How I Improved My Experience as a Blogger In My First 3 Months

I can’t believe I’ve been writing for Tutor in Tinseltown for 3 months already! Technically, I launched my first blog on the second of March, even though I wrote up some blog posts in February to have some stuff online for you guys the day of my official website launch. And let me tell you something – I’ve learned so much these last few months as a “blogger”!

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Blogger Lesson 1. “If You Write It… They Won’t Come!”

Blogging is hard work! For every article you see posted on my website (my count is currently at 28 HOORAY!), dozens of hours go into researching keywords, proofreading the text, creating the images, and promoting on tons of different platforms.

Before I started learning about the marketing and promotion side of it, I wasn’t getting traffic at all! I would meticulously spend hours on a post and it’s related images, hit “Publish” and wait for the page views to come pouring in! Needless to say, they didn’t.

My only page views were from a pod of amazing women I was working with to grow my Instagram outreach… isn’t that depressing?

I mean, the fact that they checked out my site was incredibly lovely, but they were the only ones! Thankfully, it wasn’t too long before I started hitting up StumbleUpon and Pinterest like a madwoman! And speaking of which…

Blogger Lesson 2. I learned that I shouldn’t necessarily promote my blog on my favorite social media channels.

When I first started Tutor in Tinseltown, I invested money and crazy amounts of time into promoting my business and blog on Instagram. It wasn’t until much later (thank you, Google Analytics, for opening my eyes!) that I learned that Instagram resulted in less than 10 site visits per month for me!

Even though I had already been using Pinterest for years, it had only been for personal use. I wasn’t adding new content to the Pinterest world, simply repinning to my heart’s content. It hadn’t occurred to me to use it to promote Tutor in Tinseltown, and once I did start using it, it turns out that Pinterest and StumbleUpon are my biggest allies!

Combined, they result in just about 93% of my total monthly page views!

Blogger Lesson 3. I learned how difficult writing is for me!

This wasn’t always the case, but I’ve gotten rusty since leaving school and entering the workforce! To develop stronger writing habits, I’ve had to invest in additional tools to keep me focused and on-task. One of my favorites has been my Content Planner!

It helps me keep track of when I want to send out a newsletter to my email subscribers, what blog post is getting posted when, and when my articles for HER Magazine are getting published. At first, I used it more for my Instagram and social media, but that quickly tapered off once I started automating some tasks.

Blogger Lesson 4. I lost my fear of automating certain things.

When I first started, I felt like every Instagram post, every Tweet, every email and every post had to be sent out by me. I felt that anything else would be dishonest and misleading. The truth is that automating some tasks is just smarter. Especially if you’re a one (wo)man show, automating some tasks will free up your time to focus on what matters most, such as your actual writing, client outreach, or product creation. Now, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t creating your own content and still putting yourself out there! It’s just a matter of being more practical with your time.

To that end, I’ve signed up with:

  • Tailwind to automate my Pinterest,
  • downloaded the Revive Old Posts WP Plugin for Twitter and Facebook,
  • Planoly for Instagram, and
  • Mailerlite for email.

It’s a little hectic keeping up with all of those accounts, but definitely not as hectic as it would be posting to all those social media accounts live each time. Out of all those automation programs, the one that has really put Tutor in Tinseltown on the map (given it’s short time in existence) has been Tailwind. I also love Mailerlite because it helps me track of what my readers are most interested in reading from me in my newsletters.

Blogger Lesson 5. People may love you and be excited for you, and still not be interested in your blog – and that’s OK!

So this one is a little bit of a sore spot for me, mostly because I can sometimes be a little too sensitive and taking things too personally.

The truth is that your loved ones might not be your ideal target audience. And if that’s the case, even though they may read some of your stuff to support you, they may not be jumping onto your mailing list, or sharing each new post nonstop.

And that’s totally OK!

You just need to find your target audience, your tribe of loyal readers dying to read (and share!) your next post.

Blogger Lesson 6. I became aware of my weaknesses and learned that it’s OK to reach out for help on them.

Nobody is great at everything. The sooner you find out what your blogging-related limitations are, the sooner you can delegate out those tasks, get past the hurdle, and move on to making your blog a fantastic addition to the interwebs. I hired out two key tasks because I felt like the expense was minimal compared to the income I could generate by having the tasks done well.

My first step once I decided to create a Tutor in Tinseltown website and blog was to hire Paigon from Natasha Lane Design Co. (not an affiliate – I just love her!) to be my branding, website, and multimedia designer. I love the website she made me and I use her collateral items constantly to keep my branding cohesive and beautiful!

