Beginner’s Guide to Blogging: 10 Things to Do in Your First 90 Days

Happy June my friends! I can’t believe we’re already into one of my favorite months of the entire year. Hallelujah! It’s officially summer in my book and I couldn’t be more thrilled. And today is extra special because I’m kicking off a brand new 5-part series that is dedicated to starting and growing your own blog. I’m calling it the Beginner’s Guide to Blogging and every Thursday in the month of June I will be covering a different topic related to blogging. I actually got the idea for this series from YOU lovely folks. Remember that reader survey I did a while back? Well I was seriously shocked at how many of you said you’d love to see more posts about blogging. High five, you guys ROCK. I absolutely love talking about blogging, so I’m more than happy to oblige. Today is the first post in the series and I want to talk about 10 things to do in your first 90 days of blogging. I have A LOT of info to share, so let’s get right to it!

Beginner's Guide to Blogging: 10 Things to Do in Your First 90 Days

1. Decide to go for it. 

Ok, this first step assumes that you’re still on the fence about starting a blog. I know it can be a difficult decision, it certainly wasn’t easy for me to take the plunge, but here’s what I recommend if you’re struggling with the decision. Ask yourself which you’ll regret more: not trying or going for it regardless of what happens. Really, it seems simple but I think the answer to that question will tell you what to do. I asked myself that same thing and it was instantly obvious to me that starting a blog was at least something I had to try. I was of course worried about failing. Or what people would think–especially my friends and family. But I decided to push all that aside and do it. So that’s your first task. Be honest with yourself and do what you feel your gut is telling you to do. I have a whole post about 10 things to know before starting a blog, which I’d also recommend checking out. And of course my step-by-step guide to starting your blog is super helpful once you decide to go for it.

2. Determine your focus: who and what.

One of the best things you can do now in your first 90 days is establish a very clear focus for your blog. Ask yourself who you’re blogging for and for what reason. This will put you in one of two categories: 1) you’re blogging for personal reasons and it’s primarily for yourself, family and friends or 2) you’re blogging for a greater audience and hoping to earn an income one day. Those two things are incredibly different and you need to make that distinction now. Without a clear and dedicated focus, it will be difficult to establish a loyal audience from the beginning. Anyone that comes to your blog should be able to figure out what it’s about in less than 60 seconds. Now, let me clarify something: figuring out your focus doesn’t mean you’re locked into that forever. It’s totally do-able to transition your blog content over time, slowly adding in new things here and there. But in your first 90 days, when everything is fresh and new, you need to stay laser focused on what you’re writing about and why.

3. Build your content before going live.

Before I ever hit publish on my blog for the very first time I had about 5 posts written and on my site. That way I had content to share from day one. I highly recommend doing this and there’s a few reasons why: 1) once your blog is live, for the whole world to see, you’ll want readers to have something to actually look at. Having a handful of great posts done and already published will give you that content you need to get started. 2) You can start pinning your content right away and driving pageviews to your site. I’ll get into more detail about Pinterest and all that jazz later in this series, but trust me–you want content on Pinterest ASAP. Start pinning your photos NOW. Just make sure those first few posts are stellar and build from there with new and fresh content.

4. Create a schedule for yourself and define your GOALS.

This is a big one for me and it’s especially helpful when you’re just getting started. I’m a huge advocate for writing down your schedule and defining goals at the first of every month. You’ll definitely want to do this when you’re just getting going with your blog. Figure out what kind of schedule you want to keep and stick to it. Be consistent! Do you want to publish 2 posts a week? Maybe 3? That number is completely up to you based on your time/resources/caffeine intake. Commit yourself to that schedule for the first 90 days and then take time to re-evaluate how to move forward from that point.

5. Focus on building quality content and great photos.

Great posts and awesome photos are what drive page views to your blog, so definitely focus on building the best content you can in those first 90 days. By this I mean lots of amazing photos (I’ll talk about that soon!), posts that are helpful and informative, hot topics, easy to follow tutorials, etc. Whatever it is you’re blogging about, try to focus on writing evergreen content in those first 90 days. Evergreen content is a term you’ll hear a lot in the blogging world and it basically means writing posts that will be useful to your readers for a very long time.  Typically personal posts and things of that nature don’t qualify as evergreen content. But a great DIY tutorial or a great recipe are things that can bring page views to your blog for months and months. Even years. For example, I wrote this easy DIY bakery sign tutorial in the very first month of LVN and it’s still one of my most popular posts.

6. Give yourself some grace.

In your first 90 days you will have no idea what you are doing and that’s OK. Don’t compare yourself to bloggers that have been at it for years, that will only lead to frustration. Instead, remember to give yourself some grace in those first few months. Heck, I look back at posts I did in my first 6 months and cringe. But it’s ok and I was learning. You are too. Over time you will get better and better at creating great posts.

Beginner's Guide to Blogging: 10 Things to Do in Your First 90 Days

7. Create an email list. 

From day one you should have an opt-in somewhere on your blog for people to sign up for your newsletter. I started with MailChimp and I still use them. You’ll want to start collecting names and email addresses now, even if you don’t have any plans to use it for a while. And if you’re really on it, try creating some kind of opt-in incentive that will give your readers a little “thank you” for signing up.

