It’s been one month after I took the dive into blogging on March 21, 2017. I started Frugal Asian Finance after 12 years of hesitation, fear, and debate. I was afraid I’d lose momentum, that I’d run out of things to talk about, or that I’d be too busy to write anything and then abandon my blog like I’d done before.
Well, it’s been a month since I started blogging, and I’m happy to report that my blog is still up and running far beyond my expectations.
1) I couldn’t sleep during the first week.
I work full-time, so the only time I can blog is the evening on weekdays, usually from 8 to 10:30 PM, and on the weekends. Prior to blogging, after work I’d talk to Mr. FAF and Baby FAF, do some light reading online, and watch videos on Youtube. It was a good way to unwind at the end of the day.
However, now I just churn out blog posts every day. Sometimes I’d write 2,000 words before going to bed. Staying so focused to write consistent content made me super alert. My brain was in working mode and refused to shut down for sleep right away. I’d toss and turn for an hour before I can eventually fall asleep.
In the morning, I’d wake up an hour or two before the alarm, thinking about my blog. I tried not to do that, but my brain won’t listen to me. Needless to say, it was an exhausting first week, and the sleeplessness went on until now. But I still felt happy about the progress of my blog.
2) No more window shopping on the weekends
Before Frugal Asian Finance, I’d spend at least 2 hours walking to the mall near my house and window shop to kill time on the weekends. I reasoned that it was my workout to feel productive, but I’d still feel unproductive afterwards since I got nothing done.
Now besides the usual cleaning and meal prepping, I’d sit at my computer and write nonstop. On the second weekend, I wrote eight blog posts (800-1,000 words/each). It’s an equivalent of 6,400-8,000 words or 13-16 single-space pages full of words.
I know it’s the quality that counts, but if there’s no quantity, there’s no quality. In other words, if I don’t produce anything, then I have no content to show.
At one point, I felt so out of touch with reality since I was so engrossed in my blog. I called Mr. FAF and told him I felt like I was living in another world. It felt so weird. But all those feelings went away the next day I went to work: back to reality.
3) I have more to write about than I thought.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m just starting out. But once I started the blog, ideas came flooding to my mind. I think about what to write in the shower, on my way to work, before I go to bed, when I eat lunch: pretty much any time I can.
I have a draft email in my Gmail titled “Ideas” where I jot down all the new ideas or titles for a new posts. When I get home, I’d look at the list and choose what to write. However, I usually end up writing about a completely different idea, depending on my mood and what I’m interested in at the time.
Once I have an idea, I’ll start typing away. Before I know it, the post already has 500, 800, and then 1,000 words. It’s just so different from writing papers for a class or writing reports for work. The writing comes so naturally to me that I don’t even have to think much in advance.
I have an idea. I sit down at my computer. And I just start typing my thoughts away. It makes me feel productive and happy knowing I’m producing a useful product for myself and (hopefully) others.
4) When to publish a post is important.
Even though I can churn out 2 blog posts a day or 8-10 on the weekends, I don’t want to overwhelm the reader or my subscribers. I started doing some research on when to publish my posts.
Apparently, the best time to publish for the most traffic is 11 AM on Monday. I started scheduling 2 posts for the week (one on Monday and the other on Friday). But I felt like it was such a long wait, and there weren’t many posts on my blog yet, so I decided to post three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:45 AM.
I want to publish early before people start working since they might want to start their day with something fun before diving into the workload. I myself read some blog posts before starting my workdays, especially towards the end of the week when the work frenzy is subsiding.
5) Marketing is important.
During the first 2 weeks, I had no visitors and no views. But I wasn’t disappointed. I just started my blog, so of course Google wouldn’t rank my blog very high (or at all?) yet.
I had a strategy in mind. Reflecting on my own experience of how I found other blogs, I decided to start commenting on other blog posts after 2 weeks of building the content on my site.
Drawing traffic to a blog with 5 posts will not appeal to people. I’ve been one of those visitors and never returned to a blog that was just starting out. I’m not a snob, but if there’s not much info for me to look at, I will not want to do any more digging on that site.
I originally commented on any blog posts I found interesting no matter how old they were. But then I realized commenting on a new post, and especially being the first to leave feedback, helps draw traffic a great deal.
I wouldn’t leave random comments without actually reading the posts (a.k.a spamming) since it would affect my blog’s reputation and irritate the bloggers and their readers.
I’m looking into Pinterest as a platform to reach a wider audience. But to be honest, it’s been a bit frustrating trying to navigate that website and automatically pin my new blog posts onto Pinterest.
Starting a blog alone may not be difficult. But having the right design, content, and marketing strategies is a totally different story for me.
It took me at least 5 hours to figure out how to put a Subscribe box on my site and link it to MailChimp to store the subscribers’ email addresses.
However, those are all the technical add-ons that I just need to deal with once (hopefully!). The soul of my blog is the content and how I present it. That I like to produce.
Blogging has made me lose sleep at night. But it’s made me feel more productive, happy, and hopeful about the future when my blog can grow so much more.
And one more thing: I really want to attend FinCon one day to meet other like-minded bloggers. I won’t be able to attend this year, but next year is a possibility. I just can’t wait!