The end of October marks one year since I started this blog, when I began sending my posts out into the ether and hoping that they might make a ripple on the endless surface of the internet.
I still remember the thrill when I got my first follower, the thought that someone had actually read my words! I now have almost 100 followers and the knowledge that my posts are reaching real people is my entire motivation.
Thank you all!
To mark this paper anniversary, here are a few lessons I’ve learnt so far…
Be flexible in your focus
I started out writing about organisation, but this has branched out into personal finance, health and wellbeing, and productivity. This feels like a good mix of subjects. I’ve always got plenty of inspiration for each of them, and using systematic approaches is the central theme that ties them together.
The idea that you might start out with for your blog is not necessarily one you need to continue with. Your interests grow and change, and some things might not translate well into posts.
When I began blogging, I also created all my own digital images. This was taking way too much time and effort, and was taking away from the creation of the actual content, so I quit the pictures to double down on the writing.
Find your voice
My early posts were very stilted and cautious. I was worried about sounding too preachy, or that readers would find my ‘advice’ too prescriptive. I was constantly caveating my speech and watering down my words.
I’ve gradually morphed my style into something more personal. An anecdote of the way I do things. If people find something useful to try, that’s great. If they disagree with a method, that’s also fine!
I’ve found my most popular posts are my monthly health and wellbeing updates, and I’ve started a quarterly personal finance update. These posts are much more journal-style and are easier to write as they don’t require any background research. They also serve me as motivation, as they keep me accountable when working towards my goals and maintaining habits.
Keeping organised will keep you consistent
Fittingly for an organisation blog, I’ve found a couple of systems that have helped me blog consistently.
Firstly, I keep a card on my Trello page for post ideas. Whenever they come to me, I write them straight into my phone App so that when I’m in the mood to write I can pick one out that appeals.
I also write posts slightly ahead of time and schedule them. I also write some ad-hoc posts if they have a time-related element, but keeping ahead removes any pressure I might feel to write on a particular day. It also builds in a bit of buffer if I go on holiday or have a busy week.
Finally, I tend to draft my posts in the same way. I start with an overall idea, then build headings to outline the structure (many search functions use text marked as headings). Sometimes my drafts stay this way for a while if I don’t have enough ideas on a subject to make a good post.
I then write paragraphs under each heading, and finally write an attractive intro (this is the teaser that readers see before they click on the full article) and finish with question or some other invitation to comment. Lastly I come up with a title that grabs attention and summarises the message of the post, but to be honest I’m not great at this part. If I’m writing something on finance or health, I also include a disclaimer.
The side-hustle part is harder than I thought
I had a vague idea that this blog might be the start of a little side-income. I spent a lot of time researching Search Engine Optimisation, I upgraded to a Premium wordpress plan, I applied to affiliate link programs and half-heartedly put a couple into my posts.
I have earned a grand total of $0.00 so far.
There seem to be lots of articles about becoming a digital nomad through blogging, but it doesn’t seem to be that easy. Maybe it takes a couple of years, but I certainly won’t be including this hobby in my roadmap to financial freedom.
It’s all about the journey
Monetising my blog was never the motivation in any case. It was more that I had a bunch of ideas and methods that I use to help myself, that I though might help other people.
Along the way I’ve also improved my writing a little, learnt to structure my ideas better, spent time researching subjects that I’m interested in, read a lot of content from other bloggers, and started to engage in an online community.
I don’t think of my blog as a means of getting somewhere. I’m fully appreciating the journey it’s taking me on and the growth I’m experiencing along the way.
How old is your blog? How has it morphed along the way?