In It For the Long-haul: 5 Tips for Blogging Longevity

shutterstock_116530012

When I started my blog in 2004, I didn't know where I would go with it. Back then there weren't any professional bloggers; I just had a crazy passion for online shopping & helping people find things online that I needed to DO something with. When I quit my day job in 2006, I still wasn't sure how far this would take me, but 7 years later, I've evolved my brand & media company and know that I will never stop blogging. I can't say it's always been “easy” with fluctuations in income and working on my own, but over the years I've become ever more in love with what I do and am so happy with my decisions.

As they say though, Love isn't everything; here are a few things I've learned that help me carry on:

Don't worry about being big

My blogs are relatively small compared to the BIG ones. I have a super-narrow niche, and am content to fly under the radar when it comes to fashion blogs. But I'm still able to make a living blogging, and you can too if you want. You know how everyone is always telling you “quality over quantity?” It's completely true. As long as you have passion for your niche, high-quality content, loyal readers and a laser-focused blog you can sustain it for as long as you want to.

Define your own success

What level of “success” will you have to reach to keep you happy blogging for the long term? Since I monetize my blogs, and this is what I've chosen to do full-time, my success is clearly linked to my ability to make a living through them. But if I was monetizing, and NOT getting emails & comments from readers that I've helped them or inspired them, I would not consider myself successful; the two things go together. Maybe for you, just knowing that you're providing a valuable service, or a diversion is enough for you to keep blogging. It doesn't matter how you define it, but you should come up with some measurement of success in which you are fulfilled & happy with your blog; that is what will keep you going. Don't let anyone else's success or your perception of their success cloud your vision.

Be patient

You probably didn't start your blog with the intention to make it your full-time job, but maybe you see the potential in it. Don't be tempted to rush it; be patient, go slow. Don't worry about monetizing immediately, maybe let it come to you, and be VERY picky about who you choose to work with. Don't focus too much of your energy on SEO and “technical” things that “people” say will grow your blog faster; it's more important to create high-quality content and connect with your community than to grow fast.

Establish trust & engage with your readers

This is truly the key to everything when it comes to success & longevity in blogging – you have to establish and KEEP trust with your readers over time. Your passion, and being able to share that with your readers is what will keep you blogging – if you change your focus too much, monetize too fast or work with partners who do not speak to your readers, you will jeopardize their trust and you will lose your community. Your readers will be fiercely loyal if you share with them, engage with them and provide them something they can't get anywhere else.

Be consistent

You don't necessarily have to publish and follow an editorial calendar every week, but I do think it's important to post everyday (I post M-F, never on weekends) so your readers get used to knowing they'll see something new whenever they visit. If you can't post consistently or have to take some time off, don't get intimidated by the thought of getting started again; just do it! Chances are, your readers have missed you and will be glad you're back no matter the reason.

These are just some of the things that have helped me sustain my blogs since 2004, what are yours? What have you learned about long-term blogging?

[Image Credit: Shutterstock.com]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

19 Responses

  1. Ashe

    “Don’t worry about monetizing immediately, maybe let it come to you, and be VERY picky about who you choose to work with. ”

    I feel like that last part can’t be said enough– be VERY picky about who you chose to work with. Many brands, and god knows every online marketing company, isn’t looking out for you. YOU have to look out for you, and being selective, especially in the beginning, is so important. I wish I had been more picky in the beginning.

    Reply
    • Maya

      I haven’t been blogging for that long but while in the beginning everything was exciting and new, it’s great to have those loyal readers still there to keep me going on my off days now after some months. I can get quite busy and I’m so happy that most of them know that, they don’t expect me to comment on their blogs first, I have so many people still reading my blog even though I sometimes neglect theirs (always out of my will). But it’s their loyalty that keeps me going and makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, especially when I can get out of my 2-3 posts routine to only one a week.

      Plus it’s always so rewarding having them react so positively whenever I try some kind of new posts (as I can get a bit insecure from time to time).
      So for me having loyal readers, great feedback, that’s what important. Whatever number I have of followers is a nice added bonus but I prefer a long well-thought of comment over 20 new followers any day.

