Hey it’s Maddy of ChicagoCheapAss.com, and I’m back for round 2 of asking bloggers about their blogs!
This time, I’m wondering, “What have you learned from blogging that you would have done differently?” I’ll start first. My blog focuses on finding deals in Chicago, but I positioned it in a way that sometimes prevents me from working with certain brands, or in some cases, people judge harshly before they visit the website. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t change the name, but am working to reposition it slightly!
Now, from the lovely blogging community:
“I learned that it’s important to have a plan and strategy before launching a blog. You’re blog is basically a representation of who you are. So I wish I would have prepared more before launching my blog in terms of creating content and a business plan.”
-Meredith, Creative Conversations
“I was an early adapter to the blogging phenomenon. During the days of MySpace, LiveJournal, and Blogger, I wrote meaninglessly and aimlessly as a form of creative release. One of the things that I wish I would have done differently from the beginning was created a firm, content marketing plan… or at the very least, established myself as an authority in a niche.
It’s vital in blogging, no matter if it’s for business or casual fun, to envision an end goal and start building the foundation to get there. Those who are madly successful today are those who picked a niche and stuck with it, constantly providing useful or entertaining content to their audience.“
-Andrea, OnlineDrea.com and Simply Fashion TV
“I learned that trying too hard to be someone else you are not is going to backfire. And to be patient gaining followers and remind yourself why you are doing it in the first place. When I first started I was trying to be everything and was so focused on monetizing, instead I should have continued to stay focused on writing for the love of blogging and be myself.”
-Deanna, Chi City Mom
“For your sanity, it’s best to keep some things off the blog. I was officially creeped out when my husband’s family friends started only reading my blog to be nosy. No thank you. I think my blog would be a lot more interesting if I included a more about the good, bad and funny in my life, but my marriage/family comes first.”
-Nikky, 30s and Chic
“Over the past year, I discovered that blogging is a contact sport. Without an engaged audience, neither the quality nor quantity of your content matters much at all.
The more contacts we make as bloggers, the more success follows. It’s important to network and build relationships through activities such as blog commenting, expert roundups, guest posting, conducting interviews, and more.
Think of it as an 80/20 rule… spend 20% of your time crafting compelling content, and the other 80% promoting it and networking. Forums, communities and groups are great places to do this.
If I could go back and start over, I would spend less time publishing new content, and more time starting conversations with other bloggers in my niche, as well as my target audience.”
-Brent, Brent Jones Online
“The importance of social media. I didn’t even have Facebook until about 6 months ago, but blogging made me realize that it is the easiest (free) way to connect to people with similar outlooks and interests to grow your viewer base.”
-Katie, Personally Paleo
“Getting over the fear of just being me. I started writing in a more professional tone because I was told you had to come across that way in order for people to take you seriously. My posts were like robots instead of inviting so my audience didn’t get a chance to get to know the real me. We all need to understand just how crucial it is to make connections online so get over that fear and just be yourself in your posts. It will be the best decision you’ll ever make.”
“Wish I would’ve started blogging (and my biz) 10 years ago. I was reading interior blogs back then but working in a different field. After I decorated a young dentist’s office, he told me to start blogging and get on facebook.”
-Mary Beth, www.mbzinteriors.com
“I would’ve consulted a designer before starting the blog. This would have prevented me from trying several themes and color schemes before selecting the right one. Seven months into blogging I won a free design consultation with Andra and Kelly of With Grace & Gold and now I love the look and feel of my blog and they taught me to carry the design elements throughout my social media feeds and even my email signature. I had no idea I should view windycitywardobe.com as a brand.”
– Dasha, Windy City Wardrobe
“Blogging is a general word. Some use it as a portfolio, others use it to document their life. But, if you are writing publicly, then you have the intent that you want your work to be seen, to be noticed, to be appreciated. To do that, you need to take yourself seriously. Blogging can be a lot like running. You may start running and the first day is really good. You are pumped. But, then waking up at 6 a.m. to run becomes hard. Immediately. It becomes easier to say “no” than to keep running. The same is true for blogging. You start day one. You have a blog name. You have this fabulous article that you can’t wait to share with the world. And people do notice it, but it’s hard to maintain that intention.
Blogging is work. It’s scheduling interviews. It’s writing. Rewriting. And then, rewriting. Editing (use Grammarly, if you aren’t already). It’s booking your calendar for events. And it’s learning. It’s looking at your data. It’s publishing your post and then promoting your post. It’s meeting people. It’s finding your cheerleaders. And then stepping back and exploring other people’s work. It’s very much a community. You are so fixated on your site, that you have to step back and look at other blogs, share other content. It’s thinking up new content. And, it’s thinking of different ways to share content—a white paper, a vine, an Instagram post, an infographic. It’s a lot of work. It’s fun. It’s exciting to see your blog grow. But, you can’t do any of that unless you take it seriously. There is a discipline to blogging. There is a focus.
