My blogging journey: Six amazing months

Raluca Loteanu June 9, 2017
5 people like this post
my blogging journey

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my whole disclosure here.

This week, my blog reached its first milestone: half a year since my first post! My blogging journey during these months was really amazing! I always enjoy reading progress reports on other blogs, so I’ve decided to also share my journey here.

This is the first article about my blog and I am excited to write about this first half of year! Six months may seem a short period of time but they were full of new lessons and experiences for me!

About me as a blogger and my blogging journey

I am a blogger since 2013 when I’ve started my first blog. I still write on that blog and I love doing this! And maybe I would have never started another blog if we wouldn’t have moved to the US. After I arrived in California, I felt that I wanted to take my blogging journey to the next level and to try to reach parents from all parts of the world! As my first blog is in Romanian (my native language), I’ve decided to start another one, this time in English.

This is why I’ve created PlayfulNotes.com! 🙂 At the beginning, this blog helped me get used to living far away from home. I needed something to keep me busy and to allow me to connect with other parents. So I’ve started writing about the things that I believe in: gentle parenting, playful moments with kids, and family travel. And I hoped that on the other side of the screen, I will find parents who have the same interests and beliefs.

Now, six months later, I couldn’t be happier with the decision of starting this blog!

I love to write and I love to help other moms who struggle with the same issues or concerns that I do!my blogging journey

What helped me grow my blog

I am sharing my blogging journey for two reasons. First, I want to have a journal of it,  to look back and enjoy every milestone along this journey. Second, I hope that it will encourage and inspire other bloggers. I am always inspired by other bloggers’ stories, so maybe this post will be helpful for others too! It’s just my way of “paying it forward”. 🙂

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When I started this blog I didn’t really think about how I am going to grow it. I just wrote. But in the middle of February, I’ve decided that I want to be more intentional about my blogging journey. So I’ve begun to learn as much as I could about blogging and social media. It’s not easy to find quality information that is really helpful. And my biggest lesson so far is that the real useful information is the one that you pay for.

There are a lot of free online courses and materials but they are giving you only a little amount of information. They are good to get you started but not enough in the long run. The real value comes when you are willing to invest in learning! Luckily, I think that the US is the best place to be for learning about blogging because there are so many successful bloggers who share their experiences!

At the beginning of March, I’ve invested in my first blogging course. I haven’t finished it yet, so I will wait and come with a detailed feedback at the end of it. But until now it was really amazing and I am learning a lot of new things!

Until then, I’m sharing here the tools that I use as a blogger and help me grow my blog:

Grammarly

English is not my native tongue, so I really need help to be sure that I don’t make many spelling or grammar mistakes in my blog posts. Grammarly is only useful for English speakers and I know that a lot of bloggers use it! I use the free version now. I plan to switch to the paid version as soon as it will go on sale again.

Boardbooster

This tool helps me schedule my pins on Pinterest. Still, I don’t use it as effectively as I wish. I plan to take a Pinterest course soon to learn more about how to grow my Pinterest reach. I’ve heard only positive feedbacks about Rosemarie Groner’s “Pinterest Strategy Guide”, so I have this course on my wish list for the next months! Here is a great post that she wrote on this topic: Easy Ways to Increase Pinterest Traffic.

– An editorial calendar

I have been blogging for more than 4 years on my Romanian blog without having an editorial calendar. But I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of having an editorial calendar so I’ve decided to try it! Since March, I’ve started to use one for this blog. And it works!

My biggest fear was that an editorial calendar will prevent me from being authentic and spontaneous. But in fact, it helps me be more accountable with my blogging journey. I am less likely to postpone writing a post and I have an additional motivation. I’m not using a special tool for this, I’ve created it in Excel.

Canva

I use Canva for all the graphics on my blog, especially Pinterest images and Facebook images. I also use it to create the printable files on my blog. Some months ago I switched to the paid account (Canva for work) and I am satisfied with it. The free version is also very good, I’ve used it for a long time before having this blog.

– Stock photography sites

I am a total disaster when it comes to taking nice pictures! So I use stock photos for most of my posts. My favorite sources for free stock photos are Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels. I also buy photos from Canva.

Mailchimp

I use Mailchimp as an email provider for my newsletter. I like that I can personalize my emails and schedule them. But there are still a lot of emails that get in the spam folders and this is pretty frustrating. I am thinking about switching to another provider like Convertkit or Drip but I’m not really convinced that this will make a difference. So I’m waiting some more time before making a decision.

– Useful plugins

Here are the plugins that I most like:

Mailchimp for WordPress allows me to integrate Mailchimp into my blog (and deliver the printable files)

Mailchimp for WordPress Top Bar is a great plugin for having a Hello Bar and integrating it with Mailchimp

Meta Slider allows me to add slides to my header or posts

Yoast SEO is a great help for SEO optimization.

I also use Askimet Anti-Spam, Wordfence Security, and Jetpack.my blogging journey

The top posts from the first six months

In the first six months, I published 95 articles! They meant a lot of work and many sleepless hours at night. 🙂

My top 5 most read articles were:

1. What helped me become a calmer mom and be gentle with my child even if I’m angry

2. What to do instead of punishments? 5 gentle ways to discipline young kids

3. 21 great mom-toddler date ideas to make your child happy

4. How to create an effective morning routine for kids (+morning checklist printable)

5, Parenting challenge: Our plan for a month full of outdoor play (this is a very recent article and I’m glad that parents liked it a lot!).

