Everything I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging


First of all, I hope you had a really good 2016. If you want to make 2017 even better, then you totally can. We are starting a fresh year and this is our chance to shine as brightly as we can!

I’m rooting for you! I know we can do this together. 

I received a lot of questions this week, asking me about my Blogging journey and if I could provide any insights for Blogging and Business. After a whole year of making mistakes (and achieving a couple of things), I am writing it all down for you to see.

My year of 2016 has had lot of ups and downs.

If you haven’t started a Blog (and are thinking of starting one) or you are a newbie Blogger and want some tips, then this post is definitely going to help you!

This email includes affiliate links, but I would never recommend something I don’t love or am not using.

1. Narrowing down my niche.

I cannot stress on this enough for newbie Bloggers. I used to blog about everything and never crossed 2000 views a month. If you are all over the place, this is okay for the first few months because it helps you figure out what you want to do. For example, I blogged about Food (yes, can you believe that?) only because I was trying out new recipes when I got married and couldn’t wait to write about it.

I felt like such a Master Chef at the time.

I also wrote some personal stories and shared some adventures as a newly wed. I couldn’t understand why people weren’t returning to my blog and when I think about it now, I feel like such a dodo-bird.

I am good at a lot of things. I sing. I draw. I cook. I talk. I dream. I’m good with dogs. I have really pretty eyes. Wait… what was I talking about again?

Oh yeah! Narrowing down your niche.

Seriously, there are very few people who actually want to read about all those things written by one single individual. I wasn’t known for anything special and to my readers, I wasn’t an expert in anything because I was spreading myself out so thin.

I knew something had to change. It took me a good six months to figure out what I was good at. Then it struck me.

Creating and Blogging.

So I started concentrating on just that. Slowly (but steadily) my views increased. I have around 50,000 page-views each month and I get around 100 subscribers a day.

My advise to you is please don’t blog about everything. Become a Master in 1 trade. In today’s world, people have trouble remembering so many things.

Remember, you’re just a thread in a carpet. Be gold or red. But if you’re a multicolored thread, people are going to have trouble picking you out. Get my free worksheet to learn how to narrow down your niche!

2. Focusing on growing my email list.

I didn’t really bother with my email list until 4-5 months down the line of Blogging. Yes, I do regret that. So, so much. I learned that the best way to attract people is to offer free stuff. When I give away things for free, I get a lot more engagement and a lot more people on my list.

These people eventually either become my most beloved fans, or phase out because they just want the freebies. Either ways, it’s a good way to reach out to a larger audience and have them come back again and again to read my Blog. An email list eventually leads to profit and this is something you need to tap in right away!

When you’re starting out, it’s good to go with Mailchimp because it’s free till 2000 subscribers as you’ll be a little tight on funds.

But as your following gets larger and you make a living off your Blog, it’s wise to move on to an email marketing service like ConvertKit.

After switching to ConvertKit, I doubled my followers in one month. It increased from 2000 to 4000.

Say…. whaaaaaaaat!!!

It may be a bit of an investment, but it was totally worth it. I never looked back after the first month of exploring ConvertKit.

I was able to track which downloads are popular because I get a graph and all the figures are displayed on my screen as soon as I login to ConvertKit which is seriously amazing.

All my downloads are connected to forms so every time someone wants to download a freebie, they sign up to my blog to get the freebie and they are signed up to receive my weekly Newsletters.

If you’re considering getting ConvertKit, then you shouldn’t have to think twice. It’s a huge game changer! Get it here!

3. Getting my Pinterest game on.

Among all the Social Media, Pinterest really brought me a lot of views. Pinterest brings me over 20,000 views a month and that’s HUGE! I’ve shared all my Pinterest strategies right here and this has seriously helped me make a lot of sales and get a lot of recognition.

I used to write my Blog Posts and wait for the views to come pouring in. It took me longer than usual to realize that I needed to promote my posts. So, I marketed and promoted on Pinterest.

What I didn’t realize is I was spending way too much time promoting my pins or blog posts. I couldn’t keep promoting 24/7 so I took the BoardBooster membership.

BoardBooster basically sends out a pin (whenever you want it to) even when you’re sleeping. It looks like you’re online and pinning every hour, but you’re not.

It’s a repetitive task and I’d rather spend that extra 30 minutes everyday replying to emails or drawing.

BoardBooster quadrupled my followers in less than a week for just $5 a month. It even loops pins (pins an old pin from your boards) to keep your pins fresh and deletes pins that are doing really poorly. You just have to play with the settings once and not touch it for the rest of your living days.

It’s really that simple. For $5 a month, the results are astounding. And the best part? BoardBooster offers a FREE trial! Get yours here right now!

4. Reaching out to people and bonding over emails.

Okay, I’ve already discussed the first part to getting more views – Social Media.

Now all you have to do is, reach out to people.

I was way too shy to do that initially and my blog suffered – very much. So what did I do? I joined some relevant FB groups and started participating in conversations. I offered help and advise to anyone I could. I congratulated people on small wins. I asked for help whenever I was stuck.

Yes, it helped.

People started noticing me. I got emails and message requests asking me if I could help them with a particular service. Acquaintances became friends and friends became clients.

All because I cast away my little invisible cloak (yes I’m a Harry Potter fan) and started conversations with actual people.

In short, you cannot climb the Blogging ladder by yourself. You need some help. You need to be recognized. The best way to do that is to talk to actual human beings. They are going to be the essence of your growth.

