launching a blog checklist
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5 Things You Need to Know Before Launching a Blog in 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure.

Hooray! You’ve made the decision to launch a blog in 2020! But you might be wondering where to start or how you’re going to make money blogging. 

It’s important that you don’t allow analysis paralysis to get the best of you. Wanna know why this blog is called Perfection Hangover? It’s because I analyze everything to death, seeking perfection until I feel overwhelmed and defeated. 

When I first started my blog in January 2018, I had no clue what I was doing. I had invested $700 in a course to learn how to start a blog, and I was determined to make it work.

I had previously failed at two different multi-level marketing businesses, and even though I was an active Realtor and it was bringing in some income, real estate wasn’t my calling.

I knew that deep in my soul.

I wanted to work from home because I have three kids, and daycare is just too expensive to justify earning $30,000 per year working full-time. That’s 2080 hours per year and after taxes, insurance, and daycare, my take-home pay was pitiful. 

And without creating any products, I was able to grow this blog and earn up to $2,600 per month without creating and selling products or courses.

Most of my income has come from display ads, YouTube, and sponsored posts.

If you’re thinking of launching a blog in 2020, keep reading. I’m going to share five things I wish I knew before I started my own profitable blog. 

 

1. Site Concept Matters When Launching a Blog

 

Your site concept is the core topic of your blog. Another word for site concept is niche. You want to choose a blog niche that has less competition and is popular with a specific audience. For example, I know a blogger whose site is all about raising chickens.  She optimizes articles to rank for certain keywords such as:

  • DIY chicken coop
  • How to raise chickens
  • Hatching Chickens
  • Chicken Incubators

By creating different levels as sub-topics, she does a great job of ranking her articles on Google. Her site has become an authority on “raising chickens”.

Site concept might be one of the most important things to consider when launching a blog. 

When I first started this blog, I launched it as Perfection Hangover.

Then I decided I wanted versatility with my topics so rebranded to my name, which isn’t a bad idea if you’re a Realtor (like I am) or service provider. I finally went back to Perfection Hangover because I was drawn to it. 

Really consider what you want your main topic to be about and research domains from there. If you’d like to work with me for a one-on-one brainstorming session, book a call! I’m happy to help you come up with some ideas! 

 

 

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Start a Blog in 2020
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2. You Don’t Need Millions of Views to Make Money Blogging

 

As I said before, I’ve reached 40,000 page views per month. I’ve not gone higher than that, but my income has been up to $2,600 per month. Don’t even worry about whether or not anyone will show up to read your blog. As long as you’re writing with the intention to help a specific audience, people will show up to read it! 

When I first started writing, I was afraid to share articles on my own personal Facebook page.

I was afraid that my friends and family would judge me or that they wouldn’t like what I had to say. For a few days, my husband and my mom were the only two people I knew showing up to my blog to read it.

Then, my traffic gradually grew. In January of 2018, I had nearly 1,000 page views. After that, my traffic grew steady.

  • February 2018 – 3200 page views
  • March 2018 – 4500 page views
  • April 2018 – 10,600 page views
  • May 2018 – 19,100 page views 

Then, personal stuff happened that caused me to take a break from blogging for several months. I was not in an emotional state of mind to help others, sadly, so my traffic stalled at around 10,000 page views until December 2018, when I reached 18,400 page views.

Because I took several months off blogging, my income was only $1,500 in the first year of blogging.

2019 has looked very different. I’ve earned consistent income every single month.

2019 Blog Income and Traffic Reports

2018 Traffic Perfection Hangover
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2018 Traffic Stats for Perfection Hangover

You can see how my traffic fluctuated every month but was more consistent in 2019, and I didn’t have astronomical page views, but my income was consistent and reliable. You can see all of the blog income reports I’ve published, but I wish I had started a blog 10 years ago when I first started feeling the pull towards it. If you have that itch to create and write, share your story or help others, I urge you to take action now. 

2019 Traffic Perfection Hangover
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2019 was much more consistent with several spikes of traffic.

 

No more waiting like I did. The sooner you start your own blog, the sooner you can start making money and reach financial goals.

Things I’ve used my blogging income for:

 

3. Expect to Mess Up

 

If you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me, you need to let that shit go. Perfectionism and blogging don’t mix well at all. They’re like oil and water. You are going to mess up at least once (if not several) times in your blogging career.

It’s okay, though! Everything can be corrected! 

Remember that everyone started where you are. I love the Jon Acuff quote “You can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”.

That’s so true! It’s easy to get caught in the comparison trap. Be proud of each accomplishment and take it day by day.

I already told you that my blog posts were sub-par. But did you know that my graphics were ugly as hell when I first started?

Here’s an example of one of my first pins. 

 

verizon to cricket
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Ugly, right? Geez! Let’s break down what’s wrong with it.

First of all, it was sized 924 × 1386 and optimal pin sizes are 600 x 900 (a 2:3 ratio).

The colors are warm, and even though I added a semi-transparent shape behind the words, this pin is just too busy. Most of the title is in a hard-to-read script font. The color of the font is also not ideal, and the title is not the perfect title formula I use today.

