How to Survive Your First Year of Blogging

A vast majority of bloggers give up within first year of blogging – its true. And it is such a shame.

But it doesn’t have to be.

If you have a simple plan and a goal in mind, despite some ups and downs, and few – alright many – hiccups along the way, you will come out alive.

I promise.

This is how I did it.

Subscribe to Other Blogs

Ok, ideally you should be doing this even before you start blogging.

Subscribe to as many blogs of interest as you can. Read their content, see what kind of posts the authors are writing. Look at the headlines, which ones grab you? See their style and mechanics of writing. This is the best way to educate yourself right from the get go.

Comment on their posts, share them on twitter, Facebook or whatever social bookmarking site you are active on. This will help to form genuine connections – naturally.

Make a swipe file where you keep all your favourite blog posts. This is the best thing you can do for yourself: you would never run out of ideas and you have tons of material to link to if you need to reference anything.

As your list grows, you can sort it by topic.

Pick a Niche

Unless you are writing your online journal, you would like some eyeballs for your content.

The best way of achieving that goal is to write on a topic of interest. This topic can be as wide as you want it to be or more specialised. This topic can change or morph into something else over time.

It is worth putting some thought into this. But you can still blog as you ponder this issue. When you are new, you don’t have many readers and that’s one time when it can prove to be a blessing.

Experiment till you are happy with what you write about. Provide focused value.

Post When You Can

Let me dispel the biggest myth of blogging. You need to post every single day – no you don’t!

Remember why you started blogging in the first place – because you enjoy writing and sharing your thoughts. If you force yourself to produce content for the sake of doing it, you will suck every bit of passion and love out of it. On top of it, the material would be nothing to write home about.

You don’t need a blogging schedule, says James Chartrand of Men with Pens. So does Derek Halphern of Social Triggers, or the Blog Tyrant or many other successful bloggers – judging by their posting style and frequency.

Always aim for quality rather than quantity. In this world of information overload, you would be doing your readers a favour.

Take One Step at a Time

When you start, the whole blogging thing can seem extremely overwhelming – there is so much to learn about.

Design, branding, content, videos, social media, SEO, link building, traffic generation and possibly monetization.

Let’s take the example of Social Media for instance. If you are not well versed in this regard, where do you start? Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Stumble Upon, Google+ and now Pinterest. Just thinking of all of this (and more, many many more) can do your head in.

The best advice came my way from Joanna Penn of the Creative Penn. She advises to master one medium at a time. So simple, yet so many times we don’t do it.

*FOCUS* on one social network and use it to specifically promote your brand direct people to your online hub.

This would also make a lot of sense to other introverts.

Twitter is my favourite – I find it to be the easiest and friendliest.

Be Interesting

Write with passion and communicate your enthusiasm for your subject.

There is nothing more boring than the posts that have been clearly written half heartedly. And it does more damage, the reader may simply decide that your blog is not worh following and never comes back.

Develop your own unique style as you experiment.

As you learn new things, share with your readers. It is usually more interesting to learn from someone who is going through the process.

Content is Still King But …

Understand that your blog rests on three pillars: content, design and marketing.

  • You have to actively (with a capital A) let people know about your blog and how to find it.
  • You have to make the best first impression on people visiting your blog for the first time.
  • You have to offer content jam packed with value.

The content is just a part of the equation, you have other matters to look into, such as your site theme and usability and your sources of traffic.

The good news is, you have to worry about your ‘looks’ once. You can even outsource this job somewhere along the way if needed.

Traffic will come from a mix of marketing efforts and the strength of your content. You can either become obsessed with SEO optimization, key words or link building or you can spend your time creating the ‘insanely useful’ content that gets shared and bring you traffic organically.

Also, don’t forget guest posting to form connections with other bloggers and attract some high quality links to your site.

Improve

Everyone gets better when they put in a certain amount of work and effort into their projects – you will too. The quality of your posts will be hundred times better than when you started.

Even if you were an excellent writer to begin with, you will learn techniques to make it worthy of being published on a A-list blog.

Other weaknesses? Address these issues as you go along your blogging journey.

Build your Brand Slowly

Your brand is a mix of your strengths, goals, passions, values, and your personality.

