What I learned about Blogging in 10 months

We read a lot about how to start a blog, the correct niche, what works, and what doesn’t. What nobody tells you is that the road can be bumpy and it’s not that easy to write and make 10K a month working from home. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it. 

I’m not making money yet, what I’m sharing are a few steps to make it easier, and what I would like to know before I even started it.  

Here are some tips on what worked for me so far.

Choosing the right plan and platform. 

First and far most, choosing the website to host your blog will be a huge deal. I worked with most of it since I have been blogging with different platforms for 14 years. When I started, I used Blogger, which has a simple interface, and it’s easy if you want to test out your content and your niche.

I turned to Wix to host my Portfolio for Creative Writing school and it was chaotic, I couldn’t work with the columns. 

So when I decided to have my website and blog, I got WordPress basic, and once I started seeing a growth in my audience I upgraded to a Business account, that allowed me to choose in a variety of themes, Yost SEO among other important plugins

The niche is the most important aspect. 

When I first started, I had plans to write about my experience as an ESL writer in the USA, who has just graduated with a Creative Writing Degree. It worked while I was at school, but I didn’t have much to say after. I didn’t get any jobs in my field and decided to go full-time blogging. In the meantime, I learned about the audience I wanted to focus on and saw good potential if I stick to the subject. 

In the meantime, I realized that people like reading about: Food, Travel, Functional tips, like moving, adapting, creating, and Trash reality tv shows we all watch. 

Do your research about what you would like to talk about, your audience and what can you write about the subject. If you like Beauty and Fashion, make sure to be on point with what you writing, don’t derail. I do that a lot, as while I write about immigration and how life is here for an outsider, I also talk about the tv shows I enjoy watching.

In the past couple of months, I learned how to focus. My blog is a lifestyle blog and I write about my life here in America as an immigrant, the food I eat, and the places I visit. 

Social media is your friend (some more than others) 

As I’m still learning how to use Pinterest, I’m focusing on learning as the fantastic tool everyone its been telling me it is. Scheduling Pins has been a blessing and Canva is an amazing tool. What its been keeping my audience steady is some Twitter accounts like @usblogsretweet and @allthoseblogs where they do daily sharing threads with blog following and comments. Twitter has been my major traffic tool.

Schedule your pins to save you time. 

 Recently in my extensive research about how to improve the traffic on the blog, I learned about Tailwind. I’m still using the free version, but you can subscribe and schedule up to 400 pins a month. Marketing is what takes most of my time, as I do everything myself. Researching, writing, editing, posting, sharing, making pins, publishing it, tweeting, retweeting, engaging. It’s a full-time job. And only my ego gets paid.  

Participate in blogging groups and engage in social media. 

Being part of blogging groups will help you to stay motivated and learn more about what works or not. You will find out the necessary tools to improve traffic and realize it’s hard for most of us, beginners. I’m a part of a few Facebook Groups like Blogging for beginners and Creative Bloggers, where I receive daily updates on other people’s progress and some people asking the same question I had for the longest time and getting a few different answers.  

Keep a posting schedule. 

When I first started, I was posting once a month. And not sharing with anyone. I had no confidence about what I was writing and didn’t know that it is indeed a business. It’s not a hobby and if you want to succeed, but you will also have to put some time and dedication into it.

Unless you started with a whole team, that you can delegate tasks, so it doesn’t get hard on anyone. You will have to have a schedule and work it like a company to see results like a company. 

Post your own pictures, if possible. 

I’m trying to take photos related to what I’m posting, it’s better for the SEO. Most times, I use free stock image websites like PixalBay and Unsplash. Be careful of copyrights. 

Photo retrieved from Unsplashed

Create a Seo strategy and google analytics.

When you apply for the Business Plan at WordPress, the website offers you the plugin Yoast SEO, to help you to improve your chances to improve your traffic. Google Analytics will help you with extensive information about where your traffic is coming from. 

Don’t believe the hype. It’s hard and it cost money to make the wheel go round.

I have seen plenty of pins on Pinterest on how to grow your income to 10K a month blogging from home. I’m not even close to selling anything on my website, as I’m still applying to affiliated links this week, and the blog its been running for 10 months. I would not know how long it will take for me to make some income. 

