5 Lessons Every New Blogger Should Know

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Ultimately there is no such thing as failure. There are lessons learned in different ways. ~ Twyla Tharp.

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

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 1 – Be flexible and willing to change  

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.

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 2 – Be Authentic

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.

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 3 – Don’t Compare

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.

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 4 – Stop obsessing over Analytics

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.

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 5 – Making money with Adsense will barely buy a cup of coffee

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. 

Blessings,

Shari

5 Lessons Every New Blogger Should Know shared with:

*Yesterfood: Treasure Box Tuesday *A Savory Feast: Humpday Happenings Gingerly Made: Show and Tell *Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday *Sweet Haute La Dolce Vita *Living Well Spending Less: *Thrifty Thursday *Organized 31: Inspire Us Thursday  *Juggling Real food and Real Life: Let’s Get Real *The Deliberate Mom: Shine Blog Hop * Nancherrow: Fridays unfolded  *Snippets of Inspiration: Weekend Wind Down Link Party *Natasha in Oz: Say G’Day Raia’s *Recipes: Savoring Saturdays *Oh My Heartsie Girl: Weekends Are Fun Party  *The Sits Girls: Share Your Favorite Post Saturday *Sadie Season Goods: Snickerdoodle Sunday *My Pinterventures: Merry Monday Link Party *Creative K Kids: Bloggers Brags * Plucky’s  Second Thought *God’s Growing Garden: Tuesdays with a Twist *Life with Garnish: Teach Me Tuesday *Yum Eating: The Yuck Stops Here

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.”

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    I love this article. I too work in healthcare, and while I have days that make me thankful I chose this profession, I find it mostly exhausting. I recently started a blog, (only 5 entries so far), and want to take it to the point where, like you, I can leave my job and do blogging full-time. Keep up the good work, Suzy

    • says

      I still have to go back now and again to pay the bills, but blogging is definitely where my heart is. Good luck to you and if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email. I love to help.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  2. says

    Oh. Girl. You are so right! I am a nurse too but I have not had the luxury of qutting my job to do my blog…it is just a hobby for me ’cause (as you noted) adsense will only buy you a cup of coffee. These are really good observations and good advice! Congratulations for being featured over at Natasha’s blog!

    • says

      Thank you! I am fortunate and very appreciative. I didn’t know I was featured :) I will definitely head over and say hello. Thanks for stopping by and have a great rest of your week.
      Blessings,
      Shari

    • says

      Thanks Rebecca. I too am amazed at the similarities we all have. Blogging can be isolating at times so it is good to know we are not alone in how we feel sometimes. I appreciate the connections. Have a great week.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  3. says

    Great post – I enjoyed! I started my blog the first of this year and it’s been fun, I love to write so I guess that helps and I’m writing in an element that brings me joy. Recently found your blog and I can’t remember how think it might have been when I was searching for a recipe online. I’m not a fan of ads at all because I feel they junk up a blog. I have a marketplace where I share my favorite products and do my best to offer a crisp appearance. Started with blogger and have thought many times I need to switch to wordpress like everyone else, blogger is pretty easy to use but I can’t seem to get away from that boxy appearance, course I could just be a perfectionist. Curious what do you prefer about Workpress? Happy Anniversary – one year and you’re doing great! Have a Super week. Carole @ Garden Up green

    • says

      I have never used blogger so it is hard to compare. What I enjoy about word press is the many resources available, plugins, widgets etc. Since I am doing most everything myself and figuring it out as I go, it helps tremendously to have so much information I can easily Google for the answers. BTW, I get it about the advertising and I was where you were for quite some time not wanting to clutter up my site. Unfortunately bills still have to be paid and other opportunities only trickle in here and there. As time goes on I am hoping this will be different. Until then, we all do what we must do to take care of our needs. :) Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by today. I always appreciate it.
      Blessings,
      Shari

    • says

      Thanks Deedra. It can be discouraging at times seeing those analytics. I look but try not to get to caught up in them. I am glad to hear you are enjoying what you are doing. That is the important thing, in my opinion. I appreciate you stopping by. You have a great weekend also.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  4. says

    Perfect and great info-thanks for sharing at the Say G’Day Saturday linky party. I will be featuring your post at my Friday Favorites post!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  5. says

