What I have learnt from a year of blogging

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

I’ve been blogging now for nearly 2 years. For my first year of blogging, I didn’t make as much progress as I would have liked. Mainly because I treat it more of a hobby and only posted every now and then.

So at the beginning of this year I made the conscious decision that I was going to treat it as more than just a hobby, I was going to post 3 times a week and concentrate on putting out the best content possible..

And well, here I am.. I still have a lot of learning to do (I’m getting there), but honestly, I am enjoying every second of it.

I decided I would write this post because ‘technically’ I have been blogging for over a year, but as far as putting my absolute all into it.. it’s only been six months. I’ve learnt a lot in these past six months and thought it would be nice to share.

Followers
When you first start blogging, you think.. right I’ll get thousands of followers by the end of the year. Just a little FYI.. it doesn’t work like that. If you are wanting to grow your audience organically, you have to play the long game. People only subscribe to you if they think your posts are worth reading. So this being said, not everyone will like your posts. Getting followers is a lot harder than it looks, I seem to be getting a steady amount of followers and honestly, that’s good enough for me. Keep posting your best content and staying consistent with an upload schedule and the followers will come.

Niche
In order to have a successful blog, we all need a niche. Choose something you are passionate about, something you know you can always write about but most importantly something you love, if the love isn’t there.. then neither is the successful blog. I chose to do a lifestyle blog because this gives me a range of topics to talk about. Right at the beginning I would just write about anything, I had no clear plan and no niche. But now I have a few things I like to write about. I don’t have a set plan.. beauty on tuesday, books on thursday and general lifestyle on sunday. I write about what I want when I want, all I do is stick to the topics I’m passionate about and spread them out accordingly.. and it’s working for me.

Stock images 
AHHHH! Why did I not know about stock images well before now??? The majority of my stress would come from finding the perfect images for my posts. I would write up an amazing post but would stumble when it came to adding my picture/s. I’m not entirely blaming images for my lack of commitment during my first year of blogging, but it did play a big part. I would look at other posts and think How do they do it? How do they take pictures that look that perfect?. Up until not too long ago I came across a post which said to include stock images, because let’s face it. Yes images are important but we’re all here for the writing aren’t we? And ever since, I’ve been using stock images wherever they are needed and it has given me the freedom to spend way more time on my posts.. the part I enjoy. I use a site called Unsplash, it is completely free. All I would advise is to give credit to the person who’s picture you are using, it’s a nice thing to do.

Hard work
I’m speaking from experience here so don’t all panic and give up right away. Blogs are hard work, they take up a lot of time, they require lots of attention, lots of research and using your brain pretty much all the time. BUT it is one million percent worth it. I didn’t fully understand all the hard work it would require, I didn’t do much research on them before hand, just mainly because I wanted to figure it out for myself and didn’t want anything to put me off. If you’re treating your blog as more of a hobby and only posting a handful of times, then disregard this point. But if you’re like me, who love it that much you want it to be more than just a hobby, then be prepared for lots of hard work. But like anything else, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

Preparation and organisation
Creating a blog schedule was the best thing I ever did. When I first started I would just wing it and hope for the best. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that technique (whatever works for you). But for me, a serial organiser, it wasn’t the best. I like things to be prepared and organised as much as they can be, so this also goes for my blog. I’ve worked hard to make sure I plan as much as possible, in order to create the best posts. I don’t mean go over board, but for me, a notebook with blog posts ideas in and then in turn a more detailed page on a specific blog post; points I want to write for that post definitely does the trick. I like to do all my research before hand; say a post includes lost of prices and details that require time spent searching on google. Do it all before the actual day your post is due to go up, write it all down in your notebook, this way you can stay on top of your posts. Organisation and preparation help when it comes to anything in life, so the same goes for blogs.

Blogger brain
Once you’re a blogger, your brain never really switches off. Like some of the other points above, this is one of those that depends on how serious you take blogging. Since really putting my all into it, I’ve found that my brain is constantly wired to think about posts and how I can improve my blog. By this I mean, I find myself going through my day and randomly thinking of posts, picking something up or seeing something while out shopping and being flooded with new ideas for posts. I also find myself planning in my head; what post should go up on what day, what posts I want for this week, what goals I have for my blogging career etc. Also seeing some cute flowers in the street and taking a picture because ooo that would look cute as a header for my blog post. Maybe this is just a me thing, I’m not sure. But I am fully dedicated to my blog now, so without me even realising I’m always trying to improve it.

Extremely fun
There is nothing I enjoy more than blogging. Honestly I have many things in my life that make me happy and bring me so much joy.. blogging is right there at the top. I recommend anyone who is thinking of starting one to make one! Just do it! They are amazing things and are the best outlet for your creativity. You can literally make a blog out of anything, like I said before.. if you hold passion and love for it, why not make a blog and share it with an audience?

Not every post will be a hit 
Whilst there are many positive things that come from blogging, you also have to be prepared for the not so good days. By this I mean, not everything you post will capture people’s attention. I’ve had a few posts that have had either no likes at all or very little interaction. It can be extremely disheartening; you’ve spent all that time writing something you’re passionate about, taken a picture, read and then re read to make sure it’s word perfect.. to then get no interaction from your followers. It stings a little, but the most important part is to realise, not everything you write will be of interest to others. Keep the post up and learn from it. But most importantly, get right back to it.. start writing more posts and do not under any circumstances, give up.

Consistency 
Just as much as preparation and organisation is important, consistency is too. It’s important to keep to a blog schedule and stay on top of your posts. For me, I post 3 times a week, without fail (minus a couple of times). Sometimes it cannot be helped for one reason or another and that is totally fine, we all have our own lives to live and things come up unexpectedly. But for the most part, stick to an upload schedule… post every day if you like, do whatever works best for you. Another little tip to help stay consistent is to have posts already written. I like to have my posts for the week all written up, picture and all, ready to be uploaded on time. This makes life so much easier and definitely helps me in the long run.

Enjoy it!!
I’m aware I’ve rambled an awful lot.. my apologies. But the most important thing about blogging, is to enjoy it! If you don’t enjoy it, then what is the point? Have fun with it, switch it up every now and then, try new things, interact with other bloggers and with your audience. Blogging can be, if you want it to be.. extremely fun.

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