About a month ago I published a Q&A post all about me personally. About a week later my e-mail inbox flooded with questions about all things that have to do with blogging. While I had never intended to do another Q&A post so soon nor do I consider myself a “blogging expert” a lot of you guys wanted to know what goals I have for my blog in the long run, how I’ve built an audience in a short period of time, and tips of what I’ve learned from the short time I’ve been blogging. I figured that even though I’m nowhere near expert level in the blogging world, I have made it through the beginning stages of blogging and like to think that I made it through the beginning stages of blogging pretty successfully. So, here are my answers to some of your questions. Hope you enjoy!

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If your blog finds success, do you see yourself blogging full time?

Currently, I’m blogging as a 20 year old college student. I currently hold an awesome job in sales and definitely won’t be giving that up. Once I’ve graduated, if my blog is bringing in a full time income I don’t see myself giving up a full time job to blog full time. I am in no means trying to put down other bloggers that have done this because personally I think that’s awesome, but it’s just not for me. At the moment I am single and see myself staying that way until I graduate. As a single, recent college grad trying to make her way into the world, I’d like to be surrounded by people in a work environment. I’m super passionate about marketing and where I’d like to be in the work force, so I’d love to hold a job. Strange I know, but it’s the truth. I want to be in the work force come post graduate, especially since I’m considering moving to a new state and city.

Fast forward 10 years down the line when I’m married with children and I’d reconsider the whole blogging full time thing. But that will be decided further down the line and with said future husband.

What tips do you wish you had known when you first started blogging?

Make connections with other bloggers! When I first started blogging I feared that other bloggers with more experience would look down on me because I was so new. It definitely was not the case and I wish that I had taken more effect at that point to get to know more bloggers. I definitely have learned that the blogging community is super welcoming, whether you are a new or old blogger.

I also wish that prior to starting a blog I had focused on growing a stronger social media following. While a following does tend to come once you’ve started blogging, I wish that I had developed more of a base on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest before I started blogging so that I could send more traffic to my blog to begin with.

Another thing that I wish I had known is that it won’t be perfect from the beginning. I am a type-a perfectionist (great combo, I know) and I would always look at other girl’s blogs where they had a defined brand and the perfect pictures to use on their blogs. I couldn’t get over the fact that I didn’t and couldn’t find that for myself right off the bat. But that’s not how it works. It takes time to develop a brand and it definitely takes time to develop a strong one. You won’t have “perfection” right off the bat. In fact, it’s been fun to look back over the few months that I’ve been blogging and see how much my brand is growing. Did I have a written brand when I started? Yes. I’m a marketing student as well, so that’s to be expected from me. But since then that brand has grown and evolved, so I can’t wait to see where this takes me!

 

 

How did you build a following when you started blogging?

I mentioned in my last Q&A that I had previously had blogs, one which had picked up a small following. Many of those girls still followed me on Twitter, so they read this blog when I launched. I also shared my blog posts on my personal Facebook page and my friends and family I checked it out and even shared some of my posts. I also immediately started pinning my posts on Pinterest. It didn’t bring an immediate following, but it did slowly bring in more readers over a span of about a month. And slowly but surely, I’ve built up to where I am today. I can’t wait to see where I am in another 3 or even 6 months!

How do you balance school/work/blogging/organizations/social life?

I will be completely honest and say it’s hard. In high school I prided myself for how well I could balance my high school classes, several college courses, dance, cheerleading, and a job, but when I got to the college level finding balance was a slap in the face for me. In high school it was exactly that on Monday evenings I had dance and I worked Tuesday evenings, etc. But college is nothing like that. I had to learn that every day is different which means that every day has a different plan. Once I realized that and could plan accordingly and knew what times I worked best doing certain things, I had more of a routine set up. For instance, this semester my classes didn’t start until noon or later. So I’d wake up around 6:30am, do homework, go to class, head to the gym, finish up any more studying I needed to do, go to work, and then do blogging stuff after. And if I wasn’t working one evening, I was at meetings for my organizations. A post on balancing it all is on my calendar, promise!

What goals do you have for your blog?

At the moment, I run this blog as a hobby. My goals are to help other high school and college ages girls navigate their way through their high school and college years in the best, most successful way possible. I also love to take pictures and write, so it allows me to combine my loves and help others while I’m at it.

Another goal for my blog is for me to learn more about marketing. As a marketing student, I’m fascinated by what methods work and what methods don’t work when you are trying to market yourself. I love how as a blogger, particularly a college lifestyle blogger, it makes how I market myself even more particular. The hardest thing to brand is yourself and I’ve had a lot of fun doing so! Any marketing experience I can get is good, especially since I’m going into the work force in two and a half years.

