This date snuck up on me this year. Since I gave up my day job to blog full time the months have all blurred together. But, tomorrow I have been blogging for 6 years and it’s only right that I document this milestone in some way.
Last year I wrote about the last five years and all that I was thankful for. But this year I thought I would write about the things I have learnt since starting blogging. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster, a huge learning curve but now the road seems to be smoother and I am very much enjoying the ride. I also wrote about things I’ve learnt in my first year of self employment if you’d like to have a read.
Here are my learns of the last six years:
Blogging can be whatever you want it to be. It can be purely writing your thoughts down online, a diary, a notebook. But, it can also be somewhere you connect with people, raise awareness, make change and even somewhere you turn into a business. But, no blog is more or less valid than another. We all blog for different reasons, with different focuses and with different audiences and there is space for everyone.
Blog names are so important. It needs to be something that won’t date and that you won’t grow out of. But, if you do pick something that doesn’t suit you anymore you can always change your blog name without too much hassle.
Being self hosted is a big talking point. It’s an option but it’s not mandatory. There are many hugely successful bloggers and many incredible blogs who have been happily hosted on Blogger for years. Like with most things – do whatever makes you happy.
Blogging can be as expensive as you make it. It can be free – if you stay on Blogger or free WordPress and don’t invest in any blogging services, blog themes, software and photography kit. When I went self hosted and started taking blogging more seriously, back in 2013, I spent £100 on hosting and my domain name. At the time £100 was a huge amount of money to us but it was probably the best investment I have ever made.
When you start blogging it can swiftly take over your life. You’ll be photographing your dinner, dreaming about blog posts and drafting them in your head on long journeys. Your days out will turn into blog fodder, you’ll start filming your holidays and you’ll be well and truly sucked into social media.
Blogging is pretty much the only career where your life is your job – and your job is your life. The lines are blurred so much that one is the other.
Social media is a massive part of blogging. But, you don’t have to be everywhere all the time. You can focus on one platform at a time and there will be times when you love and hate each social media account. The biggest thing I’ve learnt over the last six years – do more of what you enjoy, less of what you don’t and you’ll soon find what works for you.
When you blog you put everything you share and write out there for the world to see (unless you make your blog private). This means that anyone can read it. People you don’t like or fell out with, other parents at your children’s schools, your children’s teachers or people you haven’t seen since primary school. This means you have to be happy for anything you share to be seen by anyone – now or years in the future. If you don’t want the world to see it, don’t share it.
The best part of blogging, whether you blog as a hobby or as a job, is the blogging community. Whatever you blog about there will be others blogging about a similar topic. There will be people who can teach you things, help you and support you. Without the blogging community I don’t think I would have been able to make blogging my job and I doubt I would still be blogging now.
So there we have it, some of the stuff I’ve learnt over the last six years. But, one thing is for sure, these six years have been some of the best of my life. I have documented the children growing up and built a career for myself. I’m now looking forward to seeing what the next year brings.
6 thoughts on “Things I’ve learnt in Six Years of Blogging”
Congratulations for 6 years of blogging! You really are an inspiration.
Thank you for saying that you don’t have to be self hosted. I was told a while ago that I wasn’t a real blogger because I still used free blogspot and just classed it at a hobby. I am glad other people see that it doesn’t matter. It makes me happy so why change things.
Here’s to many more years of blogging xx
Couldn’t agree more with all of this lovely x x
Congratulations on 6 years. One of the best things for me is the documenting it. We forget so much about what we do, and it’s like a more interactive photo album.
6 years, wow. You’ve hit the nail on the head for me with getting the name right, I need to change mine, but I haven’t come up with a new one yet. Hoping it’ll come soon.
Congrats Donna. I’d agree with everything you’ve said here and would add/reinforce the following.
Blogging is different things to different people and that’s absolutely fine – not least because the nature of blogging is always evolving. When I started out (11 years ago!) no one was monetising and now it seems that most people are (or at least trying to). But that’s okay too.
Blog names. I’ve probably suffered a little from an SEO perspective because I don’t have ‘dad’ or ‘parent’ or even ‘blog’ in my blog name. But equally I love my name because it’s unique and not dependent of my family status (although I’m not sure what I’ll do if we ever move house). And there’s no danger of ever confusing my blog name with someone else’s! Like blogging itself, blog names can be whatever we want them to be – be SEO-friendly, be unique, it doesn’t really matter.
Social media is definitely a big part of blogging. But so is quality of content writing – you don’t have to be Shakespeare, but at least get the basics right. And so is patience – I see so many newer bloggers expecting to have brands flocking to them within 5 minutes of publishing their first post. Blogging can be a great way to earn an income but it’s also hard work and highly competitive and the reality is that not everyone can earn a full-time income and secure a book deal, which is what some seem to expect. It can take a long time to be an ‘overnight success’! Enjoy the ride and don’t set excessive expectations.
*climbs down from soapbox*
A great post. I am totally still learning and as much as anything learning to love blogging again is important every now and then. Posts like this are really helpful to remind me of why I love it. I like your attitude to social media, I find it a lot more fun now I’m not trying to be all things to all people.