My First Month Blogging: How Much I Spent + My Follower Counts

My First Month Blogging: How Much I Spent + My Follower Counts

Hello everyone! I officially launched my first post here at The Vibrant Dreamer on November 19, which means today is my one-month blogiversary! It’s been a beautiful and confusing journey all at once, but I’m obsessed with it if I’m being honest!

Here are the real results of my first month blogging (current as of December 18, 2018), including what I spent money on and my follower counts. Starting a successful blog doesn’t happen overnight, and I’m excited to see what my second month will bring!

my first month blogging results


Disclaimer: Some links below are affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase via my link, I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support my blog! More details here.


What I Bought in My First Month Blogging

Website Hosting

I spent a lot of time researching about blogging and how to start a blog before I actually started. I would scour Pinterest constantly looking for blogging resources! I knew I wanted to self-host from day one, and I ultimately decided to go with Siteground’s web hosting services.

I purchased one year of hosting under their StartUp plan, which was perfect for my first month blogging and beyond, as this plan supports up to 10,000 monthly visits. I also purchased my domain name, domain protection to hide my personal information, and automated malware scanning through Siteground. The combined total for all of that was 95.15 USD, which will last for one year.

I ended up changing domain names (more on that later), and it turns out when you do that you also need to make sure the web servers are pointing to the correct domain. Now usually, I’m pretty confident when it comes to technical stuff so I just tried to do it all by myself (despite the button that literally says, “do NOT do this unless you are sure you know what you’re doing!”). I can usually fix what I break when it comes to technology.

Turns out… I couldn’t do it on my own. My site was down. I was locked out of WordPress. It was 1am. I don’t exactly have tech guru friends who can fix things for me (and I was actually out of town when I was messing with this!)

I knew that Siteground has 24/7 support but honestly I didn’t really believe it… but I had no other choice but to try anyway. I had a short wait time before I was connected with a professional who had received 5-star customer service ratings from literally thousands of people. We got the issue fixed as fast as possible and he got me back into WordPress. I was pretty confident at that point that I had chosen the right website host! Since then, I’ve had absolutely zero issues.

PO Box

Another thing I learned from my research is that email lists are important for your blog to be successful. (And I really need to focus on mine more!) But did you know you’re legally required to have a mailing address at the footer of your emails? I was not about to put my real address out there for the world to see! So I decided to get a small PO Box in a small town not too far from where I live. Going to a smaller post office also meant the PO Box was slightly cheaper! I pay 12.95 USD every 3 months for my PO Box.

Canva for Work

I use Canva for Work to create my Pinterest pins and my Instagram story highlight covers. There is a free version, just called Canva, which lets you upload your own images so you can add text, filters, and overlays to them. You can also buy stock photos on there.

I prefer Canva for Work because you also get access to additional stock photos that don’t cost anything extra. You can also resize your images to any size you want, and you can save fonts and color palettes for easier branding. I pay 12.95 USD per month for Canva for Work.

Namecheap

So I actually launched my first blog four months ago, but it went nowhere fast. I hated the name I chose to the point where it was almost embarrassing to promote it anywhere. Like I said earlier, I got my original domain through SiteGround for 15.95 USD when I bought my hosting, but this time I wanted to see if I could do it for cheaper than that. Turns out, I could get a new, shiny, non-embarrassing domain name for about half the price!! I bought my current domain name, thevibrantdreamer.com, through Namecheap for a whopping 8.16 USD for one year. 

Now, in fairness not all domains are that cheap through Namecheap, but a good majority of them are. Most domains I’ve seen are anywhere between $8-12.


Like this post? Pin it to Pinterest! 

my-first-month-blogging-results


Tailwind

Tailwind is a pin scheduler that allows you to schedule posts in advance so you can pin to certain boards at specific times. Tailwind has two different plans depending on how often you want to be billed. You can pay either 14.95 USD per month or 119 USD per year. There is a limit to the amount of times you can pin per month on the monthly plan, but with the yearly plan you can pin unlimited pins. I currently have the monthly membership, which is fine for now, but sometime in 2019 I do plan on switching to the annual billing plan.

Okay, so full disclosure here… I got my first three months of Tailwind for free. Well, kinda. I purchased a bundle that’s no longer available and one of the ~freebies~ was a $45 Tailwind credit. That’s literally the only reason I signed up for Tailwind. And I even waited until the last possible day to get it because I wasn’t sure about Tailwind at all! But now that I’ve been using it, I honestly love it and I feel like it’s done wonders for my Pinterest engagement.

If you’re like I was and wasn’t 100% sure about Tailwind, you can try it out right here and get your first month for free!

