MAPLE LEOPARD: 5 Things I've Learned in My First Year of Blogging

Thursday, October 8, 2015

5 Things I've Learned in My First Year of Blogging




Hey lovely people,

TGIF! I can't wait for the long weekend to start!  September was the one year anniversary of starting my blog. It's been an incredible ride so far, an amazing experience to say the least! I've had the opportunity to be involved in some exciting events, collaborate with designers/brands, and had my writings published in two magazines.  

Some days I've been tempted to give it up, the time commitment and work involved is so taxing when you have another job. Then I'll receive a kind comment from a reader of how I inspired them, and it gives me a boost to carry on. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I'm happy I made the plunge and here are some things I've learned along the way!


1) The blogging community is tops for support and encouragement

 In recent weeks I've joined several blogging groups on facebook. It's very heart warming to see people who are strangers to one another, so willing to help out. I've asked a ton of questions about social media strategy, the business of blogging, and about technical challenges. It is never long and someone jumps in to offer their help. This sometimes techy challenged girl would not have made it,  without all of you out there in blogging land! What can I say, I grew up in the 70's!

My favorite part of my blogging is all the friends and connections I've made, online and in person.  I have discovered so many talented and encouraging people on this journey!


5 things Ive learned the first year of blogging


2) Key words are crucial

If you don't use them right in your posts, it's really hard to get found in google searches. It is especially important in your post title. If people have to struggle to figure out what the post is about, then it's time to drop it and start over.

3) Photos really do make or break the post

I have learned a boatload about photography in the past year as well. Quality photos are essential if you want to drive traffic to your blog and keep visitors coming back.  Iphone photos work in a pinch, but of course the quality does not compare to photos taken on a DSLR camera.  I just recently purchased a DSLR and am very excited to learn more photography skills.  The sizing of your images and the time you take to edit them, is very important too.  Humans are very visual creatures and the more pics the better!


5 things Ive learned the first year of blogging



4) Success on social media requires a different strategy for each platform.

When I first started blogging, I posted the same info on each platform. I used the same images and didn't really take time to test what was working on each, or how to gain followers. I've also learned that certain platforms are better for growth, depending on your blogging niche.  I've found that Instagram and Twitter are best for driving traffic to a fashion blog.  I just read today that the top ten Instagram fashion models started out as bloggers.

5) Blogging is big business!
If one is serious about turning a blog into a business, it certainly is possible.  I've connected with several bloggers who have quit their job and are blogging full time.  The most popular form of monetizing on your blog. seems to be creating and marketing your own digital products such as: webinars, e-books, and podcasts.  Affiliate marketing and sponsorships are other ways to monetize. However I think these are not as profitable, if you don't have massive traffic coming to your blog. 
My long term goal is to have my own online boutique that features my own designs, if I EVER find time!!

 
Images: Pexels

Thank you to all my readers for your support and for reading all my chatter the past year.  I hope to get giveaways and linkups going here soon, if I can get the technical issues resolved!  If you are a new blogger, what challenges have you overcome and what have you learned?  If you are a seasoned blogger I would love to hear your insights as well!

Have a great weekend!

XO VALERIE



62 comments:

  1. I would love to know more about "Success on social media requires a different strategy for each platform"!

    Hilary
    fortheloveofbasil.com

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    1. Hi Hilary..I am not expert for sure..but have learned a few things along the way. The thing that is most important is to change your wording on each one, use a different picture and pay attention what your audience is responding most to, is it pictures, quotes, links etc..hope that helps...Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Love these tips! I would like to dig deeper into how to really use each social media site to it's full potential! Half of the battle with getting people to read your posts is how and when to market it to them! So it makes sense that the strategy has to be different! Thanks for sharing these! :)

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    1. Thank you Ariel, glad it helped you in some way. I have so much more to learn, but it's amazing how much you learned in a year, and look how far you've come! Have an amazing weekend!

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  3. Same with what Hilary said! #4 is a really good point about changing how you use each social media platform.

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    1. HI Chelsea...yes that is half the battle....its a big big job..! Have a great night!

