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How I Make Money Blogging Challenger Group – Three Week Update

A few weeks ago I introduced you to the five How I Make Money Blogging challengers. These five bloggers are letting me publicly document their progress as they follow the action plan in my new eBook, How I Make Money Blogging: The Beginner’s Guide to Building a Money-Making Blog. Today we are taking a look at their progress over the last 2-3 weeks. 🙂

HIMMB Challengers – Updates

Here are the official updates for the five HIMMB Challengers:

Weird About Money

Weird About Money is owned and ran by Brett.

Stage of Blog before HIMMB: Brett had not started blogging yet. He said that he had been interested in blogging for sometime, but hadn’t found that “one thing” to finally get him started yet.

Three Week Update:

I’ve hit a little bit of a road block since a recent job change has caused extra duties for me at work, which has reduced my time for the side project.  Currently no change, but my goal is to have disclosures and policies up later this week.

The Budget Professional

The Budget Professional is owned and ran by Wendy.

Stage of Blog before HIMMB: Wendy had also not started her blog yet. But she was super pumped to get started.

Three Week Update:

This blog is going to be an experience!  I’m having a lot of fun, but I made the remark to a friend yesterday that “this could be a full time job”.  I meant that as a good thing, and that is my ultimate goal – full time blogging not only with this one but others as well.  Hopefully in a year me, Crystal, and the other “contestants” can meet for a steak dinner to toast our mutual success – and I’ll bring the wine.  🙂  (I will totally be there, Wendy!)

The easiest thing to accomplish so far was buying the domain name, setting up the server space, and installing WP.  I’ve done all of these hundreds of times before, but these simple “basics” are by far the easiest.  I am a domain name reseller, rent my own servers, and also have a degree in web development.

The toughest thing for me so far is finding time.  Delegating time.  Time management.  So many ideas, so many things to do that I need to do and want to do, so little time in the days.  The theme actually wasn’t too bad to deal with – I struggled with a few things, but those were mainly trying to figure out what command did what, and if I changed the code would I get what I wanted.  I have my opinions about plug ins, but shall keep that to myself for now.

Now that the infrastructure is more or less out of the way the blog is operational.  The site has a design and a feel to it with the header banners I’m using, Twitter and Facebook pages are set up.  I have made a few posts, tested as much as I can with those, and everything seems to be working fine.

There is a rudimentary About page, which needs to be re-worked and added to as soon as possible.  I am setting up Mail Chimp (free version for now, until I see how many subs) and putting together a “free” report subscribers will receive for signing up for the site mailing list.

I need to write and post more, and get into the groove of doing that daily or at least every other day.  This week has been crazy busy on the personal front – dog got sick and had to have multiple vet visits, the home central air unit broke – on a day it was 106 – and took a repairman multiple trips to fix, and my computer had issues that saw me disconnecting everything from it and carrying it back and forth to the repair shop.  There has been more, but this week is past and it is on to a new week and I’ve got a lot of things to tackle and do.

I would like to ask the readers what would they like to see?  What concerns or questions about budget, money, taxes, and finance do they have?  What issues do they face daily when it comes to money?  Are they interested in things they can use, such as a budget calendar, Excel bill tracking program, things like that?  When a reader looks at my blog, what do they see?  Do they feel comfortable on the site, or does anything about the design turn them off?

Contented Momma

Contented Momma is owned and ran by Helen.

Stage of Blog before HIMMB: Helen had bought the domain already but hadn’t started blogging yet as of the beginning of July 2012.

Three Week Update:

Things I have done:

  • Made sure to assign a category to all posts.
  • Signed up for Feedburner, Subscription Options
  • Posting on a M/W/F schedule
  • Commenting on blogs I like to read

Next steps:

  • Look into Akismet
  • Sign up for Adsense & Amazon Associates
  • Figure out tags for all posts
  • Read more into SEO

So far it has been easy to come up with blogging topics. Because I have thought about blogging for a good number of months, I have articles, books to review, personal thoughts, family experiences, etc all stored up and ready to be written.

Difficult things are making sure my categories aren’t too broad but that I also don’t have too many. I think tags will have the same issue. Also keeping up with the number of spam comments is interesting. WP is catching them all for my moderation, but I also want to play more with other comment controllers.

Your eBook has definitely given me some good starting points so far, and I will absolutely explore more of the specifics you reference!

Motivated Madison

Motivated Madison is owned and ran by Madison (yeah, surprise, surprise, lol).

Stage of Blog before HIMMB: Madison just started on June 24, 2012. She had a few posts up before joining the challenge at the end of the first week of July 2012.

Three Week Update:

Hello everyone! Crystal asked for a quick update on the status of my blog. I feel like I could be doing better, honestly. I’ve always been the type to get overwhelmed easily when I have a lot going on in my life. And this past week, a lot has been going on! Which meant that my blog got put on the back burner during the craziness.

Now that things have settled a little, I’m definitely going to be back to focusing on posting. I always feel like this is the easiest for me. Having wanted to create a blog for a while, I have stock piled tons of ideas and topics that I want to try writing about. I just need to get them down on paper, so to speak, and get them out there for people to read!

