15 of the Most Important Things I’ve Learned about Blogging

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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:

Be Genuine

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.

Share

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?

[Image Credit: Shutterstock.com]

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32 Responses

  1. Tara

    Great Article! Totally agree with all the points. I always find that when I set out days to post they come out forced and lack inspiration, and thats never a good thing, Xx Tara

    Reply
  2. Anastazja Oppenheim

    Awesome! 100& agree and thank you.
    Let me add a few random observations:
    1. There are countless occassions to promote your blog!
    2. Be opinionated. It’s a personal blog, not a news site!
    3. For a traffic boost, write something about sex or body image.
    4. “Sorry for not blogging” posts are just annoying.
    5. Popularity is not the most important thing, unless you’re a professional. Even if hardly anyone reads what you write, you can still learn loads of things blogging, from html to time management to better writing.
    http://coverrated.com/

    Reply
    • Sara Miller- Style For The Seasons

      I think that you hit the nail on the head with #5. So often, I find myself discouraged with statistics and followers and I find myself comparing my blog to other (much larger) blogs. But I think that I truly have learned a lot since I started this journey– not just online but in real life. It has been a true learning experience and for that, I continue with my blog daily.

      Thank you for pointing this out.

      Reply
  3. emily | shell chic'd

    Really wonderful piece, thank you for sharing Grechen! I especially believe in “post when you’re inspired.” For two years I pushed to have new content up five days a week, even if I was uninspired, and I feel that some of those “thrown-in” posts really hurt me. I’m happiest with my blog when I’m content with ALL of the current visible content. And when I feel particularly strong about a post, I do purposely leave it up there, so it can remain the main attraction for a second day.

    Reply
  4. Mine

    Thanks for sharing your experience, what i learned about blogging in 2 years is that i shouldn’t compare myself with other bloggers, and i don’t always have to write about popular topics like the others 🙂
    http://mineyyy.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  5. Liveinamagazine

    Thanks for sharing this!
    I would like to say I don’t care about comments but let’s face it, this is the only way to know you are not writing to yourself. And it’s so hard not to compare your blog with others, that’s why I think besides passion, the friendships we make along the way is what will keep us motivated.
    http://liveinamagazine.com/

    Reply
  6. Daria Burkova

    I guess the most important lesson I get from my blogging is to stay true to myself. And to share this true-me with my readers.

    And the second most important thing and most hard thing for me was to understand, that I’m not blogging only for myself. I do it for people who loves what I do, not to blog for me to love what I’ve just blogged.

    And these 15 rules are, first, important to know, and, second, they are inspirational.

    Thank you for this post!

    Daria,
    http://www.dariaburkova.com/

    Reply
  7. Rebeca Muñoz López

    I think it is a complete and very interesting article, I have been identified in some of the rules, and I’ve also learned over the years that one finds a niche of readers if you show yourself as you are, the natural flow makes your blog , really loved this post 🙂

    http://www.urbanikamoda.blogspot.com

    Reply
  8. egedenne

    I have learn that there is a lot of jealous people out there.. But also that bloggin is my way to express myself. I understand why it is popular 🙂

    Reply
  9. sofia

    Thankyou!! I’m a new blogger and I still don’t have many followers and I feel like i’m posting to no one 🙁

    thanks for your tips xxx

    Reply
  10. Pamela

    Wow, I definitely needed this pick-me-up! I’ve been frustrated over finding a unique and personal direction for my blog, and for a long time I wouldn’t even start blogging because I wanted to have a “perfect plan.” But I’m so glad I actually STARTED. I really feel it’s the only way to understand your essence. I’m excited to apply these tips to my blogging life! Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Nona Amoruso

    Hello Everyone, I am a brand new blogger. Yayyyy. I just started blogging on blogspot.com. I blog about food, fashion, fun and health for curvy girls. I love blogging. I have been keeping a diary since I was 10 years old and I am now 44. My business partner urged me to start blogging, and I am so glad that I took his advice. So far I have had 16 views in 2 days, no comments yet, but that’s fine. Its funny how the blogger mentioned in the article that we should write how we speak. It definitely does keep it genuine. I am so happy to be apart of this blogging community, and I wish everyone a happy, fun and safe summer. Xoxo Nona

    Reply
  12. Nasreen

    these are all so important to keep in mind. I think setting your own goals and expectations, in my case, is key. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others and comparing your blog to those who have worked hard for years is especially bad because all you do is fawn over what they have, and question why yours isn’t doing as good.

    http://lazyobsession.blogspot.ie/2013/06/black-and-blue-jeans.html

    Reply
  13. Carolina Ines

    This was so helpful! I’m a new blogger and have definitely learned that it takes a lot of work and patience. However, I have so much passion for this! Thank you for this post, I definitely took notes.
    xo,
    Carolina

    Reply
  14. Andie

    I have been thinking of starting a blog for some time and this was “the last straw” (in a good way!). Thank you for inspiring me! 🙂

    nonchalantchaos.blogspot.com

    Reply
  15. marija

    I really like all of your posts… You really give me a lot inspiration for my blog!! I’m new in blogging so I’m kinda figuring out everything 🙂

    Reply
  16. Katinia

    Great information! I especially love the “Negative comments” part. I think it’s very easy to become offended. As a new and “upcoming” blogger, I try to pay close attention to comments on blogs. Sometimes the information is very useful and it’s always important to listen to your readers.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply
  17. Nadya Helena

    I love every advice thrown here, especially the part that says “it won’t be always fun”, because honestly, when people ask what I’ve been doing all day and answer “blogging”, they think I’m simply filling up my online diary or something. They don’t know we actually do wayyyy beyond what it seems. Marketing, networking, writing, we all take everything seriously, and it’s anything but fun sometimes.

    Nadya
    eyeshadow illustrator
    http://thedillychic.com

    Reply
  18. Yail Westmo

    I love your post! I totally agree with “Writing the way you talk”. I want people to identify with me as a person and sometimes I can be proper and other times I’m just me! The #1 thing I learned from blogging is not being afraid to like and support other blogs. My fear was if I left comments on other blogs that would hinder me (crazy I know) or if I shared where I blogs I loved to read then I would lose the 3 readers I have.

    Great site and I love your blog.

    Reply
  19. Rona

    This was definitely a great read. So helpful as I am just now trying to put myself out there, though I’ve been blogging for many many years haha. I need to be patient! 😛

    peace, love, & utter bliss,
    <3 http://www.r0na.com

    Reply
  20. Aman Bansal

    Blogging is incredible.. 🙂

    Choosing blogging as a career is always difficult as a new startup blog can’t get rank in few months unless one is publishing the extraordinary content. But the fact is if someone is working hard on regular basis and providing people the best thing in the industry, he/she can grow a lot.

    Blogging gives not only money in future but also fame as well which we miss while doing job.

    Reply