Lessons I’ve Learnt From My First Year of Blogging

I started a blog years and years ago but it was less writing and more sharing. I guess that’s what twitter is for now. Before I decided to try blogging again, I did some research. I decided on my niche (god, I hate that word) and set out a promise with myself that I would post weekly. Unfortunately, there’s some advice out there that stick with you and others that will actually work against you. Here are some lessons that I have learnt:

1. Influence
It’s hard not to be influenced by all the advice. Stick to a regular posting schedule. Find your niche. Make 10 pinterest pins a day. Work on SEO. Schedule tweets for the whole week. Keep updating your older posts. The list goes on. It’s overwhelming. I started out with a niche in mind but realised quickly that that wouldn’t actually work in real life. I tried to make a heap of pins but the time it takes vs the actual reward wasn’t very good. I read into SEO articles to write about what will rank. That also didn’t sit well with me. It’s much easier to start and write posts that you’re actually interested in writing and it’s much easier to keep blogging if you don’t feel like it is all such a hassle.

Take away: Write what you want to write about and it’s ok to create your own rules

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

2. Follow bloggers
When I started following other bloggers, I sort of just stuck to the travel niche. But seeing what other people were writing about only made me think that I also had to write in a certain way. Cafe guides and day itineraries and I started looking back through my pictures to see if I could put together one of these. I had planned to write one but found it really hard to even narrow down what should be in a day itinerary when I seldom travel with a strict one.
I then started following other bloggers who write about a wide range of topics that also included travel. I found this much better for the types of information I wanted to consume and also to broaden my idea of what a “blog” was.

Take away: Don’t feel confined to create certain types of posts

3. Time
It is way more time consuming than I thought. I thought that I’d be able to just type my thoughts and then click publish. No. Posts sit in draft for weeks and sometimes months until it’s ready to be seen by the outside world. I sometimes need to reconsolidate with my travel journals to remember back and also do some fact checking. It takes time to link other social media together and not to mention to actually be active on those social media platforms as well as writing. It takes time to link previous blog posts which is apparently good for SEO. Sometimes I’m just waiting for that strike of inspiration on what I want to write about next and other times the words just don’t come out of my head.

Take away: It’ll be more time consuming than you think but this is all part of the process and fun

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

4. Intimidation
I don’t know if it’s imposter syndrome but there is always the fear at the back of my mind that I’m just another person writing into the void, why would anyone read what I write? I go through waves of this and every single time, I need to snap out it. It’s more about the commitment to produce. If you’re reading someone else’s blog there is bound to me someone else who will find your words interesting too.

Take away: Keep going

5. Take breaks
I would say that I was pretty consistent in the first year with posting a blog about once a week which is what I had initially planned to do. Recently, I’ve been feeling very uninspired by pretty much everything. I pulled back on the amount of time I was spending on social media which has been nice and made me feel less…..chaotic. I didn’t write any posts for some weeks. But here I am, finishing this blog post after initially drafting it at the beginning of March. Your blog will still be there when you get back.

Take away: It’s ok to take breaks to recharge

Do you resonate with any of the above points? What’s the biggest blogging lesson you’ve learnt?

Interested in starting a blog? To start with wordpress, click on this link to start and we both earn free credit.

28 thoughts on “Lessons I’ve Learnt From My First Year of Blogging

  1. I feel the same symptoms that you analyse very well. The time constraint is the greatest, more easily controlled as there is no travel at the moment. On the other hand I still have a mass of past trips to work off, so many interesting places visited to show, I would need several pandemics to publish everything. The important thing is to enjoy what I do without asking myself too many unnecessary questions. Good luck!

  2. Wise words! I’ve been blogging for over seven years, and I’ve hit a few ruts here and there. But at least for this particular blog, I’ve been more-or-less consistent over the past almost-five years, as I have so many adventures to write about, even if I’m no longer traveling. I definitely agree with you and say that engagement with other bloggers is key to blogging success: it’s just as important to follow and read/comment on other people’s works as people follow yours. Blogging takes effort, and the hard work does pay off!

    1. I admire how you’re still blogging after all these years and have been quite consistent too! I wish I had taken better notes on some of my earlier travels (and better pictures). Maybe they can be cool vintage shots one day.

  3. What a great post, I feel exactly the same. I keep reading how to keep your blog alive and all that stuff and it’s hard work. I now just do what I feel and if I’m happy then I post. It takes a lot longer than I think sometimes as well. It’s my hobby really and keeps me busy, I don’t worry too much these days about likes, nit as much as I used to anyway. It’s a great way to interact with other bloggers. Keep writing and posting 😀

  4. We agree with many of your points. There is just too much information and advice out there that it just muddies the water. As for the SEO, we ignore that now, we initially worried about it but if you change your style of writing to get the green lights, it’s actually not you who has written the post. So our take on it is write what you want in the format that suits you and be true to yourself.

