How to start a successful blog.
Urban Life

Lessons Learned On How To Start A Successful Blog

Today I’d like to share with all of you wonderful urbanites, and non urbanites, a few lessons I’ve learned. For the last eight months this blog has been a huge project for me. It’s required massive amounts of time to set up, design and think of topics to share with you.

 

I truly try my best to share information that will make all your lives better. The reason why I do this is because I appreciate all of you. Without you, this blog would be a vacant place, just like it was when I started it. Due to that reason, I put my all into it, and sometimes, that’s not so easy.

 

So, how did this amazing blog evolve to what it is today, and what did it take to do so? Let’s start from the beginning and work our way to the present? Sounds great, right? Let’s begin.

 

My Blog Was Originally Meant To Show Off All My Great Artwork

Nude model drawn in black, white and grey.
Nude model drawn in black, white and grey.

 

When I started this blog, it was meant to be a place where I could share all of my beautiful masterpieces. I’d attend all the sessions at the Art Studios. Then at night I’d stay up practicing from books and photos I found online. The same thing would happen on Saturday’s. I’d go hang out at the studio for a few hours with all the other wonderful Artists.

 

At first, this was all fun. I felt like I could share all of the artwork that I put so much hard work into. I was getting a lot better at my figure and portrait drawing, and people were starting to notice. A few even said that they liked watching me create it.

 

Some Great Art Posts

Then Came The Period Of Time When My Blog Was Meant To Show Photos Of Forgotten And Unique Places

Looking up towards old abandoned steps next to Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Looking up towards old abandoned steps next to Veterans Memorial Bridge.

 

There was one huge problem with my blog though. It’s very time-consuming to create artwork on a daily basis. At night after working a full day, I’d have to find the time to produce new artwork. This wasn’t easy because I would run out off photos to draw from.

 

If I wanted to attend the studio, I’d have to go late, and that would be tough seeing that I had to be at work very early the next day. The times they had open studio was not very convenient for my work schedule. None of this would have been a problem if I was earning a full-time living from my artwork, but just like thousands of other artists, I never made a dime. THE MYTH OF THE STARVING ARTIST IS ACTUALLY TRUE, CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT?

 

My blog started to evolve because I was evolving as a person. Not only did I love art, I also got interested in photography. Then came the AH HA moment. Why not just take photos of places that people forgot about, or would find very unique? This was fun for a while because I was passionate about what I was doing. I wasn’t taking photographs to gain massive amounts of traffic, or earn truck loads of income. Yet still, my blog traffic was rapidly increasing.

 

Some Great Adventure Posts

When Blog Traffic Started To Grow To Monstrous Proportions

Once my blog was getting over 300 visitors a day, I realized that it had the potential to not only grow to a massive size, but also generate income. I just didn’t have any idea how I was going to accomplish that.

 

This is definitely not the very first blog that I’ve ever started. The one blog that I started, and grew a few years ago was on it’s way to being very successful. I just lost sight of what I envisioned it to be, and instead got too focused on traffic and earning income from affiliates. My writing became more about increasing traffic, than providing content that truly came from the heart. It lacked passion, and instead of being featured in huge online magazines, like before, the blog started to fail. Traffic started to drop, and so did the affiliate income.

That Blogging Slump Feeling

For the longest time, I wanted nothing to do with blogging. I failed miserably and decided that blogging wasn’t for me. This blogging slump lasted for over a few years, until I realize that blogging was becoming a legit way to earn a living. I read countless stories of the hobby bloggers who worked his/her way to earning six figures a month.

 

I found this hard to believe at the time, but after researching and talking to many successful bloggers, I was proven wrong. These bloggers were earning more than what most people earn in a year.

 

When I started this blog I made a promise to myself. I wouldn’t just focus on the traffic, or how much I earned each month. The focus would instead be on providing quality content. Content that my readers would find useful. Something that my readers would love. Keep coming back to read. And eventually become loyal subscribers. If I could carry out these amazing tasks, the traffic and income would follow.

 

Let The Reviews On This Spectacular Blog Begin

Low wide deck on Xootr MG Scooter.
Low wide deck on Xootr MG Scooter.

 

The next great step in the evolution of this perfect blog was the introduction to reviews. First I started with Folding Bikes and Kick Scooters. This became a huge focus, and at one point, all this blog was about.

