Today marks the one year anniversary of my first blog post, or my blogiversary, as it’s referred to in the blogging world. Wow, I can’t believe I have been blogging for one entire year. I wasn’t sure I would last this long, and as it turns out, I still have a lot to say! To celebrate this occasion, I decided to give my blog a makeover with the help of two wonderful and very patient ladies…Erin at twothirdshazel and Lisette at highnotedesigns, I highly recommend you stop by both their blogs and say hello. Thanks to them, my blog now has a fresh, new look which I love.
While this past year has been a ton of fun, it has also been a ton of work (much more than I had anticipated to be honest), and a learning experience for sure. First and foremost, when I signed up with WordPress, I had no idea how to use the program, and I had to set this blog up myself, with no help…YIKES! Thankfully, WordPress actually has some pretty good customer service and they got back to me pretty quickly whenever I had questions (which was quite often). Having said that, it seemed like it took forever to learn. But eventually I got comfortable enough with it and felt brave enough to publish my first post.
So here are the top 5 things I’ve learned in my one year of blogging:
- You can find a blog on any topic at all (really, any topic). Before starting on this journey, I had read a few blogs on fashion and travel, but for the most part, I thought blogging was generally about people sharing their quirky life experiences and opinions. I was seriously misinformed. I have come across bloggers that blog about anything under the sun. What I found most surprising is how often people blog (many 5-7 times a week!) and also the topics that are being discussed. Oh and there are about a zillion bloggers out there in the blogging world. If you have a subject that you are curious about or just looking for research on ANYTHING…Google it and you will see that many of the results are links to blog posts.
- Bloggers are monetizing their blogs. I didn’t realize just how many bloggers are making a part-time or possibly full time living off blogging (kudos to them for figuring that out). But as much as I enjoy reading about the latest brownie recipe, or the hottest new hotel in Fiji, do I really want to read about the newest light bulbs GE is coming out with? Not really. However, I’ve also come across many blogs that are amazing and full of great content, which I now follow on a regular basis. And the bloggers I have met through this process are wonderful. They are supportive and have great ideas, as well as answers to many questions I have had.
- Social media is key in increasing your blog’s traffic. This is crucial. Most of my readers are being referred to my blog from my blog’s Facebook page, as well as posts on Instagram and Pinterest. I can’t stress this enough, you have to advertise your blog everywhere. Encourage your friends and followers to share your posts with their friends and on their social media outlets.
- Blogging is a lot of work and takes up a lot of time. I blog for fun (although I’m sure hubby would love for me to make some income on the side). I truly enjoy sharing my thoughts on beautiful places I have traveled to, nice restaurants, good books, fun crafts, whatever tickles my fancy on a particular day. I don’t have or want a niche because I feel that would limit what I can write about. Of course, I have read that it’s better to have a niche, such as, “beach” travel or “gluten free” recipes, etc. But I prefer having flexibility, so I just call myself a lifestyle blogger, and it works…for now. I usually blog only once a week, twice a week, on occasion, if I have a lot on my mind. But I couldn’t imagine blogging every day. I like to take my time with my posts (I have a bit of OCD). I wish I could blog more frequently, as I have seen many fellow bloggers do, but I just haven’t figured out how to accomplish that yet…life gets in the way. And I guess for now, that’s OK. Because you see, as a blogger, I realized that I am not just a writer, but also an editor, photographer, photo editor (oh boy, had to learn Photoshop too), marketer, planner (I’m good at that), publicist…the list goes on and on. It’s truly a lot of work and very time consuming. I’ve always believed in quality over quantity. I really enjoy blogging at my pace and I love that my readers are enjoying it as well.
- Blog about what’s important to YOU, not others. I come across so many bloggers that are obsessing over their Google Analytics, Klout scores, Alexa ranking, number of comments they’re getting, number of subscribers they have…etc. While all of these measurements may be significant, especially to those that make money from product reviews and endorsements, it’s not what’s most important. Remind yourself why you started blogging in the first place (I’m sure it wasn’t about the most efficient light bulbs on the market now). Most likely it’s because you love to write and share your thoughts and ideas with others. Don’t lose sight of that.
So if you’re reading this…thank you, thank you, thank you! If you’ve left comments on my blog, shared my posts, or even just discussed them with others, I am sending you an e-hug. I’m really happy that you find my blog entertaining and I hope that you can relate to some of my ideas, as I have really enjoyed reading all of your comments this past year. I hope you have followed me on my adventure thus far and if you haven’t, please take a look around, and let me know your thoughts. I’m just as excited to start my second year of blogging. Until next time…