I was looking through my archives the other day and reading some of my older posts (watch out, some are kind of scary, haha!) and couldn’t help but notice how far I’ve come over the years. I’ve learned a lot, made a lot of new friends, and definitely think my blog is much better than it used to be!
I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learned over the years.
1. Always return comments. If someone took the time to read and comment on your blog, don’t ignore it! If you go to their blog and return the comment, it will show your appreciation and can bring them back for your next blog post. Then readers from their blog will be directed to your blog when they see your comment. Not only does this increase the traffic to your site, it creates new friendships! I love my readers and have loved getting to know them over time, and it all started with a simple comment.
2. Be consistent. This one is much easier said than done, but consistency is truly key. If you haven’t updated your blog in over three months, you lose readers. They will stop checking in to see that where or not you’ve posted something new. I am really bad at this when I get focused on classes and work and don’t seem to have a lot of time to devote to my blog. This is when writing posts ahead of time becomes so useful. If I seem to have a bunch of inspiration and write three or four posts at one time, I will save them for later at a time when I don’t seem to have any inspiration at all or any time. (This post is actually one I wrote ahead of time! Comes in handy!)
3. Always proofread. When visiting a new blog, the quickest way to make me leave is to not proofread your posts. You don’t need to have impeccable grammar, but it is really hard for me to read a post that has an abundance of spelling errors and run on sentences and grammatical errors and a bunch of unnecessary question marks or exclamation points and – is this sentence annoying you yet? When looking back at my own old posts, it was so apparent that I didn’t even look it over before I hit publish. As tempting as it may be, don’t do it guys! Take the extra five minutes and look over your post.
4. Don’t be afraid to share your struggles alongside your triumphs. One of my favorite posts to go back and read is one where I was really struggling with depression my sophomore year of college. I was having a hard time meeting people and making friends, and I didn’t enjoy my job or my classes much. So I wrote about that, which isn’t always easy when it seems everyone else’s college experience is perfect and you’re wondering why yours is so different.
But I received some of the most encouraging and uplifting comments from my readers and friends. I can’t even express how that made me feel. Even putting the love aside, it’s important for me to remember these raw feelings I had and the darker places that I’ve been. It makes me appreciate where I’m at and where I’ve come from.
5. Write about what you love. Of all the things I’ve learned, this is the most important. If you don’t enjoy it, then what’s the point? It will show if your heart isn’t in to whatever it is you’re writing about. It might be the “next big thing,” but you are going to burn out. I’ve been there. There was a time that I felt like all of my blogging buddies (I still feel this way today though – haha!) were into web design, HTML, CSS, and could make their own graphics and themes.
I thought that was the coolest thing ever (still do, only got mad props for you guys) and I tried it. I tried making my own layouts and playing with Photoshop and tried to learn different coding – I hated it. It didn’t interest me. I was super frustrated all the time and it made me not want to blog. So I stopped and, lo and behold! I enjoyed blogging again when it was just me and my words.
Of all the things I’ve learned, this last one again is the most important one. I have grown to love blogging and I have part of that to owe to my great readers and friends.