I’ve had this blog since April 2012. That’s over four years now. It took me a long time to find my groove in the blogging world and I had plenty of insecurities along the way (I still do).
But here are five things I finally learned (some of which took me the full four years!):
1) Redesign your blog as often as you want
I used to stress about this SO MUCH. (See “How often is too often when redesigning your blog?”)
As a designer and developer, I get the itch to redesign my blog often.
- It’s fun
- I get bored of designs quickly and easily
- Having a new design is exciting
But I would stress about “my branding” and “confusing my readers” and “not having a consistent online presence”.
Well, after redesigning my blog every 6-10 months for the past few years, I can tell you that nothing bad has happened. My readership continues to grow and people still know who I am. Sure, I don’t have a consistent logo, but that hasn’t stopped me from writing, and it hasn’t stopped readers from coming back.
2) Post every day or once a week—it doesn’t matter
I’ve been on both sides of this coin. I blogged 5-7 days a week for years. Now I post maybe once a week.
I’ll be honest, I do miss blogging 5-7 days a week. I miss it a lot, actually. But after a few years of that, I’m sad to say that I’ve run a little dry of blogging ideas. I simply have fewer things to say, which is why I pulled back to only posting about once a week.
But guess what? Nothing bad has happened as a result. I don’t even get fewer page views. I just make sure to put 100% effort into every post I publish.
3) Following your passion is the most important thing
Passions change. That means your blog might change. This is also something I’ve struggled with so many times. I was afraid of losing my audience because they wouldn’t be interested in my new passions.
But I can promise you something: you’ll be a lot happier if you follow your passion but lose some of your audience, than if you DON’T follow your passion and blog about something you no longer love.
“Passion trumps niche” Amanda, Nellie and Co.
4) You don’t have to accept all advice
I’ve often ranted about how much I hate copy and pasted content like blitzes, promo posts, spotlights, etc. — especially where the HTML is provided for you and you just paste it into your blog. Well if you’re seriously passionate about those things, then ignore me and post them, goddammit. Other peoples’ opinions are just that—opinions. You don’t have to follow them.
One thing I ignore is focusing on a specific niche. My blog would probably be more popular if I ONLY posted about books, or ONLY posted about coding, or ONLY posted about WordPress, or ONLY posted about freelancing. But I don’t want to do that. I prefer to awkwardly straddle all of those topics, so that’s what I’ll do.
5) Don’t treat blogging like a job (unless it is)
So many book bloggers get unnecessarily stressed.
- They don’t review a book before the publication date and freak out.
- They don’t feel like reviewing a book at all and punish themselves for it.
- They push themselves to publish posts they’ve always done, like monthly wrap ups, etc. — even if they’re no longer fun.
Why did you start blogging in the first place? Probably because it sounded fun. Keep it that way.
Unless this is your job, you’re not being paid. You don’t have a boss. There are no rules. So stop holding yourself to these totally arbitrary rules like:
- Read books in the order you get them.
- Don’t read that 2017 ARC until you’ve read and reviewed that August 2016 one.
- Post at least 3 times a week.
- Review every book you read.
- Post a wrap up each month.
Who came up with that shit anyway?
If there’s something you don’t want to do, then don’t do it. Stop forcing yourself to do things you no longer enjoy.