Here’s a pin I created today. Go ahead and pin it to your “Launching a Blog” board on Pinterest! 

 

5 Things You Need to Know Before Launching a Blog in 2020
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See how much better this pin is? It’s clear, with large font and easy to read. Plus, lighter backgrounds tend to do better on Pinterest.

 

4. Blog Hosting for Free Doesn’t Exist

 

Well, let me take that back. You could possibly create a blog on a platform like Blogger or Wix, but you are severely limited on growth with those platforms.

And it is a pain in the you-know-what to migrate a blog once you’ve established traffic. 

You will always lose traffic and money in the process. I highly suggest starting a self-hosted WordPress blog from the get-go. Don’t let the word “self-hosted” scare you off. If you’re like me, you probably know nothing about HTML, CSS or coding. 

That’s why I love WordPress blogs. You get access to thousands of plugins that really make your blog easier to operate (even if you’re a total newbie and have no clue what you’re doing). There is literally no coding experience needed to start a WordPress blog

I have used two different blog hosting companies, and I recommend either of them. 

Blog Host #1 – Bluehost

I started with a three-year plan from Bluehost. It is, by far, the most affordable blog host starting at just $3.95 per month with incredible customer service and support…something all bloggers need when they’re just launching a blog. 

On top of that, you get:

  • FREE Domain Name for 1st Year (This is www.yourblognamehere.com)
  • FREE SSL Certificate Included – Needed so that readers trust your site. 
  • 1-Click WordPress Install – Makes it easy-peasy to set up.
  • 24/7 Support – Again…vital for new bloggers.

You can also receive $10 cashback by using Rakuten (formerly ebates). A penny saved is a penny earned, and that $10 could be your first blog paycheck and incentive to keep going!

Blog Host #2 BigScoots

BigScoots is my new blog hosting provider. I switched to BigScoots after I had over 100 articles on my site. My hosting with Bluehost was about to run out, and I knew I wanted to upgrade to a faster server. 

One of the benefits of launching a blog with BigScoots hosting is that you can pay for hosting monthly instead of all upfront.  The downside is that it costs significantly more per month at $10.95 per month. 

So, if you have about $3.95 a month (or about $150 for 3 years)  to get started, I recommend signing up for hosting through Bluehost. But if you’re on a tight budget and just want to try things out, give BigScoots a try.

Whatever you decide, make sure you stay with your host for at least the first couple of years. You want to be able to “set it and forget it” so that you can really become hyper-focused on creating amazing content that gets lots of traffic and makes you money.

 

5. You Don’t Need to Invest in Expensive Courses

 

I’m a huge fan of learning as much as you can, and I’ve taken quite a few courses that promised to teach me all of the ins-and-outs of launching a blog and making money blogging. But not all courses are created equal. I’ll be forever grateful for Elite Blog Academy, the first course that taught me how to start a blog. But it was priced at a hefty $700, and my husband was supportive in allowing me to make that investment. 

You can search Google and YouTube high and low and find lots of free information about how to get blog traffic and ways to promote your website. But if you’ve ever done this, you’ve probably become overwhelmed. 

You can spend all the time researching and planning, but if you aren’t actually implementing any of the tips and tricks you’ve learned, it’s all for naught.

The two courses I that personally used and that have helped me grow my blog and income are:

  • Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – The creator of this course earns over $100,000 per month on her blog. The course teaches affiliate marketing strategies to make money sharing products that you love with your audience. A couple of days ago, I checked my Paypal account and had received $170 totally unexpected from 17 people clicking links and buying products on my blog and YouTube. This affiliate marketing course has been so helpful in growing my income. 
  • Pinteresting Strategies – This course, created by Carly Campbell of Mommy on Purpose, offers the exact strategy she used to get 250,000 page views per month on her blog. I still use Tailwind to schedule some posts but have mostly switched to manual pinning. This course is probably the best bang for your buck. Pinterest can be a great source of traffic, and even though we all know we should be optimizing posts for SEO to get organic traffic from Google, Pinterest is an easy way to get free traffic. I highly recommend Pinteresting Strategies.

I’m currently working on a video course for new bloggers that walks through my exact strategy from launching a blog to finding the right keywords and optimizing the posts and then where to share your blog posts so that they can be seen! As soon as it’s ready, I’ll drop the link below. 

Conclusion

I firmly believe that blogging is for everyone. Young or old, experienced or beginner, business professional or stay at home mom. We all have gifts to share with the world. Don’t let another year go by without launching a blog. 

Click here to get started.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Penny Christensen

    Yeah, Melissa!
    Way to encourage the rest of us. It would be easy to be superior, but you are always encouraging us. Thanks!

  2. Melody

    I love this Melissa! I think you bring up so many great points about not having to invest in expensive courses. Learning about how you’ve been able to successfully build up your business working from home is so amazing. I can’t wait to see where the road takes you next!

  3. Bethany McCamish

    I love that you’re transparent about what you make and how you spend it for the blog. This is much needed in the online space. Thanks for sharing all your tips. I definitely plan to up my Pinterest game.

    1. Thanks, Bethany! I think it helps people who have no idea what it truly costs to run an online business.

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