  5. Like the others, I relate to everything you’ve said. I’ve really put my heart and soul into transforming my blog over the last year and have been lucky in that I have bags of time to give it and rarely suffer from writer’s block. I manage to consistently post at the same time every 48 hours and have seen a gradual but consistent rise in likes, traffic, comments and all the rest of it. Reading and following other blogs (which I never bothered with in previous years) has made a huge difference to my numbers and of course it feels good to be part of a community. One of the toughest areas has been SEO, which has been a steep learning. curve. Nomadic Matt’s online course tells you everything you need to know, but there’s still a lot of trial and error. I will never, ever manipulate my writing style to truly serve the search engines. You have to have your own voice so that the reader feels what you’re putting out there is genuine. Nevertheless, there’s loads you can do to “play the game” so to speak. Getting the Yoast app was the best thing I ever did, I couldn’t do the SEO thing without it. It’s taken over a year, but my search engine traffic is starting to hit its stride now. Unfortunately, I still have 258 articles (from 730) that still need SEO application. Ho hum. Social media promotion is, for me, a bit depressing. It’s an empty, shallow, soul-sucking world at the best of times. I’ve learned not to care too much about Instagram and just enjoy the platform for what it is. One of these years I’ll get round to Twitter and Pinterest, maybe a few others. You are right about taking breaks. Once you’ve set up a solid routine and bulk up on scheduled posts, you can actually take those breaks without spells of lengthy non-posting. Then it’s breathe… recharge and go again. Sorry this comment was so long, but thanks for writing this article and best of luck with the blog going forward!

    1. Thank you for your reply! You’ve brought up so many great points. That’s great that you have a routine around blogging and the time to dedicate to it. The blogging community is great and I’m always hoping to stumble across blogs I enjoy reading but it that also takes time. That’s still an enormous amount of articles to update but you’re past halfway (if that helps). I find twitter enjoyable but you really have to be quite active there.

  6. Blogging is a unique media. It could be informative, expressive, collaborative, business like, collegial or individual, you could have thousands of followers and get zero comments and feedback or have loads of comments and a very active community yet a low number of followers. It is extremely diverse and you can write about literally anything!
    I think it is the nature of writers to get into a rut and, dry spells every now and again.
    Write want you are passionate about and that will come through in your writing- it will be alive and interesting to read. I think reading and commenting on other blogs does make it a more emjoyable experience as it builds your community of like minds. It can be addictive, but is independent thoughts and perspectives yet you can remain anonymous. But 10 pins a day on pinterest? Who has time for that?

    1. I feel like blogging has just kept going the same way it has been for as long as it has existed whilst all the trends have happend around it. I’m just getting swayed by the trending and need to think outside the box abit more sometimes! Yes, I’ve come across so many interesting blogs here now it’s just getting the time to read and comment.
      I feel like there are many extreme pinners out there.

  7. Love all of this! I definitely try not to force myself to write if I’m uninspired. Last year I was learning all about SEO and even tried using another host other than WordPress.com for my site, but I eventually switched back because of the community here! Since blogging isn’t my career I try most of the time to write about what I’m actually passionate about.

    1. Ah! That must have been so much work to move to another host then back! So great that most of the comments here have been about sticking to what you want to write about and in the style you want to write.

  8. Blogging does indeed take more time than I had originally thought it would, but so far it’s been worth it. I have to go along with your advice in Number 5: Take Breaks. About a year ago, I stopped blogging for almost 11 months, and didn’t miss it. But during the pandemic, I found a refreshing return to looking at photos and remembering where we’d traveled. I’m glad I’m back, but for how long, I have no idea. For now, though, thanks for your candor and good advice.

  9. Great post! I think I have gone through absolutely all of these, and multiple times too! I remember being so overwhelmed by all the information I found when I started blogging (“check ou SEO”, “find your niche”, etc.), and as you said, I now just go with whatever I want to write, without worrying to much and trying to stick to something that just doesn’t work for me and doesn’t motivate me! Another thing that really affects me to this day is time: how long it takes to write a post, find pictures, reply to comments, check out other’s blog, find time in the week to do all of this… Now, I try to stick to the lessons you are sharing and “go my own way” 😊

  10. That’s my thought as well. I love blogging and other bloggers stories that are in a similar mode. Being in lockdown..writing and reading brings back memories of travels. Thanks for your info.

  11. This was a great post, mostly because it strips away all the glitz and glam that you get from the Google Blog Guru’s that you see when you search for advice. Blogging can be real and raw, and it’s much healthier to approach it honestly and write about what you know and love. There’s nothing more satisfying than working on a post for hours and finally hitting “Publish” (or “Schedule” for my fellow planners heh).

  12. Pingback: 5 Things I Want To Do Better As A Blogger – Lingo in Transit

  13. I just started my blog and it is interesting to read your perspective from so much further down the road. Excellent advice to follow bloggers from different niches! There are so many interesting genres and amazing writers.

Leave a Reply to Oh, the Places We See Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s