 

Some Great Kick Scooter Posts

 

At the time I was heavily into using folding bikes and adult kick scooters for urban transportation. It was a huge part of my life and I knew a great deal about them. Companies such as Dahon and Xootr realized this, when they say how passionate and knowledgeable I was. They started to feature my posts on their social media pages, and even translated them into different languages to share with other countries such as China. Xootr liked my work so much that they made me a Brand Ambassador, and created an affiliate program just for me.

 

Full view of how small 2-speed Brompton folding bike can fold.
Full view of how small 2-speed Brompton folding bike can fold.

 

Unfortunately, the same thing happened as when I was just focusing on artwork. The blog niche was too narrow and it became difficult to find topics to write about. Plus, it became boring because I was writing about the same topics constantly.

 

Some Great Folding Bike Posts

 

I had to find a way to introduce some fresh and interesting content. It had to be about something that I was not only passionate about, but also had knowledge. Then it magically happened.

 

A local blogger called, Sir Rocha Says, gave me the inspiration to introduce Restaurant Reviews. I was already visiting different restaurants on a daily basis and writing reviews on TripAdvisor. Why not use that same passion to put some detailed reviews on my blog?

 

Grilled chicken with scrambled eggs, mixed vegetables and a side of marinara sauce.
Grilled chicken with scrambled eggs, mixed vegetables and a side of marinara sauce.

 

The Restaurant Reviews not only sparked many new ideas for content, it also opened my mind to introducing new categories to this blog.

 

Some Great Restaurant Reviews

Then Came Along The Art And Travel Categories To This Blog

For the longest time, I eliminated the art category on this blog. I listened to too many online experts on how it’s better to have a defined niche. The problem was that the niche was too narrow, and I removed a lot of great, interesting content. The time that I spent at the art studios was amazing. I met a lot of very talented and awesome artists, and had many personal stories to tell of my own. I had to put it back up, and so glad that I did.

 

Luggage on bus in Rochester, New York
Luggage on bus in Rochester, New York

 

Not too long after this, I added one last category that I felt was desperately needed. Every time I Travel, it turns into an incredible adventure. I always meet the most interesting people with the absolute best life stories. I love hearing about their life stories, and where they came from, and been. I’m a very social person, and everywhere I go I’m able to talk to anybody as if I’ve known them forever. It’s a special gift that I have. What can I say?

 

Some Great Travel Posts

This Blog Was Looking Good, And I Liked It

The blog was finally turning into what I initially envisioned it to be. After many months of struggling with finding the perfect niche, and learning how to write with passion and creativity, I finally created a blog that would help urban residents live better lives. This blog will help them live better lives, by addressing the problems that they face on a daily basis from living within the city.

 

It’s very expensive and frustrating to live in an urban environment. Decent housing in a safe neighborhood can be outrageously priced. Grocery shopping at the stores can cost almost twice as much as other areas outside the city. And let’s not forget about the stressful transportation problems. The bigger the city you live in, the worse your commuting gets. Big cities such as New York City can have traffic congestion that makes a short commute last for hours. Bad weather can cause traffic to move slower than a turtle. And if you take the subway, the costs can eat up your paycheck faster than a competitor eater.

 

City living can not only be stressful, it can also be noisy, and in some areas covered with litter. Without a proper manual, it can be downright overwhelming to many individuals. By creating useful content that makes my visitors everyday lives easier and less stressful, I would have accomplished my dream. Even though I’m not from a huge city like New York City, and instead a medium-sized one, I can still relate to many of these problems in one way or another. And as you can see, this blog is well on it’s way to accomplishing that.

 

I’ve Got That Monetizing Feeling

Saying that makes me think of that movie “Top Gun” when Tom Cruise was singing to Kim Bassinger in the bar. He was singing “I got that loving feeling”. At this point I’ve also got that loving feeling for what this blog has finally become. There’s been many late nights of staying up working on a post. Once I get writing and the word juice is flowing I like to keep going. Sometimes it takes a while to get going, and find my groove. But once I do, I don’t like to stop.

 

I’m working towards making this my full-time income, and to do that it takes dedication and sacrifice. That means staying up late at night. Turning down invitations to go to lunch or dinner with family and friends. Not going out for bike rides when I feel the urge. In order to make this or any other blog successful, it has to be treated like any other business. You have to put in lots of time to create awesome content. If the content isn’t great you will fail, because there’s thousands of other blogs out there with incredible content also. They are constantly trying to do the same things as you are, and that’s grow their blog to monetize it. And one way to do that is with AFFILIATES.