Tell you readers what you stand for and deliver consistently. This will take a while to figure out so don’t rush it.

Decide what you want people to say about your blog and then do everything to convey that message - consistently and across all media.

Grow

As you write more, you will discover getting bored by certain topics. Some areas will suddenly become more interesting. Don’t let this hinder your progress. Make necessary changes as you see fit.

Don’t allow your blog to become stagnant. Most successful blogs grow alongside their owners.

Celebrate Your Victories

Big or small – every bit helps. You get a tweet? Great! Don’t forget to reply and thank the person.

Facebook likes? Fantastic

A comment? Always reply to your comments and show how much it means to you. (Plus you get some much needed social proof!)

You cannot build a community if you don’t nurture your audience. Let them know they are highly valued.

More subscribers? Now you can begin your dance of joy!

Have Fun

Be persistent and don’t give up!

How did you survive your first year? Share your best tip in the comments below.

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65 Responses to How to Survive Your First Year of Blogging
  1. I have to say that all of what you write is so true. What I have is an excel spreadsheet for all of my favorite blogs so that I can keep track of them. I have been blogging for two years now, and the community of blogging buddies is wonderful. Thanks for your post today.
    Jackie Paulson recently posted..Abundance and the Secret law of Attraction by David William Lowell

    • marya

      Thanks Jackie. It is lovely to hear from readers who appreciate your writing. Especially when you put all of your heart and soul into everything you write. Have a great day! :)

  2. Only four months into my first year and already can see how people burn out and lose heart. However, I am really enjoying the opportunity to write each day and love the visitors and comments I get. It is fantastic to be able to do something I love and I hope by the time I get to the one year mark I will have established an identity and a focus for the blog. Thanks for the article so many useful pieces of advice in it for newbies like myself.
    Janine Fitzpatrick recently posted..5 Favorite Recipes for Entertaining

    • marya

      The first 6 months are the hardest. I am glad that you already have found some readers in this short period of time. By the sounds of what you wrote, I am sure you will still be around – and kicking for a long time. Many thanks for your comment. :) Cheers

      Marya

  3. Marya, very intersting article with many good points. I guess one of the biggest problems and one of the main reasons why so many people stop blogging is that a big part gets lured in by the easy money theory. Think about the autoblog thing.
    The biggest share of money around the blog world is given by either courses or ebooks on how to make money blogging, or marketing or similar stuff. People pays a lot for these things and when they don’t see quick results they just leave and probably try to find another easy way to make money. How many bloggers there are around who say that before seeing a bit of results 90 percent of bloggers have to wait for a year? And in terms of money probably more? And I mean writing good.

    Clearly this is not widely said because this way courses and ebooks become much less appealing. And hard to sell.

    Also I guess that instead of focusing on writing content a lot of those newbie bloggers get lost in the social media bubble trying to be everywhere and promote their posts. But if you stay even just half an hour per each social network there is simply not enough time to write or comment. And also in term of traffic social media are useful for a pretty small percentage of blogs, at least from what I know.

    To summarize I think they leave because they are misinformed about what blogging is and how blogging really works. The fact that many of them are blogging just for the money then makes their quitting not such a big loss.

    Am I wrong? :)
    Andrea Hypno recently posted..How to Open Your Third Eye Step by Step

    • marya

      Hi Andrea. First of all, thank you for taking the time out to write your thoughts – lovely reading them.

      And yes, you are definitely right, if somebody starts blogging hoping to make quick and easy money, then they would have the shock of their lives. It is very, VERY hard to monetize your blog and most people try to earn through adsense. What they don’t realize is that they need substantially large audiences to even think about making some money. On the other hand, if you are an expert on something and want to lauch your blog to promote yourself, it could work, eventually.

      I think the happiest are those who start because they love writing and connecting with likeminded audiences. Correct?

      Hope you fall in this category. :) Thanks again. Have a good day.
      Marya

      • My pleasure. :)

        You’re surely correct, and that’s my category, plus making a bit of money of course. But the main drive is being useful to others sharing what I know.

        As for Adsense everyone begins with it due to its open arms policy only that it usually pays pennies. When it begins paying better then it’s usually time to move to something else and earn more. Isn’t it funny? :)

        I mean there are many bloggers around swearing that they earn zillions with Adsense and even selling courses on how to make money with Adsense then if you look at their website they don’t use it, but they use it on their niche sites. ????

