“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”

Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase

The Lord has your best future in mind. A future of hope and prosperity. Sometimes this future does not necessarily align with what you expected your life would look like. If you are anything like me, you are a planner. 2020 was mapped out before you on the 1st of January and you thought you had it all figured out. Then life happens and your plans move along, leaving you feeling stranded by the end of February.

There is a phrase that jumps into my mind at these times when I am feeling stuck:

You are not a tree. Move.

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This blog has become that movement that I was so desperately seeking, even though it took so long for me to just start it. I was planning a big launch. One which involves a multi-platform initiation. I wanted to build a presence online before I would start writing. I wanted to build a library of posts which I could pick and choose from. Life did not allow that to happen. Needless to say, my plans for an elaborate launch did not see the light. I have been researching effective means of promoting my work on the different platforms, scouring Pinterest and other blog posts for tips and guidance so as to make this blog my most successful blog to date. I have spent the last three months doing this research. Instead now, I am learning on the fly. Here is what I have learned thus far. I know at the time of this post, it has only been a few days into my new active blogging journey, but what I have realized in this time is that the advice learned was far different that what it is like in practice. I want to use this post to journal my first week as an active blogger.

First, I want to share with you what the first week of blogging looked like in my life and then I want to share a few lessons that I have learned through all of this.

Setting up the blog’s theme

Early last week I built a site that I really liked. However, once the weekend rolled by, I realized that the layout thereof did not meet the needs of the blog itself and the direction I wanted the blog site to go into. So, I made a couple of changes to the theme (I am now using the ‘Nature’ theme by WordPress).

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Setting up all payment revenues

In order to get paid as a South African (or more specifically, a user outside of the United States) one can not merely link your bank account. It involves a couple of payment alternatives to be able to be paid (I won’t lie, a lot of my research went into finding a suitable method of payment). I am using Payoneer and because WordAds only pays via Paypal, I had to activate an account therefor as well. Thus far, I am highly impressed with both platforms. Payoneer is probably the most easy-to-use financial platform I have ever encountered to date.

Activating advertisements

In order to start with the revenue aspect of the site, I activated WordAds. This allows for the possibility to generate an income through the blog with no additional costs to the users/reader of the blog, should the links be clicked and purchases be made through this site. Every single article I read emphisized the importance of activating advertisements as soon as possible on any website.

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Subscribing to Affiliates

Further to the activation of WordAds, numerous affiliate programmes were joined. The two biggest affiliate programmes joined were Amazon Associates and CJ affiliates. Then the journey of discovery and the integration of these platforms then started.

Starting with a mailing list

Every single blog post or article I read about traffic, blogs and getting your content out into the world said that you must create a mailing list. There are numerous mailing servers, free and paid, for the purpose of this blog, I opted for Mailchimp. It allows for a contact list of 2000, after which you have to pay for a higher contact capacity. The user interface is incredibly easy to use. It is going to take some time to discover all of the mailing tools that it has.

Updating my Testimony

Because I know where I want the site to go, I felt it was extremely important to share my personal testimony with the readers thereof. In order for the readers to understand where my passion for serving the Lord comes from and to provide insight as to why I believe I have been purposed to be a writer.

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Compiling and drafting multiple blog posts

As I said earlier, the plan was to have an inventory of blog posts available from which I can pick and choose before the launch. However, things did not work out that way. So, I started with an inventory of posts for this week. Hopefully I can catch up and get ahead of posting within the next couple of weeks (since I have a big move coming up and time will be limited).

Setting up social media links

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I created a Facebook Group for the blog and started building onto it. Further, Twitter linking started on existing account, thus I already had quite a following. This was limited as the amount of shareable posts that I have are also limited. Pinterest sharing also started and the conversion of my personal account to a business account commenced.

