I started two blogs this year. I’ve made some mistakes but I’ve grown from them. Here’s what I learned this year about blogging, and I hope it helps you.
1. What works for “Their Blog” Won’t Necessarily Work For Mine.
There are a zillion articles on how to run a successful blog. However, I feel like most of these articles are written by a particular type of blogger. Namely, how-to-blogging-posts are mostly written by people with a product to sell other than their blog. For instance, getting credibility is important for everyone but what gives a business blogger street cred isn’t what gives me credibility. I tried guest-posting in blogs like mine but with bigger audiences however I found this had almost zero impact on my traffic. I wrote an article in Scary Mommy and looking at my WordPress stats, 10-15 folks were referred to me from that article within two months of that post getting published. However, I wrote a provocative post on my main blog, Love Letters to Spam, and then shared the link on Reddit at 8:30 on a Thursday night. Within one hour, 261 people read the post on my blog and the traffic came from that one link on Reddit.
2. You Can’t Make Everyone Happy.
In my non-blogging life, I detest conflict. When I am in a situation where I feel uncomfortable, my gut reaction is to be excessively polite. I like most people and dislike upsetting them. It’s hard for me knowing that my views might upset people I might like. But if I expect someone to devote time to actually reading my blog, then it needs to have substance. The riskier my posts are–the funnier and less politically correct–the more I enjoy them and the more positive feedback I get. I realize there are people who dislike these posts. However, if my goal’s to make a blog that gets read then unfortunately I will inevitably turn some people off.
3. I Am Not My Blog.
I love being heard. I guess that’s why I’m a writer but what I’m building is a brand. It’s taken me a while but now that I have some regular blog readers, I know that when they don’t respond to a post (either privately or publicly) that I’ve done something wrong. Just because I had a really great conversation with my cat doesn’t mean my blog readers want to know about it. Even worse, I realized by posting random sh*t I could make a potential reader not come back.
4. But My Blog Can Have Multiple Themes.
I write love letters to my spam folder on my main blog. It’s funny and the concept sounds random but I feel like a lot of people go on social media just because we’re lonely and don’t necessarily have one person in mind when we share. What I’m trying to say is that my concept is specific but I’ve found that while I do touch on the ideas of loneliness and isolation in a digital world, that people like it when my quirky personality comes through. I think people read my “Love Letters to Spam,” blog because they relate to some part of me. The consistency comes with the format–each post is a letter ostensibly written to my spam folder–but I think folks keep coming back because the issues change like in a real relationship.
I will inevitably make some mistakes in 2015. I look forward to sharing those lessons with you.
Happy New Year!