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Although Floralesque launched in May 2015, I don’t really consider it starting until December 2015. That was when I decided to do the #Blogmas Challenge and write every day. That was a steep learning curve but one that I would not change – and since then I have increased my posts and thoroughly enjoyed the writing experience.
But with consistency comes a lot of hard work. And in 2016, I realised just how much work goes into writing articles 4-6 times a week. I always try and be consistent in the number of posts that go live in a week but do not (I hope!) compromise quality over quantity. After I completed Blogmas in 2015, I posted a list of things that ‘I learned from doing Blogmas‘, and many of those points still ring through. However, after a full year of blogging – I have learned so much more and wanted to share them today with you.
I write because I enjoy it
This I think was a massive realisation this year. It may sound like an obvious one – but mid-year I started to lose focus and started comparing my blog to others and how well everyone else is doing. It didn’t take me long to realise that when I started comparing myself to others blogging became a whole lot less fun and more chore-like. I now genuinely love creating content and hopefully that comes through in my writing. If you love what you do, it’s fun to do and doesn’t feel like work. I also realised that yes I use Yoast for SEO, but if the change to a post to improve SEO will ruin the flow of a post – I will choose flow over ranking. And to me that is important.
Being consistent means planning.
I do now have an editorial calendar and I try and plan 2-3 weeks in advance. Not every single post, but overall topics or events that I want to cover. I find that having this guide helps me stay more focused and I am hoping to bring better content in 2017, and I think that this will be key. I use a free downloadable editable Word Calendar (link) and find it great. I have downloaded each month for this year and then fill in as I think of ideas or for upcoming holidays.
Also, on a slight side note, what I find consistent and what you find consistent to what another blogger may find consistent will all be different. Some like me think of it as in blog 4-6 times a week. To others, it is once a week. To others twice a month. And to others once a month. And you know what – all of that is perfectly okay and you need to do what is right for you.
Consistent Blogging takes Discipline
It is all well and good to create an editorial calendar, but if you don’t stick to it, then you are wasting your time. It does take you time to write and create content and you cannot underestimate this. And when you create content you then need to promote it. If I am honest this is what I enjoy least about the blogging experience as I love to write but less to self-promote. Sometimes it can feel a little hollow but it is an integral part of the blogosphere these days. Back in the day when I first blogged five or six years ago – it was all about the content creation and less about the promotion #SimplierTimes
Do not obsess over numbers
Of course, this depends on why you are blogging – as I mentioned for me it is due to a love of writing. But for others who perhaps are entering the Blogosphere to make money then, the numbers become more important. I do want to grow my blog and the people who read it but I do not want to lose focus on what is important to me. And that is promoting Irish Design and nurturing my corner of the internet to house odes to all that I enjoy.
BUT… Measure Feckin’ Everything
Ciamhie from Insight PR (Follow her on Twitter Here!) said this at an event earlier this year and since then I have installed Google Analytics and once a week take a look at my numbers and stats. I do not obsess (it is so easy too!), but I do know the average number of visitors a day and which days and times gain more traction. If you want to grow then this is important. However, I will add that engagement is often measured by others just as highly as number fo followers.
Ask if you don’t know
Darragh from the Irish Bloggers Group on Facebook really showed me the importance of asking for help when you need it and also how important it is to help when you can. It is give and take and the group that he has curated is one of the most supportive that I have seen on Facebook. I am not afraid to ask my daft questions and I know that someone will help.
Revisit old posts
As you write more your writing style improves. The old saying is true – practise makes perfect (well better anyway!) Therefore, if you go back over a few older posts each week then you can improve them and maybe you have more links that you can add in from new posts etc. Also…since I installed Grammarly… it was needed. I have also heard that Google likes when you revisit old posts and update them so that is also a win 🙂
The year has certainly brought some amazing highs with blogging and some lows too but overall it is a fun experience. I am still in the early days of this blog but so far enjoying the journey. Please let me know if there are things that you would like to see more of and also what you might want to see less of 🙂