20 Things I Learned From My First Year Blogging
If you are here to find out how EASY blogging is then you come to the wrong place. I have been blogging on my own for a full year as of today and I have learned so much about myself and the process of MAINTAINING a blog. Prior to the creation of Dom N’ The City I was blogging with two other individuals on a site called The District Confidential for about a year. I eventually mustered up the courage to start my own space on the internet to share with my readers what they needed the most. My goal for the first year of Dom N’ The City was to write a blog post once a week and I have met this goal officially as of today. This lofty goal required countless late nights at times and pushing myself when I just wanted to go to happy hour instead. LOL!
I have learned so much from blogging on my own this year I could not just do a Top 5 or Top 10 list. With that said I sharing 20 things I learned from my first year of blogging.
1. Be consistent in producing content
Let’s talk about the definition of a blog.
a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
It is important that you are updating your blog on a consistent basis. The more you posts, creates the more of a reason for readers to return to your site. Publishing content on the same day weekly also trains your readers WHEN to expect new content.
2. Blog post does not need to be long
Remember that blogging is an informal writing style and giving your readers a quick and easy read will help keep their attention.
3. It is OKAY to be inspired by others, but don’t compare yourself to them
Remember everyone in this blogging world had the same start as you.
4. Find a blogger tribe
This group should be a mix in regards to experience and niche. Having a blogger tribe will keep you motivated on those days where the content idea well is dry. Having a tribe also allows you to bounce ideas off each other and brainstorm.
5. Write about what you are passionate about
If you don’t remember anything else from this post PLEASE remember this. Don’t write about makeup and you can’t even apply eyeliner in hopes to get free makeup. Don’t write about fashion if your daily life uniform is jean and a t-shirt JUST to get free clothes. Write about what you are passionate about, and people will sense it and support you. If you are sharing with your readers what you are passionate, it will make blogging fun and not a chore.
6. High-quality photography
I know everyone doesn’t have the budget to purchase a DSLR but got ahead and upgrade to best iPhone so you can have all those bomb camera features like portrait mode. If you are an Android user, the Google Pixel take some spectacular photos, especially in low lighting. As a food blogger, I purchased a selfie ring light for dark lighting when I first started out. To help elevate your phone photography, I have included a link below to the exact light I have, or you can click here. I have even included one of my old food photos where no light was used and a current day photo in which I used the light ring. This is also important for me to showcase progress in terms of photography. Everyone gets better with time.
7. Don’t get caught up in your follower count on social media
I know what you are thinking! This is easier said than done. You have to remember authenticity creates a community and the moment you start doing things the followers is when you lose what makes you special.
8. Know the goal of your blog
Are you here to inspire, inform, or leave people feeling empowered?
9 Write like you want more than your mom to read your blog
This sounds corny but listen to me on this one? Are you writing as if you want it be shared by multiple people or just a site your mom logs onto? What I am saying is pour your everything into your blog as it is representation of you. Come correct or not at all.
10. Get familiar with Lightroom
Lightroom is an Adobe product that is great for editing and adding a little edge to your photos. It is the best 10 bucks a month I spend, and it adds that much need flair to my blog photos and for $10 a month it is worth it. If $10 a month is too much of a commitment, then I would recommend playing with the free app version of it on your phone. If your editing skills are still a work in progress, you can purchase Lightroom presets. Denisse from ChasingDenisse makes some great presets that are affordable and kick up your photography to another level.
11. Sharing your blog content on more than just IG is helpful
There is more to this blogging world than JUST hitting the “Publish” button. You need to be sharing your newest blog post with people on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest. Remember posting on multiple social media platforms will allow MORE individuals to view it. Hate tweeting? You can use Hootsuite to schedule your tweets and there is a free version of it.
12. Schedule time to plan out your blog content and social media posting
Scheduling out your blog and social media content will make this interest seem less like a chore and a more manageable task. Typically I will take Sundays to plan out content for the entire week to allow for easier uploading of content. I use my Erin Condren planner schedule the majority of my content in advance.
13. Don’t give up and give it 100%
It’s easier to be a quitter but it is more rewarding to stick with it and be a winner.
14. Don’t expect everyone to understand the amount of time you put into your blogging
No one (except your blogger friends) will understand the amount of time that goes into creating content. Most individuals see the final product and forget about the brainstorming, photo editing, proofreading, and the list could go on.
15. Write down your goals
Keep a list that is in reach at all time of your goals! The most important thing is to be realistic with your goals.
16. It’s okay to take a break
Blogger burn out is real life! It is important to recognize when you are needing to step back from blogging to due to personal issues.
17. Your writing will get better
Sharing your writing is one of the most vulnerable things you can do and can make you naturally nervous. By consistently writing you will become a better writer. Practice makes perfect!
18. Don’t box yourself into one category, but don’t spread yourself then
Write about you are passionate, and it is okay to share different types of writing. I initially started out as a food blogger but then realized I wanted to share more than just what I am eating. I decided to slowly start introducing my readers to lifestyle and based upon the analytics and feedback they enjoyed them. Great examples of these lifestyle pieces include When Your Passion and Career Don’t Align and Self-Care: It’s Being Proactive, Not Reactive.
19. Create and grow your email list
A lot of bloggers do not understand the importance of growing their email list and using it correctly. It is crucial to leverage some type of free item for individuals who sign up for your email list. Readers that sign up for my blog get a free NYC Food and Attraction guide. This guide is something I spent hours creating and helpful to people who are visiting NYC or living here and looking for great food options. Think of your email list as a direct line of communication to those who enjoy your blog and want to follow along with what is happening.
20. Invest in yourself and your brand
Investing in your brand can include taking some beginner photography classes, doing photo shoots, or even ordering business cards. I have purchased some branded items such as postcards, stickers, and buttons. Danielle at Follow My Gut wrote a great piece on buying branded materials that was really encouraging. My business cards, postcards, and stickers were created using MOO and you can get 25% off your first order by clicking here.
Is there something significant you learned while blogging and want to share? Do you have any questions about blogging? Be sure to leave a comment and I will be sure to respond.
*This post also contains affiliate links, but all of the opinions above are my own*