10 Lessons From My First 6 Months of Blogging

10 Lessons From My First 6 Months of Blogging

It’s hard to believe that my 6 month blogiversary was last week! In some ways I feel like I have been doing this for years and in other ways I feel like I just started yesterday. I have had a lot of successes in the past 6 months, all of which I am very proud. But, at the end of the day I am still a total newb who is just trying to navigate her way through this crazy blogger life.

This corner of the internet started out as a hobby for me, an outlet. And, in many ways it still is. It’s something that is mine and only mine. I get to experiment, express, and engage. It’s a labor of love, for sure. All of that said, I’ve made some mistakes along the way and discovered a few things.

first-6-months-pin-2

Research First. I started this blog on a whim at 10:00pm on a random Wednesday night. I thought all I had to do was buy a domain and start a WordPress.com account. Wrong. I should have started out with with a self-hosted site through the WordPress.org site (yes, they’re different). I’m limited in my plug-in and analytic abilities because of this mistake and will soon start the process to move to a self-hosted site.

Choose Your URL Carefully. You might have noticed that the name of my site is Memoirs of a Working Mom but my URL is workingmommemoirs.com. At 10:00 on a Wednesday night I didn’t think that was a big deal; I thought memoirsofaworkingmom.com was too long. What I found was that all I did was cause a bunch of confusion and it’s probably hurt my traffic. A new URL will be coming soon, too (when I move to self-hosting).

It’s Okay to Experiment until you figure out what works for you. There are things that I posted 6 months ago that are no longer on my blog or my Instagram feed because they ended up not flowing with everything else. I thought I was going in one direction and my “brand” would be one thing but the more and more I dove in, I organically went a different direction. In many ways, I’m still trying to figure out what my “brand” is. For example, I at first thought that my focus would be on working moms and my struggles. What I found once I started writing is that at the end of the day, every kind of mom struggles with the same things. So, while my angle may slant towards working moms (because I am one, after all), I try to relate to all moms. Because we’re in it together. Some of my “experiments” flop. Badly. And that’s okay. I learn from it and move on.

Don’t Underestimate the Amount of Work that goes into blogging. Again, I started this as a hobby but once I realized I could help supplement our family’s income while doing it, I jumped right in. Because why not, right? But holy moly, y’all. I haven’t slept in 6 months. No joke. Remember how I said it’s a labor of love? Yeah, Team No Sleep over here. There are so many things I want/need to do to boost my readership and reach but just don’t have the time to do it. Blogging is time-consuming work.

Other Bloggers are a Huge Help. I have no idea where I would be or how much my blog would have grown if it wasn’t for the help and support of other bloggers such as Mindy Fewless, Jeeyoung DubsBrittany Ashmore, Jaclyn Kent, and so many others that have helped in big and small ways. Since I started, these amazing ladies have each provided meaningful support in different ways and and I’m so grateful! Take a moment to encourage other bloggers; it goes a long way.

Read Other Blogs. This should be a no-brainer but, honestly, I didn’t read a lot of blogs before I became a blogger (probably why I learned #1 and #2 the hard way). Other bloggers can be a great wealth of information and inspiration. That said…

Stay Genuine. People can spot a “fake” blogger easier than a fake handbag. Don’t be a cheap replica of someone else, be the real version of you. I say this because it’s easy to get overwhelmed and to compare yourself to the successes of others. I often find myself wishing I had “so-and-so’s pageviews” and “so-and-so’s feed” or engagement rate or brand sponsorships or writing ability (you get the picture). It’s easy to want to replicate what works for others. It’s easy to want to “Keep Up with the Joneses.” But I’m here to tell you that someone out there is trying to keep up with you. Don’t be a cheap imitation. Be you. Success will come.

Know Your Worth. The ladies mentioned above have taught me that even if you don’t have the highest number of pageviews or the most followers or the flashiest collaborations, your time and your work is valuable. Time is all we have in this world, my friends, and yours is worth more than you may think. Assert yourself as such and don’t settle for less.

Pinterest Matters. Don’t ignore it. If you want more traffic to your site, create high-quality pins and pin them often. I made the mistake of focusing on Instagram and while that is a good source of traffic for me, I am totally missing the boat by not actively focusing on Pinterest. Now I feel like I’m playing catch-up.