5. Recording my progress every day.

I wouldn’t be able to say I did so much if I didn’t keep a close watch on my stats. Small wins and achievements should be recorded.

I do it all in my little notebook. I have a Blog Post here that will give you ideas on the different ways you can use your Notebook if you’re a Blogger.

I kept all the emails from my fans in a special folder. This really motivated me to do better. Knowing that I had backup, always kept me going even through tough times.

Whatever happens, don’t stop recording your progress. There are moments when you will want to give up (if you’re not making enough money off your blog), but these little stats are going to help you pick up where you left off and keep going.

Which brings me to my next and very most important point…

6. Consistently blogging no matter what.

Like I said before, there will be times when you will feel like giving up. When I first started my Etsy shop, I saw no sales. Zero.

I proceeded to make 10 items for my shop. After four  months, I still had zero sales.

I got up one morning and decided to close down my shop and saw a small notification – Someone had bought my Bunny Print.

That was a sign.

I didn’t give up. Instead I researched market techniques and increased my sales organically. I strategically created items around holidays and that really helped me boost my sales.

It’s very easy to give up, but it’s harder to keep doing what you’re doing even with zero results. If I have to be completely honest, my blog started picking up only 8 months after its launch.

You’d not be reading this blog post, or I’d be in a 9-5 job if I gave up. I didn’t. I kept blogging no matter what and it’s paid off.

When you start this journey, know that you’re going to have a lot of ups and downs but don’t give up. Not right away.

7. I stopped comparing myself to others.

It’s very easy to compare yourself to other Bloggers that have thousands of followers and views. I know this, because Yours Truly has made the same mistake.

What I so keenly forgot was that I was comparing my beginning to someone else’s middle.

Let’s face it. We don’t know what these people have gone through to become famous. Probably a lot of sleepless nights and compromises just to take off their Blog. We’ve not seen how much time they’ve taken to build their online business, or how many cups of coffee they’ve downed to write their Blog Posts.

We just see numbers and start undermining ourselves.

It took me a while to realize this, but when I did read about it somewhere I stopped this addictive habit. I started focusing on my own Blog and Business.

I learned to measure my own progress and I started improving – both; as a person and as an artist.

 8. The learning process NEVER stops.

However far you might be in your Blogging journey, understand that there will always be something new to learn about. I have taken this piece of advise very seriously and never stopped learning. I read articles everyday in order to understand more about Blogging and Business.

These books have helped me learn a lot (that I had no idea about) blogging and become more creative.


I’ve taken my one year of Blogging very seriously and if you’re a creative person and want to start a Blog, then you should definitely check out my eBook right here. It’s only $10. This book will teach you how to be creative and make money out of your Creative Business.

Get it here!

If you want to check out the FREE email course, you can sign up below!

And now that I’ve rambled on and on about what I’ve learned, I’d love to know about what you’ve learned from Blogging and what your plans are if you want to start a Blog. Leave a comment below!
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10 Comments

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  1. 1
    Vaishnavi

    Wow, that’s an awesome journey in a year! And loads of learning 🙂 Congratulations on successful completion of your first year and the amazing experiences you’ve had so far. Wish you many more successful blogiversaries! 🙂

    • 2
      Angela Mary

      Hello Vaishnavi,
      Thank you, yes it was a beautiful experience. Loads of learning involved. So glad you loved this post. Let me know if you have any questions and I’d be glad to help!
      Warm regards,
      Angela

    • 4
      Angela Mary

      Hello Christine,
      Oh yes, it’s definitely a cycle. Writing is definitely more fun, but without promoting, it would all be in vain. So happy you loved this post.
      Have a lovely day!
      Angela

  2. 5
    Alexis

    Narrowing down my niche has been an issue for me. I want to talk about so many things but have kept it related to health, saving money, and sharing a few my travel tips.

    • 6
      Angela Mary

      Hello Alexis,
      I totally understand. I’ve been there myself. Take some time to narrow down your niche. In a couple of months, you’ll know which niche suits you best. It’s alright to experiment for a while like I’ve mentioned. Blogging is a complete learning experience. 😀
      Warm regards,
      Angela

  3. 7
    Gabrielle

    This is awesome! What a first year you’ve had! I’m almost at a year and I didn’t take it as seriously in the beginning. I’m still learning and I love reading about other bloggers’ first year journeys and lessons learned. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • 8
      Angela Mary

      Hello Gabrielle,
      Yes, it’s been quite a year! Ha ha. It’s alright if you didn’t take it seriously at the beginning. It’s a fun learning process and the speed is always up to you. I’m so glad you enjoyed reading about my journey. Thank you so much for your sweet comment.
      Have a lovely day!
      Angela

  4. 9
    Ju

    Hi Mary Angela,

    Love the blog you have right here! Your design is so talented and it’s really branded. Your email course brought me back to your blog 🙂

    I always love reading what other’s have learned in their blogging journey. And I’ve only heard great things about ConvertKit. It’s amazing that your email list grew from 2000 to 4000 in only one month. Like woah! Do you feel like email courses have contributed more to your fast surge in subscribers? Or was it something else? Would love more insights from you.

    • 10
      Angela Mary

      Hello Ju,
      Awwww. Thank you so much! Your compliments make me blush. Al my Design is self-taught and it comes with practise. ^_^ ConvertKit is really awesome. It made a really big difference when I started the e-mail course. The trick is to spread yourself over various opt-ins. I have Printables and an Email Course now. So I get quite a few subscribers everyday. Just have a lot of opt-ins on your website. It really helps attract a good following.
      Hope that helps!
      Angela

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