One of the things I’m currently a little hesitant about is Twitter. Which is odd since I used to love, love, love it back a few years ago but eventually stopped using it. Recently I signed up for a new account for my blog. But I have no clue what to tweet about. Do I stick to purely blog related topics? Or do I also post other random things as well? I have no idea what I’m doing with Twitter! Help! What do you bloggers tweet about?

My next project will likely be changing my blog theme/layout. When I first created my blog, the theme I chose was the one I liked the most from the options WordPress gave me. But it’s boring. I’d like to look into more fun, colorful themes. My problem is that I just have no idea where to go looking for themes. The various sites I’ve checked looked a little suspicious(or maybe I’m just paranoid), or the themes cost money. I’ll keep looking around. I’m sure there is something out there that would work for me. Did anyone purchase a theme? Was it worth it?

I know that I still have a lot to work on. Hopefully by the next update I will have accomplished more. 🙂

Call Me What You Want, Even Cheap

Call Me What You Want Even Cheap is owned and ran by Shondell.

Stage of Blog before HIMMB: Shondell started on Blogger in September 2011 and switched to WordPress April 23, 2012. She was already posting about 3 times a week, but she wanted to dig in and grow faster.

Three Week Update:

I started posting updates on my blogging challenge on my blog every Wednesday with a detailed outline of my stats. I am hoping people will follow on my blog to see my progress and chime in on what I am doing, as well as give some advice on what has worked and not worked for them.

Every week my goal has been to tackle something new and build on it to help my blog grow. My first goal was to comment on at least 5 blogs a day with one being a new blog that I never commented on before. This week, my goal was to submit my posts to carnivals. Today I submitted my previous posts to 11 carnivals.

– What was the easiest to accomplish?   The easiest thing to accomplish was replying to comments. I love hearing what people have to say and I enjoy the conversations.

– What step has been tough so far?  Building traffic and promoting my site. It’s a lot of work and it takes time.

– What are you tackling next? As I mentioned above, this week my focus is submitting my previous posts to carnivals.

– What questions do you have that you’d like the readers to chime in on?  For some reason I no longer receive emails when someone comments on one of my posts, I also don’t receive pingback or trackback emails which I use to get all the time. I went into my discussion setting and noticed the box for receiving emails when anyone posts a comment was not checked. I checked it and saved it and noticed the check mark was removed. I’ve tried a couple of times and the same thing keeps happening.

I installed the SEO plug in which has a discussion section and allows me to check whether I want to allow comments, trackbacks and pingbacks. I checked both boxes, but I am still not receiving emails.

Does anyone know why this is happening?

Stay Tuned

Please remember to stay tuned so you can watch as these bloggers move forward! I am really excited to see what happens! Hopefully we can all learn something from each other along the way too. 🙂

And because I am human, here’s another link to my eBook in case you would like to dive in too – How I Make Money Blogging.

Any advice for the challengers? Any questions?

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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11 thoughts on “How I Make Money Blogging Challenger Group – Three Week Update

  1. Sounds like everyone is on a positive path. Those busy weeks are hard, but etching writing time each day is nearly a must for blogging. It really is a full-time endeavor (and then some!)

    Good luck, you guys. Will be poking my head into each of your individual sites later this afternoon to leave some comments and lend support.

  2. @Josh, blogging long-term is tough. I don’t see fellow bloggers as competition as much as I see them as coworkers struggling with the same stuff I did. My eBook is everything I picked up about blogging in the first year or two…it’s not a magical way to jump to money-making, but it at least lets new bloggers know how to start strong and how to price themselves appropriately. I think that helps us all. 🙂

  3. @ Josh, while I’m new to blogging as well (my 3-5 week challenge was to finally get the blog finished, started with wordpress, went to blogger then finally hired some Indian dude to build me one and even then still struggling 🙁 )and in researching how bloggers make money – rephrase build an audience what is clear success by comes working and promoting others, aka back links (Crystal did I get the term right?) The more back links you get the more popular you become.


  4. I personally have looked into making money with youtube videos. It isn’t a lot, but I love making youtube videos and money is money! Pretty much the same thing, except people see my face, and I can embarrass myself when you can use eloquent words and great sentence structure to make yourself sound amazing. 😉

  5. I love getting these updates! Even two years in the biggest problem for me is still time management, much like what these bloggers are describing. One thing that worked wonders for me was setting a timer. Sometimes I write, then I think about my e-mails, and then I want to go and read them and it starts me off on a path to no return. But, when I have my timer on, I am challenging myself to write quicker and forcing myself to focus. I recommend 15-20 minutes at a time at first! See if it helps!

  6. Not part of this group, but I’ve been using your email template and rates from your book. No responses yet, but I’ve sent out about 5 emails since I made an advertising page. We’ll see if anyone wants to play ball.

  7. @ Cat time mangement totally understand, been spending hours on this, right now I’m off for the summer but not sure what I’m going to do in the fall yet!

  8. Love reading everyone’s progress updates! It’s very encouraging that others are running into the same things as I am as a beginning blogger. I’m currently struggling with the same thing as Madison – finding a free WordPress template that works. I’ve changed mine once since I began my blog earlier this year, but do you risk losing readers if you change too often? Do most successful bloggers pay for their templates?

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