Monday, February 02, 2015

Ten Things I Learned In My First Year Blogging

Ten Things I Learned in My First Year Blogging - A Simpler Grace

The blog celebrated one year in the first week of January and the year has flown by but it was full of a lot of emotions.  I cried, I screamed and I jumped up and down like a kid in a candy store over this blog.  The year was full of quite a few lessons as well and I want to share some of the biggest ones with you.  Maybe you're thinking about starting a blog or maybe you have one that just doesn't seem to be able to get off the ground - I hope these ten points will help you put things into perspective and focus on what's really important in the first year.
 1.)  Blogging takes a lot of time.  If you come into it thinking you can sit down and in 30 minutes have a witty, well-crafted blog post, you are setting yourself up for failure.  There are several factors that go into making a post worth reading and worth sharing.  Not only do you need to write great content, but you need to research topics, take and edit photographs, proofread and edit your post and share it on your social media channels to get the word out there.  Food bloggers have to create their own recipes, test them, re-create them, test them again and write the recipe out so the rest of us can create an identical dish.  DIY bloggers are in the same boat, having to complete a design or craft while photographing the steps.  Unless you want to use your blog as a personal journal, plan to put several hours of work into most posts.

 2.)  Proofread!  Once your fantastic blog post is written, go back and read it aloud to check for grammatical errors.  Check it for spelling errors.  Make sure you're using "there", "they're" and "their" correctly before you post that baby.  Nothing can discredit your authority faster than not knowing the basics of writing or taking the time to make sure an article is free of errors.

 3.)  Make your blog easy to navigate.  Something that all of the ultra-popular blogs have in common:  their blogs are all pleasing to the eye.  There is a sense of organization on the sites.  You can easily find what you are looking for.  Choose a color palette for your blog.  Make sure you have designated areas for things like social media icons, a place to search or look up previous blog posts, and a page where your readers can learn about you and why you started writing your blog.  If your site is difficult to use or looks chaotic, people won't spend much time there and that is the last thing you want to happen.

 4.)  Be authentic.  Being authentic in your writing is so important.  Readers are coming to your blog to see what YOU have to say!  When you try too hard to pretend to be someone you're not, it comes off as being fake and will show in your writing.  Instead, be the genuine, sweet you and let your real personality shine through!

 5.)  Don't expect to make money right off the bat.  Blogging is not a scheme to make money quick and while there are a few bloggers out there who found their niche and made it big early in their career, that is not the status quo in the blogosphere.  Most advertisers don't want to look at you until you have been blogging for a certain length of time and have a steady following of readers on your blog and/or social media.  I would recommend sitting down and thinking about the companies you'd like to work with in the future.  Follow them on social media and see what kind of bloggers they back so you know what they look for.  Focus on growing your blog and writing great content and not the money to be made.

 6.)  You can't focus on the numbers.  I can remember my first month after the blog went live.  I checked my stats every hour and it drove me crazy.  I got super excited when one post would get hits and depressed when another one got nothing.  Really, it isn't worth it in the infancy of the blog.  Check your analytics weekly or even every other week and focus on writing great content and getting your name out there on social media.  The numbers will come soon enough.

 7.)  Don't compare your blog to others.  This really is like comparing apples to oranges.  While we all have those big, successful blogs we admire and dream about being one day, comparing your blog to those is pointless.  Every blogger is in a different walk of life and wants different things out of their writing.  Comparing your site to theirs is only going to make you jealous and lose focus on important things.

 8.)  Ignore the haters.  At some point, your blog is going to have someone leave a nasty comment on one of your posts or on social media.  This is the result of people having way too much time on their hands and being uninhibited while hiding behind their keyboard.  There is always going to be a small percentage of readers who feel it is their responsibility to hurt feelings and criticize something we've written about.  You can take precautions and moderate comments on your blog or you can simply ignore the haters and delete the nasty comments while singing "Shake It Off".  (What did we do before Taylor Swift?)

 9.)  Join blogging networks.  There are a lot of blogging networks out there.  Some geared toward certain locales and some to certain niches.  Some are free and some are paid.  Find the ones that fit your style and join up.  You will find tons of great tips and information as well as meet tons of other inspiring bloggers.  Most blogging networks can help connect you to potential sponsors and the connections are invaluable.

10.)  Network, network, network.  I love building connections with other bloggers and have made some great friends over the last year.  I make a point to comment on other blogs and share their content on social media on a regular basis.  Networking is a great tool to building your own brand, connecting with potential sponsors and meeting some new friends too!

The post Ten Things I Learned In My First Year Blogging first appeared on A Simpler Grace.  If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

11 comments:

  1. Love this! It is so easy to get down about my blog, but being authentic is really the whole point of what blogging is about. Putting yourself out there in hopes to encourage a few.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I'm a new blogger and some of these tips will be really helpful. God Bless

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  3. Thanks so much Ashley for your sweet comment! It is easy to get discouraged about your blog, but you have to remember why you started blogging in the first place and keep plugging on. :)

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  4. You're so sweet, Kimberley, thank you. I'm glad you found some inspiration here for your blog. :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing! I'm a relatively new blogger and these tips are so helpful for what I need to be focusing on for right now!

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  6. Chelsie, it's so easy to get distracted by all the "should dos" when you're a blogger! I'm inspired whenever I visit someone else's blog and I've learned I have to pace myself and do a little bit every day. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment!

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  7. True true…I've been blogging for a few years and I remember being so obsessed with the numbers at the beginning! Now I focus on producing content that I'm proud of and networking the best I can. There are also great resources out there like Hilary Rushford's Instagram class! I love finding new stuff to help me grow as a blogger.

    http://www.hellosunriseblog.com

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  8. Thanks for sharing! Ive been blogging for almost a year now and can say that I most definitely agree with you! It gets frustrating when some post that get so time consuming don't get a lot of traffic! but I agree with you... those will soon come! and We all have to remember that we all started blogging for the simple joy of enjoyment at first! It's easy to be discouraged and loose that! But can't forget! thanks for sharing!
    - Jen<3

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  9. Yes, the numbers can consume you in the early stages of blogging. I agree - the only way to save yourself is to focus on your content. I just heard about Hilary's class on The Peony Project page and I've signed up. I'm so excited for the next class to start!! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

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  10. You are so right. When I get frustrated, I take a deep breath and remember that blogging is supposed to be fun!! Jen, thank you so much for reading the post and commenting!

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