10 Lessons Learned in my First Year of Blogging

Wow I can’t believe I’ve made it through my first year of blogging! Every day I continue to learn so much and I feel as though I still have way more to learn. I’ve listened to a trillion podcasts on blogging, read a million blog posts on blogging and questioned myself more times than I’d like to count. Throughout this journey I continue to learn, grow and gain experience.

10 things I’ve learned so far in my first year of blogging:

BLOGGING IS HARD WORK

Blogging is hard! Everyone out there makes it seem so easy. The people who sell blogging courses make it look simple to “blog your way to a six figure income in a week” or “gain 1,000 Pinterest followers in a day”. If it were that easy, I guess everyone would do it…

Furthermore, there’s so much competition out there. Every day I come across many super talented bloggers who make it look easy because their blogs are beautiful, they write well and have been at it for several years.

In my first year of blogging I realized that it’s really difficult to write a helpful post, create pretty images to go with the post, promote the post at the right time on the right platform and figure out any technical glitches that might pop up.

To the bloggers who do all of these things — you are amazing!

BLOGGING IS VERY TIME CONSUMING

I spend a lot of my time on the computer and sometimes I feel like I’m attached to my phone. If I’m not creating a post, I’m promoting a post or learning how to do something new on the blog.

Lucky for me I enjoy writing, meeting new people out on in the blogosphere and learning new things so spending this time is enjoyable and not a chore.

THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT ONLY OTHER BLOGGERS UNDERSTAND

Whenever I talk to my friends and family about my email list, a new social media outlet or search engine optimization I feel as though their eyes gloss over. To me, this stuff is interesting. To them, not so much.

That’s where other bloggers and blogging communities come in. I’m a part of a number of Facebook groups and find that just by reading the comments in the groups I feel like I’ve got company on this blogging journey.

I MAY NEVER MAKE MONEY BLOGGING (AND THAT’S OK)

Before I started blogging, I thought I’d be able to make a bit of extra money with my hobby. Boy was I wrong.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I signed up for Amazon Affiliates pretty soon after starting this blog. I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to sell a book or a toy here and there.

After the first few months, I was kicked out of Amazon Associate’s affiliate program because I hadn’t sold a thing. I haven’t made one penny off of affiliate links during my first year of blogging. I keep on applying to other affiliate programs all the time. Sometimes I’m accepted and other times I get denied.

I’m working on increasing my page views so that one day my blog will pay for itself. While one of my goals is to have a self sustaining blog, I’m ok with the fact that this will continue to take time.

I work full time, plus I have a family to take care of. During my first year of blogging I discovered that there are times that the blog has to wait. My lack of time likely stunts some of my growth but this is the current situation and that’s ok. I just have to remember not to constantly compare myself and my blog to those people out there who do this as a full time gig.

MY SKILL SET IS GROWING

Every day I’m learning something new. I love learning and I find that all of these skills are not only useful for the blog, but in my full time job as well. Being exposed to new concepts and resources helps me stay on top of things at work and come up with new and innovative ideas.

I think having a handle on social media is really important in today’s connected world. Understanding how it works and how to use it to my advantage is helpful now and will continue to be beneficial wherever my career takes me.

I’M CONTINUOUSLY GROWING MY SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

I find that knowing how to use social media and gaining a strong presence on platforms like Twitter continue to grow in importance. As I’m growing my personal social media profile I’m working on using social media in my work and building those skills as well.

MY WRITING IS IMPROVING

I’ve always enjoyed writing. As a practicing lawyer, I learned a specific way to write. I had to be persuasive and analytical. My audience consisted of other lawyers, judges and clients.

In the world of blogging my audience is completely different. I’m not 100% sure who actually reads my blog, but I’m willing to bet my primary audience does not consist of 60 year old men.

I love being able to add personality and humor to my writing. Being true to myself in my writing, the stories I tell and the advice that I give is one of the best parts of blogging.

I PROBABLY NEED A PLAN

In my first year of blogging I didn’t plan much at all. I wrote about topics of interest to me (that I thought could also help people) but the posts were not cohesive.

I’m in the middle of reading some books on blogging and taking some small courses on the topic as well. All of these resources point to the importance of having a plan for content, social media etc. As I continue working on my blog, I hope to focus on planning, scheduling and making my blog more united.

SOMETIMES THINGS DON’T WORK

I admit, I’m a bandwagon jumper. If someone mentions a new social media platform and it looks fun then I’ll sign up and give it a try. Unfortunately, sometimes these platforms just don’t fit with who I am.

Snapchat is the perfect example. I read about Snapchat on one of the many blogs about blogging that I follow and I thought I’d give it a try. What did I learn? Snapchat is super confusing and doesn’t resonate with me.

I ended up wasting a bunch of time learning more about the platform and trying to understand how it worked without a positive outcome in the end. Sure, I could have spent the time learning something else or writing another post but that’s ok. Again, you win some and you loose some — as long as I keep on having fun (and I’m helping others) that’s what matters.

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Before I started blogging I was always hesitant to step out of my comfort zone online and in social media. Many of the blogging tips I’ve read mention how important it is to reach out and connect with other bloggers through social media, commenting and on Facebook groups. I had never done any of these things before, but once I started I discovered how much fun it can be. I really enjoy reading other people’s blogs, commenting and learning new things plus all of these new posts are constant sources of inspiration for me.

My first year of blogging has been busy, confusing and full of new experiences. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring!

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