I just passed my 1-month anniversary of launching this blog and my other online adventures and I have to say....it's been FUN! Life-changing? Maybe. There's a whole world out there full of amazing ideas, interesting people, and various curiosities. A blog for every person. A website on every topic. Here's a little timeline on how I entered this world:
Week 1: Reactivated my Blogger account (I made it years ago but never posted anything), thought about my concept and picked a unique blog name - CambodianMom. Wrote and posted my introductory post and wrote multiple pages of content for the blog. Learned about search engine optimization (how to get web traffic to your blog and get Google Search to list it).
Week 2: Learned about Hubpages, wrote and posted my first how-to article, signed up for Google AdSense, Hubpages Ad Program and Amazon Affiliates (three different ways to "monetize" or "make money from" my websites). Made another blog so I could advertise on it; From Dazed to Dazzling was my runner-up name/idea for my blog anyway. Added Google Adsense and Amazon links to my blogs and Hub articles. If you're interested, Google Adsense works by giving me a certain amount (pennies) when people click on Google ads on my sites; Hubpages ads earn me money just by people viewing them ($1-8/1000 impressions aka views) when reading my articles; Amazon's affiliate program allows me to make a commission (4-15%) on sales completed by people who clicked through my links to shop.
Week 3: Wrote more posts for my blogs, and more articles for Hubpages. When I have free time, I read others' hubs and blogs. I comment whenever possible...to be nice, to get more traffic and exposure for myself, and to just learn and ask questions. Like I said, there's a whole world out there, and it's so much more interesting than just the CNN and celebrity news I used to only keep up with before.
Week 4: Averaging 2-3 blog posts and 1 hub article per week. Sometimes my post and my article are about the same thing. Downloaded Google Reader app for my phone...this was really helpful in keeping up with blogs I like and follow. Following a blog means getting their newest posts in an RSS feed reader like Google Reader. I understand there are many websites just for following blogs and news feeds, like Tumblr, Reddit, and StumbleUpon. And of course there's Twitter and Pinterest. But I am taking it slow. I already follow a dozen blogs and have gotten a thousand hits (combined) on my blogs and Hubpages profile. If I really want to increase traffic, I will explore those other sites more.
Week 5: I've been trying to figure out whether I should make some standard days to post things...like do a "Dazzling Thursdays" post every week, or a "Mommy Mondays" for parenting tips. There are also tons of contests, challenges, and giveaways I can lurk the blogosphere for and join. On the one hand, I'm scared of locking myself into a format, or joining something that I can't keep up with. But on the other hand, these things might instill some discipline in me, i.e. make me post more regularly and try things I normally wouldn't try. I don't know if I'll ever get to the post-every-day stage. But I am trying out new crafts and recipes all the time...and thinking of things to write about, which is a positive step in the right direction (as opposed to being sedentary, passive, and hermit-like in my cave). As for my money-making...that has always been secondary to my writing and exploring online anyway, but I'll just say I can shop at the Dollar Store with my earnings thus far. This is fine with me, since I like the Dollar Store, but too bad earnings don't get paid out until I reach the $50 and $100 thresholds. :)
Update 2.24.2012: As a nice bonus and validation for my writing, my online article "Traditional Cambodian (Khmer) Wedding Ceremonies" has been nominated for Hubnugget or article of the week. Please click HERE to go to an article nominating me and VOTE for me if you liked my article - it's under "Gender and Relationships Nominees". Also, please enjoy the other hub articles from new writers like me. There are so many topics and interesting things written on Hubpages by people from all over the world. Check it out!
Update 2.29.2012: I won a Hubnugget award! My article came in 3rd place (out of 6 nominees) in my category (out of hundreds of categories and thousands of hub articles), so I won the award and was featured in the Hubpages weekly newsletter that went out to tens of thousands of top hubbers. This increased my pageviews by a lot (and correspondingly, my earnings) and overall, was just a huge boost to my ego! Go me! I really like how Hubpages supports and encourages its new writers. If you want to join and start writing your own articles, check out my profile, and then go from there. It's easy and free (and you can earn money). I can help guide you if you want to join.