        For what I know no successful blogger uses Adsense anymore. You don’t, Danny brown doesn’t, so Marcus Sheridan and so on. There will be a reason for this right?

        Have a great day and thanks for your kind words.
        Andrea Hypno recently posted..How to Open Your Third Eye Step by Step

  4. Hi Marya,
    Having already passed my year mark I can still remember enough of it to say this is all fantastic advice for new bloggers. You need to find and hold onto the joy in doing it – otherwise the occasional put-hole that you fall into can swallow you up!
    Di Mace | Word Swords recently posted..Build your tribe by using a c-word [or three] regularly

    • marya

      Di, every time you come by to comment, I feel so flattered. Thank you! :)

      And the joy of writing/blogging – sigh! easier said than done right? I know I have my battles with staying motivated and what not … I guess, I just keep persisting.

      Have a lovely evening. Cheers :)

  5. These tips are much needed to survive my first year blogging. Thank you…
    Tram Tran recently posted..Mid Feb 2012 progress and why I didn’t do GOALS for FEB 2012

    • marya

      Thanks Tram – when you do (and you will), share your tips with us. All the best.

  6. Spot on as always Marya! I guess one’s just gotta love writing and creating with intensity…
    Mehmudah recently posted..Spread your wings and fly!

    • marya

      Thanks Mehmudah. Always wonderful to see you here … :)

  7. Farrel

    I do agree on you statement Marya and I find it very useful to me. Yes it is to for us to be able to survive we must follow that said tips in the upper mention. Marya, you post are packed with great information and very useful to us. Thanks for sharing this tips.
    Farrel recently posted..XHTML Headings

    • marya

      Thanks Farrel. Glad to help out. Let me know if there is anything I can help you with. Cheers

  8. Marya,

    Thank you for your post. I always enjoy your writing.

    I’ve found for me that my Website/blog is a natural way for me to share my work. I already have a business; the blog enables me to express the concepts and ideas I have and to inform potential customers about the work I do.

    Plus I love to write.

    All my best,
    Joe

    • marya

      That’s a great reason to blog Joe. Love of writing and a desire to connect with your customers – nothing can top that. All the best. :)

  9. “One step at a time” sounds great. Twitter is my favorite also. But Google virtually left no choice but to join Google when they announced search plus your world (http://goo.gl/a7fz5). Now Pinterest is creating considerable hype :(
    I’ll come back and comment if I survive my first year – just a couple more months… fingers crossed :-)
    Ali | Writers Blog recently posted..10 Killer Articles Every Writer & Blogger MUST Memorize

    • marya

      Long time no see Ali, good to see you again. :) I can see that you are doing a great job so no doubts there whatsoever. (Your guest post on Carol’s blog was great too!)

      Social media – where do I even begin. I am not on facebook a lot, and find it the hardest of all mediums. Have yet to look into Google plus and Pinterest, don’t even wanna go there. One step at a time, right?

  10. I do agree with you! I hope by the time I get to the one year mark I will have established an identity and a focus for the blog. Thanks for sharing this.
    Earl Dickerson recently posted..Project Management Software Online

    • marya

      All the best Earl. :) Thanks for dropping by.

      Marya

  11. I am still in my first year so I can’t answer how I’ve survived just yet but I can thank you for the awesome insight on this topic. I will definitely be using these tips over the coming months.

    • marya

      Best of luck Jim. And feel free to contact me if they need help with any particular issue. Thanks for your kind words. :)

      Marya

  12. jon

    really helpful post,the first 6 months are the hardest, people seem to get lured with huge dollar signs, they think big money can be made really eaily and quickly, when it doesnt happen automatically, they stop blogging

    • marya

      I agree Jon. It is a shame when people think of blogging as some sort of get rich quick scheme. No wonder they get a shock of their lives when they begin. Thanks for your comment.

      Marya

  13. thanks a lot for your post… u can say i m in my first phase of blogging and sometimes its really hard to cope up with the situations… i guess would help the beginners like me a lot…
    kunal @ teckilla recently posted..How to Install Custom ROMs On Android Devices

  14. wonderful writeup!Too much to motivate and the best part, half the things I am already doing :)
    Monica Verma recently posted..How to study for 12th boards?

