My blogging adventures started about a year ago this month, shortly after moving to Colorado, USA from Miyagi Prefecture, Japan and has it ever been a trip. There have been good sprints of time when inspiration flowed, dry spells, horribly forced posts, and great connections made. Every time I get online with the intention of reading a blog post, writing a post, or learning how to blog better, I learn something new, but these five points have definitely have been the highlights.
1. Read, Research, Re-strategize
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of writers, bloggers, and internet gurus out there with ideas, tips and strategies to help you come up with ideas, schedules, and anything else you could possibly need to run a blog. It can be overwhelming, but browsing them is definitely worth it. If you find something that looks like it would work for you, don’t be afraid to try it! That’s what those sources are there for. The blogs you follow have a plethora of ideas and methods too. There are as many ways to make an idea your own as there are ideas themselves. Don’t be afraid to learn from others and try something different.
2. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
When I first started blogging, I would obsessively check my email for new followers and likes. It was exhausting. Eventually, I learned that I had to find new ways of getting the word out there (see point 1) and just do my best. Building a following takes time and every little step you take is worth it. What you learn from what you post is just as important as the people you’re trying to reach.
3. Write Till You Make it, But Don’t Fake it
There have been a few posts that were supposed to be series that ended up total duds. In hindsight, I know a big part of that was because my heart wasn’t in them. I was writing them because I thought they were what readers wanted. When I something crossed my mind and became a blog post, not only did I enjoy writing it, but people seemed to enjoy those more too. While building a following takes time (see point 2), writing pieces you actually enjoy makes the process far more enjoyable, even if it is slow going.
4. Network, Network, Network
First of all, I’ve learned that networking isn’t NEARLY as scary as we sometimes make it out to be. If you’re meeting people and talking to them about things you both love, it’s actually *gasp* pretty enjoyable. The first time I talked to Ashley Fae, I was terrified. Here was this experienced blogger with a fancy blog and plenty of content, and here was me, floundering around and trying to figure out what to do. Over the course of the year, Ashley and I exchanged manuscripts, bounced ideas off each other, and she even helped me get “Portraits” into NineStar Press. So, go out there and connect with people. You’ll never know where those connections will lead and we’re all in this together.
5. Not Every Post is Going to be Popular
And that’s totally okay. Like I said before, some of my posts got exactly 0 attention. While disappointing, I learned what works and what I actually like to write about (see point 3). I’ve come to feel like that’s just as important as the attention other posts get. Now I have a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully I’ll continue to develop that sense in the coming year and have five more lessons next May.
Now I want to open the floor to you guys. What have you learned during your time blogging? And advice for people just starting out? If you could go back and start over, what would you do differently when you first started blogging? Leave a comment below and let’s chat! 🙂