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5 Lessons Learned in 5 Years of Blogging
It’s hard to believe that I have been blogging for five years now.
When I first started blogging, I was 21 years old and a college student. I had no idea how much my blogging business would grow over the next five years. At the time, I was just looking for a way to make some extra money online.
I’ve written more about my journey to becoming a full-time blogger and how blogging paid off my student loans but today I wanted to share some lessons I have learned in the past five years of being a blogger.
Since starting my first blog five years ago, I have gone on to start and sell many more profitable blogs. I’ve made multiple six figures from blogging in five years.
Blogging has allowed me to become an entrepreneur and run a business that I love, pay off all my student loan debt and invest aggressively at a young age, quit my corporate job to travel the world, and live in my dream apartment in New York City. And to think it all started with one little decision I made.
Here are five of the most important things I have learned in the past five years:
1. Start before you’re ready and build as you go.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to JUST GO FOR IT.
Don’t wait until the “right” time to start your blog, because that day will never come. Don’t try to make everything “perfect” before you launch, because you’re only wasting time and you need to learn and change as you go.
I spent about six months thinking about starting a blog before I actually did it.
When I finally started my blog, I still had no clue what I was doing in the beginning, but that was fine. I was able to get actual experience and tweak things and make changes and experiment as I went along. None of that could have been achieved if I had never even gotten to my starting point.
My blog design was horrible, most of my early blog posts were awful and I later either deleted them or made MAJOR updates to them, the first versions of my digital products were bad, and I even ended up changing my blog name after the first year… but I’m so glad I just went for it and launched before I was ready.
Because even in that first year that was filled with mistakes, I still made over $10,000 from blogging. And I learned SO much as I went along.
So one of my top takeaways is just to start your blog even if you don’t feel ready.
This also goes for things like starting a second blog or launching your first digital product… even if you don’t feel ready, you need to just go for it without delay.
2. Run your business in a way that feels right for YOU.
When you start blogging, you will feel overwhelmed by all the advice you hear. It might seem like there are a million things you “must” be doing.
But if you try to do EVERYTHING all at once, you’ll get burnt out.
One example of this is social media for your blog. When I first started, I thought I needed to have a presence on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Then I realized there was no way I could juggle all of that, so I decided to focus on Pinterest only, since it was the platform giving me the best returns. By cutting out the platforms I didn’t enjoy, I was able to master one platform instead.
I’ve also never liked doing video content. So you won’t find me making videos for Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. Instead, I’ve invested my energy into written content (blog posts, email newsletters, guest posts and interviews on other websites, ebooks) because that is what I’m better at and enjoy more.
Basically, I only do things that I want to do, and things that feel right for me. I don’t just follow the crowd and do something because everyone else it.
By focusing on the things I enjoy, that come more easily to me, and that feel in alignment with my goals, I’m able to grow my business in a sustainable way.
3. You don’t need to pay for expensive courses.
There are a lot of blogging products such as online courses, ebooks, and other training programs out there. I should know, I sell a blogging course myself.
But you DO NOT need a $997 online course to be successful at blogging. There is SO much information about blogging that you can learn for free on your own. An online course is not a magic bullet that will guarantee success, and some of the more expensive courses I’ve seen actually have less value than cheaper ones.
Also, at a certain point, taking courses can hold you back, especially if you sign up for too many and then don’t commit to actually implementing what you have learned on your own blog in order to get results from them.
When I started blogging, I did invest selectively in some courses, and a few of them REALLY helped me. I wrote about the best blogging courses that helped me become a full-time blogger if you are looking for some solid recommendations. But I would be VERY selective in which courses you actually take.
Blogging has such a low start-up cost and there is so much free information available online that you don’t need to drop thousands on courses.
4. Diversify your income and traffic.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned in five years of blogging is the importance of diversifying your income and traffic sources as a blogger.
For me personally, this has included starting multiple blogs in different niches.
In addition to Blogging Her Way, I run several other blogs at any given time, and I have started and sold a number of blogs in five years.
In March 2020, I had just started a new lifestyle blog which I was able to earn money from very quickly. This ended up being very helpful, because my other blog I had been working on at the time, a travel blog, had suddenly tanked. If my travel blog had been my only source of income, I would have been in trouble!
But fortunately, by having multiple blogs in different niches, I was fine.
Diversifying your income can mean starting multiple blogs, or just making sure you have different income streams in place. (For me, I like for those those income streams to be a combination of display ads, affiliate marketing, selling my own digital products, and working with brands on sponsored content.)
It’s also important to diversify your traffic sources.
When I first started blogging, it was very easy for me to get traffic from Pinterest, so I didn’t focus on SEO (search engine optimization) nearly as much as I should have. Now, it’s something I have had to learn, because Pinterest has made it harder for bloggers to use their platform to get traffic in recent years.
5. There are no mistakes, only lessons learned.
Finally, after five years of blogging, I can say that there are no mistakes, only lessons learned. Don’t let a fear of failing hold you back from starting!
I have had countless “mistakes” and “failures” in the past five years. Blog posts I wrote that never got any traffic. Products I created that didn’t sell well. Email newsletters I’ve sent out with major typos or broken links. Months wasted on projects that never saw the light of day. The list goes on and on!
But I’m glad for every single one of these things, because they taught me valuable lessons that have helped me grow as a business owner.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, if you get caught up in trying to make every little thing perfect all the time, you’re just wasting time. But if you embrace imperfection and messiness and discomfort, you will be more successful long-term as you make mistakes and learn from them.
Looking Forward at 5 More Years of Blogging
These are my top five lessons learned from five years of blogging.
I would love to keep blogging for the next five years. I do think that the blogging landscape will continue to change, as it has done in the past five years.
When I first started blogging in 2017, a lot of people were already lamenting that blogging is dead and that it was now so much harder to get traffic or make money blogging. Obviously, that was not the case.
It’s true that blogging has changed a lot in the last five years. Two things that helped me get a ton of traffic as a new blogger (Pinterest and Facebook groups) are not what they used to be. And I definitely took it for granted at the time.
But you have to be willing to change and adapt as a blogger. As the old saying goes, “change is the only constant in life” and that certainly goes for blogging.
So if you haven’t started a blog yet, know that it’s not a “get rich quick” scheme and that you’re going to have to put in the work and adapt to changes. But it’s very much worth it, and you’ll be glad you did it when you’re looking back at how far you’ve come five years from now if only you get started today.
I know some of my blog readers and email subscribers have been here since the beginning. If that’s you, then thank you for your support!
And for anyone in my audience, thanks for being here.
I hope we’ll be together for the next five years of blogging adventures too!