Earlier today I was driving back from Dunken Donuts (where I got perhaps the best drink they’ve ever offered — a Caramel Craze Latte), and thinking about my life.
This year has been a shitshow (obviously), and I suddenly found myself wondering what the hell I was going to do.
Like most people, the pandemic hit me pretty hard. My business went out of business just 2 weeks after my husband’s work closed.
We’ve been getting by because I’ve been waiting tables, but that’s not a long term solution. We want to have kids, and we plan to homeschool. I need to be a fully present mother to give our children the best upbringing I can.
I thought my web design agency would give me that stability, but clearly I was wrong.
As I was driving back with my delicious coffee, I realised I need to learn if it’s possible to make money from home on my own schedule.
And I wanted to see if blogging would be the path.
I like blogging. I am great at getting traffic for a site thanks to my history as a web designer and digital marketer.
But also I wanted to do this as a challenge. People say you can’t start a new blog in 2020 and get traction. I wanted to see if that’s true. I have started multiple blogs over the years, and grown them quite successfully, but the tech has changed. It’s not as easy to get noticed by Google anymore, and social media is vastly different than it used to be.
Instead of just starting this blog and seeing where it goes, I want to make it educational for you as well. I don’t want you to just learn from the articles I post; I want you to learn from my journey as I try tactics and strategies.
These reports will serve as a way to share this journey. I have one post per week that I update each day I make changes to the site. You can find an archive of them at this link.
Behind the Scenes: Week 1
Day 1, August 10th 2020:
This experiment would hardly be accurate if I didn’t start over completely from scratch. To see if the Google Sandbox SEO rumor is true, I have to start with a blank domain. A freshly registered domain with absolutely zero credibility with Google.
As I want to do a blog that isn’t in one specific vertical, I decided to create a lifestyle blog. This gives me the latitude to write about business, health, yoga, etc.
On Day 1 I came up with the domain and premise of the blog. I then registered the domain with DreamHost and setup DreamPress hosting. The domain cost me $6.99 for the first year because DreamHost happened to be having a sale. Usually .com domains are $15 through DreamHost.
The hosting didn’t cost me anything since I had space on my pre-existing DreamPress* account. If you setup a new DreamPress account, it would cost you $20/mo. It’s well worth the money. DreamPress is the best WordPress hosting on the market.
I downloaded and installed Divi*, and then I uploaded a theme. I design themes for Divi and sell them on my site Designerless. The theme I’m using here for this site is one that I already had in development to sell on my marketplace. (This theme will eventually be available for sale here, so if you love it, you’ll be able to get it.)
I also created a rudimentary logo. It’s not fantastic, but it doesn’t have to be. I spent probably 15 minutes working on a logo before I decided that done is all that matters here at this juncture.
I also setup Clockify and Asana.
To do the best job possible with this experiment, I decided I have to track the time I invest in this project. I also assigned values to each group of tasks. I didn’t price them based on what I’d charge a client since my rates were high. I priced them based on what I would expect to pay someone through Upwork to execute these tasks.
Day 2, August 11th 2020:
I had to work at the restaurant. Luckily we were slow for the first half hour because waiting tables for 4 hours in hot and humid weather with a mask on the whole time is really bad for my heart problem.
After a long shift — I got out of there 45 minutes later than normal — I went home and went to bed. My heart was really fish floppy and bleh. I fell asleep fully dressed at 10:30pm, and I didn’t get up til the next day at 4pm.
Day 3, August 12th 2020:
I stayed in bed until I had to go to work. Fortunately it was a short shift. After work, I finished the About Page, made some tweaks to the omepage, added a few different categories, and started drafting this post.
Day 4, August 13th 2020:
I didn’t have to go to work today, but my Dad came over for dinner, so I got a late start on the site.
Today I created a new Pinterest account for this blog. I already have a personal Pinterest account that has been growing quite well considering I’ve largely ignored it for 3 years.
I signed up for my new account, created a few boards, and populated them with some content.
I am on the fence about using the Quite Lovely Life Pinterest account. I am probably going to use my personal social media accounts for this blog, but in case I change my mind, I grabbed the account just the same.
I also signed up for Tailwind*. Tailwind is the essential tool for growing on Pinterest. I have used it for my yoga account, and I have no doubt that my personal account will grow as well thanks to Tailwind.
Thankfully, I had a credit with Tailwind, so I was able to upgrade my account for only $84 instead of $119.
While I can’t get you credit like that, I can hook you up with a free trial and a $15 account credit if you want. It will cost $104, vs. the $119 it would normally cost. If you want to get $15 off your Tailwind account, you can sign up here with my affiliate link*.
Day 5, August 14th 2020:
Today I worked on fleshing out the Pinterest account. I verified the domain in Pinterest, and wrote the description for the account.
I installed a few plugins:
- Yoast SEO
- WP Scheduled Posts
I also setup Google Webmaster tools so I could track how the site is doing in Google.
And the Alexa ranking is down to 1.7 million. My goal is to have the site to under 1 million by September 1. Sites with an Alexa ranking under 1 million can use HARO to query sources for articles.
Day 6, August 15th 2020:
My goal isn’t to monetise this blog with Adsense in the long run. My goal is to work up to Mediavine, which requires 50,000 sessions per month as determined by Google Analytics. Mediavine also requires you have a Google Adsense account in good standing.
I went through the annoying process of beginning my application for Adsense and ensuring the site meets their requirements only to find out hours later that I have an old Adsense account from like…7 years ago…that I completely forgot about, and I have to go through that instead.
I also spent a lot of time mucking about with the homepage, as well as doing research about lifestyle blogs. I’ve done niche blogs before, but this is my first lifestyle blog, and it’s a bit of a different beast.
Day 7, August 16th 2020:
I’ve had an exhausting week and I haven’t been sleeping well, so I rested as much as I could today, and I haven’t really done anything on the site. I did spend some time fixing a few design issues to make the site more mobile responsive.
Next week I plan to publish a minimum of five posts in the third category: Body. This content vertical is all about wellness. I also intend to build out recommended resources. After the content is more fleshed out, I’m going to start promoting the site.
Going forward starting in the third week, I aim to publish at least two posts per week.
Thanks for following along!
See you soon. 🙂