15 Things I've Learned From My First Year of Blogging
I almost didn't start my blog. Here's why I'm glad I did...
In a recent interview with Marie Forleo, Seth Godin shared why he blogs:
"Daily blogging is one of the top career decisions I’ve ever made. Even if nobody read it, I would blog every day and I think everyone should do so. Here’s the reason: if you know that tomorrow you have to say something. About something you noticed, something that might help someone else, about an opinion you have that might stand the test of time, you will form those opinions, you will notice those things, you will invent that idea. And if day after day, week after week, you leave this trail behind of thoughtful examination of your world, you can’t help but get better at whatever it is you seek to do."
He's right. Blogging is excellent. It's insightful. It makes you think differently about yourself and the world around you. It's something everyone should do.
For me, it's been almost a year. Here's what I've learned so far:
- That moment when you work on a post for ages, hit publish and hear nothing much at all? Yep, it happens to the best of us. Every blogger has had a tumbleweed moment or ten.
- The posts that leave you feeling a little scared to hit publish are everything.
- If you have ideas in the bath, in the car, mid-conversation etc. note them down, always.
- And if you don't? Take a break from blogging. Nobody's watching as closely as you think (in an amazing, liberating way)! Your readers will be ready when you are.
- Sometimes page views are up, sometimes page views are down. That's just the way it goes. Repeat after me: Your blog is worth more than a number.
- And sometimes the blog posts you think will do well just don't. Sure, you can improve your titles and use better imagery, but the reception is always unexpected. There's no algorithm for human connection (yet, anyway).
- Even if you're making barely any money from your blog, the amount of skills you can gain is invaluable. It shows you have an eye for design, a love for writing, the ability to market yourself, an understanding of branding, great time management... I could go on.
- It's ok to change the direction of your blog entirely. It's ok to want to make money from your blog. It's ok to try ads and sponsored content and anything that enables you to keep blogging. Do what you've got to do to keep doing what you love.
- When your blog starts getting a healthy amount of traffic, find a way of giving your audience something more. I created my newsletter and nothing, work-wise, has ever made me happier.
- You'll want X number of page views/followers/subscribers. And once you get there, you'll immediately focus on the next goal. Looking ahead is great, but it's even more important to look back and celebrate how far you've come.
- Put a little part of yourself in each post. The appetite for honest and transparent writing is only growing.
- If you wouldn't enjoy reading it yourself, don't put it out there. Period.
- There will always be someone with more followers for much less effort. (And often they'll have bought a lot of those followers. Sorry. It has to be said. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.)
- A small, but dedicated set of readers who support your work is a million times more valuable than tons of traffic and no traction.
- Never think it's too late to start. There's space for everyone's voice. Yours included.