7 Lessons I’ve learned after 14 months of blogging as a hobby

I started my blog in May 2021 (so last year) and it’s been quite an educational 14 months. I’ve learned more about what I enjoy reading, I’ve learned more about what you enjoy reading and so much more.

I keep writing on this blog because inevitably I love books and I love writing about books. At some point, I hope this becomes a viable source of income? Yes. It would not only give me some motivation that I’m writing about people actually like but also that the amount of time I spend on it is worth it. Yes, it’s a hobby currently but as it becomes a hobby where I spend a lot of my free time doing it, having it bring in a successful income wouldn’t be so bad.

Anyway, enough about the mullar. Let’s talk about some of the lessons I’ve learned from blogging over the past 14 months.

I’m hoping that by writing this list if you’re newer into this whole biz than I am that you’ll pick something up that might help get your blog to receive more reviews or make it feel more fun to you.

Here are some of the absolute key takeaway I’ve learned since I started blogging:

1. Don’t be afraid to take a break

This one for me was one of the biggest challenges I had. I started my blog in May and over the summer, I found that I was away on holiday, not wanting to constantly post as I didn’t have time or maybe I wasn’t sober enough (lol).

I struggled with the idea that if I stopped, I may not pick it back up again. However, this simply wasn’t true. If you enjoy what you blog about or you find some excitement from it then you won’t find it difficult to pick it back up again.

And if you’re worried about those that read your blog disappearing, let me tell you now – the majority of your blog’s traffic will come from Google searches eventually anyway. Yes, my following from social media platforms brings in some traffic, but the 1,000+ weekly views I’m getting on my review of The Terminal List are from the fact that the TV Series just released on Amazon Prime and so people are searching for that and finding my review.

2. Build your social media platforms

Something you should consider from early on is focusing on your social media channels. Personally, I would say Twitter is the easiest as you can put links into tweets and so you’re way more likely to get direct clicks and links to your posts and I’ve also found people are far more likely to respond to your tweets if you’re trying to build engagement. However, don’t rule out other channels.

Instagram is the other big platform for blogging content. There’s a huge community on there for blogs, especially if you have a book blog. If you’re somebody who isn’t afraid to put your face on social media or you have a creative side (using the likes of Canva) then it’s a great platform.

I’ve not had much luck with Facebook and having a page on there – nearly everybody who Likes my page is also a Facebook friend, but you may have better luck than me.

3. Focus on one topic

My blog predominantly focuses on writing book reviews, round-ups and recommendation lists. Therefore, all of my social media followers know that if they like books and follow me, they’re likely to get content they actually want to read.

I dabbled more with writing content about blogging when I first started out (like I am doing now) but this didn’t do quite so well and there’s not a lot you can claim to “teach” people about blogging when you’ve only been doing it for a few months yourself.

I now write these sorts of blog posts every now and then as more of an insight into my blogging experiences. I know there are some who follow me across my social media platforms who do read my blog tips and tricks and then there are those who just follow me for the book content but are also interested in some behind the scenes.

4. Post what you want to post about

If you love the topic your blog covers and you love writing about it, then anything you write about it will keep the whole thing enjoyable for you. Therefore, make sure you’re always writing for you at the start as this will make sure your productivity is high and that you’re enjoying what you’re doing.

As your blog becomes more popular or you start to run out of ideas, then maybe take in suggestions or pose multiple ideas to people to see which they’d like to read next.

5. Keep an eye on what’s trending in your field

Sometimes one of the pieces of research I’ll do before a blog post is looking to see what is trending within books. For example, as I write this post, Where The Crawdads Sing is a film recently released. I reviewed the book a while back and so that is receiving some traction at the moment after posting it to my social media channels again.

6. Don’t be afraid to use other people’s content

Sometimes you know you need to get something posted that week but you simply don’t have anything that interesting to write about. Go and look at similar blogs. When I have nothing to post, I’ll often go and check out book blog tags as these are a great way of somebody already giving me the ideas (the questions) and then me just responding to them.

Though don’t go copying. If you do something like a tag, make sure to try and credit the blog you got it from (or even where they found it if it’s not their own original work either) and always remember to adjust content sufficiently so it’s your own work. Sometimes this should just work as inspiration for your own content.

7. It will take up more of your free time than you think

When I first started blogging, I was posting five days a week which meant every single night after work I was on my laptop, typing away and trying to create graphics and promote on social media. This soon became unfeasible and I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I wanted to. Now I essentially tell myself that as long as I do two posts a week, anything more than that is a great week.

Some people won’t post for a while and this also works well. However, as I’ve stated before, I love writing so this is essentially a hobby for me.

But anyway, owning a blog doesn’t just involve writing the post (well it can do but not if you want it to be more successful) there is the SEO you have to do, creating the graphics for it for all of your social media channels, then proofing it to make sure it reads properly, then going through and adding in any affiliate links you might want to add and also adding links to your other posts; then there’s the promotion of it on social media – each channel requiring a slightly different approach (Instagram needs you to create a link in bio tool, for example, to be able to promote more than one thing at any time). Once this is all done, there’s any additional social media posting you want to do, posting questions to your audience, gaining followers, holding giveaways and so much more.

Did any of these help?

There are seven things I learned from blogging. There are a lot more lessons I picked up along the way too but I feel these could be put in a separate post as they’re less about the process of trying to manage a blog around a full-time job but would be more about actual blogging and social media tips.

If you’re a blogger, let me know if you can relate to any of the above – let me know which of these you agree with.

If you’re someone getting into blogging, do let me know if any of these helped you better understand blogging and whether it’s something you want to put your time and effort into. And as always please share this if you found it useful.

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