7 Facts I Have Learned in My First Year Blogging

I have learned so much in my first year blogging. Today, I’ll be going over some the good, bad and ugly that I have come across in this first year here!

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Tomorrow, it will be my first year blogging.

I’m not sure if it has passed quickly or slowly, but let me tell you, this year has been a trip. I have made 77 posts (including this one) taken too many pictures to count and met some amazing people along the way.

There is still so much more for me to learn, but I want to tell you 7 facts I have learned from my first year blogging!

And if you came for regular content, this wouldn’t be it. Might I suggest getting prepped up for Thanksgiving hosting, or a delicious recipe? Or maybe you didn’t catch last week’s post (which, the video is still in the works!)? All of them are great reads!

And throughout the post, I will be mentioning and cross-referencing the post I made last year on all the things I learned while I was just starting out. It was a very fun to read through an old post that I actually still agree with very much! Feel free to read it before or after this post. 🙂 

With that being said, let’s jump into this!

Having a blog will teach you patience.

A lot of things do not happen automatically in blogging. First, there is the build-up of posts. Every blogger wants a host of posts (yes, I rhymed purposefully!) right out of the gate. We want to keep our readers entertained and not to the point where there is nothing left to read on the blog.

But good posts take time. And when it takes time, it takes patience! 

There is the technical side of things, like your SEO (search engine optimization), which is a sort of trust or “cred” you build up with search engines to get you on the first page of searches. When I first started my blog, I didn’t know you had to let a search engine crawl your site before it was a possibility of it even showing up on a search engine! When I did let Google on my site, it took MONTHS before I was on the first page. Now look at me!

What I Have Learned in My First Year Blogging | Food Drinks Life

And can I add that NO ONE had any idea why I was so excited when I finally saw myself on the first page of Google? No one knew how long it took for this to happen. Granted, I didn’t even know this was a thing before I started blogging, so I don’t blame anyone. 

But seriously, the place you learn the most patience is with yourself. I have learned that my brain runs faster than my hands do. I wake up with all these aspirations for the day. But as you get through the day, you realize only so many of those things will get accomplished. This is especially true with a one (wo)man band like me. I can’t punish myself for not checking every box off my list.

And from last year, I have made some amazing progress, I think.

You will (probably) put literal blood, sweat, and tears into your blog.

I know I have.

I remember I was testing the recipe for Za’atar grilled chicken on a whole chicken. Since I was grilling the whole bird, I decided to spatchcock it, or cut the backbone out so that the chicken laid flat. I was still new to this preparation tactic, this being my second bird I had prepped this way. There was one bone that would not break with my kitchen shears, so I did the next illogical thing: break it with my hands.

You can see where this took me.

I broke it between my thumb, index, and middle finger. When I snapped the bone, it became jagged and cut my thumb from the knuckle to the tip.

Yeah, that one took a bit to heal.

I’m pretty sure the sweat part is pretty obvious, but what about the tears?

I mean yeah, the blog project has made me cry before. Not something I like to admit, but they were mostly tears of frustration. Frustrated that my food wasn’t picture perfect, frustrated about a lack of inspiration, frustrated I wasn’t where I wanted to be.

But you know what?

When that happens, I think of a solution. What can I do differently? Is it more patience for myself? Maybe starting earlier? Or possibly trying new foods? Without a solution, it’s just a self-pity party. And I can’t afford to waste time with pity parties. I get up, take a deep breath, and get back to work.

Hey, if I’m going to hit bumps in the road, I want to at least learn from them!

What I Have Learned in My First Year Blogging | Food Drinks Life
Who are you really helping? Photo from Pixabay

I preached that you’re not supposed to compare yourself to others– but I did it anyway.

Oh, dear… this is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. In blogging, and in life. I think what really got under my skin was when there would be younger blogs doing so much better than me.

Like, what are they doing that I’m not? Why do they have brand deals, thousands of followers, and ridiculously good content… all in the first month of their existence?? Why can’t I get this done in my first year blogging??

And it’s also about one of the stupidest actions you can do.

Comparing my blogs to others left me frustrated, angry, and jaded. How come I don’t have their success? And it led me to the worst question I could ask while comparing myself to others: what am I doing so wrong? I must be doing this all wrong.

When you look at another person’s blog or anything, for that matter, you’re seeing everything topically. There’s no telling what kind of classes they took, how much money they invested, how many sleepless nights they’ve had, or truly how much work they have put into their project. Unless they explicitly tell you, of course.

Even if it did, what would it do for you?

I’ve had to teach myself how to keep my focus on me, but not in a selfish way. I mean, instead of comparing myself to other bloggers, what can I learn from them? There are plenty of gems (pardon the pun) to be pulled from all sorts of blogs. I just have to find them!

I have learned to tune out the “blog for blogging” blogs, and have picked a couple that I listen to.

Along with not comparing myself to other blogs, I had to let go of all these voices that seemed to contradict each other. Every method ever to do various blogging tasks has been proposed, and all of them are supposed to lead to success.

