My 100th Blog Post

Time flies! Let me reminisce, share my thankfulness, dreams for the future, and ways you can continue to support me. Here is what I have to say on my 100th blog post.

my 100th blog post
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My 100th Blog Post

Wow! I can’t believe this is my 100th blog post. Let me tell you, this is huge! I originally started this blog in 2013, but only committed to it last October. So to be here with 100 quality posts means I’m actually doing this blogging thing! It’s been rough at times. There have been hiccups, website bugs (%$&@#!) , and setbacks but I’m still here and still writing. I’m still loving every minute of this.

I’ve written about some really tough subjects like miscarriage, our son’s clubfoot, job loss, and marital boundaries. You’ve put up with my crazy love for all things Happy Planner. Hopefully…I’ve helped you with cleaning, wellness & self-care, and home organization. Maybe I’ve even given you some mouth-watering recipes to try. The last nine months has been so much fun and it is a privilege not just to write to you, but for you to read it!

A Heartfelt Thank You

First, I want to take a moment and thank everyone who has supported me and my blog. The first thanks goes to my husband, Dan. He encourages me on days where I feel like I’m failing at this and he gives me the time and space to write. Thanks babe. I couldn’t do this without you.

Secondly, a special thank you to you reading this. When I started this blog about nine months ago, I had no idea how to start or how to do this. Every time you like a photo, click on a link, or read a post, I’m sincerely grateful and humbled. Your comments mean a lot to me. In fact, they keep me going. There are so many days when I think I should quit this. Then one of you will say how much you love reading this blog and it re-energizes my passion. YOU make all this possible. Every time you read or share my post, you help me live out my dream of being a writer. Thank you.

Lastly, I want to thank the other women who courageously shared their inspirational stories in guests posts. Koral Dawn from the Unsanity Blog, Jessica Schweikardt from Forever and Evie, Kira McCloskey – you ladies are awesome. Thank you so much for contributing your talents to my blog. If there is something you’d like to share with others, but don’t have a platform, I’d love to hear from you. You don’t have to be a writer, you just have to be sincere. If there is something you want to share with my audience, please contact me about how we can get your story posted here on My Beautiful Mess.

How To Support Me

Let me absolutely clear. You don’t have to spend a single penny to support someone with a blog (although it’s awesome if you do).

One of the best things you can do to show your support is simply share my post on your social media. It doesn’t cost you a dime and yet it creates a ripple effect of help for me. Every time you share a post, whether it be pinned to Pinterest, on Twitter or on Facebook, my post gets shared with a whole new audience. It takes you a second, but it helps me for months.

Finally, please e-mail subscribe to my blog. It costs you nothing. First, it lets me know you are reading this. Second, it helps me deliver unique, more personalized content to you. It automatically enters you in giveaways and you get subscriber-only content. Lastly, it helps me financially support my family, yet doesn’t cost you a penny. Having subscribers gives me greater opportunities as an online influencer.

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All 100 Posts

I did all the hard work and compiled a list of all the posts I’ve done since October 2018. I hope you enjoy reading them.

