I can’t believe time flies so quickly but October 24th marked my first year of blogging. This little blog that I started on a whim (I blame the wine) was completely different back then but it has slowly evolved into what you see now. What started off as a hobby to keep me from binge watching Netflix all night has turned into something that I’m very passionate about! I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started (and sometimes still don’t) but I sure have learned a lot over the past year!
[bctt tweet=”Things I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging”]
Blogging is time consuming
If you’re blogging as a hobby, this may not be true. However, if you are blogging as a business, it takes a lot of work! Sure, writing the blog posts takes some time but there is so much more to it than that! Finding or taking good photos (then editing them), promoting your blog, social media and sending/returning e-mails all takes time. I had no idea!
It’s okay to change your mind
Sometimes you start with one idea, only to find something else more intriguing. It’s okay to experiment a little if it helps you figure out what you really want to do. Originally, I blogged about shopping deals. Posting deals every week was fun at first but eventually it became boring doing the same thing every week. I also found it hard to plan posts ahead of time since deals pop up and disappear so quickly. After a few months, I decided that I really wanted to be more of a traditional lifestyle/parenting blog where I could actually share more than just the latest shoe sale at the mall. I changed the name and the style of my blog and never looked back. Ultimately, you have to do what makes you happy…otherwise, why even bother?
My original logo:
You probably won’t make money right away
I was so excited when I first installed Google adsense and affiliate banners. I was sure that the money would come rolling in and couldn’t wait to make that first trip to the bank! Unfortunately it didn’t happen that way at all! In my first 10 months of blogging, I made less than $50 total (if you don’t count items that I was given for reviews). It wasn’t until about two months ago that I started making some money at this…finally (How I FINALLY started to make money from blogging)! I’m still hoping to start earning enough that I don’t have to go back to work next fall when my youngest starts school. I made a deal with my hubby that I would but we’ll see what happens…
Lots of people do make a living at this
Yes, I know I said you won’t make money right away (though there are exceptions), but I was amazed to learn how many people actually make a good living at this. That being said, there are also a lot of struggling bloggers out there. I’m hoping to be part of the first category!
You have to be willing to learn new technology
I’m definitely no expert but I know so much more about technology than when I started. I had to learn Weebly (yes, that’s what I started on) and then learn WordPress once I made the switch. A year ago, I would have given you a blank stare if you asked me anything about deep links, plugins or coding but now I could actually hold a conversation about it!
Social media is important
Sure, I had a personal Facebook page but that was the extent of it! However, I quickly learned that I needed to be on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram too! Now Periscope is the next big thing, though I’ve only been bold enough to shoot one video so far. I’m also on StumbleUpon & Google +, two things that I didn’t even know existed before this whole blogging thing started! I enjoy social media but it can get time consuming.
The blogging community is filled with awesome people
I was surprised at how supportive other bloggers can be! You would think with the sheer number of bloggers, it would be more competitive but I’ve found just the opposite. There are all kinds of groups just for bloggers to share tips and advice and I’ve made some great connections over the past year! I even feel like I’ve made a couple friends along the way, though it’s hard to get together for a glass of wine when you don’t live in the same town.
Food blogging isn’t easy
The good food bloggers make it look so easy! I’ve only recently started creating and posting recipes and while it’s a lot more fun than I expected, it’s also not quite as easy as I expected. Just last week, I made an awesome flatbread with prosciutto, goat cheese & arugula and despite the fact that it tasted amazing, the pictures didn’t do it justice. Food photography is hard (the fact that I’m a perfectionist doesn’t help)! I wound up scrapping it and went with something else. On the other hand, I’ve found recipes online with fabulous pictures where the taste didn’t live up to expectations. It’s not easy to hit that perfect combination every time!
Google analytics is cool
While I use google analytics to check my stats and post popularity, my favorite thing about it is that I can check out all the places where my blog is being read! As someone that would spend all my time traveling the world if I could, it’s really cool to see that I have people reading my blog in places like Croatia and Indonesia.
Everything is a blog post
I’ve learned that much of my life can be a blog post! My post 4 Ways To Control An Out-Of-Control 3 Year Old came to me in the parking lot of the post office as I was trying to strap a kicking and screaming toddler into her carseat. My hubby actually inspired Man Math (or how to explain your shopping spree to your husband). He coined the term “man math” as I was trying to explain away one of my more “productive” shopping trips. I’m planning an upcoming post about how to plan a kids birthday party when nobody RSVP’s.
It’s amazing how much I’ve learned over the past year and I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store! If you’re a blogger, what were some of the unexpected things that you learned along the way?
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