Rachel gave her thoughts on this very same topic when we hit the one-month mark and I’m going to give mine now that we’ve passed the two-month milestone. Despite having been blogging for twice as long, I don’t really think we now know twice as much, but we have learnt a few more things.
1.Organisation is (almost) everything
I am going repeat Rachel here – it pays to be organised; it makes the whole process easier and more fun. From the start we have had an editorial calendar and a process for sharing ideas and editing posts, but this still leaves plenty of room (for me!) to be putting finishing touches to posts at the last minute. I aim to have a post done and dusted more than a week before publication, which is not always easy when I take into account all of my non-blog commitments. Forward-planning extends to social media, too: we use Twuffer to schedule tweets, and the built-in scheduling feature on Facebook. When I nail the organisation side of things, the rest flows much more easily.
2. Pictures are a pain (for me)
And they’re so important – I know! I love a blog with good pictures and I’m not going to argue for one second that they don’t matter. I adore finding a great picture that perfectly supports a post, or finally getting the right shot after a lot of time messing around with composition, angles and lighting, but it’s definitely my least favourite part of the blogging process – especially because at this time of year there is no natural light during the hours of the day when I have time to take snaps. I am, by nature, more of a words person. Luckily, Rachel is good at taking pictures and helps me out, which means I am slowly improving my technique. My favourite pic so far is of me jumping for joy on a train platform on my 30th birthday.
3. Traffic is steadily growing – but it’s engagement I crave
Our traffic is growing pretty steadily, and that’s cause for celebration and something we hope to continue. But while our audience – including the number of new visitors – is definitely growing, I would love it if they spoke to us more by tweeting us or leaving a comment, either on Facebook or directly on the blog. I think I probably speak for all bloggers when I say I really dig direct feedback from people who’ve read our stuff. I love hearing what readers think about any aspect of Everyday30, and having conversations about our content. Now, I know that readers who leave comments are only ever a very small fraction of total traffic to any blog, so I am keeping things in perspective. Having said that, if you have any tips for increasing audience engagement then please… leave a comment below!
4. Writing is hard work – but it’s getting easier
I’ve already talked about how I’ve found the logistics of running a blog tough to fit around my full-time job and hobbies. But I’ve also found the act of writing itself hard work. Until we started the blog, I hadn’t written anything other than essays or work emails and reports for a long time. Trying to tap into my more creative side was so hard at first – I would regularly be paralysed by an opening sentence, amend headings ten times, and hit a block part-way through a piece. I also felt anxiety about airing my thoughts in public, especially because I had never tried anything like this before. I was petrified the first time I published a post (and it was just about coffee!) and nervous when the next few went live, and then petrified again the first time I posted something that felt very ‘personal’. This feeling of fear is definitely reducing and the writing process is gradually becoming easier as I find my voice.
Before I wind up, we’d just like to say a big thank you to everyone reading the blog – and especially to those of you who have left comments. Knowing we have readers who enjoy what we’re putting out there makes all the hard work worthwhile!
What blogging lessons have you learned so far – and what are we doing well or badly? Let us know!