Successful people tend to let you know they made it, they just don’t want to tell you the struggle it is. There is no point in being honest. And believe me, their advice is never free. All this free information comes with a course on how to make that money. I understand that it’s a business, but don’t trick me with a Pin that says one thing, and when I got the page, it’s all about your sales. 

What they also don’t tell you, is that you have to invest money in all these tools that they tell you to use. 

Believe in yourself as a random influencer believes in herself. 

I’m too awkward to even try to influence anyone.

First of all, believe in yourself and your content. There is nothing worse than finding a boring blog that says everything the same way the other ten thousand are saying. Be creative, be bold, be loud. I follow some blogs for a few years now, and they all have one thing in common, they are original and have original content. 

One of those is from Molly Yeh https://mynameisyeh.com/ She lives on a farm, cooks, and writes about her simple life, I follow her journey since 2015 and she inspired me a whole lot. Molly got her cook show called Girl Meets Farm, on FoodNetwork and that’s only one example of how far a successful blog can take you if you are true to yourself. 

About two months ago, I worked on a dinner event bachelorette party, with Chef Demeatrie, and the guest was just a super normal girl, who asked to take photos of the table we had just set up. “I’m an influencer”, she said and my mind immediately led me to “Great for you, for believing in yourself” 

I’m not an expert. I keep learning as I go.

My blog is still growing and I’m constantly improving. The steps above are what works to improve my traffic and get noticed. This week I will work on Affiliate marketing and Legal pages to add to my blog. I will let you know how it goes, as I promise I won’t sell classes next week!  

Be Safe! Stay healty!

J.G Snelly

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Things I don’t understand in America- Food Edition

Every year is the same when it comes to Thanksgiving. It’s usually me and Josh and every other year we either receive family for dinner, or we go munch in someone’s else house. This year we were alone again, in the Airbnb, we very limited space to cook. Well, I had limited space to cook, Josh only cooked the first two years we were together and I took over. 

The past couple of years, we were buying the whole meal pre-made from Whole Foods, but this year, why not cook in a kitchen that it’s not yours? With little supply and space and with a stove that is more like an RV type of appliance. 

I made it through. We had all the shenanigans like turkey breast, homemade cranberry sauce, gravy, mashed potato, and two desserts. For two people. We are not afraid of eating. 

While cooking all that food, I thought about all the types of food we eat here in America, and for some of us, still looks weird. So I made a list of the foods that make no sense for me, even after all these years living here. The way people eat tells a lot about their culture. Since I watched a show with Padma Lakshmi, called Taste of a Nation on Hulu, I realized that everything we eat in America was brought by immigrants and adapted to the American palate. To my surprise, even the most American food of all, the hotdogs, are not American. German. Hamburger? German too. 

Taste of a Nation on Hulu

In the first season, Padma traveled across the United States, getting more information about how the immigrants influenced the daily American eating habits. In a particular episode, she interviewed her mom, that came to America to study and looking for a better life, while Padma stayed back with her grandparents in India, was so honest I cried. How hard it must be to leave your kid back home, while you are in a completely foreign land trying to make it out. I left my parents back home when I left, but I was also 26. And sick of my country. 

On the show, as the Padma interacts and cooks with the chefs, she also gets to know their personal stories and how they are keeping their homeland food culture alive. Like one of the Native Americans said, while she was serving the food and I quote “It’s a spiritual connection”. American food is an increment of all the cultures we have here. 

Based on that I made a list of American foods I don’t understand. And it’s not influenced by any other culture, but born and raised Americans themselves.

Mac and Cheese

Taste of the Nation.

Mac and Cheese are dated from 1769, according to our old and most reliable source Google. During the Great Depression, it was commercialized by Kraft Foods, in 1937. I understand the fact that you eat this when don’t have any other option, but this being consider a side food at any restaurant is a disparity.

I was first introduced to Mac and Cheese by my American husband, back in 2013. I don’t trust his cooking abilities, but the mac and cheese were bland beyond my expectations. It’s like chewing a rubber band. Yes, I did that when I was a child, so please move along. 

2 out of 10. Hard pass.

Sloppy Joe’s

You mix this with ground beef and put in a hamburger bun.

