I have a confession: It’s not easy for me to talk about my blog.
Even after years of blogging, I still have to muster the courage to continue the conversation when the topic of “so, you have a blog?” arises.
So why all the embarrassment?
I discovered WordPress categories once I stopped being stubborn. I’ve always seen it housed snugly under Posts in the sidebar. I’ve always seen it prominently displayed in the blog post tool editor above Tags.
I just chose to ignore it. And do I regret it.
A few weeks back, during my NaNoWriMo challenge, I received the image above in my notifications box.
Has it really been two years?
Nostalgic memories of setting up my account and writing my first blog post flooded my mind. Oh, how naïve I was in 2012.
Since my first blog post, I interned with a digital marketing agency, accepted a marketing job across the country, and worked relentlessly at becoming the best writer and content marketer that I could be. Two years later, I’m freelancing for Fortune 500 companies.
To be great, I accepted that I am not-so-great. I made mistakes and learned lessons—all on a public platform of social media scrutiny.
So, what things did I learn about blogging? I’ll give you the short list.
Post On A Schedule, Not Every Day
When I started out, I published blog posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My goal was to build content on my website fast in order to build credibility as a writing expert. But I was also actively submitting resumes and scheduling job interviews, so my time was quickly scarce.
My blog soon took control over me—when I should have been the one in control.
When I dreaded writing a blog post, I knew my system needed fixing. First, I cut it down to two blog posts and a Friday quiz. A month later, I accepted a job offer and reevaluated my time commitments. This schedule now was too much.
Once I committed to only posting every Monday, I had more time to devote towards my other writing commitments without seeing a decline in daily readership.
My blog’s initial layout was purple on purple with a dash of more purple.
Can you guess my favorite color?
The font was hard-to-read cursive and the template was not a responsive web design. After months of following analytical data, I found that many of my users were reading my blog posts on their phones. I also had the reality check that my practical, explorative blog posts didn’t match my purple flowery presentation.
The Solution: I chose a responsive design template, font and color scheme that matched reader expectations. Since this change, more readers click on multiple blog posts on my website.
Your Voice Matters
It’s natural as a blogger to explore different personality approaches. However, just because one kind of voice is successful for one blogger, doesn’t mean it will be successful for you.
I learned this the hard way.
Within my first year of blogging, I tried a snarky, matter-of-fact voice. It’s done so well on other blogs, so why not mine?
Because it wasn’t my voice.
This new voice wasn’t authentic to mine, so I couldn’t pull it off successfully. As a result, my readers bounced quickly from those blog posts.
When my blog’s voice humbly returned to its spunky self, my readers sighed with relief and started clicking through blog posts again.
Blogging Makes You An Expert
The simple act of blogging on one topic doesn’t automatically make you an expert. But blogging about that topic weekly, doing your research and finding creative ways to blog about that topic for next week’s post—that makes you an expert.
When you choose to dedicate yourself to becoming the best you can be on one topic, you naturally become an expert. That’s because you’re reading about the topic daily, you’re open to critique on your expertise and you’re still eager to learn more about the topic in order to be better.
Your Most Successful Blog Posts Will Surprise You
But that’s exactly what I did.
From search engine results to Pinterest referrals, these two blog posts bring the most organic traffic to my website.
Exploring different angles of blogging helped me find my audience. The purpose of my blog is to help readers find writing solutions—and little did I know that many writers seek suggestions for scavenger hunts clues and fairy tale structure.
What will be my next successful blog post? I guess I’ll need at last two more years to figure that out.
What have you learned from blogging? Share your story below.