Blogging: 10 Things I Learned From My First Year

blogging

Whew! I’ve been blogging for a whole year? What? Craziness. It’s been an amazing ride. The benefit of starting a blog as simple as mine has touched all aspects of my life. Its become my favorite outlet. A way to share my knowledge. I’ve connected with new, amazing people.I’m even a better Fiction writer now that I have a year of blogging under my belt.

Here are the top 10 things I learned from blogging for one year:

1. Taking risks benefited my blog the most

Writing about Battling My Anxiety was tough. Not that I thought anyone would be rude to me about it, but opening up about one of my biggest insecurities was not a walk in the park. When I finally did hit publish, I didn’t expect the response that I got. My followers on Twitter were thanking me for my bravery, and comments were posted relating to my struggle. It allowed my readers to connect with me on a deeper level. I was elated. Not only did writing about it lift a weight from my chest, but I was able to connect with others in the process. On a happier note, my sassy and no BS post about the 7 Deadly Sins of Twitter also got a great response. I was more conversational than I’d ever written before, and really took some risks by calling out the majority of Twitter users for their horrible spammy behavior. Taking risks and being vulnerable can show your audience that you’re a real person.

2. Find your voice

You’ll notice that even the majority of big blogs like Forbes or Huffington Post are all written very conversationally. No one wants to read a stiff blog post. Find your personal voice and flaunt it. I promise there are a plethora of blogs on the internet who have already published 20 posts about what you want to write about. Besides having a strong brand, your voice is the key to standing out in the crowd. Don’t be afraid to be silly or make mistakes, you’ll be a better blogger for it.

3. No one expects perfection

I was expecting perfection from myself. That’s what kept me away for so long. I had purchased a domain name, even mapped out my niche, but didn’t write a single post for over a year. Crazy, right? The pressure of perfection and fear of being judged weighed down on me, the same way self-doubt hinders my Fiction writing. Eventually, I sucked it up and got to work. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Get started.

4. You become a better blogger by reading other blogs

The same way that reading books makes you a better fiction writer. Reading what other bloggers were doing was what benefited me the most this last year. There really isn’t a school to go to for blog writing, but you can learn from the people who have already mastered it. And top bloggers are usually writing about blogging. They love to share their knowledge, all you have to do is ask. I also learned a lot about what I didn’t want my blog to look and sound like by reading others. This is all a learning process, and very few of us have actually perfected it.

5. Comparison is deadly

Learn from others, but don’t let it hinder you. If you are constantly stressing that someone else’s blog has better graphics, is getting more views, offers more services…you will never grow. Make sure to sit down and decide what is best for your journey and writing process. Follow your gut.

6. You don’t need a fancy blog to create great content

I thought I had to offer my readers more than just advice. I thought only having a home, about me, and contact page would hinder my traffic. To be honest, it didn’t. I had a very progressive year, and my numbers consistently grow each time I hit publish. I do plan to offer more this year (like free writing worksheets and graphics), but as a starting ground, simply writing about what I know was enough.  Don’t set the bar too high for yourself if you’re just starting out. Treat your blog like building blocks. Make clear, reachable goals. Start simple and leave room for growth.

7. Posting everyday isn’t necessary, but consistency is important 

When I first started, I set the goal to post twice a week. Sometimes I stuck to it, and sometimes I didn’t. To be honest, twice a week may have even been too much. It will all depend on your target audience and subject matter. I just knew I didn’t want to overwhelm my readers. Each post was meant to be special and stand strong on its own, instead of hundreds of “eh” posts for you to wade through. Also, I let real life trump blogging always. Experiencing life was always more important. I never wanted blogging to be a source of income, just an outlet and a way for me to educate people. I succeeded in keeping to that idea.

8. Get straight to the point

This is my mantra in blogging. Don’t waste your readers time. Don’t make the topic something it’s not. Get straight to the point, give them the information they want, and they’ll come back. Fluff is unnecessary. So is fancy language.

9. Lists!

Here’s a paradox blog point for you. Lists, like the one you’re reading now, still seems to be the best way to share information. Between you and me, people are inherently lazy. We want information and we want it now. A big block of text? Nope, not happening. I’ll click the back button and choose another blog link in a heart beat. Break up your posts with numbered lists, and make sure everything is separated nicely. Use bold and italics to make your numbers pop, as used here.

10. Honesty is everything

At the end of the day, don’t be something you’re not. Don’t write about a topic just because it’s worked for someone else. Your readers can smell phoniness from a mile away, and it will translate into arrogance. Write about what you know and research what you don’t. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t publish it. Do yourself and your audience a favor, stick to being you. The rest will fall into place.

This just grazes the surface, but if I had to choose, taking risks and having a unique voice was the best thing I could have done for my blog. It helped me to stand out in an ocean of other bloggers, and allowed my unique set of skills and knowledge to shine. I know I have so much more to figure out when it comes to blogging and growing my audience. Each day is a learning process, and I’m keeping my mind and heart open to change.

What did you learn about blogging in 2015? Let me know in the comments!

Happy writing! 🙂 

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Comments

  1. Great post. I haven’t been blogging for long (no teven two years yet) but I can see that all your points are right on the target.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Same! This was my first year. I’m excited to see what both of us have in store for 2016. 🙂

  2. I love this post. I’m always interested in seeing how things are going “behind the scenes” and what other writers are learning as they grow. I definitely believe that in a sea of content the thing that will make yours stand out is your unique perspective and voice. That’s why conversational tone and honesty is so important. I try to apply this to my novel writing, as well.

    • Molly hahn
    • May 20, 2016

    Forgive me for my naivete and bluntness, but I’m trying to figure out why people such as yourself blog? I’ve read your about page and understand it, but as I sit here, I wonder what I’d want to blog about, or how I’d even get started. I feel as if I really don’t insight to offer to anyone. I highly doubt ranting about politics and other things actually count. For example, could I post pieces of my own stories on a blog for feedback or suggestions?

    1. You could definitely do that! There are no rules to blogging. Some people blog for brand awareness and to offer insight into their particular skills. I happen to know a lot about marketing and writing, so i help others who don’t. You could even use your blog as online journal or simply share your work with people. It’s all up to you. 🙂

        • Molly Hahn
        • June 8, 2016

        Hmm. Posting pieces of my own writing is definitely something to think about. I think I once started a blog a couple of years ago on wordpress, but I really didn’t understand what the point was…until now. Could blogging also be used to “sell” items? I like making homemade sugar scrubs and handmade journals (though I’m still perfecting my techniques on book binding).

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