One Year Blog Anniversary: 5 Essential Tips for the New Blogger
Hi Dear Reader,
It’s my blog anniversary! This spring marked the one-year anniversary of From Pennies to Plenty. I don’t know exactly when it passed the one-year mark. Is it when I bought the domain name or the day I published the first post? Nonetheless, I crossed the year mark about a month or two ago. In celebration, I decided to reflect on the year by sharing 5 tips for the new blogger.
I didn’t write about things like how to triple your pageviews or how to make your Pinterest pins go viral. I wanted to focus more on the growth of the blogger and not the blog itself. If you are a new blogger, my hope is that these tips will help you on your blogging journey.
1 | Give yourself time to learn
This is my absolute number one tip. When you’re starting out blogging, you might feel like you have so much to learn that you’ll never catch up to all the big names out there in the blogging world. Here’s the truth: if you’re new to blogging without any previous experience, you do have a lot to learn. But the good thing is that you don’t have to learn it all at once.
Everything took me so long to do when I started. The first time I opened a new blog page on Squarespace, I had no clue what to do with the box, so I closed the page and didn’t come back to it for a few days. As someone who used social media minimally before, I had to learn how Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest worked and set up profiles on them. What some people could do in a few minutes, I spent hours researching and learning to do the same things. It’s fair to say that getting started blogging can be overwhelming and make you feel it’s impossible.
Most people don’t expect to learn a language fluently or play concert-level piano pieces in just a month or two. The same should be true for blogging. You also don’t need to try out every strategy, join every webinar, and buy every course all at once. They’ll still be there when you’re ready for them. Go ahead and give yourself the time you need to learn how to blog.
2 | Reach out to other bloggers
Blogging can be isolating or it can expand your world. At first, I thought that blogging was pretty solitary. You’re alone at home all day typing away at your computer. You might not get any social interaction with people in real life since you’re blogging all the time or people online because you don’t have many readers. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to other bloggers. You can find a community with other bloggers (and with your readers as they come).
Having blogging friends is also helpful because people in your everyday life may not understand what you do. My family and friends who don’t run blogs don’t realize the amount of time and effort that goes into building one. Some don’t even really know what a blog is. It can be difficult to share your successes and disappointments when they don’t understand where you’re coming from. That’s where having blogging friends helps. You’ll find that other bloggers understand you when those closest to you in real life don’t.
How do you find other bloggers?
Join Facebook groups for bloggers.
Join Facebook groups specifically for those enrolled in blogging courses. You’ll have to sign up for the course, of course.
Join a blogging mastermind group or set one up yourself.
Search or post in online communities (e.g., NextDoor and Meetup) looking for other bloggers.
Attend blogging events and conferences.
The best thing I did to meet other bloggers last year was attending a blogging conference last year. Not only did I learn a lot about blogging, I met many other new and seasoned bloggers. I still keep in touch with a few, who have been helpful and supportive to me as a new blogger. I can’t say enough about finding other bloggers early on in your journey.
3 | Don’t compare yourself to others
I know this is easier said than done. In the blogging world, you can feel acutely aware that you’re behind in the blogging world before you’ve even hit “publish” on your first post. It’s so easy to want to strive for the next thing: more pageviews, more frequent posts, more audience engagement, more affiliate sales, more subscribers. You hear of the blogger with 100,000 pageviews last month and the other one who grow their email list by 1,000 people last month and can walk away feeling disheartening. You may think that everyone is far ahead of you and that you’ll never get there yourself.
Blogging isn’t a race. It’s not about one person winning by getting to the finish line first, whatever that finish line may be. Everyone is on his or her own blogging journey. If you focus on what others have done, you can forget how far you’ve come yourself. Let’s say you have 25 posts up right now. That’s 25 more than you had when you started. When your analytics page says that you had 100 readers this month, that’s 100 people who were interested in what you had to say.
If you’re getting caught up in comparing yourself to other bloggers, it’s time to blinders on and ignore all that noise. Keep focusing on your blog and what you’re doing right.
4 | Focus on your readers
Related to the above tip, focus on the readers that you do have. First, hone in on who you’re writing to. One of the best things you can do when starting out is to create an avatar or the ideal person you’re writing to. This person has a name, age, occupation, family, personality, history, and beliefs that make him or her real to you.
Your avatar will shape your writing. No longer will you be tempted to write three different posts on how to budget to new college graduates, expecting moms, and retirees. You’ll write one post directed at your avatar. When you keep your message constant, you’ll find that your message resonates with readers who fit your avatar. These are the people who will subscribe to your email list and become recurrent readers.
Beyond that, you’ll want to focus on developing a relationship with your readers. Then your readers get to know you as a real person, not just someone random behind another computer screen. How do you start developing a relationship with your readers?
Write more on your most popular topics (as it relates to your avatar).
Help solve your readers’ problems. You can share your struggles and how you resolved them.
Invite readers to comment on your blog posts and respond to them.
Email your readers regularly and encourage their responses.
5 | Set boundaries and stay organized
Blogging can take over your life if you let it. When you start out, you’ll feel the urge to do everything and then some more. Soon you might find yourself thinking about blogging or doing something related to blogging 24/7. You can burn out without a doubt.
In order to prevent blogging from taking over your life, it’s important to set boundaries for your work. That means knowing the time you have set aside to blog and the time that you have to focus on other things. Because if you have family or a job, they’ll need your attention too.
I’ve heard of mom bloggers who wake up at 4 or 5 AM and work uninterrupted until 7 AM. The children or the woman’s spouse must handle their own issues if anything comes up during those hours. Once 7 AM hits, the children get up and they get their mom’s full attention. You don’t have to be that militant, but you do need to protect your time when you’re blogging and when you’re doing other things.
After setting boundaries for your time, there’s the point of organizing your approach to blogging. Here are some simple ways to organize your new blog.
Post regularly. Decide when and how often to post (e.g., once a week on Mondays or twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays). You can change the day and frequency later if you find your original plan isn’t working.
Create an editorial calendar. Instead of starting each week thinking about what to write about, plan out your blog posts in advance for at least the next month. You’ll use your writing time better because you know what you’re going to write about when you sit down to start writing each week. When you plan, you might find it easier to try creating a series of posts on the same topic or entertaining a guest blogger.
Set a regular time to write to your email subscribers. Several bloggers I know send their emails on the same day and even at the same time each week. This helps to build consistency with readers seeing your name and content regularly in their email boxes. I’ll admit I’m not the best at this, but I’m working on it. New and seasoned bloggers are always working to improve something!
So there you have it, my five tips for the new blogger. If you get me going, I’ll talk a lot more on the topic. So feel free to write with any questions or thoughts that you may have.
As for FP2P, I feel like I’ve only just begun. I’m going to continue sharing my thoughts and tips on frugal living, reselling thrifted items online, and other related topics. I have no plans to stop any time soon. Thank you for joining me on my blogging journey over the past year or so.
To new bloggers: keep blogging and you’ll soon find yourself celebrating your one-year anniversary too.
Do you have a blog or have you thought about starting one? What was your experience regarding your first year? What tips do you have for the new blogger?