When I first started blogging, like many people I had no clue what I was doing. I knew I wanted to blog and had an idea of what to write about. But I didn’t know where to start. What platform to use or how to get it out there.
I heard and read about WordPress. At the time I didn’t realize there were two different ones, .com and .org. After I started I finally realized there were many different hosting sites to choose and WordPress was simply the “program” you used to input all your web info (text, links, pictures, etc).
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I ended up picking WordPress.com. Overall I am happy with it but I’ll go into more detail later on down below. I want to fill you in with the details on why I started a blog (if you can call KozmoPhotos.com a blog). What I learned so far in my process. What I would do differently now if I were to start another one.
I hope this post will help you take the leap and start your own blog or page. Or just get a fresh look and new or different ideas and ways to do things. I’m still learning new things every day but that’s all a part of the adventure.
So why did I start my page? Well like most new endeavors. You do them because of something major that happens. For me, that was the night of December 25, 2016.
That’s the day I finally knew my wife (now ex-wife) was cheating on me. Sometimes we just need that push. That was my push. I just didn’t know it yet.
Two months later in late February of 2017, she moved out and I found myself with a lot of free time when my daughter wasn’t around. So I would pick up my camera and go around my area and take photos. At this point in my journey, I wanted to start a YouTube channel.
I quickly realized that while I love being behind the camera. I do not like being in front of it. So I kept searching for what I wanted to do. What or who was going to be the new me.
For the next 12 months or so I kept trying to become comfortable in front of the camera. I really wanted to start a YouTube channel. So I made a few videos in that year. None were ever very good and I never published them. But it got me to start researching other ways to get my ideas out there. Boy was I full of ideas.
I wanted to provide content that helped people. So I had my initial idea. You could find tons of tutorials and articles on getting started in photography. However, if you wanted even more help or in-depth knowledge, you were going to have to pay for it.
Now by the summer of 2018, I really wanted to get helpful content out there. Every weekend I would take my daughter somewhere. We would explore Philadelphia, Jersey, and the surrounding areas.
She would get to go to all these fun and exciting places and I would take notes and photos.
I wanted to get that more in-depth information out there. But I wanted to do it for FREE. I didn’t want you to have to subscribe or pay for anything. After all, I feel that knowledge should be free.
I started looking into blogging and website design. I took notes and had a plan of action, ready to go. But I was still scared. So I just sat on everything. October came and went.
November came and went. All the while I still went to places and took notes and photos.
But something happened. I got that spark I was looking for.
It came from a song. I was driving home from work one night in late October or early November 2018. listening to Amazon music like I usually do. Then the song that got me motivated came on. Are you ready by Disturbed.
It was like they were asking me…. Koz are you ready. For the past year and a half, I was just waiting for that kick to get me going. There it was. A simple rock song.
I must’ve listened to that song 100 times that week. Knew every lyric by heart in a day. I was ready to start my website on photography.
I just needed to pick the right date to purchase the site (because I was still clueless). I decided to go with January 1st. New year, new me. I was ready to get my ideas and point of view out there.
The Start of KozmoPhotos
On January 1st, 2019 I logged onto WordPress.com and purchased the domain name Kozmophotos.com. I then started searching for the notes and articles I already wrote. However, I couldn’t find them. Any of them.
I was screwed. I lost everything I did so far. I had all the pictures I took. Just none of the written stuff. So I just started learning the ins and outs of WordPress.com. looking at themes that would work for me. Looking at other websites for inspiration. Plus I was dragging my feet.
I was still a little nervous and scared. But was eager to get started. Then in February I took my daughter to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. We park the car and I looked for my camera. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I forgot to follow the number one rule. ALWAYS BRING YOUR CAMERA!
Since I did forget it, it helped me come up with an idea for a post. I came home that evening and started writing my first post. I got it done so fast too. Looking back it is not good at all but it got me started. For the next month and a half, I would write one post a week on photography.
I found it somewhat difficult but still enjoyed it. I would try to write tips and a little story about that week’s trip. Then one day in April I just started writing a review. I enjoyed it so much.
It was so easy to do and fun. It didn’t feel like “work”.
In April I turned my focus more on travel-related content and not photography. I would still throw in photography tips here and there but it was mostly focused on travel.
It wasn’t until May of 2019 when I started writing a post about Walt Disney World. By the end of May, I had enough post already written that I wouldn’t have to write any for June. I had everything scheduled so I would have two or three posts come out a week.
From June 2019 to this day I write a post about Walt Disney World, reviews on different East Coast Locations, and the occasion photography post. Normally writing the content is the issue. The issue is getting it out there.
So at this point, I was pumping out content. My biggest problem was getting it in front of people. Maybe I would get one person coming from a search engine once a week. Every day I would get about a dozen views from Pinterest.
In June I finally post something to my Facebook account so my friends and family could see what I was doing. I was nervous as hell. Up until this point, the only people that would’ve read my post are people I don’t know. I would never see them and be judged (good or bad).
When I posted it on my Facebook it was the first time in my 5 plus month blogging journey that I had over 100 views in one day. I was use to getting only about 20 a day. Thirty if I had a new post come out that day.
