Thank you for joining me today as I celebrate my 10 year blogiversary!
Before attending the 2006 POC Conference, I had no interest in blogging. Then I heard one of the speakers say that blogging was fun, easy, and good for business, and that we should all go home and start a blog.She said that blogging was fun, easy, and good for business. Was she right?Click To Tweet
I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try, and soon afterwards From the Desk of Janet Barclay was launched.
I had no plan, no strategy, no goals, and no idea what I was doing, but I was immediately hooked. And after writing hundreds of blog posts over the past ten years, I’ve learned a quite a bit along the way.
Here are my top five pieces of blogging advice, based on my 10 years of experience.
1. You need a clear focus.
When I started my first blog, as a professional organizer / virtual assistant, I wrote about organizing strategies, technology, working from home, the organizing industry, and anything else that crossed my mind. It wasn’t until I took a blogging course in 2009 that I understood the importance of having a focus. To achieve that, I had to start over from scratch, and that’s when I launched Your Organizing Business.
2. Your blog should live on your business website.
I’ve always had a website for my business, but From the Desk of Janet Barclay was a separate site, and so was Your Organizing Business initially. Because of that, people were reading my blog, but not visiting my business website. Some of my readers probably weren’t even aware that I had a business or what services I offered. I later merged Your Organizing Business with the Organized Assistant website, with great results, and eventually shut down From the Desk of Janet Barclay.
3. It takes work to build a list.
Building a list isn’t just about allowing readers to receive your blog posts by email. Most people are very cautious these days about getting on yet another mailing list, so you need to offer them something over and above the convenience of not having to check your blog for new content.
I was really slow out of the gate on this one and didn’t offer an opt-in gift until last year. And it took me nearly that long to clue in that I could make joining my list a requirement for participating in the Professional Organizers Blog Carnival.
4. Your work doesn’t end when you hit the Publish button.
Coming up with ideas, researching them, drafting and editing your post, and taking or finding great photos to go with it can add up to a lot of time, and it’s tempting to just move on until it’s time to write your next one. If you want your time and effort to pay off, (and I know you do!) you need to get the word out in as many ways as you can. That includes posting it on social media – not just once, and not just the week you publish it.
You also need to allow time for moderating and replying to comments, communicating with guest bloggers (if you choose to have any), keeping an eye out for broken links, and performing regular website maintenance.
5. The blogosphere is constantly evolving.
No matter how much thought and planning you put into your blog, you’ll need to make changes.
For example, when I started From the Desk of Janet Barclay in 2006, many of my posts had no images and some had tacky clipart, as shown in the above screenshot. Even when I used photos, they were quite small, since most people didn’t have fast internet connections. The fonts were pretty tiny too!
By the time I started Your Organizing Business in 2009, I was excited to put a “big” 400 pixel wide photo on each post. If you look back at those older posts now, those photos seem quite puny!
Now they are even larger, and many WordPress themes (including this one) automatically display the first picture in the post as a Featured Image. Because my photos were already embedded in my posts, I had to decide whether to display them twice, manually update each post to remove the extra image, or edit my theme files. I opted for the latter.
In summary, blogging has been more work than I anticipated, but it’s also been much more rewarding, both personally and professionally, than I ever imagined.
Answer one of the following questions in the Comments section:
If you’re an established blogger, what blogging advice would you give to someone who is just getting started?
If you’re planning to start a blog, what information do you need to help you move forward?
Photo © gvictoria / depositphotos