Blogging Survival Tips | Life Love and Hiccups: Blogging Survival Tips

Monday, 13 October 2014

Blogging Survival Tips

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I remember reading somewhere that over 80% of bloggers shut down their blog within the first year. 

80% Holy shitballs that is a lot!

As a blogger myself I find that statistic so sad, depressing even.

OK so I am sure there is a chunk of that percentage who just decided they didn't really have the time, or that blogging wasn't for them. But on the flip side, I'm sure that there are a whole load of people who started because they had something to say and for some reason, or another, they felt they weren't being heard or became disheartened somewhere along the way.

Now, I am by no means a blogging expert. Let's get that clear right from the beginning, in case you came here looking for some expert advice. But, that being said, my accidental blog has just turned three and I am still here spewing my words out to the world six days a week, so that means that I have somehow fluffed my way through that period where many seem to chuck it in.

Everyday I come across comments on blogs from other bloggers who confess to struggling with keeping up with the blogging world or navigating the various challenges they face. I am often asked a lot of questions about these things myself and so I have whacked together a bit of a list that I hope might bring a little relief to some of the blogging worries some of us share, or perhaps even shed a little light on how to plough through when you feel like the air has gone out a little from your blogmobile.

SET A RHYTHM

Blog regularly. Yep, blogging just like anything else becomes habit forming and if you can try to be a little disciplined in the way that you blog, it could help to speed that habit formation up for you.

Set yourself a goal of how many times a week you can realistically blog without letting another area of your life suffer, and then stick to it.

It can be 1 day a week, every second day or even every day if you have the time. Just make sure you don't over commit yourself because we all know overcommitting can steal the joy from anything in life and blogging at the end of the day (even blogging as a business) is supposed to be fun.

If you have to stop for a while, for whatever the reason may be, don't stress it. Just pick back up where you left off... when you are ready.


FIND YOUR TRIBE

Just like in your every day life, the sense of belonging is important to your well being. There is nothing quite like the friendship and camaraderie that blogging can bring and so unless you are a dedicated loner (which is also totally OK you know) finding your tribe should be high on your to do list. 

So how do you find your tribe? 

Read blogs, comment on blogs and reach out to other bloggers.

Take the time to get to know a blogger whose blog genuinely interests you, as chances are that is someone you would be friends with if you were to meet up in real life. The beauty of online networking or tribe hunting, for even the most shy of us, is that it is easier to reach out from the safety of your computer until you feel confident enough to perhaps meet up with some of your online friends in real life.



ON COMMENTING

Take the time to comment genuinely on blogs you enjoy and try to build in some time to reply to those who have commented on yours. Just as a conversation face to face needs to be a two way thing to flow, so do the conversations you have in the online world.

On that note, I often hear from bloggers about how guilty they feel that they don't have enough time to comment...

I hear you, Man, I have been there and wracked myself with guilt over this one. I used to bust my guts every night hovering over my computer trying to comment on as many blogs as possible because I felt guilty or like I was abandoning a friend if I didn't comment.

Reading blogs and commenting shouldn't be a chore nor should it be yet another thing to feel guilty about or steal you away from your family.

What worked for me was setting aside some allocated time during the week to sit down with a cuppa or cocktail, put my feet up and really enjoy visiting and commenting on blogs. Because I have committed the time where I know I wont be distracted or should be doing something else, I can sit there and enjoy my blog reading without a hint of guilt.

Here's a reality check - it is NOT possible to comment every day on every blog you follow, unless of course you become a professional commenter like those SPAM bots... which by the way if you are, you need to get a little more original with the automated comments. 

I do 30 minute blocks twice a day. Call it my smoko break, whatever. It just means that during this time I catch up on my bloggy goss, and visit as many of the blogs that I love to read in the time that I have.


BLOG CONTENT

Write about the things you genuinely love, whatever they may be.

It is as simple as that, and your passion will translate through your words.

As for finding your niche, well I personally hate those blog forms that ask you for your niche. I spent two freaking years stressing about that damn answer - what is my niche? Finally I accepted that I don't really have one, because I literally write abut what tickles my fancy, which is a lot of things... I'm a very ticklish person.

Not narrowing yourself down religiously to a single niche means a couple of things; you are less likely to run out of content, you will attract a wider audience and you won't get bored if your tastes or interests change.

