The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtney Smith is available from Amazon here: The Million Dollar Blog
Lesson Number 1: Writing is the easy bit!
First and foremost I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that blogging is hard work! When I first put finger to keypad three months ago, I didn’t really have any aspirations and was wholly unaware of the level of work which goes into blogging! I naively thought it was simply a case of writing a few pretty stories here and there and people would read them… I was wrong! If you’re not familiar with blogging there are over 350 Million(!!) blogs out there in the bloggersphere, 76.5 million of which are on WordPress alone. A significant proportion of these are parent/ family orientated and every one of those has a story to tell. Because of that you need to make your blog stand out. I’ve discovered that blogging is probably divided into 30% writing, 15% IT stuff and 55% promotion! Whilst I was blissfully unaware of the level of work which goes into promotion when I started, I’ve also found that its also one of the loveliest things about blogging. Which leads me onto Lesson Number 2:
Lesson Number 2: The Blogging Community are Soooooo supportive!
This is something I wasn’t anticipating at all. To be honest I hadn’t really thought about the blogging community. I mean I’d read blogs in the past but kind of assumed everyone was a bit like me, dipping their toe in and out of blogging when it suited them. Again I was wrong. There is actually a whole community of lovely people out there who will bend over backwards to support each other and make someones day. This to me, has grown to be one of my favourite things about blogging. As a genre which thrives on networking and making public connections, blogging encourages people to be nice to one another. A cynic may say ‘yes but its all only for personal gain‘ and three months ago I might have agreed, but through blogging I’ve been reminded of one my Granda’s favourite sayings… ‘its nice to be nice’. Those five little words are something I’ve tried to live by my whole life, but here in the blogging world they are amplified. Being nice is infectious. Its such a lovely feeling to wake up in the morning and realise that a relative stranger has taken time to read about your life and send you a comment, or re-tweet a tweet. Or when a much more successful blogger takes time out of their packed schedule to send you advice, when in reality they must be thinking ‘God I mastered that years ago!‘ It instantly makes you want to do something nice back, and any community which breeds that warm and fuzzy feeling is a community I want to stay part of!
Lesson Number 3: I’m an IT Genius!
OK so I’m totally not! But in the past three months I’ve set up a self hosted website, added plugins, worked on my SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimisation, for those who don’t know – check me out i’m even using acronyms!) increased my DA (Domain Authority), installed a theme, learned HTML code, joined in on Linky’s and activated Rich Pins in Pinterest. If you’d have murmured these words to me three months ago, i’d have stared at you blankly thinking you were talking some form of funny language! But in 12 weeks I’ve studied them, talked about them and put them into action, so much so that I could now explain how to to them to others! To me, that is such massive achievement. I haven’t really taught myself anything since school and something I am incredibly proud of!
Lesson Number 4: Bloggers love Notepads
Probably the second most important thing i’ve learned over the past three months is that a notebook is now a handbag essential, pretty much like a hairbrush and a purse! You never know when a blogging idea is going to hit you – for me its usually the car, and its not always convenient to get the laptop out and start typing away. So I find if I always have a notebook to hand, I can jot my ideas down there and then and get back to them later to bulk the story out.
Lesson 5: Organisation is King
Organisation is key for any blogger, if I thought time was precious before, now its almost extinct! I’m a bit scatty with blogging at the moment, writing whenever the mood takes me, but I know that i’m going to have to be more a lot more focused in the future by dedicate certain times of day to it – especially if we have another baby. seriously how do you Mums do it! You’re all wonder women!! Like anything, I suppose the majority of hard work comes in the beginning while I’m setting up ‘my brand’ so that’s what I am focusing on now!
Lesson 6: It pays to get out of you comfort zone
Over the past month I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to guest post on some larger blogs with significant readership. Thinking their readers probably wouldn’t be interested in just me and our little daily lives, I’ve pushed myself to come up with subjects that I probably wouldn’t have thought about on my own blog. One of these in particular was quite emotional and very hard to write. But again I am sooo proud of the finished article. It pushed me way beyond my comfort zone but also gave me an enormous sense of achievement once it was complwte. I shocked myself at what I was capable of and I cant wait for it to be published so I can share it with you. So there you have it, six lessons I had absolutely no idea i’d learn three months ago, but which I am immensely proud of myself for conquering. I know I’ve still got such a long way to go, but if I’ve come this far in three months, I’m excited to see what the next three months will bring 🙂
Are you a new blogger? What have been your most important lessons since starting out? It would be great to hear from you.
Love as always