I’ve blogged for about 2 years now and within the next week, I will hit 1,000,000 views! It has been a huge goal of mine, and it almost feels like I’m graduating onto another program.
I’ve learned blogging is like college over the past 29 months.
You may also like our updated post about the 17 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Starting a Lifestyle Blog!
1. You have no idea what to expect when you first start blogging.
Just like the first day of college, you have no idea what to expect and weird words are being thrown around. Your mind buzzes with words like domain, server, SEO, hosting and platform.
Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.– Denis Waitley
2. You aren’t sure what your focus should be, but if you don’t find one you’ll just be going around in circles.
One of the hardest things for me, in college and blogging, was finding my focus. While you want to show your personality and give your readers an insight into your life, you also want to make sure you are giving them the information that originally attracted them to you. If you start drawing an audience because of your awesome healthy recipes, it will throw them off if you start writing about dogs and babies — even if they are really cute dogs and babies. Your focus doesn’t mean you can’t include these things though; they are apart of your life that others want to know more about. A good blogger includes them with a connection to their focus. For example, Healthy Recipes Even Your Toddler Will Love.
3. There are cliques.
Just like the sororities in college, there are cliques in the blogging world. Some are affluent while others may be based on subject matter or location. Not all of them are exclusive, but it can be intimidating to a new blogger. Reach out to communities on Facebook and read and comment on others’ blogs. You’ll be amazed at how sweet and supportive some communities are.
4. There are some awesome blogging parties.
I still remember my first frat party freshmen year. Sonic cups filled with something other than Cherry Limeades, school girl costumes, and no doors on the girls’ restroom stalls. It was an experience for sure, and I was home within about an hour. The blogging parties are a little less intense but a lot of fun. Check out link-ups, Twitter parties, and Google Hangouts for some fun. All of these get-togethers help you meet new people and network with other bloggers.
5. Sometimes you get free stuff.
Blogging offers some perks — like working with some of your favorite brands. I have been lucky enough to work with Cathe Friedrich, Beachbody, and Kroger this year. I also was able to try Ellie’s clothes for free to do a review. Other bloggers have even worked with car companies and blogged about how good of a family car a vehicle is! The opportunities are endless, but you have to be proactive, organized, and know how to pitch a great idea to a company.
6. It pushes you out of your comfort zone.
You are starting something totally new and opening yourself up to people you’ve never met before. No one wants to read or meet someone that is perfect. Sounds like common sense, right? Well, I struggled with it for a long time. Blogging is like putting your choices online publicly for everyone to critique so it’s hard to share something that doesn’t show you in the best light. Luckily, no one else is perfect either, and your readers typically like you enough to appreciate your faults. Plus who wants to read about someone who has everything completely under control and thinks they should to? That’s no fun.
7. There is a lot of training, content, and extra credit to be done.
There are so many things you can learn about blogging and how to help its success. It can be overwhelming. Just like you have to pick a good topic for your blog, it is also important to remember that you don’t have to be an expert right off the bat or an expert in everything. Plus, a lot of the training can be fun; I loved attending the KEEN Digital Summit a couple of months ago. Jairek Robbins and several other great speakers can teach you so much in just a day!
I’m stronger in some skills than others. I also had the chance to hear John C Maxwell speak in Vegas this year. He talked about strengths and weaknesses; his thought is to improve your strengths to become the best in it. Your weaknesses, even when you tackle them daily, will never become better than someone who naturally has a strength in it and is improving that attribute. Figure out what you want to learn more about, and learn everything you can about it. Then, you can find someone that is strong in your weak area. Some of the areas to look at would be search engine optimization, photography or graphic design, monetizing your blog, or social media outlets.
8. Sometimes someone else writes your paper….sorta.
Sometimes bloggers get busy, especially the top bloggers. When you just don’t have time to blog, someone may offer to guest blog for you. You can also offer to guest blog for someone else. This is a great way to grow your audience and get a new perspective on a topic; however, unlike cheating on a college paper, the guest blogger does get credit for their work.
9. It takes a lot of creativity, consistency, and only a few survive.
Blogging is often seen as something frivolous; however, it is anything but for full-time bloggers. Having a successful blog takes time, creativity, communication with others, and above all – consistency. Not only does a blogger have to be consistent in writing great content, he or she has to be consistent and creative about sharing it with others to continue to grow. It takes a lot of time and effort; therefore, just like in college — only a few survive and are successful after 4 long years.
Wondering if blogging can be a sustainable income for you? Check out this article on How Bloggers Make Money (& How Much They Actually Make)
If you have a blog, do you think it’s like college? What are some other lessons you’ve learned?