This is may seem like a slightly neglected space. A little like a theme park closed for winter. All the elements are there, but not a lot is going on. Over the past few months, while there have been few published posts. I’ve had a thorough edit of this blog. It was an interesting trip back, many little details of life, that I had simply forgotten are stored here and I treasure that.
This blog started as a parenting blog, without much consideration for the future. We’ve yet to know what the outcome of the experiment called ‘putting our children on the internet’. If I’m honest, I’m pleased I began this journey when blogging was a fairly anonymous past time. It’s not difficult to connect the dots, but I hope I’ve managed to shield my son from being easily Googled.
This October I celebrate 9 years of blogging. Started when the blogging community was small, a few were reviewing products, but no one was earning money. Blogging offered creative expression and an opportunity to connect with other parents in a longer form than 140 Twitter characters.
The word ‘blog’ was something that often had to be explained. Now it’s very mainstream, most companies have a blog. Personal blogs have been replaced by Instagram influencers. The community I started with, has dispersed, some have moved on completely. Others are full-time professional bloggers. Many of us are using our digital skills for good. I use the expertise I’ve learned over 9 years to support small businesses with their day to day digital.
These 12 things I’ve learned from 9 years of blogging.
1. Useful content lasts
There is still mileage in starting a blog. Blog posts are searchable in a way, that social media updates simply don’t match up to. Posts that I wrote years ago are still some of my most read. Useful content lasts.
2. Digital skills
Blogging is an investment in learning. It’s not simply about publishing a post. I’ve improved my writing and photography. There is a whole raft of things that need to be done to promote a post from Pinterest to Instagram. I’ve also learned a set of digital skills that I use to earn a living.
3. Be useful
If you want traffic, blog posts need to be useful and answer questions. There is much less appetite for reading other people’s thoughts and musings.
4. Not everyone will get it.
That’s fine. Those that do get it, really get it.
5. Content Creation
Blogging flexes different muscles. I’ve become adept at coming up with ideas for digital content. While I’m here less with ideas, that’s because I’m elsewhere helping others to generate content.
6. Know your worth
There are no freebies in blogging. There is so much I could say about this. Put simply, building a blog and even creating the shortest post takes time and effort and there is a value attached to that.
7. Don’t overthink it.
SEO. Many claim to understand the magic of SEO, the internet is heavy with theories on the best way to please the Search Engine Gods. I’d argue that they are always one step ahead. Stealthily creating new algorithms cloaked in secrecy, which draw information from our endless and intimate relationship with the internet. Don’t overthink it.
8. Be yourself
Tell stories and share the personal, people like to connect with people. Be cautious. Once it’s on the internet anyone can find it and anyone can make their own interpretation. It’s easy to forget something you wrote 7 years ago until someone else finds it.
9. Share what you love.
Enthusiasm shines brightly.
10. Analytics are your friends.
I never expected to be someone who found Google Analytics useful or interesting. Put simply it is what works and what doesn’t.
It is still possible to find your community, and it really is better to find a small loyal group that you get to know than to have millions of faceless followers, who are little more than numbers.
People matter. Digital is brilliant but being in the same room as other humans is better. There are huge rewards from forging connections digitally and then turning them into real-life meetups.