We made it to the weekend — congratulations! This Friday, I’m sharing five lessons I’ve learned in two months of blogging! If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know that I’m a cross-country runner, band geek, and sweet potato addict. If you’re new to My Sweet Potato Life, well . . . you just learned those things! I post over here three times per week every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I share mostly paleo (and some vegan) recipes, but I try to mix things up with weekly lifestyle/fitness posts. (Like this Friday Favorites post pictured below!)
These five lessons I’ve learned in two months of blogging are a bit different than Friday Favorites from last week! (And the week before that . . . and the week before that . . .) I’ve actually never blogged about blogging before! I’m very new to the blogosphere, so I figured my perspective might be useful to any of you who are just starting your own website.
I switched to a self-hosted website with WordPress at the beginning of June this year. Previously, I had a free website with Wix that worked fine for a while. Eventually, however, I decided to join WordPress when the lack of customization and control with Wix became too frustrating. I didn’t have complete control of my website — in fact, I didn’t even own my own content! I am much happier now, but I still haven’t completed all of my goals. (But then again, who has? We should all have something to towards!) Blogging is a constant learning process.New to the blogosphere? You'll enjoy reading the five lessons I learned in my first two months! Click To Tweet
Let’s jump straight in, shall we? Here are five lessons I’ve learned in two months of blogging.
Lesson 1: Do your research
Jumping headfirst into blogging without any idea of what you’re doing is a recipe for disaster. Do what you need to do to set yourself up for success, whether that means reading articles, enrolling in an ecourse, contacting successful entrepreneurs . . . Whatever works best for you! Educate yourself as often as you can. I try to learn something new every day! Pinterest is my favorite way to find blogging articles and tips, and I’ve also watched some helpful WordPress videos on YouTube.
Find the top blogs in your niche and read them as often as you can. I was inspired to start blogging by Juli from PaleOMG, Taylor from Food Faith Fitness, and Michelle from The Paleo Running Momma! I read their blogs for a long time, and I eventually decided to start my own because I thought theirs were so cool. Not only will reading others’ blogs inspire you, it will keep your mind open to new ideas AND it will give you a sense of community.
Lesson 2: Plan, plan, plan
Plan for success! I keep an editorial calendar with Google Sheets, and it is hands down the best thing I’ve created for my website (besides my paleo almond flour pancakes . . . those were pretty bomb). My editorial calendar helps me plan content as far ahead as I need to. Right now, I have posts planned until the end of this year! You can modify your calendar based on your niche, but I included information such as:
. . . and a few others
An editorial calendar will help you organize your life and stay consistent. Consistency is key with blogging . . . people won’t read your blog if they know you post rarely and inconsistently! Make them keep coming back with lots of fun new content that they can count on. An editorial calendar also helps you set goals, and it encourages you to prepare posts ahead of time. I shoot most of my recipes a few weeks before posting, and I typically write them one to two days early.
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Lesson 3: Be Social
Social media is the reason I have readers on my blog. It’s the reason anyone has readers on their blog. Out of all five lessons I’ve learned in two months of blogging, this may be the most helpful to you. Don’t be shy. Don’t sit in the corner and hide — do you think that will really drive traffic to your website?
There is so much to be gained from engaging in the community around you! Comment on people’s posts, like their photos, retweet their tweets! People will appreciate the love, and they will do the same for you! (Well, some of them.) Give more than you receive! If you want someone to read your post, just ask! A simple, polite request can do wonders.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to join Facebook Groups and Pinterest Group Boards! I get most of my traffic AND sense of community from Facebook Group Boards. They’re a great place to engage with other bloggers, entrepreneurs, and potential readers. When the Board Admin says “It’s Promo Day,” don’t pass up the opportunity! Go for it! Pinterest Group Boards aren’t as community-centered, but they provide a great opportunity to put your content in front of thousands of other people.
Lesson 4: Have fun
If you’re writing a blog, it had better be a blog about something you love. You should not waste your time doing something that doesn’t bring you joy. If you hate writing posts, taking photos, dealing with social media, whatever — get up and go do something you actually enjoy! Sure, blogging is about your audience, but it’s also about you. What do you want to do with your life?
That said, your audience can tell when you’re heart isn’t in your content. If you publish a bad recipe, don’t put thought into your post, or take really bad photos, people won’t want to visit your little corner of the Internet. Make sure your blog is fun for everyone — fun for you, and fun for your readers.
The best way to have fun is to be YOU. Express yourself through your content, and try to write like you’re actually speaking to your audience. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
For example, I will not pretend I love waffles when I’m actually a pancake addict at heart.
Lesson 5: Be patient
It’s hard to believe that the biggest blogs were once where you and I are right now!
Traffic to my website is still dishearteningly low at times, but I try to tell myself that even slow progress is good progress. <– I hope you try to tell yourself that too!
This is the most close-to-home tip of all five lessons I’ve learned in two months of blogging. It’s also the one I need to remind myself of the most often. If you’re doing your best, you’re doing all you can. To do my personal best, I post consistently. I also try to improve a little every day, whether that means trying a new social network, photography hack, or Pinterest strategy.
Thanks for reading these five lessons I’ve learned in two months of blogging! I hope you find these tips helpful, even though it’s such a long post. Eek!
Tell me: do you prefer this type of post to friday favorites? . . . or do you like workouts/my day in meals posts better? What did you learn from this post?
Have the greatest weekend, guys! If you read this entire post, I REALLY appreciate you! Leave a smiley face in the comments if you made it to the end with me. 🙂