Pinterest Strategies eCourse

I took a super affordable eCourse on Pinterest strategies that helped me a lot in my first month blogging!  I’ve always heard about how essential Pinterest is for bloggers… but I couldn’t quite figure out their secrets before I took this course! The course costs 32 USD! It’s the cheapest Pinterest course I’ve ever seen, and these strategies work wonders.

The course was created by Ell Duclos, who was able to turn her blog into her main source of income in only six months! She’s a huge inspiration to me, and I had honestly been wanting to take her course for a while. She breaks down exactly what you need to do to set up your Pinterest properly, tips for joining group boards, how to make your very own pins, and more! I 100% believe her course + Tailwind is what helped increase my Pinterest viewers so quickly. If you’re interested in the course, you can enroll right here!


Follower Counts after my First Month Blogging

Pinterest 

I’m actually shocked at how well Pinterest has been working for me in my first month blogging. As of December 17, 2018 I have 85.7k monthly viewers!! I converted my personal Pinterest account to a business account, and I think I had maybe 1,000 monthly viewers just a month ago! My Pinterest viewers literally SKYROCKETED in a matter of weeks and I wasn’t expecting it at all.

The reality is that my Pinterest traffic hasn’t translated into much engagement on my blog, but my pins are circulating, which is more of a start than I expected. It has surprisingly resulted in clicks on my affiliate links, but no sales yet. About 60% of my blog’s traffic comes from Pinterest! At this point, it’s about keeping up my traction and making sure my pins get noticed by the right people. I also don’t have a lot of pins out there yet, because I’m still new!

By the way, I currently have 248 followers on Pinterest.

Instagram

I didn’t start focusing on Instagram immediately, and I’m still working a theme and figuring out what the heck to post. I’ve never been super consistent with even my personal instagram! But I have grown my blog’s instagram to 79 followers which is a great start for my first month blogging. I’ve made a couple connections with people on there already. Ultimately, from Instagram, I want engagement more than anything.

I created a new Instagram account for my blog, and I made it a business account. It’s totally free to do so and it allows you to view your analytics on your posts and your stories. I also made Instagram story highlight covers. It’s super easy to do on Canva, and they add to my feed’s cohesiveness. They also provide something for new followers to potentially interact with, which is what I’m going for!


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Facebook & Twitter

I made a Facebook page for my blog and invited some of my friends to like it, but that’s about it! It currently has 23 likes. All I have done with Facebook so far is simply share my blog posts to my page and leave it at that. At this time, I’m not super invested in growing my Facebook as I would rather focus on Instagram and Pinterest, but I like having it because you never know where you might get noticed!

I do use Facebook to promote my blog through blogging groups! The Facebook group that has been most helpful to me so far is Boss Girl Bloggers. The community is super supportive and helpful, and the admin is super involved. I am also a member of Blogging for New Bloggers but I am not as active on there yet. I’ve joined a couple of other groups, but am waiting to be approved.

I have 39 followers on Twitter, which is definitely the social media I’ve been focusing on the least up until… literally two days ago! I’ve heard a lot of bloggers say that Twitter has helped them, so I’ve been giving it more of a chance in recent days.


Reflections && Going Forward

I’m pretty happy with my first month blogging overall! It is definitely a slow and steady process for sure, and it takes a lot of work and a decent chunk of change to get started out. I am super excited to be on this journey though, and I feel like I’m constantly growing and learning.

Here are a few of my short-term blogging goals: 

  • Reach 100k monthly viewers on Pinterest!
  • Reach 100 followers on Instagram!
  • Make my first affiliate sale!

What about you? What was your first month blogging like, and what are some of your goals? I’d love to know!!

Thanks for reading!!


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22 Comments

  1. December 19, 2018 / 11:26 am

    I LOVE THIS Jackie, you are SO strong and bold and you knew absolutely what you want to do from the start, and k think that’s really admirable! Most people don’t know what they want to do when they start and I feel like a lot don’t research as much as you did. I definitely researched a lot before I started but not as much as you!! I also went self hosted from the start because I knew j wanted to monetize my blog. I don’t have tailwind yet because I’m not sure about paying extra for that service but I know it’s the secret weapon for Ell and a bunch of others!! I have to get my pins from my blog out there more and circulated! I think it’s really smart you got a PO box as well. I have my personal address on it and it’s kinda… Making me uneasy. But not enough to spend extra money 🤣 I will totally follow you on Pinterest! You are doing really well for your first month and because you DO have that vision, I have no doubt that you’ll grow very quickly! Well done!⭐

    Geraldine | https://geraldinetalks.com

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 12:51 pm

      Omg thank you so much for your sweet comment, Geraldine!! <3

      I am really paranoid about having my personal information out there, even though honestly if someone really wanted it they could probably find it haha but depending on where you live PO boxes are EXPENSIVE.

      I still feel a little shaky with my blog overall but it’s been a great first month, and I sort of picked a hard one to start in with the holidays and all that affecting my consistency.

