Wednesday 22 August 2018

11 lessons from 11 years of blogging

Inside - celebrating the lessons from 11 years of blogging.

In the world of blogging, we're old, my blog and I.

And while we wax and wane each week, we come back together, to share our words and our wisdom, and hopefully inspire and delight (and educate and remember.)

So as I picture how the rest of this year will play out for us (125 sleeps to Christmas) I ponder the things I've learnt over the years, and share them with you.

1 - get a domain name.

I'm so glad I purchased my domain name early in my journey. It's allowed me to grow my own identity, and forge my own path. I waffle about maybe wanting to do something else under another name, but always come back to this being the right place for me.

2 - pictures are everything.

The internet still thrives on images, whether they're moving images from video, or good photos. I've stumbled on blog posts recently with no images, and they're hard to read. Images allow the brain to rest between reading, and good images can tell the story without the words.

3 - write. your style will come.

I see so many people struggling with their voice. They can't identify it, they get caught up in making each word, each sentence, perfect. But they stop writing while they're searching for perfection. And that is the worst thing they can do, for themselves, and their blog. (Pot, meet kettle.) Writing is the only way to find your voice.

4 - start an email list.

Considering that I finally started my email list 3 years ago, my list is still piddlingly small. We're talking under 100. In fact, under 80. And I've been shit at remembering to send something regularly, so every time I do write an email, someone unsubscribes (but my mum doesn't.) Start and email list. Write to them every week. If you don't know what to write, send them links to the things you've been reading and writing. Just keep in touch with them. Because one day you'll want them to buy something (like a Christmas planner) and they won't remember who you are! 

5 - content is king.

Having been around for 11 years means that I've seen shifts in how we blog. Again and again. The explosion that was digital marketing is now slowing down as Facebook and Instagram change their algorithms, and now we're moving back to story and content. This is a good thing. People will stop shouting, they'll move away from spending every waking hour on Facebook (because I know it isn't just me), and they'll start engaging again.

6 - get consistent.

My biggest downfall over the last 11 years has been consistency. Time and again I lament my lack of growth in a space I love so much, but my lack has been because of my consistency. (Well, that and my inability to market any post more than once.)  Find your consistent spot, even if it's once a week. At the least, it needs to be once a fortnight. Anything less than that, and people will lose interest, they won't be searching for your words. Take some time away from the consistency of Facebook, and get consistent with your content.

7 - choose your experts.

Over the years I have followed so many experts. The ones that resonate the most are the ones who didn't pivot 3 times in 12 months and stayed true to their path. They slowly built foundations that worked, and then exploded into everyone else's vision. And when I come back to those experts, after following the starry, sparkly ones, it feels like home, like breathing again.

Tips for choosing an expert.

8 - money isn't a good enough reason.

Knowing your why helps you find your voice, and keep consistent, but wanting money isn't a good enough reason. If all you want is money, then go work in a bank. Why needs to go deeper "I need enough money to pay for the new appliances in my kitchen" but even better "money will allow me to contribute to our household while being home when the kids get home from school." Find the emotion in your why, and you'll nail it.

9 - try new things.

I am not good at change. Next to consistency, not experimenting holds me back. All those posts that say "the best time to post on social media is xyz" are about when it was best for that person to post on SM. The only way you'll find out your best time is by experimenting. The only way you'll work out why no one is signing up to your email list is by experimenting. The only way you'll learn that you actually love making videos is by jumping in front of the camera (even if it's been over 6 months since you did it!)

10 - social media isn't all that.

I love pinterest (which is not social media!) I love that Facebook has connected me to my cousin in England, and my friends in America, and my community in the suburbs. But social media isn't the only way to get noticed. And it isn't the only way to share your stories. It isn't the only way to connect with people. Use it, but remember to take a breather.

11 - get out of your head.

Ah, my sweet frenemie. My head is an even bigger drawback than my inconsistency. In fact, I opened this document just after 9am this morning, and noticed myself at half past ten mindlessly scroll Facebook with a blank stare. It was much easier to scroll than it was to start writing. 

But the only way to get out of your head is to take action. So catch yourself, give yourself a shake, brush your hands, and start that thing. Whatever it is. You can't grow consistency, or find your voice, or whatever action it is you want to take, by losing yourself in your own head.

You can read more birthday posts and lesson from the archives

What advice would you give a new blogger?
How do you stay consistent? 

1 comment

  1. Gosh, is it eleven years? Well done - that's consistency in itself! Always interesting to read your observations ...


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