10 Lessons I’ve Learned in my First Year of Blogging

So it’s sort of my blogging anniversary. This blog has been around for quite awhile, but it’s only been in the past year that I have devoted time and effort to post (mostly) consistently. It’s crazy that it’s already been so long! I have learned SO MUCH from blogging and I can’t wait to see how much more this little space can grow.

When I started this blog, I never would have imagined I could be someone who made money through blogging. I started a blog mostly as an experiment and to exercise my passion for finance and writing. It has grown so much more (and much more quickly) than I ever could have imagined. To think, after only a year and I am already making money from blogging!

If you’re interested in starting your own blog, read my free tutorial here!

Not only that, but my blog has lead to the opportunity to get paid to freelance write for other bloggers and companies. Honestly, it has been so amazing to get paid well for writing! I know I have a lot left to learn, but I have learned so much during this past year of blogging. Some were fun lessons to learn, but most were complete fails, so I hope you have a laugh and learn from my mistakes!

1. You Need to Create Content People Want to Read

A blog is your own personal space, and I definitely think you should share as much of your life on there as you want. However, if you’re serious about earning money while blogging and getting actual people to visit your blog, you need to write solid and engaging content that people want to read.

This was a huge shift in thinking for me. No one was going to find my blog if I only wrote about my own life and finances. I had to have an applicable takeaway. So I started thinking about blog post titles. If I was writing something that didn’t have a strong title, I knew it wouldn’t perform well.

I occasionally still do personal and financial updates, but I know that these won’t drive traffic to my blog, so I don’t spend time marketing them.

2. Consistency is Key

This is cliché, but it is so true. Once you build up any following, even if its tiny, you need to be there for your readers. They will expect a steady stream of blog posts!

This isn’t to say you need to post every single day. Lord knows I do not. But chose a time – maybe every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or just once a week on Mondays. Post new content the same time every week.

3. Be Prepared to Make Income

I say this because I was totally not prepared to make any money. So all of the sudden, I had people reaching out to me wanting to partner with me or hire me and I had no idea what to do!

I suggest thinking about what kind of work you might do. Would you be open to affiliate partnerships? Different advertisers? Freelance writing opportunities?

Currently, I make money through all 3 channels, so I need to have material for any potential client to understand what services I offer. I created a media kit, which has been a literal lifesaver! I’ll have to do a post on media kits in the future, but essentially, a media kit is a snapshot of who you are, what you do, what services you offer, your stats, and your rates. It sounds like a lot, but my media kit is just a simple one-page document. I update it periodically when I change my rates. Now, when I reach out to a potential client or vice versa, I simply send this document to them. It helps me to always be prepared for new opportunities!

Once you start making money, I also HIGHLY suggest opening a separate bank account for your blogging income. I personally use Capital One 360 savings, and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s all online, which allows them to give me higher interest rates on my savings! If you’re interested and open an account today through my link, you’ll get $25 once you simply deposit just $250 into a new account.

4. Hard Work = More Pageviews = More Money

While this isn’t always true, I definitely see a correlation between my hard work and how much I make. When I slack a little on the blog, I don’t receive as many page views, which definitely leads to a decrease in blogging income.

Good things come to you when you work hard! Blogging is a lot of hard work, especially at first, but it’s fun if you’re passionate about it!

5. Back It Up

No, I won’t tell you to get low. But hear it from me. Back. Up. Your. Darn. WEBSITE!

There may have been a time when I first started blogging that I accidentally deleted my entire website *SHAME and EMBARRASSMENT*

Luckily, I didn’t have a ton of content, and I was able to recover all my content. I just used it as a good excuse to redo my blog layout and design,

6. Be True to Yourself

Remember, above all, that this is your blog. Look to other blogs for inspiration, but be YOU! The world doesn’t need two of the exact same blogs.

I struggled with this a lot at first. I would read blogs that were written in a much more professional and formal tone. I thought I was supposed to write like them! But I realized that it’s not who I am and it’s not what I want this blog to be about. I want this blog to be a fun place to learn about finances and such. So I won’t hide the fact anymore that 99% of the blogs I write are while I’m on my second glass of Cab and rewatching Greys.

Keep in mind, this also applies to choosing who you work with and represent. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some companies and brands I really truly love and would recommend. I’ve also had a lot of shady brands reach out to work with me. It can be hard to turn down money, but if it isn’t a brand you can 100% stand behind, it’s better to turn down an offer than to sacrifice your integrity.

I truly do believe that, so that’s why I try to be honest with you guys in that I do get paid for affiliate links and sponsored posts. But I don’t partner with any company, product, or service I wouldn’t 100% recommend.

7. Pinterest is Your Best Friend

Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest, and it has honestly been the best tool I’ve used so far when it comes to blogging.

Even though I LOVE Pinterest, there is no way I can be on it 24/7 and figure out the best times to pin and share my content. So I pay for two services that do it for me. I can’t decide which one I like better, so I still use both Boardbooster and Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest feed. They both have their pros and cons. I think Tailwind is easier to use, but I get better results from Boardbooster, so I continue to pay for the smallest plan on each.

8. Have a Flexible Attitude

You can read about blogging and learn as much as you can, but it really is something you have to just dive right in and take as it comes. No amount of preparation can really prepare you (I’m Type-A and can’t believe I’m saying skip the planning!)

Opportunities will arise. You’ll face rejection. You’ll have viral posts. You’ll also have months with very low traffic.

9. Focus on Collaboration, Not Competition

The personal finance blogging community has been so freaking supportive. There are a lot of money blogs out there, but I have never felt like they are my competition. Other PF bloggers have been encouraging and willing to share their wisdom. I’ve learned so much from other bloggers and they have helped me out a ton. I love getting emails from other bloggers and that I know I can reach out to a variety of different people if I need anything.

Personal finance bloggers are so collaborative that we even have our own website directory, created by a few bloggers! Check it out!

10. Have Fun with It!

Blogging is as fun or as stressful as you make it. Push yourself to do well and be consistent, but also enjoy the freedom to write about whatever you would like.

*Bonus! Learn How to Code!*

You don’t need a deep understanding of coding, but as I wrote this, I am so glad I learned a little CSS. WordPress blog themes generally make it easy to make this website look pretty, but sometimes I do have to go in and change the code to get it to look exactly how I want. Learning coding isn’t as difficult as it sounds! I highly recommend checking out Codeacademy.com (and it’s free!)

Are you a blogger? What lessons have you learned? If you’re not a blogger, do you have questions about blogging? Comment below!

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17 thoughts on “10 Lessons I’ve Learned in my First Year of Blogging

    1. Thanks! And even after deleting my website entirely once, I still am guilty of not backing it up enough! haha it’s terrible.

  1. Congrats on that Blogiversary! I tooootally agree that coding is a great skill to learn if you want to blog. It’s not necessary, but it’ll save your butt. I learned how to do basic HTML for free at Code Academy and it was pretty easy to follow.
    It’s so amazing how cooperative and friendly the blogging community really is. I’ve never seen anyone be crazy competitive or mean–everyone builds each other up. It’s a great way to make new friends. 🙂

  2. So helpful! I’m still in the trenches of my first blogging year and find these to be very true. #8 about being flexible really resonates with me. I had weeks and weeks worth of posts ready before starting my blog, got insanely busy with some life situations, then got weeks behind and now am pretty much writing every post before I publish it. I need to find a better balance, but definitely see the need for flexibility.
    The only other thing I would add is to invest in good blog training from other successful bloggers.

    1. Agree with your last point! I’m at the point where I know it will pay off to invest in some training for myself, but the frugal part of me doesn’t want to pay it! Haha I’m still doing research on which courses are worth the money.

      The balance will come. I still struggle with it, but it does get easier! Best of luck! I just followed you on Bloglovin to keep up-to-date 🙂

  3. Great post Rachel,

    I need to get on Pinterest it looks like! Also, I need to be more consistent. Is there a point where you are able to sit down and get ahead of the curve? Say have multiple posts planned for the week on a Sunday?

    Right now I feel like I’m always behind the ball in that I need to focus to write a post or 2..
    Erik @ The Mastermind Within recently posted…Who Says Houses Aren’t Good Investments – Erik’s Story 2My Profile

  4. Congrats on your first consistent year of blogging! My 1 year blog anniversary just passed a few weeks ago. It is great to look back at how far you have come. I like the idea of a media kit. A few months ago I was dead set on creating one. It got put on the back burner, but I have still been able to make some income through sponsored posts without one. Do you ever approach companies about sponsored posts? If so, I would love to hear more about that!

  5. Awesome read, Rachel!

    Definitely moral boosting. I’ve been blogging since 2015, but Money is not Taboo has only been around since the end of 2016. I didn’t like the way my first blog was going, so I switched gears.

    Sure am glad that you came on board at Money is not Taboo! Now, I need to up my writing game and match your quality. Maybe between the two of us we can spread great stuff and help folks out.

    BTW- I need to figure out how to backup MinT before we lose what we’ve got. 🙂

  6. I’m not in the same niche as you, but I just wanted to say how nice it was to read that you were excited to get income within a year, instead of all those articles you read where they somehow immediately have thousands of page views and income. I always find those demoralizing, so thanks for being realistic!

    1. Thank you so much! You just made my day. It’s so easy to compare yourselves to others in blogging (and life!) so I felt inspired to share my small success. Celebrating the little things 🙂

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