It’s Okay to Take a Break. I owe this lesson to Chrystie Vachon, who probably doesn’t realize she’s my blogging mentor (she’s everyone’s, isn’t she?!). If I have nothing to post, I don’t post. I’d rather post nothing than something I threw online just because I felt like I needed to.

Bonus Lesson: Blogger Drama Exists. Avoid it at all costs. I’m happy to not have been involved in any yet and hope to never be, but I’ve seen it and it isn’t pretty. Avoid.

And, in case you’re wondering, here are my 5 Most Viewed posts to date:

  1. Dear Stay-at-Home Mom
  2. I Held You Too Long Today
  3. Dear Working Mom
  4. 10 Tips for Pumping at Work
  5. Why I Don’t Share My Kids’ Faces Online

So, tell me – are you a blogger? If so, what lessons have you learned? If you’re not a blogger, what have you noticed in your reading of blogs? What do you like? What do you hate? Tell me below!

Update: Read about my 1 year reflections here.

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66 Comments

  1. June 1, 2017 / 7:36 pm

    Congrats Shannon! I read your one year blog anniversary post as well. You’re a great inspiration and a good writer to boot. What program do you use to create your Pinterest pictures (with the cool fonts)?
    I love your tips as well 🙂

    • Shannnon
      June 1, 2017 / 11:03 pm

      Thank you so much, Melissa!! I appreciate that! I use Canva!

  2. April 19, 2017 / 4:29 pm

    Awesome progress you’ve made in such short time Shannon! Congratulations! I’m totally new to this world, just started my blog yesterday actually and I haven’t got a clue…but I’m so excited to see moms like you making it happen and balancing it all. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

    • Shannnon
      April 19, 2017 / 8:04 pm

      Congrats on your new blog, Brooke!! It’s hard to believe that I’m actually approaching a year next month! So much has changed in a year but it has been so much fun and I’ve learned so much. It’s hard and I’ve been burnt out but this little blog of mine is a labor of love. Good luck to you!! ❤️

  3. January 9, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    Great post! I’m a newbie blogger about 6 months in struggling with similar things. It’s good to know others don’t always post 3x a week! If I don’t have anything worthwhile to post, I wait until I do. It stresses me out but I refuse to post just for the sake of getting something out there.

    • Shannnon
      January 10, 2017 / 10:55 pm

      Thank you! It sounds like you’ve got an important piece figured out already! I may only have one post this week and that’s okay! Thanks for reading!

  4. December 1, 2016 / 4:33 pm

    Congratulations on ur success! I am new to the blog world and this has helped me understand it a lil better. I hope I get to where you are one day! Best of wishes.

    • December 1, 2016 / 5:06 pm

      Thank you! Welcome to the blogosphere! You’re gonna do great!

  5. November 30, 2016 / 12:49 pm

    Happy 6 months, mama! These are all so true. Blogging is so much more work that I anticipated! And yessss to connecting with other bloggers. Probably hands down my favorite thing about this whole world 🙂

    • November 30, 2016 / 1:38 pm

      It’s so much fun!! Thanks for reading!

  6. Lili
    November 30, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Congratulations on reaching such important milestone (we moms know about those). I have to say you are my first one, lol. My first real blog subscription and my inspiration. You inspired me to keep thinking of one day becoming something similar (not even close) to what you do. Always like to write my thoughts (not just fb status), deep, well described situations and thoughts that can connect people. And you nailed it again with this post, because (besides giving me such boost of confidence), provided such amazing information -that already looked through. Congrats again. Like I always tell you, keep it going, girl! And I will look for your Instagram and Pinterest feed. Also some of the other bloggers that you mention.

    • December 1, 2016 / 1:44 am

      Lili! This comment seriously made my day and makes all the time and work that goes into this so worth it. I appreciate your support more than you appreciate and am blown away by your kindess. Thank you! Thank you so much.

