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My Blogging Journey: The Truth About Blogging (2020)

my blogging journey - the start

As you dive into this story, I’d like you to know this is a blogging journey that will extend well beyond 2020.

The blogging landscape has changed considerably so it’s only fair that my opinions reflect some of those changes as well. 

Imagine trying to get something to work so many times but it keeps on eluding you.

You want it sooo bad but it seems like no matter how hard you try, it keeps getting even harder.

All the while you’re seeing other people achieve the same success you’re aspiring for.

You’re doing the same things they’re doing (at least you think so).

You’re learning from the best of the best. 

You’ve invested your sweat and tears into this project but you’re not making any progress.

So what happens next?

Do you quit or Do you pivot?…

Welcome to my blogging journey.

Chapter 1: Watching Others Grow

starting my blogging journey
The image made sense. I think?

I’m not sure about you but I enjoy reading success stories.

Not the braggy type but a well-thought-out story that shows the amount of time and effort it took for someone to accomplish a particular goal.

In the blogging world, these are commonly referred to as Income Reports.

I’ve read countless income reports over the years.

I’m sure you have as well so I won’t be going into a lot of specifics here but the one issue I have with most income reports is they don’t tell us a true story of how they begun.

Somehow it seems like it’s almost borderline taboo for any blogger to talk about their (initial) struggles and what it really took for them to become successful.

Admittedly even as I typed this up, I wasn’t sure if this would be something anyone would find interesting.

Of course there are a few exceptions here and there but those stories are far from the norm (at least based on what I’ve seen).

But I think there is a time and place for a good origin story even if it ends up resonating with only 1 person.

So why Am I Sharing My Blogging Journey?

For 2 reasons:

  1. This is my own starting point. Or more like a placeholder for me to remember the humble beginnings of this blog. (I understand it’s not all about me but I think some people may share the same perspective).
  2. If you’re a new blogger or are struggling to grow your blog then it’s always good to see a story you can relate to and learn how to persevere instead of giving up. I know this will be helpful to you.

My goal is to hopefully show you that despite the tough times you may be facing right now, it’s definitely possible for you to accomplish the things you’ve dreamed of.

I have a full-time job myself and the burnout is real.

I know building this blog is the perfect opportunity for me to cut down on those hours and get some much needed relief without necessarily worrying about living paycheck to paycheck.

I’m sure you feel the same too.

My “WHY”: I believe every busy professional can live the life of their dreams without all the work burnout by building a successful side-hustle.

I WANT to help you do so.

This story may not be perfect and I may not be able to properly convey everything I want to at the moment but bear with me as I ramble through this post.

Chapter 2: The Ugly Side of Blogging

See! Told you it made sense.

Launching your own blog is always an exciting feeling. Especially when you consider all the opportunities that lie ahead.

It’s the kind of stuff we all dream about.

Usually what happens is we hear about other bloggers’ success stories, we become intrigued and we dive into this never ending cycle of research.

You read just about everything you can on the subject, watch YouTube videos, sign up on a hundred different mailing lists, listen to motivational podcasts, and your to-do list seems like it’ll never end.

Basically you try to get your hands on just about as much free information as is humanly possible.

When you find out that isn’t enough, you purchase a few courses here and there to satisfy the hunger for more knowledge.

Either that or you’re hoping to find some magical solution.

But you’re willing to learn more and you’re trying to figure out the best approach to start your blogging journey on the right footing.

Up until this point you really haven’t done anything wrong.

There’s nothing wrong with learning from and gleaning inspiration from other successful bloggers.

So after going through all of that, you finally muster up the courage and decide it’s time to get the ball rolling.

You launch your blog then you get hit with the harsh reality – It’s not as easy as it seems.

“But hey, that one blogger mentioned they made 6 figures in 3 months. Let me figure out what they did.”

So that’s exactly what happens.

You ignore the date of the article, go back to the drawing board and it’s back to learning as much as you can again.

New players start to show up as you dive deep into your research and before you know it, you have so much information that it seems like certain points are starting to contradict each other.

Long story short, your first attempt at blogging doesn’t go quite as planned.

But you’re resilient so you chalk that up to whatever reason you come up with and decide it’s better to scrap that plan and start from scratch.

You go through the cycle a second time… then a third… a fourth… up until the point where you call it quits and decide blogging isn’t for you.

Just in case you’re wondering, that’s the exact blogging journey I’ve been through before.

And now that it’s out here for everyone to see, I can sort of get a sense why anyone would choose not to talk about it.

It’s not a sexy topic but reality is that’s the same cycle most aspiring bloggers go through.