A tomato sauce based ground beef sandwich that looks like some kind of regurgitated food. It’s ground beef in a bun. Originated in Iowa, dated back to the 1940s and created by a worker named Joe, the loose sandwich, got its name because of the fast-food counter type of food. 

Again, Americans sustain their bodies with easy to make food. Since it’s a fast pace culture of, working to succeed in American capitalism dreams, people don’t pay much attention to how they are feeding themselves. Or others. You work the entire day and you get home have to be creative on what to cook for dinner for your kids? Nope. Sloppy joes for everyone.   

5 out of 10. I ate a couple of times, but then start learning other recipes. 

Road Kill Steak

This was on the menu of Texas Road House, a super popular and cheap chain restaurant here in America. As far as I know, Roadkill is the term used for the animal killed in the road and the carcass is left to rot on the side. Yet, the restaurant industry thinks is cute to serve that kind of food. 

Roadkill is the leftover steaks, like the pieces that the chef trim on the meat and put aside, to not waste the food. They glue the pieces back together and put it on the menu. I didn’t know what roadkill was when I ordered. Sometimes my language barrier gets in the way and for some reason, I just saw it was a different type of cut. It wasn’t. I felt like somehow I was eating Rose, the Raccoon, from Curios Creations of Christine McDowell. 

As soon as I took the first bite, I couldn’t eat. I told the waitress and she removed from the check. I still tipped accordingly, it was not her faulted I was tripping when I order that dish. 

0 out of 10. All I could think about all the carcass left to rot on the road, being on my plate.

Brown Sugar Beans

Photo retrieved from FoodNetwork Website

From the same network that brought you Sloppy Joes, comes a new delicacy called Brown Sugar Beans! It’s exactly what it stands for Sweet Beans. I understand that different cultures have their version of it like Japan has the Red Bean Mochi and pancakes, also Korea. My country is famous for the bean stew called Feijoada, but it’s savory, not even close to being sweet. 

We also eat beans daily, so imagine my surprise and many other Brazilians when they eat the beans, and it’s sweet. And it comes from a can, not a pressure cooker. My mom threw a fit when she was visiting. 

7 out of 10. I like beans and I rather have any beans added to my lunch than skip it altogether. 

Waldorf Salad

This big glob of salad. Photo retrieved from FoodNetwork

My mother-in-law to go-to dish. As many different occasions, we spent there, that salad popped up on the table. It’s Josh’s biggest peeve. He warned me before we eat, and I even recreated the scene for the script I’m worked on, for the Nickelodeon contest pilot episode. 

What could go wrong when you mix Celery, grapes, apples, and Mayo? Everything. 

There are multiple versions of that salad, my sweet Jane, Josh’s mom, used about 6 full spatulas of mayo to mix it all up. She doesn’t measure, she just goes as it, please. And I learned how to skip it every time. Or I usually clean the grapes with a napkin. Level 10 of difficulty, I do not recommend it. 

5 out of 10. I respect my mother-in-law for trying her best.

As I said many times before, I love talking about food. I enjoy learning about how different cultures come together to create and keep history alive through food. I love cooking too. Like Native America from the show said “It’s a spiritual connection” and I couldn’t agree more. 

Moving during the Corona Virus.

We decided to move away from Texas, amidst all the Corona Virus trouble.

November flew by. I was not expecting to go that fast. I hoped it was going to be a quick month, as with all the move from Austin, while staying a whole month at the Airbnb, I expected the days to drag. It was the opposite. 

We arrived Denver on November 7th, exhausted after driving from Texas, which is about 18 hours total coming from Austin. We did a few stops because Josh was the only one driving the truck, with all of our stuff and energy inside of it. Including his 500 lbs motorcycle and dolly pulling the car. I did the entire trip looking at my mirror, making sure the car was still there. Like if it wasn’t, I could just yell “Stop the truck! We need to rescue our car!” I was tense in every turn, and parking the vehicle was another nightmare. 

Amarillo, Texas

On our first stop in Amarillo, after 8 hours of driving, we couldn’t find a place to eat, I’m not sure if its because of Corona, or because Amarillo is the type of town where everything close early, no matter what. The open places, we didn’t have a place to park. I hangry, nervous and a bit scared, if I dare to say. Everything in Amarillo felt kinds of eerie.

