Good morning, good morning! Sunday, I got a notification that it was my WordPress anniversary (I didn’t know I’d get a notification for that but was so happy seeing it!). See, when I started my blog a year ago, I was in a much different place than where I’m at today. I’m so incredibly PROUD of what I’ve done with Making it Millennial. This is my 92nd blog post! I started this blog with the mission of empowering female millennials to improve their personal and professional lives through intentional reflection and life experimentation. Over the past year, I’ve had many friends reach out and let me know how helpful/true my posts are, and that has made my heart so, so happy. Whether you’ve read about career, relationship, or beauty routine advice, I am still overjoyed with my little corner of the internet.
Of course, I’ve learned a ton in a year about blogging (some lessons have been harder than others!). Today I’m recapping 6 of the biggest lessons I’ve learned during my first year of blogging.
Lesson #1: Brainstorm Often & Plan Out Content Early On
Before I ever published a single blog post, I sat down for a good hour and brainstormed ideas for all of the lifestyle categories that I wanted to write about to make sure that I had plenty to write about for the long-term, not just the short-term. For each category that I wanted to write about, I brainstormed 20 blog post titles that I could pull from for building my blog’s library of posts when it wasn’t published yet. Before I made my blog public, I had 15 blog posts published, which made my new visitors get a good sample of what my blog is all about right from the first click. Now, with my blog published, I take time each month to review my content calendar, jot down more blog post title ideas and add them to my idea reservoir, and always have a variety of topics to pull from.
In regards to planning content, at the beginning of this year, I spent a solid three hours on my content calendar planning out blog posts based on my themes for the days of the week that I blog and holiday-oriented posts. Of course, I have changed/skipped some of those posts, but it was SUPER helpful having this already done from the first week of January! I wrote about my content calendar creation in this blog post.
Lesson #2: Growing an Audience Doesn’t Happen Overnight
From the very beginning, I had this vision of gaining all of these amazing, comment-driven readers (every blogger’s dream, right?!) for my blog. I must admit, getting those dedicated readers that consume every post and leave comments is more like…a needle in a haystack. People will like your post that you shared to FB and Instagram, but getting people to engage on my blog has been much harder than I imagined. However, when I do get comments, I always, always look forward to reading them and being able to write my readers back. I’m going to keep writing and sharing content that I think is helpful, and over time I want to build up my tribe of readers.
Lesson #3: Write Because You Want to Serve Others
This lesson is really important. Having a blog isn’t just slapping some words onto a page and calling it a day – there’s a lot of work that is involved behind the scenes. You should have a blog because you want to share, help, and serve others. It’s a real labor of love. You probably shouldn’t have a blog if your intentions are anything other than helpful for your readers (it will show through your weak content/website).
Of course, pretty much anyone can monetize a blog, but that should NOT be the reason why someone starts blogging.
Lesson #4: Sticking to a Blogging Schedule is Essential
Having a theme for each day of the week that I blog is really helpful in planning out my content. What’s NOT helpful is when I don’t stick to my blogging schedule (#cringeface). This has happened a few different times, and it can be hard to get back into the swing of things. Consistency in how often you publish a post and your post topics is critical for building your blog’s brand and identity with readers. This is still a top priority for me during Year 2 of MIM!
Need help getting your blog organized? Check out this blog post.
Lesson #5: Don’t Delete Files From Your Media Library!
Pro Tip: Don’t delete ANY files from your Media Library that you have used in a blog post – they will all disappear from your published blog posts, and the world will end. I learned this the very hard way, and it was such a headache (I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type this!). However, if you do delete media files that you actually need, then many hosting providers (I use Bluehost) backup websites on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and can restore your website to its previous order, just get in contact with your hosting service provider to see if that’s a service they provide.
I also wrote an entire blog post on this hard lesson that I learned. You can find it here.
Lesson #6: Blogging Can Be Lonely
Sometimes it can feel like you’re writing to the air when your post gets measly page views and no one leaves a comment. That sh*t can be hard to take in, especially if you have spent a considerable amount of energy and effort into making something that you consider great content. What I’ve done to feel more connected is follow just a few bloggers (like 3) whose content I really enjoy reading. I follow them on social media channels, comment on their posts, and engage with their content fairly often, which helps me feel more connected to the blogging community.
Another big goal of mine for #year2MIM is to find a few bloggers in the NYC area to actually meet up with, talk shop, and to have a real, helpful interactions together. I’m in NYC, why haven’t I done this yet?! On a side note, one of my friends from college reached out to me last week about starting her own blog, and I got overly excited to talk to someone about blogging – like hyped! We chatted for about 20 minutes but I could have talked her ear off. So now I have one friend who I can talk blogging shop with.
Of course, these are just a handful of all the lessons I’ve learned during my first year of blogging – the learning curve has been real, y’all!
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