The problem is nobody talks about it.

There's a subtle theme here...

Nobody wants to talk about their blogging journey in its budding stages.

We’re so obsessed with everything else.

How do I get the perfect design for my blog?

How do I get more traffic?

How do I get more subscribers?

How do I make more money?

I’d be the first to let you know I’m guilty of all of those things.

Don’t get me wrong, they all play a role in building a successful blog but on countless occasions I find myself losing sight of the reason why I ever decided to get started in the first place.

I wish this was the part where I told you how I went through all the tough times and finally got to the end of the tunnel.

The part where I was sharing my success stories with you.

I told you at the beginning I love a good success story. 

This isn’t it. At least not yet.

The only story I have here is if you plan on being successful, you need to keep trying.

But if you REALLY want to be successful, you need to figure out where things went wrong and work on fixing them.

Which means you need to embrace the start of your journey and realize it may not be as beautiful as you had hoped it’d be.

That’s the tough part.

Chapter 3: Starting From Scratch

my blogging journey and why I started this blog
Get the theme now?

This isn’t my first attempt at launching a blog but this is the first time in a while where I finally feel like this is the right one for me.

Not perfect. Just a gut feeling.

Of course time will tell.

There’s a quote that goes “Figure out what fuels your joy then do lots of that.”

I believe this is it.

There’s still a lot that needs to happen between now and where I eventually see this blog headed.

I need to figure out my own blogging voice, I need to work on creating content that really interests you but above everything else, I need to learn how to shut out the noise and focus on helping others.

Two things:

  • Distractions
  • and Comparisons

I always find myself in this loop where my focus has either drifted away or I’m trying to compare myself to other bloggers.

I know I shouldn’t do it yet it keeps happening.

Don’t be like me. I don’t recommend you fall into the same cycle.

It isn’t helpful at all.

To be fair, I understand nobody is perfect.

It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.

That last point is ultimately the main reason why some people succeed and so many people get nowhere.

Here’s your warning: It’ll be a recurrent theme on this blog.

Chapter 4: The Challenge

facing the challenges of any blogging journey
Okay, now you have to get it!

I’m going to let you know right now there’s A LOT of work that goes into your blogging journey.

Like a lot of it.

Don’t be fooled by anyone who tells you there are some quick tactics to make money online.

No such tactics exist and if you’re new to the blogging world just know things are a lot tougher than they used to be.

It’s an even bigger challenge trying to grow a blog with a full-time job.

That’s exactly what I’m trying to accomplish and here I am in the worst possible niche I could’ve ever selected at this point.

At least that’s what a lot of bloggers say.

How dare I start a blog in the ever so competitive blogging niche without any “street cred”?

Why would anyone listen to me?

Remember that quote from earlier?

“Figure out what fuels your joy then do lots of that.”

I think this is the perfect opportunity for me to serve and provide value to others while doing something that I enjoy.

I’d be naive to even remotely assume that this will be easy.

But the way I see it, how can I tell you to pursue your dreams and passions when I’m shying away from mine?

I understand this in itself is a journey I’ll have to embrace but there are a lot of things I can learn down the road that will be of value to the people I share them with.

I’m no guru, I’m not perfect but I’m willing to take on the challenge – AT MY OWN PACE.

I can’t afford to let distractions get in the way and I certainly shouldn’t be comparing myself to other bloggers who already do this as their full-time job.

It may take longer than I anticipate but that’s okay.

Chapter 5: Embracing The Journey

embracing my blogging journey
It's the...

Sometimes in life, we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey.

That’s why income reports are so popular. They show us the finish line.

There’s nothing wrong with striving for similar goals but if your focus is only on the end goal, you’ll miss so much of the experience and everything it took for you to get there.

If you truly want to embrace the journey, you have to also embrace your current situation.

Start with what you have now then work on improving and growing.

That’s exactly what I plan on doing.

I won’t claim to have all the answers and if that’s a deterrent, I totally understand.

However I plan on learning, growing and continuing to help anyone who is on a similar blogging journey.

I talk about not comparing myself to others but at the same time I can’t completely ignore them.

If I plan on being relevant in such a competitive niche then I need to pay attention to what other successful bloggers are doing.

Like I told you earlier… there’s nothing wrong with learning from and gleaning inspiration from other successful bloggers.

That’s something I need to do because at the end of the day, this blog isn’t about me.

If no one is reading my blog posts then it doesn’t matter.

If no one finds my content valuable then it doesn’t matter.