 

I Not Only Failed At Adding Affiliates To This Blog, I Fell Flat On My Face Without Tripping On My Shoelaces

Can you get rich by putting affiliate links on your blog?
Can you get rich by putting affiliate links on your blog?

 

No business can survive if you don’t have paying customers. Without making an income, you cannot spend the time doing what you love, and in this case, it’s running a successful blog. I know that it can be fun creating the best content that the world has ever seen. But eventually you need to bring in the dough. THAT’S RIGHT YOU LITTLE BREADWINNERS YOU.

 

Unfortunately, I failed miserably at making money on this blog at first. With high hopes and dreams of living the American Dream, I added some affiliates to my posts. The first one that I added was Infolinks, and they didn’t have a bad affiliate program at all. It was very easy to set up. All I had to do was install the plugin on my WordPress theme. Insert the code. And just like magic, everything was up and running smooth, just like a Swiss watch.

 

The only thing that I didn’t like about Infolinks is that they would underline certain worlds in each post, including links to other pages on my blog. This would confuse my visitors because they didn’t know if it was a click to an ad, or another page on my blog. Plus, I was only making pennies from it each day. At this moment im not using any Infolinks on this blog. I’m not sure of I’ll ever go back to using them. Time shall tell.

 

For a while I was using Amazon’s Associates Affiliate Program on this blog. I had high hopes of generating some decent income from product reviews. Unfortunately, no matter what I did, I didn’t earn much from the Amazon Affiliate ads at all. Maybe it was a lack of traffic. Or that I had no idea what I was doing. Then again, maybe it was a combination of the two. Either way, Amazon kicked me off their affiliate program due to a lack of sales. Still, this hasn’t dettered me from considering using Amazon’s affiliate program sometime in the future.

 

Currently I’m using Adsense, and having better success with it.

 

Some Great Money Making Posts

This Blog Will Continue To Evolve And Grow As I Do, And  There’s No Predicting Where That Will Lead

Starting and growing this blog has been a phenomenal journey. When I started it, I had no idea where it would lead. I started this blog on a whim with no direction, or what I was going to do. In fact, for the first year this blog sat untouched. I didn’t work on it or post any content whatsoever. This blog was more vacant than an abandoned ghost town way out west.

 

When I did finally get the motivation to put some time into it, I wasn’t interested in turning it into a business. All I wanted to do was have fun, and not take it too seriously. As I’ve stated earlier, this wasn’t my first blog that I’ve started. The one before this turned into a nightmare because I lost focus, and didn’t put my audience first. I wasn’t about to let this happen again.

 

As the months rolled by, and I got more interested in this blog, the focus suddenly changed. I started to really enjoy working on the design and creation of new content. It’s as if I was starting to challenge myself to see if I could outdo myself each month. This blog pushed me to improve my writing skills dramatically. My ability to express my knowledge and feelings increased tenfold.

 

I got more interested in the design of the blog, and the way it was marketed. Social media became more important to me, and the way I was presenting my content mattered to earn a positive reputation.

 

Everything that I mentioned started to truly matter to me, but the connections I developed meant the most. I’ve met a lot of incredible and unique businesses, owned by the nicest people in the world. When I was struggling to find my way, they offered encouragement. They supported me when nobody else would, and I’d like to give them credit for this. Dahon Folding Bikes, and Xootr Scooter were the incredible companies that gave me the strength to continue when everything seemed helpless. To them I say, thank you.

 

This blog has helped me develop more as a person. I learned things that I never thought I would, and pushed myself past comfort zones that I would have never been able to do before. This blog has enhanced my life in so many ways, and I’m sure that as time goes one it will continue to do so.

 

So, thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way, and I hope to some day return the favor by helping a new blogger that needs the help.

 

Let’s Have A Little Recap Here

  • This blog was started on a whim to show all of my wonderful artwork.
  • It then turned into a photograph blog that shows abandoned areas and unique places.
  • I failed at adding affiliate links at first.
  • This blog turned into an urban living blog that helps people in the city live better lives.
  • Starting and growing this blog has been an incredible journey of learning new skills, and meeting incredible people.
  • As I evolve and improve as a person, so will this blog.
  • The support and encouragement that I’ve received from Dahon folding bikes, and Xootr has been priceless.

Check Out These Other Great Posts Before You Leave

Do You Have Any Blogging Journeys Of Your Own? Let Me Know….

 

Don’t forget to comment and subscribe below.

 

(Attention: This blog contains affiliate links and Adsense. Every time you click on Adsense, on the bottom of this post, you’re helping me to make enough to afford another coffee.)

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