My fourth anniversary of blogging is upon me, and I have often wondered if I have learnt anything. I have obviously learnt how to blog, and I am reasonably good at WordPress nowadays, but I wonder if I have learnt any secrets to becoming a successful blogger.
The honest answer is no. I have absolutely no idea what it takes to hopefully get people clicking on a post and reading it.
For all of that, here are four things that I believe you have to do if you stand any chance of succeeding in the ever increasing blogging world.
When I first started four years ago there simply wasn’t the amount of bloggers around that there are today. Of course there are many reasons why this has happened and for me the biggest reason has to be that as the blogging industry grew more and more, more people thought I can do that and make some quick, easy money or get free products for a simple review. The truth is those people disappear very quickly as they realise how difficult blogging is, and how much time goes into something like a review.
Being a blogger is totally underpaid in relation to the many hours you invest in your blog. There is no such thing as easy money or freebies. You have to work for it like anything else in life.
So here you go. Here are the four things I have learnt after four years of blogging that I believe you need to do to be a successful blogger.
I learnt very early in my blogging life that the most important part of a blog is content. I cannot emphasis enough that content really is king! Saying that, it has to be well written and engaging. I’m not saying we always get our content spot on. I know I certainly don’t, but whatever you are writing about, make it authentic and interesting and hopefully readers will come back for more. Also it’s important to build up a substantial amount of posts and then always share your old posts. You never know it might pick up some new people and consequently increase your audience. I currently have around 1,800 posts on my blog so if somebody’s looking for something in particular they might just find it.
2. Promoting your writing
Once you have written a new post, part of the deal is to get it out there, and this is where social media is vital. Some of us love social media, but for me personally it’s a necessary evil to promote my writing. Although after four years I don’t have to promote it so much anymore because, thankfully, I have a core readership that has built up over time, and yes another big learning curve for me was that it takes time. Climbing the ladder of the blogging world takes time. It very rarely is an overnight success. It’s a gradual process, but if you stick at it as I have done success can follow.
3. Finding my niche
This was probably the most difficult thing for me to do when I was starting out as a blogger. I initially thought I would combine DIY posts with an element of parenting posts. I continued to do this for some months, but as time went on I started to write more parenting posts, which also led me to start writing about my own childhood and the chaos that existed in my own upbringing. I also started to write about blogging in general, and to this day one of my best read posts is When Is A Blog No Longer A blog which I’m particularly proud of.
When I started to find my niche, I actually think my niche found me, and I have never allowed myself to write about a specific topic. I will write about what interests me at the time, but try to stay true to the original idea of DIY and parenting.
4. Avoid Arguments on social media
Over the last few years like many of us, I have had a number of occasions where people have had a dig at me on social media, and when this happened the first few times I reacted by answering back, which sadly resulted in a full on argument on social media.
The lesson I learnt very quickly was to stay silent and not rise to the person having a go at you. It just fuels the situation. So if it happens nowadays I say nothing and it’s amazing how quickly they disappear, because you can’t argue with silence.
So finally if I was to advise my blogger self of four years ago, I would stay say write the best posts you can, don’t be frightened to over promote yourself, especially in the early days to build your audience. Be patient, it will not happen overnight, but I’m testament to the fact that keeping at it will eventually bring you success. Most importantly enjoy it. It’s not a competition. Blog for yourself and then see what happens. If you are lucky enough to be able to monetise your blog, remember it’s not freebies, it’s work, very hard work.
I would love to know what you think.