I started my blog, Windy City Cosmo. For the first few months, I wrote content. I wrote good posts, but I didn’t blog consistently. I didn’t promote my posts. I just left it as a side project—something that I would get to. But, then. I bought a domain name. I was added to listservs. I met with other bloggers. I was more active on social media. I posted more content. I started taking my blog—my work seriously. And, it’s been so rewarding. I am still not at the place I would like to be. I started my blog at the end of January 2015. But, I have learned so much by validating my blog. By talking about my blog. It was as simple as meeting new people and telling them, I write for Windy City Cosmo. And feeling good about telling them about my blog. When you start a blog or as you are blogging, make sure it is something that you are proud of—that you want to share with others. After all, the only way to be noticed is to share.”
-Amanda, Windy City Cosmo
“The number thing I would have done differently is split up the work that goes into a blog. Instead of looking at it as a whole (which can be daunting) I would split it into pre-blog (research) during the blog (writing it) and post blog (SEOing it, I think that’s a word and getting it out there). This makes it so much more manageable time wise.”
-Daniel, BlueChief Social
“I learned that blogging can be time consuming; researching, drafting your blog, reading for errors and posting. Not to mention approving and responding to posters comments.
Thanks to the [LinkedIn] discussion groups I am learning new tips practically each day.”
-Phoenicia, Organised Lady
If you’re new to blogging, learn from these tips to nip some problems in the bud. At the end of the day, it’s impossible to plan for every situation – and you shouldn’t bother! It’s better to just get started blogging.
More established bloggers – What have you learned from blogging that you would have done differently?
Great job here Maddy!
I like the diversity in the answers… pleased you asked me to participate. You’ve got some great bloggers on this list.
Thanks for contributing your expertise!
Maddy congratulation for creating such a nice post. I liked the diversity as Brent said.
Hi Brent, again a very good advice for the bloggers. I liked all the advices because they offer something new to the beginner bloggers to learn.I especially liked your advice to focus more on networking.
Thank you for including me in the round-up. I see that I’m in good company and I love seeing everyone else’s tips!
I want to echo Dasha’s point: Good design will save a new blogger so much money and time building his or her brand in the long run.
Glad to include you! Definitely a lot of amazing bloggers on this list 🙂
And I’m 100% with you and Dasha. Bad design turns people off. Good design keeps them on the page even longer!
Great round up! I loved what Katie said about the power of social media. It’s so important to connect with other bloggers too. That’s another thing I wished I did more of in the beginning stages of blogging.
Thanks for including me! Loved the opportunity 😀
Katie and I are both part of the Windy City Blogger Collective and it’s so easy to connect with other bloggers! We’re very privileged here in the Windy City.
Thanks for contributing your knowledge!
Interesting to read that a number of bloggers were less authentic on starting. You do worry about how you are perceived by others.
I really appreciate you reaching out and asking people about what they would have done differently, including me. I enjoy hearing what others would have done and it’s just proof that we all didn’t exactly know what we were doing coming into this but that it’s a journey and kind of part of life.
We just have to figure it out as we go along. We have to see what works and what doesn’t but that this is definitely a process.
Thank you for this post and again for inviting me to share my thoughts as well.
I’m off to share this post and enjoy your week.
Thanks for contributing and sharing!
I definitely agree that it is a process. It’s never going to be 100% perfect, but you just have to get started and roll with it!
Great job here. Out of the people here I resonated well with what Brent and Adrienne said. Yes we have spend most of our time networking and putting ourselves out there. Also we just really need to be ourselves because we will attract the right people to us. With this winning combo mixed with consistency we’really bound to build a successful blog!
Thanks for sharing! Have a good one!
Brent and Adrienne are both pros in their field. And I think you’re right about being yourself. Not everyone is always going to like you, but you can cultivate a fanbase that will love you no matter what.
Thanks for your comment! 🙂
I really enjoyed reading this post. I get more out from experts telling me what they should not have done. I seem to want to take all that on. I started blogging six months ago and I have followed expert advice from day dot.
I agree with what you said at the end of your post. It better to just get started. Had I known how much work I was about to invest in blogging I may never have done it. But I seem to have taken it step by step, some days overwhelmed and tormented and then those days where I am calm and know I am heading in the right direction.
The only think I would have put more time and effort into was the theme, which will have to be changed in the next six months. But it is because of the people that I have followed and gained so much experience from that I credit to me moving forward the way I have. Thanks for a great post.
You’re in good company with the people who would’ve themed their blog differently! But at the end of the day, as long as you have great content up, you’re better off than the people who never even start! Thanks for stopping by 🙂