8 Lessons I’ve Learned From My First 3 Months Of Blogging

On January 24, 2016 I mustered the courage to hit publish for the very first time and suddenly Read Diverse Books was born. It was a wonderful and magical moment for me. It was so special, in fact, that I have begun to refer to all events in my life as B.B. and A.B. – Before Blogging and After Blogging. 

I may not say this out loud and in front of other people, but mentally, this is how I have decided to partition my life. 

I published my very first post to nonexistent fanfare, which I expected. It just happened to be a review of Half of a Yellow Sun — one of my favorite books of the 21st century. However, to this day, the review has not received a single comment. And it’s only managed to get 11 views after all this time. I’m sure some of them are even mine when I forgot to view it as an admin!

At any rate, the review actually isn’t very good but I am proud of it because it marked the beginning of my life as a blogger.

By no means do I consider myself an expert on this blogging business. I am still mystified by many aspects of blogging and I seldom feel like I am doing anything just right. But somehow I have stuck around and posted consistently for 3 months. Once I reach the 6-month mark I will have blogged longer than 77% of new bloggers. I certainly hope to reach that point, so watch me!

I wrote this post for people who are thinking about joining the blogging community. I understand I’m still technically a new blogger, but I have learned so much since my first day and I would like to share some advice with anyone who may be considering starting a blog. 

Blogger veterans, feel free to skip the post entirely. Or if you’re kind and friendly, please offer advice on how to survive the first year of blogging!

Below are 8 lessons and bits of advice I want to share with new bloggers. I hope you find them useful!


You will have no idea what you’re doing your first month – embrace the uncertainty and keep posting anyway.

 

Looking back at my first month’s worth of content, I can see that it was a big ol’ mess. I posted reviews without featured images, started and abandoned blogging ideas I thought would stick, and tried a host of other things I’m not particularly proud of. But it was all part of the learning process.

Eventually, I began to find my voice and I started to slowly envision what I wanted my blog to become. But in those first four weeks I posted whatever came to mind or what meme struck my fancy, though I was never really sure what exactly I should have been writing about. As a new blogger, you must write and publish new content despite the uncertainty. No one is going to read your work for the first month (or two) anyway, so write to your heart’s content.

Forget Photoshop – Use Canva!

 

I don’t know how to make Photoshop do what I want it to do. I tried, but failed miserably! Thankfully, I discovered Canva. It’s so intuitive and user-friendly, that you’ll be creating crisp and beautiful graphics for your blog in no time. The better your graphics look, the more traffic you will draw. So using Canva is a no-brainer if Photoshop confounds and mystifies you as much as it does me. 

Canva
Seriously, use Canva.
Post as much as you can for a few weeks to get content up on your blog, but then slow down.

 

If you’re a new blogger, you simply must publish content rapidly if you want to get noticed. Your SEO ranking is likely nonexistent, and will be for several months. But one of the best things you can do is publish something new every day. After a month of doing this, you will have a decent amount of pages you or others can link back to, which will help your blog’s Google ranking in a small but important way.

However, eventually you may want slow down your pace because posting every day can be exhausting and may result in lower quality content. Sure, some people are able to post something new and interesting every day, but it may be a better idea to focus on 2 to 4 quality posts a week. Posting less is a luxury you will be able to afford once you have gained a fair amount of followers. In my experience, posting 3 times a week as opposed to 6 or 7 lead to a traffic increase. But, honestly, blogging at your own pace is what’s important. I’m lazy, so I enjoy the freedom that posting 3 times a week brings me. 

 

Be active on Twitter. Do not be shy. Follow everyone!

 

If you want to eventually get a decent Twitter following, you cannot be shy and worry about how many people you are following or following you back. Nobody cares about your following/follower ratio! It’s all in your head.

My advice is to seek out Twitter lists. Book blogger lists, like the one I linked to, are especially useful. Follow as many people as you can stand and start replying to their tweets. Retweeting is nice, but replies and quotes are more personal and appreciated. If you do this, some of them will follow you back and you will slowly build a Twitter following. Once you have a fair amount of followers, then you can start unfollowing people and declutter your feed. I suggest using apps such as Crowdfire to make the process easy and painless. 

