6 lessons learned from six years of blogging
I don’t really do anything special for my blog’s birthday/anniversary except subtly announce it happened. I also don’t add to my “blogging” category as much as I probably could…I just don’t always have enough about a particular topic to say, but then I’ll receive questions about things I’ve learned from blogging all these years—thus this. I meant to do something like it, but never did, in February, but is it ever too late to start a new tradition?
1. Learn to DIY as much as you can.
Blogging in 2016 is nothing like what it was in 2010. These days, you can pay someone to perform tiny fixes on your website that are actually easy—from uploading a favicon to changing the color of strong text. Not too long ago, bloggers had to learn to fix these things themselves. ?
I imagine the luxury is nice and all, but…the costs add up, and forever depending on someone else to fix everything on your blog is like depending on a friend to always have extra water handy, then going on a trip through the desert.
It’s not a huge hassle, though, once you start going the DIY route; a lot of times, it’s easier.
- You know what is being done to your site and have total control.
- Using your own photos leads to less stress over photo licenses.
- You can save your money and use it elsewhere, like on a new blog theme or, um, SunButter.
This also kind of goes for plugins: a popular, premium recipe plugin has been having issues lately, and the developer is MIA. A year ago, the ZipList plugin ceased to exist. Sometimes, doing your own thing may be your best bet (that’s what I did for my recipe stuff).
2. Your writing voice is your personality’s first impression.
I like to think (and believe) people will understand posts I wrote several years ago, but leave up nevertheless are not necessarily the exact way I am today—especially since I’ve a better grasp on my depression and PTSD than I previously did.
The idea that the personality you have in one post on your blog is not your “real you” is bologna: your writing is essentially your voice—which isn’t how you talk, but how elements of yourself shine throughout your written words. Your voice is a piece of your personality.
Thus, if you’re looking to make a particular impression and keep finding yourself in a pickle and doing a horrible job, maybe you need to change your writing voice. Seldom do I read overtly whiny posts, especially if it means I’m going to have to censor myself and give some sugarcoated platitude of a response when I really want to tell them to suck it up and stop putting the blame on everyone else around them but themselves.
So, if you have a whiny blog, but don’t want to be seen this way, you should try to change your voice and adapt a different style. Unfortunately, sometimes the issue with the writing voice is not specifically the writing itself, but the personality problem of the writer themselves.
3. It’s okay to have a nicheless blog.
You can be a lifestyle blogger if you want to! Maybe you blog about your life and fashion choices, or maybe you blog about your life, what happened on the latest Orange is the New Black season, and things your van eats—you don’t have to choose just one thing if you don’t want to.
It’s not that hard to master more than one interest. Nicheless blogs are better, anyway.
4. Create content YOU want to read.
If you find it boring, and you post it anyways, why would anyone else want to read it? If you’re not totally interested in something, it will show in your writing. From filler content to trying-too-hard content, people will notice. Besides, it’s YOUR blog, anyway. If you’re spending all your time creating content you’re not totally interested in, you’ll hit blogger burnout and will probz. not recover from it.
Instead of being a blog reader-pleaser, try to focus on you and what you want to do a little more.
5. No matter how far into the future you can see yourself with your starting idea, you will probably change your mind.
6birds, my numerous attempts at food-only blogs, Hope Fades…In the beginning, I had great plans. Then, as time went on, I got to thinking about whether I actually wanted to follow through with those plans because I wanted to or if they were what everyone else was doing. It turns out a lot of pressure was from what others were doing, or wanted me to also do, and I didn’t like that. It was taking away the fun or, in Hope Fades’ case, the simplicity.
6. Actually befriend some bloggers.
I’m so turned off when I hear or see anything about “networking”. It seems to be the latest friend-making method, except you’re not actually friends with each other—you’re just using each other in similar ways.
But you know what? If you actually befriend fellow bloggers and are genuinely friends with each other—not expecting to gain clout from it—you’ll reap benefits you never knew existed and feel richer because of it. You can all motivate each other to keep going, you can actually talk about the “negative” parts of your life…It’s nothing like a “mastermind group”, in that everything has to remain happy-go-lucky all the livelong day—no Grumpys allowed.
If I didn’t have my blog friends, I don’t think I’d still be blogging. I make friends by leaving genuine comments on others’ blogs and continuing that practice for a long time, even though the time doesn’t feel long. I make friends by genuinely caring what they have to say—not just caring about the things that convenience me.
What have you learned in your time as a blogger?