One thing I wish I had starting out as a new blogger was a blogging guide to help navigate the online world.
I’ve said it many times but it’s true, blogging has completely changed my life. When I started Believe in a Budget in 2015, I was super determined to learn as much as I could about blogging so I could grow my site.
Within a year, I became a full-time blogger and launched my Pinterest business. It’s been a journey and while I’m grateful for it, I’ve become really passionate about helping other bloggers succeed as well.
I know first hand that blogging can be overwhelming. On one end, you know you can get amazing results. On the other, you don’t know where to start or what to focus on most for the best ROI.
90-Day Blogging Guide
I decided to create this blogging guide to help newbies and even those who have a few months to a year of blogging under their belt but want to get serious about treating their blog as a business while covering a topic they love.
Want to accomplish more in your first 90 days than most new bloggers accomplish in a year? Here’s what you need to do to jumpstart your success.
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I Set Up My Blog, Now What? – Your First 30 Days
If you’ve gone through my free tutorial to help you set up your own self-hosted blog, you know that’s the easy part.
Starting a self-hosted blog with its own domain name is a must if you want to be profitable.
I loved blogging as a hobby, but I also wanted to make money so I went with the self-hosted route.
I ended up making $13,000 during my first 6 months of blogging so definitely set your blog up correctly and don’t skip this step.
Once you have your blog all set up and know what you’re doing to talk about, it’s time to set goals, you may have thought about your reasons for starting a blog and what you want to achieve, but you want to make it official.
Setting goals for your blog will help you narrow down what you want to achieve and allow you to stay focused on the price.
What do you want your page views to look like in a month? A year? How many email subscribers do you want? How will you help others with your content?
These are all important things to think about and you can use this Goal Setting Workbook to narrow down your ambitions and to help you stay on track.
This is a free resource I used when I first started my blog and it made a huge difference. When you’re blogging with a full-time job, it’s important that you use your spare time wisely and actively work toward reaching your blogging goals.
Once you have your goals set, it’s time to start writing. Brainstorm some ideas for blog posts based on the categories you plan to cover on your blog.
A lot of bloggers ask me how often they should post content in the beginning. There is no definitive amount, but I say to value quality over quantity. Also, do what makes you feel good and be consistent.
If you can only blog once a week or once every other week, make sure your content is high-quality, detailed and helpful. That’s the most important thing.
Plus, it’s important to allow yourself just as much time to promote your content as well.
If you need help coming up with content ideas, here’s a free list containing 120 awesome blog post ideas.
Consider brainstorming ideas for your blog with a journal. That way, you can brain dump and jot down ideas as they come to you.
Here are a few other things you can do during the first 30 days of starting your blog:
Set up Google Analytics – Google Analytics is a free tool that will help you track how many visitors are coming to your site each day. Over time, you can even use GA to learn more about your audience like where they’re located, their age, gender, and interests. This will help you write more content that appeals to them
Set up Google Adsense – If you don’t mind having ads on your blog, I’d recommend setting up Google Adsense. This will allow you to earn money whenever someone clicks on or views a relevant at on your site. It’s free and easy to use. Once your blog grows, you can switch over to other, more profitable ad networks like Ad Thrive and Mediavine.
Promote Your Content – I’d recommend promoting your content as soon as you start publishing on your blog. You can promote on your personal social media profiles, or you can create separate social media profiles for your blog and start following others bloggers, influencers, and readers in your niche.
I Have Goals, Content, and a Clear Focus – Your Next 30 Days
Before you hit the 60-day blogging mark, there are a few important things you’ll need to do. At this stage in my blogging journey, I was primarily focused on getting more traffic to my site and growing readership.
If you have amazing content and no one reads your blog, it doesn’t matter. This is why growing traffic is a must. A few of my favorite ways to organically grow traffic have been:
- Guest posting on other sites
- Commenting on other blogs
- Promoting my blog posts on Pinterest
Guest posting is when you write a blog post for another site often including a link back to your site. Many established bloggers will allow you to guest post on their site.
The key is to make sure your content is great and can help their readers. You can check out this Guest Posting Guide for new bloggers to help you learn how to grow your blog readership with quality guest posts.
Commenting on other blogs is fun and a great way to interact with the community. It can also open the door to partnerships with other bloggers.
I generally had no expectations when I commented on other blogs in the beginning but some bloggers actually commented back and we got to know each other better.
This allowed me to establish a personal connection which made it easier when I wanted to pitch them for a guest post.
One of my other favorite ways to boost traffic on your blog is with Pinterest. I didn’t start seriously using Pinterest when I started my blog and I regretted that.
