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:
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 :)