As I mentioned yesterday, it has now been 6 years of blogging for me! I have learned a lot along the way and still have a lot to learn. For those that may be curious about this blogging business or just curious what I have learned, here are 6 things I learned from 6 years of blogging (truthfully, I have learned a lot more so these are the top 6!).
6 Things I Learned from 6 Years of Blogging
Good Blogging Practices Do Not Always Equal Good Business Practices
This could actually have 6 points under it all by itself! But, I will keep it short on this one. It is quite easy to generate some serious clicks by using click bait titles but that does not mean it is a good blog practice. I am actually really against click bait titles (more on that below) as it is something that is generally done just to draw people in without backing it up with quality content.
This can be a hard one as I would, of course, like to make more money from the blog and click bait (and other similar tactics) does that! But, I try to follow more of what makes good blogging practices even if it they aren’t good business practices.
Yet another area with this topic is with referral links. It makes good business practices to try and sell readers on a particular product, whether it is a credit card or a product through a referral link. However, it is not really good blogging practices to try and get a reader to click on something that is not the best available. An example is when a product is available through a different website at a cheaper price than through the referral link and the blogger only links to the higher priced page because it pays the blogger.
With credit card referrals, this is even more problematic. There are many links that pay bloggers for certain credit card offers while superior offers are available without referral links. Good business practices say to push the link for profit while good blogging practices say present what is available and what is best for the reader. Don’t feel bad about holding me accountable if I cross that line!
Titles Are Still Hard!
I can write a 1,500 word blog post without too much difficulty but the part that remains one of the hardest things for me with blogging is the TITLE! As I said above, click bait is not my thing and I try to stay away from it. At the same time, there is a balance in how to write a good title.
A simple title may be accurate but it can sound boring and people could end up missing a quality blog post that should have more eyes on it or could benefit more people. The skill I am still trying to work at is to craft a title that releases some of the information without giving everything away in the title. This is especially true with some programs (like Aegean) that people may turn off to because they don’t have Aegean miles but the post may explain why they could still benefit from that bit of information.
So, this remains a work in progress and something I am still trying to improve! I definitely mess up and sometimes go too fast or make too many changes so don’t hold the bad titles against me too much! 🙂
Blogging Is Time Consuming!
As I mentioned yesterday, when I first started, I thought I could spend 1 hour a week to get out 7 posts. Nope! That is not how it works!
Anyone that has blogged knows that it is a time consuming thing. Of course, there are some posts that you could get out in minutes (and strangely enough, some of those have been my most-visited posts!) but to blog day in and day out does require time. I didn’t realize it at the beginning but I do now for sure! Thankfully, the blog earns me some money to help out with that time spent. 🙂
Creativity Is Essential
When you have blogged for a few years (or more!), it can become very easy to get in a rut and even lose interest in continuing. That has happened to many blogs – even in this space! I have seen dozens (and maybe even hundreds) of blogs start and stop as their writers decided (for any number of reasons) that it wasn’t worth continuing.
To keep that passion for blogging alive, it can sometimes mean taking a different approach to it. I am trying to get a bit creative in 2018 to add different dimensions to the blog so that it not only inspires my creativity but also gives readers some value as well.
Projects or Content Delivery
Creativity in blogging can mean something like trying a different medium of content delivery or it can be some special project to get you excited about what blogging really is all about. For me, that has been the case on a number of occasions – and some of them I never even followed through on! It was just the planning that got me excited and gave me some additional content that I hadn’t thought of before.
One of my most creative projects actually still has not been fully written about – but I will get it finished because I am as excited about it today as when I first started planning! That was my Running Round the World With Miles where I ran 6 marathon distances (that is 26.2 miles each) on 6 continents in under 5 days. The planning, training, and the travel were all fantastic and really gave me a jolt in the creativity area for the blog. If I didn’t write a travel/miles/points/running blog, I never would have done that!
So, if you are a blogger and it is getting stale, get some creativity to inspire you to keep going!
Blogging Is Not a Lonely Pursuit
It’s funny – I can write a post while sitting in bed in my pjs or can do it while sitting in a waiting room at an office and it doesn’t make a difference! Blogging is really a fantastic way to communicate with people even when you are by yourself.
However, blogging is not about being by yourself! I have enjoyed meeting readers and other bloggers over the years in my travels. It is always great to communicate with fellow travel enthusiasts in the comments, e-mails, and social media and always fun to run into a reader in an airport or at a race.
The point is I have learned that it doesn’t matter that I am alone when writing a post – it is like being a part of a community and that is always great to have!
Readers Are Not Stupid! 🙂
Of course, I write about what interests me (as do many bloggers) but it is easy to slip into a mode where you are trying to write for money and not for readers.
Nothing wrong with earning money on a blog! I have been fortunate to earn something of a part-time income from this site and I am really thankful to everyone who visits and clicks for that. But, you can tell when a blogger stops writing for readers and starts writing for money.
One of the ways is the writing style makes it seem like readers are stupid. That is because the writing style is trying to cater to search engines and answer a bunch of questions and use keywords rather than writing for human readers.
Another way is that bloggers will treat their readers like income sources instead of treating them like a customer they are trying to serve. I heard someone say once that the blogger that serves readers instead of treating readers like one who serves them will be the ones that are ultimately successful.
I battle this sometimes as it is easy to write for Google to try and get the big spikes of traffic than writing something that is honestly helpful for readers. In the long run, it is much more rewarding to know you wrote something that was valuable content than something that is just a buzzfeed-styled sensation.
These are just 6 of the top things I have learned but I know that I will learn a lot more as time goes on! I do thank you for those readers that have offered helpful criticism over the years to help me to get better at this thing of blogging. I am at almost 4,000 posts now and while I have been able to find my style and voice, I am still looking to improve in many ways.
If you are starting out in blogging, hopefully some of these lessons I learned could help you as you start!
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