If you are a blogging, what do you wish you had known when you started blogging? What goals do you have for your blog? If you don’t have a blog, what do you hope to focus on to start a successful blog? What are you hoping to accomplish through blogging? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

 

Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by to read my December Traffic and Income Report! I’m thrilled this month to say that I’m able to add income to my report since this little blog of mine has begun to bring in a small income. Please remember that I am not post this to brag about my blog or the income that I am earning. It is something I post so that I can look back and see how far my blog has come both traffic and income wise. I also post it in complete honesty to help other bloggers that are in the same boat as me; growing their blog traffic and at the beginning stages of earning an income through blogging. So, without further ado, here is my traffic and income report for the previous month.

December Traffic and Income Report

Successful Plans of Attack in December

The most successful plan of attack that I had for December was my activity on Pinterest. I found great times throughout the day to pin to my boards and in turn gained several followers on Blog Lovin’ and my social media pages. I’m hoping to roll this over into January as well to continue to see a return from it.

In December once I realized that not using an editorial calendar is a horrible idea for me, I went out and bought a monthly 2016 calendar to use purely for blogging purposes. It includes lists of posts ideas, my editorial calendar, and monthly social media stats so that I can track my growth month to month.

Unsuccessful Plans of Attack in December

Obviously what was unsuccessful was the fact that I decided to not use an editorial calendar and instead just go off of a list of post ideas I had. It was a horrible method to use for me personally since I am the kind of person that has to have things planned out and written down. I was hoping to be “spontanious”, but obviously that’s not something that I can do successfully with my blog.

I also had very poor presence on Twitter and FaceBook, which is something that I am hoping to improve in the month of January.

December Traffic

I’m excited to say that I once again grew traffic wise. While it’s definitely not all about the numbers, I must admit it’s fun to watch my page views continue to rise each month.

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December Income

I can’t believe that I’ve already made a small income from my blog. I’m thrilled that this little blog that I see as purely a hobby has earned me a small income already. While I’m not expecting this kind of return again in January, as the purchases made were purely for the new year, it’s still pretty exciting. As a college student on a fairly strict budget, I’m thrilled.

Affiliate Link Compensation: $180.00

Popular Posts in December

  1. The Best Study Tips for College
  2. How I Stay Organized with my Erin Condren Life Planner
  3. The Senior’s Guide to Choosing a College
  4. The Soon-to-be Senior’s Guide to Senior Year
  5. The College Girl’s Guide to Being Sick

January’s Plan of Attack

In November I had an editorial calendar and it was my most successful month of posting regularly. In December I decided to try to just post based off of a list of post ideas that I had and that failed miserably. For the month of January I am back to using an editorial calendar and actually bought a monthly calendar purely to plan out my blog posts. I’m hoping to blog regularly this coming year and that having a calendar specifically for blogging will help.

In January I am also hoping to writing at least one evergreen post that will bring in a steady income month to month. I have two ideas going through my head as to what I could do with this, but my goal is just to get one of them up. I’m also hoping to plan (or possibly post!) my first giveaway for the blog. We will see how it goes. I have a good chunk of free time on my hands since it’s winter break, so I’m hoping to get some work out of the way now.

I’m also hoping to better my social media presence. I recently stumbled across an amazing (and free) social media scheduling website that will allow me to have posts going up even when I’m juggling my crazy work schedule over winter break. I’m excited to see how it goes.

And finally, I’m hoping to work on strengthening the brand for Love Megan June. This isn’t something that you guys will be able to see so much from the outside this month, but hopefully it will begin to show in the future months. Every little thing adds up, right?

How did December go for your blog? Did you see an increase or decrease in traffic? What are some of your blogging goals for the month of January? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

The other day I received a comment on one of my posts asking if I could write about how I was able to gain a following in the blogging community. While yes, there are lots of posts out there about the best ways to grow your community and find your niche, there are different ways to go about gaining a readership based on who your target audience is. Are you a college blogger or a mommy blogger? Is your core readership ages 14-24 or 35-50? Do you provide any form of e-book or online course? How you answer those questions can majorly affect how you find your core audience. Mom bloggers are more likely to find their readership through Facebook while college and food bloggers typically find the most success through Pinterest. Today I’m focusing on how to build your readership as a college blogger with a core audience ranging in ages 14-24 because it’s the core group that I personally have the most experience with.