I also recommend using a social media manager such as Buffer to schedule your tweets in advance. I use it every day and I’ll continue to do so until something better comes along. 

Have fun on Twitter
*Pardon the blurriness*- Have fun on Twitter! This interaction alone got a couple of new followers.
Actually read other people’s blogs and post thoughtful comments. 

 

Don’t you want people to actually read the content you spent hours planning for and writing? Of course you do. So try to devote at least 30 minutes a day to reading other blogs and engaging with the blogging community.

You know that feeling you get when 20 or 30 different people comment on your latest post? Yeah, it’s amazing. Please be generous and help someone else experience that feeling. People will notice that you care and will reciprocate by visiting your blog and engaging with your content on a regular basis. 

 

Focus on one social media platform to promote your blog and your brand.

 

If you have the time and luxury, you may focus on two or more. But for new bloggers, I recommend spending your energy on only one social media platform. It could be Facebook if you have thousands of friends and don’t mind sharing your blog with all of them.

Perhaps you have the skill to make professional and eye-catching graphics. If so, you can try Pinterest. If done well, it has the potential to drive more traffic to your blog than Facebook and Twitter. I recommend using this guide if you’re interested: How to Supercharge Your Blog Traffic With Pinterest. I have tried to unlock the secrets of Pinterest, but have failed. I’m sticking with Twitter for now.

Write more lists and resource-sharing articles – people love them!

 

I know everyone says this, but it’s true. Let me demonstrate. 

List

 Why do you think this post was written as a list?

Don’t worry too much about slow traffic and technical issues. Just have fun and blog for yourself.

 

Try not to be that blogger who obsesses over stats every day. For the first couple of months, my mood was dependent on the amount of hits my blog got on any given day. This seems like a silly thing to stress over, but I know others feel or have felt the same way. I have a much better attitude and perspective on it now, but I wasn’t fun to be around 2 months ago.

Honestly, who cares if my blog got 300 hits in one day or 30? It’s not like I’m getting paid either way! Once I stopped worrying over trifles such as blog traffic and technical difficulties, my experience as a blogger became increasingly more positive and the quality of my content increased as well. At least I think so.


I want to end with an infographic showcasing the “referrers” to my blog.

OK, I admit it. I’m still a bit fixated on stats, but in a healthy way, I promise.

What’s your biggest source of traffic? Let me know in the comments below. 

Referrers infographic


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79 thoughts on “8 Lessons I’ve Learned From My First 3 Months Of Blogging

  1. What a wonderful list!! You are definitely becoming a pro blogger! Posting everyday not only leads to low quality but also the rest of your life coming to a standstill XD I didnt leave my room for a month because I got so obsessed with it (is this only me? lol) A few times a week is the healthy way to do it, though consistent blogging at the beginning is the key to getting your blog somewhere.
    I prefer reading to writing as always and I agree that the best way to keep good ties with your fellow bloggers is taking the time to read their work.
    Happy dance for Sri Lanka getting on the list XD Nah nah I aint that patriotic.. but I must say its a pleasure to read your blog posts!

    1. And I love reading YOUR blog posts! I know you’re busy currently, but as long as you post once a week, I’m happy. 🙂

      Yes, my first month of blogging I was obsessed and barely thought about anything else! haha. My life has resumed back to normal, thankfully. Blogging all week was definitely stressful for me.

  2. I love this article ! I started blogging around the same time you did, just a few days later actually haha, so I can relate to ALL of these. Thanks for sharing canva, graphics are still kind of a struggle to me.
    Oh and yeah at first, I was shying away from commenting on posts and following people on twitter and boy, was I wrong. Once I started using both I realised the blogging experienced is more enjoyable and bonus, my follower count increased quicker, though I really need to follow way more people on twitter, I just need to find timento actually look at new blogs, but I’ll do so after my exams for sure !
    Great post 😀

    1. You’re blogging while going to school? I admire you so much for that! I wouldn’t have been able to handle it.

      I went into the Twitter world full steam and it has paid off tremendously. It can be time consuming and exhausting sometimes, but I enjoy it. So it’s definitely worth the time and effort. 🙂
      Thanks for reading! I hope we both make it to 6 months and eventually a year as bloggers. Go us!

