Technically, I have been blogging for nearly seven years.
That’s a long time.
But, I didn’t really start hitting the blogging ground running until about two years ago and I’ve learned so much from that time. So, here’s what I have to offer you in the way of “Blogging Wisdom” – it’s not a perfect list, and I am far from a “know-it-all” blogger. But I believe in paying it forward once you are able and I have learned so much from others, that I think it’s about time I start sharing what I know…
Because now I know stuff.
Which knowing stuff means sharing stuff should happen. Right?
Ok..here it goes.
1.) Blogging is a Process. You can’t get into blogging without patience. As you begin to learn the ins and outs of the blog world, you will find yourself evolving. You will gravitate towards specific types of content naturally and find social media strategies that fit you and others that won’t.
Admittedly, I have tried things that don’t seem to work , but I’ve learned from them. Blogging success takes time and in many ways, success is subjective. I find success for me isn’t merely in the numbers. Sure, they help with some opportunities, but I feel successful when I have reached Moms of Momos who find comfort in the happy ending we’ve had from that high risk pregnancy scenario. I feel successful when I make someone laugh or if I inspire them to take a positive perspective on life. I like to bring something good to a persons day and when that happens, I feel successful.
Success, whatever that means for you, won’t happen over night, so settle in and focus on quality practices. I promise, you’ll find your way.
2.) Social Media is Invaluable. My traffic went up by leaps and bounds when I joined Twitter. I not only expanded my audience and reach, I also expanded my list of favorite reads. I have learned so much from those I get to interact with on a regular basis. I even managed to secure an interview with a celebrity chef for an upcoming magazine article by interacting with his PR company on Twitter – that just happened and I’m still SO stoked about it.
Twitter is truly my Social Media BFF.
I’m still “in-progress” with the rest of the outlets and that’s ok. I’m growing at a pace that works for me.
3.) Find Your Tribe. Finding your tribe of bloggers is a process just like the rest of it. Groups of bloggers in “tribes” often work together to promote one another. They support each other in their blogging goals and professional endeavors. Your “tribe” will be enthusiastic about being supportive of your goals and aspirations. Finding a group of bloggers that you mesh with can make the blogging world that much more fulfilling. So, start interacting on Twitter and Facebook. Comment on blog posts that you really enjoyed and you’ll find those connections that build up your circle of blogging friends.
4.) Guest Post on Other Sites. By seeking out guest posting opportunities I have had the pleasure of getting to know several wonderful bloggers and they are honestly people I consider “real” friends. Additionally, while I have gained exposure from those guest posting features I have also provided content for others who are looking to add variety to their own site.
I always tweet and share when I guest post because I like that we work together for that particular day to promote each other – blogging doesn’t feel so isolating when you have opportunities to work together.Start looking for those places to guest post and you’ll see your connections grow.
5.) Create an Editorial Calendar I live and die by my calendar. If I don’t sketch out my weeks or months, I’m sunk. I think Mommy-brain is a real phenomenon and I’m not afraid to admit I need that pen and paper reminder. That’s what works for me. Some bloggers/writers use Google Documents to keep track, which is a great way to keep your content organized as you grow especially if you’re working with other bloggers on one site. Google Docs is shareable and therefore invaluable for collaborative efforts.
6.) Carve out Specific Times to Work. I am SO guilty of working too much on some days and that’s not healthy, and you know, my kids like their diapers changed and full bellies – so it’s been imperative that I step away from the computer and prioritize. If you can find a schedule that balances things out for you, follow it. Balance seems to be elusive for me most days, but I aspire to make it all happen.There are some days it all works out and others not so much. When it does work, its been because that week I chose specific days and time periods to work – a.k.a nap time, late night and more recently, hiring a Mother’s helper to stay sane. Ultimately, you have to find what works for you.
