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10 Blogging ‘Firsts’ to Celebrate (From Launch Onwards)

Do you ever look at other bloggers and feel you’ll never catch up to where they are?

Perhaps they have hundreds – or thousands, or even hundreds of thousands – of subscribers to their email newsletter. Maybe they’re making a full-time living blogging, or even employing a whole team of staff.

If you’re still in the early stages of blogging, it can seem like no matter how hard you work you’re not really achieving anything at all.

But you are.

Every little step you take brings you closer to your goals. And today I want you to think about the milestones you’ve already achieved (or are close to achieving).

For each milestone I’ll share links to further help and guidance on ProBlogger, and a note on where you can get help with that particular milestone in:

Before we begin, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to hit these milestones in order. There’s no right way to reach them, and you may want to tackle ‘writing a guest post’ long before you get your first comment on your blog.

Milestone #1: Creating Your Blog Itself

This is a huge milestone, and one many would-be bloggers never actually achieve. Launching your blog is a real achievement, so celebrate it.

You may not have written any posts yet. Your blog might not look quite the way you want it to. And you may feel confused or a bit lost when you stare at the WordPress dashboard. But your blog is online, and that’s what matters. You can keep learning and tweaking as you go forward.

Further Reading:

Which is the Best Blog Hosting Solution?

When DIY Blogging isn’t for You: 5 Alternatives to Self-Hosted WordPress

Take the Course:

Completing our free course, Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Blog, will help you get ready to launch. But Step 7 in particular will guide you through the process of getting your blog up and running.

Milestone #2: Publishing Your First Post

You might well have written your first post before you launch your blog. But whether you did or not, publishing your very first blog post is always something to celebrate.

Hitting ‘Publish’ on that first piece might feel daunting (or even terrifying), but from here onwards it will get easier.

One post might feel very insignificant. But all bloggers started with zero posts. And that one post could be the start of a major project, or even a whole new career.

Further Reading:

5 Things to Do after You Hit ‘Publish’ on Your Next Blog Post

What You Need to Have Ready Before You Launch Your Blog (podcast)

Take the Course:

Hopefully, post #1 will be the first of many. To learn more about the content creation process, check out Day 7 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which covers the publishing process.

Milestone #3: Receiving Your First Comment

The first comment you receive on your blog is a real achievement. Someone isn’t just reading. They’re taking the time to respond.

If you share your blog with friends and family, hopefully at least one of them will leave a comment. But you may want to look for other new bloggers (perhaps in a group such as the ProBlogger Community), and make a point of commenting on their posts. Hopefully they’ll return the favour and comment on yours.

Further Reading:

Five Ways to Encourage Readers to Comment More Often on Your Posts

A Commenting System to Rule Them All: Why Choosing the Right Comment System can Make or Break Your Blog

Take the Course:

To learn how to create content readers will pay attention to (and hopefully comment on), take a look at Day 16: Get Your Reader’s Attention in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Milestone #4: Getting Your First Email Subscriber

Just getting an email list set up can be a challenge for many new bloggers. So if you’ve managed that, congratulations. Hopefully it won’t be long before you have your very first subscriber.

One subscriber might seem like a tiny drop in a very large ocean. But if you can persuade one person to sign up for your email list, you can persuade more. Soon you’ll be able to celebrate 10 subscribers, and then 100.

Further Reading:

6 Reasons Why Your Blog Needs an Email Newsletter

How I Increased the Subscriber Rate on My Blogs by 80 – 1000% (podcast)

Take the Course:

For help with setting up your email list, check out the bonus module to the Ultimate Start a Blog Course: Your Blog’s Email List. (You’ll receive this bonus module at the end of the course once you’ve worked through the launch process.)

Milestone #5: Sending Your First Email Newsletter

You’ve got your email list set up, and people have subscribed and received your welcome message. Now it’s time to send out your very first email newsletter.

If you’re writing separate content for your email newsletter (rather than just sending out your blog posts), it can feel like a waste of time creating newsletters for the three people on your email list – especially if they’re your mum, dad and big sister. But all the newsletters you write will be archived by your mailing list provider, so you can link to them from future newsletters or even your blog.

Further Reading:

3 Examples of Content You Can Include in Your Email Newsletter

7 Common Newsletter Problems Solved 

Take the Course:

For help with writing and sending your first email newsletter, take a look at Day 19: Newsletter of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Milestone #6: Getting Your First Tweet or Share

When someone shares one of your posts on Twitter or Facebook, their followers or friends might click through to read it – potentially bringing you lots of new readers.

Even if you don’t get a single new reader from your first tweet/share, it’s still a lovely moment. Someone cared about your blog post enough to want to tell everyone they know about it.

Most bloggers (even those who get a lot of tweets) think it’s nice to say “Thanks” to people who share their posts. This can be a great way to build a relationship with your readers, who may be well on their way to becoming firm fans.

