When you are just starting out as a blogger it can all seem so confusing and totally overwhelming.
Plugins, tags, SEO, editorial calendars – what’s that all about? Backup Buddy, Aksimet, WP Biographia, Link Within, Add New Default Avatar PRO, Shareaholic, Google Analyticator….
Your head is ready to EXPLODE.
Once you’ve been blogging for a while it’s easy to forget what the experience was like. The experts in our niches can assume a level of knowledge and don’t remember how humble their beginnings were.
The Better Business Better Life blog has existed for 13 months so for beginners I’d like to share some things I’ve learned that might help you on your journey. For the more experienced bloggers, you might have a lesson or two you’d like to add.
Lesson 1. You won’t do everything right the first time.
Maybe not the second time either. And that’s ok. Here are a few favourite quotes from leaders in their respective fields:
“Each failure brings you one step closer to success.”
- Zig Ziglar
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
- Thomas Alva Edison
“Failure? I never encountered it. All I ever met were temporary setbacks.”
- Dottie Walters
Leaders understand that not everything goes right all of the time. In fact, they encourage mistakes because the sooner you make them, the faster you learn from them and increase your knowledge.
Lesson 2. All things blogging are a-changin’
What works now may not in the future. Why is this important? It teaches us to focus on the pursuit of excellence rather than expecting perfection. We should ensure continual improvement rather than a ‘set and forget’ strategy.
Master marketer and blogger Seth Godin argues that perfection is not possible so we should ask ‘when is good enough?’ rather than ‘when is it done?’
The fact is perfectionism stops us being productive. We cannot continue to create if we can’t move past the first post, design, headline…
If you need some tips to increase your progress can I suggest the Expert Enough article ‘Why You Need To Quit Demanding Perfection From Yourself’ and Problogger‘s ‘Is Perfectionism Stalling Your Productivity?’
Lesson 3. Bloggers are amazingly supportive people.
I attended my first ‘in real life’ blogging event, Problogger’s Training Day, last October. Living in a rural area the handful of attendees I knew, I’d only met online, but they welcomed me with open arms. It was gorgeous meeting them face-to-face and then they generously introduced me to their blogging friends.
At the Digital Parents Conference in March I wanted to give back and support first time conference attendees. Chatting on Twitter before the event led to a bunch of ladies having dinner together prior to the pre-conference drinks. Marissa Roberts of Beautifully Organised has become a life-long friend since.
Fear not though. You don’t have to attend conferences all over the country to meet and enjoy the support of bloggers. Amazing people I’ve connected online with include Kimberly Creagan of Joyful Roots, Michelle Schaeffer of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge, Pam Moore of Pam Marketing Nut and Kellie Lieberman host of #PinChat.
Lesson 4. Love your readers like they are your brothers and sisters – you may not always see eye-to-eye but they know you are always there for them.
Unless you are using your blog as a personal journaling tool, your readers are essential to your blog’s existence. Make sure your readers know you appreciate them. Reply to their comments. Help them achieve their goals.
That said there is a need for balance between writing to serve your readers and not serving them well because you’ve lost your passion trying to satisfy them.
Be mindful of that fine line.
Lesson 5. Not everyone will understand.
Despite the popularity of blogging and the value it creates many people still don’t ‘get’ it. Help them out by sharing your knowledge.
If they still think you’re wasting your time respect their opinion but get on with it. Don’t let the naysayers hold you back.
Lesson 6. Blogging can be ‘so much work’ but it’s totally worth it.
As mentioned already, I’ve made lifelong friends through my blog and it continues to generate new clients directly and indirectly.
If the workload all seems a bit too much know that there are plenty of tools to increase your productivity in blog content creation and promotion.
Use an editorial calendar and always have posts in reserve. WP Editorial Calendar is one option but it can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet.
Consider using an automation tool such as Hootesuite, Buffer or Social Oomph to assist with promotion but never rely on it completely. Your current and potential readers want to connect with YOU and your blog. Don’t leave the ‘you’ out of promotion.
Lesson 7. Blogging challenges are brilliant for making connections, growing traffic and subscribers.
Some of my favourites include the Ultimate Blogging Challenge, WordCount Blogathon and Content Palooza. You meet so many fabulous bloggers who in addition to blogging each day, comment and share each other’s posts.
Speaking of blogging challenges – keep your eye out for a special announcement in approximately four weeks…
Bonus Lesson. Have a go!
The bestselling book ‘The Greatest Salesman In The World’ follows the story of a young man working to escape poverty and marry the woman of his dreams. His mentor says ‘Failure will never overtake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough.’
Why share this with you?
If you want to start a blog you should do it. What have you got to lose? And more importantly, there is so much to gain.
If you are sufficiently determined you will succeed.
Do you think I’ve missed anything? What was your first 13 months blogging like?