My first year of blogging: what I’ve learnt so far

Marmalade Pie's first birthday

Happy 1st birthday Marmalade Pie!

A year ago today I posted my first proper blog post. Fast forward twelve months, and I can’t believe how much my blog has grown. I started off posting quite sporadically, but gradually I’ve found a pattern and style that suits me.

Here’s some things I’ve learnt during my first year of blogging:

Just get writing

Don’t get too hung up with the design and layout of your blog at first. Get something written, take some photos and see where it takes you. There’s no point in having a beautiful façade if there’s no content behind it. Don’t worry about being an expert in the technology – you can learn as you go along.

Keep your layout and design simple 

My design is still pretty simple and I’m still perfecting things. If you want to be more individual, opt for a self-hosted site. I transferred mine over in the summer, and it has allowed me to customise my WordPress theme and get things exactly how I want them (for now!).

Find your voice

I started my blog in a chatty, diary-like format. I found it easy to talk about what we’ve been up to as a family. These are still my favourite kinds of posts, but I’ve also tried to write things that feel more like articles – alongside craft, cookery and interiors posts. I love reading general ‘lifestyle’ blogs, and this is exactly where I want mine to be. Sharing snippets of our life, alongside inspirational ideas and tutorials.

Make a choice: personal or aloof?

Some of my most read posts are ones which are quite personal. I like sharing my thoughts, but I’m also private and shy and don’t feel comfortable talking about everything. I don’t want to be all style and no substance, but equally, I don’t want to over-share. My blog makes me happy and I don’t necessarily feel that I want to share things that make my unhappy or scared. But clearly these things are more interesting than posts about flower-arranging. You’ve got to strike a balance, and that’s a hard one to judge sometimes. I’m still finding my niche.

Try not to compare your blog to other blogs

Very hard, I know. If I ever try to directly compare mine to blogs I admire, I can feel downhearted. Avoiding comparisons lets me concentrate on being me, and enjoy other blogs on their own merit. I guess that blogging is competitive, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of generosity of others I admire.

Be prepared: blogging is a slow-burning thing

Unless you’re blogging about something very specific that people want to know about, you may find that attracting readers is a long, slow slog. I’ve spent the last year chipping away at the iceberg, discovering blogs I love and finding lovely readers in return. But nothing (for me at least) happened very quickly and has certainly taken a lot of time and effort. I remember reading somewhere (wish I could remember where) to imagine your statistics as people sitting around a dinner table listening to what you have to say – suddenly small numbers don’t feel so insignificant.

Fire your imagination

Since starting blogging I have become more creative. Ideas pop into my head and I’m forever jotting things down in a notebook. I can’t really think of anything comparable to it. I feel like I’m using my brain a thousand times more than I was a year ago.

Embrace opportunities

I have been amazed and delighted at the opportunities that have already come my way. Things I’d never have considered doing if it hadn’t been for blogging.

Beware: blogging eats time

You could spend all day reading blogs, writing blogs, commenting on blogs, thinking about blogs… It all takes a lot of time. It’s worth it when you’re enjoying it, but there can be a danger of living your life through a blog-writing lens.

Quantity or quality?

I am increasingly trying to limit how much time I spend on it. I went through a period when I challenged myself to post every day. It really inspired me, but I took a step back recently and realised that it is possible to blog too much. I felt I was using up good ideas too quickly and rushing things. I’m beginning to think that a more measured approach is better – posting less frequently, but working harder at the things I produce.

Link up to other blogs 

Before I started blogging myself, I’d never heard of blog link-ups. It’s been a great way to meet other bloggers and introduce others to your blog. It is quite time consuming though – fiddling with your own blog posts to add badges or other texts, reading and commenting on other blogs – I only take part in two or three per week, less if I’m busy.

Be inspired by other bloggers

I love reading other people’s blogs and peeping into their lives. Blogging has been such a fun way to get to know new people, even if I haven’t met any of them yet!

Here are my some of my favourite posts from the last year:

One Day, Two Directions

10 things I’ve learnt about boys (so far)

Melford Hall: a perfect National Trust property 

White Stuff comes to Ely

Footloose and Lego-free: my tips for happy family walks

Mothers’ Day Musings

I am so looking forward to seeing where my blog takes me over the next twelve months. Thank  you to all my lovely readers for your continued support! 

10 thoughts on “My first year of blogging: what I’ve learnt so far

  1. Lucy

    Wow what an interesting post, and happy birthday Mamalade Pie! Thank you for being so open, it’s great to read what blogging has taught you and how you’ve developed the content that you include (I too don’t prefer style over substance blogs – I guess I find them detached and unattainable!). It’s great to read that not everyone knows exactly how they want to set their stall out straight away, I still very much feel like I play at blogging rather than doing it properly, maybe when I get into my second year I’ll take a few more steps! x

    Reply
    1. marmaladepie Post author

      Thanks Lucy – I’m glad you enjoyed the openness, I was worried it would come across too negatively… I am definitely learning as I go along, which is the best way I think. If you waited until you had every planned out perfectly you’d never get going! x

      Reply
    1. marmaladepie Post author

      Thank you Sammy! I’m so glad you found it useful – there’s so much to learn, isn’t there?!

      Reply
  2. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad

    Happy blog birthday! I can definitely relate to some (probably all?) of your points, and this really made me think about them all over again. A lot are still definitely a work in progress, and I found it interesting to read your take on them. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  3. Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely

    Happy blog birthday!!! I learnt so much in my first year. I think the biggest thing for me is always retaining a little bit of privacy, hence the reason my posts tend to err on the lighter side … yes, maybe more style than substance. And also keeping true to what I want to write about as opposed to what I feel I should write about. Some of my personal favourite posts tend not to be the best received by readers but I continue to write and publish them because I really enjoy them, as that’s really important to me x

    Reply

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