Does your family still recognize you?
Blogging requires so much sacrifice of your time, they may be getting used to not having you around.
Even if you are physically present, you might be so distracted by your stats or plans for your next blog post, they just don’t “get” you anymore.
Fortunately, my guest author One Dizzy Bee is here today to explain the five criteria for blogging success she’s discovered in her first year of blogging.
Interestingly, all of them start with the letter “P”.
One Dizzy Bee, take it away!
Five MORE Revelations of a Neophyte Blogger
My first post on this topic, Five Revelations of a Neophyte Blogger, was so well-received that I thought to myself, “Self, why not share some more of your startling revelations with the peeps and see how that goes?” In a happy twist of fate, Janice from Mostly Blogging just happened to stop by my blog around that same time. She surprised and honored me by asking if I’d like to guest post about my blogging revelations! Fate is sometimes a kind mistress.
So here we are. I feel like in the short time I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned so much. I’m like a blogging-sponge, soaking up all the info floating around the blogosphere. In other regards, I feel like Goldilocks. Some how-to posts are too soft, while others are too hard; i.e., so technical and numbers-crunchy that it gives me pain in the brain.
Then there are those that are just right – they’re presented in layman’s terms, are fun to read, and don’t send me screaming to Google every other sentence to try to figure out what the heck they’re talking about. I mean, I’m sure those posts are great for the advanced blogger. But me? I’m still new. I hope you have a little bit of fun while reading this post and maybe some of what I have to say will resonate.
By the way, I didn’t intend for all these things to start with P. Like most of the things I write, it just sort of happened.
Patience – This was, for me, the number one most difficult thing about being a new blogger. I visit a ton of blogs and see people with thousands or even tens of thousands of subscribers, and I was despairing that it would never be me. I heard bloggers complaining that they “only” got 500 views a day. Privately, I was praying for 500 a day!
Without even realizing it, I’d gotten myself all caught up in this crazy numbers game, when numbers aren’t even the real reason I started blogging. Before starting my blog, I’d been writing privately for literally decades and having a great time. Give me a dotcom, though, and suddenly I stink unless people are clicking ‘like’?
What brought me back to earth was a question posted on a newbie blogger Facebook page to which I belong. Another blogger was wondering why their page views were going down, and they said they were afraid their blog sucked. (It doesn’t.)
The lightning-bolt hit me in the midst of reassuring them that their blog is good and that numbers fluctuate, especially in the beginning while you’re finding your voice. It took someone else’s question to make me see that I just needed to be patient, give people time to find (and love!) me, and to keep in mind that I started blogging because I love to write. Not because I wanted millions of views. Though, who am I kidding? Millions of views would be stellar!
Promotion – The fact that the internet is this unknowable, nearly infinite entity isn’t really a revelation to anyone. One of the things that did come as a huge surprise to me (funnily enough) was the fact that my site wasn’t going to promote itself. I had this completely delusional idea that the act of having a blog was somehow magically going to get it noticed by search engines. Okay, as soon as you stop laughing, say it with me … “Noob!”
I started promoting myself on Twitter, because for me, it was the easiest platform to master. I’m older, and it’s true what they say. New things are harder to learn the older you get. I used to laugh at my mother because she couldn’t set the timer on her VCR. Now I’m becoming her, if you replace ‘VCR’ with ‘social media’.
The thought of doing Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Instagram and whatever else, simultaneously, was enough to give me a twitch. However, I decided if the Kardashians are smart enough to do it, then darn it, so am I. Eventually!
Fortunately, there are a lot of resources within the blogging community to guide you through losing your social media virginity. In fact, the most user-friendly source I discovered is right here on Mostly Blogging. Their how-to for StumbleUpon is so straightforward I was able to dive right in and Stumble!
Perseverance – When you check your stats and see tons of views, you’re on top of the world. You’re in love with your blog, and blogging, and the mailman, and…wait, where was I going with this?
You’re going to have great page view days. Also mediocre ones. And downright bleh days where you’d swear your page views are actually negative numbers. You might have several of either in a row. Don’t let the bleh days get you down. That’s easy to say, much harder to do, I know.
I can’t say this enough. On the bleh days, remind yourself why you write. Not why you blog, but why you write. If it’s solely for the numbers, then I’m going to say this as gently as I possibly can: You may be in this for the wrong reasons.
