Blogging Update: Lessons Learned in the First Three Months

Wow!  I can’t believe Farmhouse Finance has been going for three months already.  It is so great to be a part of the wonderful, supportive personal finance blogging community.  Thank you to everyone who has ever read an article, commented, or shared my writing. It’s been a whirlwind few months, with a steep learning curve, so I thought I would share a few thoughts with a blogging update.

Are you overwhelmed with your blogging to-do list? Click through to read the lessons I learned in my first three months blogging.

Just Going For It

I have been reading personal finance blogs for a few years now, and have been slowly getting our finances in order.  Mr. Farmhouse Finance and I have been making some serious progress on financial goals (saving for our wedding and now our house) over these past couple years, and I started to notice that we were more aware of or diligent with saving than a lot of our friends.

Once we made the decision to build our house, it seemed like the perfect time to share our story.

I had been thinking about starting a blog for a few months, when I read one of those “How to Start a Blog” posts, and just went for it.

The Cost (so far)

Eventually, I hope this blog will make us a few bucks, so we don’t have a problem spending some money to get it going.  So far, we’ve spent $346.04 and made $0.

Here is the breakdown of what we’ve spent:

Simple Mag Theme                                            $61.00
Website domain and hosting (Bluehost)                                          $137.04
P.O. box (for email marketing)                                            $90.00
Convert Kit (2 months)                                            $58.00
                                                                     Total                                         $346.04

Lessons Learned

Some people plan and plan their blogs and then have an official launch.  Not me!  I followed the steps of starting a WordPress blog, wrote a short first post, and hit publish.

The days that followed that initial post were filled with more Googling of “how do you….”, than I should probably admit to.

Lesson 1: Forget What You Know About Writing

I’m an elementary school teacher, so I spend a good part of my day teaching kids the rules of writing.  When I started blogging, I had to get those rules out of my head.

White

Space

Is

Your

Friend

In blogging, even a sentence can be a paragraph!

Lesson 2: Get to Know Your Tools

There are so many plugins, services, and analytics tools that it can be overwhelming for a new blogger.  I made a list of tools that I wanted to look into, and started checking them off one by one.

Here are a few that I have found particularly helpful:

  • Yoast SEO plugin
  • Responsive Menu
  • SumoMe
  • WordPress Editorial Calendar

I also signed up for Google Analytics, but I seriously do not know what to do with that information yet.

Lesson 3: You Need to Learn Graphic Design

Pictures make blogs more visually appealing, so it wasn’t really a question of whether I would use pictures, but how would I create images without any graphic design experience.

I wanted to avoid using stock photos, and decided to use my own pictures (taken on my iPhone).  I use Canva to size and add text to my images, and then download the images as PNG files.

I didn’t follow a formula for my first few images, and the blog did not look consistent enough, so I decided to go back and change the look of the images. I settled on using nature scenes for the blog title images with writing with the same 3 fonts.

Lesson 4: You Have to Promote Yourself

Probably the hardest part of starting off as a blogger is all the self-promotion you have to do.  When I started Farmhouse Finance I signed up for a Twitter account and made a business account on Pinterest.

Each social media site has it’s own rules.  I had never used Twitter before, so I had to figure out what to do (and not do) on that platform.  Although my Twitter following is growing, I still haven’t quite figured out the best way to balance promoting blog posts and interacting with other people on Twitter.

Pinterest is a whole other beast.  I’ve decided to focus more of my energy on Pinterest, and have been reading a lot and taking some free classes about how to grow your following.  I’ve been using Pinterest for a few years to plan my wedding and pin house ideas, but I never really had any followers on my personal account.  Now I’m trying to figure out how to pin with my audience in mind, and hopefully bring some more people over to the blog.

Lesson 5: Just Keep Swimming

It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in your blog’s to-do list, so I have to remind myself to just pick one thing to focus on at a time to keep making some forward progress.  As I post more, I know my writing will improve.  As I create more graphics, I know my pictures will become more “pinnable”.

Most people are not overnight successes with their blogs, so I have to remind myself to stay consistent.  I’m really enjoying working on the blog and being a part of the personal finance community, so anything else would be the cherry on top.

What lessons have you learned in your time as a blogger?

 

Are you overwhelmed with your blogging to-do list? Click through to read the lessons I learned in my first three months blogging.

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5 Comments

  • Congrats on the first 3 months! I hear you on both the endless Googling and the new world of Twitter (never used it personally… but realized I needed an account for the blog!). You are brave to attack the Pintrest world! 😉 We are just shy of 1 month in with our blog and its been a fun and challenging ride so far.

    Best of luck with the continuation of your blog!!!

    • Thanks, Mrs. Adventure Rich! Pinterest is awesome, but from what I’ve read, you need to treat it more like a search engine than a social media platform. You should definitely make a Pinterest account for your blog. It might take some time to figure it out, but I think the effort will pay off in a bigger way than Twitter. Congratulations on your first month!

  • Welcome to the personal finance space and congrats on 3 months! Love your sentence on the use of white space! Not only is it great for design / but also writing, like you say. We’ve been at this for awhile and I think one of the biggest lessons we learned early on is that networking with other bloggers is pretty important starting out. Even as you’ve been doing it awhile (while we are pretty lame at it now, being old time bloggers). Best to you!

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