’s Goal!
First Month Finance and Traffic
So, after my first month, blogging cost me about $300 and I made $0 in advertising. I had to play and test all sorts of themes and plugins. According to first-month analytics, my website had just 24 visitors. I must remind myself that it’s an amazing number considering the lack of content I had. And, I haven’t yet started promoting my Facebook page. I do hide my Facebook page from work colleagues because my employer would take offense to me starting a marketing blog.
I am getting more focused on getting content up now! I started a spreadsheet to keep track of expenses versus income. I also keep track of website traffic to keep track of what’s working to grow the site’s platform.
Next Month’s Goals
Next month my focus will be publishing a reasonable number of blogs, I’m hoping to hit 15 posts by the end of next month. I’ll focus more on content and try not to focus on traffic, yet. But, it’ hard when, as a marketing director, everything is about traffic, every single day. How much traffic to get here and how much did you get there. Then, I look at my own analytics, which are flat-lined, for now.
I must realize that I spent 5 to 7 years building a brand to get the traffic we have now at work and I can’t expect that same traffic overnight with zero content on the website and almost zero marketing of the website.
Also, next month, push out all content to social media!