Okay, so maybe this is my bias, but is it the blogs for blogging that are always toting about how much money they made this month, this quarter, this year? I mean, not every blog for blogging is like that. But the ones that do say their earnings seem to be those trying to get others to blog. 

This lead me to comparing myself to others, then the whole cycle from the above point starts all over again. What a waste of time it was!

In its place, I have chosen a few blog for blogging bloggers (have I said “blog” enough times??) that I listen to. One of them, and I have mentioned her before, is Kallie of Caffeinate and Conquer. She is another local Connecticut blogger, like me! And although she is not a food blogger, I take what she has to say seriously. For example, she wrote about localizing your blog, and how it can help grow a local following.

By taking her advice, I got to meet her at a Connecticut blogger brunch and meet so many other lovely bloggers and photographers from Connecticut!

Update: a portion of this post has been removed.

Another blogger I like to follow Sam from Ahead of Thyme. She actually had a post on how to start a food blog that helped a lot when I started my blog! This was because it wasn’t just like every other “start a blog” post. There were certain pointers for starting a food blog that I wasn’t going to get from anywhere else.

Find your blog for blogging bloggers. Listening to them all can get very overwhelming, even for the most seasoned of bloggers.

What I Have Learned in My First Year Blogging | Food Drinks Life
Photo from Pixabay

Finding blogger buddies is also important!

Okay, this one was a little harder. I found my blogger buddy by some chance. One of the Facebook blogging groups I was a part of, that had over 70,000 people might I add, was about to shut down (yes, you read that right!). Someone posted, “hey, post your location and maybe you might find a blogger in your area.”

And out of over 70k people, we were the only two in Connecticut. To this day, we still bounce ideas, new programs, and plugins off of each other. We even got to meet up for coffee and talk about blogs!

You didn’t think I was going to leave you hanging on who it was, did you?!

Meet my blogger buddy Jay, of Jay Cool Tips. He’s a food and fitness blogger from Connecticut, so be sure to visit his site and tell him I sent you!

While having a blogger buddy, not only have I learned more than I knew before, but they understand your blogger jargon and problems. It has been very helpful and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What I Have Learned in My First Year Blogging | Food Drinks Life
Photo from Pixabay

Blogging is so much more than writing.

I know I have already made this point in my rookie blogger post, but I have learned this more as my first year blogging has gone on. Sure, you have what I said before: picture taking, marketing, tech know-how… But once you have immersed yourself in it, you learn so much more. The whole SEO example goes under this.

In fact, I think I spend more time doing everything else other than writing. Most of my time is taken up by recipe development, which I don’t mind. But website technical tasks, such as learning FTP and parts of cPanel to back up my website, are things I am still learning. Don’t make me go into it. All you need to know is “blah, blah, technical stuff.”

Marketing also takes up a lot of time, but Tailwind helps with Pinterest! Tailwind automatically posts your pins to different boards at the times you want it to, so you don’t have to. 🙂 If you use my link, you’ll get $15 off your purchase!

Business aside, people seem to get into blogging so that they can write more. But even if you do only write on your blog, blog writing is different from any other style that I have tackled. Unteaching all of your paper skills from high school and college, blog writing is less formal. You use small sentences, small paragraphs, larger font size, and informal jargon. I want to have a conversation with you guys, and conversations don’t happen in research papers.

A half-hearted apology to all my teachers and professors I had to write papers for. 😀

Blogging teaches you about yourself.

Most of all, blogging becomes a reflection of yourself. I have learned so much about myself in my first year blogging, that I wouldn’t be able to put it all in a single post. I now know new limits, breaking points, and my threshold for pressure. Being a self-starter has always been something I was good at, and it has come in handy with the blog project. But learning new things, mentally, physically, and emotionally, has been imperative for me in the blogosphere.

I’ve also learned not to sweat the little things as much. If a post is a little late because life got in the way that week, I can’t beat myself up over it. If I forgot to do a small task, just get it done as soon as you can. I take my blog seriously, but not to the point to where it’s worth hurting myself over.

And also, allowing change to your blog is something you have to do. It’s a part of learning!

Blogging isn’t any sort of get rich quick scheme; it takes time and effort. How do you handle commitment? Can you handle a long-term project? If you can’t, blogging is probably not for you.

How do you feel about learning? How many hats can you wear, so to speak? Can you take criticism, both in person and online? These are all skills that are imperative to blogging.

If you can’t do it, then don’t get into blogging. If you can, however, having a blog is one of the most rewarding projects, I believe, that a person can have.

And a huge thank you to my family, friends, and followers. You help inspire me to become a better blogger, cook, and person. Thank you, everyone. I mean it from the bottom of my heart. 🙂

So what do you think about blogging? If you are a blogger, how long have you been blogging and what have you learned from it? Let me know in the comments down below!

Cheers dears!

Gem

Founder and Writer for Food Drinks Life. Drop a line, say hi!

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