Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lessons I've Learnt | Blogging


It's crazy to think that this July I would have had my blog for five years! It's been a fun journey so far and I thought I might share with you guys some of the lessons that I've learnt along the way. I'm not positioning myself as an expert by any means and I know I still have so much more to learn... But in the past five years there have definitely been moments where I could have made better decisions and moments where I felt like I achieved something special. Here's my take on it all, and if you're just starting out, I hope you find this helpful:

BRAND:

Think before you name: When I started this blog I never thought it would become much more than a place to record some thoughts and post pretty pictures. So I just named it after my favourite song and I've been kicking myself ever since. As much as I love the name Here Comes the Sun, it's definitely not ideal to be sharing google search results with the Beatles. You can't really compete with the kings of pop! So think carefully about what you're naming your site and aim for something as unique as possible.

Consistency: Another lesson I've learnt the hard way... When you're signing up to your social networks, keep your name as consistent as possible. When I originally signed up for Twitter I didn't see it as a blog tool, just as a fun platform to chat on.. So I again made the mistake of naming my account after one of my favourite bands (the album 'Set yourself on fire' by Stars) and now I'm stuck with @yourself_onfire as a username. Not ideal. You can change your username but in my case anything relevant to my brand is already taken.


CONTENT:

Plan ahead: I rely on my blogging schedule. There's room to be flexible if something exciting comes up, but for the most part I stick to the plan. Without it I'd be facing days and weeks in a row without any posts. Because let's be honest, inspiration doesn't always hit when you need it to! But if you plan ahead you don't need to worry about those times as much.

Don't be afraid of change: When I first started blogging it was just random thoughts, almost like a diary. Here's an example. Then it became a platform for me to showcase amazing photography and art such as this and this. But overtime I felt the strongest pull to create my own content and so I began to document my life. I'm sure I lost some readers along the way, but most stuck with me and I gained a lot of new ones too. The way I look at it - there's no point blogging about a topic that's boring you. Let it evolve so that it continues to be a hobby you enjoy.


COMPARE:

The pros: Yes, I would say there are some pros to comparing your blog to others. Comparison might be the wrong word here but I do think we can all learn from each other and encourage positive growth amongst the community. What is it that you love about your favourite blogs? How can you learn from them? It's ok to be inspired by others, as long as you remember your uniqueness along the way as well.

The cons: "Comparison is the thief of joy". I think the biggest thing to remember here is to celebrate your personal achievements, no matter how big or small they may be. If you're constantly comparing yourself to other, big name bloggers you might never stop to see how far you've come. Celebrate your milestones! I recently hit 15,000 followers on instagram. I'm personally over the moon, but then there are bloggers like Aimee from Song of Style who can grow 15K overnight. If I compare myself to her, my milestone suddenly doesn't seem so exciting. But I'd rather look at it all in context and be happy with my achievements which are relevant to my blog size.


LEARN:

Analyse: Depending on what you want out of your blog, I'd recommend keeping an eye on your statistics. Use sitemeter, google analytics or the built in blogger stats- whatever works for you. But it does help to know what posts are getting the most hits and engagement and whether you can relate it back to the content or the type of social media pushes you used.

Read: One of the best ways to improve your blog is to read a lot. Read other blogs and discover what you do/don't like. Read photography tutorials so you can brush up your skills. Read interesting articles to broaden your knowledge and vocabulary. And pay attention to sites that can help you improve your blog such as ProBlogger and IFB. Also, don't be afraid to contact people you look up to with questions or for advice.

Those are some of the biggest lessons I've learnt along the way but I'll be adding more to this article over time as I think of more. If you have any questions about any of this or feel I haven't covered a particular topic, feel free to email me :)

42 comments:

  1. thats a fantastic post. Thankyou x

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  2. This is awesome!! :) I just switched my blog in an effort to get my internet names straight everythwere, so I feel ya. Oh, the things we know now!

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  3. I've learned so much! Thanks a bunch xx My blog is turning a year old next month! Eeeek, excited! Congratulations on your 5 years! xx

    rienbautista.blogspot.com

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  4. I loved this, thanks so much for writing this! I just bought and read Dana Fox's book "blog wonderful" and it was super helpful. I'd bet you like it too, even though you've had your blog for so long already. I especially love your "plan ahead" and "don't be afraid of change" sections, very important things to remember :)

    mysmallrayofsunshine.blogspot.com

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  5. Amazing post, thank you so much for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Jacy
    artbyjacy.com

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  6. This is such a helpful post!
    I definitely can relate with choosing wrong names for things!

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  7. Hello, my blog is nearly a year old, I love writting it so much these tips have made me have a good think, natalie x
    nataliejtc.blogspot.co.uk

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  8. Definitely a good post that in handy (:
    It was hard to settle down with one consistent blog name, definitely.

