What I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

Here’s what I learned in my first year of blogging. I made $13,000 in online income from my blog, all in my spare time.

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Let me start off by sharing what a difference a year makes! I created Believe In A Budget with no clue what I was doing, ha! 

Now a year later, I’m still here and have big plans for the new year.

I started blogging because I was so inspired by other bloggers.

The best investment I made in my blog when I started

While I was struggling to get out of small credit card debt (which is now gone thanks to side hustling), I wasn’t comfortable talking about my finances person to person.

After doing an online search about getting out of debt, I discovered the personal finance world where others were documenting and sharing their getting out of debt journey.

After months of working up the nerve and confidence, I made the decision to purchase my domain name and start this website.

I had no idea how to even go about this.

So, I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching the order to do things in, where to purchase from, etc.

I also had to figure out how to use my small budget to get everything.

Guess what – starting a blog is not that expensive! 

If you are thinking about starting a blog, this tutorial will help you start a blog today. You’ll also get a FREE domain name for a year!

Within my first year of blogging, I was able to quit my day job and blog full time. I am really glad I took a chance and started a blog!

I invested a small amount of money to start my blog using Bluehost, and I made $13,000 in 6 months of blogging. That’s the best return of investment ever! 

I’m really glad about every decision I made about starting a blog.

The best blogging tip I learned

The BEST decision was choosing to self-host my website on WordPress.org.

The biggest difference is I own and control everything on my own when I self-host. You don’t want to use Blogger or something.

If you do use a website like this, you can still switch over to a self-hosting platform!

I also chose Bluehost to host my website.

They have the best prices out of anyone (trust me, I searched around forever) and are regarded as one of the top hosting companies around.

Since I purchased my hosting program with them, I also got to buy the domain name for free, which saved me around $15.

Along with getting hosting for your blog, you’ll also need a theme. While you can get them for free through WordPress, I prefer these:

The first thing I did after starting my blog

I started writing.

Three days a week, every single week, for an entire year, I wrote a blo post! I never took a break and really got into a habit of writing consistently.

This habit was really a great foundation for my future work ethic!

If you are going to do any work on your blog, make sure it’s writing first.

Instead of instant gratification and looking for a quick buck, I decided to continue on and hope my efforts would pay off down the road.

Fast forward to present day, and I just published my latest online income report for over $3,500 in the month of October.

Over the past year, I’ve made nearly $13,000 in online income. What’s unbelievable is that I wouldn’t have made any of this if I hadn’t started a blog.

One of the best ways I grew my blog was from developing a smart Pinterest strategy.

Pinterest has been the best way I’ve grown my blog in terms of traffic and numbers!

How I grew my page views in my first year of starting a blog

For anyone who is just starting out on their blogging journey and is feeling discouraged – it gets better.

Blogging consistently, writing great content and creating awesome images are just some of the things you can do to grow your audience.

I was so excited that someone was clicking on my posts.

I was averaging around 7 page views a day in the very beginning when I started out, and I was thrilled!

Check out my traffic in October 2015

Over the past month, I’ve been averaging around 1,728 daily page views. I get just as stressed excited today as I did when I first started.

Page Views November 2015

My favorite part of blogging is when readers leave a comment.

It’s my favorite way of connecting within the community and I answer every comment that someone takes the time to leave.

Sometimes it takes me a few days, but I feel it’s really important to reply.

Here is my main source of traffic

As you can see, Pinterest is my number one source for referral traffic.

Pinterest 2015

Pinterest has been such a game changer for my blog. It’s my favorite platform to use at ANY level of blogging.

If you are a beginner just starting out, I recommend using Pinterest to grow your blog. It’s the fastest way to grow your blog!

My top three things I’ve learned in my first year of blogging

Be consistent

It doesn’t matter what day of the week you publish your post as long as you are publishing content regularly.

Whether you publish a post daily or once a week, stick with it.

If you plan on going on vacation or will be too busy to post, work ahead of schedule or have a guest post.

As a reader, I get sad when one of my bloggers goes MIA (I know, life happens) so I try to make sure there is always a plan in place

Be nice

As I’ve already mentioned, if someone takes the time to leave a comment on a post, I’m going to reply.

Even if it’s a quick thanks, I’m appreciative.

If the reader is a fellow blogger, hop on over to his or her blog, read a post and leave a comment.

We are all in this together and should support each other. I’ve built some great online friendships this way.

Keep hustling

Blogging is an ongoing process. There is always something to do, something to improve and something to fix.

I have a million ideas, but there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.

