I don’t know what it is this week but I’ve been in a blog subject type of mood. Every article post idea has been about blogging. Could be the excitement still emanating from my radio show feature with Annette earlier this week –listen here- or it could be the excitement over reaching the 1,000 subscriber mark (and the crowd goes wild…. or not), but I thought I’d share my first experiences as a new blogger two years ago.
I started this blog in 2014 so to just be making it to the thousands may not be all that significant to some but this is huge for me. The conception of this post was thinking back to the early days where I praised reaching three hundred and four hundred followers. Why did I stop doing that? It was fun! I even monitored the international support I received and I was really excited about it. Yes, life gets busy but I’d hate to become proud as if I’ve made it somewhere when I’ve not. That is when I thought, “Well, share your experience with starting the PBS blog.”
I remember my excitement over my first one hundred! In fact, my first blogging experience on this blog got off to a pretty good start far as subscribers are concerned. I managed to reach 300 followers in my first three months. Here’s some of what I did. Will it work for you? Possibly. I caution however that blogging is a funny thing. Everyone has to find their own way. Here’s what I did:
1. Resurrect Old Writings
When I started this blog I was actually still blogging on WordPress under a different account. The name of that blog was A House of Poetry (you can find my silly post about cheating on that blog with The PBS Blog here) and it was a blog dedicated completely to poetry. Thing is, it didn’t really go anywhere and I wasn’t dedicated to it. When I started this blog I began by transferring a lot of my published poetry to this blog. I also tore into some old poetry books and rewrote some older poems and added them to this blog. My goal was to introduce myself to the blogosphere by showcasing something I knew was a strength: poetry. Every day I published a new poem and the faucet was on.
I knew I couldn’t go on much longer with just poetry. I’ve already tried that and it didn’t work. So, I got organized and a tad bit crazy but I’ll speak on that in the next point. I decided to incorporate some features into this blog so I decided I’d publish three posts a day all covering three separate things: One poem, one article or creative writing piece, and one quote. Every day I published these to attract more than one kind of reader. Some people liked the poetry most, others the quotes and others the written piece. I was on the road to creating variety with my blog which is what I wanted. Since my poetry blog, focusing on a niche has never been my thing. Yes, I know, many people say to have a niche. Truth is, I don’t think you need one to be successful at blogging. What you need is quality content and interaction with others, but I digress.
Probably by far the most influential, I got a little crazy. I was publishing three posts every day, six days a week. I know, but that’s the kind of person I am. Dedicated. Loyal. All or nothing. I knew I couldn’t keep up this momentum for long but I felt it was important to establishing a presence in the beginning. At the end of the day, what I was trying to achieve was consistency. Beginnings are difficult and challenging but when it comes to blogging, consistency is important. Even if you just post once a day (or even once a month) it can make a big difference. Again, I think it’s important to remember that my first experience with blogging was not this blog. I’ve had two blogs before this. I’ve tried preaching to the choir. I’ve tried the staunch “staying true to my art”. Been there and done that. With this blog, I’ve come to learn how to stay true to myself WHILE incorporate my passion into something relatable to other people. Preach art all you want, but people need to be able to feel and relate to what you’re saying to truly understand it (people will never give ear to what they do not understand). Otherwise, your blog is not going to attract new faces. Oh? You don’t care? So what are we here for? Personally, I am not here to smile and look “deep”. It’s time for new levels. How powerful is my message if it never reaches anyone? Exactly.
Just because I was posting a lot does not mean that I was getting feedback. All of these beginner posts got anywhere between zero to five likes and no comments. I wasn’t sure how to engage or what it meant to produce quality content and all that. I just knew that I had something to say and that as a beginner I needed to get a good foundation under me. What it helped me to do was to be humble. I learned to always respond to comments and to rejoice at whatever little growth I got. Ten likes were golden and because of this experience, it still is. I still take the time to open every email notification of a new like or comment. It’s to the point now where I know which of you will like what based on your like habits! Yes, I’ve gotten to know you better too.
Probably the most effective was networking or as I like to call it, the bonding process. The posting was not and is not enough. My first time seeing real feedback was when I started to follow other blogs, comment on other blogs, share content from other blogs and interact in challenges. This is when I really started to see blog growth. In fact, I noticed one hundred followers in one month, then another hundred, and then another. I noticed that I was getting one hundred followers a month and by the end of my first three months, I had a nice three hundred under me.
I’m not sure if there’s a standard with blogging, but three hundred followers was mine. For a long time, I considered ending this blog. Over time, however, I decided that it may be worth it to keep it. As I made this decision I also had to consider building. This meant paying attention to a lot of the technical things I hadn’t paid attention to before, tags, content, images, social media sharing, networking. No longer was it sufficient to just post anything, now I had to take into consideration a lot of background work that may help contribute to building a greater blog. In the beginning, it was posting, the equivalent to getting myself out there but now, if I was to continue to grow then I had to continue to do more than just post. I had to consider how important blogging was to me, and how much time I was willing to dedicate to it (not trying to spend a lifetime here or anything but by time I just mean at least a post a day). Now it was about more than just posting, it was about doing the work.
Here’s to another one thousand. Maybe someday all of this work will pay off and I’ll be writing AND blogging full time. Here’s to endless possibilities. Cheers.