2 Year Blog Anniversary and Self Hosting Panic!

Today, Valentine’s Day is my 2 year blog anniversary. Happy blog birthday to me! I was going to write a post about the stuff I’d learnt in the last 2 years of blogging but a week ago, after just a year of procrastinating and thinking about it for far too long, I finally took the leap to self-host my own blog.

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Blogging Beyond The Stats

Reasons to Blog

I’ve recently read a few posts about bloggers feeling down and fed up about their stats not increasing. I had a week like this as well where I questioned what I was doing and why my stats were staying flat.

I think it’s a common theme amongst bloggers, with many having feelings like this. So I thought I’d list the reasons to blog beyond the stats. Why you should keep going even if no one (or few people) are reading:

  • Better Writing – By blogging frequently, you are honing your writing skills and becoming a better writer. All serious writers (my mum is an author!) say that you need to write on a regular basis to keep your skills fine-tuned.
  • Keeps Your Brain Active – Blogging and writing regularly keeps your brain active and improves your creativity. If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly on the look- out for new topics and subjects to write about. It makes you look at things differently. I’m always thinking about different angles and how different news items or the things my kids say might be used for a blog article.
  • It’s Cathartic – If something’s on your mind or bothering you, it can be very cathartic to write it down and get it all out! I wrote this piece when I was having a bad week and I know of several other bloggers who write about very emotional topics which seem to help with their healing process.  
  • Meeting & Networking – Blogging involves a lot of reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. This leads to networking and even friendships that you wouldn’t have necessarily made. Networking can in turn lead to : 
  • Opportunities – Blogging can create opportunities. It can open doors to possibilities that range from reviewing products or the chance to speak to some of your favourite brands about writing for them. I started my blog as a way to showcase my writing style and skills to potential freelancing clients.
  • Read More – Through the blogging community you read more. I’ve read so many interesting and different blogs. Reading more is not only a good thing but you tend to read and consume faster. Reading widely can lead to more ideas for your own posts. I’ve written a couple of blogs after reading other people’s posts that have inspired me to write my own take on a subject. 
  • Developing Your Style – By reading other people’s blogs and writing your own posts regularly you are developing your own style and your own voice. I’ve read some very funny and sarcastic blogs, others which are chatty and informal and others which are serious and informative or advice driven.

 

I’m sure there are other benefits that could be added to this list. The point is, that there are plenty of reasons and advantages to blogging which we should all take time to remember  when we get a bit bogged down and focused only on the number of people reading our work!

If you can add to this list of reasons, do let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

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8 Things I’ve Learnt in My First Year of Blogging

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Last week it was my blog birthday. I can’t believe I’ve been blogging off and on for a whole year! Inspired by a new blogging friend Dr Juliet who shares the same blogging birthday as me, I thought I’d jot down a few things that I’ve learnt along the way.

1) Finding My Voice: I initially started the blog as a way of showcasing my work as a freelance copywriter from my freelance copywriting website. Initially I started blogging purely about marketing and copywriting trying to target businesses and potential clients. That didn’t last long as I felt the need to inject some personality and talk more about things that relate to me. Even now, whilst my blog is much more personal, I’m still finding that I can strike a different tone of voice with different posts. I’ve quite a dry humour so I enjoy writing the humorous posts, but I still write some serious ones too.

2)There’s still so much to learn: Even thought I set up my blog a year ago, I dipped in and out and pretty much abandoned it over the summer due to personal family reasons. So it’s really only been in the last few months that I’ve dedicated a lot more time to it. I’ve been posting more regularly but that’s just the beginning. I started getting involved with linkys and through this and interacting a lot with other bloggers I can see that I’ve still got a long way to go with regards to promoting it, design, images, community, affiliates, self-hosted site, plug-ins, SEO and ultimately working with brands or making money. After a year, I’m very much still a newbie!

3) It Takes Dedication: It’s not just a case of posting up a blog and hoping that everyone will go and find it. You have to work at growing the blog. You need to post regularly and then promote it. And then engage with others to get them to come and read. Commenting on other blogs alone takes a lot of time but is rewarding and means you learn more. Ultimately, the more you put in, the more you get out.

4) It’s Addictive: I’ve found that the more I post, the more I want to blog. It’s a bit consuming, I keep seeing possible blog topics everywhere and I have to struggle to remember them all to write them down! But essentially, I love doing it. I’ve always had this desire to write, whether in a diary, a monthly magazine column, for work or just lists, but with blogging, I feel like it’s easier to do, it’s mine and I enjoy writing about whatever is going on in my head. I love the buzz of having other people commenting on my blog, whether they agree with me or not, it’s a good feeling to be engaging with others about something I’ve written.

5) Design Matters: I’m not a designer but I want my blog to look good. It’s a constant work in process. When I first started out my blog was very basic. It contained just the posts with very little visuals. Any images I incorporated were small thumbnails, I had no idea about which dimensions I should use. I look at some of the other blogs out there and fall in love with how sleek or quirky and professional they look. I’ve still got work to do on this!

6) You Have to Promote Yourself: Again, another thing I’m not particularly good at. I tend to post my blogs fairly regularly on Twitter, but not on Facebook as I’m very aware that I might be annoying the hell out of a lot of people, many of whom are my friends. I think I need to take the plunge and set up a separate Facebook page really. I’m not really involved in Pinterest or Google+ too much either.

7) I’m Hoping for More: I enjoy writing blogs and interacting with others but I’d be a fool if I said I didn’t want more. I’d love to be one of those people that make money out of their blogging and working with some favourite brands. I see some of the giddy heights that other people have got to and it’s truly inspiring. I know it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of hours. Only time will tell, I guess!

8) The Community is Vast, Scary and Friendly: There are so many blogs out there, it really can be quite overwhelming and on my down days I think, “What’s the point?” “Why is anyone going to bother with little old me?!” I guess the answer to that question lies in point number 4! Reading and engaging with some of the well-known and established blogs can at times feel completely intimidating. But that’s purely my problem because I stupidly compare myself to them. I know that I have to keep on doing my own thing and going down my own road. The truth is that most people I’ve met through blogging have been nothing but lovely, kind and helpful.

So happy birthday to my blog! There’s been ups and downs over this past year. I’ve learnt a fair bit already and I’m looking to see what happens in the next 12 months.

 

Are you a newbie or an old timer blogger? Anything I’ve missed out or that you would add? I’d love to hear your thoughts and any advice for this “baby” blog, always welcome!

 

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