  1. She Does Him Good: 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband
  2. Christmas at Our House
  3. Hoecakes: A Revolutionary War Recipe
  4. Scripture Reading: Jealousy & Comparison
  5. Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole
  6. Debunking Myths About Homeschooling
  7. Mini Chocolate Fudge Tarts
  8. Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies
  9. Trusting God in Tough Times
  10. Easy Cheap Date Nights at Home
  11. Mermaid Vibes: Plan With Me
  12. Why We Homeschool
  13. Scripture Reading: Faith
  14. Happy Planner Password Log
  15. How to Use the Wellness Happy Planner
  16. Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas
  17. The Ultimate Summer Bucket List
  18. Happy Planner , Jobs and Hope
  19. The Ugly Side of Blogging
  20. Super Easy Mother’s Day Greeting Card
  21. 5 Things I Want for Mother’s Day
  22. Biblical Baby Boy Names
  23. Scripture Reading: When Too Be Quiet
  24. Baby Registry Checklist
  25. How to Get Housework Done With an Infant
  26. How to Handle Disappointment With God
  27. The Next Chapter
  28. 8 Ways to Menu Plan With Happy Planner
  29. Broccoli Slaw
  30. How to Make a War Binder
  31. Gratitude Journal Prompts
  32. Goat Cheese Fondue
  33. 10 Things You Don’t Know About Me
  34. Scripture Reading: Depression & Grief
  35. Cajun Bean Soup
  36. 10 Books to Read as a New Mom
  37. The Ultimate Spring Bucket List
  38. 5 Tips to Survive NICU
  39. 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood
  40. 7 Things About Bipolar I want People to Know
  41. Banana Vanilla Wafer Pudding
  42. What I’ve Learned in 4 Months of Blogging
  43. Dear Mama Who’s Struggling
  44. Easy Menu Planning
  45. Monterrey Jack Pimento Cheese
  46. Scripture Reading:Anxiety & Fear
  47. How Happy Planner Changed My Life
  48. 25 Questions to Reconnect With Your Spouse
  49. Dear Husband, I Need to Thank You
  50. 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge
  51. How to Improve Your Toddler’s Speech Delay
  52. Gestational Diabetes Tracker
  53. Surviving Miscarriage
  54. How to Choose Job Interview Accessories
  55. Covering Our Kids in Prayer
  56. Dog & Cat Valentine’s Toppers
  57. 20 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him
  58. Romantic Valentine’s Day Playlist
  59. Scripture Reading: Love & Kindness
  60. What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression
  61. Classic Rock Mornings
  62. Parmesan Arugula Salad
  63. 8 Places to Cash In Clutter
  64. 50 Journal Prompts
  65. Tomato & Cucumber Salad
  66. How To Make A Clubfoot Bar Cover
  67. 10 Books That Will Strengthen Your Marriage
  68. Roasted Root Medley
  69. 50 Things to Throw Away Right Now
  70. Make Your Own Laundry Detergent for Pennies
  71. Scripture Reading: Identity in Christ
  72. 100 Goal Ideas for the New Year
  73. Shrimp & Crawfish Étouffée
  74. How to Create a Guest Room They Won’t Want to Leave
  75. Soap Christmas Gift Tags for Teachers & Neighbors
  76. Magic Painting Christmas Cards
  77. DIY Christmas Swag
  78. 10 Sanity Saving Products For Your Reflux Baby
  79. Retro Sequin Ball Ornaments
  80. Hot Chocolate Bar
  81. The Best Crockpot Hot Chocolate
  82. The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List
  83. Perfect Spanish Rice
  84. Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Marriage
  85. Christmas Planner Printable
  86. How to Stay Sane as a Stay At Home Mom
  87. Zuppa Toscana
  88. Slowcooker Pumpkin Spice Latte
  89. 30 Day Facebook Detox
  90. Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook
  91. 30 Day Wellness Challenge
  92. 5 Steps to Decluttering Books
  93. The Best Fall Bucket List
  94. The Ultimate Halloween Party Playlist
  95. White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins
  96. From One Clubfoot Mommy to Another
  97. Resetting Your Day As a Mom
  98. Homemade Christmas Ornaments
  99. 12 Tips for Happy Planner Newbies

Thanks for joining me for my 100th blog post. Thanks for your support.

The Ugly Side of Blogging

So you started a blog. Now what? Blogging may not be what you expect. Here is the ugly side of blogging – the hard truths no one tells you.

the ugly side of blogging

Starting a blog can be a little overwhelming at first. There is so much to learn. Today, I’m sharing the ugly side of blogging. These are hard truths that no one really tells you when you first start. You may see lots of people making a huge income on their blog. It can be really discouraging when you don’t see your blog taking off immediately. That’s why I’m sharing some revelations about how blogging really works.

Before you leave, be sure to read my post What I Learned In Four Months of Blogging. This post will also provide you with a lot of helpful support as you are first starting.

The Ugly Side of Blogging

Your Blog Needs a Medic

Your blog needs a IT person – oh wait…that’s you! Let me tell you, I was totally unprepared for this! As we speak, my comments box won’t work. It was there one minute and gone the next. I’ve checked all my WordPress settings and everything is as it should be. I’ve scoured support forums and asked fellow bloggers – they suggest what I’ve already done. If there is one thing I didn’t anticipate, it was how much my site would need debugging, recoding, and other technical things I’m clueless about!

