The last blog post (posted a couple of days ago entitled: “Small business strategy question: What does your business do? And what does your business sell?“) was blog post #1001. Technically I’ve written more blog posts than this but I lost a bunch when I switched from Blogger to WordPress a few years ago.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM 1001 BLOG POSTS
Blogging is demanding. Even if you pre-write some blogs (which I like to do but am not always able to do it), you will always struggle to keep up with the “deadlines”. The farther in advance you schedule blogs for, the harder it will become: Life’s commitments get in the way and I like being timely and relevant on my blog, which is harder to do when you don’t know what’s going to happen a few months down the road. My solution has been to pre-write and schedule a week or two in advance, and then pre-write (but not schedule) another handful of blog posts. That way, I’m staying ahead of the curve but not pre-writing so far in advance that I’m irrelevant.
Blogging is personal. When I first started my blog (well, when I first started this most recent WordPress iteration of my blog), I wrote shorter posts that were pretty wooden. In spite of the fact that I’ve been writing professionally for 18+ years, it took me a while to find my voice for this blog. How “corporate” did I want to be? I started blogging for business purposes and though that I should keep it professional (and in my mind, professional = cold and formal) but then I realized a few years ago that even if I wasn’t blogging for business, I would still blog. That was a watershed moment for me and I took the stick out of my ass and started share a little bit more about me. Although I’m still a pretty private person, I’ve enjoyed opening up a little. I can’t speak to whether or not it directly helped my business but it definitely helped me as a writer and business owner.
Blogging goals are important (but you can’t do everything): When I first started this blog, I dreamed of a busy, highly active blog with hundreds of visitors, each leaving massive numbers of comments on my highly engaging blog posts. That hasn’t happened and I’m okay with that. My blogging goals have shifted over the years so I’m not as concerned about traffic or comments or social shares. When those things used to concern me, it impacted my blogging and I didn’t enjoy it as much. Today, I write about what I want, I’m thankful for the traffic I get, and I don’t lose a wink of sleep over comments or social shares. That’s not to say I don’t pay attention to that stuff, but I mean: I’m not going to stuff keywords into my blog posts to get more clicks. I’m going to focus on good content that reflects the things I’m thinking about right now. If someone finds that stuff useful, I’m happy.
Someone else’s blog is always going to be better than yours… and that’s okay. Some bloggers are insanely practical or insightful in every blog post (Seth Godin, Chris Brogan). Some bloggers have a very clearly laid-out blog that looks crisp and attractive and makes me want to read more (Tim Ferriss). Some bloggers build up a massive amount of traffic even though they write crap (Names withheld to protect the guilty!). Then I go over to my blog and I think “Bleh. My writing is mediocre and my site is a mess”. On a sunnier day, I might not think that but it’s easy to compare myself to others. That’s still something I struggle with but I’m learning to stop and consider what I do have before I make drastic changes. I’ve built something I’m proud of and it works for me. Those should be my only measures of success.
Blog posts don’t have to be perfect. As a writer, I initially thought that I needed to have perfect blog posts. But that’s impossible so I’ve revised that idea. My blog posts have spelling mistakes and grammatical mistakes and flawed logic and rambling sentences and I’m okay with that. When it comes to client work, I try to be flawless but my blog is me and I’m far from perfect. (My wife disagrees but she is wrong). I don’t think those errors position me as unprofessional. (Well, maybe they do but I’m fully booked until 2015 so I have enough clients who like that I’m unprofessional). Just write your blogs, get your ideas out there (even if they are half-formed). A blog is a work in progress and each blog post is only part of the mosaic.
Blogging should be fun. Blogging should be fun. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. If you absolutely have to have a blog for your business, outsource it to someone who will have fun with it. As soon as blogging stops being fun, your blog posts will no longer be readable.
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT 1001 POSTS
Where will I go for next 1001 blog posts? That’s hard to say. I’d like to blog more frequently. And as my business changes (it’s ALWAYS changing because I won’t let it stand still), my topics will continue to reflect those changes. I’d like to do more video and share a little more of my life with my readers. As I get closer to publishing my book or jumpstarting the speaking side of my career, you’ll see me blog about that a little more too. I’m looking forward to it. Here’s to the next 1001 blog posts!