Earlier this month, I attended FLBlogCon14, which marks my first year of being a self hosted blogger. It’s hard to believe that just a year ago, I was having anxiety about what hosting provider to choose, and where to buy my domain from! I wish someone would have told me to keep them in one place.
Last year, I didn’t know anyone at the conference. I had a free ticket, and I just attended for some motivation and inspiration to be a more consistent blogger on my free baby blogs. I had no idea I would be so inspired to create an LLC, become self hosted, and launch a business!
This years conference was amazing because I had blogger friends that I met over the year through FLBlogCon and other blogging communities!
I was finally able to meet my new friends:
- Kristen, from Mommy In Sports.
- Michele, from Career Tipper
- Linda, from Candy Oils
- Anthony “Biggie” from Deli Fresh Threads
- Annie from Annie A to Z
- and I got to hug, Katy, my blogging mentor from Healthy Living In A Hectic World
- I was hoping to meet up with Sarah from The Virgin Heartbreaker, but we kept missing each other!
Last year my goals were:
- Just start blogging!
- Find my voice
- Find my niche
- Build an audience
I came out of this conference with totally new goals:
- Become a better photographer by buying a better camera & taking some photography classes
- Start a podcast
- Refine my Google Helpouts
- Make better video
- Create an e-book
Pretty crazy to see how much has happened in just one year!
I experimented a lot, and was able to look back on the lessons I learned from my first year of blogging. If you’re thinking of becoming a blogger, or new to it, here’s some advice that might help, and give you some piece of mind:
1. Be Patient. It Doesn’t Happen Overnight:
“The attitude is one step at a time—four baby steps forward, two baby steps back. You can just allow it to be like that. Trust that you have to go at your own speed.” -Pema Chodron
When it comes to blogging, there’s a lot of competition. I’m a text book type A personality, so when I started blogging, I was ready to build an empire! I got so excited after I attended FLBlogCon that my brain was about to explode with ideas, and it hasn’t stopped. I had all of these plans that were supposed to boom overnight, but they didn’t take off like I thought they would. Of course this is discouraging, and there have been numerous occasions where I wanted to quit and give up when something didn’t meet the expectation I set. Something inside me though knew I had to keep trying.
Through yoga I know that these feelings pass and these moments are actually experiences of growth. As time went on, I started to learn and understand the world of blogging, and became more patient.
I learned it’s all about experimenting. When something doesn’t work, I just set it aside, and move onto the next thing! The moment when I get that one comment where I helped someone, or that they are able to do headstand because of my video, or just that they connected with one of my posts, that makes it all worth it.
Here’s an example of a comment I received that made my heart smile:
2. Social Media is Not About Making Money, But About Building Your Brand, Which Leads to Making Money
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell
It took me awhile to understand how to use social media in conjunction to my blog. I would share my posts, promote my private yoga lessons, and tweet out products that I was passionate about, but wasn’t sure why I wasn’t making any money or gaining many followers. It wasn’t until I changed my whole mindset about social media when I started to finally make money.
Clear and simple, the keys to monetizing your social media are:
- Sharing Your Own Good Content
- Sharing Good Content from others
Long story short – social media is a two way road. It should never be just about your content and selling your products. You should be engaging with your followers, sharing informative content, and staying true and authentic in your beliefs. Treat your followers over social media like your friends. Bring them into your world, and show genuine interest in their life and well being. It should be all about how you can help them! Give away some of your expertise for free because you genuinely want to help people, and they will come back for more – and pay you!
Then, your friends over social media will gain trust in you, believe in your advice, and see that you have the experience and expertise in your niche. You will start to make money whether it’s from affiliate products, sponsored posts, or your own merchandise. It’s better to have a smaller loyal audience that trusts you and buys your product, than a ton of scattered traffic that doesn’t know enough about you to make the sale.
3. Quality over Quantity:
It’s easy to become impatient and frustrated when your numbers are not growing as fast as you want them to. Although, I’ve grown a lot, I still have a lot to learn. I still get a little anxious and envious when I see a blogger that’s tripling my numbers. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s not about the numbers. Just like I talked about above, you want your audience to trust and respect you, and your opinion. You want your audience to engage with you, tell others about you, be excited to open your email, and make daily visits to your site because they were thinking about you! If your readers aren’t interested in your content, their follow number just becomes arbitrary. I learned this the hard way…
I’ve had bloggers with millions of followers share my posts over social media, and in some cases, the response was unsatisfactory. It was a big wake up call when someone who had a smaller audience genuinely shared some of my posts, and because people trust and respect this person, the posts ended up going crazy, building genuine traffic and amazing new fans, who are now friends!
This was a huge eye opener that if you have a small following, but they are loyal and trust your opinion, your word will go further than someone who has a lot of numbers, but little influence. I have to constantly remind myself of this scenario when I’m feeling discouraged.
It’s the quality of your content which drives a quality audience. This is better than having a lot of numbers for the sake of numbers.
