10 Lessons I Learned About Blogging in the Past Year

Image by Jon Toney

Image by Jon Toney

1) Don’t be a lone ranger

When I first started blogging I was thrilled if even one person read my post. After a while, I realised growing my blog was less about ‘building’ my community than it was about actually finding them in the first place. Unless you’re incredibly lucky or popular, building your readership can be a challenge. The best thing I did was to join Digital Parents and participate in a couple of their weekly linkups. I met a lot of talented bloggers this way. I also joined a couple of Facebook groups, which have been a valuable source of advice and support.

2) Go out on a limb

Don’t be afraid to take risks with your blog. You might be surprised what happens when you do. I wrote about issues I felt strongly about, instead of what I thought people might want to read. This helped me figure out what I really wanted my blog to be about. You know you’ve hit the sweet spot when you never run out of ideas.

3) Put your writing out into the world

Don’t focus solely on your blog if you want to grow your readership. Write for other publications, both online and off. Pitch articles to magazines, guest posts for sites you love or other bloggers that you read. I’m still working on this one myself, and I know it’s hard when you don’t have much time. If you set yourself a goal, for example to pitch one or two publications a month, it makes it much more doable.

4) It doesn’t have to be perfect

Just start your blog, and then keep improving as you go. Whether it’s updating your design, improving the quality of your content or making your social media channels look professional, there’s always something you can do to lift your game. But don’t stress, it’s ok to be a work in progress (aren’t we all?).

5) Develop your own style

I struggled with blogging at first because I felt I couldn’t be an authority. I didn’t know everything there was to know about writing. It was only when I started writing from a personal standpoint that things really clicked for me. Of course, this approach won’t be right for everyone, but it’s worth giving some thought to the style that’s best for you.

 6) Sadly, you can’t ignore Facebook

Several months ago I attended a blogging course given by Nicole Avery at the Australian Writers’ Centre. Nicole had lots of great advice to share but one thing that stuck with me was how you can’t ignore Facebook if you want to grow your readership. As it turned out, Nicole was right. Facebook has definitely helped me grow my blog and I’m working on building my following there, instead of semi-ignoring it like I used to. Of course, if you really hate Facebook there’s always Instagram, which is next on my list of addictions to do list.

7) Commitment, baby

Blogging is a lot like a marriage – not something you should enter into lightly. It’s a commitment, and if you want a business, then you need to keep up your end of the bargain. Whether you post every day or once a month, you do need to be consistent to attract readers as well as keep the ones you already have.

 8) Treat your blog like a business

If you want to make money from your blog, you’ve got to treat it like a business. I discovered Kate Muegel’s Secret Bloggers Business ecourse through one of my Facebook groups, which is just as well, because frankly, I knew jack about sponsored posts, affiliate marketing or income layering, before she came along. So if you don’t want to half-ass it on the business side, I recommend her course (and yes, this is an affiliate link). See what she’s done to me?

9) Keep your ideal reader front of mind

Blogging is fun, and you can never tell which topics will take off and which will bomb. One of my most popular posts is about words and phrases I’ve vowed to stop saying. I guess people like it because it’s something we can all relate to. Now, before I write a post I always ask myself, what will my ideal reader get out of this?

10) You might fall in love with your blog

Whether you have a business or a personal blog, or you write purely for self-expression, blogging can get a little addictive. Try not to ignore the family ok? They deserve a little love too :-)

Those are my personal lessons. What are yours?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT

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Comments

  1. Bronwyn says

    Great post! I’ll definitely be checking out your tips right now!

    I’m very new to blogging and really loving it, and even (surprisingly) enjoying the engagement on Facebook.

    Thanks!

  2. Rhianna says

    Great tips Denise, especially about the community finding and building. This is my first time here I think and I found you via EssentiallyJess’ #IBOT link up.

  3. Emma Fahy Davis says

    Great tips! I’m only about 9 months in and I can relate to many of these. Especially Facebook – ABout 80% of my page views come via Facebook so it’s an environment I have to nurture!

  4. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me says

    I really need to get my shit sorted out so I can make money from my blog, just I have to channel my spare time to actual paid work, hence why I haven’t tried to monetise! Love this list! Oh and yes to Facie, it’s a necessary evil :”)

  5. dimwhit says

    Fabulous post. Since I began my blog, my inner-perfectionist has bubbled to the surface. I have to remind myself almost daily that I am a novice, and that it’s okay for my site to evolve over time. I spent nearly a week tweaking my design elements before I could even consider writing a post. I finally just had to force myself to do it, and I’m all the better for it.

  6. Lizzy - Muddle-Headed Mamma says

    This was such an interesting read. I think joing Digital Parents was also one of the best things I did. I know I should probably get into Facebook to increase my readership though. In the meantime, I’m happy to focus on instagram instead. I just find these’s not enough hours in the day for all of it! It would different though if I was serious about making money from blogging. Then I’d definitely get into Facebook.

  7. EssentiallyJess says

    I love the idea of keeping your ideal reader in mind. I’ve never really thought of it like that. In fact I don’t really think a huge amount about the whole thing these days. Just blog what I want, when I want to. I probably need to lift my game a little.

  8. Deborah says

    When I first started blogging I used to draft every post in a word document and edit it to death before I finally posted it on my blog. I later started a diet blog (anonymous, no followers etc) so just wrote in it every day. Eventually that one grew and the other one didn’t. So – your point about perfection is a standout for me!

    Deb

  9. Damian Wolf says

    Love your tips Denise,
    Even I’m not a “classic blogger” yet, because I always find 100s excuses to not start with my own blog, really love occasionally to write and publish articles on other blogs and magazines. And, with constant excuses to not start with own blog, during the past couple of years I published 10s of articles on different sites. Now I realize why I stuck with starting my own blog: Tip No. 2 – “Don’t be afraid to take risks with your blog” – YES… thank you for this :), No. 4 – “It doesn’t have to be perfect” – I have terrible scare after sending each article to publishers :), and No.7 – “Commitment, baby” – must better organize my time (job, 2 yrs old son,…). Thanks again on great article.

  10. Elisha Ross says

    These are very helpful tips so thank you. I am only a year into this caper and am enjoying it. I would have to say that the best thing I have done so far with my blog is to join up on some link ups and communities, comment away and write about what you love.

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