The parenting challenge that I’ve started at the beginning of the year was also a great way to connect with other moms! I write about it every month and I’m very glad to see that parents want to join it! 🙂

Some thoughts about monetization

If you are a blogger (or you want to become one), you probably also want to find out details about monetization. I hope that you will not be disappointed when I tell you that I don’t have anything to share on this topic.

Although I’ve received some collaboration proposals (that were great news for such a “young” blog), I’ve decided to focus my first six months on growing my blog. So I postponed any form of monetization for after building a strong foundation for my blog.

Monetizing a blog is not something new to me because I did this on my other blog. But I strongly believe in the power of offering good content to my audience! I want to write as many helpful and inspiring articles as I can before taking the next step. So I used this time to grow my blog and to put a lot of work in it.

I think that every blogger dreams about making blogging his full-time job. And I do too! But for me, it’s very important the way that I do this. I want my readers to know that I value them and that they can trust me. I want them to know that they can find inspiration on my blog. And I want them to enjoy my posts! This was my goal for the first months.

I also focused on thinking about what I want from this blog. And I realized that I want to create a strong community around it. My dream is to be able to inspire other moms and to learn from them in the same time. This is my biggest motivation! Of course that it would also be great if blogging could become my full-time job.

So I also made four decisions about monetization:

– Certainly, I don’t want my blog to be full of ads and I have no intention of applying to an advertising company soon.

– I only want to partner with brands that I totally like and that are a good fit for my audience. So I will not focus on getting a lot of sponsored posts because I want to write only about what I truly like!

– I like the idea of affiliate marketing. It sounds wonderful to write about things that you use and like and to be able to make an income out of this! I never tried affiliate marketing before, but I plan to do it in the next months!

– Also, I would love to create my own products! I dream about writing ebooks for moms to share ideas and solutions that make mom life easier and more joyful! 🙂 This seems amazing but I’m really scared of trying this! So I’ve put it on my wishlist but I don’t know when this dream will become a reality!


I don’t know how my blogging journey will continue but I hope that it will be an amazing one! I plan to publish my next report after six more months and I’m really curious to see what will happen during this time.

If you want to become a blogger or you are at the very beginning of your blogging journey, I invite you to share any questions here. If I know the answer, I would be happy to help!

And if you are a more experienced blogger, I would be glad if you would share some thoughts about your blogging journey! I am looking forward to learning from your experiences!

p.s. If you want to link any of your progress reports here, I would be happy to read them!My blogging journey is just at the beginning but it's already amazing! I share here what helped me grow my blog and what my future plans are. | Blog report | Blogging tips | Blogging advice | How to grow a blog

My blogging journey is just at the beginning but it's already amazing! I share here what helped me grow my blog and what my future plans are. | Blog report | Blogging tips | Blogging advice | How to grow a blog

Category: Happy moments
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Raluca Loteanu

If you find yourself on this blog I invite you to discover us as the happy family we are, who look with optimism and joy at life. If you want to contact me, you can find me on email, I gladly respond to each message.

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Comments (24 people commented this post)

  • avatar image

    Bhupendra Singh

    June 10, 2017 Reply
    I started blogging recently. Though I enjoy the process of writing, but I don't know the technicalities of SEO and monetization. I'll try to use the tips you have provided. Thanks
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Good luck with your blog! :-) There are a lot of technicalities to learn, I am still trying to learn as much as I can!
  • avatar image

    Natalia

    June 10, 2017 Reply
    Ce fain ca ai facut raportul acesta. Cred ca atunci cand vezi rezultatele puse pe hartie, esti mai motivat sa mergi inainte! La mai mult si la mai mare! :)
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Iti multumesc, Natalia! Chiar asa este, pe mine ma ajuta mult sa observ progresul pe o perioada mai lunga de timp! Uneori ma frustrez ca nu vad imediat rezultatele pe care mi le-as dori, dar cand privesc la progresul pe cateva luni deja devin mai optimista. :-)
  • avatar image

    mughees|bloggersea

    June 10, 2017 Reply
    wow, wonderful achievements I enjoyed while reading your post, it's only your hard work and motivations. keep working on it and keep us update about your achievements.
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you! I will certainly come back with regular updates!
  • avatar image

    Merry Kuchle

    June 10, 2017 Reply
    Congratulations! I have been blogging for what seems like forever. I remember hitting six months and then a year.
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Merry! You have a very nice blog!
  • avatar image

    Kathiey

    June 11, 2017 Reply
    Thanks for the great info. I have Grammarly and Mailchimp but I need so much more. I am saving this post to review later. Thanks
  • avatar image

    Amber Myers

    June 11, 2017 Reply
    Happy 6 months to you! I love Canva as well--I use it all the time. I'll have to check out the blog links you left!
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Amber! :-)
  • avatar image

