Blogging Year One: Top 5 Things I Learned

red ribbon gift. Image courtesy of stock.xchng®Today (August 25) marks the one-year anniversary of this blog. Although a long-time fan/reader of several blogs, I first started researching and learning about the blogosphere for a corporate project. Still, I was intrigued about sharing my writing in my own space.  I did know I wanted to avoid deeply personal, journal-like revelations of writers like Emily  Gould, who wrote this 2008 New York Times Magazine article “Exposed: Blog-Post Confidential.” I’m either too shy or too much of a Scorpio to be that revealing!

Since sticking my toe in the Internets, this blog has gone through a few changes, starting with the typewriter key look below. Once the logo for my company a.k.a writer was finished, I launched it with a new header here, too. Original Blog Screen Shot

And that’s when things starting clicking. As part of debuting a new look, I also changed my approach to blogging and saw some great growth as a result. Here are the top five things (in no particular order) I’ve learned from my experience – so far.

  1. Schedules are good*. Rebellious by nature, I tend to avoid overly scheduling my life and there was no logic to my early posting routine. My first full month of blogging, I posted a total of three times. Now I’m posting three times a week. Committing to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule has helped me set goals and it forces me to write. This is especially helpful since copywriting pays the bills: my blogging commitment reminds me that I also write for me.
  2. Blogging is better with others. Early on, I posted that I was “okay” with people not commenting here. I was just happy to know people were reading. Today, commenting is very important to me. I make sure to respond on other blogs I enjoy reading and I make a point of engaging with the comments you post. It’s helped me learn more about readers and fellow bloggers – and I’ve connected with some amazing people.
  3. Goals are good. I really like to promote my blog through social networking sites like twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s also where I frequently discover new sites and writers. To help me evaluate the effectiveness of my time on such sites, I set goals for how many new readers I would like to add each month. By forcing myself to analyze the numbers each month, it keeps from falling into bad habits, like spending too many unfocused hours on twitter. (I also use these sites and others to make helpful connections for my business.)
  4. Focus works. I was a little bit… well, I was all over the place when I started blogging and I struggled with ideas every week. The “aha” for me dawned when I realized that my primary desire to write stems from storytelling. I grew up listening to my grandfathers share their adventures – and that’s exactly what I want to do. I also want to help other people share their stories, whether it’s through interviews with entrepreneurs, writing tips or a peek into my journey as a freelance writer/ business owner. Since finding my focus, the post ideas just keep flowing.
  5. Personal can be pertinent. Sharing personal experiences, such as my first month on my own resonated with people, including readers who were thinking about freelancing or starting a business. It’s not just providing useful content, it’s about being a real person – mistakes and all. Since I keep my portfolio on this site, I do try to keep every post carefully balanced on a professional line.

*Okay, so I broke the schedule this week. It’s my blogiversary!

Do you have blogging tips or questions? Please share in the comments. The floor is yours!

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12 thoughts on “Blogging Year One: Top 5 Things I Learned

  1. Liz & Laura, it seems like I’ve been able to become more connected / stay better connected with both of you because of your blogs. You are the treat to me!

    (p.s. Dear cousin, I haven’t forgotten that you gave me the “okay” for pictures. I just haven’t quite decided what I want to write yet!)

  2. Alan, I do agree with you that it can be a difficult balance between having to say something and having something to say! If I were to add a #6 of things I’ve learned it would be to write ahead so I would have drafts ready to go if I were stumped (or out of time). I may have learned that lesson, but can’t say I’ve been able to adhere to it!

  3. I don’t blog to a regular schedule but I do try to blog at least once or twice a week. The balance between having to say something and having something to say can be difficult sometimes.

    Congrats on the 1 year!

  4. Happy Anniversary to you, Jesaka. Your blog is a great treat for me, thanks for what you share and how you invest in helping others through your words and your learning. Here’s to many more years!

  5. Paige, thank you! Your support over this last year has been tremendous. Couldn’t have done without you.

    Paul, thank you for reading and sharing your blogging experience. Good luck with copySnips – it looks like a keeper!

  6. Congrats, Jesaka on your first anniversary!

    I’ve set up quite a few blogs over the years, but they’ve never seemed to last more than six months. So a year is a LIFETIME, in my eyes 😀

    I absolutely agree with you on the scheduling side. This time, I’m determined to stick with my latest blog, and I now create a posting schedule in advance, over the weekend.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips, and here’s to another year of success for you.

    Paul Hancox / copySnips

    P.S: I’d love to see you stop over my blog and leave a comment. That would make my day 😀

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