My Top 5 Blogging Lessons

After more than three years of blogging, I finally feel qualified to share the top blogging lessons I've learned along the way. I know there's a lot of very specific advice out there on blogging, so I want to share the general lessons that I am taking away from blogging to apply to work and life in general:

1. “If you build it, they will come” does not apply.

So you’ve started your blog. Your header is snazzy, your layout is clean and inviting, you’ve linked to all the social media sites you created for it, and you’ve told all your friends and family… CUE THE STAMPEDE OF FOLLOWERS! Right? Wrong. Unfortunately, your blog will not grow overnight. It takes a lot of hard work: creating quality content, networking with other bloggers, promoting yourself on social media, and generally just getting the word out about your new endeavor.

And it can be discouraging sometimes, when it seems like no one is commenting, or no one is even reading what you’ve put so much work into. But you know what? If you’re willing to put in the work, they will come, because in blogging, you get what you give. It might not be in the droves that you were hoping for, but slow and steady growth is the best way to go anyway.

2. Perfectionism will slow you down.

Hello, my name is Johanna, and I’m a perfectionist.

I have a million drafts of “not quite good enough” posts lying around; there’s always something I feel could be improved, whether it’s the graphics or the layout or the social media presence of my blog. It’s fear, obviously – fear of not being good enough, of being less than, of people not liking what I do. But as my amazing friend Jess says, “Failure isn’t permanent, but giving up is” (she’s a total genius).

If you never start, you’re failing by default. So just go for it. After all, what’s the worst that could happen? If the answer doesn’t include death, sharks, or homelessness, I’m pretty sure it’ll be worth it.

3. A kind comment is the best thing in the world.

This is one of my favorite things about blogging – the sweet, kind, encouraging comments you get. I’m in a different time zone from many of my readers, so I get to wake up to their comments, and let me tell you: it is glorious. It’s incredible how a few words can make everything seem worthwhile, and like you can conquer the world. The only other thing I know capable of making me feel that way is a can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles whilst listening to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. Comments are a lot less fattening, though, so they’re definitely better!

4. Life will get in the way.

The reasons are many-fold, but what it really boils down to is: life happens. And sometimes, life happening means that other things have to take a backseat. For me, chief among them are usually the cleanliness of my apartment (the dust bunnies have fun!), the healthiness of the meals I ingest (pizza, or uhm, pizza, or uhm, pizza?!), and, sadly, the activeness of my blog.

And of course, I feel terribly guilty about it. Because a) I’m a perfectionist (see above), and b) when you have people who read your blog, there’s a certain level of obligation there to give those people something to read. Hopefully, your readers will be understanding of the fact that you are human *gasp* and these things just happen. If not, well, I’m not sure you really want to have those kind of readers in the first place, do you?

5. Being consistent is hard.

This is essentially the overall lesson I am taking with me from my three years of blogging: consistency is key, but consistency is also the hardest thing to achieve. Continually putting out high-quality content, promoting that content, keeping up your commenting and sharing of other people’s content to build a network… it’s hard work.

People will still look at me strangely when I tell them I can’t come to their costume party because I have to work on my blog. Admittedly, I also hate costume parties, so they’re not entirely wrong about it being a bit of an excuse, but I digress. Fact is, blogging isn’t just a “fun little hobby” – it’s also a boat load of work. It’s work that I enjoy, mind you, but work nonetheless. And sometimes, I just want to throw in the towel and do this: 

But then you get a lovely comment, or one of your posts really strikes a chord with people, and you forget you ever doubted yourself. Because as I’ve learned, the bottom line is: 

Blogging is hard. But it’s also totally worth it.

What have you learned from blogging?