One Year of Blogging at Contentment Questing
(And Why I’d Do It All Over Again in a Heartbeat)
One Year of Contentment Questing
I have learned many lessons from one year of blogging. This time last year, I was unsatisfied. Have you ever gotten that way in your own life? Nothing is really wrong, but somehow you are just not happy with how things are going? Don’t get me wrong. I had and still have a good life, but I just wasn’t enjoying it like I wanted to be. I started wondering who I was. My youngest son had taken the leap (with joy and excitement) on to the big yellow bus that took him to school along with his older brother.
I felt like I was doing what God wanted me to taking care of an elderly relative so that she could stay in her home and be somewhat independent, but at the same time, it pretty much cut off the go back to teaching or get a regular job option for me. My world started feeling very small. I felt like there was something missing. One day while riding her bike, I was trying to give myself a pep talk about why I was not as happy as I wanted to be. I started repeating to myself that “Happiness is a Journey, not a destination.” And telling myself that I was responsible for my own happiness and it was up to me to make some changes.
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Starting With Baby Steps
Starting a blog had been at the back of my mind for some time, but it was one of those “maybe someday; ha, ha, yeah right” thoughts. Still, I had been playing around with the idea a bit. I had a secret Pinterest blogging board so that no one would know what I was planning. I even started a free one on WordPress and had published a few articles. Other bloggers were incredibly encouraging to me.
If you are thinking about starting a blog yourself, in one year of blogging I have learned that the blogging community is very nice and often times other bloggers are your biggest cheerleaders and supporters because they KNOW and UNDERSTAND everything that’s involved and how confusing it can be. Many bloggers are introverts, so putting themselves “out there” is very hard and more than a little scary. I prayed about it a lot. The more I prayed, the more I felt like this was also something that I should be doing.
While on a date with my husband, I started talking to him about how much I had been enjoying the little free blog I had been playing around with. I conveyed how much I enjoyed writing and about my desire to help people. I told him I wanted to be able to reach more people and have more options for customization and felt like I was missing out on a lot of the things I would get with paid hosting. While I was talking with him, I felt a spark way down in me that I had not felt in some time. Like a passion was re-igniting. He heard it too. At his urging, I got independent hosting the next day. Contentmentquesting.com officially launched November 25, 2017.
My Biggest Lessons that I Learned from One Year of Blogging:
- Other bloggers are often your biggest cheerleaders and supporters.
- You can make money from a blog, but it takes a LOT of work.
- You will learn and make friends along the way.
- Blogging will stretch your comfort zones.
- Blogging full of ups and downs. One day you are elated because you have gotten more page hits than usual, other days you want to curl in a ball and cry because someone left a not nice comment or your really great post you poured your heart and soul into is getting crickets.
- There are different levels of blogging. Some are super serious businesses that gross 6+ figures a year, others are just for fun.
- You will find what you are passionate about.
- It is entirely possible to spend more money on it than you make
- Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint or a “get rich quick” scheme.
- You will learn a lot about yourself.
- Your skills will improve the more you practice them. This includes writing, researching, graphic design, marketing, and interacting with your audience.
Show Me the Numbers From One Year of Blogging
My numbers are not spectacular. If you came here to see some really amazing ones, I’m sorry, but I don’t have them for you. I have made a little, and that gives me hope, but Contentment Questing’s primary focus is on helping people. I have always said that if I help ONE person through the blog then it will have been worth it. Blogs grow at different rates. It’s possible to have explosive growth in the first year, but that’s not me, and that’s ok.
During one year of blogging, I have learned a TON. For me, that’s one of the major things this journey is about – learning and helping people. Don’t compare yourself to others. Your journey is like no one else’s. They are not dealing with the challenges that you are. If you have started a blog and it’s not growing as fast as you want it to, but you are enjoying it, then I urge you not to quit. My own personal growth has no numbers but to me, it’s been priceless.
- Independent Hosting for first year: $68.00
- Tailwind for one year: $104
- Blog by Number Course: $57 (I got it on sale)
- Post by Number Course: $9 (regular price, worth every penny!)
- Ultimate Blogging Bundle: $98 (over $1000 worth of courses! Can’t wait to explore this further!)
- Renew Hosting with Siteground for 2 years: $95
- Income Journey Condensed ebook: $5 (I wish I had gotten the full version instead of the cliff notes version. It was exactly what it said, I just realized after I purchased it that I wanted more in-depth info.)
- Domain renewal from Siteground: $16
Total Expenses: $452
- Affiliate income from Amazon: $21.37
- Ghostwriting: $45
Total Income: $66.37
Evaluation of Hosting:
My goal for my first year of blogging was to make enough to pay for my hosting for the first year. I got close enough that I’m going to say I accomplished that. At first glance, hosting seems like a lot. However, if you examine it, the hosting costs that I reported between my previous hosting provider and Siteground are for 3 YEARS. If you take that into consideration, it comes down to less than $5 a month for a hobby that has major potential to make that money back if given enough time and effort.
My blog is still in the “building” phase. I’m ok with that because I am determined to enjoy the journey. This has been one of the most fulfilling and fun hobbies that I have had. It’s all been worth it, and to continue to bring you high-quality posts for 2 more years that’s already paid for is priceless.
Tailwind – Saved My Sanity and My Pinterest Reach
Tailwind is an automatic scheduler for Pinterest. It has been a lifesaver! You can schedule all your pins for a week or a month in much less time and then you set it and forget it. That beats spending every evening on Pinterest with spreadsheets about what to pin where when. It starts off not too bad, but it can grow to be a handful.
