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I can’t believe how much my life has changed since I started this little blog. When I think back to where I was when I started my blog, and compare it to where I am now, I am totally blown away.
You see, blogging is something you can kind of do at your own pace. You can choose to just potter along, learning bits and pieces along the way as you slowly grow your little corner of the Internet. Your blog might be your safe place, your hobby, your happy little escape.
Or you might be like me – the kind of person who dives in head first, works incredibly hard at learning everything I can about my new obsession and finds such a fire and passion about their blog. You can be a little of both camps, but for me blogging is now so much a part of my life I couldn’t imagine what I would do without it.
I literally spend hours upon hours every day reading about blogging, talking about blogging, researching anything that could possibly be related to blogging and business, and most of all – actually blogging.
The past 6 months have been a massive learning curve for this non-techy-didn’t-even-know-what-css-html-or-self-hosted-meant woman. So I thought I’d share with you the major lessons I’ve learned about blogging along the way…
1 – Hobby or business, if your blog is important to you then it is worth investing in.
Before I started blogging, I was a little bit obsessed with knitting. I still love to knit, but have a bit less time for it now. Knitting was a hobby that I spent a lot of money on (anyone who has ever had a love for yarn will understand). Hobbies cost money and your blog is no different – just because there are free options doesn’t mean they are the best options for you. Work out what is worth investing in and what you can use for free and make it work for you.
2 – You need the support of those around you, especially on the days when you want to give up.
While most days blogging are happy and uplifting, there are some days when you just want to pack it all in. There are some pretty negative people out there and while you may have good intentions, there are some that will find malice in anything you do. The Internet has many trolls and keyboard warriors and you need to develop ways to deal with these. My gorgeous fiancé (my ‘Blouse’) is brilliant in helping me through these rough patches.
3 – It’s okay to not want to blog for a little while.
Blogging is full on and it can be tiring. When I started out, I was spending around 70 – 80 hours a week doing something blogging related (I wish I was exaggerating… but I’m not…). It consumes you and becomes part of your everyday life. Once the blog was set up to a point where I was happy, I started blocking out time when I wouldn’t blog, making sure I was spending time with my family and having time to myself to relax.
Blogging burnout happens and you can even find yourself in a blogging funk. I have before and it can be a little scary. But I learned that it is okay if you don’t want to blog for a while – if you get to this point you probably need a break anyway. Take a day, a week… take a month – whatever you need. Your blog will still be there waiting for you.
4 – You’re allowed to change your mind.
Then change it again. Your blog isn’t set in stone. It is constantly growing and evolving and your goals and direction for your blog may change – and that’s okay. It’s okay to change your mind on blog design, on topics, on your niche, on your name, on the images you use. This is YOUR blog and you can do whatever you want with it.
5 – The blogging community is the most supportive and engaging community I have ever been part of.
There’s no such thing as ‘competition’. It’s understood that there is enough Internet space for us all and supporting each other only grows our own blogs. I have made some lovely friends in the last 6 months – and I haven’t even met them face-to-face. Calling this group of people supportive is an understatement. I’ve had people go out of their way to help me when I was having trouble with web design or spammers or any other newbie type issue.
6 – Don’t compare yourself to others.
This is the blogging black hole. Many bloggers have fallen into this trap before and suffered because of it. Oh it is tempting – you see bloggers who you admire doing amazing things, then look back at your blog and wonder why you aren’t there yet… I’ve done this – but I had to remind myself – I am so new to all of this. I looked at where I started and where I am now and remind myself that I have achieved so much already… Imagine where this will be in a few years time…
7 – Blog about what interests you.
If you really hate art and craft and you have started an art and craft blog because you think you will get a lot of traffic from it then you are setting yourself up for disaster. There will come a time when you feel like you ‘have’ to write something, and you may even have a few posts that you have created purely for the sake of creating a post.
I have learned that the key to always having something to write about is to write about what you love. And your passion for your topic will come across in your writing. There are some people whose posts you read and you can literally feel their excitement. What interests you may change over time (see point 4) but you need to stick with what you love.
There you have it – 6 months of blogging lessons in a nutshell. No, they aren’t lessons about how to double your traffic overnight or how to gain a million followers on Twitter… but they are incredibly important lessons that I have learned in my short little time as a blogger.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned as a blogger? I’d love to hear about your experiences – share your lessons in the comments below.