    I absolutely loved these tips, and laughed so hard at number 5! I think I’ve made $9 so far, almost two coffees, score! Also thought 1, 2 and 3 were great advice for life overall, we’re always busy comparing ourselves to others instead of just being ourselves! Great post :)

  6. says

    Hey I’ve been reading things that new bloggers need to know, and also trying to follow each blogger for new series: Balance your Life….I need this. I love blogging but do it because I just like too. But I do want to have a better blog and more interesting post. any help would be appreciated.
    Jo May recently posted…Thunder in the distance, promise of rainMy Profile

  7. Linda Cox says

    Great advice. Congrats on one year anniversary! You are sure sounding and looking professional. Displaying exellence in every area.

  8. says

    I just had to laugh when you talked about adsense! Isn’t that the truth? I think there is a myth out there about making huge money with Adsense and you called it!! I love the ideas of not comparing and stopping the focus on analytics. It will come, especially if you love it! I have to keep telling myself that! :)
    Elizabeth Lund recently posted…Top 10 Posts from August 2014My Profile

    • says

      When I stop and think about what I make with adsense compared to the amount of effort I put into my blog it is pretty laughable. But, that being said money is money, so I say thank you and move right along. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, just realistic! :) I am glad you enjoyed my lessons. Thanks for stopping by.
      Blessings,
      Shari

    • says

      I have been using affiliate links with Amazon. The results have been mixed. I know many do okay by having their own store. I have not chosen to go that route. I know what you mean with the stats. A hard habit to kick. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great rest of your holiday weekend.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  9. Cyndie M says

    First, Congratulations! These are really great tips, especially the Adsense. I’m working hard towards the launch of my first blog and I’m reading as much as I can. I’d like to avoid as many mistakes up front as possible but I just know I’ll make plenty. Yet the more I read the more I find I don’t know or need to work on. I’m so glad I didn’t jump the gun and launch already. From a budding new blogger, thanks for the tips.

    • says

      Yes Cyndie you will make mistakes. We all do. Try not to get discouraged and jump in with both feet. The best advice I can give you is to be a good neighbor. Share, comment and pin often and don’t be shy. Relationships are so very important in blogging. Keep reaching out to others too. When I first started I attempted many times to reach out and was disappointed at times with the lack of response. Don’t start with mega blogs, they rarely answer. Find those you have something in common with and cultivate relationships with them. You will be glad you did. Hope this helps a bit and feel free to stop by anytime. I love to help.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  10. says

    Hi Shari, I’m celebrating 1 year this week too! Crazy roller coaster eh!
    I love number 3 and 4 particularly – easier said than done though. Those statistics keep calling to me, “just take a peek, just take a peek!” I try to resist them.
    Good luck with the next 12 months, onwards and upwards eh!
    Julie recently posted…Diamond Stitch Crocheted Baby BlanketMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Julie. I must admit I still take a look everyday at what’s going on, but I try not to let it affect my mood. They are what they are. Thanks for stopping by and sharing, I am glad you enjoyed it.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  11. says

    Stopping by from The Weekend Wind Down link party. These are really great points, I have recently changed the layout of my blog and thunk it looks so much better than the old style. I do obsess sometimes about analytics and follows, but I’m beginning to realise that I can’t force things to happen and that I’d rather have a few followers who actually read my blog than have hundreds who never return. Diane @ Mrs U Makes
    Diane Ugo recently posted…Chocolate and Pistachio Fudge TartsMy Profile

    • says

      We all obsess occasionally, I think it’s important that it’s not the house we live in permanently. You make a great point about followers. I too would rather have those that enjoy my posts and interact with me. That’s what makes what we do so fun. I appreciate you stopping by. Have a great weekend.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  12. says

    Stopping by from Say G’Day. Congrats on the year anniversary. My blog is also a little over a year old. I am still learning a lot. I did a lot of research from books and youtube before I started so I kind of knew what to expect. I don’t really have the time to devote like a lot of these full time bloggers do and I realize that and try not to compare. I also have an etsy shop to run so I juggle both while raising 3 sons and keeping up with the house, the laundry and the cooking. Lots of good tips in your post – pinned it.
    Kimberlee recently posted…Summer Reading, Smoothies and SandalsMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Kimberlee. Wow you have a full plate. I don’t know how you get it all done! Your blog looks lovely so you must stay up late and get up early to get it all done. Thanks for the kind words. Have a wonderful weekend.
      Blessings
      Shari

  13. says

    I agree with all of these! I was so naive as a young blogger who just started for fun, and now I can truthfully say that my whole approach and goal of blogging has changed completely since that first post. Your lessons are spot on! Thanks for sharing at this week’s Weekend Wind-Down Party.