      1. Yes I am 😁 and it actually is tiring but I try to schedule my posts on the weekends and when I have free time during the week and it works fine.
        Yaay! I hope so too, here’s to us ! 😊

  3. For a newbie blogger like me, these tips are PERFECT! I’m still trying to navigate blogging vocabulary and it’s pretty stressful. It makes me feel better that it’s all a part of the process! Thank you!

  4. What a great post, I loved it! I’ve been blogging for a bit more than a year now, and I have to say, I had NO idea what I was doing at the beginning, either. It’s just so wonderful once you found the community, your blogging voice, your ideas, and well, it’s such a great journey. I hope you’re having a blast so far!
    Canva really is such a great site, I love it, and I use it a lot for my graphics on the blog. I don’t have the money, nor the skills to use Photoshop anyway, haha. And yes, obsessing about stats isn’t healthy, but we are all doing it either way, a little bit. The important thing is to remind ourselves why we do this, because we love it, and it’s great! 🙂 Commenting and finding new bloggers is one of the best things, sharing our book love is awesome <3

    1. Thank you for the kind words!

      I look forward to my first year anniversary next year, but I’m sure I will still feel I have no idea what I’m doing! hah

      Yes, Canva is incredible and I want to share it with everyone I know. I genuinely do prefer it to Photoshop, haha.

      I hope blogging remains cool and relevant for years to come because I have so much to say.

      1. You’re welcome! <3 Oh don't worry, haha none of us really has any idea of what they're doing, this thought crosses my mind a lot of the time while I'm blogging, haha. 😛
        You know how to do Photoshop? That's quite awesome, you'll have to teach me, haha 😛
        I hope so, too, but don't worry, all of your thoughts will ALWAYS be relevant 🙂

  5. Great post, and great list. My first couple of posts I’m sure have ever received any views other than mine either! I went back and read them, and they were NOT great, but I don’t want to edit them because I like to see how my blogging has evolved over the past year. And you are certainly correct – social media is a big help, but you can’t it all. I have fb and twitter for mine. And now I’m off to read your first post! 😀

  6. Thanks for this article! I’ve been trying to start a booktube channel, but I keep stressing about video quality or the sound of my voice and other things like that. I also keep making excuses to get out of filming like my room is too messy or my hair doesn’t look good. But your article inspired me to go back to doing what I love best and am most comfortable with: writing! Thank you for the tips!

    1. You’re welcome Lihn!

      It takes a special kind of brave person to start a Youtube channel. So if you do end up creating one, I wish you the best.

      However, if you opt for blogging through writing, please let me know. I will be sure to follow you and cheer you on. I don’t follow many booktubers, though, so I’m definitely partial to bloggers who prefer to write their feelings and ideas. 🙂

  7. Whoa pro blogger tips!! You have a steep learning curve 🙂 I have to agree on the listicle thing, who knew? Not me for sure, I consider those posts my lazy ones but apparently people like them.
    Also this is like a fun glimpse into alternate blogging universe, I barely do any of those things. For me blogging started as a coversation with one friend and I wanted zero pressure because I had too much of it in grad school. But I’m patting myself on the back for joining social media and getting back into the swing of things last year. My bar is so low :p
    I have no idea about this stats thing, except for the report thing I get once a.year from wp. I should explore! 🙂 See, learning a lot from your post! I’m very glad I got to meet you online and you decided to blog and you take so much time to engage!

    1. Haha, they are certainly not pro tips. :p But thank you for the compliment.

      Listicles can appear lazy, so I try to always add comments and elaborate on each point.

      Hey, we can all blog however we wish, of course! Your blog is doing just fine without following any of this advice.