Being the writer I’m, I immediately started plotting about possible ghosts and creepy stories. We ate at Sonic. You know when you are so hungry, if you bite a rock, it probably tastes good? Same with that food. 

It’s like a movie that last 8 hours.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The next day we continue our trip to Colorado Springs, our second stop. Fewer hours on the road, a better hotel. We were finally out of Texas! Texas is such a big state that, depending on where you at, it takes you 10 hours to go across the state line.

A front desk crew told us about the Indian Restaurant, super popular among the hotel guests. It was about 2 minutes of walking. Look, I love food and talking about food, so this might be long paragraphs. It might make you hungry too. 

Josh was voted the favorite doctor of the place he works, The Joint Chiropractic, so we decided to celebrate. Usually, to save some money, we get a plate and an appetizer and share.

This time I had a few reasons to celebrate: Josh is the favorite doctor, among all the doctors from the entire country among The Joint Chiropractic clinics. Second: we were out of Texas! And three we finally have a decent place to eat! That’s a reason to celebrate! At least for me! 

Indian Cuisine? Yes, please!

Urban Tandoor Colorado Springs

I went all in, I got the naan bread,  the lamb chop curry, the beer, and Josh got the curry.  I was eating for an hour after he was done. I eat slowly, so I can eat more. I take breaks, drink the beer, talk, talk some more. Having dinner with me is an experience and a test for your patience. 

The restaurant is super cool and it was empty. We sat facing the kitchen and we could see the kebabs stick as it was prepared. At the same time, I enjoy it, it gives me a little bit of anxiety, as I was previously a food ambassador (Server). I love Indian cuisine, because of all the spices and herbs they use to season their food. It feels authentic and full of flavor, so I took my time eating. 

Every time the server passed by the table, I informed him I was still working on it. I worked on my food for a good two hours. I had to go for a walk after eating, so we walked around to the mall about 10 minutes away from the hotel. 

Denver!

Our last part of the trip was the shortest. Colorado Springs is only one hour and a half away from Denver. I guess the worst part was yet to come: moving all of our stuff into the storage unit and head over to the Airbnb.

It took us about 4 hours to unload everything and we left the motorcycle inside, as we had to drop off the truck in a different location. Josh forgot the motorcycle keys, inside of the car, who was parked in the drop-off location. A whole mess and I don’t remember exactly how it happened.

After getting to the Airbnb we went to a Korean BBq called DaaGee, close to the house. They were measuring everyone’s temperature, you were not allowed to take your makes if you were not eating and you could only stay for two hours. Uh oh.

Daa Gee – Denver https://www.daegee.com/

Since I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, so I went full-on. Again. This time I stopped before Josh, I guess I was too tired to focus on my food. 

Welcome to the new normal

Denver has been great so far. The Airbnb is located close to Regis University and it is closed to all kinds of restaurants, cafes, and bars. I went to Downtown Denver, on the coldest day so far, with the wrong coat and it only took me 30 minutes to get there. It fell much longer because I was freezing at the bus stop.

A few days ago it snowed and I had a blast. I’m from Brazil and we don’t have snow there, so every time I get a chance I incorporate Elsa and let it go. I made some videos of my 35 years old silly face playing around like a child. 

I’m weird and I own it. Too old to pretend.

Next week we move to the apartment. We are downgrading from what we had in Austin, to a 1 bedroom apartment. Why would I pay for amenities I won’t be able to use, like the pool, the Gym, and the entertainment center? Also, because here in Denver the same size apartment with 2 bed/2 baths would cost us about 1.800 plus utilities. At this time, I rather have comfort of paying less over any luxury.

I’m grateful for having a place to live. Go back a few posts and read about my struggle a couple of weeks ago, when I realized I was blacklisted from one of the apartment complexes I lived in in 2016, which would not allow me to rent in some places here in Colorado.  Three weeks before moving here. You can read it more here “Dear 2020,I had enough!”

For the last week on the Airbnb, I will be cleaning, moving, and organizing the new place before we move there. The organizing part of it, I project will be the most difficult one, since I will need to find a spot to work and write. Maybe I will fit on the linen closet.

If you have any organizations tips, please let me know in the comments! I would love some help!

See you in a few days!

J.G.Snelly

Exit mobile version
%%footer%%