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10 Realizations that Will Crush Your Little Heart In Your First Year of Blogging

Posted By Guest Blogger 28th of November 2010 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

This guest post is by Moon from Experiments in Passive Income.

This post comes from someone who has made a ton of mistakes and is on her way to learn from those mistakes. You and I probably have a lot in common … after all, you’re here to learn about blogging and how to do it well and, well, I’m trying to do the same.

Being the owner and author of a blog that is in its first year of infancy, it’s been an emotional roller coaster ride—kind of like riding a car with a driver who makes you think of your impending death thanks to their inept braking skills and their random urges to switch lanes (without looking).

As a new blogger in a very crowded niche, I’ve found the year tough. It’s been tough finding my voice among so many others, producing content that is rich and teaches others a thing or two, attracting traffic that sticks (subscribers)—all while trying to establish a schedule.

Still, it helps to be prepared. Here are ten things that will crush your little heart in your first year of blogging:

1. You’re still waking up to low subscriber levels.

After eight months, only 100 subscribers are subscribing to your blog feed. Yeah, that will kill you inside. You might smile on the outside and tell yourself all’s well … but you’ll have to swallow your pride and evaluate how you’re hindering your blog’s growth. Are you presenting your readers with boring content? Or do you need to guest blog to bring exposure to your new blog?

2. You realize that attracting visitors is more than just good SEO.

Sooner or later, you’ll realize that attracting visitors to your blog is more than just good SEO (long-term strategy). At that point, it’s time to buckle down and learn how to use Twitter, su.pr, and Facebook properly to garner thousands of views a month.

This type of social media marketing needs to be done, and done well. And it will take you more than a few minutes to promote your content properly and on a daily basis. No one wants to simply hear noise on their media streams—give them that, and they’ll quickly stop paying attention to you.

3. You realize what SEO entails.

Eventually, it dawns on every budding blogger that SEO involves much more than just incorporating your keywords into your content excessively and using keyword rich links. If you want search traffic, you need to spend a few hours a month learning about SEO and actually executing it. It’s amazing how much time I’ve spent catching up on SEO, but I’m still not using it properly. I bet you’re not, either.

4. You fail to monetize your blog.

When you don’t earn even a measly $100 per month from your blog, despite trying hard, it hurts. But earning money through your blog is more than slapping ads on it. Keep trying!

5. You realize there are no easy ways to make money through your blog.

It’s absolutely essential that you write great, unique content and create a list of subscribers who love that content. It’s not 2001 anymore! People have become wary of the Internet, and they want proof of your success before they’ll trust you. Give it to them.

6. You understand that you need to do more for others.

You want subscribers? You need to do more. To get that list going, you should probably create a handy, free ebook or report that deals with a topic related to your blog, and helps your readers. Yes, you do have to help others in order to help yourself.

7. You recognize that good content can take more than an hour to create.

Great content will definitely take more than an hour, especially if you’re a beginner. Anyone can produce good content. You’ll need to write unique and in-depth content to give your readers something to talk about and impress other fellow bloggers—to get the buzz going, so to speak.

8. You realize that people want to read specifics and in-depth case studies.

Your readers can find generic crap anywhere. There are tons of blogs that talk about growing your traffic or making money online … and the majority are boring!

Instead, show readers how you’ve helped someone grow traffic or what strategies you’ve implemented to make money through your blog. This is precisely what I did when I showed my readers how exact domain names can kill the competition! This kind of content takes a bit of time and experience to develop. Keep plugging away!

9. You understand that networking is a necessity, not an option.

This doesn’t mean you re-tweet someone’s post occasionally. You need to converse with your followers, ask questions, and interact with other bloggers—successful ones as well as beginners in your niche and peer bloggers who started around the time you did. Create a group that helps promote each others’ posts. You never know who will get your hype snowball rolling.

10. You realize that you’ve been doing most things wrong!

Just because you knew all this stuff doesn’t mean you executed it at all, or executed it properly. At the time when I started my blog, I thought I knew something about blogs and making money online. But that learning is an ongoing process. Once you realize this, you might feel momentary despair. That’s okay—as long as you continue to take steps and improve your efforts.

Despite all these things that might have you sobbing under the blanket with a pint of scotch, hopefully you’ll realize that you should keep going. In fact, if you love what you’re blogging about, the pure thrill of having your content go viral or making your first few sales will probably have you giggling like a school girl and make you realize that it’s all worth it.

I’ve made all these mistakes and then some and I won’t be quitting any time soon! What mistakes have you made in your blogging experience? Share them with us!