If I can’t help anyone then none of this matters and of course the gurus would’ve been right.

I can’t predict the future but I anticipate there will be a lot of changes down the road.

This page and this blog in general are meant to serve as my living progress report.

To share my results, both good and bad, and all the different tips and strategies that can help you build your own blogging journey.

There are 3 major milestones I want to accomplish over the next 90 days (Jun – Aug)

  1. Have at least 12 Guest Posts on sites with a DA 30+ or higher
  2. Get at least 100 Email Subscribers
  3. Grow my Blog Traffic to at least 25K pageviews/month

Allow me to break down each of those milestones and why I think they’re important.

Is that okay with you?

Alright let’s look at the different stages.

#1 - 12 Guest Posts in 90 Days

Guest posting is one of the best ways to increase quality traffic to your website and improve your brand authority.

If you’re not familiar with guest posting, it basically means you write some content for another site, they post it on their blog and have some links that point back to your blog.

Those are known as backlinks.

Google loves sites with high quality backlinks and uses it as one of its metrics to determine whether they should rank your site higher or not.

Keyword is Quality backlinks.

That’s why I want to target sites with a higher Domain Authority (DA) than mine.

Think of it as an endorsement of sorts.

Basically when a site with a higher DA links back to you, Google looks at that link and says well if the big guy is giving him a vote of confidence let’s take a look at his stuff and see how we can boost him higher.

There’s a lot more that comes into play but that’s the general concept.

Since I’m in an extremely competitive niche, I want to try and get my blog out there for more visibility, relevance and of course, authority.

12 guest posts may seem like a small number in 90 days but between the research, blogger outreach and content creation, there’s a ton of work involved.

That’s not including the fact that I need to keep this blog updated as well and I still have my full-time job.

The point being I need to be realistic about my goals.

#2 - 100 Email Subscribers

My main focus for the blog in its initial stages is to create cornerstone quality content.

Content I believe anyone who lands on this blog will really appreciate.

If I can provide tons of value first with the help of quality content then the more likely it is for someone to subscribe to my list.

That said, I know how important it is for me to grow my email list right away.

I just want to make sure I get quality leads and that I’m truly able to help anyone who joins my community.

It’s easy to say you want a huge email list but there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with it.

People sign up to Email lists for one of 2 reasons:

  1. They expect something of value from you.
  2. They expect you to help them when they’re in need.

I want to… No, scratch that.

I NEED TO be able to properly cater to everyone on my list while juggling everything else I need to.

It’s what I signed up for.

That’s why I think an Email List of 100 people will be perfect for now.

It not only allows me to build a close-knit relationship with my subscribers but I can also get lots of feedback on the things I need to improve on as the blog grows.

Here's My Subtle Ask

They say if you don’t ask then you won’t get anything.

So here’s my ask.

If you’re interested in being a part of my Email List, I’d be extremely happy to have you aboard.

That’s where I’ll be sharing some of my exclusive tips and other resourceful content outside of the blog.

Plus it’s the perfect opportunity for us to interact 1 to 1 and talk about any blogging issues you may be dealing with.

If any of that sounds good, Simply fill out the form below. 🙂

#3 - 25000 Pageviews/month

Why 25K?

To be honest it’s simply because it’s a number that’s been floating out there and has long been considered somewhat a “golden” measure of decent blog traffic for many new bloggers.

Also it gets me a step closer to applying to some of the major Ad Networks like Mediavine.

I’m still on the fence about ads but I’m considering using them to monetize this site.

So yeah 25,000 pageviews isn’t some kind of immaculate number. There’s no special story behind it.

The tricky part though is getting to that number of pageviews.

When you’re a new blogger, the best way you can increase your blog traffic on your own comes down to the following steps:

  • Create quality content.
  • Create lots of quality content.
  • Create lots of quality content consistently.
  • Promote the heck out of all of that content.

The more content you have and the more eyeballs you can get on said content, the higher your pageviews.

The quality of those pageviews also matters but that’s a topic for another day.

The reason I said it’ll be tricky is because I know it’ll be tough for me to churn out as much content as I need to.

90 days is a short amount of time and the competition is really stiff.

For this strategy to be really effective, I’ll need to post on average at least once/week or more and make sure I’m doing my best to promote all of that content.

That’s with everything else I’ve mentioned.

I’m considering outsourcing some of the work but that’s still a running debate.

The plan I have for now is to post twice a month (<- yes, you read that right) and focus on Pinterest growth.

Most experienced bloggers will cringe at the idea of only 2 blog posts a month but I know that’s what’s feasible for me – at least for the time being.

