What I Learned After 5 Years of Blogging

woman looking out on coast nature outdoor
image by myles tan

Blogging will feel at times like work. That’s when you should slow down, post less, do other things. But it’s important that you keep posting, even if it’s just once a week or once a month. Otherwise you’ll lose touch with many of the friends you’ve made.

Readers come and go

Almost all the people who used to read my blog in the first years are now doing other things. Some of them are no longer using WordPress. Others are busy raising children. But there are always new readers, new friends to make.

It’s really about the comments

The best thing that can happen after you publish a post isn’t a thousand views or three hundred likes, but rather receiving at least one thoughtful comment. I’ve received many wonderful comments that added to the discussion, shifted it dramatically, or presented things from a completely different perspective. It’s wonderful when people take the time to leave long comments.

Don’t worry about the stats

Views, follower count, likes, or shares – it’s good to have big numbers, but ultimately, they are not a measure of your blog’s quality. They will come in time, as a side effect of good blogging.

Reading other blogs is as important as posting on your blog

It’s easier to keep up an active blog and engage with your readers if you take the time to understand them. Blogging isn’t a monologue but a conversation. Without reading other blogs, it’s hard to keep that conversation up. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to read other blogs, but I try to discover a few new ones every week.

Make sure your theme is responsive

A lot of people read blogs on the go on mobile devices. I had to give up on my favorite theme a few years ago because it didn’t look well on smartphones and tablets.

To encourage people to comment, ask them a relevant question

You can do this for most posts. It’s a good way to start a discussion. You won’t always get the question right, but when you do, comments will pour in.

Blogging can become addictive

Sometimes you will feel the temptation to post even if you don’t have anything worthwhile to share with the world. Not posting too much can actually improve a blog’s quality.

Blogging can distract you from your more difficult writing

To make blogging work for you in the long term, you have to dose your effort, and impose some limits. Always write your fiction or do your work first.

***

What made me write this post? WordPress notified me yesterday that I’ve been blogging for 1,2,3,4, 5 years. The way time passes!

For how long have you been blogging?

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46 thoughts on “What I Learned After 5 Years of Blogging

  1. I have been blogging for just over a year. I am a self taught blogger and have enjoyed every bit of the experience. It has been a surprising journey in many different ways. The most rewarding is connecting with other writers around the world. I have had a small window into lives of people who live in many different countries. People connecting across the globe can only be a good thing.

  2. i’ve opened my blog about six years ago but it took about a year for me to get a hang of it… so about five years of blogging here, too!
    and you are right, it is kind of addictive. but since my blog is a photography blog i usually don’t write that much – but i am very happy about comments, too 😉

  3. A very good sum up of the dos and don’ts I’ve encountered too. I’m currently on a semi-break from blogging for several reasons, and I find it hard to find a new balance between healthy blogging time and keeping the kind of contact I seek with my friends in the Bloggosphere…. Great post! 🙂

  4. I have had several blogs over the past few years but none of them has lasted because I find that the posting slows down to the point where I do not post for extended periods of time. Honestly, I wish I could go back and just keep posting because there has been some bloggers that I’ve never heard from again but whom were certainly a blessing to know.

    Great tips; I’ve been blogging on my current blog since the end of January 🙂
    ~ Bre

  5. I started following you when you started this blog, and then I moved to another continent, got married, had a baby, and here I am after years and your posts are still just as beautiful as I remembered them to be. Thank you for sharing this, I see the ‘boy with a hat’ is all grown up now!

    1. Thank you for one of the best comments I have ever received. Let’s do at least another 5 years, okay? I try hard to stay a child. But the years do pass. 🙂

  6. an interesting thoughtful post, as usual. thank you. i’ve been blogging for just over one year now. your webblog on wordpress has been inspirational. my guide to blogging.

