12 Things I Learned In My Third Year of Blogging

This month marks my 3rd year of blogging. I have learned so much in the past 3 years about blogging and I wanted to share some of that knowledge with you. I hope you can apply some of my lessons to your own blogging experience. You can read what I learned in my first year of blogging here.

1. It takes fans to make fans. You know the saying, it takes money to make money. I believe the same is true with social media fans. It took me what seemed like FOREVER to get 500 or even 1,000 Facebook fans. But once I got what I considered a lot of fans it seems that those fans were telling their friends and they were becoming fans. Next thing I knew my numbers were growing. So don’t get discouraged if you are sitting at 100 Facebook fans and other sites seem to be getting 1,000 new fans a day. You will get there. I’m currently in that boat with my Google Plus numbers but I don’t stress because I know it will happen.

2. Build relationships. Whether if it is with another blogger or a business it’s important to build a relationship. Don’t be so concerned about what is in it for you. If you want to work with a brand more than once you need to build relationships. Working with bloggers is a great way to get your site exposed to new readers as well. Be professional and kind.

3. Stay organized. I created my own blog planner my first year of blogging. Each year I have added to that planner and tweaked it to make it work smoother. I recently updated it and you can now purchase you own 2013-2014 blog planner with more than just a calendar. It will help you chart your social media growth, income, affiliates, giveaways, daily to dos and more. You can purchase your copy here – The Ultimate Blog Planner. By staying organized and planning your editorial calendar in advance you prevent yourself from starring at a blank screen wondering what you are going to say.

4. Blog conferences are awesome. I went to The SITS Girls Bloggy Boot Camp Brand Edition last year and it was AMAZING! Seriously! I left with pages and pages of great information, actionable things I could do to apply to my site. Not fluffy feel good information, solid concrete stuff. I loved it. In fact, I cried when I was thanking Tiffany and Francesca the organizers. Yup, I cried.

5. Just ask. It is amazing the opportunities that have happened for me and that are unfolding for me this coming year. Some of them reached out to me but some of them I asked. You have to believe in yourself and ask. I wanted to speak at a blog conference so I pitched The SITS Girls an idea. Now I am now speaking at the Bloggy Boot Camp Brand Edition in Dallas this year. Mark your calendars :) I have had the privilege of working with different companies because I asked if they were interested. Don’t be afraid to ask.

6. Schedule my time. I have had to set aside a certain time of day to answer emails. It can be so tempting to check your email and answer it all day long. I now have a certain time of day when I sit down and tackle my inbox. Also, I don’t answer emails on weekends as that is family time. When scheduling your time make sure you include time that you will no work. I recently scheduled a certain time of day to write content as well. My goal is to stay off social media and emails and knock out content.

7. Newsletters are key. If you don’t have a newsletter, stop reading and sign up for one now. People may not come to your site everyday but they may sign up for your newsletter. You then have the opportunity to reach out to them and remind them you are still around.

8. Yoast is my favorite plug-in. This plug-in helps with SEO and it is super user friendly. It helps break down what can be really confusing to make sure that your post is the best it can be for Google to find it.

9. Not every post needs to be SEOed. I know I just said how much I love Yoast, and I do. But, I don’t use it for every post. In fact, I strive to have one or two posts a week that will do well with SEO. If you focus on making sure every post is great for a Google search you miss out on some great content.

10. Google Plus is your friend. Head over and circle me on Google Plus. Thanks! Here’s the cool thing about Google Plus. It helps with your SEO and Google ranking. Google loves Google so obviously they are going to favor the people and content on Google Plus. If you don’t have an account set one up. After you set it up make sure you authenticate your website so your photo will show up on Google searches.
Screen shot 2013-09-20 at 3.37.12 PM

11. Add my own links. At the end of posts, I’m trying to post three additional posts at the end of each post that relate to that subject. I do have a widget at the bottom of the post but I can’t determine which post it will share. By selecting which posts I think the reader would enjoy to read, I encourage them to stay on my site and read more about photography. Plus, it helps your SEO to repeat your keyword and to link to related sites.

12. Using Headers help SEO. I love to use bold but sometimes I uses headers. Google weighs the words in headers a little more than the other words in your post. Consider adding headers to your post.

Read more blogging tips:

Blogging questions and answers video
7 things you need to know about blogging
Blog Planner: The Ultimate Guide

  • September 20, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    I think I am going to save my pennies to attend a conference next year. Getting SEO nailed is my next project after I completely understand social media. Great tips!!

    Domestic Engineer’s Union

    • September 23, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      You definitely should! The Bloggy Boot Camps are pretty affordable :)

  • September 20, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Thanks for the tips! I am going to look into Yoast & adding links at the bottom of my posts. I too have been resisting the urge to reply to emails immediately & only do it during designated times during the day. It’s hard but helps with productivity for sure. Happy Blogaversary ;)

    • September 23, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Thank you! The temptation is hard but definitely worth it to set limits :)

  • September 21, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    Great post! I’ve added you to my circle on Google+. As a rookie blogger, I’ve found that’s a great site to create connections and share the blog. Thanks for the tips!

  • September 26, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Thank you for the tips! I’d love to go to a blog conference- there’s just so many interesting looking ones out there! I just don’t know if I could go by myself, and I’m fairly sure that my hubby would not want to go!

