I’ve been blogging since November 2012. I did start a blog in August 2012, but I shut it down the same week I began. So that doesn’t count.
Even to this day it all seems like a joke to me. But I’m grateful for everything that’s happened.
Here’s what I’ve learned in my past 5+ years of blogging so far:
1. People WILL steal your work and claim it as their own
I remember receiving an email from a reader of my blog.
It was something along the lines of:
“hey, I read your blog and wanted to let you know someone is stealing your content and reposting it as their own. Here’s the link”.
After clicking the link, I noticed the same person was stealing content from:
- Pick The Brain
- Addicted 2 Success
And many other websites with medium to large audiences.
This isn’t and wasn’t the first time it’s happened either.
In other cases, people will lazily copy your style and claim it as their own. Eg – if your logo has a diamond shape, they’ll use it and change the colour.
So what should you do in situations like this? Nothing.
How long will they keep it up? That’s the question you have to ask. And the answer is obvious: in the short-term they’ll stick around, but in the long run they’ll disappear.
No sense in stressing about a fucking loser who won’t be around in the future anyway.
Time reveals everything.
2. Success is determined by the long-term, NOT the short-term
Continuing from my last point, blogging success is determined by the long-term and never the short-term.
That’s what I’ve learned countless times in my 5+ years of blogging.
I remember talking to dozens of bloggers with websites I’ve written content for. And even others who have shared content on my own blog.
Guess where they are now?
That’s right – they’re no longer around.
- They quit.
- They gave up.
- They couldn’t hack it.
- They weren’t patient enough.
- They weren’t committed to progress.
- Or they didn’t have enough faith in their blog.
And here I am 5 years later – winning awards and being featured in tons of roundups every week, month or year.
Vanity aside – success as a blogger is determined by the long-term, and how far you’re willing to go.
3. Playing “mister nice guy” will hinder your progress
I’ve held back a few times unintentionally.
I played “mister nice guy”, or in other words – I was being politically correct.
- When you write for everybody.
- And you play it safe.
- Or you try to avoid “hurting people’s feelings”.
Your writing (or vlogging) will suffer.
Not being true to yourself when you blog makes your content boring, mediocre, lifeless and bland.
Food tastes better when you add “real” ingredients. And the same is true for blogging.
The best ingredient you can add is revealing your true self without holding back.
Trying to stay on people’s good side guarantees you’ll be known for nothing special.
4. Guest posts are overrated
I won’t discredit the guest posts I’ve written for Pick The Brain, Dumb Little Man, Addicted 2 Success and so many other websites… But it has to be said: guest blogging is overrated.
In 2005-2010 guest blogging may have been worth it, but in the years since then? The supply of guest writers is ridiculous.
The irony is: I’ve had more success without the need for writing guest posts (with the odd exception here and there).
And it’s absolutely not necessary to write guest posts for the sake of succeeding.
At least not anymore for most industries.
You’d be surprised at how many blogs succeed without the help of Huffington Post, or any other site with lots of clout.
5. Blogging helps you develop self-awareness
Self awareness helps you:
- Make better decisions.
- Pursue the right career, job, or business that plays to your strengths.
- Realize what it is you actually want out of life.
- Discover your strengths and weaknesses.
- Realize what’s important, what’s not. And what works vs what doesn’t work (according to your results).
The journey of blogging teaches you all of this and more.
You learn about:
- What topics you’re drawn to.
- Which topics you perform best in.
- What makes you “tick”.
- How you really feel about certain subjects and causes in society.
Another massive benefit of blogging? It’s therapeutic, as it gives you a place to vent and express your feelings instead of bottling them up.
6. You won’t know for sure until you hit “publish”
I’m shocked again and again by the results of my content.
Let’s take my article: Jobcentre Plus Is Useless for example.
It’s one of the best articles I’ve published in terms of engagement and endless amounts of traffic over the years. And yet – all I did was express my thoughts about something nobody else was willing to.
On the flip side – I’ve written content that I intended to do well. But it never “blew up” in spite of my efforts.
You’ll never know for sure until you hit publish.
That’s the curse and blessing of creativity. It’s too unpredictable to measure with 100% accuracy. Your worst content (or ideas) can often become your absolute best. Even if you don’t like it personally.
7. Being “politically correct” is the road to failure
“I respect those that tell me the truth, no matter how hard it is.” – Unknown
Going back to my Jobcentre Plus Is Useless post, it’s not politically correct to say the things I did. But that’s because it’s the brutal truth.
In fact – someone who works in the careers/government industry didn’t like what I had to say. And they made that clear on Twitter.
But that’s the point: it wouldn’t have succeeded if was a politically correct post.
Nobody cares if you don’t have an opinion. And by playing it safe, your content will be stuck in the middle. Unable to attract anyone who strongly disagrees, or passionately agrees with your message 100%.
Trying to please everybody is a road to failure, as you’ll never stand for anything meaningful enough to evoke a reaction.
8. Social media followers are overrated for blogging success
I have more people reading my content every day than I do social media followers.
The joke is I have a high engagement rate despite not having 10’s of thousands of followers. Even more so than accounts who do have larger followings.
This is especially true for an anime website I have.
The irony is – how many social media followers you have has NOTHING to do with how many visitors share your content.
So you can still gain large amounts of social shares, or have your blog do well and succeed in spite of social media followers.
This might not be true in some industries that are an exception, but in general it’s an overrated metric you shouldn’t be measuring for blogging success.
9. Consistency is the name of the game
Bloggers have a shorter expiration date than a carton of full fat milk.
Only a handful make it to the 2-3+ year mark. And almost nobody is still blogging after 5-7+ years.
It’s too easy to quit.
Like most things in life that are worth pursuing, things take time.
For some people it’s 5 years. For others it’s 10 years. But whatever the number – things take time.
A good blog is judged by its consistency.
Only the most consistent will ever be considered the best. It’s the reason you see so many bloggers receiving awards and features from tons of websites and prominent people.
Talent is cool. Skills are great. But nothing beats being consistent and developing yourself over the long-term.
That’s what separates the best blogs from the mediocre blogs that give up, or become too lazy to post anything for months. Or even years in the most ridiculous cases.
I made a long-term commitment to my blog from the day I started. And that’s why I’m able to write this today.