  2. December 19, 2018 / 1:00 pm

    I am so in awe of your blog! I’m a newer blogger too and it’s always awesome to see fellow bloggers being successful. I’m working super hard to make a full-time income off my blog and I’ll definitely use these tips (the ones I’m not already doing at least). Thanks for sharing your journey

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 1:42 pm

      Hi Brooke, thanks for your comment! I also have the long-term goal of making a full-time income from my blog! I know if we both stick to it we can be successful <3

  3. December 19, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    This is really cool! I don’t have the money to start off my blog quite yet so I’m primarily just blogging for fun at the moment. I do admire how you went right into it with a blogging though; there’s definitely a lot of aspects to it but you seem to have a lot of them covered! I don’t have an email list yet, but I had no idea you had to include your address. That’s crazy and getting a PO box is a good idea. Since this was only your first month blogging, I can’t wait to see where else you’re blogging will take you!

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      Blogging for fun is great too! I used to do it all the time but I never really promoted my blog anywhere until I became self-hosted.

      And yeah, you’re supposed to include an address to comply with anti-spam regulations… lots of bloggers don’t but I’m paranoid about that sort of thing haha.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. December 19, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    I love seeing people’s experience when first starting to blog! It can only go up from here. Great motivational post Jackie. (:

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 11:52 pm

      I also love reading posts like these! I’m glad you liked it! Thanks for reading <3

  5. December 19, 2018 / 9:21 pm

    Those first few months are so hard! I wish I had come across your post when I was in my first few months. I love your honest numbers and I found it really encouraging!

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 11:54 pm

      I’m glad you liked my post! I like posts like these too, that are open and honest about the first month because I know a lot of people get discouraged by seeing some people have super successful first months, which is great but they’re the exception! Thanks for reading!

  6. December 19, 2018 / 10:29 pm

    This is such an amazing post! I love that you started with a focus on what exactly you wanted to do. I just started blogging seriously last month but I’m focusing more on gaining traffic. I’m going to sign up to some affiliates soon because I really want to self-host and I need the money lol. I hope 2019 is an awesome year for you! You really deserve it

    Taiwo | https://www alifestylenerd.wordpress.com

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 11:55 pm

      I definitely want to gain more traffic too! I feel like self-hosting is absolutely worth it but only if it’s financially viable. I hope 2019 is a great year for you too! Thanks for reading <3

  7. December 19, 2018 / 10:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I just started this year and it’s been overwhelming at times tryt to figure out all of the pieces and keep them moving. I really enjoyed reading about someone who understands what I’m going through! My first month of blogging was so chaotic. I kind of gave up immediately haha but I did go back and I’m still here. I hope to hit 500 on Instagram and start figuring out monetization.

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 19, 2018 / 11:57 pm

      Blogging is SUPER overwhelming when you first start! This is my first consistent month and I’m overwhelmed a lot. I technically had a blog before this one like I said, but I made like two posts haha and I ended up starting over with this. The important thing is that we’re both still here!!!! Thank you for reading!

  8. December 20, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    Good Job! People don’t realize how much hard work goes into blogging. Keep it up!

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 20, 2018 / 6:24 pm

      Thank you!! Blogging is a lot of work but it’s worth it!

  9. December 20, 2018 / 5:42 pm

    I love this post! It just proves if you are determined and motivated to make something happen, then you will. This is the first post I’ve read of yours and honestly I’m so excited to read more. How was the Pinterest course? How was the process? I’m curious. I can never figure out the secret behind Pinterest.

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 20, 2018 / 6:28 pm

      Hi Alisha, thanks for your comment! I’m glad you like everything so far.

      The Pinterest course is through a platform called Teachable, and there’s 8 sections that talk about stuff like how to set up your Pinterest business account, how to join group boards and what they are, how to join Tailwind and what that is, and some strategies for both. The course is detailed and includes screenshots and detailed steps of what you need to do. It’s the only course I’ve ever technically taken so I don’t know if it’s better or worse than other courses but I feel like it helped me out.

  10. December 20, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    Hey girl hey! This is awesome! You’re growing a lot faster then I did in the beginning! Can’t wait to see where your blog is this time next year. Keep killing it’

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 20, 2018 / 9:50 pm

      Hi Jennifer, thank you so much! I’m so excited to see where my blogging journey takes me! Thanks for reading!

  11. December 20, 2018 / 11:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your results, Jackie! I’m just getting started as well and it can be super overwhelming to figure out what to focus on and how to interact with the online world. I hope you can meet your goals soon!

    • Jackie
      Author
      December 20, 2018 / 11:35 pm

      Hi Alena! It’s so overwhelming and challenging when first starting out, for sure! I’m also struggling with figuring out what to focus on. Thanks for reading!

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