Once I got my blog going I realized that even though people liked my content once they read it, my headlines weren’t grabbing as much attention as I wished they would. That’s where Headlinr comes in! Headlinr is a Chrome extension that helps you come up with hundreds of killer headlines based on the keyword you feed it.

So for example, let’s say I want to write a blog post on my experience working from home. I would type in “working from home” and here are some of the headlines it spit out for me:

  • Take The Stress Out Of Working From Home
  • X Ways To Make Working From Home Exceptionally Fun
  • The Ultimate “Working From Home” Checklist
  • The Greatest Working From Home Mistake I Ever Made

What I love about Headlinr is not only that it gives me great catchy titles, but it gives me different ideas for potential blog posts from a single topic. In the examples above, we have one each on:

  • reducing stress,
  • maximizing fun,
  • another that may be a great freebie printable,
  • and the last could make for a great article highlighting your vulnerability and down-to-Earth nature to your readers.

For more blogging resources, be sure to sign up for my membership resource library below!

Blogger Lesson 7. I learned. A LOT. About EVERYTHING.

Even though I reached out for help on certain things, I quickly learned that unless you have the budget to outsource nearly everything, you’re inevitably going to become a jack of all trades.

  • Google Analytics
  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • Website optimization
  • Data analysis
  • Writing
  • Graphic design
  • Research
  • and so much more goes into being a blogger!

One of the sites I visit most often to read (and reread) about improving Tutor in Tinseltown is that of Robbie Richards. His site completely changed my blogging experience. Robbie Richards’ intimidatingly long blog posts completely opened my eyes to unique ways to tackle SEO and promote my blog posts.

Blogger Lesson 8. I realized the value of having gone self-hosted from the very start.

Sure, you can start off using a free WordPress account instead of self-hosting. Plenty of people start off this way. And if you’re just blogging for fun and not to make money, there’s no reason to go much further. However, I’d encourage you to consider self-hosting from Day One. I have experienced so many benefits to self-hosting Tutor in Tinseltown.

You’ll hold yourself more accountable if you invested money in the project.

Unfortunately, this goes for nearly all aspects of blogging and business. I’ve managed to stay regular (though not as frequent as I’d like) with my blogging, sure. But I know it’s because I’ve spent some money up front to get it set up just how I’d like it. Had there not been a financial investment, I wouldn’t feel as bound to keep up with my writing. After all, I still have a full-time day job to balance as well!

Ads and monetizing mainly come through self-hosting.

Depending on what ad service you want to use, you may not be able to apply for membership if you aren’t self-hosted. Even if you only want to blog for fun right now, why not make a bit of extra cash on the side? For my extra little bit of cash, I signed up for Shopstyle Collective, shareasale.com and Viglink.

Your website URL will be more professional.

Since I’m self-hosted, my website URLs are https://tutorintinseltown.com and https://stephaniecristi.blog. Otherwise, they would be tutorintinseltown.wordpress.com and stephaniecristi.wordpress.com which of course looks a lot less professional.

Even if you only want to blog for fun right now, there is a lot of money to be earned as a blogger so I recommend you self-host from the beginning.
This way, if your blog does gain a nice following, you will already look professional. And plus, you won’t have to change your URL later, which might lead to losing some readers that don’t hear about the switch.

To be honest, I originally signed up for DreamHost because I got a discount for signing up as a student. However, in these 3 months using it, I can absolutely say that I am glad I chose them!

I’ve messed up my page so many times and they’ve always been just a chat box away with all the help I could ever need.

Blogger Lesson 9. I regret not obtaining my SSL certificate from day 1!

Google is on a campaign to alert users when they are on a non-secure page so getting your SSL certificate is crucial if you want your readers to feel safe while on your site.

Dreamhost was incredible with helping my redirect all my HTTP links to HTTPS. Their customer support even fixed a mistake that occurred with the redirecting process within a few minutes of me reaching out! However… what falls on my shoulders and my shoulders only, is having to go back and edit the link on every single Pinterest pin, reddit post, StumbleUpon and Scoop.it submission, and any other place it has been shared.

I’ll have to reach out to to the site of every backlink I have and ask them to redirect their link to my secure page.

Thankfully, I secured my page within a few months of launching Tutor in tinseltown, if not this would be an absolute nightmare!

So learn from my mistake and get your SSL certificate today!

TL;DR

Even if you don’t want to make a business out of it (or don’t have a business to blog for) blogging is an amazing hobby to take up! I have learned so much working on Tutor in Tinseltown these three months!

And I have loved each and every day.

For more blogging resources, be sure to sign up for my membership resource library below!

Stephanie Cristi’s Top Recommended Blogging Products

With all my love,

SC xo

This StephanieCristi article details the writer's experience during these 3 months blogging, and includes resources to make the most of a blogger's day.