      Wait, so you don’t look at stats at all? There’s a “Stats” section under your “My Sites” tab when you log into WordPress.com. I check it every day! XD Perhaps I would be happier if I didn’t know about how many hits my blog gets. I think you’re on to something.

  8. Dude this is an incredible post! I love that you refer to your life pre and post blogging as B.B and A.B. 😂 I’ve been blogging for about the same amount of time as you now and I totally think like that too – I don’t really know what I spent my time doing before. All of your advice is so sensible and totally on point, I also use Canva and it’s such a good tip for people who are just starting out. Nice job! X

      1. No problem, it’s totally deserved! I absolutely get what you mean, having purpose is an insanely good way to stay happy and positive. I was actually wondering about that last night and I hope it never does either. 🙂

  9. You are my inspiration! WOW! I did not realize you had only been blogging for 3 months, your blog is so… professional! As a beginner blogger, also, Thank You for all the tips! I know maybe it sounds silly but I didn’t even realize Twitter was so critical… And had no idea you could schedule posts in advance. And all the rest. Thank you, thank you!

    1. Your blog is great as well! It looks like you started just last month, but it’s already in great shape. I also assumed you had been blogging longer. hah

      Twitter is critical if you care about your blog being visited by people outside the blogging community. Eventually some of them will subscribe to your blog, so yes, I think it’s pretty essential!

      Buffer is also very useful. You can link your WordPress blog to your Twitter account, but I prefer to do it with Buffer because it allows you to modify the text to display whatever you want and use hashtag!

      You’re welcome. I’m happy to help. 🙂

  10. As a month old blogger this is extremely helpful and insightful! I definitely relate to pretty much everything you listed. Honestly, I still have no idea what I’m doing but pretending that I do seems to be paying off haha. I actually find Canva more confusing than Photoshop haha, but that’s probably because my background is Digital Media and I’ve been using it for 10 years. It’s definitely a great resource for people new to design though 😀 Reading and commenting on other’s people posts is definitely what I’ve found to be the most important. It’s how I’ve gained most of my followers. I was really nervous at first to do it because I’m not really a socially inept person, but it turned out that I had nothing to worry about because everyone has been so lovely.

    Also, I never would have guessed you’d only been blogging since January! Everything about your blog is super professional looking and sounding. I honestly thought you’d been doing this for at least a year!

    1. No way, only a month! I guess I started following you not long after you started.
      You could have fooled me! hah

      I do understand that Canva is for those who are inept at design. >.< If you can make PhotoShop work as it's supposed to, then you can make some beautiful and magical designs on it. Perhaps one day I will upgrade to PS, but I never took a design class before so I found it so confusing. You definitely do comment and appreciate other people's posts. It's the best piece of advice I can give to anyone honestly, and you already know it so you your blog will shine and thrive for as long as you wan it.

      1. Haha, yes I think so!!

        And aww no!! I wouldn’t say inept, haha. I honestly pretend I know what I’m doing most of the time just like with blogging 😂 I’ve been using Photoshop for years so I’m just more familiar with the interface! It’s so great that sites like Canva exist though because not everyone has access to PS and it can help build design skills! Definitely a handy resource.

  11. There’s a lot of great, sound advice here. I’ve been blogging longer than you have, but you’ve been more successful than me (doesn’t help that my posting is inconsistent).

    Some of the tips here I wholeheartedly agree with: keep at it and you’ll eventually find your voice, read other blogs and leave thoughtful comments etc.

    Some tips are new to me. Photoshop confounds me as well! Now I can traipse off and try Canva. Thanks for the info.

