My First Year Blogging, I can hardly believe it? It’s been a year ago almost to the day when I first launched findingourwaynow.com. It has been quite a ride. I have grown in this blogging world in so many ways. There are the obvious stats that we will often times find ourselves obsessed with. There is the learning that comes from the day-to-day activity of blogging, and then there are the surprises both pleasant and unpleasant.
Here, is my story.
Finding Our Way Now – My First Year Blogging
It all started on February 1, 2012, the birth of Findingourwaynow.com, arriving with 5 subscribers and 2 visitors per day. It was an infant in the blogosphere. It was an exciting day, one full of excitement and promise. It was my new baby, and I knew it was bound to find a measure of success. I had written a post called “Swimming Up Stream” that proved to be unexpectedly prophetic. Little did I know that it was exactly what I would be doing in the ever increasingly and crowded blogosphere.
The first few months of my first year blogging were all about writing, how to promote and push out my blog content. I knew not to be discouraged that it wasn’t going to be easy, and hard work had always been my constant companion. I had goals: 1. Reach 200 subscribers in the first year 2. Increase my traffic 10 fold (not hard to do when you’re starting at next to zero) and 3. Find ways too passively monetize my blog.
The first few months of my first year blogging were exciting and full of all kinds of learning. I had reached out to some people who seemed to have it together, and they were kind enough to offer advice and help. I was hungry for all that they offered and followed through on all their suggestions. I also had my very first interview with Dan Meyers/BREAKFREE.me, did my very first guest post at The Simple Dude, both a success. I had received my first few blog awards and was amazed. I joined all kinds of blog directories and started participating in all manner of social media discussion groups, not to mention the activity on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ etc. Nothing happened… Sigh! I thought, not to worry, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The next few months I found myself totally immersed in blogging activities. I was learning how to use my camera to take pictures for my blog. I had hired a coach, Jonathan Milligan/Blog Your Passion, to help bounce things off of. Jonathan was a great guide. He also helped me feel less alone and not quite as isolated. My traffic was trickling up, and my subscribers were starting to increase. I was encouraged. My coach reminded me that it takes time, LOTS of time and to be patient.
It was now midyear. I was seeing some results of ALL my efforts and it really did feel good. Finally, I could see tangible evidence of all that I was doing to help improve the readership to my blog. That was when the magic started to happen. I started meeting other bloggers such as Bethany Lee/Project Whitespace and Gina Baker/My Chocolate Peaces. Some were more interested in what I could do for them, but many were like me, all trying to find our way now in this blogging world. We supported each other and found ways to encourage ourselves when we really needed it. I loved it, someone to talk to.
In my past life, there was a phenomenon that happened to someone about 8 to 12 months in a new position. After the first 8 to 12 months, the excitement has worn off, and the true work it takes to succeed is now apparent. Many will give up at that point and will leave that position for another within a few months. We called it “hitting the wall”. The sad part was they had already laid the foundation for success; they just needed to see that it was possible and keep going. Even thought I knew that, I was worn out, and I “hit the wall”. I really got it. That this was very hard work, and it was going to take a long time to reach the success I dreamed of. I started doubting myself and wondered if my desired blogging success was really possible.
I asked myself:
- Can this really be done?
- Will it always be this hard?
- Am I good enough to make my blog a success?
- What should I be doing that I’m not doing?
- Is this really a hobby and should it be treated as such?
- Why are others doing so well and not me?
- Do I really have something to offer my readers?
- Am I deluding myself in thinking I’m good enough to be a success?
There were many more questions that ran through my head. Then it hit me. Do I quit or do I persevere? Obviously I decided to persevere. I found my blogger friends were struggling with the same doubts and had hit the same wall. We helped each other through this challenge and many more we would face in the future.
The last few months of the year were when I really gained a great appreciation for the ones who are now successful who had come before me. I have been given a ton of awards which has humbled me. I have collaborated with and published a book “D.R.E.A.M. Catcher’s” with Cheryl Therrien/Grandmother Diaries. I have done a few more interviews and guest posts. I have run three successful giveaways. I now have a group of very good friends who meet every few weeks to talk about things we could or should do and offering advise and support to each other when it’s needed.
When I looked back, I realized I had reached 90% of what I had set out to do. My subscribers are now at 280 subscribers and counting. My traffic has increased by 100 fold and more, but I’m still searching for that illusive income to pay for my habit. I have reset my goals and refocused my efforts in the direction I hope to go in the coming year.
What have I learned?
- That I’m still “Swimming Up Stream” and that it’s just a fact of life.
- I will always have doubts, don’t buy into them but just accept that they’ll always exist.
- There are a million ways to be successful in the blogosphere, you just never know where your efforts will lead you and to whom.
- Don’t obsess about the numbers. They will come with education, time and effort.
- You will make some amazing new friends all around the world who will support and cheer you on and you will do the same for them.
- When all seems for not, just begin, nothing will happen if you’re not working towards an end game.
- Don’t to be fooled by the “spaghetti sticking to wall content method blogger”. Good content really does matter.
- Always look for ways to have fun. Your readers will love it and SO will you.
- The last part is the most important; it’s all about the reader and not about you so listen to what it is they want, like and appreciate about your work.
How about you? What has been your blogging experience and what have you learned? How was your “my first year blogging”?
My blogging life’s journey continues…