lessons learned in the first year of blogging

Today The Simplicity Habit turned one! Here are some lessons I have learned in the first year of blogging. Thanks to everyone who has been a part of the journey this past year.

Lessons learned in the first year of blogging:

  1. The success stories you hear about are the exception
  2. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
  3. It’s not for the faint of heart
  4. There is more to it than you think
  5. You can spend a lot of money on blogging courses
  6. Posting when you aren’t thinking clearly is dangerous
  7. Just because you think you write something brilliant doesn’t mean it will resonate
  8. Likes, comments, and encouragement mean a lot
  9. It can be lonely
  10. Your email list is everything

The success stories you hear about are the exception

Have you heard or read stories of people who have been blogging for 3 seconds and earned thousands of dollars? That is either: a. not true b. not the whole story or c. an extremely rare case.

Starting a blog is a lot of work. If you go into it expecting that you will be achieving crazy amounts of success in a very short period of time, you may need to readjust your expectations or prepare to be disappointed.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Blogging is not a get rich quick scenario so please don’t buy anything from anyone who says it is. It’s much more like a marathon than a sprint.

Knowing what you are getting into when you start helps you to stay the course. You’ll learn a lot as you go, but pace yourself and know it will take stretching and growing to work towards your goals.

You’ve got to believe in your message and in yourself. You will likely not be the first person to write on your subject matter, but there may be people who will hear the message best from you. Whatever focus you choose, it should be something that is meaningful to you or you’ll burn out quickly.

It’s not for the faint of heart

Do you remember when blogging was first a thing and everyone was signing up for a free page on Blogspot or Blogger? For many people, it was an online journal to share with friends and family. In a rare few cases, those turned into businesses kind of on accident. The majority of bloggers don’t find success by accident.

Jumping into the world of blogging is not for the faint of heart. It takes commitment, determination, and perseverance if you want to succeed. You win by not quitting. You continue to get back up after you’re knocked down and keep working to figure things out.

It’s an ever moving platform that requires resilience and flexibility. And just so you know, it is a real job even if people don’t understand what you do.

There is more to it than you think

Being a blogger requires that you develop and hone various skill sets. Starting on WordPress can feel overwhelming initially. There is a bit of technology to learn.

Then you get to flex your design skills as you envision and create your logo and site design. Now you get to work on your writing skills as you post content regularly.

The next step is figuring out how to share what you’ve written because you could have mastered all of those initial steps, but no one knows how to find your work. Welcome to the world of social media with various platforms to learn (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).

You also want to make sure people can find you by searching so now you get to figure out SEO and Pinterest. And it can all feel a bit like parenting because as soon as you think you’ve got something figured out, they change it up on you.

This is why you want to create an email list which has its own learning curve. Flodesk is the provider I am using now and I love it! With my affiliate link, you get 50%!

All of those skills don’t even take into account figuring out how to monetize a blog. There are various ways to do that, but all of them take more work and learning. You can choose any combination of affiliate marketing, sponsorship, ads, and product creation. Many of them require more marketing skills.

While you can hire people for many aspects of blogging, that requires money so if you’re on a shoestring budget, that may not be an option at the beginning.

I hope I didn’t just totally freak you out if you were considering blogging. It’s a lot but as Marie Forleo would say, ‘everything is figureoutable’. You focus on figuring out one thing at a time.

You can spend a lot of money on blogging courses

It’s so easy as a blogger to get sucked into the world of online blogging courses. There are so many options out there for ways to learn, build, and grow your blog. Some of them are packed with great information and others well, aren’t.

One could easily become a full-time student with the tuition to match if they continually purchased courses. Have a budget and stick to it (I’m talking to myself here).

Posting when you are tired is dangerous

Similar to how you should never send an email or make any big decisions when you are tired, emotional, or distracted, you should also not hit publish when you aren’t able to think clearly.

While you can edit later, that really isn’t ideal and screenshots last forever. Think before you publish.

When I get tired, I tend to get more sarcastic. You can get a sense on this post how my tone changes slightly when I hit publish past 9pm.

Just because you think you write something brilliant doesn’t mean it will resonate

The internet is a finicky friend. You can write something that you spent a ton of time on that you feel was insightful…brilliant even, but it may fall flat. Knowing what will resonate with people can be hard to predict. And there are so many factors to what gets clicked on, liked, and shared.

It’s possible that the list you wrote down in 20 minutes and published becomes a hit. Meanwhile, the post you contemplated, researched, and developed for hours gets no love. It can be more art than science at times so you learn to just roll with it.

Likes, comments, and encouragement mean a lot

In the early days of blogging, it’s easy to feel like you are just talking to yourself. And you probably are. It takes time to get your message out there to an audience. Even if you have people reading your posts, it is mostly the spammers who try to comment on it.

You know the feeling when you post a thought or picture on Facebook or Instagram and get a lot of likes, hearts, or positive comments? That feeling gets taken to a whole new level when you’ve put your heart and soul into a post you’ve written or an email you’ve sent.

Hearing positive feedback is awesome and more meaningful than I would have realized before becoming a blogger.

The coolest thing happened today. I set a goal last Thursday of getting my Facebook page to 500 likes by the end of today. I was at 333 at the time.

And do you know what, my people showed up for me and liked and shared my page and by 5:40pm tonight, we’d reached the goal! It’s hard to put into words what that show of support and encouragement means to me.

It can be lonely

Transitioning from working with coworkers, or in my case having kids at home with you, to working solo the majority of the time takes some adjusting. It can feel lonely and like no one understands what you’re doing.

My solution to this has been to work to build community. I’m fortunate enough to have a friend from church who is an established blogger. I also joined 2 local Facebook groups of bloggers. I meet with these women regularly to talk about all things blogging.

I’ve also joined and created online communities of people in the same niche.

Blogging seems to attract a lot of introverts, so working to build community may be outside your comfort zone. It takes intention and some work, but being connected to people who understand your work makes a huge difference.

Your email list is everything

One of the first lessons I learned in the first year of blogging is that your email list is everything. If you are a blogger reading this you are likely nodding your head as you’ve heard this many times.

As social platforms continue to change outside of your control, your email list is something you are able to have control over and manage.

I have to put a plug here for my email service provider, Flodesk, which has the more beautiful email designs and has significantly lower pricing than any other option out there. With my affiliate link, you get it for just $19 per month!

As a reader, what’s in it for you is that newsletters often give you a more personal window into the life of the writer. Additional information, tips, tricks, resources, freebies, and sales are offered exclusively to subscribers.

It’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss posts and get insider information from your favorite bloggers. You can sign up for my list below!

Thanks for checking out the lessons learned in the first year of blogging. It will be interesting to see what year two holds. Thanks to all of my readers and supporters over this past year!

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8 Comments

  1. Great post! I just started my blog 3 months ago and its def hard. I did youtube before this and that was hard as well but i would say blogging has way more effort into posting if your doing it right! But i Def love it!

  2. Yes to all of these! People don’t realize just how much hard work it takes and there are so many more components than just writing 🙂 And congrats on getting to 500 likes!

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