    1. I’m happy to hear some of my advice seems to be resonating with people.
      Yes, definitely try Canva. Soon you will convert and will be dependent on it for many of your blogging designs and you wouldn’t want it any other way. 🙂

  12. I find it astonishing that you have only been around for 3 months! You (and your blog) are doing amazingly well. 🙂
    I have to admit that I don’t follow all the blogging advice, even though I know what it is. I think I do pretty well with the reading and commenting on other blogs – even though it takes a lot of time, I find it really fun and think that it’s half the reason to blog. Community! But, I fail the social media test. I only have FB, and only because my brother set it up for me (I’m not good with technology), and after it’s set up it’s very easy. I don’t have a twitter account, even though I feel tempted by it everyday. I am barely able to squeeze in what I do now – I’m afraid if I have twitter, there will be no free time left in my life! But I’m still thinking about it…

    1. Thanks, Naomi. You were one of my very first followers and have been so kind and supportive the entire time. Thank you so much. 🙂

      My advice is clearly not needed on your end. You have a lively blog with a dedicated group of followers. It must be so wonderful. I’m sure you have worked very hard to get to that point, so your success is well deserved.

      I noticed you didn’t have a Twitter account immediately. I was a little disappointed, haha. But hey, it’s not for everyone. I’m very active, and I suppose I owe some of my success to Twitter and not being shy about promoting my blog and what I love. It’s definitely time-consuming, though..

  13. BB and AB haha. 😀 Very good, informative post! Honestly I don’t care so much about views, more about comments. I love comments! Even if I only get one, it still makes my day because at least SOMEONE appreciates what I wrote. 🙂

    1. That’s the right attitude. If you started of your blog not caring about your views, then you’re going to be happier and more successful. I wish I had know that sooner.

      Comments are certainly my favorite. And you are so great at leaving wonderful comments every time. 😀

  14. Loved this post! well done on making it to 3 months! Personally I still consider myself a new blogger even though I’ve been doing it nearly a year (I can’t even believe it’s been that long) Some of this I wish I’d known at the tiem when I started- it’s such good advice- like posting every day when you start out. I actually barely posted for the first 4 months, partly cos I was busy finishing my degree, but mostly cos I agonised over what I would post far too much. It was only later I was able to relax and just go for it. Your last point is the most important one though- it’s important to enjoy it and not get too bogged down with numbers! And I agree about checking out other bloggers- partly cos it’s a nice thing to do but mostly cos it’s fun! Fantastic post!

    1. I’m not sure at what point we start feeling like we know what we’re doing and have it all together. We just gotta fake it till we believe it! haha

      I’m glad I don’t have to worry about school anymore. I’m amazed by people who blog and go to grad school or university. Wow. I would have no energy for anything else.

      Your blog is in great shape! All your work clearly has paid off because there’s always lively discussions going on over there. 🙂

      1. haha yeah definitely! Haha me too! Actually now I’m working I have even less time lol- but when I started out I couldn’t really get into it cos it was a busy time.
        Thank you so much!!! That’s so kind of you to say!! I love your blog too 🙂

  15. Great list of tips! Why didn’t you begin blogging sooner, I could have used your tips about a year ago :’)
    I totally agree with your last point because it is indeed important to have fun when you’re blogging! I felt compelled to read and write reviews at first and that caused in me not wanting to read at all. Now I also post other things once in a while, just things that I think are great to talk about and are not book reviews.

    (Small happy moment that the Netherlands is represented ^_^ Hurray :D)

    Something which I experienced lately is that some posts that are not book-reviews are also regularly viewed by people from all over the globe! (It made my day to see that people from 15 different countries had visited my blogpost some time ago ^_^)

    I really should work on the communicating thing though. For some reason I’m scared of people even if I don’t speak to them directly, but that’s just me being crazy I suppose :’)

  16. Congrats on blogging for a year! That’s quite an achievement and it speaks to how much you care about what you do. 🙂

    I have also discovered that posts that aren’t about books are WAAYY more popular than review. My goal with this blog was to post book reviews of multicultural books, but reviews in general aren’t very popular. So I decided to add other kinds of posts as well and it works out for the best because I don’t read very fast so I can only review one book a week. :s

    I’m not very social in real life. >.< I try to be, but am horribly introverted. Not online, though! Yes, you should try to be more active on social media, but more importantly leave wonderful comments such as the one you just wrote! Everyone appreciates thoughtful comments. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Congrats on the first 3 months! 😀 I remember how difficult it was for me when I first started, but its gets a lot smoother over time. There are some ups and downs, but blogging is so much fun. I’m going on my 3rd year of blogging and I’m still learning new stuff every single day. For example, I actually just found out about Canva not too long ago and I really need to give it a try.

