23 Things I've Learnt From Blogging At 23
I created my first blog post on a sunny day in August 2013. I wrote about what music I liked and the clothes I was interested in. Back then, my content was mainly read by my family and friends. Then I switched things up a bit.
I decided to create content for my blog based on what I knew. Content that people could relate to and learn from. Content that taught people. Content that would show people my digital marketing skills and tell people that I’m a self-starter. Here we are, eighteen months later and my blog has taught me a lot more than I first thought. Today, I’m sharing this with you. Here are the things that blogging has taught me so far.
What I do matters
The fact that people actually respond to what I’m talking about means more to me than anything. The comments, twitter mentions and emails that tell me a post helped someone or inspired them gives me a feeling like no other. It shows me that yes, this is paying off. It does matter.
There is always something to learn
Every single day I pin articles on my Pinterest boards and email myself things that I need to read. This world is full of valuable information. And I don’t want to miss out on anything. Things are always changing in this industry. There’s always something new we can practice. There’s always a new tip we can take on board. This is something I pride myself on doing. The more we can learn, the more we can share with others.
Winter is the devil
Not only does winter mean lack of decent photography weather. It also means lack of motivation and ideas. Do you ever find that? There’s something about the cold, dark nights that takes away all your feelings for wanting to do something. Winter can be the toughest time as bloggers. You have to push so much to get through it. But once you do, it’s worth it.
The creative community is awesome
I come across so much inspiration on a daily basis. Seriously, what you guys are doing is great. Each and every one of you. It’s so refreshing to interact with like-minded people who share the same passions and values.
I can find a way to balance it
There have been times with this blog when I’ve thought “This is too hard.” But I’ve somehow always managed to find a way to get through it. I think it’s important to know what’s important to you, and what you want to get out of what you’re doing. For me, I’ve cut my scheduling down as of this month from five posts to four. Simply because there are other things I want to create for this blog that aren’t getting time dedicated to them. This allows me to balance things more. If you want to do something that much, there’s always a way to balance it.
I need it
Blogging becomes a huge part of your life. So much so, that when you’re talking about something at work, you’re thinking “I could turn this into a blog post.” Sure, it means I’ve got a pile of magazines I don’t read as much as I like. It also means I can’t come home and collapse on the sofa. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. And when I need a break from it, I take one. We all need to take a step back from time to time.
It helps me create a vision for what I want
Recently, I met someone who wants to start blogging. They completely reaffirmed my decisions for where I want to take this online space. How am I going to get there? I have no idea yet. But at least now, I have my end vision. And I can do everything I can to work towards it.
I don’t have to blog every day
When I first started blogging, the articles I read made me feel as if I should be posting every day. But now, I don’t believe that. I don’t believe it’s about how much you post now. This industry is about the value you’re giving your audience through your content and how you’re interacting with them. It also means I can work on other things to give to my audience, which I know you’ll love.
There is so much more to it than just writing
It’s true that over the past few months, bloggers have been given a lot more credibility. But there are still some people out there who see bloggers just as ‘bloggers’. But I wouldn’t even label myself as that anymore. I’m a creative. Because I don’t just blog. I write, edit, design, promote, interact and basically run this online space. We all deserve credibility for that.
Solve your own problems
I get so much interaction from this community and I thank you for that. It’s because we’re liked-minded people who are going through the same things. So if I could pick just one thing from this list that I’ve learnt it would be this. Solve your own problems and turn that into a blog post. The chances are, other people are going through them too. My career series started with the problems I was having at work, and it’s developed into using my own experiences. This is what I base all my content on. And it works.
I’m going to be bold here. First of all, it’s fine if you’re not bothered about SEO. If you don’t want to use it, it’s fine. But for people that don’t believe it should be used at all? I don’t believe that. I wouldn’t have a day job if SEO didn’t work. The company I work at wouldn’t be as big as it is without SEO. It’s hard to wrap your head around, and even harder to actually do. But it definitely works.
So does social media
Combine SEO with social media and you’re onto a winner. I don’t believe you should throw all your eggs into one basket with SEO. The main reason being that social media is one of the best things that has happened to the internet. They are tools that you can take advantage of and use at your disposal – for free! Social media is how I promote myself and find other creatives. But there’s so much more to it than that. If I wrote a book on blogging, social media would get an entire section dedicated to it.
Getting a comment on a post, or a mention on Twitter will never get old
It’s what it’s all about, right? On one of my recent posts, “Five Tips For Content Originality”, people commented on it saying they were making notes. Making notes! You have no idea how excited this made me feel. The fact that people are sitting down and taking my advice on board is so fulfilling. I’m teaching people. I’m doing what I want to do.
I have to always stay true to myself and be me
It can be easy to lose yourself in the blogging world. There are so many bloggers out there and so much content to devour. Taking too much in can cause you to drift and lose your intention. This is why I only consume what I want to consume. And I write for myself and my community. You won’t find me writing about something just because everyone else is doing it. I write from experience, to teach, help and inspire.
Collaboration is the way forward
We can’t achieve our own version of success without supporting one another. It’s why I always share other bloggers content.
If I could work with all the people I admire, I would. I’d create an entire publication dedicated to having people publish content in it. But for now, I’ll create my own collection of tweets. Because I know we need support in this industry. And I’ll always give it to the people I believe in.
My mum will always read my blog posts
It’s just a fact of life isn’t it? Hi mum ;)
I can do design
I’ve never been strong with design. Then during my masters I created magazines. I’ll never be a designer or have that eye for it that I know the experts have. But I can hold my own when it comes to designing for this site. And if I need help in this field, I know I’ll always be able to ask for it.
Everybody thinks they can blog – but they can’t
You’ve got to have certain characteristics to stick at blogging forever. Determination, passion, independence, motivation and drive to name a few. But you’ve also got to be honest, kind and free. If you’ve got those things, then you’ve got ‘it’.
It’s bloody hard work
I get really frustrated when I come across people who think blogging is easy. Someone at my old job thought this and I had a debate with him about it. He soon backed down. We bloggers don’t give up. At the least the ones I admire don’t. Maybe it’s something we all have in common. The knowledge that all the hard work will pay off.
My online space is nothing without my readers
If I didn’t have readers, I wouldn’t have a proper excuse for blogging. One day, a reader commented telling me she was going through a tough time and that my post really inspired her. Then on my recent Easter Inspiration post, a reader and I had a conversation about chocolate. Chocolate! It’s amazing. You keep me going, honestly, you do.
I need to change my platform to Squarespace
This is a big need right now. I just don’t know how I’m going to do it because I work full time. I don’t know whether it’d be a smart move to get someone to change for me? I’d really appreciate some feedback in the comments if any of you have any advice!
I can make friendships through blogging
This has been a huge turning point for me. I came out of university with hardly any friends, and no friends at home. But blogging has completely transformed that for me. I feel like I’m friends with bloggers simply through commenting on their posts and interacting with them through twitter. It’s the beauty of being open and honest with our readers that makes this possible.
I can teach people through blogging
I’ve come to understand that the one thing I want to do in class is teach. Not teach pre-school children their ABC. But teach like-minded young people about the world we live in today. Blogging might be able to make this possible for me. Or shall I be a little braver?
Blogging can help make this possible for me.
I'd love to know, what has blogging taught you so far?
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