1. Choose community OVER competition.Like so many other areas of our lives, it is so so easy to look around the blogging world and be incredibly discouraged. Comparison can be hard. People will always have more page views, more Facebook followers, or more sponsored posts than you do. If others are succeeding, it's easy to think that you can't- and it's easy to shy away from "competitors". But I have found other bloggers to be the most amazing source of community and support. To truly succeed, you've got to have a solid blogging group or two and a community to share blogging life with. Once I stopped seeing other bloggers as people to "beat", I met so many wonderful and encouraging people!
2. Photos and titles can make or break a post.I learned pretty quickly that quality photos are necessary for any good blog post. If you really want to have quality photos, take your own (or find free stock photos), and then create your own labels or titles on your pictures using Canva, Picmonkey, or Photoshop. Let's be honest, you've got to pull people in with your keywords, titles, and pictures far before you ever get them to read your entire post. Also, list posts (like this one) are the best!
3. There is always room to learn and grow in the blogging world.Holy. Smokes. There is a whole heck of a lot to know about blogging. HTML code, plug-ins, alt text for photos, Google Analytics, Pinterest plug ins, link parties, the list goes literally on and on. This can be intimidating at first, but the best approach is to focus on a few things at a time, and then learn a little more and master a little more as you go. Thankfully, there are lots of awesome bloggers out there who are happy to offer lots of advice and feedback along the way. Learning fearlessly is part of my mission, and I love how the blogging world provides for constant learning and growth that keeps me on my toes.
4. Maintaining a blog is a LOT of work. Find balance!Blogging is a lot of work, and can be very time-consuming. Sometimes you'll find yourself up super late, finishing a post or commenting on other blogger's content. It's worth it, but can be a little daunting sometimes. Since there can be so much to manage, you'll need to take breaks sometimes to avoid burnout. And guess what- the world will still keep turning! When we went on our 16 day European adventure, I didn't blog or touch social media at all. I prescheduled a few posts and things on Facebook, and enjoyed my time away. I also took a break from social media on my phone from Thanksgiving to Christmas. These times of rest were so valuable, and helped me be present in a world full with technology and looming blog tasks.
5. Be yourself, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there.The best blogs aren't necessarily the ones that promote the most ads or share the most sponsored posts. Instead, they are the blogs that are real and authentic and true to the author's heart. Otherwise, an audience will see right through your content. Figure out your mission and what drives you as a blogger, then come up with a statement for it. The story behind my tagline helps readers see what makes me tick, and why I'm here.
You've also got to promote a little bit, without being ashamed. It can be scary to start a Facebook page or share posts on social media, but readers don't just show up overnight without any work. And when they do start to show up (or maybe they don't for a while), don't get too focused on the numbers. Statistics are great, but they aren't everything. Don't give up.
If you'd like to see some of the top posts of the year, along with some fun video and silly photos, check out 2015: A Year in Review.
I hope these lessons help you as you start out or continue to blog. I know I need to be reminded of them sometimes. Thank you to Aaron- my number one supporter! Thanks to anyone who has read, commented, liked, or shared a post (this includes you)- you make it all worth it and I'm so glad you're here! And thanks to my Alder Collective ladies- Abby, Cristi, Kayla, Ashlynn, Lisa, and Brandy- you rock!
It's been a great year, and I'm excited to see what year number two brings!
A. Liz AdventuresWhat Joy is MineThe Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely UnfoldedGrace and Love BlogRunning for CupcakesMomfessionalsLife in Leggings