Join Moon as she shares results of her passive income experiments at her website. You can check out her free ebook, To The Moon & Back, in which she details all her experiments in the span of a year

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Such great timing with this post!… I feel confident after a 2 year learning curve that I will execute a cool on-line product alongside a viral campaign in 2011, I’ve been a Problogger reader for 2 years and I’ve been implementing all the tips to my site…

    Thanks Moon!,


    • I actually found this personally quite depressing. I am trying to do something a little different from most since the money I have coming in is being managed to support pioneer ministry for others in the UK, and to create a method for people who need a self supporting ministry model. i could work flat out, but that would defeat the object. This project aims to create an income that starts with input of 4 hours a week over the first 4 years, slowly moving from my own creation of content to managed content, then in the final year to management of only 2 hours a day across a range of blogs. Only then will i start taking money from it. Until that point all the money will be ploughed back into the site and commissioned content. I know that most readers aren’t in my position, and some people will want to shoot me down and say that this is their life etc, but some many people need to take a much longer view and a more management based view right from the beginning. So yeah, I AM going to help people to grow traffic, but at the moment, I am building the business model.
      Back to the feeling crushed thing. DOn’t feel crushed. Keep creating content, and buy 31dtbbbb

  2. Great post. As an aside, I love the bit on the WordPress dashboard under ‘incoming links’ that says something along the lines of “no-one’s linking to you, but don’t worry. There’s no hurry”. No hurry? You serious?!

    Just as a little peeve: “Instead, show readers how you’ve helped someone grow traffic or what strategies you’ve implemented to make money through your blog.”

    Might not work for most bloggers who don’t blog about blogging or making money or the mechanics of web sites. Still, I get the concept ;)

  3. Ric Dragon says: 11/28/2010 at 12:55 am

    Great post- am forwarding to my blog’s editor in chief (company blog- lots of contributors). Not sure the two lines about monetization are necessary to this post- but maybe most ofvyourcreaders care about that.

  4. No no no… Thanks for the inspiration but I’m looking for solutions. I’m going through the same phase. Pls write a followup with solutions of these issues.

  5. Boy, isn’t this truth, I tell people all the time that discipline trumps talent!

  6. If you are serious in business, you have to learn all those things. Yes it hurts when your blog don’t make $100 per month. One of my blog 2 month old made me $12 this month. I hope this will increase in G.P. in future. It needs lot of effort initially but when ball is rolling you don’t have to push too hard later.

    • I know what you mean! I just started this business and have generated a little cash, however not enough to retire yet! I have at least been able to communicate with others which joined sooner than I and they seem to be doing well. Company has been around for 10 years and was featured in 500INC so I am satisfied it is legit!

  7. Hi Moon,
    10 very good tips there.
    “10. You realize that you’ve been doing most things wrong!” Making mistakes is key to your success, learn from them and capitalize on them.
    Now your strengths. Outsource your weaknesses.
    Having a clear plan and goals from day 1 will really help you to make your blog/business work. Know where you will be in 3 months, 6 months and at least 1 year from now. Planning and clear vision is key.

  8. Hey Moon. Great post, I have had many of those realizations and am slowing adapting to them.

  9. Thank you Moon. I have been blogging for about 3 months now. Patience,study, study, study SEO and networking, great content writting and studying and networking and more patience and then revenue is still $1.29 for the month. :-(
    Not many will tell you to have another source of income and a bottle of wine handy everyday for the first year.
    Great tips and I will definitely rehash this post in my head all the time.

  10. Yea, blogging is definitevly not an easy hobby and lifestyle in the long run, requires a lot of dedication…

  11. Hey Moon! Thank you for this great post!
    I’m too new to blogging and have few questions that,
    How much blog posting frequency has to maintain as a new blogger! Means, I’m blogging only few months and till now I haven’t gain enough traffic or users to my blog!

  12. I am glad you posted this. I have just launched my blog (blog fiction and social-political commentary), and I am really discouraged by the amount of traffic I am attracting (6 unique visitors and 18 page views in 19 days since launch). I realize that there are no short cuts here, I read up and try to keep abreast of the great tips here and elsewhere, but the going is slow. You write in point # 6 about the importance of ” unique and in-depth conten”. I find it difficult at this stage still to find my voice here. Also, I am sure that you agree, this doesn’t mean that the piece has to be long, correct? I aim for short posts max 500 words. Is that a good number?

    Important and sobering piece…

  13. great list and tips, especially no3 as many think SEO is just working on keywords, but its definitely allot more to it then just Keywords, allot of research, time, and off page work goes into it as well as on page, Keywords is just one element of SEO.

