Reflections on One Year of Blogging

I did it! I did one full year of blogging! Phew, that was a crazy ride. It was exciting, sometimes exhausting and stressful, and other times rewarding and comforting. First off, thank you to everyone who has supported, read, commented, and liked my content this year, it has truly inspired me and kept me going even when I was nervous to do so.  47 posts, 60,000 words, 2,000 views, 800 visitors later and I am so proud of my accomplishment and so grateful for this experience. I have learned a lot in this journey, about writing and blogging to vulnerability and transparency. Let’s chat a little more about my blogging journey, blogging challenges, and blogging tips for those of you who may want to try to write a blog this next year!

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My Blogging Journey

Last year I decided I wanted to start a blog and wrote it down as one of my new years goals. I had always wanted to start one, so why not now? When January 1st hit, I had no idea what “starting a blog” meant and no idea where to start. I spent January googling “how to start a blog” and learning what I needed to start a blog. By February I had decided that WordPress would be my avenue. I spent the month of February building out my home page, coming up with a name, mission statement, and logo, and learning how to work the site better. I spent probably the smallest amount of money to get a decent URL name. Then I worked on my first post. My first post was about running because I wanted it to be easy (I am a runner and used to be a personal trainer) and nothing controversial or personal. I didn’t even share my first post with any friends or loved ones because I was so nervous about putting my content out there! Other than teachers, I have never let anyone read my writing, so to share my writing with friends/family and strangers was getting scarier. Not only was this scary to show my vulnerability but also scary to have posts public on the internet, have pictures of me and my personal life out there for others to judge and critique. Or worse, what if I make a mistake, or my opinions change and this information is now forever on the internet to be held against me! I kept thinking of Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly (see Teddy Roosevelt quote below for a pick me up). I knew I had to Dare Greatly and not let these fears control me. In order to push past my fears, I decided I needed to make specific goals for myself. I decided I would post one blog post a week until the end of the year! And I did it! Some weeks were hard, struggling to find content, and others were super easy and fun. Some posts were long and personal, others were fun filled with infographics and imagery. I played with different tools in WordPress and Canva (to make cool images for free) as well as explored different writing styles. I started to market more and more to my friends and family. By June I ended up creating an Instagram solely for my blog, a huge step for me seeing that I was now publicly marketing my content! Now that I have met my goal of one post a week for one year, I am thinking of my next steps. Honestly, I kind of like blogging!

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Teddy Roosevelt (Quoted in Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly)

Why Did you Want to Start a Blog?

I started a blog quite honestly because I just wanted to! I actually wanted to start one for years, but didn’t think I would be any good plus there were so many great bloggers out there already. Then I started seeing friends and family just going after their dreams, starting Etsy shops, learning new things and creating businesses, I thought, why not start a blog!? I didn’t put any pressure on myself to be the best or to come up with great content, but just to try. My original goals were to 1.) See if I like writing (because I have always thought about writing a book), 2.) Challenge myself to become a better writer through the process, 3.) Learn, research and write on topics I have always wanted to learn more about (maybe it would lead me to ideas for a future PhD), and 4.) Be able to write out some of my favorite travel vacations, memories and books, so that I can look back on it one day.

What Were Some of Your Blogging Struggles and Challenges?

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The hardest thing is getting started. It’s challenging to decide on a platform. learn it better, start writing content and then market it. It can feel very overwhelming at first. There are tips on the internet about how often you should write and when and what about, I say forget all the rules and do you! I really enjoyed using WordPress, its fairly user friendly and there are plenty of ways to get started using it for free. Check out this WordPress Quick Start Blogging Webinar.

Content. I was so nervous about coming up with content each week to make my goal. Surprisingly, I always had about four to five drafts in my queue waiting to be posted. Some weeks I would bust out two drafts of a blog, then I would take a couple weeks off and let the inspiration hit again. I think if I did anymore than one time a week, I would have gotten burned out and quit. In addition, choosing to be a lifestyle blogger allowed me the freedom to write about practically anything from fitness to travel to career and life advice. If you pick a niche too soon, you will probably get bored. Start your writing broad, eventually you can refine your niche if you find a specific topic you want to write more about.

