The tiny notification came to my inbox rather unexpected. If I’d been in a hurry as I normally am while browsing through my WordPress Inbox perhaps it would have gone unnoticed. Yet, there it was an indistinguishable little note that said “Happy Anniversary from WordPress” next to a tiny little cake with the number 5 inside. I stopped for a moment and just stared at the screen a bit in disbelief that I’d forgotten this fact. That five years ago, as a stay-at-home mom of a four and six-year-old, I decided to take a chance. I started a blog.
I remember the feeling of utter shyness and apprehension when I wrote that first post. Would anyone even read it or my blog? Was I making a big mistake by opening myself up to the world, to strangers? Would it even be any good? Lots of self-doubt swirled around inside my head but I decided to take a leap of faith and go for it. What did I have to loose?
Above: A gallery of some of the first photos introduced in my blog.
Fast forward five years and 1,000 posts later, I am still blogging as passionately as ever and consider my blog to be my part-time job. I may not make a dime off my blog however what I get in return with satisfaction, fulfillment, opportunity and friendship has made it one of the best decisions of my life (of course, behind getting married and having children). I love blogging and I believe that because I love what I do so much that my blog will be here to stay for a very long time.
So what is the key to longevity? Why do I continue to spend countless hours on my blog every single day, week after week, month after month and year after year? Simple. Because I am passionate about what I’m doing and believe in it. If I didn’t love blogging, I would have quit long ago.
I’ve sadly seen many of my fellow bloggers come and go. I’ve also learned many tips along the way that have worked for me and have kept me going with my blog. Here are a few of the best things I’ve learned along the way.
If I’m doing it “right”, I won’t make a dime.
This is a very important lesson for me and one that perhaps some people won’t agree with. I have plenty of friends who earn a full-time living as a blogger yet they do not only blog; they do a handful of other things related to their blogging brand. Of course you can advertise, write sponsored posts, freelance, write a book or consult. But let’s face it. You need an enormous readership to earn anything noteworthy and my blog will never be one of those highly read, million plus subscriber blogs. If I want to be true to the way I want to write, it will never be a best-seller and for me, that’s ok.
Doors will open if you look for them.
I love the saying “opportunity knocks”. Yet I also believe you have to be ready to open the door. A lot about the blogging world I’ve experienced so far truly has to do with luck. Being in the right place at the right time and meeting that one person who magically opens up doors that you never thought you’d enter. However, if you never leave your house then the doors will not open. I have attended several blogging conferences where I’ve met that one person who changed everything. Just like anything else in life, blogging is all about networking and creating long-lasting relationships and friendships.
Only write what you believe in and love.
This could not be any more true! I have been offered paid jobs to write about topics I have absolutely no interest in and have turned them down. If I don’t love what I’m writing about, how could it be meaningful for me to write or for my readers to read? When I write, I put my heart and soul into it knowing that it is a labor of love. If I have nothing to say, I don’t write. If I have a lot of amazing things on my mind, I share.
Honor the amazing friendships and connections you make.
There are plenty of blogs out there that get a ton of views yet have no dialogue or conversation with their readers. Comments are left unanswered leaving the reader feeling like they don’t matter. A blog is not only about the writer. It is about engaging and creating connections with readers and building an audience and friendships. I have been so fortunate to have developed some wonderful friendships with fellow bloggers, many whom I have met in person and continue to be friends with to this day. Of course in an ideal world, I would try to regularly read every post written by a blogger who reads my blog but unfortunately it isn’t possible. So I try my best and always answer comments and thank my readers for taking the time out of their busy day to stop by.
Never give up.
Life is busy and sometimes you want to just throw in the towel. You may feel overwhelmed or that no one is reading your blog or liking your posts. You spend countless, unpaid hours on your blog, and you may wonder why you’re doing it. Sometimes I admit to feeling this way. But then I realize that my blog is in someway an extension of myself. It is a testament of my life, my voice, and my soul. It may be the only written memory I leave behind someday for my grandkids. I realize that as with anything in life, I can never give up. I will write this blog until I can no longer type. As long as I stay true to my voice and love what I’m doing, it will continue. And it is my hope that my writing only gets better.
Thanks to all my readers who have supported me along the way. Your comments, support and friendship have meant the world. Here’s to hitting the next big WordPress blogging milestone…10 years.