If you would like to try Tailwind they give you a free trial to learn and see what it can do for your blog. I started off with another hosting provider and they were ok, but I recently switched to Siteground. They make sure your webpage is faster, up 99.9% of the time, and they are dedicated to customer service. So far, I am very happy with them, including their customer service department, which is not a claim I could make about my other hosting provider.
Evaluation of Educational Materials:
I have not gone through all of the ultimate blogging bundle. I have gone about half-way through an Ebook by number course that was included in there, by my favorite go-to blogger, Suzi Whitford. Any time I don’t know how to do something, I go to her site, startamomblog.com. I will assure you, she is just as nice as she appears and wholeheartedly recommend any of her products. I have not tried all of them, but all that I have tried has been fabulous.
She was the first big blogger to believe in me and encourage me. She emails me back and has answered tons of questions. When you buy a course from her, you are not only buying the course but also Suzi’s support as well. I could go on for a long time about them, but I am a proud affiliate for her. In one year of blogging, I have found that it’s easier to find information about what you should do than it is specific information on HOW to do it. Suzi walks you through things step by step in her courses and cheers you on.
Why Spend Money on Courses?
When you start anything new, you have to learn about it. I spent four years in college learning to teach. Considering how expensive a college course is, I feel like I got a bargain with what I spent on educational materials this year. Yes, you can learn it all on your own, but it is the difference in trying to pick a lock and someone handing you the key. One is much more frustrating and difficult than the other.
- Email list: 40 (still very small, but growing)
- Pinterest: 552
- Facebook: 188
- Twitter: 129
Total Posts and Visitors in One Year of Blogging:
- Posts: 73
- Views: 7,137
- Visitors: 4,500
But More Importantly….
For one year of blogging, the numbers alone are not impressive, but they don’t tell the whole story. The benefits of blogging are not all measurable, tangible things that are cut and dried. I have made some amazing friends, both in the US and in the UK. I have started reading and studying again both of which I have missed. When I started Contentment Questing, I didn’t think anyone would read my posts at all. Instead, 4,500 people have looked at posts that I have written. How amazing is that? That’s enough people to fill a small town! Additionally, I feel like I once again, know who I am. I have regained my sense of self and sense of purpose. Can you really put a number value on a hobby that does that for a person in one year?
Personal Growth and Benefits from One Year of Blogging
I have learned a tremendous amount about things I never thought I could learn, like graphic design and marketing, blogging, writing in general, as well as personal development. My comfort zones have been stretched far beyond my wildest imaginings. I have actually done things that a year ago were only a vague idea,such as writing my first ebook that will be released Jan 1, 2019 (The Pearl Perspective: How Changing Your Perspective Can Change Your Life) . I have joined Facebook groups, Pinterest group boards, and Tailwind Tribes, which have made me feel part of a community.
All this has greatly improved my confidence and I am much happier with myself and my life now. I have rediscovered my passion for inspiring and motivating people and just helping them in general. Contentment Questing has largely been about my own quest for contentment, and I hope about yours as well.
Blogging, like happiness, is a journey.
It’s a journey that I am greatly enjoying, and I don’t intend to stop any time soon. I am not where I want to be, but I am confident that I will get there if I don’t quit. Blogs grow at different rates. My journey will not be exactly like anyone else’s, and neither will yours. I think the biggest determining factor of success is persistence. I’m not planning on quitting any time soon.
Shout Out To My Friends!
Blogging is not a journey that you go through alone. You meet many friends along the way. While I have encountered many helpful bloggers, I’d like to give special recognition to a few. If you like my blog, you might like theirs as well.
The Inspiration Lady – Tami Walker
It’s All You, Boo! – Nadalie Bardowell (The Goal-Slaying Expert)
Succeed Now – Lucy Smith (Personal Development Coach)
Future Plans for the Next Year of Blogging
In the next year, I plan to go through a Pinterest course to try to boost my traffic as well as grow my email list. There are courses for both of those in the Ultimate Blogging Bundle that I bought. My future plans for Contentment Questing include:
- Continue to post every week, with an emphasis on personal development.
- Stay true to my “why” of helping people become their best self and enjoying their life.
- Rapid growth in the coming year as I learn more about building my audience, Pinterest, and email lists.
- Listen and respond to feedback from my audience and build a relationship with them.
- Continue to build a community through my email lists and through the Facebook group “The Inspiration Ladies” that Tami and I admin. (Tami blogs at the inspirationlady.com and is amazing.)
Guest Post for Contentment Questing!
I would love to feature some guests posts on Contentment Questing. If you would like to submit one, look at my guest post submission guidelines and send me an email. I’d love to continue building a community. Tami, who blogs at theinspirationlady.com, and I have a Facebook group called “The Inspiration Ladies” We would love to have you join us if you are looking for an uplifting, positive group of ladies.
What Would You Like to See Next?
My ebook, The Pearl Perspective: How Changing Your Perspective Can Change Your Life, launches January 1, 2019, as I mentioned. I am beyond excited about it and a little nervous. This will be my first paid product. If there is enough interest in it, I may develop it into a course, or I may write another ebook. It largely depends on what kind of feedback I get from you. Let me know what you like and what you don’t like. Contentment Questing is not just about me, it’s about you and for you.