To an outsider, my blog is functional, perhaps even pretty. No one would guess how many technical issues I struggle with just to keep it up and running. Plug-ins fail and start havoc when they create conflicts with themes or new versions of WordPress. You get broken links, page not found errors, and images that won’t load. Widgets that won’t work. Forms that don’t send. Like any website, there are bugs and hiccups that need to constantly be worked out. Websites need maintenance and your blog is no exception. For me this is the ugliest side of blogging since I’m not very savvy.

What Helped Me

  • Asking other bloggers for help and support
  • Dedicating time every week to learning about the technical aspects of WordPress
The ugly side of blogging
Courtesy of Pexels

You Need to Grow Thick Skin

Blogging is a great way to put yourself out there and share your unique ideas and opinions. The bad thing about blogging is you’re putting yourself out there and sharing your unique ideas and opinions. Seriously. Not everyone will like what you have to say. It doesn’t even have to be controversial!

Being opinionated or even just openly sharing your views will leave you open to judgement, attacks, and arguments. It’s jut the nature of the business. Being in the spotlight means being under a magnifying glass – it’s means you leave yourself open to criticism and let me tell you – you need to grow some thick skin. I am incredibly thin-skinned so this has been an added challenge to blogging.

What Helped Me

  • Remember, just because someone says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. Consider the source.
  • You can black list people who are perpetually negative or nasty on your blog – use it!
  • Remember that it’s easy to strike body blows from behind a keyboard and screen. It’s easy to be a bully when you don’t have to look anyone in the eye.

Readers Aren’t Interested In Reading Your Diary

I see a lot of start up blogs that read like a diary. The creator is concerned because no one is reading the content. Let me be honest, very few people are interested in reading your diary. Your content should provide something for your reader. Think of it as an exchange for their time. I have found, the best way to do this is to answer a question, debunk a myth or provide help to a problem.

That is not to say you can’t be personal. Quite the opposite, you need to establish a relationship with your readers. Blogging is all about community. But your blog should also entertain, engage, and provide something valuable to your reader. It’s all about finding balance.

What Helped Me

  • Pay attention to the questions people ask about your niche.
  • Balance personal posts with informational ones.
  • Pay attention to the engagement trends – this tells you what your readers are interested in.
  • Use email lists to share more personal things.
the ugly side of blogging
Courtesy of Pexels

You Might Feel Like Your Writing to Yourself

Ugh. This is a tough one because it can make you want to give up. There is nothing more deflating than spending a week creating a great post and knowing that it is full of useful tips and information – and only for no one to read it. When I say no one I really mean just a handful of people. Keep in mind, most people don’t even read – they skim. They pick up the gist and move on. You may try very hard to engage readers only to hear crickets. I know. I’ve been there before in my seven months of blogging. It’s depressing.

What Helped Me

  • Algorithms can often be to blame for this. Facebook for example, doesn’t prioritize the post if it contains an outside link. Sometimes it can be as simple as the social media account not sharing it in a lot of newsfeeds.
  • Don’t take it personal. Even your best followers will not read every single post you write.
  • It takes a long time to build a following. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Promote and Then Promote Some More

This leads us to the next topic: promotion. When you first start your blog, you may be shocked by how much you need to promote it. You can’t be bashful and run a successful blog. You have to be a little aggressive and very consistent in your promotion campaigns.

What Helped Me

  • Don’t assume your readers know what to do with your post. You need to tell them to share or comment on the post and e-mail subscribe or follow every chance you get.
  • 80% of your time should be promotion. Promote your blog, posts, products and services on every social media account.
  • Don’t forget to promote older posts now and then. Every time you promote it, it will reach new people.
  • Bloggers are good about helping other bloggers. Join blogging communities on forums, Twitter, and Facebook groups. Lots of them will share your posts in exchange for sharing theirs.
  • Don’t wait to set up your email list. Utilize it for help build regular traffic.
man writing
Courtesy of Pexels

Money Is Slow

If you’re like me, you see all the Pinterest click bait posts about making money blogging. Like lots of money! But I want to be honest with you. Making money is slow. This is because it takes a while to build up your traffic. It also takes time to learn which affiliates pay well and which ads attract people. A money making blog isn’t built overnight.