      Reply
      • Maya

        Oops I hadn’t meant to reply onto this particular comment, but in general!
        But onto the being picky part: YES great advice! Think before you commit to some kind of brand who’re just pitching everyone on the blogosphere. Quality goes over quantity also with brands πŸ™‚

  2. Paulette Hughes

    Hi Grechen,
    Great tips! I am a small blogger as well – and most of the blogs I follow are small to medium and I find them much more interesting and open to interaction. What are your links? I would love to see your blogs!

    Reply
    • Grechen Reiter

      thank you paulette! my main blog is linked to my name under “IFB writers” in the sidebar above.

      Reply
  3. Treesa

    I so appreciate your advice. Presently I am contemplating an interior design blog and value what you said. Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Mairead

    Great advice at this time for me. I’m into blogging for the long haul and hopefully continue as I develop my clothing lime.
    Numbers are small, so i’ve been revamping and reevaluating until I see what works.

    Reply
  5. Sarah Marie

    Write with “Quality” and not just quantity. Also sites like copyscape make sure you don’t copy other posts from other websites. This will hurt your Google SEO efforts immensely! I’ve had good luck with putting my blog up on http://InternationalFashionBlogs.com/ blog directory and other sites like that. Twitter is also a very good source and definitely space the tweets out and add #hashtags to get the most effectiveness out of the tweets.

    Reply
  6. Amy

    Blogging is still just a hobby for me right now but I’ve decided that 2013 is the year I take my blog to another level – especially as it turns 5 this year! I’ve really been pushing it and putting a lot of effort in. I still have low number of actual views but decent engagement and a great social media following. I feel like it’s finally getting there. Favouriting this to come back and check on later!

    Reply
  7. Elena

    Great article and beautiful tips for small bloggers like me- this is the first year of blogging but I really love it and enjoy every aspect of it. I think it is also very important not to listen people who kinda make fun of your “hobby” and don’t support you!
    http://dcinstyle.com/

    Reply
  8. Melissa Cuentas

    Another great post to share my thought and opinion! πŸ˜€

    I started my blog in 2011, just as a hobby but now, it has since become in full time employement. My blog is like my own business where I’m my own boss, but also a diary where I share my thoughts, photos and other silly stuff with my lovely and loyal readers, just to interact and get to know them better. At first, I used to worry about my blog, because I wanted it to grow up and wanted to gain more followers but then, my mind and thoughts have changed after being 1 year and a half blogging, I told myself, that they would come, sooner or later they would. My blog is not that big, but I think the hard-work I’m doing with it will be paid off and rewarded in a good way someday , I love seeing my blog growing up every day it gives me a hope that what i’m doing, I am doing it right and I’ll never stop doing it. Also, I think it’s not easy to make money with your blog or at least this is what some known bloggers have told me. I’ve learnt that everything is about being patient, I do my best to always impress my readers but everything I do it slowly, step by step and let things come my way. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  9. Jana Styles

    This is great advice! Now that I’m planning to relaunch my blog in April and have started to get my small but happy goals about my blog it’s clearer to me what I want to happen with it. Monetizing may or may not come but I guess for me it’s the readers and getting my own two cents out there and be able to interact with people around the world that really count. We’re all story tellers anyway, we just want to scatter stories through each computer screen.

    Reply
  10. Wilma Bullo

    This tip makes me redirected to what I should think about my blog. I have just started my OhSoPetite.com early 2013 and most of the time, i felt like I have no motivation writing. But your post made me realize to keep going and consistently write, be patient for later on, i will reap what I sow. πŸ™‚

    Thanks so much.
    Wilma

    Reply
  11. Jeaulina

    It’s so useful to have people who started off in the same position I’m in now giving great advice to work at while continuing to perfect there craft.
    Thank you so much

    Reply
  12. Courtney

    My advice would be learn what you’re interested in. I wasn’t necessarily interested in SEO when I started, but about a year and a half into it, I got very into the technical side of blogging, and it’s really helped! I would definitely agree, though, don’t start off worrying TOO much about the technical side UNLESS that’s what interests you.

    Reply