My first blog failed after two years of launching it. I want to say that I gave this blog my all, that I bled for it and worked hard, but I didn't. I could've done so much better with it.
Part of my negligence is that I never had any real expectations for it. It was something I was doing just because I didn't know what else to do with my life since I didn't go to college.
But at twenty, I took a good look at myself, what I was doing, and my blog, and I realized it was nothing I wanted it to be. The blog was a front, a mask. That blog showed me as someone who never struggled, made mistakes, and had a perfect life.
That was far from who I was. I was (and still am) confused about life, what I wanted to write about, and all those other things you think when you're in your twenties. I declared the blog a failure, and I quit. I wanted something new, fresh, and real.
That was almost two years ago. These were the biggest lessons I learned.
1. Stop thinking of blogging as a hobby
This is the biggest problem with new bloggers. When you run a blog, you're your own boss. You don't have someone else telling you when to upload, how often to do it, and there will be no consequences if you slack.
You need to think of blogging as a business, not a hobby. You have to put in the work every day, promote your articles, and take it as seriously as you would a job with a manager who could fire you.
When you treat blogging as a hobby rather than a serious business, you're never going to really try.
And if you want to be successful, you have to try.
I wouldn't care if I missed deadlines or that I didn't promote my articles often, and because of that, not even I would take myself seriously.
2. Avoid writing cliché articles
There are millions of articles on the Internet, so the last thing you want to do is publish what everyone else is posting. Like these:
- How to be happy
- How to stop caring about people's opinions
- Why you should do what you love
We've read these articles before; we don't need more. Those are the types of articles I wrote, and they didn't do well.
"Don't focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that's great for your readers." - Brian Clark
My articles would've been more successful if I'd inserted a little more of me into them. My stories, my failures, my truth. Your stories are your own. No one else has lived them, so it's impossible for them to be cliché.
Avoid creating titles you've read before and writing content you've already consumed.
3. Don't give advice you don't apply in your life
Let's ignore the fact that people can tell you're a fraud. It's not cool to provide advice you don't even follow.
If you want to help people, that isn't the way to do it. You help people when you're honest and share your life experiences — the ones real will people can connect with.
It's also unoriginal. Thousands of people already read articles, and then take that same advice and turn it into their own post. You have to ask yourself what type of blogger you want to be. Do you want to be a copy or an original?
Stop giving advice you don't follow and have the guts to share your truth. I didn't, and it was a big reason why my blog failed.
4. Don't slack off (AKA stick to your word)
If you say you're going to write an article, write it. If you say you're going to publish a story, post it. Stick to your word.
The top successful people in the world have discipline. If we want to make it in the blogging world, we need as much discipline as we can get because, as I said, it's extremely easy to slack off.
One thing that's helped me a lot is using my calendar to hold myself accountable for the habits I want to establish.
Decide what you want. Make a plan. And work on it. Every. Single. Day.- Shethority
For me, that's writing and reading for - at least - ten minutes every day (credits to Shaunta Grimes for that idea), and recently, writing and uploading one Medium article every day.
Use a planner, calendar, bullet journal, an app, or anything else that you think will work for you to plan and schedule your days and to track your habits.
Be strict and stick to your plan.
5. Stop avoiding social media
Since I dislike social media, I avoided being a constant presence on it - and that was a huge mistake. While social media isn't the only form of marketing, it's a big way to promote your blog and articles.
"It's not the best content that wins. It's the best-promoted content."- Andi Crestodina
Instagram alone has one billion users every month. Facebook and YouTube have more.
My mistake was publishing my articles and expecting people to find them by themselves. That was never going to happen.
We can't avoid uploading Instagram or Facebook stories, commenting on other people's posts, and taking pictures of ourselves as much as we want to. Your people are on social media and it's your job to find them. Not the other way around.
One last piece of advice: Someone cares
Most of the time, when we don't take blogging seriously, it's because we think nobody cares. Our doubts and insecurities whisper in our ears that no one will read or subscribe.
It's easy for fears to manipulate you because of the evidence in front of your eyes. The one-hundred followers you have on Instagram (all friends and family), the zero visitors on your blog according to Google Analytics, and the one comment on a post from your dad proves your doubts right.
But somebody does care. They just haven't found you yet.
We're not taking our blogging seriously because no one is there to read our work and follow us. But that's why we should be taking it seriously, so that the one person who's looking for us can find us.
How can we expect people to discover us and care when we're not willing to put in the work because there's no evidence of success yet? You're supposed to write and blog no matter what. It's during this stage that you push the hardest.
Start taking blogging seriously, write what you love, share your stuff, and keep pushing.