After blogging for one year I can honestly say I have learned a lot about the practical side of blogging as well as about myself personally.
I considered blogging for years before I took the plunge and published my first post on April 7, 2016. Here is what I have learned so far:
Personal Journey with Blogging
I forgot how much I enjoy writing. I have been away from writing regularly for years while I raised a family. Now I have more time to spend developing ideas, get creative and write content.
Blogging is time-consuming. When reading a blog post, most people don’t realize how much time and effort actually went into it. They see a few nice pics and read about 500 words and move on. They don’t realize those pics were the result of hours of trial and error. The final words they read were rewritten multiple times to maintain the blogger’s voice and still keep the mysterious SEO algorithm from Google happy.
Blogging is mind-consuming. If I am not creating content, I am thinking about content. All. The. Time. It makes me distracted and not focused on living in the moment. If I had a blog post for every time I thought about blogging content I would have two posts every day. I didn’t expect this to be a by-product of blogging but it is. Thinking about content too much is probably the top reason I use when I evaluate whether to stop blogging.
“Do your research,” as Sherlock would say.
I considered blogging for years, but it was a few focused months of research that set me on a smooth path. I decided to buy a domain name and pay for webhosting right away. I read enough about the headaches of migrating a free blog to a paid domain and host that I knew it was better start with a paid one and not deal with migrating issues later.
I researched and read reviews of web-hosting services, template providers, necessary plugins and free photo editing sites. There is a wealth of knowledge out there from seasoned bloggers. Thank you to pipdig, Brand It Girl, The Wonder Forest , The Blog Market and Media Marmalade for all your sound (free) advice and resources.
Evergreen content is king. I learned this about half way through my first year of blogging. Create content that solves an issue or informs and you can continually promote it regardless of the time of year. A brief post about what you ate for lunch is not Evergreen. A post reviewing the best restaurants in your area for a quick lunch under $10 is Evergreen. Actually, that is not a bad idea. I might write a post for that!
Micro-blogging is a thing. When I first learned about micro-blogging I was thrilled. I love the concept of short posts that give a snapshot into your life and don’t take a ton of time to produce. When I am busy, micro-blogging is a Godsend. I have used it a few times but not nearly as much as I would like. My tendency is to stop blogging entirely when I am too busy to post regularly. Micro-blogging flies in the face of Evergreen content, but a balance of both types of content makes for a well-rounded, informative, but still personal blog.
80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule states that you spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting that content. I agree with this rule but I also hate it. Writing is my favorite part of blogging. Facebook is not. However, it is a necessary cog in the promotion wheel and you have to play the game.
Find the social media platforms that work best for you. By “works best” I don’t necessarily mean gets you the most hits. Realistically Pinterest and Facebook are the two major sources of my traffic. But, I love Instagram. I like being able to post a pic and a few words. I love looking at other people’s photos and reading their thoughts. Instagram doesn’t drive traffic to my blog, but when I am too busy to write a full post, I know I can post on Insta and stay engaged with my community.
Organic posts can be the most rewarding. Posts that come about naturally and are easy to produce because the content is appealing to you are awesome. Some of the posts I have worked the hardest on have been the least rewarding. However, one of my favorite organic posts is about Co-working. I enjoyed touring the facility, meeting people and learning about co-working. The pictures turned out well and the writing part happened quickly. It also made me realize how much I like writing “feature” type posts vs. reviews. I like reviews if I can make them fun like my Midsomer Murders write-ups. Serious reviews take more time because I have to make sure I am hitting all the points I want to make.
Blogging Goals for 2017
As I move forward into my second year of blogging, there are areas of knowledge I want educate myself on more completely.
Learn to use Tailwind and/or Boardbooster. This is one of those that once I learn about it I am sure I will kick myself for not adopting it sooner.
Relearn Adobe Photoshop. I used Photoshop years ago when it first came out. I haven’t used it for years, but now I would like to get a subscription and get reacquainted.
Get a professional logo created. I am on the fence about this one. The reality is, I don’t like my blog name anymore. Most bloggers go through this at some point. What sounded great initially can be really annoying after a while – especially when you say it out loud and type it all the time. Most of the blog names I wanted were already taken. I don’t know if that speaks to my lack of creativity or how prolific blogging has become? I would like my own logo and to start branding better but I don’t know if it makes sense to invest in a name I don’t love.
Purchase a different camera. I have a beasty 35mm DSLR and an iPhone. I use my iPhone all the time because it is small and handy. I would like to find something in between to bridge the gap. Something I can store in a small purse and still use to take great flat lay shots.
Grow my blog readership and social media accounts. Yep…
My youngest daughter (queen of reading beauty and lifestyle blogs) said I should include some blog stats on here because that it what everyone else does. Here it goes:
Social media with the most followers: Pinterest (also my favorite)
Totally number of Blog posts for 2016: 67
Most commented on Blog post: DIY Framed Dry Erase Board
What about you? Are you a blogger or reader of blogs? Maybe you are both! What do you like most/least about blogging? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.