Time for another Blogger’s Bonus Post!
I’m slowly working on populated my Etsy shop with some pre-made items for sale and that’s proving more time consuming than I imagined. I want to make sure I have a few items on hand when I am traveling this summer (in just a few short weeks) so that I don’t have to go in “vacation” mode! In the meantime, I noticed that my post about how to get the best results from linky parties received quite a response. That tells me I have many readers who are also bloggers or who are interested in the behind the scenes blogging perspective, so I thought I would add a Blogger’s Bonus post this week while I work on filling up my Etsy shop.
***Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a commission. The opinions presented are my own true opinions.***
My first post for this blog went up on March 24th, which means my blog, by the standards of most, is still an itty bitty baby and not long ago, I passed my three month blogiversary. That might not seem like a big deal, and really, it isn’t, except that when I started blogging, I had NO CLUE what I was doing.
It was the strangest thing. I just got up early one morning while both kids were asleep and said to myself: I am going to start a blog today. No planning. No prepping. No research. No idea what I wanted to gain from it, nor any clue what, if anything, I had to offer. I just fired up a WordPress.com account and wrote a blog post. I knew that I was really excited about learning to sew and wanted to share my projects and other thoughts about life in general. That was all I knew.
As I wrote one post after another I became more interested in how the world of blogging worked and began to research other blogs and read about other bloggers. It wasn’t long before I realized that WOW was I doing things wrong! Now, by no stretch of imagination do I claim that I am now doing everything “right” or that after less than four months I have some kind of secret blogging wisdom. In many ways I am still grasping for answers, but at less than two months in, I must have done something right because I was approved for Google Adsense ads! This is a feat I had heard a new blogger shouldn’t even attempt until the blog had at least sixty posts published. Word around Bloggerville is that Google is SUPER picky about who they will allow to show their ads. I had this idea that Adsense ads were for well established blogs, not my new little baby blog.
I don’t know what possessed me to even apply, other than the thought that I had just worked hard doing an overhaul of the site to make it look more professional, and figured I might get some feedback from the folks at Adsense on what was lacking if (and when, I thought) my blog was rejected (I really have no idea if they would have given feedback). Since that is not what happened and I instead got the coveted green light from Google, I thought I would 1) Share my blogger-geek excitement and 2) Share some insight on what I believe (after reading accounts from other bloggers) got me approved so quickly.
The bumpy road to Adsense approval:
1. I ditched my WordPress.com hosted blog in favor of a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. This is not my opinion, it’s a necessity. You are not allowed to put Adsense ads on a WordPress.com blog. I really wish I had just started with WordPress.org. I was worried (knowing nothing about writing code or web design) that I woudln’t be able to hack being self-hosted but I was so happy I did when I finally made the switch. If you are thinking about switching to self-hosted or starting a blog off on the right foot, go ahead and take advantage of this awesome deal from Bluehost. I did, so I know it’s good. You will not be disappointed! It’s not as hard as you think. Just do it.
2. One major piece of advice I read over and over again was that Google wants your site to look professional – not haphazard and not unorganized. If you do not know anything about web design, get someone who does to help you with your design. I didn’t say you have to hire a major design firm and mortgage your house to pay them. I went to Fiverr.com and found Alexis Ross Designs. I told them what I wanted to do and how I wanted it to look. They did an amazing job and walked me through much of the redesign process. I did the same for a logo design with a logo designer on Fiverr. DO NOT just sit back and expect them to do everything and make it perfect. Take an active part in the design, just let them do the technical stuff. For instance, I knew I wanted my logo to be a clock with scissors and crafty items as the minute and second hands. I gave them the ideas I had so that the site would still be a reflection of who I am and let them bring it to life.
3. Get set up with a Google Analytics account. I imagine Google would be hesitant to approve anyone who hadn’t already done that. Not to mention, you get a ton of information about your blog that can help you make better decisions as to the direction of your blog.
4. Link up! I will never pretend to know the ins and outs of the SEO stuff out there but one thing I have heard again and again is that Google takes your site more seriously the more links that are going to and from your site. To me, this is one of the many reasons linky parties are so important for a newbie blog.
5. You’ll need to make sure you have a “terms and conditions” page. My understanding is that you simply will not be approved without one. If you plan to monetize your blog at any point, you might as well do this anyway.
6. They DO look at your content! Your posts should be well-written and be at least five hundred words. I’m sure that is not set in stone for every post as some types of posts just don’t lend themselves to lengthy narratives, but as a general rule, they will not take your blog seriously if your posts are all under five hundred words. I would add that while your pictures probably don’t have to be “professional” quality (mine certainly are not) they should be descent. I revamped how I did my photos before working on getting approved. This is a craft blog and I had a hunch they might not take me seriously if the pictures of my crafts were truly low quality.
7. Post consistently. I waited until I had posting schedule. Not that you can’t stray from it (as I did even just this week), but blogs do better when they consistently have new content going up.
With all of these tips, you are not guaranteed approval, but I think if I had not implemented them before I applied, I very likely would have been rejected. And here’s the deal, I DO NOT make a bunch of money using Adsense. My blog is simply too new and small for me to see even a modest income from ads, BUT as my blog grows, if monetization is an avenue I want to take more seriously, I’m ready for it.
For now, I’m off to sew more goodies for my Etsy shop and getting ready for post #3 of the Doodle Dress Sew Along! So beginner crafters, take a look at post #2 if you haven’t already and make a dress with me!
Are you a blogger who uses Adsense? What are your thoughts on getting approved and monetizing your blog? How old was your blog when you monetized?