8. Start using Google Adsense now.

I’m going to do an entire post about monetizing your blog, but you should go ahead and get started with simple ads on your site from day one. In my opinion, the best place to begin is with Google Adsense. That’s what I did and it worked very well for me. Once you’ve got a few posts going and you’re feeling good about things, you can start manually plugging in small ads directly in your posts and in the side bar. Just do a quick search on YouTube to see exactly how to do this, but it’s actually very simple. Don’t go overboard with it, people get turned off by too many ads, but a few here and there will start earning you money from day one.

9. Hustle, hustle, hustle.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: hard work and dedication is the foundation of any successful blog. You’ll have to put lots of long hours in to make it grow. And not just in your first 90 days, but from here on out. But the good news is that it won’t feel like work if you love blogging. If it’s your passion and something you enjoy, I promise you will love it.

10. Educate yourself.

I’ll be honest, you’re going to feel a bit overwhelmed in your first 90 days of blogging. If you’re anything like I was, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a completely different world where words like “widgets” and “plugins” seem like a foreign language. But don’t freak out. I repeat, don’t freak out. You WILL learn. Do your research and educate yourself as much as possible. There’s a ton of free info out there that can help you navigate the tech side of blogging. And if all else fails, just YouTube it. Trust me, that’s the fastest and easiest way to find a solution for just about any problem.

Whew. That was a lot, right? I hope I didn’t overwhelm you. There’s a lot more I could say about your first 90 days, but I better stop here. I am so excited about this new blogging series and I really hope it helps those of you that are just getting started! I plan on talking about photography, social media, earning an income from your blog, and more.

Here are a few other blogging posts you should check out: 

The No-Nonsense Guide to Starting a Blog

My Blogging Story

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Beginner's Guide to Blogging: 10 Things to Do in Your First 90 Days of Blogging

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31 Comments

  1. Megan wrote:

    Thanks Sarah! This is a really helpful post! Even though I’m more than 90 days in, I still found your suggestions useful and to the point. Looking forward to the rest of your posts on blogging!

    Posted 6.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Glad you enjoyed it Megan, I look forward to sharing more in this post!

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
  2. Ashley wrote:

    Hello, first off I just want to say I really like your blog, it seems very real, which is good and refreshing. I too have been considering a job change and was thinking of diving into the blogging world. But the idea of giving up my job and jumping into something with no idea of what I might make is very scary with 3 littles, a mortgage and all that good stuff. So….is there any chance you could breakdown profit potential of a blog? If it’s too personal or something you just don’t want out there I COMPLETELY understand. Thanks so much!

    Posted 6.1.17 Reply
    • Tara @blooming_acre wrote:

      This would be super helpful- I’m in a similar boat! It’s scary having no idea what range of $ can be made when you’re consistent with blogging.

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
      • Sarah wrote:

        I’ll be sharing more detailed info about this, so stay tuned!

        Posted 6.2.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Ashely! I’ll be talking about income in the series, so stay tuned for that. But I would definitely google “blogger income report” and you’ll find a ton of info. There’s a huge range you can make with blogging. I’m not exaggerating when I say some bloggers make $20,000+ a month. Abby from Just and Girl and Her Blog (https://justagirlandherblog.com) published many income reports with those kind of numbers. I’m not anywhere near that, but I’m definitely making more than I would have at my old job working full-time. I’ll get into it more in that income post, but just know that it’s definitely possible!

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
  3. Barbara wrote:

    Great tips, thanks for sharing. One of the reasons I love your posts is because you know how to WRITE! Not every person who can speak can write. I think people need to have a good working knowledge of English grammar and punctuation to have a professional-looking blog. I also like that you don’t overload yours with ads. When it looks like someone is in it just for the money, I rarely go back. You are a gem, Sarah! So glad you had the courage to follow your dream!

    Posted 6.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Aw thank you Barbara, I really appreciate that! And I agree, writing style is a big part of any blog and everyone does it differently. But I guess that’s what makes each blog unique. I’m just glad you enjoy mine, ha! 🙂

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
  4. Morgan wrote:

    I launched my blog exactly one month ago today and I totally relate to your comment about being dropped in a world of “widgets” and “plugins”- ha! The learning curve has been steep, but I have definitely learned a bunch so far and will keep looking to learn more! (Although sometimes I feel like I am listening to too many webinars, etc! Ha!) thanks for the tips!

    Posted 6.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      That’s awesome Morgan, congrats on launching your blog! Don’t stress about figuring out all the techy terms, I’m still not sure of everything! There’s just so much to learn. But it’s a process and that’s part of it, so enjoy the ride! Best of luck to you. xoxo

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
  5. Ellen wrote:

    Love your comment about hustling. Sometimes I feel like I spend SO much time on one post or one little change to my website, but it’s encouraging to know that even those who make it look effortless still work so hard to get it all done. Thanks for sharing, I’m definitely one of the readers who loves this stuff!!