  7. November 29, 2016 / 3:49 pm

    Congratulations! You have such a clear and fun voice, it’s no wonder why you are so quickly successful! I can only hope to follow in your shadow and be where you are in 5 months. You’re right- it’s WORK. And balancing around kids at home is one thing, never mind having a full time job. I don’t know how you do it! Well I guess you said it, no sleep. That’s one thing I can’t give up 😂

    • November 29, 2016 / 4:58 pm

      Thank you, Nicole! I’m so happy to still be connected with you after all of these years and am so excited to see where your blogging journey takes you! You will be WAY more successful than me; I know it!

  8. lovelyluckylife
    November 29, 2016 / 3:19 pm

    So glad you’re in the blogging space! I always refer people to your Kids Faces Online post <3

    • November 29, 2016 / 3:33 pm

      Thank you, Val!! I appreciate that so much! I love being connected with you!

  9. November 29, 2016 / 10:52 am

    I’m 3 months in and I totally get it. There’s so much to figure out and manage. Thank you for sharing this! It’s an encouragement!

    • November 29, 2016 / 12:22 pm

      Oh I’m so glad! And yes, there’s always something new to learn!

  10. November 29, 2016 / 10:20 am

    Awesome Shannon! Congrats on your first year. I agree that having a mentor is a big help! 🙂

    • November 29, 2016 / 10:33 am

      Thank you, Miri! It’s been 6 months – I’m hoping to have way more successes by the one year mark! And yes, having a mentor is so important.. mine just doesn’t know she’s mine. LOL

      Thanks for reading! xo

  11. November 29, 2016 / 12:12 am

    Congratulations! I am in your boat…6 months ago! I recently started mine and trying to make it work! AHHHHH! Would love to pick your brain sometimes! xo

    • November 29, 2016 / 12:23 am

      Awesome! I’m no expert but will help however I can! Shoot me an email any time!

    • November 28, 2016 / 10:58 pm

      Thank you so much!

  12. taylermorrell
    November 28, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    You are doing great! I’ve been blogging for 7 years now, and really have only let myself grow organically because I want to keep blogging as a hobby. I’ve learned these same lessons over and over again throughout the years!

    • November 28, 2016 / 10:34 pm

      7 years?! So impressive! Thanks for reading! Anything you would add to this list?

  13. aretzlaff
    November 28, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    This is GREAT!! You are doing wonderfully. I get EXTREMELY overwhelmed with it all. I too have changed my voice, and then changed it back again but at the end of the day I just try to be me. I noticed I was trying to hard to fit a mold meant for others and have had a little trouble on the writing front since I realized. It will come together at some point. Keep up the good work!!

    • November 28, 2016 / 10:35 pm

      Thank you SO much!! Your encouragement and support means so much!

  14. November 28, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    Happy Blogiversary! There’s so much to learn in the first few months, and then so much more you realize you don’t know after that. I’ve been blogging for 7 month’s now and not only did I not focus on Pinterest, but for the first 3 month’s I really didn’t focus on social media at all. Just post and hope….and crickets. 🙂

    • November 28, 2016 / 10:36 pm

      Thank you!! You’re so right. There’s always more to learn!

  15. loveyoumoretoo
    November 28, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    Great points! I didn’t realize how much work it would be, and I love your point about getting help from others. Great job! and happy 6 months!

    • November 28, 2016 / 3:13 pm

      Thank you SO much!

  16. Michelle
    November 28, 2016 / 3:06 pm

    Great post! I’ve just started blogging and feel like I have no idea what I’m doing or which direction to go…it’s nice to know that it happens to others. I have pinterest but didn’t thnk about how it could help with blogging so that’s something maybe I should look into. I just recently started following you and I’m looking forward to reading more. 😊

    • November 28, 2016 / 3:12 pm

      Thank you for following and welcome to the blog world! Chrystie wrote in one of her posts that Pinterest is the place that people go to LOOKING for blog posts and it’s my greatest source of traffic (like most others). It’s definitely worth the focus!

  17. November 28, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    Great post! Blogging does take up SO MUCH TIME and I made the WordPress.com mistake too. It’s a pain to change but will be totally worth it when you do 🙂 Keep up the great work!

    • November 28, 2016 / 2:49 pm

      Thanks so much, girlfriend! I hope to make the move over Christmas!