If you’re selling digital products, it takes time to create them, post them, and promote them. If you think getting people to read your posts is hard, it’s harder still to get someone to buy something or spend money. Also, when it comes to affiliates, it can be discouraging to see you get mere cents for page views. This is why high traffic is so important.

What Helped Me

  • Keep your advertising relative to your content
  • Utilize every affiliate network you can
  • Monetize every blog post
  • Advertising should not take the place of quality content
  • If you’re selling products, run discounts, giveaways, and FREEBIES to help engage potential buyers

It Requires Investment

Starting a blog doesn’t cost a lot of money. All you really need to get started is a domain and hosting. But there is a rub. If you really want to be successful, it will cost you something. It may be a blogging e-course, a professional theme, or premium plug-ins, but chances are you’ll end up spending money along the way.

You’ll also invest a lot of time. Not just in writing and promoting, but also learning about the industry. Either way you will need to commit to investing time, money, and energy.

What Helped Me

  • Do your research before spending money
  • Set a budget for how much you are willing to spend each month or year
  • Determine how much you will post (set up an editorial schedule) and how much time you will dedicate to your blog. Then prioritize it in your schedule. I’ve found using a planner is helpful.

I hope this post, The Ugly Side of Blogging, sheds some light on how blogging actually works. If you’re just getting started, I encourage you to keep going. Don’t be discouraged, you’re off to a great start!

21 Bloggers To Help You Slay Motherhood

 If you need support, advice, and help on how to navigate motherhood and marriage, then this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, is a must-read.

21 Bloggers to help you slay motherhood

This post, 21 Bloggers To Help You Slay Motherhood, contains some affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may make a small percentage at no cost to you. I only link to things I love.

Blogging Tribe

I know for me there are times when I feel alone in this game. Maybe I was naive, but I never expected to feel lonely and unsupported in motherhood and marriage. But the truth is, our journey is personal and it can sometimes feel isolating if you don’t have support.

That is one reason, I started this blog. I know I seek reassurance, knowledge and tips on how to be a better wife and mother. I want to feel like there is someone out there that can relate to my failures and problems. Frankly, I want someone in the trenches with me who’s got my back. Today I’m sharing 21 bloggers to help you slay motherhood. Some I’ve recently started reading, but most I have been reading for years! You’ll love them!

Before you leave, please subscribe to my blog (yup, shameless plug) and while you’re at it, subscribe to these lovely ladies.

Farmhouse on Boone

If you’re a fan of Joanna Gains, you’re going to fall in love with Lisa Bass at Farmhouse on Boone. Seriously, I think her and Joanna Gaines are spirit animals. Her site is stunning! She focuses on natural living, minimalism, farmhouse decor and a simple lifestyle. If you’re a crunchy mama you will love her wholesome, scratch recipes, natural remedies, and lifestyle tips. I also love that she provides homemade tutorials like basic sewing techniques (like how to thread a sewing machine and sew a seam), how to make a macrame wall hanging and your own body butter. Seriously, she’s what I aspire to be.

Farmhouse on Boone

The Time Warp Wife

I’ve been following Darlene Schacht on The Time Warp Wife for some time now. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten just how I found her. She is a New York Times best selling author. I love that her site is heavily Christian based (no problem if that isn’t your cup of tea). She is a mama of four and one thing I really love is her online bible studies. I love reading them over my morning coffee (and if I get to drink it while it’s still hot, that’s a plus). She also has tons of cute printables on her site. I would say Darlene focuses more on marriage and biblical living than anything else, but I find her posts bring me lots of peace.

The Dating Divas

Dating Divas

I love the Dating Divas! I’ve followed them for a few years. Their cheery, happy site is dedicated to loving your spouse in the cutest way imaginable. If you are a mom or wife struggling with date night ideas, this site is for you! At home dates, group dates, sexy date nights, out of the house dates, you name it – they have it all planned out. They have the cutest ideas. We rarely get a date night so the at-home date nights have been amazing for us!

Rookie Moms

Two women run Rookie Moms. I personally love their product reviews. But they have lots of really helpful articles. From postpartum issues to sleep regression and toddler development, they have lots of informative posts to help you survive motherhood.