Yes, as bloggers, we want to interact. Likes are our lifeblood. Comments are our candy. But we can’t make the mistake of measuring our worth by the number of visits, likes and shares we get. People return to blogs (or not) for their own reasons, and they often have little to do with your ability as a blogger.
Some blogs are fantastic, but they don’t speak to my personal interests. I’m a fifty-year-old woman with no children. I might visit your mommy blog, and I might think it’s great. I’ll probably even click the ‘like’ button a few times. But I won’t be a return visitor. I might visit your twenty-something fashion blog, and it, too, might be great. But again, I’m probably not coming back because you’re not writing for me.
So don’t give up. Find your tribe. Give your tribe time to find you. It will happen. There might be millions of blogs, but there are trillions of people in the world and an awful lot of them have the internet. Your odds are good!
Planning – Everyone should have a plan. For life. For blogging as well. At least, so I’ve been told. I am not going to lie to you here. This ‘P’ is my biggest pitfall. I’m random. I’m chaotic. I try to plan, but my plans seldom pan out the way I originally intended. I even got myself an awesome planner and swore to myself that in 2016, I Would Be Better!
I do have a posting schedule because it isn’t fair for my subscribers to get sucked into the whirlwind of my life. Whatever happens behind the scenes, I always make sure I adhere, at bare minimum, to the schedule I’ve posted on my blog. When I’m inspired, there may be more postings in a given week, but no one ever seems to mind that.
I also have time that I’ve dedicated to reading blogs. I have the ones I’ve subscribed to, and I also make time to look for new ones. There are so many gems out there. If I didn’t have time blocked out specifically for this purpose, I’d never get anything else done.
Then there’s time spent on social media. That would devour my life if I let it, so I’ve allocated specific amounts of time every day for that – an hour in the morning, and an hour before bed.
I have a day job that pays my internet bill, which allows all the aforementioned things to happen.
In my world, making time to actually use the planner the way the planner is intended to be used takes time away from things I’d rather be doing. Like writing, visiting blogs, or editing pictures.
So…yeah. My takeaway is, if you are the organized, plannerly sort, my hat is off to you. However, if you are an Agent of Chaos Personified (like me), don’t sweat the small stuff. Plan what you can, and wing it the rest of the time.
Panic – What a great feeling! Who doesn’t love the hammering heartbeat, the sweaty palms, the churning nausea in the pit of your stomach? No? You don’t like those things at all, you say?
Me neither. But it’s going to happen, and sometimes, for the silliest of reasons.
I once made a typo in a comment on a blog, and I convinced myself that somehow, those two transposed letters were going to cost me credibility in the blogosphere. I desperately searched, to no avail, for an ‘edit’ button.
I know, it’s ridiculous, but when you’re the new kid, you sometimes convince yourself that a grain of sand is actually a boulder poised on a mountainside, ready to tumble down and crush you in its wake.
Another time, I forgot to include a hashtag on a linky post in a tweet and was certain no one would let me in another linky again, ever. I’m sitting here chuckling and shaking my head as I write this, but at the time, I could just feel the ‘L’ etching itself onto my forehead. Linky Loser. That’s me.
Then there was the time I completely thanked the wrong person (publicly) for promoting some of my posts. Yeesh. I thought my lunch was going to reverse itself over that one. All parties were incredibly graceful about my confusion, and I got to blame it being old. Sometimes being old has its perks.
Trust me when I say that the Blogger Grand Poobah is not calling a secret meeting with all the cool bloggers, where they all stand around and discuss what a noob you are. I said this in my first ‘Revelations’ post but it bears repeating here. The blogging community is the most supportive, encouraging, forgiving bunch of people you will ever have the pleasure to meet. I only wish I’d started blogging sooner so I could have met them sooner.
So, next time you feel the cold sweats starting – just breathe. Breathe. It’s going to be okay. Unless you’ve set fire to something. Then call the Fire Brigade and RUN.
Have a funny story to share about when you were new? Drop your comments below!
Admin Blogger’s Commentary:
Readers, please share, so all bloggers know what it takes to have a successful blog. For newer bloggers, One Dizzy Bee’s tips are important. I’m sure even more seasoned bloggers would appreciate these reminders.
Which tip do you feel was the most important for beginning bloggers? Do you have any other blogging success tips you can recommend? I look forward to your views.
One Dizzy Bee did a great job. She explained with levity many serious points about all that successful blogging entails. Let’s show her some blog love by visiting her site, OneDizzyBee.com.
Note: MostlyBlogging is looking for guest authors. If you are interested in guest posting, here is the criteria.