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  9. This is such a helpful post! I could really use that tip about having a blogging schedule, meep..

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  10. Amazing blog! Really helpful tips, I have such cool photos on my blog taken by my boyfriend of myself but never know what to write! So cool finding a kiwi blogger that is as successful as you!!

    please check out my blog sometime xx
    herlux fashion

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  11. These are really useful tips, Amanda! Blogging really is a much more demanding activity than they ever told us at the start! But we are all learning and growing. My blog is itty bitty compared to yours, and I have to say that I really look up to you! Thank you so much for all you share :)

    Smiles and all the best,
    Savannah
    untetheredasacloud.wordpress.com

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  12. Thank you for the great tips! Really helpful!

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  13. i like the pictures of flowers and colorful pencils :)

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  14. Thank you for your really useful tips, I've just recently started blogging so they will really help me a lot with the whole process of it :)

    Valeria

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  15. Thanks for the lovely tips.

    Hannah
    www.daintyandivory.blogspot.com

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  16. That's a really good post. I really enjoyed reading it. For real (:

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  17. such a great post :D thanks for sharing!

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  18. I think taking the time to read a lot is so key. It's a great way to push yourself and discover new ideas as well as ways you can improve. Great round up :)

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  19. Thank you so much for this blog post, I've only just started my blog so this post has really been great advice for mexx

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  20. that was a very good and useful article for me.. thanks for sharing your experiences!
    http://underthestarsandsun.blogspot.com/

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  21. Thanks Amanda!
    I'm finding it very hard to keep up with the blogging. I think I need to prioritise time when I do it & keep to it. I seem to find myself using facebook more instead.
    -thanks for your advice x

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  22. great post very inspiriational for bloggers :)

    www.bowiebowie.com

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  23. Great tips! I've had my blog for almost a year and still have so much to learn!

    Sylvia
    www.sylvialovespink.com

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  24. This is all fantastic advice!

    I am quite new to the blogging world, and I really appreciate any tips or tricks that people can provide. It is such a wonderful and joyous community to be part of, even though we're all from such different parts of the world and walks of life! I think that is part of why I treasure blogging so much :)

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  25. This is so constructive! Thanks for sharing, I specially love the idea of reading others' blog to learn from each other. Rock on, Amanda! x

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  26. these tips are very very very helpful! thank you so much :)

    http://www.misscitychic.com/

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  27. thank you for sharing your experience with it. it means a lot to newbies like me :)

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  28. Even though I knew these things as a concept it still doesn't stop me from making all the mistakes :P So getting reminded always helps :P

    I've been blogging for less than a year and still really trying to get into my own style -blogging wise that is but I DID make a mistake name-wise.

    As it is,the name - 'Weaving Dreams through a looking glass' - I wanted something photography related but slightly whimsical and I got this planted in my brain and, it just WOULDN'T leave and so it stuck.
    At one point I thought about changing it- I actually DID for a day or two but I just didn't feel comfortable with my other choice so I reverted back to the old one and now I'll forever be in the same search categories as 'through the looking glass' the book.

    Live and learn though, of course :)

    dreamsthroughalookingglass.com

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  29. Great tips, I really need to start a blogging schedule. Great idea :) xx

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  30. Some great tips. Thanks for your words of wisdom
    :D

    x

    thestyleswanthestyleswan.blogspot.co.uk

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  31. Thank you for writing this post, I will surely take your tips on board. I've only be blogging for just under 2 months and these tips will really help to improve my blog.

    http://theoctober-girl.blogspot.co.uk/

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  32. Thank you so much for such a wise post! You must have learnt a lot in your 5 years of blogging. Such awesome advice for a newbie like me reaching for heights like your beautiful blog! You must be so proud of it :)
    xoxo Amie @ Spoonful of Vintage

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  33. So very helpful and true. Thank you!

    xo annaofgreengable
    http://annaofgreengable.wordpress.com/

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  34. Heehee like your tip about your blog name - it's still a lovely name!

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  35. awesome post amanda!! oh i'm telling you i made mistakes with branding / naming several times. but now i think i'm pretty happy with my current blog name as i think it's best describing what i blog about so hopefully i'll keep this for a very long long time :)

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  36. Thanks for all the advice in this post. Now sorting out my complete muddle of branding!!
    Kate xx
    http://appreciatetheday45.blogspot.co.uk/

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  37. You are successful in your own field of blogging and instagram, and I know there are a lot of people who loves your creativity in all sense of the word :)

    Cheers

    Carissa Inez
    http://flightvintage.blogspot.com

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  38. Thanks for the tips. Can't wait to here more.

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  39. I love this so much! I've included it into a roundup post on my blog of the best blogging resources. Thank you for sharing, it was beyond helpful!
    Blessings,
    Jacy
    http://www.artbyjacy.com/2013/08/the-24-best-blogging-resources-link.html

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