  15. marya

    Thanks Monica. Fantastic to know you are aleardy putting things in practice. Cheers.

  16. Yay, yesterday was my official one year mark; I made it. I posted about it last Monday and promptly caught a bug and shut down my social for the whole week. I wondering if I could even start on year two…….yikes…..

    I’ve had some ups and downs and had to readjust my focus a time or two, but ultimately I had to keep it fun or I never would have made it.

    I have enjoyed my journey, hope you have as well.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..80 and 1 but oh so close to being done…

    • marya

      Happy Birthday billdorman.me. Hope you had tons of fun while taking ‘baby’ steps. Time is approaching to break into a run … hope this is your best year yet. Cheers :)

  17. Great post. It’s easy to give up when you’re not getting a lot of views/readers. But like you said, you have to stick with it, and watch it grow. The mighty oak doesn’t become mighty within 11 months.
    Naeem Congo recently posted..Can Millions Help You Grieve?

    • marya

      Thanks Naeem. Let’s keep going, shall we? :)

      Marya

  18. This is great advice. I am sitting where you were year ago. While I manage the blog and social media for the biotech I work for, I am just starting it all for my personal accounts and presence. Been on Twitter for about a month or so and my blog is sitting on WordPress.
    Charlesetta Pete recently posted..Critical Path Timing Plans – Ensuring That You Can Always Focus on the Critical Path

    • marya

      Hi Charlesetta. Hope the blog posts helps with the struggles and hard times that are bound to come up. Let me know if you need help with anything specific. Cheers

  19. The main things is to never ever give up! There might be many bumps and drawbacks in your route and the worst thing is to give up without fight.
    Every blogger have to find what motivates them and how to keep going in situation when you feel there is no hope and you are just wasting your time.

    Thanks Marya for inspiration!
    Steven recently posted..Vocabulary Level E Answers

    • marya

      Wise words spoken here Steven. One cannot continue blogging without hope that at some point things will get better. It is not easy … Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  20. I know people who blog for 8 years, I don’t know how they do that. I can’t make myself do it for a month
    goldfishtoyshop.com.au recently posted..yeahhhh a new website

    • marya

      I know what you mean. It has been a while for me since I posted. Better do it asap eh?

  21. Blogging has showed me that there are many other things worth learning and doing. Also when I start blogging I realized how big the online world is and how many opportunities it can offer.
    Becca recently posted..Hello world!

    • marya

      Yes, during the first year much is to be gained by investing most of your time in learning. It pays off big time eventually. Thanks for your comment Becca. Cheers :)

  22. Thanks so much for this post. I am in my fourth month of blogging and a lot of this info has freed me up. I also appreciate the comments that your readers have posted!
    Nichole recently posted..Celebrate the Small Victories!

    • marya

      Good to know Nicole. Let go of the notions that dictate what you should be doing and claim your freedom. Happy blogging! :) Marya

  23. Really great tips you share with us. Its very helpful for my blog thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post.
    abhinav recently posted..Aiseesoft Total Video Converter

  24. I like the point about building your brand slowly. Too many bloggers have unrealistic expectations and that is why they quit.

  25. I have to say that for the past couple of hours i have been hooked by the impressive posts on this blog. Keep up the great work.

  26. I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the courage and the strength to continue with my blogging. I have been blogging about happiness and how the worlds opinion is so skewed as to what it means. I want people and i mean all people around me to understand what it means to be happy and to define happiness in its proper form and to help them take the proper steps to get there.
    HappinessDirect recently posted..Controlling Anger: Where does Anger come from?

  27. very helpful post, if you can past the first 6 months then youre laughing, too many get lured by the dollar signs then give up when the results dont show immediately and abandon everything
    bryan recently posted..Run With the Vision

  28. If I was just starting blogging I would file this article into a file just as you said for later use. I agree with you blogging successfully is a slow process and you need to just take things slow and build who you are in the consumers eyes. This is a really great article to calm first year bloggers down.
    Elena Anne recently posted..The Power of Beets: 10 Reasons You Should Try Them

  29. Hi Marya!

    Thanks for the words of wisdom – as someone just starting my first blog now, these tips are so helpful!

