This month is my three year blogiversary. So much of what I’ve learned has been by doing, and taking risks. Have I had some fails? Of course I have. But those fails have also made for some pretty valuable teachers.
Today I wanted to share some of my reflections on blogging with you. I’ve learned some of these things by getting it right the first time – and many by the quite the other way around.
1. People read blogs to connect. Make your personality shine through.
2. Bloggers frequently struggle with jealousy. If you don’t deal with it quickly, bitterness will grow. Keep your heart in check.
3. While a conversational tone is a good thing, remember this is a blog. :)’s and LOLs are best reserved for texting your BFF.
4. Don’t just run the spell check. READ YOUR POST ALOUD. You will catch errors you would have easily missed otherwise.
5. Be judicious in publishing posts that are nothing more than “rants.”
6. There’s networking, and then there’s annoying. Don’t be annoying.
7. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written guest post.
8. Remember to promote others with no strings attached. It’ll come back around.
9. Imitation is not the highest form of flattery when it comes to blogging. Don’t do it.
10. You always have the power to change your blog if you don’t like it. You also have the power to change your mind.
11. A small group of loyal, engaged readers is always better than quick traffic from indifferent, one-time visitors.
12. As your blog grows, some will not be too thrilled with your success. So remember this: cater to the people who like you, not the ones who don’t.
13. Make sure to take the time to read other blogs, in your niche, and particularly beyond your niche.
14. Use caution in what you share with other bloggers about your ideas, plans, and strategies. It’s OK to keep some things close to your chest.
15. The most successful bloggers are smart business owners.
16. If you’re thinking of starting a blog and your first question is “how can I set up ads?” you likely need to pick something else to do.
17. Once you have traffic the challenge will be to keep it. Readers are less loyal than you’d think.
18. Enlist the help of others if you need it.
19. You own the blog. The blog does not own you. If you feel it does at any point, take a step back from the computer and reassess.
20. Be careful what you promise your readers. It’s better to under-promise and “wow” them than over-promise and fall short.
21. It’s OK to admit you’re a human. In fact, it may make you more endearing. Some of my most trafficked posts involved “fails” or “misadventures.”
22. You do need to pay attention to the design and layout of your blog. Remember that visiting a blog is first a visual experience.
23. If you’re not sure you should post it, sleep on it.
24. Be careful about working for big brands for free.
25. If your blog starts to generate an income, make sure to set up your accounting records and bank account in an orderly way. Reconcile your statements monthly. Set aside money for tax time.
26. Make time to get to know some bloggers offline. You might just like some of them. Plus, getting away from the computer isn’t a bad thing.
27. TAKE TIME TO UNPLUG. Give yourself good chunks of the day, or maybe one day a week, where you remain offline. Go for a walk, play with your kids, take a nap, read a book.
28. Blogger’s butt is a very real thing. It ain’t pretty.
29. Bad stuff will happen. Plan on it. There will be nasty comments left, drama between bloggers you’ll somehow get sucked into, your blog will get hacked, you’ll forget to do something really important like Albertsons matchups (God forbid), or you’ll accidentally delete a post you just spent a day and a half working on. When these things happen, take a deep breath, step away from the computer, and perhaps sleep on it. Trust me, you’ll forget about it as soon as the next good thing happens to you. Because those things will happen too.
30. Learn how to schedule some posts the night before so you don’t have a “mad rush” to post stuff first thing in this morning. Case in point, this post which was written last night at 9:30.