It’s crazy how fast the first year of blogging goes. It’s a year filled with learning, getting your feet wet, and settling into who you are as a blogger. I made a lot of changes to my blog in the first year, definitely all for the better. There are so many articles on blogging, growing a blog, etc. While those are informative, my own trial and error was even more essential in growing what started as a very tiny blog. Today, I want to pass along some of that wisdom and share 5 blogging lessons I learned.
Content is King
As bloggers, we’re told this repeatedly. We read it in every list of blogging tips. But I couldn’t help but include here, because it’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve continued to learn. The content on Very Erin was severely lacking when I first started this blog. Many of the posts revolved around a collage of clothing or outfits, without any real substance and very little text. I also wrote posts that, while relevant to my life, were zero help to me readers.
When I finally started to improve my content and write evergreen content that benefited my readers, I saw a tremendous increase in traffic!
Since starting my blog, I’ve joined many blogging Facebook groups and have made connections with many other bloggers in my niche. This has helped grow my traffic immensely, but that’s not the only benefit. First of all, I always have a group of blogging friends to go to if I have a questions about my blog, business, or anything else! They’re a great sounding board and are so supportive because they go through the same blogging struggles! Networking has also helped me to grow my social media following immensely. Most of the people I connect with regularly via social media are other bloggers. One of my favorite groups to use for networking and blog growth has been the Blog Passion Project. It’s an incredibly supportive group of bloggers that put so much effort into sharing the blog love!
Blogger Burnout is Real
Over the last year, there are several times where I’ve become burned out. Often, I discover the result of my burnout is a lack of planning ahead. I feel burned out when I haven’t stayed ahead of my editorial calendar as far as planning and scheduling posts. I let things sit for too long, and then find I have way too much to do at once. I started to feel that way last week. I had started a new job and didn’t spend enough time preparing my blog for the change. I knew I wouldn’t have as much time to devote to writing blog posts and interacting on social media, yet I didn’t schedule posts in advance like I should have. I also have goals for the Etsy shop that I was letting fall to the wayside. All of this burnout and discouragement was causing me to become less productive, even though I had more work than ever that needed to get done! But I refocused myself and have managed to catch up on everything I was falling behind on.
I know I’ll have this experience again where I get lazy, unmotivated and burned out, but each time I learn a little more and am better able to fight it off!
It’s Okay Not to Have a Niche
I plan on writing a more in-depth post about this in the future, but I still wanted to cover it today. When I first started blogging, I didn’t have a clear direction. I posted some about my life and family, my wedding planning, fashion, beauty, and more. I didn’t have a niche or an ideal reader in mind. Then, over the course of my blogging journey, I read so many articles claiming that for a blog to be successful, they had to have a niche. At first, I brushed them off, but I continued to see these claims. So I tried to choose a niche. And I couldn’t. I just couldn’t do it! But I decided that I don’t have to and it isn’t required for me to become a successful blogger. I did narrow my focus, narrowed down my ideal reader, and have made sure that what I’m posting genuinely benefits my readers. You won’t see me choose one topic or one niche to write about, but I do target a certain type of reader with my posts. And that’s as niche as I’m going to get!
Blog Growth Takes Time
When I first started my blog, I was okay with my miniscule amount of traffic. Until I looked around and saw so many bloggers doing so much better than I was! And I wanted an easy button. A short cut. I wanted to find a trick that would make my blog traffic grow immediately. But really, there isn’t one. Solid content and marketing are the real keys to growing your blog, those won’t make your blog an instant success. It will be a slow proccess. I was blogging 9 months before I had my first month with more than 10,000 page views! Now, I regularly get 10x that. You just have to be patient.
These are some of the lessons I learned in my first year of blogging, but they certainly aren’t the only ones! I couldn’t possibly list all the lessons I’ve learned. Blogging is truly a trial by error industry. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll start small, but you’ll learn. You’ll grow. And soon you won’t be that blogger with 500 views per month posting outfit collages.