You know, realistic goals.

And if I’m being honest, Quality is better than Quantity.

So that’s where my focus is.

Why Pinterest?

Because SEO takes much longer so I’m going to rely on social media traffic for now.

However Pinterest isn’t what it used to be either.

They recently made some changes (late 2019) and gone are the days where you could just pin some stuff and hope one of them would go viral.

If you didn’t know, Pinterest is just as much of a search engine like Google is.

Or should I say used to be.

Anyways, a lot of the changes are happening because Pinterest is trying to build on its shopping features.

Much to the detriment of social and organic traffic.

Not that it isn’t helpful anymore but we obviously need to adapt to the changes that are happening.

You can’t join a thousand Group boards and hope that your number of monthly views will suddenly skyrocket.

There’s always that one anomaly (I have a funny story for another day) but the only thing that works right now is well optimized pins.

Geez thanks for making things even harder for us Pinterest.

So I’m not saying Pinterest doesn’t have it’s own challenges but it’s a good place to start.

**UPDATE**

As of June 15th 2020, Mediavine increased its minimum requirement to apply to 50,000 monthly sessions up from the previous 25,000 sessions.

I’m certain the news shocked a lot of bloggers who had their eyes set on Mediavine but it’s a classic tale of why you shouldn’t keep all you eggs in one basket.

The 25k goal still isn’t a bad one but if you’re relying on a single strategy to monetize your blog then updates like this will always be hurtful.

Diversification is very important.

You can read about the new Mediavine requirements here.

Chapter 6: Making Dreams Come True

It's the... plants.

Phew.

There’s a lot of work ahead but guess what?

That’s the fun part.

Now if I just sit here and do nothing then all of this would’ve been another hopeful dream.

So this is the point where I need to separate Massive Action from Passive Action.

Is it scary?

Yes it is!

I have absolutely no idea what will happen over the next 90 days because nothing in the digital marketing world is guaranteed.

Part of me was hesitant to put any of those goals out there but here they are and now I have to hold myself accountable and give my best effort to make sure I can accomplish them all. 

Like I said at the beginning, my goal is to show you that all of this is possible and help you along the way.

But I don’t want you to feel like you need to do everything in one swoop.

Break everything down into smaller bite-sized chunks because it makes them that much easier to tackle.

And with every step you complete, you’re that much closer to your ultimate goal.

I’m going to end my ramble here because I feel like I’ve done waaay too much talking about myself.

I did a rough count and I referenced myself close to 200 times throughout this post!

That’s probably a little bit too selfless.

I’ll let you know right now that should NEVER happen in a post that’s intended to help someone else.

Remember your content should be aimed at your audience and not about yourself.

So forgive me if it seems like I made this all about me.

I just wanted to share some insight about the existence of this blog and the direction I plan on taking it.

The fact that you’ve read up until this point really means a lot.

I hope you’ve found some helpful pointers on here which you can apply to your own blogging journey.

So stay tuned for what’s to come next and be sure to join my mailing list so you can be the first to know about any updates or other exciting stuff I have coming.

Oh I’d also love for you to leave any comments, questions or other ideas in the comments section.

If you have any particular aspects of your blogging journey you’d like to share then I’d be glad to hear those as well.

Before You Leave...

I can’t talk about helping you then end up not giving you some kind of guidance.

So before you take off, here are a few posts I believe will be perfect for you.

If you haven’t started your own blog, then this post is for you.

If you want to learn how to make money online then you’ll enjoy this one.

If you’ve launched your blog and want to learn all about SEO and all its benefits then this is the perfect post for you.

Thanks again for reading this post.

my blogging journey

2 thoughts on “My Blogging Journey: The Truth About Blogging (2020)”

  1. Hey Terence,
    I can’t possibly tell how valuable your post is to me. Trust me- it’s like that I’ve read my own story in your shoes…
    I’ve been trying to set up a profitable blog for nearly two years, read hundreds or maybe thousands of success stories…but nothing in the world I’ve achieved yet.
    So many times I wanted to give up, but the overwhelming financial issues keep me stick to this thing called ‘blogging’.
    Yet, deep inside my heart I’ve a feeling that I’d be successful soon and I feel that your post gave me a turning point. Thanks a lot and I hope you’d help me in this blogging journey of mine.

    Reply
    • Hi Indrani,

      I’m glad you found the post valuable and relatable. The feelings you just expressed are the reason why I felt it was important to write it.

      You keep coming back to your blog for a reason so that should be your motivation to not give up.

      And please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

      I’m here to help.

      Reply

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