I’m currently having a little celebration in my head because this marks my 150th post on Tall Blonde Tales! I honestly can’t believe it. Thinking back to when I first started, the idea of even getting to 50 posts sounded like a lot, but now it’s been 18 months since I started blogging and I’ve hit the milestone of 150 posts. Wow. Just wow.
If I look back at my first posts, and the blog stats from the early months it’s crazy to think that things have grown and changed so much. When I first started blogging, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing (save for some helpful tips found on google and in my trusty Blogging for Dummies book). Not that I have a much better idea now, but I’ve definitely learnt some critical lessons when it comes to this type of lifestyle and the blogosphere in general.
You see, in the beginning, I was only focused on content because I thought, hey if my content’s good then people will logically read it and more and more will enjoy it and hence my blog will grow. That’s how it works, right?
I was so focused on writing good posts that reflected what I was learning/what was happening in my gap year and life that I completely missed the note about how blogging is so much more than content. Because you might have good content, but if no one knows about it, then it’s more of a private diary you keep for yourself as opposed to a blog. Since the start of this year, I knew I needed to make some changes because just whacking out content wasn’t enough. I thought back to why I started blogging in the first place – to share my stories, offer some tips/advice to those who might need it and connect with other people. I’d been sorely lacking on that last one.
So, I decided to use lockdown as the opportune time to learn some important lessons about blogging, more than just how to write a post that doesn’t make people want to slam their screens shut. As you might guess, I had a lot of lessons to learn … I’m still very much an amateur and didn’t realise quite how many mistakes I was making, but these are the four main lessons I’ve been learning about blogging …
1. The importance of networking
An important thing that I’ve realised is blogging is so much more than writing posts. It’s about the community you’re in. The blogosphere is one big family, especially the bloggers that I’ve started networking with on WordPress. Networking may not sound valuable, but it is – I guarantee it! Networking helps you to spread your blog (thus growing your audience) but also to make friends and connections and learn things from other bloggers. The fun used to always be coming up with topics, but now more than half the fun is reading other blogs, commenting on their work and creating friendships.
Networking like this makes you an active blog-community member and not only is it fun to read other’s work and learn from them but taking the time to appreciate someone else’s work makes them more inclined to look at your blog and so the relationship develops. It’s like a giant positive cycle of growth and the best part out of it is you get to meet and make friends with so many new people, who may become sources of inspiration for you. Essentially, there’s never a bad reason to network.
2. Quality over quantity
Ahh, that oh so familiar phrase that is such profound advice and yet still so annoying. If I had a dollar for how many times I’d been told that … I probably wouldn’t be a millionaire, but I’d have quite a bit more in my savings account than I have now. Unfortunately, much like the story with exercise, as annoying as it is, it has more than a nugget of truth in it. Posting as much as you can may work for some as you’re generating more content and may then get increased traffic because of frequency, but your posts have to be of a good enough quality. With so many blogs out there, you need to have content good enough to hold its own, and that’s sometimes hard to do when you’re posting so frequently. So, getting a good quality post out once a week is far more valuable than four meh posts. However, you can’t focus so much on content that you only post once every six months. You need to find that perfect balance (especially if you’re a part-time amateur blogger like myself) – good quality posts but frequent enough that you can build an audience and not fall to the bottom of the heap. So, I think I’m happy with my two posts a week as it gives me enough time to dedicate time for writing, as well as networking, but it may drop to once a week when university starts (please don’t be mad at me if this happens).
3. Traffic (not the car-related traffic)
Traffic is the fuel for any blog because you need readers, right? If there’s no traffic, then there’s no life, so finding ways to grow traffic towards your blog is always relevant to think about. The key though, is making sure it’s right for you. Traffic will naturally increase on its own, but that can sometimes be a slow process (really really slow sometimes). Still, there are ways for you to give it a boost on your own and that’s what I’m learning now. Sharing with your friends is always great, and using your social media can also be super helpful. I’ve started posting my links more frequently on Whatsapp, and now I’m using social media (I know that I have wayyyy more lessons to learn when it comes to advertising/promoting via social media but hey what I’m doing now is better than nothing at least). Networking is also a great way to grow traffic, but there are more options out there. Just remember though that traffic also naturally increases the more time and effort you put into your blog 🙂
4. The value of research
Now when it comes to research, I’m not just talking about finding supplementary information for your posts (even though research can be super helpful in that regard). No, I’m now talking about research when it comes to learning how to grow as a blogger. I’ve learnt so much more about blogging in the last month simply from finding help and advice from other bloggers! There are tons of bloggers who share advice and tips that helped them grow, and that information is out there for us newbies to grasp and learn from. If you’re struggling, or even thinking about blogging, please don’t sneeze at looking at other bloggers for help and advice. They are phenomenal sources of inspiration, and honestly, we’d be really silly not to take the help they so willingly offer us.
Just a few of the bloggers who have been so helpful and inspirational to me:
As you can see, it’s been quite a busy time of learning for me, but I’m so glad I took the time to do it. It may not reflect so much in my stats, but as a whole, I feel so much happier and confident as a blogger ever since I started networking and thinking about more than just typing up pages and pages worth of posts. And that brings me to my bit of news …
Firstly, I can’t believe I haven’t been doing this, but I would love to work more with other bloggers so consider this a call for people who want to write/contribute to Tall Blonde Tales in any way, shape or form, or for anyone who is interested in doing a guest post or wants to do a collab with me. I would love to work more with other bloggers because not only is it great fun but it’s also a way of growing each other so if anyone’s interested … please let me know in the comments section xxx
Now for the more major news – I’m going to be heading off to university in September, and that might mean that a few things change in terms of how and when I blog and that got me thinking about possibly rebranding … I’m still working out the details and seeing if it’s possible, but what I may end up doing is switching gears a little bit and having a more focused lifestyle/travel blog that is through the university lens. I’m thinking of doing more advice, some more life stories and otherwise just fun topics that crop up through university that I can either just share for a few laughs or to actually help others who may be experiencing the same thing. I’m also contemplating starting a YouTube channel to vlog alongside the blogging I do – sort of a fun way to share information, stories and advice on multiple mediums.
What do you guys think of that? I’m really looking for any advice/opinions you have for me, so please share your thoughts! Also, would you be interested in me creating bonuses – for instance, downloadable checklists or recipes, things like that, if they apply to the posts?
Thank you guys so much for reading – you bring this blog to life, and it would still be a dusty little virtual diary without your support so thank you for that. For all those bloggers reading this, what lessons have you learnt about blogging, and what lessons do you think are essential for those joining the community to learn? Please let me know in the comments section I’d love to hear, and also your thoughts about the rebranding change!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx