5 Lessons Learned in 5 Months of Blogging

As of today I have been writing in this space for five months. While technically not a blogging newbie {I wrote on a different platform for years} I am more conscientious and deliberate about my writing these days. 

With that in mind I would like to share five blogging lessons I have learned since hitting publish on Welcome back on 30 March.

Coffee cup on saucer and open notebook with pen sit next to a laptop computer on a wooden surface. Text reads: Five months of blogging, five lessons learned.

I Am a Writer {Yes; A Real Writer}

Previously I hesitated to say this out loud, because I erroneously assumed that only people who get paid for putting together words were permitted to use such terminology. 

But then I applied that logic to other things, and it did not make sense. Do you need to win marathons before you can call yourself a runner? Do you need to sell masterpieces before people notice you are a talented artist? When people comment that you are a great baker, do you dismiss them because you are not a professional? 

If you are good at something and you love to do it, does it matter whether or not you are financially compensated for it?

Support Other Writers {But Remain True To Yourself}

One of the great perks of blogging is getting to know so many other wonderful writers and bloggers along the way. After a while you really begin to feel like you “know” them, even though you have never met in person and likely never will. I genuinely enjoy following along and engaging with fellow writers and sharing their work. 

Do you need to win marathons before you can call yourself a runner? Do you need to sell masterpieces before people notice you are a talented artist? Click To Tweet

However, I cannot compromise my own integrity by supporting work I fundamentally disagree with. I generally do not connect with pages that promote pseudoscience or pages that are overtly religious. If I don’t feel comfortable sharing much of what you post on my social media accounts, I probably have no interest in following your page. And I am completely not offended at all when folks feel the same way about mine. {Atheist homeschoolers aren’t for everyone.} It is what it is.

Writing Versus Marketing {Two Very Different Things}

I enjoy writing, and I know I write pretty well, but I have difficulty with self-promotion. The hardest part of this whole gig is marketing my own words. 

In theory, I know all the marketing tricks of the trade; in practice I often feel nervous sharing my own work. Not because I don’t think it’s useful or I am afraid people will judge—it’s more some sort of ingrained need to feel like I am being “nice” and “not rude” and “never too pushy” when it comes to, well, everything. This is probably my biggest challenge to overcome as a blogger.

Open laptop, pink roses in a face, and a cell phone sitting on a desk. Text reads: Five blogging lessons I have learned.

You Can’t Do Everything At Once {So Just Start Somewhere}

When first starting out, figuring out the necessary steps to take in the right order can be very overwhelming. 

Do I need a platform first? Should I just start writing drafts until I have several posts in progress? How important is it to have a specific niche? What social media accounts should I have? How can I possibly be active on all of them? Who is my target audience? How do I get search engines to notice me? What if I run out of things to blog about? How do I find technical help when I need it? 

The truth is, all of those things are important, and to some extent you will be doing them simultaneously, so you might as well pick one and get moving.

A few great Facebook groups have helped me tremendously in my journey. If you are interested in which ones I have found to be the most useful, I am more than happy to offer suggestions.

Invest in Yourself From the Start {It Will Be Worth It}

If I could go back and start again, I would pay for self-hosting on day one. When I started, I thought: I need to make sure I am going to stick with it this time; I need to get x number of page views first, I need to prove that I am “worthy” of the cost

Trust me, it will be so much easier to just start out where you want to be straight away.

Even though I’m plugging along now on a self-hosted site {I made the switch a month ago} I really stressed and struggled at the beginning with transferring everything over and updating the layout and just trying to figure it all out again in general. It would have been nice to have only had to do that once. Also, I had to go back and update all of my pins to reflect the new website, which was unnecessarily time-consuming. 

