I posted my first blog post in August 2015, so it’s been just over three years since I first hit the publish button. At the time, I wanted a way of sharing my writing with family and friends without having to show them my novels, and this seemed like the perfect way of doing it.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might be surprised to know that I didn’t even have my autism diagnosis when I first started writing. It came shortly afterwards, and after a matter of months, became something I enjoy blogging about regularly.
In the last three years—the last eighteen months in particular—I’ve learnt a lot about blogging. I could probably sit here all day talking about everything I’ve learnt, but for the sake of everyone’s sanity, I’ll focus on the most important things.
Consistency Is Key To Growth
You might be looking at my blog wondering why I think I have the authority to speak about this. In three years of blogging, I’ve had very short bouts of consistency, and it never lasts.
Whether it’s mental health, college work, or job assignments, something always seems to take priority. What’s the saying, though? Do as I say and not as I do? That’s it.
Hear me out.
I write this from experience. In the times I’ve managed to post more regularly, at least once a week, my traffic grew immensely. Not only that, but the support I received from other bloggers grew, too.
While in the past consistency has never been something I’ve stuck to, I’m determined to do better. I’m now freelancing full time, so finding the time to write a blog post here and there shouldn’t be too hard.
Social Media Is SO Important
If you’re serious about making blogging work for you, then getting active on social media is the best thing you can do. Writing a blog post is all well and good, but nobody will know it exists unless you make them aware of it.
A lot of people think social media is something that you use to talk to your friends, and while it is that, it can also be so much more. It’s a great promotion tool for many bloggers and helps to get your posts noticed by other people. I’m sure I’m not the only blogger willing to admit that I spend far more time promoting my blog posts than I do writing them.
If you’re new to blogging, you might be wondering which social media websites you should focus on. In three years of blogging, I’ve used numerous different websites. If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that different things will work for different people.
Personally, I’ve found most of my success this year with Twitter and Pinterest. I do also share appropriate blog posts on Reddit occasionally, which can give your stats a massive boost if done well (and sparingly).
There are advice posts about using pretty much every social media site imaginable to promote your blog, though. It might be worth doing some research to find some that work for you.
The Blogging Community Is Super Supportive
One mistake a lot of people make when they first start blogging is viewing other bloggers as competition. If three years of blogging has taught me anything it’s that this probably won’t get you very far.
Instead, treat other members of the blogging community as your colleagues. You won’t get along with everyone in the community, but that goes for everything. Will it really hurt to remain civil?
You’ll find supportive blogging communities on whichever social media website you join, but I have a soft spot for Twitter. Earlier this year, I was locked out of my account with no explanation and no way of contacting Twitter directly. When I gave up and restarted my account, bloggers rallied around to help me feel accepted again. It was something I’ve never experienced before, and something I’m so grateful for.
I’ve also started being more supportive on my new Twitter account, and it’s made such a difference. It doesn’t take much to reply to a tweet when someone asks a question or reaches a new milestone. Blogging can be extremely lonely, so taking steps to involve yourself in the community can really help.
Blogging Is Hard
A lot of people have this misconception that all bloggers do is write a blog post and hit the publish button, but blogging is so much more than that. Whether you blog as a hobby or a job, you’re often balancing several different jobs at once. This includes marketing your blog, updating it, taking photographs, promoting it, and maybe even negotiating with brands.
Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging. I love writing and sharing what I produce with the world. The amount of work that goes on behind the scenes, however, means that bloggers are often working harder than people believe.
People Will Be Negative Regardless Of What You Do
After three years of blogging, running into the occasional hate comment is to be expected. People always feel more powerful behind a screen, and may not think so much about how what they’re saying affects the person on the other side.
I’m not the most popular blogger out there, but I have received several nasty comments over the last three years. Unfortunately, a lot of them seem to be on my autism-related posts, which is a shame when I’m trying to do something positive.
If I’ve learnt anything about these people, though, it’s that the best thing to do is ignore them. They’re looking for a reaction, and the last thing you want to do is add fuel to the fire. Instead, walk away, and only come back to your comment section when you’re calm enough to delete the comment altogether. Why should someone’s comment see the light of day when they have nothing positive to say?
On the occasion that a comment hits me harder than I’d like to admit, I’ll revisit the blog post someone has commented on and read through some of the positive comments I’ve received. It helps to remind me that other people have found my content helpful, even if that one person didn’t.
Blogging Can Take You In Many Different Directions
When I first started blogging in 2015, it was always going to be a hobby for me. I knew there were other, bigger bloggers who made money from it, but I didn’t think I’d ever be one of them. I’m not claiming I’ll ever be raking it in, but it would be nice to try and earn back some of the money I’ve spent on my domain and hosting in the past couple of years.
Blogging also influenced my future when I realised that university wasn’t going to be an option for me. I was feeling lost and fearful of my future when I realised that I had the skills I needed to start a new career path. I’m now using what three years of blogging has taught me to kick start my own freelancing career. I’ve still got a long way to go, and lots to learn, but I’m proud of the progress I’ve made this far.
Something else I never envisioned I’d do when I started blogging was raising awareness for autism. I didn’t even know I had it, and the thought of going public about something like that scared me to death. I’m glad I did, though, as I’ve received lots of comments from people around the world saying I’ve helped open their eyes to something they knew little about before. I’ve also been contacted to take part in several research opportunities, which is always nice.
There Are No Rules
Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned in three years of blogging is that there are no rules when it comes to blogging. I spent so long trying to follow rules I’d read in countless advice articles that I got confused, and it really took the fun out of blogging. Since letting go of these, I’ve enjoyed blogging a lot more, and it’s been fun discovering what works for me.
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