The Mother Owl started on Facebook, but we always had a website planed. The idea is to use it as a hub for all our projects and content. If you don’t know us, we are a 2-person team wanting to bring you content and projects about Fantasy, SciFi and Horror. You can read our backstory here. As the title suggests, we just started. Let us describe what lessons we learned after running this website for a month.
It’s not that easy to start one
Even if you never wanted to start your own blog or website, you’ve probably already seen ads of certain companies promoting how easy it is to set them up. Or maybe you just know that platforms like WordPress or Wix can help you create a site with no need of coding. Either way, you’d be surprised how much more difficult it is to create something outside of the default templates.
We have a friend who is a programmer who is helping us a lot. Sometimes with theme bugs, other times with stuff that you can’t just drag and drop. If you want to use a theme preset, or just aren’t interested in personalize your site too much, it will be ok. On the other hand, you may not be prepared deal with it without knowing how to code or all the work arounds. One of us even has a remote background in programing, and none of us is bad with computers… But starting our own very first site was challenging.
You need a plan and discipline
Having a plan is a must. We had a general idea about what we wanted to do, and that proved not to be enough. Without a clear plan you soon will feel lost or disoriented. You are reading a post in our first blog – An Owl’s Journey – but during the first three weeks we have been posting random news and posts. We are now in focus mode, planning our projects better and scheduling topics for future posts. But that’s not all.
You need discipline. The initial motivation of doing something new dissipates really fast. Especially if you don’t have clear goals. It becomes even more challenging if you study or work like we do. Everytime we decide to publish something we need to do some research, write it, translate it (this is also written in Portuguese), add metadata to WordPress, make a thumbnail, write the social media posts in both languages and try to promote them. And this leads us to other lesson we learned.
Promoting your site can be unwelcomed
This happened on a discord channel and several Facebook groups. But first, let us just state that we clearly know what spam and shameless self promotion are. We don’t consider the following story to be the case.
Basically we are in some Facebook groups, discord channels and subreddits which are related to the topics we usually talk about. When we see that a specific news wasn’t shared on these places we make a little post with a link. Sporadic and with value.
Two weeks ago we talked to a admin about permission to post a link. It was our list of (im)probable characters to be featured in Injustice 3. He answered saying we needed to be active members to share links. We replied that we understood the anti-spam rule, but that we saw the list as a contribution to the group already. After all, nobody had done a list as comprehensive as ours (value), DC Fandome was happening within a week (relevance) and we spent the whole afternoon researching and listing the 86+ characters (the work). We also stated that our site didn’t even have adds. He didn’t reply.
Our question is… if social media groups, forums and chats won’t let you share something in these terms, how are you supposed to grow organically? The big sites win. We, small little owls will need to spend money in ads or to have no life to produce content and, at the same time, be active in every group related with our topics. But we don’t feel discouraged, nor should you. Because, with time, you will find nice communities. That post about Injustice 3 is one of our most visited pages due to an awesome community in a Injustice subreddit. If you check the last sentences of the text, you’ll see members of that subreddit who helped us improve our list.
Google AdSense is frustrating
We know at this stage we won’t benefit much from ads revenue. Still, we applied and reapplied, over and over again… 8 or 10 times already. Google Adsense won’t tell us what we are doing wrong. We are following their guidelines but nothing seems to work. Than we did a little search about it and we think we may be rejected due to our “news section”. You see, Google Adsense sees it as having no value to advertisers once the same topic is present in several other sites. Even if you write it with curiosities or details. We still working on this so we’ll post something about the journey of being approved when that time comes. For now, the most important lesson is…
The reward comes after the work
You need to be patient! Although it may seem we only nagged, in reality, we only got more tolerant to failure. The day after the frustrating episodes are always good. We got more knowledge about WordPress, SEO, project planning, self-discipline, how to promote our content on the internet and how to deal with Google Adsense.
We are super motivated to continue to improve our little nest, and to spread our wings to other projects we’ve been working on. A big thank you for everyone who’s been visiting us. We launched The Mother Owl’s website on august 5th, and we were expecting 50 visits in the best days. At the time I’m writing this we have 3274 visits from 1606 visitors. We also started to appear in search engine results since last thursday. The US, Germany and Brazil are the countries who visit us the most, but we already received hits from 65. Soon we’ll have news about new blogs and collaborations.
Until then, fly away! Hoo Hoo hoooooo
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