    • September 26, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Well, one of the things I love about the SITS is they assign you a table to sit at. It gets rid of that awkward who do I sit with feeling. I went to the SITS conference alone and was nervous too but had a GREAT time. It is smaller than most which is nice and you can actually talk to people. I’ll be at the one in Dallas with a friend of mine :)

  • September 27, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    These are awesome. I’m in that fan lull right now. Boo. PS. I love your blogging planner… totally getting it!

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      Thanks! Don’t get down about your lull :) Hope you enjoy the planner!

  • September 27, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    These are great tips especially for a new blogger like myself! I’m definitely saving this post to look back at later!! Thx!

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:02 PM

      Thanks! Enjoy your blogging journey! It’s a fun one!

  • September 27, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Excellent post and I can’t wait to get your planner! Thanks for sharing all your tips. I was in writer’s block this summer but I’m back at it :)

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      I hope you enjoy the planner if you get it :) Having a list of ideas is a great way to get over writers blog.

  • Kim
    September 27, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    I’m also struggling for fans. My current blog is 7 months old and barely moving along. I admit that’s my own fault though. I need to produce more content on a more regular basis. However, I’ve stopped following most rules and guidelines for blogging because, to me, they were too structured and had too much of a “If you don’t do it this way you’re guaranteed to fail” vibe to them. I’m just me and I loathe rules.

    I’ve gotten involved in some link parties (including SITS Sharefest) and every week that I have participated it’s yielded zero results. No traffic, no reciprocated comments, nada. Quite disappointing but I had to finally accept it wasn’t for me. I can’t keep sticking my neck out there and getting nothing in return.

    The positive in all of this though is that I have met some wonderful bloggers whom I still chat with to this day. It isn’t much but I’m glad they’re in my circle. At the end of the day I’m just happy to be writing and sharing.

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      I think it’s great that you are finding a way to blog that fits you. I think it is important to figure out how blogging fits in your life and pursue it that way :)

  • September 27, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Oh I think I can breathe again. I struggle to build numbers and considering your advice and my 4 months as a blogger this is ok. Breathe! Thank you advice like this is invaluable. Breathe again!

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Yes, definitely breathe :) It’s a fun blogging journey…enjoy it!

  • September 27, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    I enjoyed reading this and learned some new things. I’ll be back to read more. I really like how you break things down. Thanks for making learning easier for those of us who are still relatively new to all of this.

  • September 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Fabulous tips, Courtney. I’ve been blogging 2 1/2 years and STILL learning so much, so what I’ve learned, is that you keep learning. :)

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Yes, keep learning! I still have so much to learn as well :)

  • September 27, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Ok- I am not going to lie- I didn’t get through reading all of the 12 items right away because I had to immediately go over to my blog and start working on a few of these ideas.

    Thanks for sharing:)

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      So glad to hear you found a way to apply some of these tips :) Enjoy!

  • September 27, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Thank you for sharing all this info with us. I am a pretty new blogger and sometimes I just stress so much making sure everything is perfect. I blog in Spanish and I am learning as much as I can, but like you said somethings get frustrating sometimes, like facebook fans for example argg.Anyways, I want to trust you that the fans will eventually come. Thank you again.

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      Yes, it can be frustrating but don’t worry. Keep at it and it will pay off :)

  • September 28, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    Happy Blog Anniversary, and thanks for the tips. I’ve also been blogging for 3 years, and I need these reminders, ha!

    • September 30, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      I need them too ha ha :) Congrats on making it to 3 years!

  • October 2, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    I just stumbled across your site and this is an excellent post! I think in my few years of blogging as well I have learned many of the same things. Funny how this stuff seems almost common sense after a while, but it is not at all just starting out and I agree it’s always great to be reminded and see what is working for other bloggers! The Yoast plugin has done wonders for me as well on a couple posts. Any blogging conferences in the Denver area you are aware of or would recommend?

    • October 3, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      I don’t know any conferences off the top of my head. Have you considered traveling to one? I traveled to all the conferences but one that I attended. If you find a good one I think it’s totally worth the trip :)

  • January 23, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    As a new Blogger, I really appreciate the tips and am heading back to check out the “what I learned my first year of blogging” I think I saw..lol

    Thanks so much again.
    [email protected]

  • January 28, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    I saw this post on Pinterest and you really have a great list of ideas here. I have to saw I have to focus more on being organized. I feel like I have ideas written down everywhere but I need to get them all together in one place.

  • February 1, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    Courtney this is the first I have stumbled on to your blog and I love it! I am starting out my first blog and have asked this question many times with still no answers. I hope you can help. I would like to know what you use to send your newsletters and is it free? The few I have found are very confusing :(

    • February 3, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      I currently use Mailchimp. It is free until you have 2,000 newsletter subscribers. Aweber is also popular. Take care!

  • Rebecca
    March 11, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    How often do you send out a newsletter?

    • March 14, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      When I first started it, I sent it out weekly. Now I send it out monthly :)

  • October 9, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    I have totally been neglecting Google+, I never thought about how it might affect my google traffic, thanks for the tip!

    • October 10, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      I am right there with you. I just remind myself I can’t be great at all blogging things at all times :)

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