  14. 8 and 9 are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned as of late. I’m deliberately cutting back on my post frequency so that I can publish quality stuff every time. I’m also surprised at myself that it took me over a year of blogging before I realized the importance of networking. The whole “build and they will come” attitude DOES NOT WORK, you need to actively engage others to get noticed.

  15. Awesome stuff! Don’t give up, you have to keep at it, as traffic will grow exponentially month after month.

  16. Great post!

    This reminded me of a quote which always inspired me

    “There’s no mistakes, just missed opportunities”
    -Steve Pavlina

  17. Awesome post, Moon. When I first started blogging, I made the mistake by building my site using Drupal because I’d heard of it’s flexibility. The learning curve was really steep and I broke my site several times before I ended up moving over to WordPress. While I broke my site half a dozen times, I learned how to install Drupal and WordPress manually. So, in the mistakes I made, I learned a skill.

    Blogging is all about making mistakes and learning from them. I don’t know any who have been perfect and succeeded without a blemish. I probably couldn’t relate to them anyway. ;)

    Great job, Moon!

  18. Here’s a tip for those that are asking for solutions. At one point, I learned that you can train the search engine bots to come around by posting at least 2-3 times a day. This is great except that trying to create 2-3 blog posts a day by yourself could flat wear you out. So the solution is to get other people (especially if you can get other successful bloggers) to write posts for your blog, as the author here touched on. This is a great solution for SEO, Traffic and sustaining fresh content deliverability over time. It’s probably the best thing a new/struggling blogger can do, especially if you don’t really understand SEO. Leveraging other blogger’s visibility to gain relevance is the idea here. On the content side, you should be providing valuable, legitimate content that is not copy and pasted (stolen) from anywhere else and if excerpts are used, make sure full credit and a link back to their original source is given in your posts. Make sure to keep guest bloggers honest in this regard as well. Google will punish you for duplicate content (see: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66359 ). My other suggestion is also not to fall prey to black hat SEO techniques, which can really hurt your blog’s reputation.

  19. A new blogger here. I need more knowledge and tips to survive the blogging world…this is very informative for me.

  20. Oh !!!
    U spoke my Mind……
    And yes I am trying to improve..
    Initially I was unable to right good content
    but now I have started proper researching before Writing My posts.

  21. One year is a very short time so you have to be the best of the best to promote,market and monetize your blog. I think 100$ (per month) is a correct goal but in 1 year, well, you need to be creative.

  22. The fact that you made it to ProBlogger means that you have done a terrific job, Moon, and have grown tremendously in many aspects! I’m a regular reader of EIP and to read your post here fills my heart with warmth. You deserve it and judging by your post here, you have achieved a lot in a just over a year. I’ve always liked your honest writings on EIP and you’ve helped a lot of people the past year. You go girl! Well done.

  23. Great Post, I really enjoyed the valuable points you included in this article. Keep em coming

  24. Hi Moon!

    #10 is my favorite – You realize that you’ve been doing most things wrong! ;) And the important lesson that I’m learning is that this doesn’t matter. We all do things wrong, and what’s important is to keep doing, to keep trying, to figure things out as you go. :)

  25. Well, I am in my first year of blogging and I am experiencing most of these now. But I am not gonna stop what I am doing right now. “Hope” is there with me and I will work hard regardless of the results.

  26. Well, I’ve been blogging for nearly a year, and I think I have only three official subscribers so far, but I’m not “crushed”, because I am doing it for the joy of it…and I don’t even know what SEO stands for.
    But I found this article interesting!

  27. Crush your heart in your first year? I’ve been doing this for three years and I’m still making those mistakes. :(

  28. The worst thing is that even after you churning out high quality contents, spending time and money to do SEO content farms like demand media take up the SERP because they have an authority domain. The thing is that we need to consistently try and produce content while marketing the content we already wrote. If you don’t market your blog and it’s content, it’s as good as it did not exist.

    In my opinion, you should wait 2 years to see if a site is profitable yet. If not flip it and so something else. Also, if you are not a full time blogger, its difficult to make 100$ per month even with a 8 month time frame

  29. Dear Moon,

    Looks like you’ve done a fantastic job with your blog in a year. Some very helpful tips you provide on SEO and other things.

    I guess on Yakezie.com, we don’t do too much marketing yet as it’s for the Members. Perhaps we’ll start in the New Year.

    Cheers mate!


  30. Hi Moon

    You mixing with the “big boys” now :-) Wow and wow again. Congrats on your guest post and well written gal. You sure are rocking it. Your journey this year is teaching a lot of us newbies how to do things and with your honestly written posts on your site how not to do things too. Well done Moon. Here’s to your continued growth and success with your blog and your business.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  31. Yes, blogging is difficult. So is life. So is success.

