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What I should have done the day I started my blog

Back in 2007 when I started Joyful Abode, I only had the intention of documenting my “trials and errors into the domestic domain.”

I wrote about recipes I tried, even the ones that failed miserably. I posted about craft projects I did, the way I decorated my apartment, and so on…

I had no idea what my site would become.

But I should have started an email list anyway.

Why should I have started an email list on day 1 of my blog?

An email list is the ultimate social media.

Just as I recommend owning your own blog by having it be a self-hosted property, I recommend setting up an email list before you ever even join a single social network.

On Twitter, I have over 8,000 followers. But if I send out a tweet, how many will see it? Pretty much just whoever is online at that exact moment…

On Facebook, I have over 3,500 “likes,” but maybe 20-80 see any given post, unless it gets a lot of engagement right away.

On Instagram, even with 5,500 followers, my photos with the most engagement have maybe 200-250 “likes” and 20-40 comments.

And any one of those could shut down at any time. I don’t own them. They’re not MINE.

But I own my email list.

I can email my subscribers exactly the same way I email my dad, and that message will wait for them in their inboxes until they’re ready to read it.

So if there’s something really important I want to share, I can reach the people who have given me permission to email them. That’s important!

I mean, unless I’m writing for purely private purposes, I want what I put out there to be read. I want it to be noticed. I want it to help people. Or sometimes, I just want feedback. I want to be heard.

Don’t you want to be heard?

An email list gives us the ability to reach out to all of those people who said, “Sure, let me know when you publish something new. I’m interested in hearing from you” each time we publish a blog post, or when we’re hosting a giveaway, or even when we just want to share something going on in our lives – whether or not we’ve blogged about it!

It was many years before I finally started an email list. What was I waiting for? I have no idea.

And still, on this site, my list is terribly small (for someone who’s been blogging as long as I have, and for someone who gets as much traffic as I do).

In fact, on my newer site, So Damn Domestic, I started an email list before I even began the blog, and I have about twice the number of subscribers on that list as I do on this one. Even though that blog is MUCH younger.

I use AWeber for my email marketing (yes, when you email your subscribers, you’re marketing, even if you’re not selling anything), and have for years.

Their customer service is always fantastic and quick to respond, and I love the statistics I get about each email I send, how many people open it, how many people click, and so on. It’s a great service from a great company.

AWeber is free for your first month, so you can try it out and see how you like it. Then, if you’re not a fan, you can download a list of your subscribers and move somewhere else. But I know you’ll like it.

I’ve heard good things about MailChimp, and the plan costs a bit less than AWeber when you’re starting out, BUT I’ve also heard complete horror stories about MailChimp. Accounts being deactivated, suspended, or even deleted… it doesn’t sound like a good situation over there if you happen to be unlucky.

And I’m not a person who wins raffles and door prizes all the time or anything, so I’m not going to bank on luck.

I’m not going to hope I’m lucky that my email list stays intact.

I’m not going to hope I’m lucky that my Twitter followers are online when I need them to see my tweets.

I’m not going to hope Facebook decides to show my updates to more than 5% of my “likers.”

I’m not going to hope that my Instagram fans see my pictures (Instagram has been pretty good compared to Twitter and Facebook BUT they’re now selectively showing people things, like Facebook does… which is no surprise now that they’re owned by Facbeook.)

Nope. Luck isn’t for me.

So, when I want to reach my readers, email it is.

If only I had started my email list from day 1…

Do you want me to walk you through starting your first AWeber list, step by step? Let me know in the comments. I’m happy to help, if I can!

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own in 4 easy steps, starting at only $3.54 per month (with a discount only through my link) for blog hosting. Plus, you will receive a free blog domain (a $15 value) through my A Small Orange link if you purchase at least 12 months of blog hosting. And you definitely want to be self-hosted. Being self-hosted gives you the flexibility to make your blog look exactly the way you want it to, make money from it if you’d like (some free blog platforms restrict this), and truly own your internet “property.”

How to start a blog in 4 easy steps