Last Friday, BudgetBlonde.com turned 3 years old! It’s really incredible how much fun I’ve had on this blogging journey. I just love it so much, and I’m amazed at all the people I’ve met and all the changes that I’ve gone through that have been documented on my little slice of the Internet.
When I started my blog, I was in grad school, and I was really craving a creative outlet. I’ve always loved to write, but after all that school, I just really wanted to write about something fun and carefree. I was inspired early on by DIY blogs that were written by people who loved to save money and live a beautiful life all at the same time. I knew I wanted in on the fun.
In my very post I wrote about how I spent around $200 on all the furniture in my living room. I still love looking at the picture (shown below.) It was the first and only apartment I had all to myself before marital bliss and all that.
Since then, I’ve written over 400 posts, and they’ve really covered a wide range of topics such as the recipe for the turtle soup I had at my wedding, scary health issues, my absolutely free Christmas decorations, paying off all my credit card debt, and even this weird post written in complete delirium where I lamented how crazy our schedules were (and that was before med school!)
While I haven’t explicitly talked about saving money or personal finance in all 400 posts, it’s been a constant theme whether explicitly stated or not. By just writing about the way I live, the things I buy, and the way I feel about certain issues, I’ve shared a lot of my life, and ultimately, I am so glad that I did. I have this diary to look at forever, and I feel like every post is a little piece of myself.
Things I Did Right
A lot of people have asked me about starting a blog, and below are a few things I really think I did right.
1. Choosing the Name BudgetBlonde.com
I chose Budget Blonde because it was all encompassing. I knew I loved great deals and crafts and even a little bit of fashion thrown in there. If I would have made the title of my blog “Coupon Lovin’ Blonde” then I would have a hard time fitting in posts about moving to Grenada or side hustling. Budget Blonde is an umbrella. It encompasses everything that fits into a frugal life and even more. By choosing a name with flexibility, I can write about any topic as long as it has the basic feel of saving money or life tips, etc. By buying the .com right off the bat, I made sure my blog was really truly mine for as long as I wanted it.
2. Telling Friends & Family About My Blog
There are lots of bloggers who I admire greatly that are still anonymous, and that’s totally okay. Those bloggers post a lot about their finances and specific numbers, and if I did that, I would probably be anonymous too. However, telling friends and family about my blog allowed me to share posts on Facebook. It allows my 80 year old grandmother to get my posts in her inbox. I was able to inspire other friends to become debt free. I gave a piece of myself to others, and when I wrote posts that were hard for me to publish, my friends gave me support.
3. Cherishing Online Friendships
I’ve made many friends throughout three years of blogging, and I really cherish them. I look forward to the day when I can meet all of them in person and thank them for every post shared and every positive comment. Every blogger knows how great it feels to get an e-mail saying someone took the time to comment on a post. The “older” my blog gets, the more comments seem to come in, and I truly read each and every one of them. They all make my day.
Things I Did Wrong
1. Designing My Own Blog
Let me share with you some funny images. Here are all the headers that my blog has had over time:
The First One I designed myself in Paint. Be jealous:
The one where I really like a giant picture of myself:
The one where I have to tell you I live in Grenada now:
The one where I just decided I really loved Halloween and left it this way for a month:
Chevrons are coming back baby:
Whew. I finally hired a designer!
As evidenced, the best thing I ever did for this blog was hire someone to design it. For everyone out there who is looking to make money from their blog, I did not make a dime off of Budget Blonde until the website resembled that last photo. Literally days after it got a design overhaul, I got my first ad deal. Had I known that from the beginning, I would have been much better off today.
2. Starting on Blogspot
When my blog got a design overhaul, I also moved from blogspot to a self-hosted wordpress site. It was a huge pain and was stressful at times, but ultimately, it was the best decision ever. WordPress is by far easier to use and more sophisticated than Blogspot. Above anything, it enables you to form better relationships with other bloggers because you can see who is linking to you, etc.
3. Taking Too Long To Add a Hire Me Page
I only added a “Hire Me” page less than a year ago. Why? I really don’t know. However, I kick myself when I think about all those months and all those visitors who could have known about my writing services. If you don’t have a “hire me” page yet, go ahead and add one today.
Despite making mistakes along the way, I’m really proud of Budget Blonde and all the work that has gone into it over the past three years. I can honestly say that I absolutely love what I do, and few things have brought me greater joy than writing blog posts that others enjoy.
If you’ve made it to the end of this 1,000+ word post just to see the announcement I mentioned earlier, props! You must really love me.
So, here goes nothing.
My goal, my plan, my biggest hope in all the world…
is that I will be a full time blogger on January 1, 2014.
Although I’ve written about finding a job in New York when we move there next year, I’ve decided to take a huge leap. I really, truly love blogging more than anything else in the world. I will make my income from the ad and affiliate sales on Budget Blonde and my work as a personal finance freelance writer.
So, I Need Your Help
If I am to really, truly achieve this goal, I can’t do it without you. If you or someone you know is looking for a personal finance freelance writer, please send them my way. If someone you know needs content management, editing, or social media management, please send me their contact information. If you’re a blogger and you recently scored an ad deal with a marketing professional, please send me their contact information, and I’ll give you a 10% commission if I am also able to work with them. Essentially, I can’t do this without you. I’ve worked many long nights after my 9-5 to make this dream – which at times has seemed impossible – come true. So, please keep all the comments, support, love, and advice coming.
I’ve got 7 months to make this work, baby, and I’m ready to rock and roll!