Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Six Things I've Learned in Eight Years of Blogging

It is the final day of #blogboost The Ultimate Blog Challenge.  What have I learned during my almost eight years of blogging?  What tips would I give to new bloggers?

First, I would say, APPRECIATE YOUR READERS.  There are millions of blogs out there (I've seen a figure of 152 million).  You've come to my blog.  You've gotten to the second paragraph.  Thank you!

I've published some of these observations before, but good advice never gets old.  Here are six things I learned (expressed as wishes) from all my years of blogging.

 1.  I wish I knew there was such a thing as blogging challenges when I started.  If you want to grow your readership (and who doesn't want followers, for either personal or business reasons?), this is one of the fastest ways to increase your readership.  In turn, by reading the blogs of those in your challenge, you will quickly learn what works - and what doesn't.

I blogged for over two years not knowing about challenges, and I would not be blogging today if I hadn't been told (by a friend who is a writer) about them.

2.  I wish I knew that consistent posting is key.  I highly recommend daily posting, at least for the first month or two of your blog.   Once you establish yourself, what becomes necessary is not daily posting, but, rather, consistent posting.  If you don't want to post daily - and many bloggers don't want to, or can't - then it helps your readers to know that you have a schedule. Then stick to it.

3.  I wish I knew there is no such thing as a perfect blog post.  Perfection is not necessary.  Passion IS necessary.  If you don't like what you write, your readers won't, either.

 If you love something, work that into your blog posts.  If you couldn't care less about that topic, don't bother.  Blog about something you love.  I can't emphasize this enough.  That dislike/boredom/lack of passion will show right through your writing.

4.  But, you must know what your readers want.  A blog is not all about you.  It is about your readers, too. My readers seem to love pictures of snow (in the winter) and flowers (the rest of the year).  I've been a bit distracted recently, but if you stick around until tomorrow, I promise you some snow.

5.  I wish I knew how important blogging comments are.  Those comments are more valuable to a blogger than breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even good chocolate.  For example, a couple of years ago I wrote a post about fall.  Where I live, fall is a big deal - it is our premier season. A couple of my readers gently reminded me that much of the world does not experience quite the same fall as upstate New York (where I live).  My sin?  I had taken my readers for granted.

Even now, when things get busy in my life, I forget to respond to my commenters - not a good practice.

If you do disagree, which is fine, please, please, please, be respectful. There is a person, a living, breathing human being with feelings, on the other end of that blog post you like or dislike. If you lurk, please comment on some other blog posts today!

6. Be real. Be you.  It's not as easy as you think, but it is worth the effort.

Did you enjoy this challenge?  Will you do another one?

Some flowers for you, my readers
Day 31 (the final day!) of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

47 comments:

  1. Thank-you for sharing you knowledge. It was very helpful to me. I am a newbie so to speak. I have only been blogging for a bout a year.

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    1. I wish you success in your future blogging. Practice does make a difference. We all started somewhere.

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  2. I think the authentic voice is critical- as is information that is useful or entertaining. One needs both.

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  3. I haven't been blogging for nearly as long as you. I completed my two year anniversary yesterday. But I know that these are very valid, useful and timeless tips.

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    1. Best wishes for a long, enjoyable blogging career.

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  4. Your blog experiences have certainly given you a way to share with others. Your list of hints, suggestions and tips are right on for being a consistent, considerate and thoughtful blogger. I'm so glad we are blogging friends...I value your words. I too, posted about blogging and writing today. See ya there!

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    1. I am younger than you are, but hopefully just as old school. I hadn't heard of old school blogging but you know what? I am old school and proud of it.

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  5. I have never done a challenge but have been conducting workshops on blogging for over 4 years and I have always taught the importance of the 3Cs, 3Ps and of course the ABCs.

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    1. Just as important in blogging as in business.

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  6. Hi -- I'm a relatively new blogger, just learning about so many things. I'm very interested in your comments about blogging challenges? Where do you get the information about them? Do you publish your posts for the challenge independently, or do you somehow link your posts with those of other bloggers? If the latter, how does the tech side of that work? So many questions. Thanks!!

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  7. Good for you for finishing this. I have enjoyed reading them all. really don't know if I could do this, I have enough trouble do my one a week sometimes. I really agree with responding to your readers comments, I always answer every single comment. I may do it a day later, but I do it. I feel if they take the time to comment, they deserve a reply.

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    1. If once a week works for you, why not? I fall down in always responding to comments and you are absolutely right - anyone who spends their valuable time on my blog and comments deserves, in turn, my time and attention.

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  8. Good stuff! 8 years of blogging? Congratulations!

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  9. All of the above. This needs to be a tutorial for every new blogger!

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  10. All great tips! I'd like to say that comments are so important to bloggers, and if you want them, make sure to leave some too. When a post gets no comments... bloggers will be left wondering if anyone actually read the post, or if the read it, did they hate it?
    So I try to go around a comment on blogs, as well as posting on my own.

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  11. My "post every day" started with the July 2014 UBC. All you say is so true. Congratulations on making it through the month!

