So we have all heard the statistics that most blogs fail in their first year. First off, let me say that if you love writing your blog even if you only have a couple of readers, then your blog is definitely not a failure. I have been writing this blog for seven months, it hasn’t grown as much as I expected and it certainly hasn’t resulted in any monetary gains.
And to be completely honest, sometimes it’s a little disappointing and I want to give up.
But most of the time I love my blog. It is as scruffy and imperfect as I am.
I really hope to continue to write it for years and years. Although I am by no means a professional blogger or blogger extraordinaire, these are all things that I have struggled with in the last seven months. So here are my tips and tools on how to survive your first blogging year! Fingers crossed I make it through mine.
1. Comparison will cripple.
As someone who writes a blog, I’m sure you read a lot of blogs yourself. I read at least twenty on a regular basis. That is twenty people that I can compare myself to and that is a lot of pressure. Now this might seem like strange advice but acknowledge that there will always be someone better that you and then move on. Maybe they take amazing photographs. Maybe they just have that wit that keeps people coming back. Maybe they have a professionally designed website with fancy schmancy graphics. Recognise that even the best bloggers had to start somewhere. Just keep improving, being yourself and enjoying what you write.
2. Getting caught up with your limitations.
It is very easy to focus on what you don’t have.So what if you don’t have a Canon 600D, I use an iPhone and it works just fine. Yeah, I would love to have a proper camera but right now that just isn’t possible and I’m not going to let it hold me back. For a long time, I didn’t write on my blog because I felt embarrassed that I didn’t have a cool header or logo. I feel silly now because I wasted three or four months not writing and feeling guilty that I wasn’t working towards my goals. Just start/keep writing. The rest will follow.
3. Having no one read your blog
Ouch, this can be a bit painful. You spend a lot of time and effort in putting out this amazing blog post and then no one reads it. Or maybe your mum does. To a certain extent you expect this to happen in the beginning, but when no one is reading your blog six months down the line, it is just downright depressing. Now I don’t have the answer to this one but here is a couple of suggestions that work for me.
– Do you find your blog interesting to read? If you don’t then others won’t either.
– If your aim is to have a large following, then write for others. Write things that will help, inspire and encourage your readers.
– Network and do it genuinely. Make friends with fellow bloggers. Don’t pester them with spam.
-Have low expectations. Write because you love writing. Write because you love travel. Then the followers will (hopefully) come.
4. You stop travelling or you’re stuck at home.
When you’re not travelling or on the move then writing a travel blog can be a bit awkward. Case in point, I am living in a tiny town in Germany for three months and there is very little to write about. There is only so many times I can write about the forest. My advice? This is a time to be creative! Flex those creative brain muscles. Come up with some great travel tips. Write about a dream itinerary or trip. Write about something totally random. Rant about injustice! Share your other passions. There are no rules in blogging, your blog is your space to write what you want.
5. You’re travelling full time.
Ah.. the other end of the spectrum. Full time travel+Full time blogging= extreme commitment. Now I can’t really comment on this one because I haven’t actually done this but these articles by Ashley from Ashley Abroad and Steph from Twenty-something travel explain the difficulties perfectly. In fact, check out the whole travel-work balance series over on twenty-something travel. It’s great.
6. You have no money to do anything interesting.
Uh oh, you’re low on money and can’t afford that tour/skydive/fancy hotel. So what! I would much rather read about an interesting stay at a dubious hostel than a stay at a boring, generic hotel. Write about that time you hitchhiked or the time you snuck in the backdoor of a museum. Most people in their early twenties are poor. Especially those of us that are trying to see as much of the world as possible. There are heaps of free or cheap things you can write about and your audience will appreciate it your honesty and realness.
7. When you blog for money or free stuff.
So you started blogging thinking that you might make a little money or get a couple of free things. When that inevitably doesn’t happen, you give up. Here is where you need to reevaluate because frankly you should be blogging because you love blogging. I haven’t been given a cent of money or anything for free. Yeah it would be awesome if I did but even if I have to work for years without getting anything in return then I will. I just love it. It makes me happy.
7. Experiencing cyber bullying and discouragement.
Maybe you have someone who writes mean comments on your blog. Maybe your friends think you are stupid for spending hours writing stuff for strangers. Whatever it is, I am sure having those negative influences will make you want to give up at times. But please don’t. Block those negative people! Reject those comments! Ignore the haters! This blog is yours and yours alone and you should feel safe to express yourself.
8. Your internet connection is terrible.
You need internet to write a blog. When your internet sucks, then your blog will suffer. Whether you’re in the Thai islands or New York City, you are going to experience terrible internet. Just persevere! If you have terrible internet at home, then make an effort to get to a wi-fi enabled cafe. Scheduling posts ahead of time is your best friend.
9. Overthinking your content.
Perfectionism is a killer of blogs everywhere. Perfection is the serial killer of creativity and originality. Basically, if you are overthinking and stressing about everything you publish then blogging is not going to be very fun. When blogging becomes more of a stress and less of a fun activity then you are going to be less inclined to do it. We are all imperfect, we are all learning and we are all trying to be better bloggers: Lets just agree on that and move on with our lives and our blogs!
10. Everything worth writing about has already been written.
Have you seen how big the world is lately? We live in a huge, beautiful world and there is so much to see and so much to experience. Go somewhere different. Step away from the SE Asia crowd and head to Nepal or the Philippines instead. Walk across a country. Volunteer somewhere far off. If you really want to go to Thailand and Bali, then realise that your character and your voice will create something totally unique (see point one- stop comparing yourself!).
Have you any additional tips? As a blogger, do you experience any of these things? I would love to know. Please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.