To celebrate my first blogging anniversary I’m sharing a few tips of what I’ve learnt along the way – and what I wish people told me!
I realised four days after the fact that my one year blogging anniversary had lapsed last week! To celebrate, I thought I’d share the 5 things I’ve learnt from my first year of blogging. If you are a blogger, or an aspiring one, I dedicate this post to you. If you are just here for the food and health tips – may I suggest moving on to say these healthy chicken tacos?
Whilst I haven’t reached the status of worldwide phenomenon (yet) I have certainly come a long way since I first decided to join this crazy blogging world. When I started I had no idea what WordPress was, or how I was actually going to put my ideas out in the ether. Since then I’ve graduated to knows how to post and can fiddle with some of the design without assistance. If that’s not progress I don’t know what is 😛
But in all seriousness, here’s 5 things I wish someone told me to expect in my first year of blogging…
1. Build it and a few will come
Remember that old adage of “build it and they will come”? Well, that’s really not true. You can build and build and build and still only have a few followers. So, take a big breath and be ready for the fact that the thing that you are so passionate about may not always resonate with the world. That this is an in it for the long-haul situation. Yes, there are those who are lucky enough to have something go viral and get 1 million followers overnight but most of your favourite successful bloggers will tell you that they didn’t have a viral moment. They built up slowly over time. So be consistent. Try new things. Don’t get discouraged. And do not compare!! Comparison is the thief of joy.
2. SEO is important
No, not just important – REALLY IMPORTANT! You may have read all those articles mentioning it and thought it all sounds too hard and confusing but you need it. If you are scratching your head and need some no-nonsense tips – try Pickles & Honey SEO for Food Bloggers E-book! I bought it about 6 months into blogging and it has helped me a lot! Amanda’s background is in SEO for Fortune 500 companies, and she now runs a successful food blog herself. The fact that she could make SEO simple enough for me to understand was a blessing and I still use her tips today.
Make sure you download Yoast and work to get green lights for all your posts. Use google or SEMRush to find trends and keywords that are rich and pick up the low hanging fruit. Oh, and if you are a food blogger make sure you are using WP Recipe Maker as your recipe card. It’s the best for SEO!
3. Social media is a pest
If you didn’t know it by now, let me be the one to burst the bubble – social media is not your friend! Algorithms change repeatedly. One day you’ll be having what feels like a bagillion likes on an Instagram post, and the next you’ll get hardly any – using exactly the same hashtags! Oh, and you’ll have people constantly follow you and unfollow you. And they’ll try and get you to follow them just so they can unfollow you. Instagram is a dog eat dog world!
Facebook is even worse. You might have 500 followers but your posts are lucky to reach 20 of them. Twitter is virtually pointless if you are a food blogger. And Pinterest is a beast. A needy beast.
Most people who are giving you advice for social media are giving you tips that worked 5 years ago. My advice – again, be consistent. And be authentic. Don’t be one of these follow / unfollowers. Like accounts you genuinely like. Support the people you genuinely like. Be the kind of follower you are after. Comment, praise, like, join in. But don’t expect social media to be the magic formula that will bring you overnight success. Without the help of some bigger accounts, it just doesn’t work like that.
OH, and just one more thing about social media – there’s a whole bunch of engagement groups where you can swap comments and repins etc. Don’t waste your time on most of them. I get that you don’t want your post to look like no one visited it because it’s got zero comments. But having 40 inauthentic ones isn’t exactly making a difference either. And sure, they count as visitors to your site but not real ones. It took me too long to realise this and I wish I didn’t waste my time.
If you want to participate in these groups find a small one with people in it that you truly care about and would support their blogs anyway. Or make your own.
4. There’s no magic number of posts you need to have in a week
Can we stop this nonsense once and for all please? Yes, you can post 5 times a week but if they are rubbish posts that aren’t optimised for SEO and no one visits them what’s the point? Quality over quantity any day. Put your effort in putting up one fabulous post a week that ticks all the boxes for SEO and I’m sure you’ll see better results. Or two – I don’t know what kind of time you have. But just stop fretting about the magic number of posts and start fretting about how good your posts are.
5. Your friends and family won’t truly get it
I have found on the most part that your family and friends don’t really get the whole blogging thing – they don’t truly get that it’s a full time job on its own. That it takes hours and hours to write, take photos, edit, network, email, post on socials etc. Even if you never want to monetise and only do it for a hobby it’s a heck of a lot of work!
But most just won’t get it! But you know what – that’s OK! Find your blogging tribe and you don’t need anyone else to get it! They’ll know how to fix your WordPress plugin problem or tell you which email provider to go with. And they are perfect for venting to on those days when you have a mean commenter or you feel discouraged because no one liked your chicken pot pie.
Now tell me, what is something you wish you were told in your first year of blogging?
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