What to Focus on During Your First Month of Blogging

 

Let me guess. You landed here because you just started a blog and you’re wondering what to focus on during your first month of blogging. Pretty close guess?

 

Well, fear not, my friend. I’ve got your back!

 

And I’m about to paint a crystal-clear picture of everything that you need to do (and avoid doing) during this first month of your blogging career.

 

If you follow this guide, it will help you to stay focused on the right things and avoid a lot of mistakes. But it will also help you to grow your audience and start making money a lot quicker.

 

Let’s get to it!

 

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WHAT TO FOCUS ON DURING YOUR FIRST MONTH OF BLOGGING

 

I’m going to start this party with a little warning: we cover a lot of ground in this blog post and not everyone is going to accomplish all of these things within their very first month of blogging. And that’s okay!

 

The goal here is to focus on these things in the beginning phase of your blogging career. If you want or need to take things a little slower, that’s perfectly fine and normal. But these are the main things you should focus on during your first month of blogging AND BEYOND.

 

1. Choosing a target audience.

 

If you want to grow your blog and earn money from it, you’ll need blog readers. The blog readers that enjoy and benefit from your content are your TARGET AUDIENCE.

 

Figuring out who they are is probably the most important thing you’ll do in the early days of your blogging career. And ideally, you will choose a target audience before you even write your first blog post (because you want all of your blog posts to be useful to those people).

 

So, what target audience will you choose?

 

I always recommend choosing a focus that combines your passion and your experience. Think about who can benefit from the things you love to talk about, teach, and share. Those people are your target audience.

 

Example: a new blogger is passionate about minimalism. They successfully adjusted their family to a minimalist lifestyle, and they love sharing their tips and experiences with other families that want to do the same.

 

They ultimately decide they want to help moms with small children embrace and benefit from minimalism too.

 

Boom – target audience found.

 

This is one thing that every new blogger should focus on during their first month of blogging – defining your own target audience.

 

At the end of the day, it’s alllll about your readers and what they want and need.

 

2. Setting up your blog the right way.

 

I always recommend defining your target audience before you even think about setting up your actual blog.

 

There is really no point in setting up the blog if you don’t know what kind of content, posts, and pages you’re going to add to the blog menu. So, if you’re just getting started, spend a little time narrowing down your focus and your target audience. Then, move on to setting up the blog.

 

If you haven’t set up your blog yet, I recommend working through this ‘start a blog’ guide. It’s extremely detailed and it will help you do things the right way (and avoid a lot of mistakes). But here’s a quick summary of some of the important stuff.

 

Get a domain name.

 

Be sure to choose a domain name that makes sense for your niche. Make sure your domain name is easy to understand and easy to spell. And if possible, try to include a keyword that your target audience might be searching for. You can often purchase a domain name for less than $10 using Namecheap.

 

Get hosting.

 

Website hosting is an important investment because it allows you to create your own self-hosted blog. If you use Siteground, the hosting company that I use, it’ll cost about $50 for your first year. If you prefer to pay monthly, then Lyrical Host is another great hosting option.

 

Your website host provides the virtual plot of land where your blog will live, so it’s super important! A domain name and website hosting are the two main investments you’ll need to make during your first month of blogging.

 

Download WordPress .org.

 

Once you purchase hosting, you’ll be able to download WordPress .org through your host dashboard. This is the software that you’ll use to build the look and layout of your blog. It’s also where you’ll write and publish your blog posts (cuz you’re a legit blogger now babe)!

 

I cannot recommend self-hosted WordPress enough.

 

Although there can be a learning curve for people that have never used it, it’s the most versatile, robust option…and it’s the only way to actually OWN your blog. Plus, the software is FREE when you purchase website hosting, so you really can’t beat that!

 

** Side note: if this information is feeling overwhelming, then I recommend pinning this for later and checking out my free ‘Start a Blog’ guide first. It breaks up the blog setup process into 5 days and short modules that are easy to digest. If you’re keeping up just fine, then let’s move forward!

 

Choose a theme.

 

After you download WordPress and get familiar with your dashboard, you’ll be able to choose and customize your own theme. There are free and paid themes, and you’ll find all the theme info you need in the free training we linked above.

 

Your website theme is essentially the template that provides the look and layout of your website.