    Nicole =)
    Nicole recently posted…Weekend Wind-Down #34My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Nicole. Flexibility is so important. When we get set in our ways we lose the opportunity to grow and other opportunities that may come along to. I appreciate you stopping in and taking a moment to share.
      Blessings,
      Shari

    • says

      Thank you for the feature Antoinette. I am glad that my lessons seem to be right on target. Have a wonderful weekend and thanks so much for stopping by.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  14. says

    Hooray for 1 year! I, too, thought I’d be pretty successful in just a few short months, but I’m not. It really does take time, effort, and lots of mistakes to figure out your own blog. I think the comparing one is so easy to do, but you will only feel bad about your own blog if you do it. Wishing you a wonderful 2nd year! #SHINEBlogHop
    Charlee Anne recently posted…The Birth Story of Our First BabyMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you Charlee Anne. Blogging is hard work, we don’t need to make it harder by comparing ourselves to others.
      I appreciate you stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  15. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Great advice. Congrats on your one year anniversary. I laughed about the #5…that was too cool.

    • says

      I am glad you found it useful and enjoyed #5 too! I know money is a sensitive subject but someone has to say it. :) Have a great long weekend and thanks for stopping by.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  16. says

    Great post, Shari!! The comparing resonates with me today, as I find myself doing that daily as I look at these other beautiful blogs and their gorgeous homes. Thanks so much for sharing your tips and things you’ve learned! I know I have a long way to go, but you give some great encouragement! Have a great weekend!
    Amanda @ dwellinginhappiness recently posted…DIY Chalk Painted Candle HoldersMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Amanda. Happy to pass on a little encouragement your way. Hang in there and keep putting one foot in front of the other. No use in comparing, no one else is quite like you!
      Blessings,
      Shari

  17. says

    Shari – Happy Happy Blogiversary! Great post too – I have the hardest time when I look at analytics and then go through a slump of why I am doing this at all. But good things are starting to happen and my numbers are rising too! The blog is great and I enjoy your FB posts too :-)
    Stacy
    Stacy recently posted…String Art… State StyleMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you Gaye. You are so sweet. I am glad some on my tips resonate with you. Blogging is the best job I’ve ever had, but it can be isolating at times. It is great to have friends. Thanks for being mine.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  18. says

    Great post and couldn’t have been better timing for me. I literally just created my blog today. It’s not public ready yet…still organizing and working on my first post, but soon I hope! Good advice that I will certainly heed. I would never have guessed this was your first year. Your blog is beautiful and so well written. Congratulations on this milestone! Thank you!

    • says

      How exciting. I remember all the nervous energy and excitement building up to that first published post. Congratulations to you. Please stop in anytime if you have any questions. I might not always be able to help but I can offer a shoulder when needed. Good luck and I am sure I will see you around the neighborhood.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  19. says

    Happy blogiversary! These are great tips for new bloggers and old ones too :-) I totally agree with number four and five. I’m actually thinking about doing away with adsense all together to be honest.

    BTW- your blog has always been amazing from the beginning and your images are always lovely.
    Erlene recently posted…Back to School Lunch Tips – Part 1My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Erlene, you are so sweet :). I am not sure I am ready to do away with adsense completely because it does help pay the bills, but I know it’s never going to be the answer. Thank you for stopping by and the well wishes. I appreciate you and your blog. Great to have friends!
      Blessings,
      Shari

    • says

      I did pretty well around the holidays but it has been extremely slow this summer. I’m loving Blogher and the opportunities it has brought. I won’t ditch adsense, but I’m not depending on it either. Thanks for pinning:)
      Blessings, Shari