After that week I started to join different Facebook groups. I wanted to get content ideas but also get my content out there. After I did that I started to see my page views slowly go up. Nothing crazy but enough to push me to keep going.
I also started going hard on creating new and better pins for Pinterest. Every day I get better but boy can it be a grind. You will read from many bloggers to pin 30 a day. I can barely keep up with making 30 new pins in a week.
Canva (not sponsored) is my site of choice. If you are starting out it is a great site to start with creating your own pins. It’s still a daily grind but Canva makes it simple and gives you plenty of ideas.
I now use about 10 different templates for my website. It took me over a year to find my “style”. I’m sure as time goes by I’ll switch it up again but for now, I’m happy with it.
Now i want to go into Facebook groups for a moment. They can be a fantastic resource…. if you find the right ones. Blogging groups in my opinion are horrible.
Like, comment, and share at least 3 other posts in order to post on this discussion. The problem with that for me is there weren’t many travel-related posts for me to re-share. I’m not going to repost a beauty tip on my Twitter account. It just wouldn’t fit and confuse anyone that does follow.
Other groups can be great. Just don’t spam the boards. No one likes that and that will get you booted from many of them.
To this day I still have issues with getting my post out there. Having WordPress.com I can’t install an SEO plugin. I have to upgrade my plan and for the cost, it’s not worth it to me right now. It would be better to move to a new hosting site (which I’m currently looking into).
Lately, I have been going over all my posts and trying to improve my SEO on my own which is a daunting task. However, I have seen a little improvement on traffic coming from search engines (mostly Google). I also have been updating some of my images and putting in the alt text. With any luck, I can hopefully get 100 visitors or more a day.
I just need to put in the hard work. My site won’t grow (neither will yours) if I don’t do the work. Some sites get lucky and explode on day one. But many like mine will take years. Not because my content isn’t very good. It’s because I can’t get it in front of the right people who will help share it.
I recently had a pin go “viral”. Not crazy viral but viral to me. That pin alone now brings 20 visitors a day on a slow day and 50 to 100 on bigger days. There’s nothing special to that pin it just got shared to the right account with many more followers than I have.
What’s important to remember
If you are thinking of starting or have started a page or blog its important to remember a few key things. One, it’s going to be a grind for a little while. Two, it’s going to take time to see results. Three, share with your friends and family early. They will give you helpful advice even if they are just being nice.
Four, don’t lose track of why you started and what the purpose was. KozmoPhotos was started because of my love of photography and travel. It gave me a reason to explore all the amazing places around me. Plus I got to teach my daughter how to use a camera and see some pretty cool places. Some of these places she has asked to go back to time and time again.
Five, Pin a couple of times a day. The more you can the better off you will be. Pin on Pinterest as well as using Tailwind. Click the link HERE to check it out.
I love using Tailwind. You can schedule your first 100 pins for free. I find it much easier to set aside an hour a week scheduling pins than going on each day and doing it.
You should remember to have fun. After all, I am hoping that is why you started. If you started out just to make money you will be disappointed. That takes a lot of time and effort. Sure some people just have it but most of us do not.
While my site hasn’t gone as smoothly as I would have liked. I am still very much enjoying it. It can be a little tough at times. Sometimes I can’t come up with an idea to write about or what pins to make. Sometimes I can pump out content like there is no tomorrow.
I’ve learned so much about myself these past few years as well. I’ve had many friends help me along the way to encourage me to keep going even when I would want to quit. Blogging is not an easy thing but it is very rewarding. Every comment. Good or Bad helps you grow more and your blog grow more.
I hope this post got you thinking and helped you make that leap into creating your own site. I remember reading all of these different posts about how bloggers are making so much money so quickly. While that is the case for some of them. Many of them, don’t make anywhere near that much money. Of course, you have to put in the hard work to get to that point.
I have been putting in at least 10 hours a week into my blog along with working a 40 + hour work week at my job. Those 10 hours of working on my blog don’t count the hours I’m out taking photos and exploring new places.
If this post of my troubles and why I started helped you out. Let me know in the comments. I want to inspire people to try it and also see it’s not as easy as some say it is. Sure you can pay someone to set up your site and do all the hard parts. But you won’t learn anything and it won’t be “yours”. It will be someone else. Just take the time to read up on everything and have fun. Just go have fun and hopefully one day I will come across your “Why I started Blogging” post. Who knows I might even learn something new.
Would you like to follow along with my blogging journey? Maybe discover some new and interesting places to visit for you next road trip? How about tips for planning the perfect Disney vacation? Be sure to follow KozmoPhotos to stay up to date. Follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and more.
KozmoPhotos has started a new Facebook group called US Travel Bloggers. Join if you would like to post your travel blogs or are looking for different and unique content. We will post our latest articles and fun tips, hints, and tricks. It’s new and we are just now starting to try and build it. We hope to see you there.
As always, please remember to follow us on our different social media accounts. It helps you so you know when our next post goes live. You never know what the next guide might be about. Don’t forget to follow our travel board on Pinterest for all your travel needs.