Several years ago, I started a project called “5 Things I've Learned about Blogging” on another blog for fashion bloggers to share what they had learned. I thought I'd re-visit it and post some of my favorite things here; ideas that are important and have resonated with me over the years:
This is the one of the most important lessons for bloggers to learn, I think. I have always taken it to meant that you should be yourself, whoever you are, and HOWEVER you are. I write about my body insecurities, getting older, etc., in a very honest way that resonates with my readers and allows them to relate to me on a deeper level.
Write the way you Talk
I think this is important, but should be tempered sometimes. Don't REALLY use run-on sentences or paragraphs that go on for days, but if you're more “stream of consciousness,” then go with that as your writing style. Don't get carried away so your readers can't follow, but stay true to your personality when you write.
Don't Take Yourself too Seriously
What you're doing is important, and should be taken seriously, but don't let it get the better of you.
Post when you’re inspired
I really believe it's best to post every day, and I try to plan my content that way, but some days I'm not inspired, or I feel like I don't have much to say. And on those days it's okay not to post. Anyway, it's not clear that you NEED to post everyday, sometimes having a high-quality post hang out for a while on your front page is a good thing.
Numbers can be Manipulated
Statistics are constantly thrown around without much thought, terms used interchangeably (when they shouldn't be), and it can be intimidating when you're a new blogger to see how radically different yours are. Besides the fact that personal comparison is the enemy of productivity, you should never look at anyone else’s statistics and compare them with yours; you don't know how accurate they are.
Set your own Expectations of Success
Think about what it means to you to be successful and set goals to get there. Be inspired about what other bloggers have achieved, but don't use their benchmarks as your own – you are a different person and can follow a different path. The important part is knowing what YOU want and figuring out how to get there.
The Internet is HUGE
I wrote a little about this in my post about narrowing down your niche, but one of the most important things I've learned in my almost 10 years of blogging is that there’s always room for one more voice. And whatever your interests are, you will find a community of people who share them.
You & Your Blog have Value
Figure out what you're worth, and never sell yourself short. Do not do things for free.
No Blog is an Island
Blogging is about community and interaction with your readers & other bloggers. You can't do it alone or isolated; feedback and validation are important not only personally, but in terms of working with potential sponsors.
It won't always be Fun
Sometimes you'll want to quit, or you'll feel discouraged and like you're not getting anywhere. Always acknowledge your feelings, but be sure to analyze them and determine if they're passing or if they're something you should pay attention to. Maybe it is time to quit, or maybe you just need a break for a week or so to re-group and remember why you started your blog in the first place. Blogging isn't always going to be cupcakes and sponsorships…
The only Constant is Change…
I have the hardest time with this one, but it's perhaps the “most true.” As I mentioned in my income streams post, A LOT has changed since I started blogging, especially since 2008 as my income started to decline. I'm a lot slower to adapt than I should be, but there's no way around it, things are changing ALL THE TIME, and if you continue to do what you've always done in the face of that change, you'll get the same results. Create new income streams, new avenues for your blog. Use change to your advantage!
Negative Comments aren't always bad
Yes, there are REAL Internet trolls, and you should ignore them, but negative comments aren't all bad. If a comment offers some constructive criticism, it's worth a second look, and maybe some reflection. I'm not saying we should give validity to every purely negative comment, but some may be genuine and come from a place of concern, not jealousy – those deserve to be addressed, and perhaps will help to make your blog better.
Always be sharing things you've learned and read, with your readers, on social media, wherever: seek out helpful content and share it, share other bloggers articles and ideas. Knowledge is best when it's passed around.
You Get what you Give
I'm not talking here about “energy” or karma, just that you think about what you'd like to get from your readers and other bloggers: If you want respect, give respect. If you want comments, leave comments on other blogs.
You can't ALWAYS be perfect
This is another hard one for me, because my mom's mantra growing up was “if you can't do something right, don't do it at all.” It's a good lesson, but a hard one, because you won't always be able to achieve perfection – at least in your own eyes – and if you quit before you even start because you think it won't “be perfect” or “good enough,” you'll fail for sure. Things won't always work out the way you want them to, and maybe your blog doesn't look EXACTLY like you want it to, but that's okay. Just keep working.
What have you learned about blogging?
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