Affair Recovery

I’m choking up just writing this. Affair Recovery is more than just a blog / website. They’re also a retreat center for crumbling marriages, in particular ones that are going though an affair or other sexual addictions. They have lots of free resources, but my favorite is the Vlog series on YouTube. Early in my marriage, my husband had inappropriate feelings towards a co-worker as well as a pornography addiction. For years, I just couldn’t move past the hurt, especially since he continued to work closely with the woman. I watched one video per day, in particular with Samuel because I felt a connection with his words. It was painful to process those feelings at first. But I’m proud to say our marriage has completely healed from this and we have Affair Recovery to thank.

Meet Penny

Tabitha runs this great blog, Meet Penny. Her blog is heavily focused on frugal living. I love all her helpful tips to save money. If you’re homeschooling, she has a huge library of free curriculum and resources to help you. Her parenting advice is also invaluable!

To Love, Honor & Vacuum

With over 42,000 subscribers, Sheila Wray Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum focuses heavily on marriage, marital sex, family, and faith. I found her when I was going through some heavy jealousy with a woman with which my husband works. A few of her posts, gave me some great insight on handling those feelings. I love that she focuses heavily on keeping the spark going in marriage. An author of eight books, she is also a public speaker.

On The Sunny Side of Something

I recently discovered Elease Colcord and her blog The Sunny Side of Something online and I can’t stop reading her! Her writing makes you feel like you’re her best friend and I have to remind myself, I don’t actually know her. Haha! She’s beautiful, entertaining, funny, but most of all – authentic. On her blog she shares recipes, parenting stories (both funny and tearjerking), personal growth, but my favorite section is MILP. Moms I’d Like to Punch. Oh em gee. It’s hilarious and totally relatable! Check her out. She’ll have you in stitches. Follow her on Instagram for more online fun.

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Confessions of a homeschooler - bloggers to help you slay motherhood

I’ve been following Erica for about 3 years on her site Confessions of a Homeschooler. On her site, she provides curriculum for preschoolers to grade school as well as homeschooling schedules for every grade, menu planning, lesson plans and tons of printables. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, I strongly recommend reading her site. She has a huge amount of learning resources for every age, including how to reduce test taking anxiety, how to take notes, and how to study for tests. You won’t regret it.

The Chic Site

How could I not include this, in 21 Bloggers to Slay Motherhood? If you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis, you’ve been living under a rock. Okay, that’s harsh. But seriously, this lady is truly inspiring to me. On days when I totally feel like giving up on this blog, she reminds me not to take “no” for an answer. Her amazing book, “Girl, Wash Your Face,” is a best seller and her blog, The Chic Site is equally motivating. When I first found her (before her book), I think she tended to focus more on style, but she has really dug her heels into personal growth topics. I think her writing style is so sincere and authentic. If you haven’t read her book, you can find it on Amazon (link below). Also her new book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing” is now out in book stores. I can’t wait to read it!

Live Wise Love Well

Live Wise Love Well - bloggers to help you slay motherhood

I recently discovered Erika at Live Wise Love Well. Can I just say that she is such a beautiful lady, inside and out. She just did an outstanding series on the fruits of the spirit. If you’re struggling in areas like peace, patience, and gentleness, you need her in your life! Her message is beautiful and inspiring. She’s cute too! Like, really cute. If you need a chuckle, read her post, “How the Instapot Saved My Marriage.” She also does regular podcasts so go have a listen and subscribe to her!

The Purposeful Nest

I just recently discovered Ashley at The Purposeful Nest. A former police officer, she is now a stay-at-hom mom and homeschooler. Her lovely blog focuses on homeschooling, DIY and crafts, and family-oriented travel. Give her a read, you won’t be disappointed.

Club 31 Women

I’ve been reading Lisa Jacobson at Club 31 Women for years. One thing I love about Lisa is that she’s an older mother of 8 children. Yes, you read that right, 8. She brings wisdom and experience to her posts. Also, her recipes are delicious. Just sayin’. I love her focus on marriage and child rearing from a woman who’s been through it many times over. But what’s really special is that her husband, Matthew Jacobson has a “sister site” for men. His site, Faithful Man, is equally inspiring and full of encouragement. My husband and I like to read them both.

