Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What I Learned in My First Year of Blogging

 photo What I learned in my first year of blogging_zpsn7rcexne.jpg

I cannot believe it but I've officially been blogging for an entire 365 days! It feels way longer and I've accomplished way more than I ever thought possible with this blog, but every day is a new adventure and I love always having things to do to improve and work on. From blog design, to posts that have gone semi viral, to learning to utilize Pinterest and growing my Instagram, it has been an amazing first year of blogging and I am so excited to see what's to come this year and beyond!

Blogging is a never ending learning process and I've said it tons of times and I'll say it again - that is by far my favorite part. Taking as much time as I can each day to work on posts, sharing on social media, updating my theme, etc. is what I look forward to most. It is a never ending process and with that comes learning new things each and every day. Not a day goes by that I don't learn something new either from reading other blog posts or from bloggers who have experienced it before.

Here are the 8 most important things I've learned throughout my first year of blogging:



1. There is always room for growth and expansion 

Since this is something I say repeatedly it of course is #1 on my list! Knowing how to use Google Analytics to making sure you optimize your posts for SEO to taking better post pictures, everything can be improved no matter how experienced or how new you are to the blogging world. It's kind of crazy to go back a year and look at my first few blog posts and how few views each has: 20 views, 10 views, 7 views... no comments. I never realized I had to promote my posts to get them seen. It was a pretty shocking moment when I realized what I had to do - yep that bad!

2. Quality over quantity and having a routine is key 

Once I began implementing a posting schedule a few months into blogging, I was pretty consistent but I was way too focused on how often I posted rather than how full my posts were of content. I'm sure you've heard it before, but it's really true when people say that content is king. I've learned that it's so important to put out quality content over just trying to always adhere to my editorial calendar. Which brings my to my next point...

3. Always have a schedule 

It wasn't until a while into blogging that I realized I really needed an editorial calendar. Still to this day things change and I don't always follow it 100% month after month, but it does help me to write posts ahead of time if I'm sitting down to write. Editorial calendars also help sooo much when planning seasonal content and if you have a couple of topics you write about (for me it's mainly fashion/beauty, design and lifestyle posts), it's a great way to space each topic out so that you can write about all of your topics each month. I'm a planner addict, but I tend to write my post ideas out on a dry erase board or on an editable calendar on the computer.

4. Find what works and stick to it 

When it comes to promoting your posts and increasing traffic and engagement, not every thing works for every one. For example, most people have a lot of success on Stumble Upon and while I use it because it's a great sharing tool, I haven't seen huge traffic spikes from it. For me, Pinterest has been EVERYTHING for me! That will be an entire post on it's own because there's waaaay too many details to go into here, but I spend most of my time promoting my posts on Pinterest because it's what's worked best - alongside Facebook groups!

5. Start monetizing when you see fit 

If you're a blogger who plans on monetizing your blog, in my opinion, you can't really start too early. A lot of people you'll talk to will tell you to wait 5 months or wait until you have a certain number of followers... but I completely disagree with this. Sure, a lot of brands and networks will want or require you to have these standards but I began monetizing my blog about two months into blogging. Granted, it wasn't by any means a steady amount but it just goes to show that a lot of times, brands do look more so at the quality of your work rather than how long you've been blogging or how many followers you have on social media. Now that I have experience and higher numbers than I did when I began blogging, I'm a part of so many great networks that connect bloggers to brands and have great relationships with brands. Monetizing is another aspect of blogging that is definitely a growing process, but you shouldn't feel limited.

6. You'll never run out of post ideas 

When I began my blog and began setting things up, I often wondered how I would EVER have enough content ideas to get me through six months time let alone a year! But here we are, a year later... and I have my content planned out (roughly) through March! Everything can become a blog post - everything can be talked about and yeah - it's probably been talked about before - but that's the case with nearly everything. So taking your own spin on things and talking about things that you care about, know a lot about and can help others out with is so important in the blogging world! If worst comes to worst, just google "blog post ideas" and trust me you will get a billion results with awesome content ideas!

7. Be consistent
Whether you decide on a schedule of blogging twice a week or five times a week, whatever you do - just be consistent with it! This also holds true for how you write too. Maybe it's just me, but I try and stick with a certain style of writing. For example, if I use headers I try and use the same colors and sizes, using the "read more" feature on my posts to keep my blog's home page looking clean and neat and even starting each blog post out with a relevant, high quality image. Get into a groove of what feels right and stick to it.

8. Be YOU!
In my first ever handful of blog posts, I can tell that I was trying WAY too hard..it's pretty funny actually! Once I began writing about things I was confident about and knew I cared a lot about, my writing style changed in so many ways. I've always liked to write and it's always been my strong suit, so when I began realizing this a few posts in, I was able to create much more content of quality. I'm also someone who loves to have support; becoming a part of one of a blogging community is so important! I can't even begin to explain how grateful I am for the support I get from my blogging friends!

Don't get me wrong, I've learned WAY more than 8 things in the course of 365 days but these are the most important things that I've realized thus far. Every day is a learning and growing process!

P.S. be sure to come back tomorrow for a REALLY exciting blogiversary GIVEAWAY!

XOXO

44 comments :

  1. My favorite part of this post is remembering to be you. I've seen so many people start blogging and they lose themselves by trying to be what they think will sell.

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  2. Sounds like you had a great first year. I don't think I will ever run out of ideas either.

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  3. These are great tips, I struggle with a schedule and need to get better. What tools do you use to keep on track? Thanks for this !

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  4. You defiantly need a schedule to blog successfully. I make sure that I actually have office hours and stick to them. I helps a lot!

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  5. I have been blogging for almost 5 years now. I recommend to keep going back to old posts to make improvements and updates. I am currently going through all old posts again.