    All the best!
    Shira Bee recently posted..Sparks of Inspiration: Summit Series, StartingBloc, and Sarah Kay

    • marya

      Thanks for your kind words Shira. Let me know if I can help you in any way. Cheers

      Marya

  30. “Post When You Can” – GREAT advice, Marya. See Glen Allsopp of Viper Chill. He posts irregularly, but when he does, his posts are really awesome, and they attract 100+ comments usually.

    I’ve just started my blog…5 months ago? These tips are really helpful. Thank you.
    Amanda recently posted..Become a Succeeder and a VIP Member!

    • marya

      He does write sporadically, and that’s why his ‘epic’ stuff ain’t so bad … heheh

      Marya

  31. I love the 3 point, post when we can, I think this is great tip to avoid stress from blogging. Thanks for share your awesome post.
    Trung Nguyen recently posted..5 Aspects on Webinars for Continued Engagement With Customers

  32. I definitely agree that we should subscribe to other blogs. Other blogs are a source of inspiration for creativity, content, and word play. Blogging needs to happen in a community, if we try to do it on our own we will be missing out.
    Elena Anne recently posted..10 Ways To Burn Fat Without Losing Muscles

  33. Ali

    Ok, I just did it; survived the first year of blogging :)
    Ali recently posted..The Top 10 Job Boards For Writers

    • marya

      Good to know, Ali. Hope the second year is way more lucrative .. :)

  34. I just started a blog/website which is a collection of my music and writing pieces. I wish I had seen this article beforehand, though. I thought, hey, I’ve got content so I’ll be fine, right? I didn’t even know if I wanted to have a blog in the website or not at first. Now, I’m realizing that I really do want to have a blog, since it’s a good way to get my writing out there.

    But it seems like I’ve jumped the gun a bit. I have no connections, or anything else like that you speak of. And my blog is mediocre at best compared to many I’ve been looking up today. A bit discouraging, I’ll be honest with you. Do you have any suggestions on what I should do, since my site is already published? Is it too late for me to start doing some of these things?

    Thanks a lot for this article, I’ve been looking for some genuine help that isn’t all about SEO or backlinks. This information is golden! :)

    • Couple of things … you don’t need anybody’s permission to start blogging and you certainly don’t need any connections. My experience is that you form connections AS YOU GO ON .. naturally.

      Seconly, don’t compare your blog to others, let alone with bloggers who have been blogging for a number of years. (As a new painter, would you compare your work to Picasso’s?. Same logic applies.) This is a classic mistake and one you should remind yourself of, constantly. I still do. :)

      My advice at this stage is to just start blogging and also continually educate yourself about how things are done. Look into making your posts scannable and trying pitching some related blogs for guest posting … hope this helps. :)

      Marya

  35. Nice article loaded with great advice.

    I’m into my third week of blogging,and already I’ve learnt so much from other bloggers. When I joined, I had no idea what it was about, but I can already relate to what you wrote above. It’s a process of evolving, and I dread the day I look back after 10 years and read my first post! I sometimes refer back to blogging tips/guides to help me out if I’m stuck.
    Denzil recently posted..Semi Truck Drifting Madness

    • Thanks, Denzil. Good to know you are learning so much and enjoying the journey .. :)

  36. Marya I would like to thank you for this great post. I have been blogging for 4 months. I have been using a few Social Media sites joined in some of the fourms they have. I can see why beginners burn out and quit. I was glad to read we don’t have to have a schedule. To be honest it probably takes me a couple of hrs to make 1 post. Marya I would like to ask you a question. I am blogging to promote my affiliate program. I also have added 3 different categories so I could offer different solution to problems or maybe inspiration for vistors Is that good or bad idea? Thanks for listen Marya
    Orval recently posted..Who’s Reading Your Blog Post Information?

  37. Thank you, I’m writing a book and decided to delve into the world of social media a few weeks ago. I think your advice to start with one social networking tool and master it is excellent advice. I put up my website, started blogging, a twitter and FB account all at once. It’s been rather exhausting trying to keep up with all of them and still trying to write! Good advice from you, thanks!

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