How To Be a Fun Mum

Just as the title suggests, New Zealander Kelly, wanted to be a fun mom, but wasn’t. That is until she totally turned her version of motherhood around and became a fun mom. She learned to embrace motherhood and enjoy it! Something I firmly believe moms should do. Her site, How To Be a Fun Mum, is dedicated to fun activities with your kids and they are indeed fun. My boys love to do the activities and I know yours will too!

Chronicles of a Momtessorian

Anitra runs a cute educational Mom’s blog called Chronicles of a Momtessorian. On her blog, she provides tons of Montessori based activities for your little ones that you can do at home. What’s really nice is that most activities are very easy to do…and we all want things to make life easier. Head to her blog for great educational resources.

The Measured Mom

A mother of six, Anna is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Her site, The Measured Mom, is dedicated to teaching children at home. She has both free printables and a shop. Furthermore, she has tools and resources for just about every subject. Handwriting, spelling, math, book lists, and themed teaching. She has 180,000 followers because of her great learning curriculum. Again, even if you aren’t homeschooling there are lots of resources that can be used to supplement your child’s public school education.

It’s My Sustainable Life

Calling crunchy moms! Suzan at It’s My Sustainable Life provides beautiful online content. Similar to Farmhouse on Boone, she focuses on holistic living. Her subjects include, up-cycling DIY projects, scratch recipes, gardening, food preservation, and natural remedies.

Jessica Plemons Kindergarten

Jessica Plemons

This girl is amazing and I have so much for which to thank her! Her site, Mrs. Plemons Kindergarten offers the best tot school curriculum, baby activities and preschool curriculum I’ve ever come across. We used the tot school curriculum when my son was in the 2-3 age range. He learned so much from these lessons! Best of all they felt like play time to him and the lesson plans have a lot of flexibility. One of the best things is that Jessica runs a Facebook Group to go alongside of the curriculum. Here you can talk with other mothers and get advice strait from Jessica herself. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, you’ll love the themed activities that keep your little toddler’s hands busy!

Real Mom Nutrition

Sally at Real Mom Nutrition is a registered dietitian and mom. Her “no judgement” site is dedicated to getting your kids to eat healthy with her kid-friendly recipes and ideas. I love that she also posts often about picky eaters and provides real ways to get your picky child to try new things.

Mommy Knows Best

Jenny runs her blog, Mommy Knows Best. This blog is heavily focused on postpartum issues primarily lactation. Best of all she provides natural herbal remedies to treat low milk supply. If you are struggling to nurse, I highly recommend reading her blog.

Shay Budgets

Okay so Shay isn’t a blogger per se. She’s a vlogger on You Tube. But I think she is really valuable when it comes to budgeting, reducing debt and being financially responsible. She also uses the Happy Planner, Erin Condren and other cute methods to make boring household management fun! Hey 26,000 subscribers agree with me. Additionally, she has an Etsy shop with budgeting stickers and tools to make budgeting organized and more enjoyable.


I really hope this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, was helpful to you. Please subscribe to these ladies if you feel like they speak to you. If you have found a blogger you love, I’d like to hear who and why you follow them in the comments below.

What I’ve Learned in 4 Months of Blogging

The end of February marked my forth month blogging. Blogging isn’t what I thought – I’d love to share what I’ve learned in 4 months of blogging.

What I've learned in 4 months of blogging

When I started blogging, I wanted lots of things. First, I wanted a side income doing one of the things I love most – writing. I worked as a writer in my teenage years and in my twenties. I even had a magazine at one point. But I was compelled to start a mom blog. I wanted to offer the help and support I needed when I first became a mom. I wanted to share my talents and knowledge (knowledge is useless if it just stays with you). Lastly, I wanted to generate a side income. But blogging has been a bit of a “culture shock” and I want to share with you what I’ve learned in 4 months of blogging.

It’s Hard To Gain a Following

Ugh. This is the most shocking thing to me yet. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be hard to get strangers to read my blog. But one thing I’ve been surprised to learn is that even your family and closest friends don’t email subscribe and follow you. (Enter shocked emoji here). I’m not sure exactly what I expected. I think I thought people I was close to would automatically support and follow the blog. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, about 97% of my email subscribers are strangers. I guess my point is that as a blogger, you work to win friends and family over too.

