Hello everybody! I disappeared again. This July has been super busy. Lots of changes, lots of work happening. Hence the blog neglect. That's not a good thing. This blog is my job now so I should never neglect it!!! That's one of the things I learned in my 10 years of blogging. So I was inspired to write this post for you!
Thank you all for the warm wishes that you left on my 10th anniversary post last May, my blog's anniversary month. Yes, 10 years is a lot of time doing something and I'm glad the time I spent on blogging has reaped rewards. I got a few emails from readers who said that they're just beginning to blog and they want to know if I had more advice than the ones I gave the last time. So, because I'm feeling generous, instead of doing a workshop and charging people to unlock my blogging secrets, I'll share them here in my second Blog Biz episode!
Dear new bloggers, here are 10 things I learned from 10 years of blogging:
The story is important.
Blogging is storytelling. Even when you create a blog that's just full of images, you can tell a good story. With blogs, you have so much space to create a story, something other media like magazines and newspapers and other social media platforms can't offer. Unlike with print, for example, you're not limited by a word count, a number of pages, an editor, and an editorial budget. You can do whatever you want with your blog so nothing should hold you back from telling a good story.
Why must it be a good story? Well, because online readers are fickle. If you can't hold their attention, they can quickly move on to another tab on their browser. So make your content count! Tell a good story!
Readers expect honesty.
Blogs started as online diaries. I guess that's what made them so popular. They were a peek into someone else's life, they were a bridge across worlds, they were a path to friendships. Now, they're also brands, businesses, and platforms to promote one's pursuits and advocacies. Blogs have really evolved! But what remains is the expectation of readers that you're being honest with them, that what you share is authentic. So be honest, be true, be real.
Love is all you need.
Blogging isn't for everyone. Its very nature of sharing does raise concerns—it invites criticism and ridicule, even hate. There are privacy issues, too. So if you come into blogging hoping for fame and riches but you're not ready for the trolls, the fans, the dedication, and the work, you will not succeed in blogging. You need to love blogging and to love it so much, you're willing to put in the hours and face the consequences of putting yourself out there. You gotta love it! Love for blogging is what will keep you going.
Discipline and deadlines mean more than inspiration.
Before my kids came, I had no problems with blogging. I blogged whenever inspiration hit me and it hit me often. Now that I'm a mom of three, however, finding time to blog is near impossible. And that's a problem. Readers like checking back for new updates. If there are none, they get disappointed and then they don't come back. I know this from experience. That's why I love my dear Loyal Readers—thanks for always checking back!
Don't wait for inspiration. Blog regularly. Even once a week helps. When readers know the times you blog (Mondays? MWF? Weekdays? Every day at 10am?), they come back for more. It helps to create an editorial calendar and a schedule of deadlines to keep yourself blogging. This is advice I need to follow!!!
Giveaways don't work.
Nope, they don't. They only attract the wrong market—professional contest joiners who really don't care about you or your blog anyway. You want to attract readers who will be your friends, and you do that with good, honest, regular content.
Keep it clean, people. Keep it clean.
Okay, hate blogs get a lot of traffic. So if that's what you want, skip #6. I've done my few hate posts, rants, and tantrums. It's been 10 years. I'm still trying to edit and delete my posts from the early years, when I was such a whiny brat. I've learned that negativity attracts negativity and there's a lot of negative people in the world. I've found that even though I enjoy gossip, I don't like it on my blogs. I've done it—I used to be an entertainment journalist—and while those posts got lots of hits, I also got a lot of hate. I don't want that. You don't want that either.
The world is still full of good people.
Now don't let what I wrote above scare you from blogging. Yes, there's a lot of hateful people in the world, but I've discovered to my complete thrill and joy that there is more love, compassion and generosity, too. I've found real friends through my blog. Complete strangers have sent me emails of such profound wisdom and love, it's crazy. Especially when my babies were born and when my mama died, I truly felt the love and hugs of people from all over the world. Emails, presents, comments! God bless my readers, every single one of you!
Blogging can open doors.
I'm sure you know this one, considering the proliferation of bloggers who are now formidable brands with followings that make them celebrities. I don't see myself as a famous blogger. You only need to check my social media stats to confirm this. But blogging has opened so many doors for me. My blog is now our main source of income. I've done videos for brands. I represent brands as an ambassador (the photo above is for the Biogenic Alcohol campaign). I've done PR and marketing for brands, too. My latest gig: I am now a public speaker. Despite my awful voice and my propensity to nervous gestures onstage, people seem to enjoy my talks. Either that or people really like my blog! So put yourself out there through your blog and see what unlikely doors will open for you!
Open up. Be brave.
Because blogging is all about sharing and you can't share if you're afraid.
If your blog is already a business, of course you need to focus on it. But the foundation of your stories is your life so if you're parked all day in front of your computer, what life will you talk about? I noticed that even though I feature a lot of sponsored posts, it's my posts on my life and my family that get the thousands of hits. Why? Let's go back to #2: Readers want authenticity. They want to see the real you and the real you needs to have a life. So live a real and full life. That's the kind of life worth writing about!
So there you go, dear Loyal Readers! The 10 things I learned from 10 years of blogging. How about you—what are your lessons? Do share!