 

Personally, I found that finding the perfect theme was the hardest and most frustrating part of this whole process. It was seriously like finding the perfect outfit for a first date – stressful!

 

I hope that isn’t your experience, but if it is, I recommend just choosing something SIMPLE to get you started, as you get familiar with WordPress. You can always change the theme later! A few good free theme options to get you started: Astra, Ashe, or Simplified Lite.

 

Once your blog setup is done, you can move on to THING # 3.

 

3. Creating great content.

 

Alrighty! We’re still in our first month of blogging and we have a clearly defined target audience and a self-hosted website. Whoop, whoop!

 

Now it’s time to jump into the fun stuff – creating content.

 

You probably wanted to start blogging because you love to write or tell stories or share helpful info, and now, you get to cash in on that LOVE! Since you already have a solid understanding of WHO your blog readers are going to be and what they need from you, this part is going to be a breeze.

 

The most important takeaway here: a good blogger will always create content that is helpful or relevant to their target audience.

 

Period.

 

Use your voice and share your experiences, but the FOCUS of your content should be about your reader and what they want to take away from your blog.

 

If you’re a food blogger, and your target audience is busy moms trying to get healthy meals on the table for their kids, then you need to focus on providing that kind of content for them. If you venture off into bullet journals and travels and potty-training kids, you’re going to lose a lot of those targeted readers (because they didn’t come here for those topics). They came here to find easy, healthy recipes!

 

It’s also important to make sure your content is interesting and engaging.

 

There are enough mediocre blogs out there. We have to be better than basic – we have to create content that is engaging enough to keep people on the page and keep them coming back for more.

 

How much content should you be creating during your first few months?

 

There isn’t a hard and fast rule on this one, but many studies have shown that the more often you post QUALITY CONTENT, the faster your blog traffic grows. So, my personal rule is this: quality over quantity, but aim for at least one blog post each week while you’re building up a solid library of content.

 

4. Learning SEO basics.

 

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the strategic process of optimizing your website and blog posts so that search engines can find your blog and rank you in search results.

 

And that’s a fancy way of saying: if you want people to find YOUR blog, you have to learn and implement SEO strategies.

 

Implementing SEO strategies can be complex, and it takes some time and effort. It also takes search engines several months to give your website any SEO recognition.

 

Our goal is not to learn anything and everything about SEO during our first month of blogging. Our goal is to learn the SEO basics that will help us write blog content that makes Google happy.

 

There are many free and affordable tools to help you get started. Two sites that I love to learn from are MOZ and BackLinko (both full of free information).

 

And if you can make the small investment, I highly recommend this SEO book to learn how to optimize every blog post for search engines. The book also goes into detail about what you should do before and after publishing your blog posts, to maximize your reach (super detailed and action packed)!

 

Remember, you don’t need to master SEO during this first month. You just need to learn some basics, so that you can write better blog posts and learn what Google expects from bloggers.

 

5. Learning Pinterest.

 

If you’re brand new to blogging, you might not have heard too much about Pinterest marketing yet. But if you’ve spent more than two minutes in my blogging group, you’ve probably heard a lot about the power of Pinterest!

 

Most people view Pinterest as a social media site where you can organize craft ideas, find meal plans, or pin pretty pictures to beauty and travel boards.

 

It definitely is all of those things, and that’s why everyone loves it! But it’s more than that too.

 

It’s also a search engine where people are looking for things to use, try, make, and buy (craft ideas for their kids, crock pot recipes, potty training tips, unique party supplies to make or buy, etc). Bloggers can create pin images that lead back to their blog posts. When people go to Pinterest and click on that pin image, it brings targeted blog traffic back to your site (yeah baby)!

 

Although this is a simplified example of how the process works, Pinterest can be an absolute game changer for your blog, if you learn how to use it properly. And there is no better time than the present!

 

I highly recommend learning Pinterest BASICS during your first month blogging. Pinterest basics involve setting up a free business account, creating a profile, creating some Pinterest boards, and learning how to pin content to those boards.

 

Here is a tutorial for uploading your pin images to Pinterest.

 

If it’s too overwhelming, then save it for month two! But the sooner you learn and implement SEO strategies and Pinterest marketing strategies, the sooner you will benefit from highly targeted, organic traffic!