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  6. I love reading posts like this. I've only been blogging seriously for a month or so now, and seeing others ahead of me reflect back on how far they've come is really encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing your input. Looks like you have a good thing going here. Keep up the good work!!

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  7. Blogging is such a blessing to me when I first started out because I finally had an outlet, a stress-reliever of sorts. Glad to know you learned a lot of things.

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  8. I've seen all of these to be so true! I especially love that point about being yourself and not just trying too hard to create things people will like. I'm also amazed at how I keep coming up with post ideas too! I thought I'd run out and they just keep coming. Blogging is fun and such a great learning experience, that's for sure!

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  9. These are all great tips! The first year is the hardest year for sure and definitely a learning year. Amber N

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  10. Congratulations! These are some great tips! I think promoting your posts and posting consistently are the most important things you can do and always look for ways to improve and grow!

    Molly and Stacie

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  11. I am in love with your blog. I can't stop reading it! Your photos are so bright and perfect!

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  12. Congratulations on one year!!!! That is so amszing!

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  13. Great tips, girl!
    Congrats on your first year of blogging -- my blogiversary is coming up Monday :)

    xoxo, Jenny

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  14. I love that you included to remember to be yourself! This is my first year blogging and all of your list are things that I want to learn more about!

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  15. These are all great tips. sounds like you had an awesome first year

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  16. Congratulations! I know you are bound to reach greater heights! These are all great tips you mentioned which a newbie blogger (or even a seasoned one) can use.

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  17. Sounds like you had a great first year. Congratulations. I wish you more years of blogging fun.

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  18. I think we can always continue to learn things especially when it comes to blogging. You'll learn about your readers, different techniques, plugins and more along the way. Keep blogging.

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  19. This must be the only thing that I like with a routine. I enjoyed reading your post. It's always good to get insights from fellow bloggers. The routine can sometimes be tiring but it is very helpful.

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  20. Congrats on your fist year!! I need to get better about a schedule and being me more often.

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  21. Great tips! It can be overwhelming to blog, but you are so right about having a routine. You need a routine to really get things done timely and with good quality.

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  22. Great tips! You are right about having ideas, I have so many on a document on my computer. :)

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  23. I've been blogging for seven years now and I've definitely learned a lot from those years. Congratulations for making it this far! :)

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  24. So important to just be You! It is easy to get caught up in what you think your writing should instead of focusing on just being real.

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  25. These are great tips. I really need to improve my blogging skills, been blogging for years but I suck at consistency. Setting a schedule would really help me since I had a lot of things to do other than blog, but I've always loved blogging and kind of miss it.

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  26. I agree with everything o this list. Mostly the scheduling. When starting out, some bloggers don't have a set schedule and unfortunately it needs to be prioritized like a regular 9-5, with a constant schedule and timeline!

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  27. really like that thing you said to be YOU indeed very true. When i write on my blog, I write it as how I would tell the story to my friends, it makes me excited and write more than a thousand words and scheduling and being consistent are important too. i post videos on youtube every monday and blog it on my site. then 2nd blogpost on thurs or fri.

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  28. I love your explanations and agree with them. I have been blogging for almost 6 years and all of these things still apply - having a schedule is important and be organized and using your time wisely and finding a balance with your home life and work life.

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  29. Yes on quality over quantity!! That was an important lesson I learned a few years ago and have tried my bed tot stick to!!

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  30. These are great tips. I will have to share this with my Sister. She is just starting to blog.

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  31. Be yourself is good advice. Congratulations on the Blog anniversary. I have been doing this about 7 years now. That's very hard to believe some days. Anyways, I agree with quality over quantity but also there has to be a balance of both. If you do not have enough posts then you are less likely to get the offers from sponsors IMO. You need to maintain authentic voice and stick to your quality projects while also remembering that yes people need to see the blog posting 3 times a week or six times a week or whatever your schedule is for you.

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  32. I've been blogging for 5 years now and it is certainly always a learning experience. I try to stick to what I know best--veering off on occasion. But one thing is for certain--I am always ME.

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  33. Sounds like you learned a lot!!! I'm with you about always having a schedule. It's the only way to stay some what sane in the blogging world!

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  34. You have shared some excellent ideas here! I love that you mentioned that there is always room for growth because this is so true!

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  35. The realization that people won't actually come to see it unless you work to get them there can be pretty sobering. It's so true that the bulk of our time is spent on promotion!

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  36. Congrats on your first year! Huge accomplishment.
    I agree with all of your tips.
    It is very important to create a calendar of what you will write and when you will publish it. It helps you on those days when you feel in a hurry, and it helps you on those days when you sit down to write and your mind goes blank.
    Being consistent is also super important. It shows that you are focused on your work, and when it comes time to monetize, brands want to work with people that are consistent, and focused.
    ---Sicorra@NotNowMomsBusy

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  37. Sounds like you had a really great first year. I'm on year 3 and still finding I can learn more.

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  38. Thanks for sharing great tips.. I am still learning how to use Pinterest and get traffic from it

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  39. Great tips. I think an editorial calendar is wonderful. I pick one day a week as my "get ahead" day and try to write as many posts ahead of time. That way when it's time to publish all I have to do is edit and press submit. Takes away a lot of the stress.

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  40. You learned a lot! I've been doing this 10 years and learn new things each year.

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  41. Those are all great lessons to learn! I've learned those over my years of blogging and have really worked hard to study and learn.

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  42. I strongly that there's always room for growth and expansion. I've been blogging since 2004, and I'm always finding ways to improve and expand.

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  43. Pinterest is definitely high on my priority list as well. I do use StumbleUpon weekly though just to maximize exposure.

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