The idea to start blogging together occurred over drinks at Good Word Brewing in our favorite little suburban Atlanta town center, Duluth. We started talking about how refreshing we thought it would be to see two moms blog together in an all inclusive, accepting way. We each knew that the other did life and motherhood a bit differently, but we both approached it with a get ‘ideas from others and then do what works for you attitude’. We hope you’ve seen a bit of that as you’ve followed us for the past three months, and we will try and find new ways to bring that vision to life as our blogging journey continues.
With today’s post, we wanted to talk about what has transpired since the day we decided to blog together over a cold beer at Good Word. We have learned so much, and are eager to learn everything we can about this business! And if there’s one thing we’ve come to realize it’s that there’s no shortage of things you can learn and try as a beginner blogger. Call this our “hindsight 20/20 view, our mistakes are your gain” post.
The Website Build Out – WordPress, then what???
Emma – When we started blogging and looking at WordPress plans, we thought their personal plan was perfect. It was a small investment ($48) and we found a theme we liked! Really, there couldn’t be much more to, right? WRONG. Recently, after beginning to network and try to branch out a bit, we learned you really couldn’t do much other than write and insert pictures with the personal plan. So here we are, three months later, investing in the premium plan. This will allow us to integrate Google Analytics and monetize our site! Our advice: just go premium and skip the learning curve!
Andrea– I came into this having a basic knowledge of building out a website and and a decent understanding of WordPress thanks to my previous job. Setting it up was fast & we hired a local graphic designer to design our logo since neither us felt comfortable with that task. I do highly recommend making this one of your first expenses- it’s your brand and what will carry you forward. It’s always an option to pay someone to design your website as well, but most website builders make it easy for even beginners to create a professional looking space.
Instagram Content – It’s more important than you want to think!
Emma – Instagram. Wow. You have to have a presence if you want to drive traffic to your blog, but it is a BEAST. Consistent posting and consistently engaging content drives traffic and authentic followers, but we’ve found the consistently engaging part to be the hardest. We set out to really be “lifestyle” blog because we wanted to share mom life, work life, and fashion; however, without a doubt fashion is our most engaging content. We are still finding to find that perfect balance of lifestyle and fashion to grow our following.
Andrea – To be totally honest, our growth on our Instagram in the 4 months has been slower than we ever anticipated. It makes sense why now that we take a step back, but I think we came in with higher expectations at the speed it has taken to grow. Now that we have access to reality and talking to other bloggers we realize this the norm. You don’t grow from 0 to 10k followers overnight , but consistency does pay off and having authentic follows as Emma mentioned above is the kind of representation you want on your Instagram. Now we are just working hard towards the goal with a peace about the pace!
Instagram Promotions – Did they work??
Emma – I’m sure at some point, and when you have a real budget for it, instagram promotions are successful. The company I work for does this exceptionally well, but they have marketing dollars to put to it. Andrea and I are starting slow and testing different content, captions, and hashtags, and promoting just hasn’t been our focus. For the sake of keeping it real, we promoted for one week with a budget of $7 and we gained 2 followers – 3.50 per follower! Ya’ll we just aren’t able to do that quite yet because that type of spend really adds up!
Andrea – Kudos to everything Emma said above- I have a few Instablogger friends who use the Instagram post promotions and they tell me it’s all about the money you are willing to put in which determines how large the audience is that you reach. Personally, the instagram promotions have worked on me, and I have ended up following multiple style bloggers on Instagram because of it. So what I’m saying is – it just depends on what kind of dough you want to throw at it. Giveaway loops are another option to gain followers . We have yet to participate in one and we want to make sure that it represents who we are accurately before we do. I have multiple friends who do them often and have told me it has worked great for them to gain exposure.
Making Money – How quickly does that happen?
Emma – I think my answer here is, we will let you know as soon as we are raking it in! But, in all seriousness, we haven’t seen blogging become an income stream at this point in time. One thing that seems to be prevelent as a new blogger is getting spammed bybrands that want us to buy product in order to get a feature. This, for obvious reasons, has been something we’ve strayed away from.
Andrea – Honesty – It’s not quick. Don’t come in with the expectation that it is or you will be disappointed. We have had brands reach out, but even as new bloggers – we have been selective to what we promote and are apart of. I think that is important from the beginning because you do not want to take every opportunity that comes along if it doesn’t represent who you are as a brand. Be careful not to stray away from who you are by promoting a bunch of stuff that you actually could care less about just for the money.
A great option for beginners to start to gain some commission is to sign up for the Amazon affiliate program. You do not have to have so many followers to do so and you can link the majority of their items to your blog or Instagram for commission. That means if someone clicks on your link and purchases directly from your amazon affiliate link- you get a little bit of money in the account. It’s obviously not much, but its a start!
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We hope this answered some questions you may have had if you just started a blog or you are thinking about doing so. We have loved the process so far and it’s so great to constantly be learning about the blogging industry. If you have any questions about starting out that we didn’t answer, feel free to leave a comment below.