    Sondra

    June 11, 2017 Reply
    Grammarly has been a time saver and it works great.
  • avatar image

    lianne

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Our blogs started at about the same time! As a new blogger it's nice to read that you have yet to monetize. I read so many articles saying "I made this much in my first month blogging" and I feel like I must be doing something wrong! I plan on spending a full year just building my blog and social media and then to start working on monetizing it. I loved your parenting challenge :) Lianne | Makes, Bakes and Decor
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Lianne! I wish you the best of luck with your blog!
  • avatar image

    lex

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    impressive, i like your journey so far, one thing here i like too is CANVA, i was introduced to it lately and have since started using it to make images for my posts... more success for you as you go higher in blogging... Hugs.
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you!
  • avatar image

    andrea

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Super informative post! I plan on pinning it; I need a little boost to my traffic and you have some wonderful suggestions here
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      I am glad that it's helpful! :-)
  • avatar image

    Bruce Schinkel

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Thanks for sharing your blog journey with us, especially for including some tips and hints on how you've been successful so far!
  • avatar image

    chei

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Oh these are great tips! I wanted to start my own blog so this is a big help for me. :)
  • avatar image

    Sarah

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Congrats on making it 6 months! Although my blog started back in 2014, I only recently really started doing it again this february with much more intent. I hear boardboosters is great and really need to focus on my Pinterest game more.
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Sarah! I plan to focus on Pinterest too and to take a course to teach me how to improve my Pinterest game.
  • avatar image

    hanna

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    WOW! Happy Blog half blog birthday! People think it's super easy but it takes a lot of time and energy! Keep doing what you're doing girl!
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Hanna! :-)

Leave your comment

Comments (24 people commented this post)

  • avatar image

    Bhupendra Singh

    June 10, 2017 Reply
    I started blogging recently. Though I enjoy the process of writing, but I don't know the technicalities of SEO and monetization. I'll try to use the tips you have provided. Thanks
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Good luck with your blog! :-) There are a lot of technicalities to learn, I am still trying to learn as much as I can!
  • avatar image

    Natalia

    June 10, 2017 Reply
    Ce fain ca ai facut raportul acesta. Cred ca atunci cand vezi rezultatele puse pe hartie, esti mai motivat sa mergi inainte! La mai mult si la mai mare! :)
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Iti multumesc, Natalia! Chiar asa este, pe mine ma ajuta mult sa observ progresul pe o perioada mai lunga de timp! Uneori ma frustrez ca nu vad imediat rezultatele pe care mi le-as dori, dar cand privesc la progresul pe cateva luni deja devin mai optimista. :-)
  • avatar image

    mughees|bloggersea

    June 10, 2017 Reply
    wow, wonderful achievements I enjoyed while reading your post, it's only your hard work and motivations. keep working on it and keep us update about your achievements.
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you! I will certainly come back with regular updates!
  • avatar image

    Merry Kuchle

    June 10, 2017 Reply
    Congratulations! I have been blogging for what seems like forever. I remember hitting six months and then a year.
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Merry! You have a very nice blog!
  • avatar image

    Kathiey

    June 11, 2017 Reply
    Thanks for the great info. I have Grammarly and Mailchimp but I need so much more. I am saving this post to review later. Thanks
  • avatar image

    Amber Myers

    June 11, 2017 Reply
    Happy 6 months to you! I love Canva as well--I use it all the time. I'll have to check out the blog links you left!
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Amber! :-)
  • avatar image

    Sondra

    June 11, 2017 Reply
    Grammarly has been a time saver and it works great.
  • avatar image

    lianne

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Our blogs started at about the same time! As a new blogger it's nice to read that you have yet to monetize. I read so many articles saying "I made this much in my first month blogging" and I feel like I must be doing something wrong! I plan on spending a full year just building my blog and social media and then to start working on monetizing it. I loved your parenting challenge :) Lianne | Makes, Bakes and Decor
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Lianne! I wish you the best of luck with your blog!
  • avatar image

    lex

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    impressive, i like your journey so far, one thing here i like too is CANVA, i was introduced to it lately and have since started using it to make images for my posts... more success for you as you go higher in blogging... Hugs.
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you!
  • avatar image

    andrea

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Super informative post! I plan on pinning it; I need a little boost to my traffic and you have some wonderful suggestions here
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      I am glad that it's helpful! :-)
  • avatar image

    Bruce Schinkel

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Thanks for sharing your blog journey with us, especially for including some tips and hints on how you've been successful so far!
  • avatar image

    chei

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Oh these are great tips! I wanted to start my own blog so this is a big help for me. :)
  • avatar image

    Sarah

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    Congrats on making it 6 months! Although my blog started back in 2014, I only recently really started doing it again this february with much more intent. I hear boardboosters is great and really need to focus on my Pinterest game more.
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Sarah! I plan to focus on Pinterest too and to take a course to teach me how to improve my Pinterest game.
  • avatar image

    hanna

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    WOW! Happy Blog half blog birthday! People think it's super easy but it takes a lot of time and energy! Keep doing what you're doing girl!
    • avatar image

      Raluca Loteanu

      June 15, 2017 Reply
      Thank you, Hanna! :-)
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