Creating a journal diary for the blog specifically

Sticking to a schedule has never been one of my strong suits. But, this journal is a collection of all my websites, future posts, trackers, planning and passwords. I have a dotted journal from Moleskine, which I have used to create a customized bullet journal to meet the needs of the site.

Here are a couple of examples of notebooks that make for excellent bullet journals:

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Valuable lessons about blogging as a career I have learned this far

Of course, as with anything started, you have to learn your way around the ins and outs of business. There were a couple of lessons I learnt in the first week of blogging, which I hope to master and control in time.

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Blogging is a major distraction

If you are passionate about it, truly passionate about it, blogging becomes a major distraction to your day-to-day thinking processes. Should you allow it, it distracts you from your work, friends and family. It even distracts you from the things important in the grander scheme of things. This major distraction can either be beneficial or detrimental. For instance, it has been a great distraction for the things that stresses me out in both the mental and emotional realms, but it has been a distraction in my physical realm as well. I haven’t worked out in two weeks and the fact that at this very moment the passion I hold for this blog far exceeds the passion I have for my 9-5. That’s dangerous.

The power of social media

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Facebook is not dead, my friends. Whoever told you this, has never harnessed the power of a Facebook Group. A little space where people who appreciates your written work is amalgamated and provides useful input into your content. Your top commenters tend to guide your thought processes. Twitter is an amazing place to become a part of a community. There are numerous Twitter accounts solely purposed to unite bloggers, it is wise to encage actively with these accounts. As good as Pinterest is, and as powerful a tool as it is, it is a tough nut to crack. Impressions make a difference on all social media platforms. Creating posts (a formula that works for your content) for these platforms that entice the viewers are hard. It is a learning curb filled with trial and error.

Here are a couple of resources that provides valuable insights into the art of social media and digital marketing that I want to invest into to optimise the network for the purpose of the blog:

Patience really is a virtue and consistency is key

That is no lie. This ties in nicely with the previous lesson. Things are going slow now. What I realise, now more than ever, is that gaining a following across all platforms will take time and persistence. I will need a keen strategy to boost traffic on the blog.

The power of $0.00

I never thought I would say this, but there is a motivational force behind getting a payment of zero dollars into a bank account. Backstory: Amazon’s payments went out, but because the posts and the links were all new and had not received traction as yet, the payment to me was $0.00. There was something liberating about seeing that notification in my inbox. On that day I started actively integrating affiliate links into my content. This was also the day that I started actively investing time into building my affiliate linking skills.

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Using the advertisements and affiliate links to your purpose

This one has been a learning curb, a steep one at that. Learning how they work and learning how to incorporate them into the blog posts and the blog layout, has proven to be more difficult than expected, especially since I have very limited knowledge on coding. The importance of the benefits of understanding how to do basic coding is definitely understated in most articles.

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Where to next?

These are only the main lessons I have learnt throughout the week of blogging. I will be providing an update at the end of March, perhaps also provide an income report and give feedback on the strategies I have applied to the blog and the success thereof. Perhaps by that time, the lessons learned would have culminated into positive results.

Do you have any lessons that you learned from your first couple of months of blogging that you are willing to share? Do you have a few tips or advice for inexperienced bloggers? I would love to gain your opinions.

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3 thoughts

  1. This was quite refreshing to read. I’m a beginner blogger still under a subdomain. I’m learning to keep creating content for the sake of adding to people’s knowledge. Affiliate marketing is proving to be difficult and unrewarding so that’s pretty challenging on its own. Not to mention creating and uploading content.
    Thank you for making it feel less lonely

    Like

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I have experienced the same things. Constantly creating and pushing content can take a toll on you, not to mention, the guilt that goes with the feeling of posting regularly enough for the platform. I do think that it is important to remind yourself constantly of why you started with it in the first place and get a hold of a community of like-minded bloggers (as in our case, new bloggers that are struggling at times) who can share in each other’s victories and help with each other’s strain.

      Stay motivated. Stay inspired.

      Liked by 1 person

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