I’m not a fast writer. I take my time planning an editorial schedule and to create quality posts. But I have found the 80/20 rule is absolutely true. You spend 80% of your time promoting your post and 20% of your time writing it. You have to promote it constantly on all social media platforms. It doesn’t matter how good or helpful your content is – it’s really, really hard to gain a following. It can feel like you’re begging to get likes, comments, and shares. Can I say it? This is much harder than I thought.

Building Your Brand Is Important

When I first started my blog, I had absolutely no direction. It was a hodgepodge of fonts I liked and things I thought were cute. But I have found that to get a following, you really need to hone in on your blog’s voice. People begin to recognize your “look and feel.” What I didn’t realize, is that it needs to carry over on all your social media accounts. This means using the same font, the same layouts and even the same colors. It reminds people who you are. For example, since building my brand on Instagram, my followers have jumped from 850 to around 1200 in just a month.

The same goes for consistently posting blog posts. I have found that keeping to the same day and time for posts is very helpful for those who do follow the blog.

Laptop
Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

High Quality Photos Are A Must

Cell phones have pretty decent cameras these days, but it just doesn’t compare to shooting in RAW with a DSLR. I used to do photography as a side hustle about 10 years ago. But since becoming a mom, I think I’ve maybe only picked it up once. At first, I used my cell phone and just snapped a few photos. Who cares about the background, right? Wrong!

I’ve learned that your blog has to be aesthetically pleasing. Fact: people like pretty things! If it ain’t pretty, no one wants to look at it! I found myself having to invest in some backdrops, presets, props, and extra lighting equipment. I had to learn to master the flat lay. But I can also tell you it has directly affected my following. It does make a difference. If you don’t believe me, take a look at these two photos. The first one is from my very first month of blogging. The second one is from this month. What a difference 4 months makes.

See what I mean? I’ve come a long way. I’m excited to see how I will grow in the next 4 months.

This Is A Business

Blogs cost money. It’s hard to gain a following on a domain that reads www.wordpress.com/abeautifulmess. People don’t remember it. You have to invest in a domain, hosting, etc. And like I mentioned before, for good photos you need props, presets / editing software, backdrops, reflectors, tripods, and more. You need to find ways to help offset the costs of your blog. This means selling things like printables, e-courses, and other things.

Additionally, it means putting ads and affiliate links on your site. Furthermore, if you think it’s hard to gain a following, it’s even harder to get people to buy things! Did I mention how much time you invest in it? I have learned to be successful, you absolutely need to treat it like a business. It means dedication and investing your heart and soul in it.

There’s A Steep Learning Curve

That being said, you need to learn about the industry. I wish I had done more reading and learning before I launched my blog. There is so much I would do differently. Blogging has a steep learning curve. There are so many things to learn. Photography, wordpress, plug-ins, email campaigns, social media and their algorithms, SEO, blogger communities, and blog industry jargon. Honestly, it is a little more complicated than I realized. Duh, it’s a business. Yeah, I didn’t really know that. What can I say? We learn and sometimes the hard way.

You Have To Keep Your Dream Alive

I can’t tell you how many times I have already thought about quitting. It sounds silly, but the very first thing I mentioned was about how difficult it is to grow a following. Can I be honest? It’s depressing when no one is reading your blog. Or maybe more precisely, you don’t know if anyone is reading it. Again, it doesn’t matter how great your content is, if no one is reading it, it’s pointless. There are times when I’m ready to throw in the towel and then someone will say how much they enjoy reading My Beautiful Mess. In my mind I’m like, “subscribe then!” But I’d never say that! I have such a hard time asking for support.

I have followed Rachel Hollis for a long time. She is a well known blogger. Most people know her from her hit book, Girl, Wash Your Face. The sixth chapter in her book is entitled, No Is the Final Answer. Within the pages, she describes how many times she was rejected. She credits the secret of her success as refusing to accept the word “no.” I honestly don’t know if I have her will. I have a hard time bouncing back from disappointment. When you’re a blogger, there is no one motivating you to keep going. You have to remember your “why.” And as Rachel reminds us, you have to believe that no isn’t the final answer. Nobody gets to tell you how big your dreams can be, so go ahead…dream big!


This is what I’ve learned in 4 months of blogging. In the comments below, I’d love to hear what your dreams are and what you’ve learned on your journey.