10 Lessons from 5 Years of Blogging

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I’ve been blogging for Garrendenny Lane for almost five years and I know I would probably cringe if I were to dare to look back at my first posts, particularly as they were for a business blog rather than a personal one. However, one learns from mistakes or (more advisably) from reading about someone else’s errors so here goes!

Reading Heidi Cohen’s post on her reflections after two years of blogging inspired this post too so many thanks to Heidi (and her excellent blog)

Having just written a post over at Blog Awards Ireland entitled ‘How Blogging Helped Lorna Sixsmith Beat The Recession‘ outlining how blogging brought in sales for one business and became the formation of another, it seems a good time to reflect on what I’ve learnt from 4.5 years of blogging.

I also love seeing businesses grow from small beginnings, particularly if they used blogging successfully to help them grow and recently featured Hunters Lodge Living as an example in my guest blog at Tweak Your Biz. Blogging can bring your business increased sales and it can also help in more unexpected ways too.

What I have learnt from 5 Years of Blogging:

  1. Connections – Write about ten posts first and then start to connect with other bloggers. Find a few blogs to read regularly and write interesting comments to engage with them.  Drop them an email to introduce yourself and tell them about your blog.  They may have time to check out your blog and say ‘hi’. Don’t be disheartened if they don’t – emails can become buried in those inboxes!
  2. Blogroll – Add complementary blogs to your blogroll. You will find interesting blogs to read on the blogrolls of other blogs in your subject area and this way, you may become part of existing communities.
  3. Photographs – always include at least one photograph. Apart from breaking up the wall of text, they provide visual interest. Try not to use stock photographs all the time as they become boring and unoriginal.  Get your camera out and take photos you might be able to use.  If using someone else’s photographs, always attribute them as the source.
  4. Calls to Action – I received many queries via phone calls during the first six months of my blog’s existence. These calls came because people had found my blog but weren’t sure if I sold the product I had blogged about or where they could get it. Initially I thought the blog was working extremely well as people were calling but then the penny dropped! I needed a call to action so that people would know where they could purchase the product and/or what services I offered.
  5. Goals and Objectives – Every so often (once every six months), review the goals for your blog and rewrite your objectives. For example, one of the goals for this blog is to promote the blogging training and work we provide to businesses. One of my objectives then is to ensure that readers know we can teach people how to blog effectively and that they can outsource their blogging to us. Hence, I need to show my expertise by writing about blogging in an knowledgeable and informed method, including a call to action.
  6. A Store of Topics – Keep a record of your ideas in one place. Keep them in evernote, a diary, a notebook, started as a draft in your dashboard – it doesn’t matter where but keep a list of your ideas. Even if you seem to have more ideas than you’ll have time ever to write, I promise that there will come the day where blogger’s block strikes and you will so grateful that you have a list to choose from.
  7. Jumble it up – Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit. We often do a ‘Find it Friday’ post on this blog whereby people email us questions and we answer them in a blog post but if the questions don’t arrive, we just write a different post.
  8. Community – try to become part of even one community – be it another business community or one that is more suited to your subject area e.g. interiors. Comment on their blogs and strike up a friendship on twitter or facebook. Don’t become disheartened if you don’t get many comments compared to others – that takes time and it also needs you to take the time to comment on other blogs.
  9. Other Social Media – when I started blogging in early 2008, I only had the blog to contend with whereas now bloggers are expected to spread their content amongst linked in, twitter, pinterest, facebook, google +, stumbleupon and more. If it all seems too much, just choose one or two. Measure the results and see if it is working. If not, add another platform and measure again.  Don’t let them bog you down – use what you have time for and what you find works for your business.
  10. Spelling and Grammar – I tend to type quite quickly and although my spelling is quite good, typos do occur. I also skim read very quickly (I actually find it hard to read slowly) which means I sometimes miss typos.  Get someone else to check your work if you need to – offer to check theirs if they check yours.

 

If you are debating starting a blog for your business, don’t delay – do it!  Businesses that blog get more business and leads than those who don’t! Get help to set one up or with the writing. Remember we offer one to one training as well as teaching courses so do get in touch with Marie or I if you’d like to know more.

 

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Posted in Blogs, For Beginners, How to Blog, Marketing
  • http://twitter.com/simonmlewis Simon Lewis (@simonmlewis)

    Great post Lorna. I totally agree with getting involved with a community. I’d suggest getting on to Twitter as your number 1 social media tool for networking.

    • http://Www.greensideup.ie Dee sewell

      Ditto Simon, great pointers in your post. Twitter’s my best place for finding blogs as well as receiving traffic to mine :-)

    • http://irishfarmerette.com Lorna

      Thank you Simon, I agree, I think twitter can be the most promising in terms of widening your circle and increasing brand awareness.

  • http://www.wardroberesurrection.com Fiona Griffin

    Hi, I agree completely with setting goals and objectives it really helps you stay focused. Community is something I need to work on, I find myself spending so much time writing posts I don’t have time to mingle online. I’ve only recently started to use Twitter properly rather than just tweet that I’ve blogged! But I’m getting there. This was a useful post thanks Lorna

    • http://irishfarmerette.com Lorna

      Many thanks for your comment Fiona, Twitter is also about conversation but I have to admit, that I have days when I scarcely do more than that either. Or, I realise that I’ve been chatting a lot on one twitter account but not on the others. Hard to get it perfect all the time but if we know what to strive for, we’ll get there :)

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