Happy 1st Anniversary, Adventures in Nonsense! I technically started blogging in October-ish of 2016, but didn’t buy the official domain until January 5, 2017. It’s been a wild year, and I’ve learned a lot. On this first anniversary, I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned from blogging (the good and the bad).
- Making money is really hard. I knew that it would be tough to make enough money to blog full time, but making any sort of money is hard! I went through two failed affiliate accounts with Amazon before finally being semi-successful with a third. So far, I’ve made $7. My Google AdSense account has brought in a whopping $0.22 in the last year! You read about these people making thousands of dollars every month…Trust me, I’ve read their income reports, and I STILL don’t understand how they make so much.
- Gimmicky titles really do work. One of my most successful posts was 5 Easy Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas. That post was way more successful than most of my book blogs.
- Write for a purpose, not just for the sake of writing content. This is something I’ve learned both through my blog and for work. Just putting content out there to publish content won’t do anything for your brand. Write something because it means something to you and it’s good for your brand!
- Brands don’t really want to work with the newbies. You see all those girls posting about FabFitFun. They’re super well established. You can reach out to brands all you want, but you probably won’t be able to work with them until you meet a minimum threshold of followers. Side note, getting actual followers is hard!
- There are more affiliate programs than just Amazon. I work with Amazon every day, so it was the program I was most familiar with. However, there are a ton of other programs! Some businesses have their own individual affiliate programs, but there are other “communities” that have a bunch of affiliates in one place. I’ve used Awin.com, ShareASale, and CJ Affiliates. Those three haven’t actually generated any money for me yet, but there’s hope.
- Lifestyle pictures work better. This is something I’m still working on. If you can show an item in use, it’s going to perform better for your readers. I’ve found this a ton on social media, and some on the blog too.
- SHARE, SHARE, SHARE. Share your blog everywhere. When you share, give people an easy link to click. Remember, people are inherently lazy and don’t want to have to work to read content.
- Having a niche is not necessary, but it is helpful. Some people will recommend that you only blog about one thing. That is helpful, especially if you’re passionate about something or have a ton of experience somewhere. However, I have a lot of passions in a few different places and am still trying to figure out if I need to be in just one area. Sometimes that works in my favor, other times, it can be a bit “undirected” (Yes, I know that’s not a word…).
- Join blogger communities, but beware of beginners. Facebook is a great place to find communities of bloggers. There are groups for different niches, affiliates, beginners…you name it, it exists. However, be careful of joining certain groups of beginners. There was one I was in where people would actually say, “So, I’m ready to get started, but don’t know where to start. Where should I begin? What’s a blog?” Really people? You’re not ready to get started if you don’t know what a blog is. I had to leave the group because there were too many questions like that.
- Every blog needs images. I’ve let a couple of blogs slip through without any pictures, and they’re harder to promote. Engaging pictures make people stop in the endless scroll of newsfeeds.
- Check your analytics and run with it. You can see what blogs are moving traffic, where your traffic is coming from, even keywords that people search for to get there. One of my most surprising traffic movers (even if it was small) was Patience is a Virtue.
- Sign up for all the free services. Seriously, there’s no harm in doing so. Google Analytics, Google Adsense, free plugins…every little bit can help.
- Edit your pictures. Every picture could use a little bit of help. Check the background. Make sure the image makes sense. If you put time into your pictures, it will help the blog!
- Find your voice. Whether you decide to stick with niche writing or more broad categories, just find your voice in your writing. Don’t have an authoritative blog followed by a sassy blog. If you’re a sassy person, put a bit of sass in every post. Make that part of your brand!
I’ve learned quite a few lessons in this first year. Some things, I’m definitely still working on, mostly the picture editing and finding my voice. I’m hopeful for everything that Adventures in Nonsense has to offer in 2018. Stay tuned.