Back in January of last year I posted a series of Blogging 101 posts. With the passing of another year I thought maybe it’s time to revisit the topic.
So, what have I learned new in a year? A LOT!
Before we get into the nitty gritty let me put it out there that in my book there are 2 types of bloggers; the ones who blog as a hobby and the ones who give it the same attention, love, and care as a profession. I’m proud to admit that I identify wholeheartedly with the latter set. So most of this advice is from that view point.
#1 Quality Content + Marketing = Successful Blog
By no means am I calling my little slice of internet successful but this has got to be the most important lesson I learned this year. A lot of the advice, which I presume was intended for the first set of bloggers I mentioned earlier, I found online stressed quality of the content and consistency over marketing. Quite a few early adopters of blogging also advised me to ‘Keep posting good relevant content consistently and the readers will come”, “The growth should be organic, only then will you be able to sustain it.” etc. I took this advice to heart or at least used it as an excuse to not carve out some time in my busy schedule to “market” the blog. Sure enough I saw organic growth but it was very slow organic growth.
When you come to think of it, what is the point of having great content if no one sees it? Back in the day when there were only a handful of blogs the wait and watch strategy would have worked but in today’s cyber world where there are a gazillion of blogs competing for the reader’s attention how will someone know about your little blog? Take my case for example. As an ardent blog reader, my personal reading list includes at least 50 blogs that I follow regularly and maybe 60 or so blogs that I check weekly or monthly depending on my free time. While trying to stay on top of this exhaustive list how do I find the time to go in search of more blogs to read? The only way a new blog will catch my attention is if I come across a photo or post from the blog somewhere else!
On the other hand there is absolutely no use of marketing a blog without good content. You will loose the readers you gained through your clever marketing efforts in no time if they do not find anything interesting on your site! Content is King but you do need to back up the content with effective marketing to get the word out and increase your blog’s visibility. The more it is seen and talked about the more new readers see it, period.
#2 Network, Network, Network
I talked about this a little in my Word of the Year post. Frankly, for the first 18 months I was in fact blogging on an island. The only contact I had with other bloggers was if I commented or if they commented on each other’s blogs. And that was it! It stopped there. Again I used my “lack of time” excuse, which by the way is true to a point, to not connect with my fellow DIY and home decorating enthusiasts. As time went by I saw and read about stories of bloggers connecting at various meets ups and becoming life long friends. Slowly the feeling that I’m missing out on this amazing camaraderie started sinking in and I decided to bite the bullet. To my surprise I discovered a whole new world of like minded folks who are more than willing to help out each other. It doesn’t even have to be an actual brick and mortar meet up, online forums and social media groups are also a great way to connect with your tribe. I have learned more from these forums in the last 2-3 months than I have in the last one year alone!
#3 A DIY attitude might not be the best when it comes to Blog Tech
You could sum this up also as, “When in need, ask for help”! I converted my free WordPress Pilcrow theme to a Genesis Framework and the child Blissful Theme all by myself. I’m not saying you can’t do it; you most definitely can but if you are not tech savvy (I totally am not) it is a lot of frustrating hard work . Yes, you do learn many many new things and learning is good but there is always a point where you have to weigh in the benefits of getting it done by someone who actually knows the system. My theme upgrade still has a lot of small things that I need to tweak. I have been procrastinating on making those changes only because I have to learn about them first! All said and done, I am also extremely proud that I learned and did all of this myself. Blog tech is actually a double edged sword, if you delegate the task to someone else you’ll lose the DIY experience and of course the bragging rights while you gain hours of peace and sleep. In the end it is up to you to figure out which end of the bargain you want to be left with.
#4 To make it work you need to Believe in it 200%
Blogging is a ton of work, in every sense. You not only have to plan, create, photograph, write, proof read your posts you have to promote them as well. The only way you can get it all done is if you truly believe in what you blog about and in blogging itself.
#5 Do it for Fun
Oh, this one is so damn important that it should be right up there in the front page of the Golden Rules of Blogging Booklet! The moment blogging turns into “work” it sucks all the fun out of it and the worst part, it shows through in your approach to the blog and eventually to your readers.
If you really think about it, most of these aren’t just blog lessons more like life lessons. Won’t you agree? Would love to hear your take on blogging. What do you like the most about blogging/blogs?
PS: You can find more blogging tips here.
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