Further Reading:

How to Get Top Bloggers to Share Your Content and Boost Your Traffic

The Step-by-Step Method to Making Your Content Shareable on Social Media

Take the Course:

The bonus module ‘Your Blog’s Social Media’ (part of the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course) helps you get set up with Facebook, Twitter and so on.

Milestone #7: Reading Your First Email from a Reader

Once you’ve been blogging for a few weeks or months, you might be quite used to getting comments, tweets, shares and so on.

But your first actual email from a reader, though can feel very special. It might be a reply to your newsletter, perhaps saying, “This is just what I needed to read. Thank you!” Or it might come as a message through your contact page, with a reader telling you how much they enjoy your blog.

Save any emails like this somewhere safe. You might want to give them a particular tag in Gmail, or even copy them into a separate file. On the days when blogging feels like a lot of hard work for little reward, re-read them. They might make all the difference.

Further Reading:

How to Create an Efficient Contact Page That Boosts Your Productivity 

Optimize the Most Underutilized Page of Your Blog

Take the Course:

Getting emails from readers is lovely. But emailing your readers individually can be a great way to grow your blog in the early weeks and months. For help with this, check out Day 25: Personally Email Your Readers in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course.

Milestone #8: Writing Your First Forum or Group Post

Not all bloggers want to join forums or groups. But if you’re willing to give them a try they can be a brilliant source of help and support – no matter what stage you’re at.

Writing your first post on a blogging-related forum or in a blogging-related Facebook group can feel daunting. But simply ‘lurking’ and reading other people’s posts won’t be nearly so helpful to you.

Many people begin by writing an introduction post, which can be a good way to start. But you’ll get a better response from starting a new topic where you ask a question.

That might be a question relating to something you’re struggling with (“I can’t seem to get Google Analytics working and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong”). Or it could be an open-ended question that engages others (e.g. “What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from blogging in the past six months?”)

If you’d like to be part of a friendly and supportive Facebook group for bloggers, check out the ProBlogger Community.

Further Reading:

5 Ways You Can Use Facebook Groups to Benefit Your Blog

How LinkedIn Groups Can Explode Your Blog Traffic

Take the Course:

For more help with joining groups and networking, check out Day 11: Engage and Network in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog course.

Milestone #9: Writing Your First Guest Post

This is a milestone some bloggers feel they’re not ready for. But the truth is you’re probably more ready than you think.

Writing your first guest post for another blog is a great way to get your name out there and to bring in more readers. Many large blogs accept guest posts, and they won’t normally care how big or well known your own blog is. They just care about how well you can write.

Guest posting is a huge topic we’ve covered in depth on ProBlogger (see the Further Reading below). But the most important thing to remember is the worst anyone can say is “No”. Even if you reach out with a post and it’s rejected, you can simply try another blog.

Further Reading:

7 Powerful Non-SEO Reasons to Try Guest Posting

How to Craft an Outstanding Guest Post 

Take the Course:

Day 21: Guest Posting in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog covers what you need to know to have a great chance of success with your guest posts.

Milestone #10: Making Your First Dollar

Not all bloggers want to make money. But if you do, making your very first dollar is a crucial milestone.

You might think one dollar is hardly worth celebrating. But that one dollar shows it’s possible to make money from your blog. If you can make one dollar, you can make ten. If you can make ten, you can make a hundred. And so on.

That first dollar might come from any number of means. It could be advertising revenue, or an affiliate commision. It might be a donation, or someone supporting you on Patreon. It might be your first sale (or a fraction of it) after you’ve launched a product.

However you make that dollar, it’s well worth celebrating.

Further Reading:

The Full Blog Monetization Menu – 60+ Ways to Make Money With Your Blog

Make Money Blogging

Take the Course:

For lots of help on making money, check out Day 14: When and How to Make Money Blogging in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

All these ‘firsts’ are ones you could reach quite early on in the life of your blog – potentially in the first few weeks. But if it’s taken you longer than that, please don’t feel there’s anything wrong with your blog or your approach to blogging. Gradual, steady progress is still progress.

Once you’ve been blogging for a full year, you might want to see how many of these milestones you’ve managed to achieve . You might also want to evaluate how that first year went for you.

Here’s a quick recap of all the “firsts” we’ve covered:

  • Milestone #1: Creating Your Blog Itself
  • Milestone #2: Publishing Your First Post
  • Milestone #3: Receiving Your First Comment
  • Milestone #4: Getting Your First Email Subscriber
  • Milestone #5: Sending Your First Email Newsletter
  • Milestone #6: Getting Your First Tweet or Share
  • Milestone #7: Reading Your First Email from a Reader
  • Milestone #8: Writing Your First Forum or Group Post
  • Milestone #9: Writing Your First Guest Post
  • Milestone #10: Making Your First Dollar

Which of these have you already achieved?

Which one are you working towards next? How will you go about it (especially if it’s something you can only influence or encourage rather than control)? Leave a comment below to tell us.

Photo credit: Social Cut

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