I have been blogging on and off and about five years now and I’m just going to be honest, it wasn’t a piece of chocolate cake.
In fact, most of the time it wasn’t even a piece of carrot cake.
Sorry carrot cake lovers.
That being said, I’ve learned a lot and am obviously still blogging so it wasn’t all bad.
In fact, a lot of blogging I loved and still do.
But I’m writing this post to show you it’s not all rainbows, butterflies and chocolate cake.
Sometimes you get stuck with carrot cake.
I’ve had my fair share of blogs that never saw the light of day.
Others were thrown about the internet a few times here and there and were maybe seen by one more person than my mom.
Everyone’s point of view and opinion of what success means to them is going to be a bit different.
I have since created two new blogs, the one you’re reading now and this one (still a work in progress) and I’m brought some highly valuable lessons with me to my two new blogs.
Oh, I’m also creating a third so stay tuned for that if you like lifestyle stuff.
And since I want you to actually stick around and read this post I’m going to get right into it.
6 Things I Learned From Five Years of Blogging
#1. My blog isn’t all about me.
This was probably one of the tougher lessons I to learn and I had to learn it quickly.
When I first started blogging I was blogging about whatever the heck I wanted, what I enjoyed, what I found interesting but of no particular value.
I was literally putting a few random words on a page and calling it a blog post.
I wasn’t thinking that if I wanted to use my blog as a business and not a hobby or personal blog then I needed to actually think about what my audience wanted.
Not just what I wanted.
It took me a long time to figure this out.
I didn’t understand why no one but my mom was reading it.
Then it hit me, I wasn’t providing any value and I had zero direction.
So even if people were coming to my blog they were bouncing right away because of well one, they didn’t care about why I thought my dog was adorable with his Christmas sweater on and two, it didn’t give anything in return.
No value, no entertainment, no nothing.
But once I figured that out…after yes, three unsuccessful blogs that were literally just about what I wanted them to be about, everything changed.
As I said, blogging is about teaching others and if your audience doesn’t want or need to learn about “how cute my dog was today”, they aren’t going to read it.
Blogging is giving the people what they want and until I did that, my blog didn’t grow.
#2. Other bloggers are not the enemy.
Oh man, I used to avoid other blogs and other bloggers like the plague!
I kept thinking of them as my competition and let’s face it, I was stubborn as heck and I didn’t want to learn from them.
But they’ve been blogging for a whole lot longer than me and a lot can be learned from seasoned bloggers.
I didn’t want to collaborate or join Facebook groups with other bloggers and I sure as heck didn’t want other bloggers to read my blog.
What a mistake!
The fact of the matter is, you can’t do this alone.
Well, you can but it’s lonely and tough.
Collaborating, growing and learning from other bloggers is imperative to the success of your blog.
But don’t go too far into looking at what other bloggers are doing and play the comparison game.
That helps no one.
#3. If you build it, they will come.
I was so excited to launch my blog.
I had everything set up, I had five blog posts with catchy titles (or so I thought) and clicked publish.
I sat back and waited for the heaps of traffic to come rolling in.
Alright, okay, no worries, so I kept writing and writing and writing.
I deleted that blog and tried again…and again.
This was devastating to me.
I thought people would just show up at my door excited to read what I had to share.
I was like that house that has all their lights off during Halloween but is patiently waiting by the door with loads of candy.
Nobody knew I was home.
My marketing strategy was zero.
Literally, I wasn’t sharing my blog posts anywhere so why would I expect people to show up??
I had no idea that I actually had to share my blog posts for people to read them. I just assumed that once it was on the internet people know it was there.
This one stung quite a bit but you live and learn.
I didn’t start using social media for my blog until this blog. YES.
And at the very beginning, I didn’t even know what SEO was.
I now utilize Pinterest and SEO to drive thousands of views every single month.
Helpful Resources: If you want to grow your blog, you have to show people it’s there. Pinterest is one of the best places to start when it comes to growing blog traffic and getting your blog out there.
#4. Write more to write less.
That sounds like I’m contradicting myself.
When I first started blogging I was blogging five to six times a week but my posts were only about 300-500 words on a good day.
My posts weren’t super informative, I wasn’t giving any value and I was driving myself crazy trying to blog that much.
I started to dread writing posts, I became inconsistent and frustrated.
At this time I was also not getting any traffic and spending hours on my blog only to get nowhere.
Today, I write two blog posts a week, two because I’m slightly obsessed with writing and each post is 1,000-1500 words long.
Some of my posts are closer to 3,000 or 4,000 words.
Not only does this allow me to teach and make my posts as valuable as possible, but it also allows me to write more while writing less frequently.
In my eyes, blogging is about quality over quantity.
Which is something I didn’t focus on before and my results reflected that.
All in all, I found what worked best for me and my audience which is extremely important.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if it is broke, fix it.
#5. You can use your blog to make a profit.
The first time I even realized making money from your blog was a thing was when a family member of mine asked if I was making money blogging.
I said no but soon became consumed by the idea.
Why this idea had never crossed my mind before, I’m not really sure.
Probably because I wasn’t really paying attention to other bloggers writing about making money.
Keep in mind, I didn’t realize I even could monetize my blog until my third “failed” blog.
Let’s get one thing straight, you do not, I repeat, you do not have to ever monetize your blog. That is your choice and your choice alone.
And you also don’t have to be in the “make money blogging” niche.
The reason I even wanted to make money blogging in the first place was so that I could be a full-time blogger because I love it (and I am).
Anyway, I went off on a rant but the point is, I didn’t even know it was possible and when I did I was able to share resources and tools with my audience as well as make some money.
#6. Your blog is a list building machine.
Growing my email list was probably one of the most difficult lessons I had to learn.
I thought emails didn’t matter.
I thought as long as I had followers on social media I was good.
I didn’t realize the importance of email marketing and once I did, I didn’t understand how to grow my list.
I paid for ads, I spent hundreds of dollars and got ZERO leads.
I didn’t realize I had a list building gold mine sitting right in front of me!
My blog is the biggest driver of growth for my email list and it’s free.
I don’t spend money on ads, I don’t waste time and I do it all on autopilot.
Helpful Resources: Your email list is such an important asset but it’s not as easy to build one as it used to be. Check out this post to learn how to actually build your list the right way.
While I look back at these past blogs as unsuccessful, I will always see them as lessons learned.
I’m always improving and once you know better you do better right?
So whether you are just starting out or are trying to take your blog more seriously look at everything as a lesson that can be learned and improved on!
Are you new to blogging or have you been blogging for a while? Tell me below!