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    1. Thank you, John. And your output is awesome.

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  12. You have learned and shared some very good pointers. I've only been blogger about 2 years and I'm always ready to learn more from others. The one thing I always to is reply to every comment. I also leave comments and share to at least one social share on the blogs I read. I'm looking forward to venturing on my Adsense since I have ads but I have to learn how to make them show up on my page to readers. That's my personal challenge. Congrats on completing the UBC, this is my 5 challenge that I participated in and completed all. Looking forward to continuing to follow your great blogs.

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    1. Thank you, Martha, for reading, and best of success in your future challenges. That's an accomplishment for two years of blogging.

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  13. I enjoyed your post. I have been blogging since 2010 and have not done a blog challenge, but have commented on many. It is something I need to look into for the future. Your advice is very valuable to all bloggers, especially those just starting off. I always try to make it a point to post on schedule, for example the Bloom Day meme every month on the 15th, and strive to keep my posts and photography fresh and up to date. Blogging is a tremendously rewarding experience and over the years a deep virtual connection is developed with one's readers. And yes...comments are important and it is important to respond back. It builds the connection between those sharing a similar interest.

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    1. I so agree, Lee. GBBD was the first monthly meme I ever participated in, and I haven't missed one since I started. I hope I can continue that streak for a while.

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  14. This is my second time taking the challenge. The first I never finished. This one I was able to. I had much fun doing it. I did notice my views was down by half this time around.

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    1. Sandy, I think what is happening in politics may be very distracting to a lot of bloggers. Just a guess.

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  15. Will you find another blog challenge for February?

    I've never done a blog challenge (well, except for A to Z). Probably something I should try.

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    1. I'm not going to do another challenge, probably, until April.

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  16. I am so grateful to these blogging challenges. When I started blogging about ten and a half years ago, I thought that I was writing just for the sake of it. No one read my blogs. When I got into the blogging challenges, I started noticing that many more people were reading my blog. I have found that doing a regular comments and conversation post is the way that I like responding to comments. I really like featuring the readers in a blog post because, without them, my blog would be nothing.

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    1. I blogged in a vacuum for my first two years. Then, a friend (who no longer blogs) in "real life" told me about a challenge that no longer exists. It was a once a year challenge and she told me about 4 hours before the sign up deadline. So glad I did.

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  17. Excellent post! I need to reread it a few times so I do not miss a single thing! I saw you at Sue's blog, CollectIn Texas Gal. I love bloggings but I was not always consistent. I did the various memes but found some folks are not very nice and several good friends I made stopped because of the meanies, the cliques. I disliked that stuff in school and am way too grown up to be in a clique.
    I appreciate all who visit my blog and although it takes me a while some days. I truly enjoy each person who takes time to visit and comment. I have made many wonderful friends and met a few of them too. My girlfriend Barb introduced me to blogging and she was my very first pen pal when we were 13. Ah...the memories of childhood. Anyway I am glad to be here and your blog is the first place that the google and blogger people let me follow without the Forbidden word popping up!
    Enjoy a great week and thank you for all these shares.

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  18. It's so amazing when we can learn lessons and especially share those lessons. Glad you completed the challenge.

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  19. Lovely blogging advise Alana especially about consistent blogging- it could be daily or with a schedule - thats the key. And yes content curation by understanding what you love to write about and how it affects your readers.
    I love the comments too - its a fantastic way to interact and know your readers.

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  20. Eight years....!!! That is awesome Alana.....Thanks for sharing some very valuable points here. Challenges are definitely helpful but sometimes I feel that an honest reading of the post is sacrificed. Many times I have seen a casual comment that is proof enough that your post was not read. I am only in the third year and sometimes I feel I am not getting enough in terms if actual reading, despite the fact that I take time to read and leave an honest comment on the blog posts. I don't know why this happens.

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  21. Great advice. I love challenges, too. :)

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  22. Good points. I have always believed in the importance of answering comments. It's good to keep the conversation going.
    b

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  23. It's been a while since I've done a challenge. I never have the time anymore. I also think that concentrating on your niche is important to. When I was writing about everything my pageviews suffered, but when I focused on that one thing my readership grew. I'm horrible about the comments too.

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  24. I'm glad you opened with appreciate your readers. I couldn't agree with that more.

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  25. I've seen other bloggers be part of challenges. I just never have. Great idea. Will try in 2017!

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    1. It's something I recommend. You don't always have the spike in traffic continue, but you do meet great bloggers you keep on reading.

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  26. Okay... I need educating, Alana! I'm not in the challenge loop! Where do I go? Brenda

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    1. No "duhs". I probably should have put links to some of the challenges. Incidentally, there is also an "Ultra Blog Challenge" that runs monthly, run by a former moderator of the UBC.

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  27. Replies
    1. A to Z Blogging Challenge is going to make its announcement tomorrow. I strongly suggest you visit their website to get details. It's a wonderful way to get traffic although much of it dies down after the challenge. And it is not an easy challenge, especially if you aren't used to blogging daily (you do get Sundays off).

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