Not wanting to blog. In the beginning, I had my ups and downs about blogging, some weeks were fun, others I regretted ever making this goal for myself. However I pushed myself. “Only five months away” I would say. And then I would think “Okay, since I only have five months to write I need to make sure I write about things I’ve always wanted to write about!”. I made sure to write about things I am passionate about, from women’s issue to career advice and a healthy lifestyle. Blogging gave me a voice on these topics. I am so glad I set a long enough goal for myself to get through the hump of blogging. It wasn’t until probably 4 months of writing, that I actually looked forward to waking up and writing about whatever came to mind!

Low Views/Visitor Count – In the beginning I wanted nobody to see my content, but after a couple posts, I would find myself staring at the stats and getting disappointed that I only had two views for the whole day. Here’s the thing, your view count is going to SUCK. You might get a jump in the beginning because your friends/family are curious about what you are posting. And then… low tide. It can be discouraging to spend hours writing content to have practically no one read it. The first reality hit is that views and visitors will come with time, especially as you get your writing style, content design and marketing aced. After one year, I average about 180 views per month (I think you need to be in the thousands to actually make money by the way). I have a full time job and only blog on the side, but if you are looking to make a business out of it, you will want to invest in your marketing and monetizing strategies. Great content can only be seen with great marketing (which I discovered I kind of hate marketing).

What are The Pros of Starting a Blog?

Overall, blogging is a really cathartic and fun experience. You will learn a lot about yourself through the process as well as about all the tools you use. Your blog can be anything you want it to be, from journaling your grief, to writing travel guides, to sharing your favorite products. Your thoughts and experiences are unique, so if you want to start a blog, get to writing!

Recalling my Travels and Memories – I loved being able to blog about my memories like my Elopement and my trips to Peru and Canada. I know I will always be able to look back on these blogs and be grateful for these experiences. I also get to share these trip itineraries with friends who are planning the same!

Writing Book Reviews allowed Me to Retain Better – I love reading, and I learn so much when I do. However, I find myself forgetting why I loved a book so much a year later. Blogging about books like Think Again and The Moment of Lift allowed me to better retain and refine my understanding of the reading and apply it! I will always be able to look back at my favorite quotes and reminders now.

Allowed me to Process Topics – Blogging became an outlet to process topics I have always wanted to and needed to explore. I dove into Imposter Syndrome, COVID Grief, and Toxic Work Environments to name a few. I shared my stories but also did a lot of research to better understand the topics and took it as a responsibility to share my learnings with you. This was such a joy.

Gave Me an Outlet to Share my Fitness Knowledge – I use to be a personal trainer and I always get lots of questions about workouts and fitness. Now I can share my Triathlon Training Guides, Stretching Routines, and Post Workout Hacks with all of you and you can refer to it whenever!

Are You Going to Continue Blogging?

Absolutely, however I am still trying to figure out if I will continue to do one post a week or maybe have an irregular cadence when the inspiration hits. I definitely need to take more webinars and figure out how to market my content better. I also need to figure out if I am going to write a book, and if so, on what, because that’s the content I want to start building more of. I would love to build an audience through my blog for a future book!

What Would You Say to People Who Want to Start a Blog?

I say just do it! Who cares if someone else is writing exactly what you want to write about? Follow your heart and you may be surprised where it leads you. You may also discover you hate blogging, so don’t spend your life “what if”- ing, because I did that for way too long! Also, you may not know what you want to write about yet, that’s okay, just get started on the first thing that comes to mind or pick a popular topic and give it your own spin. The second thing I would say is to set a challenging and specific goal for yourself. Don’t just say “I will start a blog”, instead say “I will start a blog in WordPress, and I will post one time a week for the rest of the year!”. Tell people about your goal and make them hold you to it. I think posting one time a week is a good start that’s not too intimidating but will also challenge you to push content out. Forget about making goals to attain a specific visitor or view count, that will come eventually, just get started and enjoy the journey.

What other questions do you have about starting a blog? Drop a comment below and I will be sure to respond =)

Finally, thank you again to all my viewers for one awesome year of self discovery and learning. I promise to continue to deliver content that is worth both our time in the coming year 😉 Happy New Year and Happy Blogging!

What content should I write about next? Drop a comment or message me!

&thenShe is here to help women take ownership of their health, career and lives.

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