4. The Posts You Thought Would Work, Might Not, and Vice-Versa.
I started my blog to make Ashtanga yoga less intimidating for beginners. To give you instruction on how to grow and build your practice step by step. I wanted to show people how to go from the first stage of a posture to how to master it, and to see that progress is possible through patience, persistence, and practice.
After years of practicing, I’m fascinated when it finally clicks, and I understand how to maneuver my body in a posture. I wanted to break it down for people and rather than just telling someone in a video where to put your hand or how to twist. I wanted to explain how to externally rotate the hips, and how to work with the inner body. It’s hard to explain and different for everyone. I thought that those posts would take off because it’s something that I’m interested in.
In all honesty, my posture posts don’t do as well as my other topics. That was a hard thing for me to accept, but it doesn’t stop me from blogging about them. I do have a small niche following around my posture posts, and what matters is that someone is finding them helpful! That’s what I set out to do. At the same time, I continue to write about other things that interest me, and pay attention to what goes viral, and continue those posts as well.
Quick Tip: I found that my posture posts do well over Instagram, so if I post shorter content over there, I can reach a larger audience. There are so many outlets, so if something doesn’t work as a blog post, experiment and find out where it does work!
5. Blog Your Passion & Post Evergreen Content
Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. – Mother Theresa
When I first started blogging I worried too much about the traffic. What posts are taking off, what didn’t work, and how to restructure my blog that way. I think those statistics should be taken into account and examined for sure, but I also think it’s important to not lose sight of why you started to blog in the first place. When I let go of worrying so much about the numbers, and started focusing on blogging about what I was passionate about, that’s when things started to take off for me.
Through doing this, you will start to develop your voice, discover other interests, and your blog will grow organically. People will love your transparency, vulnerability, and authenticity.
I think another important thing to remember in this is that you have to give it time. A large following doesn’t happen overnight. If a few posts don’t take off at the beginning, it doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. Post evergreen content, so after your following grows, share it again, and see what happens! Exciting!
6. Stay Consistent in Your Blogging, but Forgive Yourself if You Become Busy.
I know we’re all busy, and I will be the first to admit that I am awful at time management, and I am certain I overcommit. Whatever the case, I have learned that when you stay consistent in your blogging, your audience stays consistent and grows. It will really benefit you if you set a schedule and stick to it each week. I use CoSchedule, an editorial calendar that works right in my WordPress to help keep my posts on track. It’s so easy to use, and it’s drag and drop. My favorite feature though is that it syncs right with your Google Calendar, so I always know when I have a post due. I also love that I can sync it with my social media.
Still, even when I have my posts scheduled out, I might have to reschedule a post for the next day because I need time to rest, and time for myself. Working a full time job, teaching yoga, practicing yoga, and blogging with some freelancing is a lot to take on. And, blogging should never feel like work. I used to get so frustrated at myself if I didn’t get something complete at the time I wanted, but I learned to forgive myself. I practice blogging just like I practice yoga. I do the best I can, experiment with different techniques, stay unattached, and recommit the next day!
This is another reason you should post evergreen content. If you have a month where you’re overwhelmed, go back to your best evergreen posts, and rehash them. Don’t become a slave to your passion!
7. Blogging Is About Building Community:
Bloggers become bloggers because they are passionate about something. They want to share their passion with the world in the hopes of helping and inspiring others. Because of this, I’ve found that most bloggers want to help other bloggers succeed. I have met the most amazing group of bloggers this past year through FLBlogCon, and overwhelmed with the kindness of the community. The best thing you can do is connect with other bloggers and engage and share each others content.
I’m really excited to be a part of a new initiative hosted by FLBlogCon called GottaGetBlogging! It’s really priceless information because there are support groups, mentors, weekly webinars, and open office hours from expert bloggers!
My open office hours are Tuesday evenings from 7pm-10pm. My area of expertise is Becoming Self-Hosted & Basic WordPress Customizations. First 30 minutes are free! What are you waiting for! Become a member & let’s make you a blogger!
Here are some tools that helped me through my first year of blogging:
BlueHost (Best WordPress Hosting Ever!)
StudioPress & Genesis Themes (Upgrade your theme & look like a blogging pro!)
CoSchedule (Editorial Calendar I can’t live without!)
Gotta Get Blogging (AFFORDABLE & AMAZING resource for bloggers! Exclusive webinars, blogger groups, mentors, and consulting!)
Buffer – (Social Media Scheduling – AWESOME!)
Social Media Consulting with Katy Widrick (Best thing I ever did!)
Passion Fruit Ads (YES!)
Shut Up and Tweet (Learned everything I need to know about Twitter!)
VaultPress (I BEG you to backup your site!)
Excited? Motivated? Overwhelmed? Remember, just one thing at a time.
Let’s take the first step together. Choose your domain, and then watch your blog take off….!!!
Go ahead and comment below something you’ve learned through blogging!
PS.If you’re interested in learning more, please come over and check out the new site for more tips on growing a successful blog doing what you love!