I am not sure what amount of time has to pass before you graduate from being a ‘beginner blogger’ to ‘blogger’, but after almost five years using this site I like to think I have qualified for the latter. Since then, there have been a few times when I looked back and wished I had done things differently, and I was recently asked a question on the topic.
Thank you to Demetri for asking me:
I have to answer that by looking at my own blog and what I now do compared to what I did back at the beginning. What I know now that I didn’t at the time and what I have improved on since. My first bit of advice would be this:
Don’t rush in.
I was indecisive five years ago, I didn’t know whether to write a book or start a blog. I decided on starting a blog. I assumed that I would need to plan a book very carefully, but didn’t give a blog as much thought. I mean, it is something that I can keep adding to and changing along the way, right?
Right. However this doesn’t mean planning ahead would be of no worth. I have changed my blog title three times, and changed the style and theme of my blog as well along the way. If I had a second chance to do it again, I would have put much more thought into the blog title, style, theme, topics of my blog and blogging schedule. Preview the blog before it goes live, see if you are comfortable with it. Ask friends and family of their opinions, you might think the design looks cool however everyone else may think it is the most tacky thing going. Of course go with what you want, that is the beauty of blogging. But you might appreciate the feedback before putting it out there to the masses. If these are planned in advance, you don’t jump in blind and can really hit the ground running.
The great thing about being a new blogger is that there will be minimal engagement at the start. This is a great time to experiment with what you are doing if your blog is already live, you aren’t going to be hit with thousands of comments asking you why your theme has changed five times this month. Trial and error is key and this quiet phase of the blog is a great time to see what works with minimal repercussions.
As well as planning the launch of a blog, plan each blog post. This still applies to me five years in and something I still need to work on. A rainy day is a great excuse to sit down and plan the week, and in time this will be of great benefit for the days when you have much less time. We are all busy, and I try my best to use the pockets of free time and days off to prepare posts that I can schedule whilst I am at work. This links in well to my next piece of advice.
Keep it consistent.
The one thing I have learned and has been of more value than anything is to be consistent. No one likes inconsistency, inside and outside of blogging. If people know that you will deliver what you promise to deliver week in, week out, they will come back for more. I love to be able to blog daily and that I have readers that know I will blog daily. I don’t like to stray from this and consistency builds a routine. That routine helps make blogging that much easier. It doesn’t matter if your posts are daily, weekly or monthly, prove to your readers that you are consistent by delivering when you say you will and the commitment will be rewarded.
Engage with the community.
This is something I didn’t do for the first three and a half years. I have always wanted to be able to blog to the masses and be able to publish a book to a wider audience, however I arrogantly assumed that I could do so by posting my thoughts only and not reaching out to other bloggers. I stayed in my corner of the internet and expected people to come my way. Despite this, I was very lucky to have some people give me the chance and engage with me as I blogged daily.
Exactly one year to the day, I posted this thank you from the Blue Mountains.
Every single milestone I have hit has been amazing, however I knew there were so many more people out there that I haven’t been engaging with by being a recluse. Millions of awesome blogs, fascinating stories and amazing people. It is the same reason why I travel, I don’t believe we should only stick to our little corner of the world. There is so much more to explore.
For this reason I set myself an aim to reach out more and have done everyday since. By doing this, I hit another milestone last month and have been able to engage with so many more awesome people in the process. I follow many more bloggers, find so much more inspiration to post and feel so much more connected to the community.
Seek and ye shall find.
This is one of the hardest ones to accomplish, and I have seen many promising blogs fade away as a result. The blogs I looked up to early on are still going strong, and this is a sign of a great blog and a reason why I try so hard to keep going. One that can blog consistently and keep delivering, not letting a lack of motivation get in the way. To blog you have to have a passion, it isn’t something that can be done if our hearts aren’t in it. I mean, we aren’t getting paid for it, so what other reason would there be other than it being something that means a lot to us?
And if it means a lot to us, keep it up! Life is too short and we spend so much time doing things we don’t want to in our everyday lives. If we can tolerate the daily commutes to work and the 8+ hours spent working for someone else, lets dedicate some of our time to doing what WE want to do. You never know, blogging may be the escape from the dull existence we find ourselves in, and that all starts as a beginner.
I was going to say ‘good luck’ with your blogging, however if we are relying on luck we aren’t putting the work in ourselves. Enjoy what you do, make the most of this great platform and hopefully you will look back on your blog in years to come with no regrets.
Let yourself be known to the world whilst you are still able to!
Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!
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