January 2021, I celebrated my blog’s five year anniversary.
Five. Whole. Years.
I then spent a ton of time reflecting, and decided I wanted to share five of the most valuable blogging lessons learned over my 5 years in the game.
These lessons are definitely more “life lessons” that can apply to most creatives and entrepreneurs, but if you’re looking for hard and fast blogging tips, I have tons of blog-related posts up my sleeve too.
My Five Years of Content Creation
Over the past five years, I’ve gone from creating content purely for fun, to being able to create content for fun and money.
I first launched my blog back in 2016 as a way to document my natural hair journey, hopefully help others out, and as a means to exercise my love for writing in a new outlet.
If you had told me back in 2016 that I would one day be on YouTube… I probably would have laughed and then folded up into a ball of anxiety.
Related Post: 5 Reasons Why I Did NOT Want To Start a YouTube Channel
Then, I went on to launch a (now dead) writing blog… which I haven’t had time to revive, but still pay for…
As the years went on, I also stepped into new niches. Moving from primarily hair-related content to sharing lifestyle content, and now content creation tips! (Because I’ve learnt so much, and I’m not one to hoard information).
5 Lessons Learned After 5 Years Blogging
Back in January, YouTube got to see/hear my lessons first! If you are more of a video person, check it out below! (And don’t forget to subscribe to my channel while you’re at it).
The points are also shared beneath the video for my fellow readers!
Lesson #1: No One Owes You Anything
I know we’re opening up with a harsh lesson, but it’s an important one. Nobody owes you views or support.
Time and time again, I see creators lamenting over the fact that their friends and family don’t support them.
And trust me, I’ve been there.
Back in the early days, I would craft what I thought was a beautiful post, baring my soul… and crickets.
And the thing about those early days is that you don’t have much of a following outside of friends and family, so you’re really expecting those people to show up for you.
And when only a small percentage of them do… it’s easy to get disappointed.
But you can’t be hyper-focused on the people who aren’t supporting you.
You need to work on getting your content in front of the people who will. Focus on building an authentic, engaged community, because the reality is your friends and family ARE NOT your target audience.
And shedding the mindset that you are owed engagement is important even as your platform grows. Not every single one of your followers or your subscribers is going to engage with your content... and quite frankly… they don’t *have* to.
Lesson #2: You Need a Vision and a Plan
To succeed, you need to know where you’re going.
As I mentioned, my blog began as a creative outlet, and as a way for me to connect with, and maybe inspire other women with natural hair.
That was the extent of my vision and plan. (And I wonder why it took me so long to build momentum…)
I knew blogs could make money, but I hadn’t yet thought about the technicalities. I didn’t start with a particularly sound strategy. It took me a while to start laying out specific goals for my blog and even longer to lay out the roadmap for how I was going to achieve them.
I honestly wish I had looked for a blog launch checklist before going live so I wouldn’t have had to stumble around on my own for so long.
Without a vision, your content pieces may also become very disconnected from each other. And if you don’t see your route, let alone your destination, how is your audience supposed to follow along?
Lesson #3: The Importance of Consistency
I cannot begin to count the number of times I disappeared from the blogging world.
I’d log off for months, then return with a renewed sense of inspiration. I’d then pump out blog posts two times a week for a month straight, and then nothing again. Real sustainable, right?
Naturally, any time I disappeared for long enough my blog traffic would drop. Pretty severely in fact–likely because search engines saw me as an inactive website.
If I had just focused on sustainably posting once a week and saving those extra posts that I had drafted for a later date when I didn’t have inspiration or motivation… I would have been just so much better off.
The key to sustainably consistency, is making sure you don’t burn yourself out. You want to be realistic with what you can manage.
Maybe for you that is two times a week, maybe it’s two times a month. Either way, you want to build up a consistent schedule your audience can rely on it.
Lesson #4. You Need to Stay Open
The fourth thing I really had to learn over the past five years of blogging, was the importance of staying open to new information.
And for some context, I am a research nerd; a very curious person by nature.
I will often Google something and trial and error until I feel like I am an expert on the subject. And I really had to learn to humble myself a little bit and realize that I am never above the basics.
An example of this is that I have often found myself scrolling through YouTube videos trying to research a particular topic, when I come across something titled: “blank” for beginners…
And honestly, I would just skip over those videos because I genuinely felt I didn’t need to be watching 101 videos.
But whenever I did humble myself and say “you know what, let’s just check out this video”, I usually found myself learning something new.
So my advice is just literally no matter how much work you’ve done, no matter how much you think you know, don’t be afraid to go back to the basics and watch those beginner videos. Stay open to new information.
Lesson #5. Being Successful Isn’t (All) About Luck
Being successful has less to do with luck, and more to do with hard, intentional, work.
Even let’s say someone “gets lucky” and goes viral. ..
They get an amazing flood of traffic but didn’t do the hard work to build out their platforms and make sure they’re foundationally sound. If that’s the case, they aren’t going to be able to sustain that traffic, newfound fame.
The hype becomes short-lived and they become a one-trick pony or one-hit wonder. And that’s not what you want if you want to be a creator for the long run.
Like most things in life, if you do the work, do the research, analyze your own work, and pivot accordingly, there is no reason why you can’t be successful with time.
Because honestly, where I’m at now (on the verge of pursuing blogging full-time), is way beyond where I thought I could ever be as a content creator.
I originally saw success as a distant dream. But when I realized it was on the table if I just set up my blog the right way–if I promoted myself the right way, those dreams began coming true.
Final Thoughts on the Past 5 Years Blogging
So it has been quite the journey, and at the time of posting this, 6 years is right around the corner.
And honestly depending on how I feel on any particular day, sometimes I’m like “oh it’s already been five years” and at other times I’m like “wow it has been a long five years”, but overall I’m honestly so proud of how far I have come.
And I’m so excited to see where the next five years take me.
So I just want to thank you for taking the time to hear my thoughts, and also extend a huge, amazing thank you to everybody who’s been a part of this journey with me.
I know that there are people out there who have been following my blog or Instagram since year one, and you just have no idea how much I appreciate that and just how touching that is.
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