  20. says

    I just completed my first year as well. Couldn’t agree with you more on the tips…especially the AdSense! Seriously! Don’t get me wrong, I have it but haven’t gotten a check yet so I can actually purchase that coveted cup of coffee. But just a plain cup, nothing fancy…haven’t made that much yet. Thanks for sharing and CONGRATULATIONS! Keep up the good work.
    Danita @O Taste And See recently posted…Easy Fix For Dry Pound CakeMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Danita. I have always wondered why everyone is so hush hush about the money aspect. I think new bloggers need to know so they are not always wondering if they are doing something wrong. I know I did. Congrats on your first year too!
      Blessings,
      Shari

  21. says

    First of all, Congratulations on your First Year Anniversary. I’m a little over a month behind you so I know much of what you bring up. Beautiful post. I’m following one of your suggestions currently as my blog template is being updated and categories are changing.

    I haven’t approached anyone like SITS or BlogHer yet. Can you tell me about what/how you deal with BlogHer? I went to a SITS Girls Event this year (which I love and wrote about) so I know I have to get in touch with them. They are the best! But, I’m very interested in the whole BlogHer process and your thoughts.

    Have a wonderful 2nd year!!
    Dana@chocolateandsunshine recently posted…Chocolate and Sunshine is Under Construction!My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Dana. Blogher is a little different than sits in that you can place advertising on your site through them. Rates are much better than a cup of coffee with them :). I applied to them when I was only a few months in and was turned down flat. Only recently I took the plunge and applied again (you have to wait 6 months before you apply again). I figured “what the heck, why not” and this time I was accepted. There is no harm in giving in a shot. If you want more specifics email me and I will be glad to help out. Happy to connect with you and look forward to great things to come out of Chocolate and Sunshine!
      Blessings,
      Shari

  22. says

    Shari, you are amazing and put up just what I needed today. One of those, why-am-I-blogging-days and this helped me out so much. I appreciate all your advice and tips. Your graphics are AWESOME and I need to learn to do that. Please know how much YOUR blog has helped me and countless others. Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow

    • says

      I am glad it spoke to you Carrie. You have a wonderful blog and a great message to share. Don’t ever sell yourself short. Looking forward to your book coming out soon. How many people can say they have that in their repertoire. Not I, that’s for sure. Thanks for your kind words and friendship.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  23. says

    You speak the truth Shari! My most negative time with my blog came when I started comparing myself to others. I knew better, but I got sucked into it anyway. I keep reminding myself that when I started my blog that if I helped just one family that all the work I put into my blog would be worth it. OK………so if I’m helping just one family then I suppose I don’t need to worry about all of the other numbers. Still……………it would be nice to help more than one family.
    Christina @ Juggling Real Food and Real Life recently posted…Converting Recipes to Real FoodMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Christina. It’s a slippery slope to nowhere when we compare and impossible to do anyway. No two blogs or situations are exactly the same so the comparison is imperfect to begin with. I appreciate you stopping in and appreciate the opportunities you have given me to develop good relationships.
      Blessings,
      Shari

    • says

      Thanks Suzanne. I am only a child when it comes to blogging and know I have much more to learn. These 5 simple things help keep me grounded. Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful week.
      Blessings,
      Shari

  24. says

    Shari,

    WELL SAID!! You truly have some great points. I think as bloggers we all watch to many stats and try to figure out what is wrong with our blogs instead of focusing on good content and sharing that content. We truly need to be happy for other bloggers and encouraging them. This is a lessons that took me a lot longer than most to learn. I struggled with this for two years. My blog will be 3 years old in November and OH THE MISTAKES I HAVE MADE.

    I AM TRULY BLESS TO HAVE YOU AS A GREAT BLOGGING FRIEND!
    Have a wonderful day,
    Diane Roark

    • says

      Thanks Diane, I am grateful for your friendship and encouragement. It is so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. We don’t see what is going on behind the scenes and make assumptions. I am trying to have tunnel vision where that is concerned and do the best I can to help others succeed. There is a great satisfaction in that. I appreciate you friend!
      Blessings,
      Shari

  25. says

    Absolutely great tips for those who are just starting or thinking of starting a blog. I admit I learned quickly that I had to use my own voice and so true about Adsense, which is probably why I don’t run much ads from them anymore and use more affiliate advertising now to be quite honest. Happy 1 year though and hope you know I absolutely love your blog and you, too!! :)
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Sunflowers, Back To School & Wonderful Wednesday #88My Profile

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