Can I just begin by saying: wow! Never in a million years did I think that I would keep my blog going for an entire year! It might seem weird to you but I’m a person who is very dedicated to things for weeks or months and then don’t touch it for a long period of time. Also the fact that one of the first things you hear about blogging is that it can be difficult to come up with new content. Somehow I never felt that. As I am writing this I have 80 drafts waiting to be finished. Yes, you heard me, 80! Basically, I have blog post ideas for the next 2-3 years. Since it’s my first blogaversary I wasn’t entirely sure what to include in this blog post and so I have decided to write a bit about what I’ve learned in the past 365 days, and at the end include my 3rd blogging award that I got nominated for a month or so ago. The blog post is a big lengthy so let’s just dive right in.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED
I think it’s easier to ask what I haven’t learned. I never had a blog before so it’s been one hell of a ride but I don’t regret taking it at my own pace and letting my curiosity be my guide. Learning the nooks and crannies of WordPress, how to design my own headers, pins for Pinterest etc. has been huge in that I had no idea what I was doing and asked no-one for help, but again, I enjoy doing that. I don’t mind that it’s taking longer. Because I very consciously have kept my blog on a free domain I also have a lot more freedom.
It took me 6 months to even become a member of a Facebook group for bloggers, something that many newcomers do right away, but as it turned out having this journey of learning on my own have had its perks. Granted, my traffic wasn’t great before I joined, but on the other hand I haven’t been able to find a single free course on Pinterest, Instagram etc. from the bloggers in the groups that offered information that I didn’t already know. Most, if not all, information exist out there (for free) and somehow I have managed to absorb most of it. At least enough that it has taken me a while to find a source that could actually provide me with new information. Also, a lot of the general blogging advice me fellow Facebook group bloggers offer don’t even apply to me because I don’t make money off of my blog.
Being around professional – or want to be professional – bloggers also showed me how living in a country with strong unions and good workers rights can change how you see working for someone else. Most bloggers talk about “how to quit your 9-5 job” – which in my case, being Danish and all, would actually be a “8-4 job” – and getting a “6-figure income” (as if the amount of money you have correlate to the amount of happinness in your life) , and here I am loving my job and baffled by the fact that you could hate it so much that you’d rather spend even more time trying to make it as a blogger (which, btw, isn’t easy!) I don’t know if it’s the fact that I love what I do, but also love coming home and rewind after a rewarding day, have 6 weeks vacation a year and a decent pay while living in a amazingly cheap flat. It can’t be a coincidence that most bloggers who write blog posts on that subject are from the US. What I’m trying to say is that I sometimes feel different to my fellow bloggers because I prefer having blogging as a hobby and not as a job, and mostly because I know that money isn’t everything. That, perhaps, is a fundamental difference between Denmark and the US.
Social media! The thing we all love to hate, or just love… Or hate. Take your pick. The truth is that every platform is like learning a new language from scratch. It’s not just making a pin on Pinterest, or uploading a picture to Instagram. Each is their own little world of keyword research, strategy of phrasing and everything in between. Every detail matters, and I don’t even have to do all of the work that money making bloggers have to do. They do keyword research for their blog posts as well which I never did because how I rank on Google is so utterly unimportant to me. I’m free to do whatever the fuck I want.
This is probably going to sounds really strange, but I learned what my blog is about. I want to say that the epiphany came only a few months in but I would be lying. As I recall I realised what my blog was about – specifically – around September. I knew which subjects I wanted to include, and others – like my blogging tips and tricks – came as a natural result of me learning a shit ton of things on a regularly basis (and because a lot of bloggers aren’t as transparent as they should be!) So what was my epiphany? What is my blog actually about? It’s about being open, honest, transparent and, most importantly, curious. Those are my 4 keywords. Nothing is taboo on my blog which, if you’ve followed me for a while, may have noticed. I’ve uttered my opinion on abortion and Christianity, and I have posts coming up where I talk about sex and feminism. Taboo is not a word that belongs on my blog and I would like to think that I’ve created a safe space for people to read, learn and discuss. This is who I am. That and a sprinkle of magic.
The last thing I want to touch on is the fact that most people have been very welcoming and supportive in the blogging community, especially on Twitter. Twitter can be an ambivalent platform but for the most part the people I’ve met on there have been more sweet and kind than anywhere else and for that I want to say thank you.
THE BLOGGERS RECOGNITION AWARD
As mentioned I’ve decided to include the Bloggers Recognition Award in the blog post. This is my 3rd award in a very short time and although I got it some time ago it just felt right to do it now. The Bloggers Recognition Award is an award handed out by bloggers to bloggers to recognize the hard work, effort, and dedication they are putting into their blog. It was created as a symbol of approval and motivation, and to let readers know more about other bloggers who deserved to be followed. I cannot thank Ray @ The Ray Journey enough for the nomination. It means a lot to me. Truly!
- Write a post displaying your award.
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
- Give a brief story of how your blog started.
- Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
- Nominate 10-15 bloggers who you believe deserve to be recognized.
- Let the nominees know they have been nominated.
A BLOG IS BORN
I pretty much said it back in Februrary when I did a blog post on exactly why I started my blog (you can read it here). I don’t know how other bloggers feel, but going back and reading my “old” blog posts – well, I’ve only been blogging for a year so how old can they really be, right? – is interesting. Sometimes I get the feeling that someone else wrote them, you know? Not because I don’t recognise my voice or disagree on the content it’s just… I don’t know. It can be sort of an out of body experience. If you don’t want to go back and read my blog post on the subject I’ll do a quick summery for you: I pretty much got obsessed with a question related to Barty Crouch Jr. from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and once I answered my question I had a biproduct of an actual essay. Well-researced and everything. Since I wanted it to be published, and I secretly always wanted a blog, I decided to go for it. That’s basically it.
ADVICE NO. 1
It’s going to sound so cliché and corny but be yourself! No-one is better at being you than you. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel because some people respond more to you that they will to anyone else. We all have a preferred writing style of the blogs that we follow, and some people just explain things better than anyone else. All people are different and as long as you’re authentic and honest about who you are people who fit your writing style and way to say things will love what you do and read your blog. Some people just resonate more with us than others even though they’re writing about the exact same thing. That’s a fact. Let your personality shine through your work and be proud of who you are.
ADVICE NO. 2
Self-promoting is key! When you’re a small blogger no-one will see your amazing content unless you make them see it. That said, it’s about balance as well. People don’t like to get spammed with your blog posts 24/7. Facebook groups are a really good way to get people to share and comment on your work, and I recommend having a Pinterst business account as well (you can learn how to claim your free wordpress site on Pinterest here). It’s free, and the amazing thing about Pinterest is that it is a search engine like Google. Twitter and Facebook are amazing but the lifespan is short. Youtube is the same, works as a search engine, but starting a YouTube channel requires a lot more work than a Pinterest account does. If you’re new starting off with Facebook groups and a Pinterest account is a smart first step. You can always expand later if you so desire. Trust me; learning how Pinterest works will keep you busy for a while but it’s a good investment of your time.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE
Here’s the thing: everyone I want to nominate have already received the award! Since I don’t want my nomination to be arbitrary I hereby dedicate my award to every single hard-working and dedicated blogger out there who makes a difference in the lives of their audience. This one is for you!
That is it. I don’t want to add much more to this already lengthy blog post other than a big fat THANK YOU! Thank you to my followers and to everyone who take their time to read and comment. I’ve enjoyed my first year of blogging and I love that I got to share it with you. I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days will bring and I hope you stick around.
Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments down below.