Ohhhhh…happy birthday to me! Well January may be looking bleak but I am going to poo poo the greyness with a celebration because woo hoo! my blog is now officially a year old. You lovely blog you. Yes we’ve had some highs, some lows and everything in between but I have learnt so much from every step on this journey, and so here’s a little blogging wisdom, from me…to you. Not as good as a birthday cupcake, but better than a poke in the eye!
1. Keep it real
Blogging is about connecting you, your thoughts, opinions, emotions, personality and wit with your readers. I have found that my best blogging moments have been when I have pretty much just plugged my brain into my keyboard, and let the rest work its magic. Don’t overthink, don’t overanalyse, and don’t try to be anybody else apart from who or what you are…because that, afterall, is why your readers are reading!
2. Be daring
OK by that I don’t mean to post a nudie of yourself only, but you and I know both know there are a lot of blogs out there whose content is entirely interchangeable. If you have something rude, contraversial or irreverent to write about, stop stalling and do it! What’s the worst that could happen? Nobody is going to come round and beat you over the head with a club. If in doubt, my fail safe rule, like with everything else in this life is simply, sleep on it.
3. Keep notes
Being a mum means I basically have a memory of a goldfish. In between the times when I am being nagged or whinged at to death, or have a rare moment in the shower to have a blog post golden lightbulb moment, I make sure that I try and write it down within 10 minutes of having it otherwise I know I’ll be scratching my head wondering what on earth that great idea I had earlier was. Remember, inspiration comes at all times and from everywhere, so your iPhone notes app is your blogging best friend.
4. Find your blogging buddies
Somewhere within your first year, you have these amazing moments when you find other bloggers who are made of the same cloth of you. You will totally “get” each other, and although at first only a virtual comradeship, they start to blossom into more. I have even found two blog wives through my first year of blogging – controversial, but loving you both equally Mum Muddling Through and Absolutely Prabulous. And to all blogging buddies reading this, can I say I am beyond excited about meeting you in the real world at Brit Mums live!
5. Take blog breaks
I remember so clearly, the first school holiday that passed – it was like looking out into a forest of tumbleweed. Twitter? Dead. Stats. Plummeting. I wondered why I was bothering to tend to my blog when nobody was around to read it. I realised that probably everyone else was some kind of unofficial blogging break during this times, and that I should, and would do, the very same.
Apart from that, blogging is a constant treadmill and in order to stay fresh rather than feeling like a sweaty watermelon, we do need to get off it sometimes. It also made me realise that most weekends should still be exactly that in blogging too otherwise you can really get quite sick of the sight of each other.
6. Stats DO matter, but not to the point of obsession
I have to admit, I am a recovering stats addict. I obsessed over them when I first started blogging, wondering why nobody was reading (hey, don’t we all). I obsessed over them as they were growing, elated to watch them doing so. I obsessed when they dipped, wondering where on earth I had possibly gone wrong. And then I obsessed over them again, when they were into a new found cycle. Now they have stabilized, as has my recovery from my addiction.
I guess you have to go through all of this to know that, having a working knowledge of your stats is useful, but obsessing over them only rots your soul and crushes your mojo. But I know I’ll never really truly be able to kick the habit.
7. Don’t compare
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. As I always tell my two and half year old daughter, don’t worry about what that person over there is doing, you just do your own thing.
After a year of blogging, while I certainly admire and find other bloggers inspirational, I can pretty much say hand on heart, that if you start obsessing over what other people are going, and that they are a better blogger than you, then it’s going to do your blogging mojo no favour. Put your blinkers on and ride as fast as you can to the sunset cowboy!
8. Be smart about social media
Social media is as important as remembering to wipe after a number two in this blogging world. It is basically the loud speaker of your content. Without using social media to your benefit, your content simply goes to waste. Nobody can find you.
It also helps you get in front of like-minded people, build your online presence and make yourself known to brands and marketing people, if you’re so inclined. It might be a pain in the proverbial, but a very necessary one at that. You can read more on that in my blog post about increasing your traffic here.
9. If you think it’s dull, it probably is
Let’s face it, sometimes you’ll have great ideas, and sometimes they’ll be cack. Sometimes you’ll be approached to write about things that excite you, and other times it will be so dull you’ll want to cry into your coffee. Use your inner compass and trust your instincts. If you’re bored thinking about it, it’s going to be even more boring writing about it, and your readers by the end will be dead and buried of boredom.
10. Never, ever feel obliged, but always be polite
As bloggers, we get approached to write about some pretty unfathomable subjects…and often for free (shock horror!). As ridiculous as a pitch might sound, always put a lid on it graciously, because you never know when things will come round to bite you on the butt thereafter.