  18. caseyp1110
    November 28, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    These are great tips for newbies! I actually just took my first break over this holiday weekend since starting my blog! It is a must to do!

    • November 28, 2016 / 2:48 pm

      Thank you! I hope your break was awesome!

  19. forevermommoments
    November 28, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    Congrats! It’s been fun watching your blog and social media grow. I hear you on the Pinterest deal… I focus on IG too…seems like so many products and companies want you to have a strong IG presence. But I know for my blog’s sake, I need to start taking advantage of Pinterest, rich pins in particular! Anyway, thanks for sharing. I’ve been following along since early on and have enjoyed learning similar lessons along with you!

    • November 28, 2016 / 2:47 pm

      Thank you! I love growing with you! I appreciate the support so much!

  20. November 28, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    Congrats love! Thank you so much for giving me a shout out! I am so happy to help you!!

    • November 28, 2016 / 2:47 pm

      Thank YOU, girl! You’ve always been so welcoming!

  21. November 28, 2016 / 11:29 am

    Happy Blogiversary! I definitely make the same mistake of ignoring Pinterest when I started blogging. There are so many kinds of social media out there it’s hard to know what to focus on, but Pinterest is definitely worth the effort!

  22. My Daily She
    November 28, 2016 / 11:07 am

    Congrats! I love your points about staying genuine and focusing on Pinterest (which is next on my list to focus on–I’m in my second month)!

  23. Erin
    November 28, 2016 / 10:04 am

    I love this! Finding your tribe is so huge!! I have learned SO much from other bloggers

  24. November 28, 2016 / 9:23 am

    This is a great post!!

  25. November 28, 2016 / 9:21 am

    Congrats on your blogiversary! I have been blogging since 2007, and man the lessons I have learned! Blogging is always changing, so you have to learn to adapt to new ways of doing things and find methods to make things easier on yourself.

    • November 28, 2016 / 9:23 am

      That’s impressive! And yeah, I’m already learning that! So much to keep up with!

  26. twolittlerippers
    November 28, 2016 / 9:16 am

    Love this… we are walking a similar path. It’s good to see I’m not the only one making these mistakes! Thanks for sharing!

    • November 28, 2016 / 9:19 am

      You’re so not alone, girl!

  27. November 28, 2016 / 8:31 am

    The Pinterest point describes me exactly! I focused solely on Instagram for the longest time!

    • November 28, 2016 / 9:19 am

      Yes! Ugh. Huge mistake.

  28. November 28, 2016 / 8:22 am

    AHHH six months! And right back at ya mama, the community is what makes this ride fun and eas(ier)! Couldn’t do it without your support <3 Congrats!!!

    • November 28, 2016 / 9:20 am

      Thankful for you, girl!

  29. November 28, 2016 / 8:19 am

    Happy Blogiversary! I agree with all these, you did a great job!

    • November 28, 2016 / 9:20 am

      Thank you SO much!

  30. November 28, 2016 / 7:58 am

    Other bloggers are so helpful! So lucky to not have seen the drama either!

    • November 28, 2016 / 9:20 am

      Yes they are! The drama is crazy, though! I’m good with observing and never taking part in it. LOL

  31. November 28, 2016 / 7:46 am

    This is great! It’s been 6 months for me and I agree with each point sooo much!! Especially how time consuming it is if you really want to grow it and make it a business! It’s challenging but rewarding too! Great reminder with Pinterest it brings in most of my traffic and sometimes I forget how much I need to focus on that more than any other avenue! Grateful for you and the tips you’ve shared with me as well!

  32. November 28, 2016 / 7:38 am

    I love this post GF! So thankful for you! And yes, the amount of work … blogging is a full time job!

    • November 28, 2016 / 9:21 am

      Thank YOU! Couldn’t do it without you!

  33. November 28, 2016 / 6:18 am

    Happy Blogiversary! Having mentors and blogger friends you chat with daily have been my favorite part about this. And agreed…I’ve seen blogger drama and thankful it didn’t involve me. Girlfriends be crazy 😂

    • November 28, 2016 / 7:06 am

      OMG Yasssss! So crazy! Thanks for all of your love and support!

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