My First Year as a Blogger.

My first year as a blogger - by Monsterful Mama
Copyright of Monsterful Mama

 

Can you believe it’s been a little over a year since I started on this journey as a blogger? I can’t, that’s for sure. So much has happened in those twelve plus months. To say that the last six months or so have been manic (what with Zosia turning one, Mum being in hospital for nearly eight months, work and other general life stuff) would be something of an understatement. If you hadn’t noticed, I have been pretty MIA for a long time. Life has thrown some major curve balls at us so far this year, but we keep on batting them off into the distance. Sometimes you realise just how much a person can take before they break and what truly matters in life. But I guess that’s life for you.

So what’s been happening?

Well, firstly we had a lovely little party for Zosia’s first birthday. The night before was very busy. I spent all night cooking, cleaning and decorating but it was worth it in the end. Budget wise we did pretty well and I think that writing the blog post Six Simple Steps to Planning a First Birthday Party on a Budget before hand really helped. She was of course, spoiled by all of our friends and family and she loved playing with the other babies and toddlers which was so lovely to see. If you follow me on SM you would have seen some of the pictures from the weekend. I’ll go into more detail about this in another blog post later.

The biggest thing that has stopped me from doing pretty much everything has been my mum. In December she was admitted into hospital. She has only just been discharged. Growing up and as a teenager, my mum and I never really got on too well. I think that is because we’re too similar. We get on a lot better when we don’t live together. Seeing her in a coma, fighting for her life made me realise just how much time we had wasted over silly, petty arguments and dramas in the past. Being the eldest in situations like this does make you realise that being an adult can really suck at times. Seeing her fight so hard to get back to some kind of normal hasn’t been easy.  Now that she is home we just remind her of how proud and grateful we are that she didn’t give up. Every night I would come home and give Zosia an extra squeeze. She makes everything seem better.

On a lighter note

So after a year or so of blogging, what have I learnt? I have had to think about this quite a bit really. Especially as out of the twelve months, I’ve only been really active for about eight. I’ve condensed some of the biggest lessons that I have taken out of this whole experience so far into seven points. I think for anybody considering becoming a blogger or influencer you definitely need to consider some of these before you start.

1. Make sure you have time

Time has been one of the biggest issues for me. Being a working mum means a lot of things need to be juggled and often that meant something wasn’t getting done. It took me a while to work on the balance of life as a parent, a teacher and a blogger. Too often did the washing pile up higher than the Empire State Building or the toys on the floor make an assault course during the midnight feeds. Of course my husband helps where he can , but he works too and it is easy for us both to be tired at the end of the day. We’re currently in the process of trying to set up things so that we can be more organised. We have a meal and chore planner in place which were hoping will not only help with keeping up with the work around the house but also keeping our finances in check. It also helps keep an eye on who is doing what which should help with the silly arguments about washing up! I try to get blog related things done in the evenings or on the weekends so that the hubby can focus on his work. That way I can keep up with the housework on my days off too.

I was most productive when I had a plan in place. I used my bullet journal to make a note of blog post ideas to use for the future. I would track what I was posting to the blog and when so I could see how many things I had posted each month. I have to admit that since Mum was ill, I’ve not been keeping up with anything, not even my bullet journal. The plan will be to start integrating all of the things that worked slowly but surely so that I can get back in to regular blogging again. I think I might start making a digital tracker as I don’t have the time to manage the drawings and creative side of a paper bullet journal at the moment. Keeping a planner and a tracker is definitely a useful tool for bloggers.

2. Know your niche

It is important that you know what you want to write about. Have a clear idea about where you fit in the blogging world but also make sure you know and care about what it is you’re writing. There is absolutely no point in writing about make-up if you only wear it on special occasions. Keep your content down to a few subjects that you’re really passionate about. For me it is parenting first and foremost, with a dash of creativity and a hint of education. There may well be the odd post about other things from time to time and some may over lap into other areas and that is ok. The point is don’t try to write about ten different subjects at once. ‘Jack of all trades, but master of none’ kind of thing.

3. It’s okay to have a break

I think that this was one of the hardest lessons to learn. In the first year I have had at least six months off in total. Returning to work as full time cover teacher at my old school just sapped the life out of me. I was no longer enjoying teaching. I couldn’t wait to leave. Every evening I would come home exhausted and I would just want to snuggle my little girl on the settee all night. I wasn’t a very good house wife during this time. The blog went on hold as did most of my life and friendships. What was difficult to accept was that it is okay to take a break from the blogging world and I had only had about a month off. This time around I’ve had about five months off but I wasn’t worrying about the declining statistics or anything. I had a week or so where I was facing the possibility of losing my mum. The blog become nothing to me. I was just trying to get through each day as it came. Each day a gruelling trip into central London, through blizzards and cancelled trains. Each day clinging on to the tiniest bit of hope. It was sad to think something so unimportant had taken up so much of my time before now.

As I am ready to process such events now, I can begin to focus on rebuilding what I have lost but also remember that it is not the end of the world if I am not present online. Family must always come first. This blog is about an outlet for me to process a great many things that I have, I am and I will have to experience in the future. That is what I must remember.

4. Try to make friends with other bloggers

This is one of the hardest things to do when you can be a bit of an introvert like me but having someone who knows what things you go through to keep your blog going is good for your well-being. Having a blogging friend can help you when motivation is low, being able to sound off ideas and someone to share your content is a massive bonus. Plus you get a cool new friend.