 

This FREE Pinterest course can help you get started.

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT FOCUS ON DURING YOUR FIRST MONTH BLOGGING

 

Now we know the 5 most important things to focus on during those first month or so as a new blogger. Things 1-3 should be absolute priority, and things 4 and 5 should follow as soon as possible (definitely within the first few months of launching your blog).

 

But there are also a few things you should NOT worry about during this first month of blogging, and I want to touch on those things too.

 

Building an email list.

 

I wouldn’t worry about starting up an email list just yet.

 

If you already have one, that’s totally fine. But if you don’t, then seriously don’t even sweat it. There are more important things to focus on right now.

 

Buying a theme.

 

There is nothing wrong with buying a theme if you WANT one. However, it is not a priority during the first few months of blogging and it’s not an essential investment until you are making money and bringing in traffic.

 

There are plenty of free themes that can hold you over while you learn to use WordPress and learn to master SEO and Pinterest.

 

Setting up an Instagram account.

 

Many bloggers get overwhelmed because they’re trying to be everywhere all at once. Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat – how can we possibly keep up with it all?!!

 

Most of us just CANNOT… and that’s okay.

 

Grab the social media handles for your blog, set the accounts to private, and save them for later. After you have a solid foundation for your blog, you can think more about a social media strategy.

 

Learning Tailwind.

 

Tailwind is an automation tool that you can use for Pinterest and Instagram. It’s an awesome service, and it can save you a LOT of time. I use it, I love it, and I’m pretty sure I’d go crazy without it… HOWEVER, I think it’s best to learn basic Pinterest strategies before you invest in an automation tool like Tailwind.

 

Buying courses.

 

I have created many courses. I have purchased many courses over the years too. Some of them were extremely helpful, and some of them I never even opened. But I don’t really recommend investing in paid courses during your first month blogging (trust me, it just isn’t time yet).

 

There will come a time when advanced training is absolutely necessary to take your blog to the next level. And there are a few wonderful tools and resources that I absolutely think you should invest in during your first year of blogging… but during this first month, there are very few things that you actually need to spend money on.

 

The only things I would even consider spending money on during these first few months:

 

Domain name.

Website hosting.

Legal pages.

An SEO training manual.

 

** The only other thing I would maaaaaaaybe consider is a Pinterest pin design course, and only if you are eager to maximize your Pinterest reach. This isn’t essential for everyone in the beginning, so consider your own goals and niche first. But this is one thing that I do wish I had invested in sooner – because my graphic design skills suuuuuuuck.

 

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

 

That first month of blogging can be exciting, frustrating, overwhelming, and empowering all at once! You’ll learn a lot, you’ll write a lot, you’ll share a lot … and you might even shed a few tears (I know I did).

 

But once you get past the hurdle of being a beginner blogger and figuring this stuff out, you’ll find your own groove and you’ll fall in love with the whole process.

 

Always remember: when we’re trying to grow a money-making blog, we have to create great content that is useful to our target audience! Lots and lots and lots of great content. Serve your audience, optimize the heck out of your content, and rock the socks off this blogging thang!

 

Be sure to pin this baby for later!

3 Comments

  1. Kevin Flowers

    February 13, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    This is such valuable information!!! You nailed it and made it simple enough for new blogger!

    I’ve been doing this since 2018 and I still see people asking these questions you tackled here! I saved this to my favorites and I’ll pass along to any new blogger I run into that wants to know how to start!

    Thanks for such an awesome and complete post!

    1. Cate

      February 14, 2020 at 11:50 pm

      Thanks for reading and sharing! I appreciate you so much!

  2. Christina

    February 17, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Yes I agree! This was a wonderfully simple breakdown of what to focus on in the beginning. I have been blogging since 2011, but I used blogger all that time. Within the past 2 months I have moved to WordPress and it has been stressful. I want to just get my hands in everything (basically I am doing all your do not do list 🤪). I am going to focus the next few weeks on really getting to know SEO. I used to receive lots of organic traffic but there have been so many changes over the years. Plus now moving to WordPress and using Grammarly I realize my content lacks lots of stuff. Thank you so much for your help Cate! Your information has been so valuable to me and I truly appreciate it!

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