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Friends, it has been an amazing ONE month of blogging, thanks to you and your support! The very first thing that I want to say is THANK YOU! I’m so grateful that each of you took time out of your very busy lives to click on a link that took you to my blog. Thank you for reading my posts, thank you for looking at my inspirational quotes, thank you for supporting me! One month ago, I decided to make the move to independent hosting, which I have through Bluehost. SO many amazing things have happened this month, I can’t wait to tell you all about them!
If you are thinking about blogging, or have started a blog and just want to a realistic view of what the first month looks like, this post is for you. I hope you are enjoying following my journey. Even if you are simply curious, yep, it’s for you too! Whatever reason you have, if you have supported me in ANY way, this post is for you. I want you to know that I would not be making any posts without you! Without readers, I would just be writing to myself and keeping the Word files on my PC. This is much more fun, and hopefully helpful!
Why I moved my blog to independent hosting with Bluehost
The first big thing that happened this month, was the big move to independent hosting through Bluehost, which I mentioned above. The independent hosting lets me have the jenniferw24.sg-host.com name instead of something like contentmentquesting.wordpress.com. While this may not seem like that big of a deal, it actually is. The wordpress.com name is a free blog name. If you are thinking about starting a blog and are not sure if you will like it or not, then that’s a nice way to try it out.
If you want to turn it into something bigger, then the independent hosting seems to be the way to go. It looks more professional and it offers many more customization options. If you have hopes of making money from your blog and turning it into a side hustle, you probably need to have the independent hosting. The other reason that I switched was that I read stories of people’s blogs being deleted for no reason with the free hosting. As much work as I am putting into this, I do NOT want that to happen.
So, why Bluehost? The simple answer is that it seemed to give me the most bang for my buck. I have more storage space for less money, and it came with a free domain name. (It’s less than $5/month) It also came highly recommended by nearly every single blogger that I read anything from. There was only one that said that they did not have enough room with Bluehost, and they were making 1.7 MILLION dollars with their blog. That’s pretty much out of my league for now. (As of now, I have not made a single cent from my blog, but I am enjoying it immensely.)
Bluehost also has a nice WordPress add-on, which I was already somewhat familiar with and is very user-friendly, even if (like me) you are not very techy. Basically, all I had to do was sign up with Bluehost and install WordPress and I was in business (so to speak)! The only negative that I saw was that you have to pay for at least a year at once. That did make me think for a bit. All I got was the basic plan, and I signed up for 12 months. I would have gotten a better price for 36 months, but at this point, I was not sure I wanted a 3-year commitment.
If all goes well, then yes I will still be doing this for 3 years, but I figured I’d pay for a year and re-evaluate after that. I did get the add-on that protected my personal information since I do not have a P. O. Box. That gave me an added piece of mind. You can always get any add on later if you want. Ultimately, I think I made a good choice and I would go with them again. I did have an issue this month, which I will discuss later on, but their customer service was very easy to get in touch with and was very patient working with me until the problem was resolved.
On that same note, if you do decide that you want to blog and get independent hosting, then do not be so excited that you misspell your EMAIL address. That causes problems. (Oops… ) Another positive about being able to install WordPress with Bluehost is that there are a TON of tutorial videos out there that walk you step by step through just about anything you want to do. I have watched several of them.
Reaching beyond my comfort zone
If you had asked me a year ago if I would start blogging, my answer would have been “No, why in the world would I want to do that??”. This whole blog thing is honestly a bit out of my comfort zone. Trying new things is how we learn and grow, though. I have been in need of some learning and growing. Joanna Gaines (from the TV show Fixer Upper) said in her book “The Magnolia Story” that “Sometimes you‘ve got to try something outside your comfort zone to find out what it is that you truly love.” (That’s a really good book. I really enjoyed the read and I found it quite inspiring!) I identified a lot with that quote.
Sometimes you just get stuck in the same old rut, doing the same old things and you need a change. I was at that point in my life where I was getting discouraged and needed to rediscover my positive attitude. I needed to feel more like ME again.
It is no accident that the blog is named “contentment questing”. It describes a continual process that we ALL go through in our lives trying to find a happy balance and that place where we are happy and at peace with our lives. I put a LOT into these blog posts. It’s not just the time that it takes to write them or thinking of topics.
I am doing a LOT of reading trying to figure out how to do things, how to make it look nicer, how to grow the blog, how to install different features, and so on. Trying to figure all those things out is more fun that I could have ever thought possible. It is challenging and frustrating at times, but I think that is part of why I get so much satisfaction out of it.
In all honesty, part of what attracted me to blogging was the fact that it can potentially turn into a source of income. I mean, when you read stories about working anywhere you want, part-time, making six-figure incomes, and retiring your husband, you have to admit that is pretty inspiring! If that peaks your interest, I have all kinds of pins under my “Blogging” board on Pinterest. I don’t know that I will ever achieve that kind of income, but it is nice to know that the possibility is there; as my husband said: “Let’s see if it makes enough to pay for a pizza and go from there.”
Even if it does not, even if I do not make anything from it, I know that blogging is making me happy. My own happiness and contentment are more than worth the price of the hosting. Money is not my focus. Making money would be nice, but it is not my primary goal.