    It takes a business person five years to hit it. Think of blogging as a business too and things will start to make sense to you.

  32. I think most pepole these days, think you can get on the web and make a killing. That is so not true, it will kill you within a couple of days. I konw how much hard work goes into a blog like this.

    We started off small…but I guess you have to aim for you 100 dollar a month, then for 200 and then for 500 and so on. Constantly give youself bigger and bigger goals and work out how to get there. Once you do, you will be laughing.

  33. Moon Darling!

    Congratulations for the post girl! Really well constructed and a very very powerful post if you ask me. I am impressed :)

  34. Great Post, Most of it is very true. You just have to be firm and keep going, keep improving. People will eventually come to your blog.

  35. Great article!It is very beneficial to internet marketing beginners who want to make money online with their blogs to identify the main common problems appearing on the road to online success…

  36. #4 is the heartbreaker for most people! Many people are attracted to blogging because it promises to make them rich and when they find it difficult, lot of them simply quit!

  37. I think is awesome that you wrote this post moon.

    You’re being super real, this is probably the process of all us bloggers. And if it makes you feel better I actually have under 100 readers. I think you’re doing great and I’ve notice your content is definitely growing in skill.

    Good job! Keep doing what you’re doing

  38. I still a newbie in the field, and keep trying to build a more solid website and contents to share with readers, and also to reach out the right readers out there.

    Let’s keep going~ :D

  39. A fantastic post, although as a new blogger it really does highlight how much there is to do except for writing decent posts. I suppose the more experienced you get the more you’re able to gauge how much of each part needs to get done at what time. For example do I spend my time writing three post a day, or do I write one post a day and spend some serious time, optimising the site, posting it on twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg etc? I suppose the only real way to know what works when your new blogging, is simply do as much as you can and see what sticks.

    There is so much great information available now however with every great blog post or bit of advice there are also very unhelpful, black hat and uninformative piece of information to knock you off-line.

    Even though your post Moon was simply stating everything to look out for in the first year, it really has given me a great insight and a gentle tap on the shoulder, or should I say kick up the bum, to make sure I keep on top of my blog posts and effectively marketing each and every one where possible.

    Great work!

  40. I’m not sure whether to laugh or to cry when I see statements like, “After eight months, only 100 subscribers are subscribing to your blog feed…”
    100 subscribers sounds pretty darned good to me. Obviously a thousand or 100,000 would be better, but 100 seems like quite a few for the first year of a blog.
    I guess it depends on the topic of the blog.

  41. aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!! don’t scare me!! seriously, points 1 and 2 could drag me into a state of prolonged thinking. Anyhow, i think that all in all, i’ve been doing great. Your post is great, helped me re-evaluate.

  42. I realized that i have to be very close to my blog, pay close attention every day. A blog is not a “hit and go” type of business.

  43. Thanks for putting into words the things that I’m sure a lot more bloggers than I ever realised are experiencing!

  44. It took me three years to consider myself a success. Building traffic is one thing. Building an audience is another. Guess which takes more time and is more valuable to me?

  45. This is a great post. I might frame it. Certainly keep it close in hand. I have had my little heart broken several times…

  46. Nice realizations especially for beginners. It can be really difficult to build a popular site that visitors become loyal to. I hope I can be patient enough to develop what I started. Do you know of any other services that is as good as Google adsense?

  47. Perfect timing!! Picture it…I have been sitting here banging my head against a wall trying to figure out what I’m missing!! You hit the nail on the head with this list. One thing i would add is that blogging takes patience…well the money and subscriber part anyhow. Really, a great job on this post!

  48. Believe me blogging is very easy, if you can write something original and can earn.
    Patience is the Key here.

  49. There is definitely another perspective to share on this.

    The common doctrine of problogging seems to be to plug away and plug away and one day, maybe, you’ll have something to show for it. Ironically this idea seems to be perpetuated by those who set up sites years ago when things were far less competitive!

    First off, I am sure the hard work does pay off and I don’t want to suggest this is an invalid route – but my experience in 2008 was very different.

    I tried out a few different ideas during the year and the one that took off was a hit almost instantly. I had 1,000 hits on the first day I was listed in Google, 10,000 by the end of the week and 100,000 by the end of the month! Like I said, it took a few goes before I got lucky, but it happened very very quickly.

    No cunning techniques, no marketing campaigns, no guest posts – I wasn’t even using WP when I started it!

    I think there is definitely an argument to keep reassessing your work and ask yourself whether your idea is good but needs time or perhaps it’s just a waste of time! Giving up early may be a blogging sin but not giving up when you should isn’t recommended either!

  50. Thanks for such information and I must say that one can learn more from his/her mistakes than from others.

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