5. Social Media is a must

Having accounts on the big four social media sites is an absolute must. There are so many positives to having them all set up as your blog. Depending on your niche, you might also want to set them up as business accounts. Instagram is great for sharing the images you create for your blog but sharing links is a massive pain. Facebook is great for supportive blogging groups and setting up a page for your blog content should be on your to do list if you’ve not got one set up already. Twitter is has a great community amongst the bloggers but watch out for some sneaky, bitchy trolls. It is also great for sharing your content. Pinterest is one of my favourites and I have been working really hard on making sure this site reflects my brand. You can pin your content images and link them straight back to your blog. You can join group boards as well as pin lots of inspiration things to come back to later. Social media is your ally when it comes to getting people to your blog so make the most of it and although it can take up a lot of your time, it is such a valuable tool.

6. Don’t expect to become famous over night

I am sure at some point, we have all sat staring at our statistics expecting fame and glory to appear in a the blink of an eye. One of the hardest things I found was checking my stats almost constantly meaning I was always glued to my phone. Statistics are not everything. I know it is important keep an eye on them but they are not the only thing that is important about your blog. Not everyone’s blog is about becoming famous either. Sometimes I need to remind myself why I started this blog in the first place and if one day I can make any money on the side then that would be amazing. Sure when I started this blogging journey I thought it would be an easy way to make some money on the side but in fact it hasn’t been like that at all. It is incredibly hard work. It requires a lot of effort for little outcome and that’s where my last point comes in.

7. Don’t Give Up!

Sounds so simple right? Don’t let yourself get down hearted when a post isn’t as popular as you were expecting. Analyse it. Look at post similar to yours. See if you can spot what went well with their post that you may have missed in yours. Do some research. Have other bloggers had the same problems as you? You may well find that somebody has written a blog post about how to get more traffic to your site or ways to improve your content. The biggest lesson to learn of all, is to keep learning lessons. Make progress, no matter how slow. We learn best from our mistakes so of course, it is okay to make a few along the way.

What’s Next?

Well we are expecting more challenges throughout this year including a major move with a one year old but I hope to be able to get back into something more regular in terms of the blog. Change is not something we shy from in this household so we will try to keep a positive outlook on life. There are more posts in the line up and with the summer holidays coming up, I should have plenty of time to get through the back log of unfinished blog posts. I also have quite a few creative ideas that I am beginning to process as well, including learning to build and creating my own website for the blog, so keep an eye out for those updates.

I think that’s about it really. What would you add? What lessons were hardest for you to learn in your first year of blogging? Drop me a comment below and don’t forget to follow me on the four big social media sites for more regular updates.

Thanks for reading guys.

Peace and Love,

Monsterful Mama.

 

JakiJellz

3 Little Buttons

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51 Comments

  1. I’ve only been blogging a few months so it’s great to read about what you have learned over a year.

    It sounds like you have learned a lot of good points and had a very hectic time lately.
    I hope you’re Mum is feeling well now and your daughter had a lovely party.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading posts from bloggers who are further in their journey than I am! Great lessons for us newbies! I’ve already learnt a lot of this within a few months, but I’m excited to see what else I’ll discover along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! I have been in blogging world for a few years, though my current blog is very new and I must say that those are some important lessons that every newbie should keep in mind, especially the “overnight-success” part. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a year but it’s good to look for too. Are you planning on doing the website from scratch instead of a theme or have I misunderstood? Also love the name Zosia! How did it come about?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hoping from scratch but I literally know nothing! The hubby is a web designer/developer so he will be able to help out too.
      We heard it on the telly on day and loved it. It’s so rare and as a teacher that was really important ☺️
      Thanks

      Like

  5. Sorry to hear you’ve had a tough time of it recently.
    Really interesting read and definitely food for thought…especially number 7!
    Look forward to reading some more posts from you when you’re ready.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s important that you have begun to cherish the time you have with your loved ones more. My mom passed suddenly nearly 2 years ago and it was life changing. Congratulations on being able to maintain your blog even in the midst of difficult situations. Thanks for sharing your journey! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. First of all, congratulations on a year! Some don’t even make it that far! Well done. I’m sorry to hear about your Mum, that must have been really tough for you. It does put everything into perspective though, doesn’t it? You certainly sound like you have your head screwed on right and understand the blogging world. A schedule is definitely what’s needed when it comes to consistency and balance. It took me a long time to find something that works for me. And even now I let that slip from time to time. It’s good to recognise when you need a break. Thanks so much for sharing with #TriumphantTales.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay for a whole year of blogging. Someone amazing once told me that making it through the 1st year of blogging is the hardest. As a newbie, it’s most tempting to compare yourself to others and hard to remember that you are just at the start of your journey. It looks like you have flown through your year with flying colours and picked up on some brilliant pointers. I would 100% second that it’s ok to take a break! It seems really hard to do, but the blogging community is always going to be right where you left it when you return. I’m so sorry to hear about your mum. What a difficult time for you all. Sending all positive thoughts your way. Thanks for sharing your bloggy birthday with the #dreamteam *also sends cake. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It sounds like it’s been a very difficult year for you and your family. I hope this year you can get back on track with the blog. I’ve had lots of blog breaks – mostly unintentional – and can never keep up with all the blogging and social media tasks I set myself. Can’t believe I’ve had my blog for four years now, and I still feel like a newbie! I’m still learning and making very slow progress – slowly but surely! #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such a heart warming post! I’m sorry you have gone through difficulties but to see you being there for your family and making the most of life is lovely. Congratulations on one year! As far as blogging goes I agree that finding time is one of the most important things to getting a post complete to the best of my ability. I also find social media helpful as it’s where you can communicate with others that inspire you. Lovely post.
    Kate x x
    http://www.katebeautyhome.blog

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congrats on your one year anniversary. And, in Japanese, we say “お疲れ様です。”(Otsukaresama desu, kind of like “Good work”). I have been blogging off and on for three years (well, came back in March after a year hiatus) and a bit afraid that maybe I don’t know my niche well. I wonder if there a sites or advice columns to help find your niche.

    Liked by 1 person

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