The Blogger's Guide to Building a Following

Use Pinterest to your advantage.

From the time that I started blogging to now I use Pinterest as a way to get my blog posts out to people. In fact, it is my number one traffic driver to posts on my blog. I have personally found as a college blogger that the best way for me to reach who I see as my core audience is to pin onto my personal “college” board and other college group boards on Pinterest. While I am newer to the group board scene, I have found that the best way to find and join college related Pinterest group boards is to stumble upon them. Typically the person who started the board will have a message at the top of the board explaining how you can request to join the board as a contributor, which is typically by commenting on one of the recent pins on the board or e-mailing an e-mail address that has been given. I also recommend making and growing a college board of your own. Pin your own posts to it and other bloggers pins as well. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to overwhelm your followers with a lot of your own posts from your blog, so I try to pin 4-6 pins from other sites for every 1 blog post of my own.

The biggest thing that I learned from Pinterest is to give it time. Your post won’t immediately be picked up by other people the instance you pin it. It takes me an average of two weeks for any of my new blog posts that I’ve pinned to be repinned a number of times. The fastest I’ve ever had a pin be picked up was two days, but that is because a major company with several thousand followers also pinned it. Just know that it takes time and be patient.

Maintain an active social media presence.

You won’t see any immediate payoff from this, but it definitely pays off in the long run. As people are discovering your blog if they stick around they may check out one of more of your social media platforms. But just because they have looked at all of your platforms doesn’t mean that they will follow all of them, they will pick and choose. I use Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and a Facebook page for my blog and typically people will only follow one of those of the four. If your readers are depending on a Twitter update to check out your new posts, but you only update your Facebook page, you are missing out on having active readers that want to stick around and potential page views. So something to keep in mind is only using social media platforms for your blog that you know you can keep up with.

Have a nice, clean blog design.

When a new reader comes to your blog, they make a decision as to whether or not they want to stick around and read within 10 seconds. Yes, 10 seconds. So you want to give them the nicest, cleanest looking, best first impression that you possibly can. I like to keep my “above the fold” section as clean and pleasant to eye as I possibly can. “Above the fold” is a term that means what you see when you first pull up a page. My personal above the fold is my header, menu bar, “about me”, and my most recent posts title. I have a clean, pretty design (or at least I think it is clean and pretty) that I hope is welcoming to my readers that will immediately allow them to see what my site is about and learn a little bit more about me.

Post consistently.

The biggest mistake the new bloggers make is not posting regularly. Statistics actually show that you will see a better reader following and more page views if you publish at least three times a week because it will define you as an “active website” to search engines. I highly recommend that if you are a new blogger write and schedule 3-5 posts so that you can start having content up consistently. If you currently an active blogger I highly recommend writing and scheduling your posts at least a week in advance and also have 2-5 posts ready to publish in your dashboard for when things get busy. As a college student I plan when I will write and stash up blog posts based around when I have tests and finals. Since typically I have tests for all of my classes the last week of each month, I know that I won’t have the time to write posts that week, so I will plan ahead and schedule posts for that week and the Monday after so I’m not in a rush to get new content up after my tests are over.

Comment on other blogs, reply to your comments, and follow other bloggers on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest.

A great thing to do at any point in your blogging career is to work on building your community. This is another point that pays off a lot in the long run rather than the short run, but the time and effort that you put into it is so worth it. When you get a comment on your blog, reply within 24 hours. I actually have it set up so that when I receive a new comment on my blog I get an e-mail so that I’m aware of it and can reply as soon as possible. If they leave a link to their blog, I always try to take the time to read and leave a comment on their most recent post and to check out and follow at least one of their social media platforms. I also think it’s important to find blogs to follow and comment on regularly. While I’m not the best at keeping up with this since I’m juggling college, blogging, and a job, any free chance I get I will comment on blogs. In fact, if I’ve ever commented on your blog I probably commented either from the bus on the way to school or waiting at the bus stop.

Are any of these tips something that you would use to build your following? Is there anything that you would add to this list or that you do differently that you have found success from? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

November unfolded in a way that I hadn’t expected. Late September I tested positive for mono and it took me out for well over a month. I had to make the decision to focus the little energy that I had while I was sick on school and getting better and took a break from everything else, blogging included. I decided that I would come back to blogging in November and work towards getting my page views back where they used to be and continue to work on getting to know other bloggers within the community. Little did I know that I would more than double August’s traffic, have my first post featuring items that I was sent, and get to know lots of amazing girls within the blogging world.