Pinterest is a social platform like Facebook and Twitter but it’s also more of a search engine. You can use it to promote your content and get page views.
When I first started my blog, I was getting anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 page views per month.
Once summer rolled around, I got serious about using Pinterest and it helped me boost my page views to 40,000 per month.
Pretty soon, my monthly traffic had boomed to 200,000 page views thanks for Pinterest. You can check out my full case study with screenshots here.
They key to my blog traffic skyrocketing was my Pinterest strategy.
- I created high-quality Pinterest images for each blog post
- Changed my Pinterest profile to a business account and started creating boards to pin to
- Joined group boards on Pinterest
- Signed up for Tailwind – I pay roughly $10 per month for this service (I use the annual plan which is cheaper) and it helps me schedule out my pins in advance so I don’t have to pin manually
- Joined a few Tailwind tribes to promote my content even more and pin other blogger’s content as well
If you want to learn more about crushing it on Pinterest and take advantage of the exact strategy I used to grow my traffic on Believe in a Budget, I recommend you check out my Pinterest Presence program.
If you need help creating quality images for Pinterest, check out these custom pin templates I created to make it super easy for you!
Add this to your list during your first 60 days of blogging:
Set up an email list – I can’t stress how important it is to have an email list. Having a social media following is great, but you don’t have control over the algorithms that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram use to show your followers your content.
Your email list is yours and you control what your audience sees and when. Having an email list is also a great way to serve your blog readers on a deeper level and market to them when you’re trying to monetize your blog.
Even if you don’t have many readers yet, it’s still best to set up a form on your site so people can sign up to receive email notifications from you.
I recommend new bloggers use Convert Kit or Constant Contact to collect emails and manage their list when they’re just starting out. I actually wrote a blog post about Constant Contact and why I like to use it, and you can check that out here.
My Content is Great and I’m Getting Blog Traffic. Let’s Monetize – Your 90-day Stretch
Now, let’s talk about making money with your blog. You can definitely monetize your blog within the first 90 days and why shouldn’t you?
It all comes down to having a proven strategy. Once you start producing killer content and promoting it online, you’re going to get readers.
These readers will engage with your content, find it helpful, and start to trust you. This means they’ll also trust your advice and recommendations.
Do you ever wish you could get paid to refer a friend to a product or service your love?
You can do this on your blog with affiliate marketing.
An affiliate link is similar to a referral link. It’s a custom trackable link to a product or service. When you place the link in a blog post and someone clicks on it and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.
Within a few months of starting my blog, I was comfortable with telling someone about a book I read, a blog theme I used, or a product I used to help me reach a particular goal and promoting it as an affiliate link on my site.
What I love about affiliate marketing is that it’s a potentially passive way to make money with your blog.
As a blogger, you do need to have integrity when promoting affiliates. I personally don’t share a product or service with my audience unless I truly trust and believe in it.
This makes it easy to refer readers to things that will truly help them so it’s really a win-win. Try signing up for a few affiliate programs for products or services you like or use. Be sure to read the rules, then add your links to a few relevant blog posts on your site.
You may even want to send out an email to your email list discussing the products in more detail and offering to answer any questions people may have.
Finally, I’d recommend checking out this free resource, 7 Ways to Boost Your Blog Income Overnight, to help you find active ways to monetize your blog.
How to Be a Productive Blogger
So by now you may be thinking, this 90-day blogging guide to jumpstart blogging success is great, but how will I find time to do all these things?
Yes, blogging does require some of your time, but if you’re serious about turning your blog into a profitable side business or even going full-time, you’ll prioritize and get on a schedule.
Here’s what my daily schedule looked like as part-time blogger with a full-time job.
As you can see, I did a few key things to remain productive and grow my blog while still juggling a job and other responsibilities:
- I got up early to work on my blog before going to work
- I batched tasks that were going to help me reach my goals like creating blog images for Pinterest, scheduling pins on Tailwind, and applying for affiliate programs, etc
- Utilized downtime on evenings and weekends to dedicate to blogging but set specific hours to do so in order to protect my work-life balance
- Set goals for each day and made a to-do list the night before so I had a clear idea of what to focus on
One of the best ways to organize your goals and blogging schedule is by planning out your actions with a planner. I've been using the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley and I love it!
By taking the right steps to grow my blog and committing to productivity, I was able to:
- Grow my blog from 1K to 200K+ monthly pageviews
- Earn a REAL income turn blogging
- Turn one of my side hustles, into my own full-time job! (also crazy!)
You can do the same! Whether you’re just starting your blog or are ready to recommit to blogging success, take action with the steps in this guide and start getting results.
Sound off in the comments if you have any questions!