  7. YES, blogging DOES distract from the more difficult writing. My goodness, I honestly thought it was just me who suffered from that. I haven’t written properly in ages because I spend all my designated writing time reading other people’s blogs or writing posts that aren’t my book! 🙂

    1. The only solution that worked for me was to do the creative writing in the morning, before all else. Your schedule may not (always) allow it, but I really recommend morning writing. 🙂

  8. Very good advice.
    I may have been blogging 8 years or so but perhaps only 4-5 with WP. The thing is I don’t recall getting any year end information and statistics for a long time. I just checked and I started June 2011 so longer than I thought.
    Hugs

  9. Nearly two months and I am already having commitment issues. I admire all the full-time bloggers out there who share beautiful stories on the daily or even weekly basis. Thanks for your posts, Boy with a Hat! Always a joy to read.

  10. Your last point is particularly apt: how to ensure that blogging and “serious” writing coexist meaningfully, so that one does not devour time meant for the other? I also find it challenging to balance the amount of time I spend reading other people’s blogs and reading books in general, with the amount of time needed to process&produce new material of my own.

  11. I enjoyed your blog today. There was some great advice in there. I have been blogging for a couple of months. My posts are sporadic, I haven the mastered the site yet and I am only just building up the courage to post personal views and I formation. X

    1. Jessica, it’s funny how our blogging evolves… We grow into our voice a bit as time goes by and all of a sudden, one day, we share a fairly personal post almost effortlessly… Something that would’ve been much more tough earlier on in the process. I can relate to what you said!

  12. And in these years, you’ve given back a lot to Lady Literature. I wonder if you’ve learned that the imprints you have left in many a heart shall remain shielded from oblivion’s curse.

  13. Congratulations on the 5 long years!! You really must be working so hard on this blog, I love it so much! I’ve been blogging on WordPress for almost 2 years now, but I’m on a hiatus because of senior year; will prolly go back after graduation. Congrats again and more power!!

    Love and light,
    Prei

  14. Congratulations on reaching 5 years! I’ve never commented here before, but I think I’ve been following for a few years. I’m almost at the 5 year point too, so I understand many of the points you’ve made. Wondering what happened to the old Currently Reading list you used to have, it was one of my favourite parts of your site. Keep up the good work!

  15. I’d had 2-3 stabs at blogging over the years but this latest one started in autumn 2013… So I’m pushing 4 years now. Loving it and yes… It has been wonderful to connect with people that I would never have otherwise met… And in one case in particular, read their 50-word stories! 🙂

  16. I’ve only been blogging for a few months now, but I definitely know what you mean about it being addictive. I’m definitely guilty of writing a blog post when I should be studying for a Chem test… I nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award!

      1. The WordPress sabotages me. 🙂 I left the comment yesterday. However, it is obvious there is no any comment.
        Thank you for the answer! My problem is that I understand a lot, but when it comes to writing or speaking, my vocabulary is small and limited. 🙂
        And my mistake: Congratulations on reaching 5 years! You are a great writer. Never forget it.
        You have talent, also you work hard. It will bring wonderful things to you! Just continue with the brilliant work!
        Best.

  17. This is an excellent blog for a new blogger! Today I’ve written my second blog and I’m just learning the in’s and out’s to it! I find it very therapeutic to write. My goal is to keep it up at least once a week and to spread whatever knowledge that I can! Thanks for the advice!! You’ve shared some very helpful information here!

  18. New blogger here. I started posting in December 2016.. and am still trying to find my niche. This first year is all about learning and leaving myself free to make mistakes. Thanks very much for the advice!

  19. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging, I have just started reading your blog, put I like all the post I have read so far. I registered my word press account in 2010, but did not have the guts to start blogging, I recently started on April 5th 2017 to blog so I have completed about 48 days blogging. I am very happy with the progress I have done so far.

  20. I have been blogging for 4 years. It is an interesting journey. I read this post because I wanted to challenge my self to read more blogs. This blog post was really insightful. Thank you. What has been the most challenging thing about blogging?

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