7.) Attend a Conference. When I attended BlogHer, it provided me time to learn without interruption, but more importantly, it provided face to face time with those that I wanted to get to know or meet. When you’re looking to build your presence, opportunities and tribal relations, conferences are a great way to do that. They can solidify the bonds you’ve already made online or it may even change your perspective on a person or organization. Conference attendance allows for invaluable insight into the world you’ve been interacting with online.
8.) Professional Development is Key. Spend some time each week focused on learning something new. I have been known to pick up way too many books on the topic of blogging, freelance writing, WordPress for Dummies etc. As I have time, I chip away and expand my knowledge base. “Chipping away” is the only way I make it happen with everything else on my plate. Another reason for adding #1 on this list.
9.) Pay It Forward. Use your influence, no matter how small to pay it forward. Create Meme’s where others can become involved, participate in Memes and promote them using your social media. Retweet others and they will often do the same when they see a post they like. However you can, and within the time constraints that you have, pay it forward and promote others when you feel they have written something of value.
10.) Learn SEO Out The Gate. I’m still working on SEO best practices. I try to add tags on my recent posts, but because I didn’t do this at the start, I’m still trying to catch up and tag old posts. Take it from me. TIME CONSUMING and I’ve limited my audience because some readers aren’t finding me on searches. #Fail. Don’t be like me on this front.
11.) Learn Stats but Don’t Obsess. Google Analytics is my stat watcher of choice. It’s easy to use and I can see where my readers are going on my site with ease. It’s worth the effort to take a look at this information regularly because it offers you insight into your audience. But don’t obsess. If you learn from the information in your stats and then produce quality content, your readership will grow organically, which in my opinion is the best way to grow.
12.) Quality vs. Quantity. My life is chaotic at times. I have twins and a six year old that depend on me as well as a husband who doesn’t like to be ignored. I have also built a small freelance writing business, and it’s growing,so it’s hard to keep up with all of that and my blog. Admittedly, I have had some stinker posts because at one time I thought if I didn’t post every day, my stats would suffer…yadda, yadda. Well here’s the thing, my readers don’t want their time wasted on junk. So, my stats are affected by said junk when I post it. So, better to focus on quality then quantity. M’kay?
13.) Don’t Post Anything You’ll Regret Later. Choose carefully what you share. Think about what you want to do professionally in the future. Think about what your kids might read when when they go through the archives of your blog. Be mindful of how much you share because while the blogging world feels like a safe place, it is still the internet. Additionally, if you’re using your blog as a stepping off point for freelance opportunities you’ll want to keep that in mind.
14.) Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin. There are so many ways to promote your blog and tap into the world of blogging in an effort to find your little place in this world, but take them one or two at a time and figure out what works for you. I have a great following on Twitter because I interact well on the real time interactions. My Facebook, needs work. It’s a goal for me in the New Year. The rest of it, I have on a list that I will one day get to, because I know I have limits. So choose carefully, start slowly (again, back to #1) and find what fits you.
15.) Be Authentic. Be Yourself out the gate. If you’re not authentic and real, your readers will be able to tell. You want to be followed for the right reasons. Although my numbers are far from huge, I’m proud of them because those who are following me are doing it for the right reasons. Because they feel like I bring something positive to their blogging/reading/life experience.
Speaking of following, Google Friend Connect is going away for WordPress Users folks, so RSS or Email or even Facebook is a good way to go…you know, if you like me and stuff. I know, shameless plug…moving on.
So, that’s what I have right now. If you want some additional advice from the likes of Scary Mommy, Belle Bean Dog, Mama Kat, Seven Clown Circus, Parenting by Dummies and many more, please check out my Blog Idol Interview series. It will be back in full swing after the New Year and you’ll see some lovely blogging pals sharing their advice on Fridays. Also, you’ll find fresh posts that will share what little bit I do know beginning in mid-January to go along with the SITS Girls 31Days to aBetter Blog series. I’ll be helping out the ladies on their new and improved version of the Problogger series. It will meet the needs of bloggers at all stages of the blogging game so keep an eye out for more information in the New Year.
What advice am I missing above? What have you learned on your blogging journey? What are you blogging goals in the coming year?