How long have you been blogging? What blogging lessons have you learned?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via our monthly e-mail newsletter here.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Marian Wood

    I’ve been blogging since October 2018, i posted for 100 days straight.. and went self hosted at Christmas. I started my second blog in June and I’m writing a book. I started doing Facebook live because I was told that it would improve engagement on my page… I’ve learnt that blogging is lots and lots of work. You need to visit other blogs and comment, they might then come back and visit yours. I don’t have a huge number of daily visits like some people. I get excited if I get one visit through a Google search. All we can do is keep working at it and have faith in ourselves. I now post to each blog once a week.. just need to keep writing.

    I think there is always something else to learn. I’m trying to my head around SEO and keywords.. right now I need to work on Pinterest.

    1. Valerie

      Blogging is so much more work than most people realize. Especially if you are actively trying to promote your work, and have your eye on monetizing. For me I’m finding my page views and engagement to be a slow and steady increase. No viral pins or follow-for-follow type things; just plugging at it every day and seeing numbers and readers and comments slowly climb. While sometimes I think it would be nice to “get out there” quickly, I am pretty content with being able to reach more people today than yesterday. Thanks so much for stopping by, Marian.

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    Lara Kretler

    I’ve been blogging on my current site since January 2012. At first it was just a hobby – I only got serious and strategic about it in the last two years or so. Now I love setting goals for # of monthly posts, unique visitors, etc. and achieving/exceeding them! I love writing and a book is the ultimate goal, but for now the blog is a great outlet and channel for that writing energy.

    1. Valerie

      I also did the hobby blogging for a long time, but now I’m wanting to take it more seriously as well. Now that the kids are older, I can actually do things like get up early and write for a few hours essentially uninterrupted. I’m not 100% sure what my ultimate goal is, but I am enjoying blogging this time around so much more than when I had my old site. So I guess I’ll take that for now.

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    Hi thanks for your this post! Just curious – which hosting service do you use and would you recommend it?

    1. Valerie

      Hi, Shin. I am using SiteGround and have been pleased with their customer service so far.

  4. Avatar
    Allie Bock

    I have been blogging on my book blog for about 18 months and my author blog for a couple weeks. I agree with your points. It is hard to self promote. Good luck with your writing?

    1. Valerie

      Thank you, Allie. Yes, self-promotion is 😁 but I’m trying to get more comfortable with it. Best wishes with your writing.

  5. Avatar
    Debt Smashing

    The “you can’t do everything at once” is something I’m still learning. I’m only 4 months in blogging and actually scrapped my first blog all together. Many times I get frustrated because I compare myself to others and want to learn everything so I can “catch up” with the rest, but that’s just really impossible with blogging. We all have our own pace and lane and I am finding mine, which is making it less stressful and more fun.

    1. Valerie

      I keep LOTS of notes so I don’t forget what I’ve done, what I’m in the middle of, and what I still need to do. It’s definitely a learning curve, and sometimes it is difficult to pace yourself.

  6. Avatar

    Good advice! I am glad I started off with paid hosting!

    1. Valerie

      A wise decision. Would have made things a lot easier for me in the beginning.

  7. Avatar

    Hello! I really enjoyed your article, it’s always nice to hear about others bloggin journeys. Although sometimes I do admit I always feel like I’m comparing my blog and situation to others. I need to honestly stop doing this and just align with other bloggers who are working hard like yoursel. I never realized how much work a blog is, or how consuming it can be at times. However I find that I truly enjoy putting together blog posts. I have a sense of pride I haven’t felt in a long time with this journey. And what a journey it’s been, even when I’ve only been doing it for 4 months!

    1. Valerie

      Comparing is always a struggle. I try to remind myself that I am not seeing the whole picture and I have no idea what kind of journey another blogger is on; I only see a small glimpse of what they share. And then I try to keep plugging along, but it’s hard sometimes.

  8. Avatar

    I have been blogging for about a year and I am dedicating more time to it now. I really enjoy it and hopefully will be able to monetize at some point.

    1. Valerie

      I have just now started to consider a few monetization options. It’s not something I really put any effort into with my first blog, so I’d like to give it a try this time.

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