Well everyone, I’ve officially been blogging for two months! Why am I so excited about a seemingly small milestone? Because it feels more like it’s been six months…
Now, you may have read the title of this post and thought, “What could you have possibly learned in just two months of blogging?” You’d be justified in thinking that. There are bloggers who have been doing this gig for years, and even they admit that they still don’t know everything yet. But you’d be surprised to hear that there is quite a lot you can learn in a short amount of time as well.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m far from being a blogging expert and that I still have a number of (read: all the) skills to master. However, I have definitely come to realise a number of important lessons and truths, both about blogging and about myself, over this two-month period. Because these are things that I’ve learned, some of them may be quite specific to me and my situation. You know, that lack of creativity and overwhelming perfectionism situation. But my hope is that many of them will also ring true with you.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about blogging so far:
Remember your reason for blogging
This point is so important. No, seriously. There are many articles about starting a blog that include knowing your reason for blogging as a key step. Although I took note of this when reading these articles, I didn’t think it was as crucial as, say, finding the right web hosting service provider or mastering SEO. But as I’ve continued on my blogging journey, I’ve come to realise just how necessary it is to remember why you started blogging in the first place.
For me, I started the Komposed Blog because starting a blog was something I’d always wanted to do. I wanted it to be something I could enjoy and have fun with. It was also meant to help me grow my creativity, overcome perfectionism, try new things and develop my writing skills. And if it inspired others and earned a little money along the way, that would be amazing too.
However, especially in the last few weeks, I’ve realised that I’ve lost sight of that vision. Instead, I’m finding it difficult to break out of the work-oriented mindset, unrealistic goals and perfectionism still hanging over me from my university days. I have a tendency to think that everything has a deadline (and that you’re dead if you go over it). That everything I produce needs to be perfect, otherwise I might “fail” at it. That I need to reach certain goals in a certain amount of time, or else my blog will never be a success.
This kind of thinking really doesn’t match up with my initial goals.
When times are tough and you’ve hit a wall, remembering your reason for blogging can really help you to refocus on what is most important to you and clarify the way forward.
You don’t need to get it right the first time…
In all of my Pinterest trawls (and they are many), there is always at least one pin about “x Blogging Mistakes You are Making”, or “x Things You Should be Doing to Make Your Blog a Success”. Now don’t get me wrong, these articles contain valuable advice. But it’s also very easy to become overwhelmed by all things you “need” to be getting right on your blog. And to beat yourself up if because you are/aren’t doing a number of things on these lists.
Blogging is a skill, and no one is an expert at it from the get go. Give yourself the freedom to experiment and make mistakes along the way. You will eventually find your blogging rhythm. No one has ever truly arrived, and you certainly don’t have to have arrived when you’re just starting out! Keep doing what you love and improve along the way.
…or know what you’re doing ALL the time
Building on my previous point, you don’t need to be a master at all the skills associated with blogging either. Social media marketing, SEO, writing, creating email campaigns, you name it. No one learns these skills at school or university (unless you did, which would be amazing), and so they will take time to develop.
At the moment, blogging for me feels like one giant juggling act. You need to write a post that has quality content and contains pin-worthy images, but that also has great SEO, and then create impactful social media posts which need to be scheduled to optimal posting times. And many many more extras. It can all be totally overwhelming. Although I’ve always had this expectation that I need to get all of these elements right all the time, I’m now going to allow myself to focus on one thing at a time. Rather take the time to do something properly than rush things and get a mediocre result.
Set realistic goals. Very realistic goals
There are many blog posts (and entire blogs) claiming that you can “Earn your first $1 000 within 3 months of starting your blog”. That you can “Grow your Instagram following to 10k by the end of the month”. Or that you can “Get 100 000 page views on your website” by “following x simple steps”. While I don’t doubt that these people have been able to do this, I’ve decided that I’m not going to subscribe to that hype.
Maybe I’m just cynical when it comes to advice promising big results with minimal effort. There’s a reason for that. Unrealistic goals are a major demotivating factor for me. Especially while I’m still getting the hang of this whole blogging thing. So instead of adopting the massive goals prescribed by the major players in this blogging game, I’m going to set myself smaller, more attainable goals. I’ve mentioned before that smaller, more frequent victories, really help you to achieve larger, long-term goals.
Everything happens in our own time, and your goals should be specific to you, your strengths, your needs, and what you want.
Quality is better than quantity
A lot of successful bloggers, YouTubers and other online personalities owe much of their success to frequent and regular posts and updates. But while I would love to upload a new blog post twice a week, every week (this was my initial goal when starting out), I’ve come to realise that to do that, I would have to compromise on the quality of my posts. Even after a two-week break and lots of hard work, my goal of one post per week is looking like a bit of a tall order.
And that’s okay.
I would rather post less frequently but provide more meaningful and longer form content for you, the readers, to enjoy, than produce low-quality posts just to meet a self-imposed deadline. I’ve come to learn that the regularity of updates is far more important than their frequency. Or put another way, rather post something every two weeks on a consistent basis, than post five things in one week and then go quiet for the rest of the month.
You don’t need to be present on all social media
For some reason, I got the idea that I needed to have every social media account under the sun, “just in case” I was missing out on potential audiences across different platforms. The problem with that is that being present (truly present) on any social media platform takes time and effort, even with the help of apps like Hootsuite and Tailwind. You need to find, create and post content, and then engage with commenters and other users on a regular basis. While social media marketing is a very important part of blogging, being on too many platforms can take away valuable time from the actual blogging part.
Now here’s a little case in point. I have Twitter. I
HATE really don’t like Twitter. But up until this point, I’ve managed to convince myself that it was important to growing my readership. I only have 14 followers. And I really couldn’t be bothered with trying to grow that number at this point. I’ve honestly always thought that Twitter is a big waste of time, and with social media experts recommending at least 10-15 posts per day in order to stay relevant… Well, I wouldn’t want to waste my or my followers’ time coming up with enough waffle to meet that count.
So rather than working on my Twitter account, which isn’t much fun, I’ll be focussing on the social media platforms I really do enjoy, such as Instagram and Facebook. Maybe one day I’ll return to Twitter, but only when I can afford the time.
The moral of the story: If a certain social media platform doesn’t quite suit your style or isn’t adding to your blog’s success, leave it and focus your time and energy on the ones that do. Rather one top quality account, than 10 “meh” ones.
P.S. If you enjoy using Twitter, that’s awesome! You do you, and keep rocking it!
Don’t be afraid to spend money on your blog
I don’t know why, but I tend to have a problem with buying things that aren’t tangible. Especially things that only exist on the internet, like web hosting, WordPress themes, and premium versions of plugins and apps. But when I consider that my blog is an investment, both for my mental wellbeing and possibly in a financial sense, spending money on it suddenly makes a lot of sense. Artisans invest in the proper tools to get their jobs done, and your blog should be no different.
Decide on a few essential tools that will help your blog grow in the way you want and need it to, and start saving up to purchase these. You won’t regret it.
Thank you for reading!
You may have realised that this post was as much a pep talk to myself as it was sharing a list of things I’ve learned about blogging so far. If you have any of your own lessons to share, or if you found one of my points to be particularly helpful, please let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions 🙂
Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you in the next post!