Medium Sized Family has turned one! I’m so excited about reaching this milestone. I actually published the blog in July 2015, but I didn’t tell a soul about it until August 6, 2015. So I consider that to be the blog’s “birthday”.
I’ve come a long, long way since those first posts. When I look back at some of my first work, I’m a bit embarrassed at how little I knew. But more than that, I’m proud of how far I’ve come! I’ve learned a ton about things I didn’t even know existed a year ago.
I’ve made new friends and met some fabulous readers. I’ve learned about some of your struggles, and I’ve learned how to better handle my own.
To celebrate my blogiversary, I thought I’d write up a list of things I’ve learned in my first year of blogging.
Here are 9 Things I Learned in My First Year of Blogging.
Shortcut! I’ve put together a list of my recommended resources. These are the things that are most worth my time, effort, and money. You’ll find suggestions for daily life as well as blogging there, so be sure to give it a look.
There is always more work to do.
Before becoming one, I always thought a blogger typed up a blog post, published it, and that was it. I didn’t realize how much hard work went into blogging.
A blogger has to wear so many hats! Yes, you have to learn how to write well. But you also have to promote yourself, build your website, design photos, juggle social media accounts, deal with email, decide legit opportunities from people trying to take advantage of you, and so much more.
There’s never a natural stopping point to your work. There is always “one more thing” to do. You have to learn how to manage your time all on your own, and that’s hard.
That said, you also get a lot of chances to be really proud of yourself for learning something new and doing it well (after a lot of practice).
Focus on writing great content first. No, really.
The first tip you’ll read everywhere is that a blogger needs to focus on creating the best content they can. That’s what drives traffic.
New bloggers tend to think, “Yeah, but shouldn’t I also be building my Facebook page? And setting up ads? And, and, and…”
Sure, you do need to worry about that. But I finally realized that, while I could sprinkle those tasks in throughout my week, I needed to spend time writing every single day. That’s how to get readers. After all, it’s no good building a Facebook page that points to a blog without great stories and information!
Have a strategy for social media. Learn one at a time.
After setting up your blog, you’ll want to think about how to use social media. Social media can be overwhelming. You probably already know how easy it is to get sucked in. You’ll suddenly find that an hour has passed while you caught up on your friends or pinned beautiful pictures.
The same can be said for social media for your blog. I need Facebook! And Twitter! Wait, how do you even use Twitter? Oh, Pinterest is a must. But so is Instagram. And how can I use LinkedIn for blog work?
Try focusing on one at a time. Set up accounts on all your favorite platforms so you can be sure to get your blog name. Then spend a month on each of them so you learn how best to use each one for yourself.
When I learned to stop spreading myself thin, I finally made some breakthroughs in my accounts. It seems counterproductive to abandon a couple of social media accounts while you learn others, but I promise that it’s worth it.
Find your people.
You’ll need blogger friends who understand your struggles. Reach out to bloggers ahead of the stage you are in and learn from them. One way to do that is to find them in Facebook groups or blog hops.
One Facebook group for beginners I recommend is Blogging On Your Own Terms. You can find blog hops or linky parties on my Blog Hops I Love page. These are parties hosted by bloggers who are willing to give you a place to promote your blog posts to others who might not otherwise see them.
Don’t join every FB tribe, and don’t try to keep up with all of the share threads.
While Facebook groups and tribes are wonderful, keep it simple. It’s very easy to overdo it and end up spending your entire day sharing other people’s work.
Experiment with different Facebook groups, but after learning about several, choose just a couple to try to keep up with. And don’t feel like you have to join every share thread they offer.
Go with the flow when you can.
Have you ever wondered about my blog name? I began Medium Sized Family with the thought that I don’t have a small family, but I also don’t have a family large enough for their own reality show. Our family with 5 kids is really more of a “medium sized family”. I thought I would blog about life with many kids.
That was a fine idea. But I noticed that the posts my audience enjoyed the most were money saving posts. So I began to post more of them. I have always been interested in personal finance, so those posts were actually fun for me. And so began my tagline: Practical tips for saving money and simplifying life.
Be ready to be flexible in your blogging world! Give your readers what they want as long as you are also staying true to yourself.
Know your stopping point.
When you finally get your blog established and people are reading it, you might get offers for sponsored posts. It’s important to sort out legitimate opportunities from scammers trying to take advantage of you.
But even the legit offers require a hard look. If a sponsor is offering you money to promote their product, always ask yourself if you can write an honest review.
I had to laugh at the first sponsored posts I wrote. They couldn’t have been more perfect if I’d wrote the idea myself! With my fifth born, I only use the nicer diapers, and I constantly shop at Dollar General. So the post is totally honest, I got a chance to share coupons with my money saving readers, and I got paid for it.
On the other hand, I’ve had offers I could never accept. One company wanted me to write about how hard it would be to feed my family for just $5 per person per day. When I did the math, I quickly realized that I spend far less than that amount now! If I can’t write an honest post, no amount of money is worth lying to my readers.
Don’t stop learning.
The internet has brought a wealth of information to our very fingertips. It’s important to keep learning regularly. You’ll have to decide how much or how little you want to pay for new knowledge.
There are so many classes and workshops available that it’s hard to choose which one to try next. I suggest keeping a running list of the most intriguing or promising courses and take them one at a time.
When money is limited, don’t be discouraged. There’s plenty of free information out there. You’ll just have to work harder to find it on your own.
Technology is constantly changing, so no matter how long you’ve been blogging, you’ll want to keep up with the latest information.
Have a passion for it.
I try to run my blog like a business, because I want to see it succeed. But blogging also needs to be fun. I won’t stick with it long if it becomes more of a chore than a passion.
From the start, you need to make sure you are passionate about the topics you blog about, because you’ll be brainstorming and writing about them for a long time.
These hard earned lessons have helped me improve my blogging in the past year.
Reaching the one year milestone is a biggie, and I’m proud to have made it this far. I can’t wait to see what I learn in the second year of blogging!
If you’ve ever considered becoming a blogger, here are some tips for creating a blog:
I’ve also written about ways to monetize a blog for beginners:
Are you a blogger? What’s your best tip for blogging success?