In this traffic post I’m hoping to be completely honest and open about what went through my mind while making decisions for marketing my blog, why I’m doing what I’m doing, and if I’m finding success from what I’m doing. If you have any questions about something I wrote about or feel that I didn’t go into enough detail about something, please comment below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you!

Successful Plans of Attack in November

In case you haven’t figured this out about me yet, I’m a planner. I sit down and plan my month of blog posts and star the ones that I just know will be successful. If you are wondering, the ones that I star have never been the ones that are successful. In fact, it’s always been quite the opposite. The ones that I see as having the “least potential” to bring on anything good are the ones that end up getting pinned on Pinterest over 1,000 times in two weeks. So in November I made it a goal that with each post I put out, it would be just as high as quality as the last post I had put up whether I thought it would be successful or not. This definitely paid off for me as I have noticed lots of improvement in how long readers stick around to check out posts and that I wasn’t embarrassed when something I thought had “no potential” caught lots of traffic. The post that did this? My “The College Girl’s Guide to Being Sick”.

This month I also featured my beloved Erin Condren planner. I love it and use it every day to stay on top of my crazy college schedule. When I posted my planner post, I mentioned the company in my tweet and tagged them on the Facebook post. Little did I know, they have an amazing PR team that ended up not only tweeting at me, but also pinning my planner post twice to their 30,000 followers. Needless to say, that post took off. It showed me how much brands appreciate you showing your true thoughts and opinions on an item that they will show you appreciation back. I’m not saying that sponsored posts aren’t true thoughts and opinions or that suddenly I’m going to begin only mentioning brands in my posts so that I get a mention from them, what I’m saying is now when I mention a brand I won’t be shy about mentioning them on my social medias.

And finally, this month I stuck to a consistent blogging schedule. The longest time that I went without a post was four days and there were several periods of time where I had something publish every other day. While at the moment I see it as a bit too much to try to publish something every day or to post two days in a row, I do like the consistency of publishing content every two to three days. I was able to stay on top of this by taking some time after my crazy periods of tests where over in October to brain storm post ideas, write out an editorial calendar, and take the time to write, edit, and take photos for five posts to have scheduled for my busy test time in November. This is definitely a method that I will keep up with as I used Thanksgiving to get ahead on blogging since more tests and finals are just around the corner.

Unsuccessful Plans of Attack in November

While this is definitely might seem like an odd thing to include in my traffic report, I thought it was something important to include. This biggest thing that I learned this month was to not base your content off of what was popular on Pinterest. I have a college board that has had well over 1,000 followers since my senior year of high school and I thought it would be a great idea to base the core of my content for the month based off of what was popular and being repined from my college board. This way of going about things turned out to be a horrible idea for me and led to no success. In fact, the posts I thought would be popular gained no traffic and the posts I had no hope for are now two of the most popular posts on my blog. Instead of going off of what’s popular on Pinterest, write what you want to read. That is what will find the most success in the end.

Popular Posts in November

  1. How I Stay Organized with my Erin Condren Life Planner
  2. The BEST Study Tips for College
  3. The College Girl’s Guide to Being Sick
  4. The Senior’s Guide to Choosing a College
  5. The Soon-to-be Senior’s Guide to Senior Year

November Sponsorships

While I didn’t get paid to publish anything, I did publish my first post with items that had been sent to me! I’m super excited that something I see as a hobby and de-stress allows me to work with companys and try fun new products.

I also was accepted to two blogging networks, Her Campus and BlogHer, and I can’t wait to see where they take me! I never came into blogging hoping to make money or receive products from companies, but if my hobby can help me make a little money on the side, I have no objection. While I haven’t received any sponsorships because I haven’t even been a part of them for a week yet, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for me!

November Traffic

November 2015 Page Views

I can’t believe I hit nearly 19,000 page views this month. That’s nearly double what I had been getting before I had to take a leave when I was sick. Thank you all so much for reading! I greatly appreciate it.

December’s Plan

I’m very proud of myself for having a consistent schedule for the month of November and I hope to continue to do so for the month of December. I put what I learned in late October when prepping for November and got ahead on blog posts so that I have content going up during my two busy weeks of school (as I have two tests and a huge paper due the week before finals). I also took the time to write out a list of post ideas and put them onto an editorial calendar. My editorial calendars are never set in stone, as I move around what post I want to do on what day a lot, but I still write and publish all of the posts I had planned for the month on my editorial calendar.

I’m also hoping to apply to 3-5 more blogging networks. My daily page views more than doubled during the month of November and I’ve reached a point where networks would be more willing to work with me. I’d love to be able to make a little extra money on the side and do something that I love.