    Your blog is so good, and you’re always writing about interesting topics and sharing informative/fun book reviews. Through your blog I’m always learning about many diverse writers, so thank you for sharing books that will help me to diversify my reading experience and expand my horizons.

    1. 3 years!? *Applauds and cheers*

      That is incredible. I can only hope my blog as the longevity that your does.

      Thank you for the kind words. I just write what I love and am passionate about, and when your writing comes from a genuine place, people respond well to that. I’m sure you know this. 🙂

      Here’s to many more years of blogging for the both of us!

  18. I’m so thankful to you for sharing this 🙂 it’s the most relatable post I’ve read! During the first month I was so worried that no one would read anything I wrote, and my posts were horribly random. Now I’m enjoying it so much, I don’t even look at how many likes or views a post gets. What makes me smile the most is comments and finding people who are as passionate about reading as I am. It beats any number of likes!

    I wish you all the best for the coming months! 🙂

  19. Oh, I see that you have bee blogging for about 2 months. It’s great to see so many new faces. It looks like 2016 was a great year for new bloggers. How exciting. 😀

    You’re blogging for the right reasons, it seems, and when you do that your experience can only be positive.
    Here’s to us! Who are still trying to make sense of this blogging business.

  20. Very interesting post! Congrats on your 3 months! Yesterday was my 4 month anniversary (yay!) and I am still a baby blog so I love seeing good advice around. I am having trouble with graphic, so thank you for bringing Canva to my attention, I’ll try it!

    1. Having articles already written up for the my blog sounds like a dream! The best I can do is 1 or 2 at most if I really commit to writing them, but it’s so time consuming that I generally write up a post a day or two before I’m supposed to publish it. It’s not ideal, but it’s what I’ve done these past three months.

  21. Wow, it looks like you’ve done better in three months than I’ve done in several years! Even as a “veteran” blogger, I’m taking note of some of your tips. 🙂

  22. I got lazy-no, not lazy, more like technically intimidated starting up my blog so it kind of took a back seat or a third row seat (minivan/SUV style). I have been reading your recent blogs (and started Sorcerer to the Crown 2 days ago) but I just found this post of yours and I am re-inspired on this Day of Independence. Thanks!

    1. You started reading Sorcerer to the Crown?? Oh, that’s wonderful! Thanks for following and listening to what I say.

      Please do start on your blog. I remember when you emailed me about the first time. I will follow you day 1. 🙂

  23. Good post! I learned some stuff I didn’t even consider.

    I kind of glance at the stats but don’t think too hard about them because I honestly started my blog as a personal project. I’d like to get more traffic since I want the authors I like to get more exposure, but I enjoy what I do for its own sake. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. 😀

    I’ve noticed that most popular book blogs have really nice graphics/aesthetics, which is something I’m thinking about investing some time in. I’m an [amateur] artist myself but I only do traditional media, not digital media, so designing my own stuff isn’t as viable. I should probably branch out into digital media though. Or at least get a better theme, lol.

    When I started my blog I only thought about posting reviews and not much else, but after some exposure to other blogs and bloggers in the community, I realized that doing other stuff like participating in various challenges is helpful for not only gaining traffic but also making connections/friends in the community.

    1. The traffic will come the most you post and by establishing yourself in the blogosphere and social media. It’s going to take some time, but it will happen. You’ll need to do a lot of blog hopping at first and follow a lot of people on Twitter and engage with them. Eventually you’ll get noticed and it’s all uphill from there!

      Graphics are an essential part of a blog. I try to always have a featured image that will show well on Twitter, which is where I get most of my traffic. I’ve just noticed that it’s easier to get retweets if you have a pretty header image for your posts.

      Book reviews are an essential part of a book blog, but if you want it to take off you also have to do other kinds of posts as well. Definitely start off with memes and then branch off into original content.

      Good luck with your blog!!

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