Remember not everyone is going to fall in love with your blog and that is OK too. The reality is not everyone likes vodka cocktails and nor do they need to. Your blog's personality will generally attract like minded people, and they are the ones you want to visit you anyway.


SOCIAL MEDIA

OK so this one is a mind field. There are so many ways to communicate with the blogging community and your readers, how can you possibly keep up with them all?

You don't. Simple really.

You just pick a couple that you enjoy and stick with them. 

I suck at Twitter, there is no doubt about it. I have far too much to say to condense it into such a small character count, and so Facebook is typically where I like to hang out and chat, and instagram occasionally too.

I feed my posts to Twitter and pop on there every now and then, but I realised I just couldn't keep up with all the chatter on all of them and I was getting myself all stressed out. So I tend to stick with where I feel most comfortable. Just pick the platforms that make you feel most at home too.


GETTING YOUR BLOG OUT THERE

OK so there is nothing more disheartening than pouring your heart into a blog post and then.... *crickets* .... there is no response.

You HAVE to get your blog out there somehow and there is a number of ways to do this.

Comment on other blogs and communicate with others on your chosen platform. I often click through to someone who has left a comment on another blog because I liked what they said or something about them sparked my interest. 

If you are on Facebook, syndicate your blog so that it automatically feeds and posts to your page's wall via something like Networked Blogs. Do this twice a day - once via an automatic feed, say in the morning and then manually share your blog post on your wall again at night.

Tweet your post to twitter, but just make sure you include a link.

Share a photo from your blog post on Instagram and tell your instagram friends "Today on the blog... " yada yada yada

Pin your posts to a board on Pinterest so other like minded people can see it and click over.

Set yourself up with a Google Plus account and share every blog post on your feed. 

Most importantly make sure you give others a way to share you to their readers if there is something on your blog that they enjoyed.


PAY IT FORWARD

I was so blessed with some incredible support when I started blogging and I will never ever forget that. I was very lucky to have some established bloggers lend their support to me and so I am a firm believer in paying that forward. 

Share other bloggers blog posts, give them a shout out.  Just share the bloggy love people.

I truly believe that just like life itself - you get back what you send out, so this is one area you do not want to be stingy with.

As you perhaps become more established, consider being a mentor to some newer bloggers, giving them advice or tips you have picked up and just genuinely show them your support by being there for them however they need you to be and sharing them with your own community. 

Don't be afraid of the bigger bloggers as they were once one of us too.

Most of the big blogs I have reached out to for advice over the past few years have been incredibly awesome, and chuffed to be asked. OK so there will always be some who are a bit full of themselves, just like there are people like that in your every day life too. But they are a minority and if that is the feeling they give you, just move on, they aren't worthy of your worry.


DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF

Yes I know, such a cliche and often easier said then done. But dammit, this one is so true! I don't know how many times I have felt genuinely deflated after I read a blog because; their words are more powerful than mine, their photos are more professional, their ideas more creative, their number of comments so much higher etc etc.

Pretty quickly I learned not to compare myself as all it does is makes me feel like shit.

I am who I am, and I have my own strengths. Besides, I figure it is far better to be inspired by someone else and learn from them, than to compare yourself to them and allow feelings of insecurity or inferiority to creep in.

Most of all - just have fun. Blogging should make you feel good, give you a voice to connect with other like minded people, and be something you get enjoyment out of doing.


I have a whole load of other questions I am frequently asked about building a blog, monetisation, ethics and family privacy etc... but I don't want to come across as a some kind of wanker and go through all of them unless it is something that you guys genuinely want me to talk about on this blog. Because honestly I am FAR from knowing it all - I am still learning loads myself, every single day.

If you have any questions though or you do want me to try and talk about some of those other parts of blogging, let me know in the comments and if majority rules, I am happy to give it a go.


OK you guys - What other advice could you also offer newer bloggers on some of the subjects I've covered above?
What has worked for you and how did you survive the first year of blogging?
To our newer bloggy friends, is there anything that leaves you stumped or that you worry about or wonder about?

I would love everyone to help each other out in the comments if there is a question asked that you can contribute and answer to.

Anyway, happy days people, I am off to do a little cooking with my Dad. Happy Monday to you!