What was the month of November like on your blog? What is a big lesson that you have learned in blogging lately? Have you come up with a game plan for the month of December? And as a side note, does anyone else notice less traffic the week of the holidays? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

I started my blog over the summer as a productive break from my macroeconomics and calculus classes that I was taking at the time. Little did I know that I would begin to average hundreds of views per day and have girls reaching out to me asking for advice on handling high school and college. I never imagined that the post I wrote that I wish I had as a senior in high school would garner thousands of repins and bring me so many page views. I didn’t understand the power behind my e-mail to a fellow blogger saying “Hi, my name is Megan. I’m new to the blogging community and would love to get to know you!” would bring me an amazing blogging friend. And ultimately, I didn’t understand the community that is the blogging world.

Today I wanted to share with you why YOU should start a blog. Whether it’s an idea that you’ve been tossing around for a while or something you’ve never considered, I have yet to regret my choice to join the blogging community.

Why YOU Should Start a Blog

A productive break.

Personally if I get on Netflix or YouTube when I need a break from doing homework and studying there is little to no chance that “beak” will come to an end. For me personally, if I have work to get done and know that I will need breaks so I can make it through everything I need to, I schedule in productive breaks. This might mean doing a load of laundry, dishes, working out, or working on stuff for this site. I can crank out posts and edited photos on the days where completing a blog post is my productive break. Plus, I love that at the end of the day I can check off my homework, studying, and a completed blog post.

Allows you to brand yourself.

I’m a marketing major so the fact that this outlet allows me to develop a brand for myself is huge to me. I’ve always heard that the hardest thing to brand is yourself and that couldn’t be more true. It’s difficult to decide which parts about yourself that you want to share, what parts about yourself you want to emphasize, and what you want to have make up the core of your brand. I’m a college student, I’m very involved on campus, I’m a Christian, I danced for fourteen years, I was a part of a sorority, I am very girly and slightly preppy, I love to bake, and the list goes on. It’s ultimately up to me which parts of myself I want to share and have as a part of my branding online. And I love that.

Improves time management and planning.

When I got to college one of the first things I asked was how I could become one of the college girls that had her day planned and a to-do list ready to go. While your days don’t always go as planned, it is still nice to have an outline. If I just have school stuff to do, I’m not going to get as much done. I’ll spend my time doing who knows what (read: watch YouTube videos) until I finally decide it’s getting late and that I need to get my work done. With being involved on campus and having a blog to tend to, I know that I need to get stuff done as soon as I can so that I can get done everything that I need to. As a college student, my posts don’t come without a bit of planning. I don’t want to publish a post about finals in January when finals were in December and I definitely don’t want a post to go up about move-in in October when most college move-ins happen in mid-August and early September. Hands down, I can say that my time management and planning skills have improved drastically since I started blogging and I’m thrilled.

Allows you to meet new people.

If you know me personally, you know that I love to meet new people. I went to a very small high school (my graduating class had 19 people) and I feel that because of that I appreciate meeting new people even more. I love how the blogging community, in particular the college blogging community, has brought me friends from all over the country and even from around the world. It’s allowed me to connect with girls in high school, college, and even a handful of post-grads. Never in my wildest dreams would I have readers that would specifically type my URL into a search engine just to see if I had updated. It blows my mind honestly.

You can receive products/earn money.

Even if you are a new blogger or still over see a small blog, you have the ability to receive products and sometimes earn a little bit of money for doing so. While I’m hoping to go a little more into how newer bloggers can join blogging networks in another post (it’s in my drafts right now, promise!), it is possible no matter how big your blog is. My shock came when I received an e-mail from a PR firm asking me if I was interested in pairing up with two brands to talk about healthy foods for college students. I looked into the company and realized that I already had one of the brands in my fridge and the other was a brand my local grocery store didn’t carry, but would totally be something I would eat. I was thrilled that my small blog had the potential to work with companies. And your blog can too!

Improves your writing and photography skills.

The main reason that I started a blog was because it allowed me to combine my loves of photography and writing. While I like to pride myself on my writing skills, I’ve realized that there are definitely areas that I can improve on and this blog has played a major role in improving that. My personal photography style was definitely what was most challenged by the whole thing, as taking styled pictured of school supplies, my planner, and laptop was never something I had done before. While I still have some major room for improvement my styled shots, I have seen some major progress that I’m proud of.

Have you ever considered starting a blog? If so, what is holding you back from doing so? If you currently have a blog, what finally pushed you to start one? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!