    Posted 6.1.17 Reply
  6. Jenna wrote:

    Thank you for this post! I just hit the publish button on my blog today! Still have no idea what a widget is 🙂

    Posted 6.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      haha! You’ll get there Jenna, just give yourself time and YouTube anything that doesn’t make sense!

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
  7. Karlee wrote:

    These are awesome tips! Thank you!! I began my blog in April and I’m loving it. Question – I’ve been trying to figure out how to gain the swipe feature on my Instagram stories to help promote my blog. I’m having zero luck. Is there a trick? Again, I love your blog!! ????

    Posted 6.1.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hi Karlee! I believe you have to switch to a business account in order to be able to do the swipe feature in IG stories. You can do that in your settings. That’s what I had to do anyway. I love being able to do the swipe thing, but we will see how growth goes as a business account. I’ve heard it isn’t very good!

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
  8. Cindy wrote:

    Great post! I am really looking forward to the rest of this series 🙂 my blog has not been published as of yet, but I am well on my way with the purchase of my domain name, web hosting set up with WordPress, theme installed, about me and contact pages….. so far I’ve accomplished a fair amount of work (along with a lot of help from my daughter! I’m 54 so the learning curve is more like a 90 degree turn!!) I have tons of photos from the projects I have been working on so I also have some content in the works! I just need some accountability 🙂 Your series will help with that! I just made a goal to have it published by the end of June! Thanks for the inspiration!! PS I love your blog 😉

    Posted 6.2.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Wow Cindy, you are rocking it! Sounds like you are doing great already. It takes time to set up the overall look and design, so keep at it! And how cool that your daughter is helping! I’m excited about this series and can’t wait to share more of what I’ve learned. Stay tuned friend!

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
  9. Jessica wrote:

    I started my blog because of your posts!! You are such an inspiration! I have been hit and miss with my blog and it definitely shows so I am going to start planning like you suggested.

    Posted 6.2.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Ah Jessica! That’s awesome, I’m so glad to hear you went for it. Congrats! I’m looking forward to sharing more with this series.

      Posted 6.2.17 Reply
  10. Lynn S wrote:

    I feel your post was speaking to me personally. So helpful. I do not have a blog as of yet, but have been talking about starting one for a while now. I will be moving to a different state soon, within the next month or two, so I feel this may not be the best time to start. But maybe a good time to start gathering content! I look forward to the rest of this series.

    Posted 6.3.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Aw thanks Lynn, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I’m excited to continue this series and share more of what I’ve learned. And I think it will help you decide if you should go for it. Stay tuned my friend!

      Posted 6.3.17 Reply
  11. Teresa O'Connor wrote:

    Awesome Sarah thanks for all the tips

    Posted 6.3.17 Reply
  12. Helen wrote:

    Thanks for this series Sara, I’m so looking forward to learning from you. I had 10 of my friends and family look over my blog last week and now I’m implementing some of their valuable feedback before I launch properly. There’s so much to learn and I like that at 52 I’m learning a new and relevant skill…slowly!???? Will you be addressing SEO in your series?

    Posted 6.4.17 Reply
  13. Mrs.Peny wrote:

    This is a God sent ! I am literally in the midst of trying to start a blog and was feeling so overwhelmed. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 23 years and have finally decided it’s time. I love to write but was not sure how or where to even start. And as I dove headfirst into designing the Web page that excitement turned to overwhelming anxiety. My oldest son graciously talked me off of the proverbial ledge! Needless to say I am so excited you’re doing this and cannot wait to read more about all your experiences and know how!

    Posted 6.6.17 Reply
  14. Shayn wrote:

    Pulling those late night hours over here 😉 Great post – thank you so much for sharing! I enjoy reading different people’s ideas and ways they have found to successfully grow their blog. So much great information! Now to compact it all down and put it all to work!

    Posted 7.7.17 Reply
  15. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to start my blog and I really like your guide. I know that success to any blog does not comes overnight, so from now on, I should pay my effort on this thing just like you. Thanks again for your help!

    Posted 8.18.17 Reply
  16. Tess Yates wrote:

    Thank you Sarah for the wonderfully laid out descriptions and the motivational pep talk as well. I appreciate your sharing of your personal experiences with starting your own blog and the helpful steps you have shared about how others can do this too. What struck me as the most helpful was the 10 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Blog. The things you describe like, ‘Love What You Write About’, ‘It’s Not Easy’ and the need to be honest and not afraid ‘To Put Yourself Out There’ are great things for the want-to-be-blogger to realize and understand before jumping in to the blogging stratosphere. Additionally, thank you for the resources you provided and the photography information as well – it’s great to understand it is an important and necessary piece of a blog. You truly touched my heart when you described your struggle with ‘fear of failure, embarrassment, and criticism’ and your determination to ‘kick fear to the curb!’. I’m so glad that you took that initial step and thankful that you are willing to share your journey and what you have learned along the way with others. You have blessed us!

    Posted 11.29.17 Reply
  17. Sarah – I love your work and thank your for all the great tips. Can you shed any light on the Privacy Policy? Other than that, is there anything else legally you should include on your site? Is there a sample anywhere on the web or did you have to hire a lawyer to draft that?

    Posted 8.3.18 Reply

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