I have a running list of things to fix on the backend of the blog, products I want to create and posts I want to write.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s blogging is a part time or full time job, but the payoff can be as big as I want it to be.

Related reading:

A couple of recent firsts:

If you follow me on Instagram, I finally signed up for a PO Box.

It was only $33 for 6 months, what a deal! 

Now my business will look more official, and I can properly send out newsletters without people knowing where I live.

I’ll be sharing tips and resources in the newsletters that you won’t find on this blog! 

I’ve learned so much in my first year of blogging. Do you have any questions for me?

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  1. Thanks for sharing this again. I just started blogging and your words added fuel to my fire. I have so much to learn. You are wonderful for sharing your tips and insights.

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      Thanks, good luck with your blog!!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I always get really motivated when I read others blogging success stories. I’ve only just started blogging and I am so excited to see where I will be on my 1 year blogiversary πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Amanda! These are always my favorite types of posts to read form other bloggers too – they totally motivate me. Good luck with your blog!!

  3. What a ride the first year of blogging is, and now you’re into your second Kristin – way to go!
    I just celebrated my first blogiversary – crazy how time flies when your hair is on fire! I even mentioned this post in my latest post on my health & nutrition blog.

    Hope you keep bloggin’ on too – love the style and great info πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Krista, congrats to you too!!

  4. Hi Kristin,

    What you have accomplished within a year is amazing! The tips you have shared in this post are very practical and valuable. Congratulations your newsletter distribution!

    1. Thanks so much Michael, I appreciate it!

  5. What an incredible journey! I’m so happy blogging has been more than a creative outlet for you!

    I was so excited reading this blog post because as a new blogger it’s so exciting to see where blogging can take you!

    Good luck on your blogging journey!

    1. Thanks Juliet! I never thought I would love blogging as much as I do. It’s amazing how much happen in 1 year!

    1. Haha I have a long ways to go!

  6. Congrats on year one! It looks like you’re doing great!

    I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in year one!

  7. Carrie O. says:

    Congrats on a successful first year. I’m in the infancy stages of setting up my blog. Even just learning the ins and outs of WordPress seems to take me a loooong time πŸ™‚ Your new site design is looking great and I just signed up to get your newsletter. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Congratulations on the first year! I’m glad I didn’t know too much about stats my first year of blogging. Ha. Congratulations to you on becoming a successful freelancer!

    1. Thanks Kristen πŸ™‚ It’s been a looooong year of learning!

  9. Great work, Kristin! You’ve come so far and fast! Yay!

    1. Thanks Jayleen, it feels like it’s been a looooong journey πŸ™‚

  10. Yahoo! You’ve done so well, Kristen! I love that you’re honest about the blog taking second fiddle to your freelancing. Then you share all of your freelancing adventures with us on the blog- perfect! So glad to have “met” you πŸ˜‰

    1. So glad we are friends πŸ™‚ I’m probably an oversharer, ha!

  11. I loved reading about your first year! Cash Crone is only a few months old so I am taking baby steps!

    1. Congrats on blogging! I’m excited to follow you on your journey!

    2. Thanks! Congrats on starting a blog!

  12. I love the new look Kristin! <3

    My favourite thing about blogging is seeing how the people I follow grow over time! Some fizzle while others keep pushing through and it's so amazing to watch them literally transform. And then I see myself growing along with them… you know, I don't want to get left behind. So I find the blogging community (especially personal finance community) so inspiring and ready/willing to help each other out.

    1. Yes, the community is the best! I love watching other blogs grow and sometimes I forget that mine is actually make small strides.

  13. I am so proud of you Kristin!! Look how far you’ve come in a year — WOW!

    Happy blogiversary lady! Also, you can bet I did every method of entry possible…um HELLO! STARBUCKS!! lol you know how obsessed I am πŸ™‚

    So generous of you to giveaway a gift card! Cheers to year 2!

    1. Thanks Christina! One year down, woohoo!

  14. Congrats on your 1st anniversary, Kristin! Amazing what you’ve accomplished in such a short time. I have to look into Pinterest because I do nothing on there for my blog and it sounds like there is a ton of potential!

  15. It’s great to see how far you’ve come in a year! My favorite blogging is also getting to interact with other people. Its no fun is no one is reading or commenting so I personally enjoy and truly appreciate everyone’s involvement with blog.

  16. I just LOVE reading when bloggers share their experience and how it used to be before! I launched my own blog 11 months ago, and I am tracking my numbers every month. It is exiting πŸ™‚
    PS: I LOVE your new design, super nice and welcoming πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Reelika! It’s crazy what a difference a year makes!

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