Lessons Learned My First Year of Blogging
One year ago today I hit ‘enter’ on my keyboard and Pure Grace Farms went from dream to reality. Little did I know the challenges and changes that would be spawned from that tiny, purposeful action. At the time I was working full-time as an operating room nurse, managing our ever growing garden and taking care of the day to day work at home. I enjoyed help and support from Tim but still had a lot on my plate to handle.
If I’m being completely honest, when I first started off I believed I would be different. I had visions of Pure Grace Farms becoming wildly successful and saw myself skipping down the primrose path in no time. Reality has shown itself to be quite different. While I have left my full-time job, it has had nothing to do with the success of the blog. Money isn’t coming in hand over fist. I’m fortunate to have a husband that is able to care for the financial side of things, allowing me to pursue wholeheartedly this thing called blogging.
In honor of the day I would like to share with you some of the lessons learned during my first year of blogging and clear up a few questions I wish someone else had told me. My hope is that it offers a little encouragement to the newbies just starting and sprinkles in a dose of reality right along with it.
5 Lessons Every New Blogger Should Know
When I first began blogging I was a woman on a mission. I was fortunate to have a bit of help in the technical part of setting up a blog but the design, purpose, goals etc. was left completely up to me. I had grand ideas of what my site should look like and ran with it even though I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. I was dead set on simplicity and chose what I thought to be a simple theme. It was simple alright and very dysfunctional. After struggling for several months I knew something had to be done and I made the decision to use a new theme and change the whole look of my blog, basically starting over from square one. It was the best decision I have made to date.
Don’t be afraid to change something that needs fixing; now and in the future as well. A blog should be continually evolving just as we do. Be flexible and willing to change when needed.
As I started writing for Pure Grace Farms I was quite nervous. I wasn’t sure if what I had to say and how I said it would be considered good enough. It was my first time writing anything of significance. I sought out friends who were willing to help and asked them to edit my work. I wasn’t very secure in myself. As time went on I began to develop more confidence and began to see a rhythm in my writing. A new confidence emerged.
It’s important to find your own style and voice when blogging. Write about what moves you, what you are passionate about and what makes you tick. Copying a formula from a successful blogger’s manual won’t work for long. If it’s not your formula, it is someone else’s and readers eventually will see right through it. If you are normally controversial, then be controversial. If you are normally wild and crazy then be wild and crazy. The point is be who you are. This will resonate with readers more than anything else and those who enjoy “your” style will be your loyal readers. That’s what we are all looking for in the first place. To tell our stories. So tell your story and not someone else’s. Be authentic.
It’s all too simple to get sucked into the trap of comparison. Questions like, “Why them and not me?” can come all too easily if we allow it. All of us work hard and sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, connections made, etc. There is no use in trying to figure it out. What one CAN do is celebrate the success of others. Build one another up and put the wasted energy of comparison into helping others succeed. It’s called blogger’s Karma and it will be sure to come back to you. Don’t compare.
I have done this and know this is a tough habit to kick. All the obsessing in the world is not going to change the bounce rate, amount of page views, or increase the visitors to your website. Instead of constantly checking the stats, focus on quality content, making great blogging connections by visiting other sites and commenting, sharing and pinning. Help others succeed. As stated earlier it’s good blogging Karma. Being a good neighbor will produce much better results than all the checking. The numbers will come naturally. Stop obsessing over analytics.
There I said it; the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Unless you have tremendous 6 digit numbers every month Adsense ads will barely buy a cup of coffee. Don’t get discouraged, as time goes by and your blog becomes more established other opportunities will arise. Be open to other possibilities. Join collectives like The Sits Girls or Blogher to be ready for opportunities when the time is right.
These lessons learned my first year of blogging didn’t always come easy and I am sure I have many more lessons to learn in the coming years. Regardless, I am looking forward to seeing what’s around the bend and the progress to be made in the coming year.
5 Lessons Every New Blogger Should Know shared with:
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”