What I really want to make is a difference! This blog gives me the ability to reach many people. When I think about the people that I really admire, they are the ones with positive attitudes. I wrote a post on how a positive attitude helped my classroom when I was teaching. One of the things that I absolutely LOVED about teaching was the students. I felt like I was in a position to make a difference in their lives. I wanted to be a positive influence, maybe even a role model.
In whatever way I could, I wanted to be a bright spot in their lives. That was what I missed the most when I quit in order to become a stay-at-home-mom. Don’t get me wrong; it is a move that I would make over again if given the chance because the sacrifices were worth it. However, I missed the chance to positively influence people. I missed being in a position to make a DIFFERENCE in people’s lives! (cue Little Mermaid song “I Want to Be Where the People Are”)
This blog gives me that opportunity again! I cannot tell you how much that means to me. I have a lump in my throat now as I am typing this. That chance, that opportunity, is one of the closest things to my heart. To be given that chance again is priceless! That is another reason that you, my friends and readers, mean so much to me! Blogging would not mean anything if there were not people to read it. I do want to increase my traffic, and that is one of my goals for next month, but Friend, know, that I am thankful for YOU being here NOW and I do NOT take you for granted!
Things I have accomplished so far in the first month of my jenniferw24.sg-host.com blog
I think I have had a really good first month. I like to focus on the positive and writing down these things really helps me to see that I am not off to a bad start. Here is a summary of the things that I have accomplished in the first month of my blog.
- Secured independent hosting with Bluehost (and installed WordPress)
- Published 18 blog posts
- Navigated the first “Bump in the Road” when my website went down for nearly a week!
As I mentioned earlier, I misspelled my email address when I registered, which resulted in me not getting a validation email. Since I did not validate the site, it went down until it could be validated. Fortunately, Bluehost customer support was super patient with me and together we worked at it until the problem was solved.
- Around 400+ page views in this month from people in 9 different countries!
- Signed up for the first of my affiliate programs
- Learned a TON about setting up a blog and installing plugins and widgets and customizing the site to get it looking sharper and more how I want it to look.
- Created Contentment Questing pages on Facebook and Pinterest (both of which have links on my sidebar)
- Joined 2 Pinterest group boards. I am not exactly sure how they work, but I will learn! Additionally, my personal Pinterest page is currently sitting at 1.1k monthly views!! Wow!! That is HUGE growth!
- I also learned about a program called “Tailwind” that helps with Pinterest. Again, that one is a work in progress and I am learning how to use it.
- I signed up for some mailing lists of some very successful bloggers that HELP other bloggers get started. I’ve found some very useful information, which I keep re-reading and referring back to.
My favorite one so far is Suzi from https://www.startamomblog.com/. I really love her positive attitude and her video tutorials are very nicely done, interesting, and informative. As a bonus, she had an absolutely adorable baby and 2 beautiful daughters. Listening to those baby sounds on the videos makes my ovaries hurt! So sweet!
Goals for the 2nd month of my jenniferw24.sg-host.com blog
I also have some goals that I would like to aim for next month. They are:
- Get Google Adsense to actually WORK! (Don’t worry; I will do my best to make sure they are not distracting and do not take away from the content. I don’t want it to look spammy. If it looks tacky, it’s gone!)
- Find out where to access that pesky HTML code. (Some add-ons want me to copy/paste things into the code for the pages.)
- Figure out how the Pinterest group boards actually work. I would also like to join a few more of them. (Right now I have no idea how to pin content to them, or if maybe somehow the group board followers can see my boards??)
- Increase traffic to my blog. Next month I would like to get at least 600 page views!
- Create more visually pleasing pins for Pinterest and more of them for each post, both the existing ones and the future ones.
- Continue to bring you quality content. I want to publish at least 8 more blog posts next month, posted on Tuesday and Thursday of each week. Perhaps you can help me on this one? Let me know what kinds of posts you want to see or what things you enjoy and want to see more of! Use my “contact me” form, or send me a message on Facebook or Pinterest or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org , or simply leave me a comment!
Final thoughts on the first month of my blog
I think that one of the hardest, but best decisions that I made regarding the blog was the decision to share it with everyone that I personally know. I put a lot of myself into these posts and it was a bit scary to open myself up to everyone. I’m SO glad that I did though because those people have turned into some of my biggest supporters!
I hope that my blog is encouraging to you and helpful. I am very sincere in that wanting to make a difference. Friends, I want to lift you up, encourage you and help you in your own personal quest of finding contentment in your life. I am so glad that as busy as life is you took the time to click through and read one or more of my blog posts or look at some of my “Words of Inspiration.” I know that this will continue to grow.
I have prayed about it a LOT. Since I have started this, I have been happier, I have had more of a positive attitude. More importantly, I have been praying more and worrying less. I have been reading my Bible more and I just feel closer to the Lord. That is HUGE for me. I am on my own quest for contentment, just as we all are. Let’s help and encourage one another along the way! In this journey, I am not going to compare myself to others. I am going to focus on my PERSONAL improvements because I want to be a better me than I was yesterday. This is going to be an amazing journey, wherever it takes me.
Edited 2/21/2018 for better search engine performace and readability.