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I've only been blogging for about 5 months and I absolutely love how supportive the blogging community is.

    Happy 1 Year,
    Allison Jones
    www.LiveLifeWellBlog.com

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    1. Hi Allsion, keep up the good work and I wish you much success...a year will fly by fast! Thank you for visiting!

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  5. You are so correct about supportive blogging community. It's so important to have people around you who can cheer you while you are working so hard!

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    1. The cheering on is what has kept me going lately....the weariness and blogger slump has set in, thank you for stopping here and the encouraging words!

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  6. I couldn't agree more about all of these! Happy blogiversary :)

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    1. Thank you Ms. Southern Thing...love your blog name...!! Thanks for stopping here!

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  7. This is so true, blogging community is so supportive. I am very new, it will be a year in January and I love the virtual friendships I am forming with fellow bloggers. I would love to work from home one day.

    Maya
    www.healthymominabusyworld.com

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    1. Hey Maya! I hope your dream comes true...I would like to work from home some and travel a lot..that is my dream! I am still a newbie too, and have a lot to learn! I am so glad you stopped by, I wish you the moon!

      Valerie

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  8. These are all so true. The blogging community especially has been so important for me!

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    1. Hello Becky,

      So true, the connections are the boost you need to keep going! Best to you, have a great weekend!

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  9. Such great lessons! I learned so much in my first year of blogging. Networking was a big one for me. I literaly spend about half my day on social media, connecting with others and it's made a HUGE difference.

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    1. Yes Keating..ME TOO...married to social media and my laptop, I'm exhausted from it and teaching 30 hrs a week, some days I think I will lose my mind..ha ha..but it has been so great to make new friends and learn something new every day!

      Best to you, I wish you much success!

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  10. I've love to hear more of your thoughts on social media platforms. I'm a year in and still post the same things on each channel. I'd love to know how to maximize their potential more :D

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    1. Hi Christy!
      Truly diff things on each one , see what is is your audience responds to most ... Is it links , images, shares , quotes etc.. For exam low on twitter I quite often tweet links from authority sources in my niche.. bUt I change the title of the link to my own words... Hope that helps

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  11. these are all so true

    Ray-Ban Giveaway on my blog!

    http://hashtagliz.com

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    1. Hi Liz, love Ray Ban! I have not done any giveaways yet on here, only on instagram, the techy stuff of getting on blog...uggg wears me out..lol

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  12. These are awesome!!! I'm almost a year in and I can definitely already relate! Pictures are definitely so important for every post!
    xo Adriana - Daily Dose of Design

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    1. Thanks Adrianna,

      A year went so fast didn't it? I wanted to do a giveaway and link up with this post for my blogiversary..the techy stuff ...kept it from happening...hopefully I'll get it down soon!

      Thank you for visiting!

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  13. Thanks for sharing! I haven't been blogging that long, but it's always encouraging to hear from other bloggers that it's worth it!

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    1. HI Hannah, keep it up, it will pay off someday! I keep telling myself that, when I am so exhausted like I am right now...The encouragement from others is so great! Thank you for coming by!

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  14. I have only been blogging since July, but I saw #1 right out of the gate. So many great bloggers out there that have been supportive and good friends:)

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    1. Thank you KIm for your comment and time in stopping here...yes the friendships are making it all worth it. I have connected with some local bloggers too and had fun meetups...love this community!

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  15. Thanks for sharing! This is really great!

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    1. Thank you Laura...I have so MUCH more to learn....I have tons of lists of stuff I need to read, download, do etc...the kind comments give me fuel to keep going!

      I wish you all the best with your blog!

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  16. Great list. And all of them are totally true! I love the supportive blogging community!

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    1. Hi Lindsey! Thank you...the support is amazing...makes the hard work seem a little easier to deal with! I love it too, best to you!

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  17. Congrats on 1 year of blogging, it definitely is a lot of work. I've just started this year and can agree with all your insights

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    1. HI Crazy Cat girl..I LOVE the name of your blog and since I am a huge cat lover...I will have to take a look, you have my attention! Thank you for stopping here!

