This week is my 10th anniversary of blogging! In these years, I’ve learned a few things.
Mostly, content is hard. So hard that even though I’d been thinking about and looking forward to this anniversary post for the month, it was still late. With that in mind, here’s a “Ten-4-Ten” – lessons, decisions, and ideas with the theme: content is hard.
- If I’m writing, I’m not reading. I started this blog reviewing every book that I read. But when I was doing that, I was reading substantially less. I like reading. So, now I just review books when I feel I have something interesting to say.
- I created my blog for me. I write for work. I started my blog to give me an outlet to write for myself. I happen to like to talk about books, so it was just natural that I’d also enjoy writing about books.
- I made the blog to be more than books. Since content is hard, I gradually expanded my topics to include things other than just books and reading. Some have stuck and proved fruitful – recipes – and others have not – etiquette. But, sometimes I do have something to say about things other than books. Like movies.
- ARCs are really cool. When I started blogging, I had no idea about Advanced Reader Copies. Publishers provide them like dealers giving you your first free hit. I quickly got addicted… and overwhelmed. Now, I pace myself at a much healthier rate and only request or accept ones I can commit to reviewing.
- Marketing is also hard. I only do enough of this to not be lazy, but this also takes time and effort and if I’m marketing like I could, I’m not reading. See #1.
- Blogging is a hobby. Like other hobbies, blogging costs money. At various times, I’ve tried to get my blog to at least pay for itself. That hasn’t worked, so here I am. To be fair, I’m also averse to having ads on my blog that may be annoying. See #7.
- Protecting my blog identity. I’ve chosen to be very selective about hosting third-party content on my blog. I’ve had a couple of guest posts by people I know. But I feel strongly about the blog’s authenticity, so I’ve chosen to not accept many offers to promote certain products, sites or (in some cases) books that I can’t vouch for.
- Tracking books on my blog is cool and useful. I recently read another’s post lamenting the fact that she doesn’t (and hasn’t) tracked the books she’s read. This is one thing I’ve done religiously, and I’m so glad. Even though I also use Goodreads, I think it is super cool that I have lists of the books I’ve read or listened to for the last ten years. Not many people can say that.
- Photo content is also hard. Being married to a photographer, I’m sensitive to photo copyright infringement, and with photos being such an important part of blog posts, photos provide another challenge. I feel good about where I am now, but it took nine years.
- Content is hard. I tell want-to-be bloggers to create three months of content before they launch their blog. That will 1) make sure they want to do it and 2) give them a good backlog until they reach their stride.
At the end of the day, blogging is both harder and more rewarding than I ever imagined. Here’s to the next ten!
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