Today, I’m featuring Jessica Churchill from Domesticated Wild Child. Check out her blog and find her on Twitter @domesticatedWC after you read about the seven lessons she’s learned in her first year blogging.
Why do you blog? I think it’s a question we have all asked ourselves at one time or another. I started blogging because I had all these recipes, life hacks and thoughts that I wanted to share. We’re looking at a dismal hit number and wondering if we are just talking to ourselves sometimes. If you are a newbie blogger like me then you have picked up on somethings along the way, here are some of my biggest lessons:
1) Start Small
I went into blogging with a lot to say but no idea how to say it. I had no idea how to build a website from scratch and build it. Do your research, look at different blogging platforms and then start your blog. I started with WordPress.com’s free site at first just see if this would be something that I stuck with. I did that for a few months while I learned the ropes about blogging and networking. Don’t throw down a ton of cash on something until you see if you can give it the effort it needs.
2) Read Everything About Your Site Upkeep
If you are self-hosting, take the time to sit down and read everything about doing it yourself. I made the mistake of stressing about why my site didn’t have some of the same features that it had when it was free, but if I just took the time to concentrate and look at Jetpack and everything associated with it then I would have saved myself so much unneeded time and worry.
3) Go Easy on Plugins
Yes, there is a plugin for everything you can imagine. But do you really need them or are you just using them because you can. Simple is always better. Figure out what you really want on your site and use those plugins, everything else is just useless clutter that puts more work on your plate and takes away from writing and reaching out to readers.
4) Don’t Post Nonsense
Once you establish a writing schedule that works for you, it’s OK to veer off of it if you don’t have anything to write about. It’s better to write a good post than an average one just to keep up with your set timetable.
5) Don’t Be Discouraged
I know the feeling of opening up your stats count and seeing a low number, but you need to remember that there are millions of websites out there and interest about new sites needs to grow. Use social media, go on other blogs and share the love there. If you stay hidden, nobody will find you.
6) When Inspiration Hits, Write It Down
I used to have a great memory, then I had a child. I would get a great idea for a blog post and then it was gone once I got distracted. Get a notebook, keep it nearby you and when you get a great idea write it down so you can go back when writers block hits. You can have a list for posts for weeks to come.
7) Take Great Pictures
I blog a lot of personal recipes and use Pinterest to promote them. Any pinner knows that the picture means everything. Even using your phone can get your great pictures. There are lots of free photo editing software you can use to make your pictures stand out.