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  18. I have been blogging a little over 2 months and I am learning a lot of the things you listed. I can't believe there is so much to learn about blogging but I really love it. I definitely agree about the blogging community - that is another part I had no idea existed! I didn't even realize how big blogging is until I got into it. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words! Yes time flies when u r having fun! It is a lot of work and the techy stuff is kicking my butt ..but all the support and connections, makes it all worth it!

      I wish you the best!

      Valerie

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    1. Thank you kindly for coming by my blog!

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  20. All great tips. Thanks for taking the time to write this!

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    1. Thank you snake doc! That blog has me curious!! I will check it out!

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  21. Without the support you get from your community,it's so easy to give up.Blogging might sound fun,but it's so much hard work.I like the bit you say about taking quality pictures,and not just relying on your iphone! It's true,and I shall pay attention to that angle henceforth.Thank you for the useful lessons!

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    1. Hey Felix! So great to see you here..you are soooo right it is a ton of hard work but hopefully it will pay dividends for us all! Best to you and thanks , glad it was helpful! Felix was my grandpa's name! Don't hear it much! Best to you!

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  22. Great tips. I've only been blogging for a few months but the Facebook groups for bloggers have been extremely helpful. My next step is to get a good quality camera!!

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    1. Great Ashley! Yes a new camera helps.. I just got mine now I have to figure it out .. So much to learn!!

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  23. Happy first blogiversary! You've definitely done well in your first year, and these are crucial things to learn! I totally agree - love the blogging community, and building each other up/helping each other along the way.

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    1. Thank you Jenn fore the kind words! Yes the support is amazing ... Glad you stopped in!

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  24. Hi Valarie - thank you so much for commenting on my blog post. I'm so thrilled that you did or I would have never found your fabulous blog!! Brilliant tips. Gorgeous blog design and post styling as well. So happy to connect :) Kate

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    1. Awe thanks Kate for the kind words! I am so glad I found your blog as well, fantastic site! Really happy to connect with you also~! :) Valerie

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  25. Thank you so much for sharing, happy blirthday!! Blogday? Blogiversary :)

    Great points, especially the photography it's so important to look more professional. And the community - it's amazing how helpful everyone is, it's very encouraging,

    Georgee from pixelsandpine.com
    Found you on #Alittlebitofeverything

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    1. Thank you Georgee, I've learned a lot, but wowee such a long way to go, this blogging stuff....never can keep up with all the new stuff I see every single day! ha~!

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  26. Congrats on your 1 yr Blogiversary!!! How exciting!!! I agree that the blogging community is so amazing. I've learned so much from joining different fb groups. Photos are so important for your blog! I've been trying to learn as much as possible about blogging to better myself.

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    1. Mistle you are so right...the groups are such a great place to grow your blog! Thanks for stopping=by, all the best to you!

      Valerie

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  27. Great Read! Congrats on your 1 year! :) I've been only blogging two months, and I'm trying to learn everything you've mentioned , thank you for all the info, and I'll be looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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    1. Thank you! I love the name of your blog, I will have to check it out! All the best to you and keep at it, it does get tiring, but so worth it!

      Valerie

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  28. Great words of wisdom, and I could not agree more on the community and importance of social media.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

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    1. Thank you Amy! The Social media part of it is a huge time commitment, but yes is a must...I wish you all the best!

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  29. 100% agree! Very nice article. Well written. Great images by the way. The social media aspect is time consuming indeed, but some features can be automated. :) Keep up the awesome work!

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    1. Hey Eric!! Thank you for stopping by,!! Thanks again for mentoring me and inspiring me in this blog journey, I wish you the moon! Thanks also for the kind words!

      Valerie

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  30. Congratulations on such a successful first year!

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    1. Thank you Sarah! Hope you are doing well!

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  31. I am yet trying to break into the business of blogging. It is my passion and I would love to attend to my blog full time.

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  32. Me too Tee Joe, I have not got it down and am having a hard time with some techy stuff. There is so much to learn!

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