9 (unexpected) things I’ve learnt in 9 years blogging.


On Christmas Eve just passed I quietly celebrated a little milestone – 9 years of blogging! My start in blogging all happened quite accidentally; while I am a Melbourne girl now, I was born and bred a Sydneysider and 9 years ago, on a very normal and uneventful evening when I was back in Sydney catching up with friends, one of them suggested that I should start a blog so that they could keep up with my new life in Melbourne. Thinking that it sounded like a great idea, I jumped right in a couple of days later with my first blogspot.com blog. It’s fair to say that I had absolutely no idea how that decision would change the course of my life!

9 years on and the social media environment has changed enormously! As I look back over that time, these are some of the things that stand out as key lessons and moments that have shaped the course of my blogging journey the most:

Find your tribe.
I’ve made amazing friends online, people who I now love to hang out with offline, as much as online. I experimented lots with connecting with bloggers and I think it’s a lot easier to make those connections now when we have so many avenues to connect through. Spending the time getting to know other bloggers, commenting on their sites and sharing their posts is such an important part of the blogging experience – it might take a little while, but you will find your tribe and once you do, it’s amazing!

Give, give, give.
Content is everywhere and people are drowning in links trying to find the good stuff. So, if you find the good stuff, share it! (and don’t forget to make it easy for people to share the good stuff that you create!)

Likewise, bloggers can get amazing experiences and products sent to them so if there’s a way for you to pass it on to your readers, do that; give so that they know that you love them not to get them to love you.

blogging advice

 

Brands are looking for Influencers to work with
When I started blogging things like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram didn’t exist so as brands started working online it was all about bloggers. In 2015 everyone has an audience and so while brands still love bloggers, they are more interested in “influencers” – people who drive their community to action and engagement, often across multiple platforms. Take the time to work out what topics you are, or could be, influential on and cultivate that content.

You have to invest in yourself.
When I started my first blog I learnt to code, and designed the whole thing myself. It was really empowering but ridiculously time consuming. At the time a custom design would have cost me about $150 but that seemed like a lot of money to spend on a hobby. Mistake. Spend the money to get it right, and to educate yourself about your niche – especially if you want to monteize. The BEST stuff I’ve ever learnt has come from spending money on a course or conference where I have been able to learn from people who are experts in their field.

Blogging is a long game
For most people building a following is something that happens over time – don’t get caught up in the “vanity metrics” of pageviews and Facebook fans but invest your time in building meaningful connections with the people who already love your blog. This is where the magic happens… I love this quote from Brian Clark:

logging advice from the pros

Branding matters
Spend the time getting your brand right. Read blogs like The Story Of Telling and think about what your readers are looking for and how you position yourself to really connect with them as a brand as well as person. Good branding helps people identify with you and your message from the get go!

Network
Go to blogger events, organise your own meet up – there is a LOT to be said for connecting with people in person. I have gotten SO much out of meeting up with fellow bloggers and readers over the year; it’s been one of my favourite things to do and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

You can’t be everywhere
You can’t be on every social network, your own blog and lead a fulfilling and productive life. It’s just too much – pick one or two things and focus your energy there. For instance, I started on Pinterest but have let it go – I still pin things but I don’t focus my energy in that space, and that’s OK. Is there something you could let go of too?

Never stop learning
I have been blogging for 9 years and professionally blogging for the past 5 of those and I still invest in learning every day and imagine I always will. Find out who the experts are in your niche and in the areas that you want to grow in and pay attention to what they are saying and doing – you can learn so much just by watching!

Now over to you, how long have you been blogging and what have you learnt during that time?

12 Comments

  1. I love reading all your tips – always so helpful xx

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  2. Love that quote by Brian!

    One thing I’ve learnt is that it’s important to have a good community of bloggers who share the same views about blogging around you. They may not be in your own niche, but at least you can talk to them whenever you’re in a blogging rut.

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    • This is such a great point and a really good way of thinking about it. There are so many ways to approach blogging and having a tribe who support and encourage you in your choices is invaluable!

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  3. I’ve heard all good things about your course. I may need to invest in doing it this year. I agree with the community and giving to them. As bloggers we have the power to bless our readers. 🙂

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    • Thanks Bec, you’re doing great things at the moment and I can’t wait to see what comes for you! Wood absolutely love to have you in the course 🙂

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  4. Congratulations on reaching 9 years! Between my two blogs, I’ve only been blogging about 4.5 years but I completely agree that you never stop learning. It’s always interesting to hear why and how someone began blogging and I’ve found the common result is how much each individual loves it. I’m fortunate to publish weddings so hearing every couple’s story is a reward in itself. Hope your next 9 years are just as successful.

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    • Hi Corinna, thanks so much for sharing your story. I think you’re right, I’m still here blogging after all thus time because I just love it – I can’t imagine a life without blogging. Here’s to another 9 years indeed! P. S. Weddings are a beautiful blog topic!

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  5. thank you for this post and your sharing – it is so helpful and every time I read something of yours, it makes a big difference, not just to my blog but my quality of life

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    • Wow Helen, I have a bit of a lump in my throat readying this. Such kind words, it means so much to know that. Thank you, what a delight you are!

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  6. Another awesome post Louisa! You always have such practical advice.

    What have I learnt in my 7 months of blogging? Hmmm…soooo much! The biggest thing is probably how much hard work it is if you actually want to provide value to your readers! (hard work but good work!). Also that (as you say), you cannot be everywhere and you really can’t force something you’re not into!
    🙂

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    • Oh thanks Kristy, you’re so lovely! I think those things are really true and good things to learn from the outset. Can’t wait to see what the next 7 months brings for you!

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