It has been a year since I started blogging, so it is a good moment to cherish my first year online. I say to myself “Congratulations, Ela! You have made it.” There are many who give up blogging after a few months.
Even though it was hard to continue, I did not have the idea to give up. Why? First, because I have cultivated a vision bigger than myself and, secondly, because I have been stubborn to stick to the ideas and make them work.
So, the moral is this: A powerful vision helps you to go through difficulties.
It was a year of profound learning about blogging and entrepreneurship. I truly enjoyed it. I have spent lots of time on reading, watching videos, experimenting and testing the tips and ideas. I have also read blogs of other successful bloggers and watched their undertakings. It was a hard work behind the scenes, but I am happy with the little results I had. And I am ready to learn much more.
The first decision I made about blogging was to write long or/and meaningful posts instead of the suggested short ones (300-400 words). Obviously, I can only do it once or twice a week because writing such posts takes a lot of dedicated effort.
Such an approach is actually against the advised strategy of posting frequency which is 3 x a week, and ideally, (multiple times) every day. My goal, however, is to write meaningful posts and quality articles for conscious people and not for web crawlers (although they need to be taken into the account as well). I want to write in order to help myself and others grow, hence I will continue with this practice.
So, the moral is this: Follow your heart desire but account for other factors as well.
Learnt from blogging
If you are curious what I have learnt from the blogging journey, here are some points.
1. Blogging is a great tool for personal growth.
Because of the commitment you make with yourself to write and deliver. Writing is about thinking, planning, discipline and action. Delivery depends on learning everything behind the scenes and producing the results.
2. Blogging is an art.
Because it involves the skills of mastery. And we talk about a few skills at least. Apart from the obvious crafting with words and inspirational writing, there is much more about the presentation, touch and feel, choice of keywords or long-tail keywords, selection of images, SEO (search engine optimization) and so on.
Words can hurt, discourage and kill the spirit. But words can also give hope, encourage and inspire for change. The right use is what makes a difference. The inspirational or action-provoking writing is what makes it art.
3. Content is the king, but marketing is the queen. And they are happy together 🙂
Because even the best ideas and practices are useless if nobody learns about them and practises them.
4. Writing is a real work.
It may not feel like that to an outsider. But writing is an act of creation. This creation is a product such as a post, an article or a book.
Writing original posts takes a lot of time.
Because of the process that is necessary for the development of the ideas. It is an enjoyable process but it takes time. It takes lots of thinking. It takes lots of writing. And it takes lots of editing.
The hard part is to prune the tree of all ideas, half-baked ideas or weak ideas, and stories into a single seed of inspiration. This seed is then planted on various soils of experiences where creativity is called to work. Then multiple views are inspected and some of them are combined into a particular view. Finally, a (more or less) coherent story is created.
Any post you read in 2-5min often takes days of thinking and hours of writing. Perhaps it gets faster with experience. And speed typing 😉
Writing quality posts is a good exercise for personal growth.
Because you need to collect own ideas and experiences, reflect on them and organize them in a new, creative way. By doing so you will see new patterns that will help you to develop a deeper understanding. And such an understanding will ultimately lead to a new testing.
Writing valuable posts is hard.
Because the judgement is in the eye of the reader.Even if I write about the ideas that have been tested by me and others, there is no guarantee your will find them inspirational or useful.
5. It is busier behind the scenes.
Because blogging is also about maintaining the chosen content management system (such as WordPress or Drupal) and self-promotion. The first includes updating content, formatting text, improving articles and correction errors, plugins, backups and so on. The latter includes research behind the keyword selection, creating inner links, taking care of back-links, working on SEO and so on.
For every post, there is on average 2-3h of additional work, not even mentioning the beautifying of the theme, installation of new plugins, updates and many other tasks. There are many hours of work behind many successful blogs. Something that I have not realized before.
6. Generating traffic (=getting readers) is hard.
There are two reasons. First, because there is a lot of confusion how the organic search works. Google and other search engines change their algorithms all the time. There are numerous strategies and approaches suggested and it is extremely difficult to choose the good ones. Why? Because you need to follow them for a few months to judge the results. Multiple strategies are used at the same time, some perhaps counter-effect each other, so it is usually difficult to point which approach made the greatest difference. Many bring little results.
Secondly, self-promotion is necessary in one form or the other. And it is not easy to act upon this.
7. Spam is there. Deal with it.
Because clutter is an inherent challenge in life.
In the beginning there was virtually no spam. I started to get spam messages or comments after the first two months. Until the end of January, I have looked at every single message marked as spam by my spam detector. It grew from 30-50 spam messages a week to 50-100 a day. So I stopped this practice.
For the last few weeks I have been under attack, it seems, and I may close the Comments sections. I now receive about 2000-3000 spam messages daily. In addition, about 20000 -25000 (yes, 20 thousands) messages are blocked from considering it even a spam.
It took me quite some hours to find a proper detector and deal with the spam in my mailboxes. Yet, I take the challenge with a smile. Clutter is something we need to learn to deal with.
8. Vision is the key.
Because without vision I would not have made through the first year.
I received very little feedback about the value of my efforts – only a few people expressed their opinions. I got more criticism than applaud, I must say, but I don’t mind criticism at all. Still, I prefer to learn what works than what doesn’t.
And, by the way, if you find some articles valuable I will appreciate if you let me know what was particularly useful. Many thanks!
Growing the seeds
This year is essential for growing the seeds I have planted so far. I want to see them grow beautifully so that they can provide great value and help both me and you to change. My goal is to create a platform for personal growth: practical tools and systems, learnings and courses, people and experiences. I want to create my own valuable products.
I hope you will stick around.
And if you want to start blogging, but are hesitative, I want to encourage you to go for it. You will experience an enormous growth. No doubt about it.