I’ve been blogging for just over two and a half years now. Sometimes, it feels like I just started, where as other times I feel like I’ve been blogging forever.
Today I wanted to share with you the things I’ve learned over these past two and a half years of blogging.
So, in no particular order, let’s begin…
25 things I’ve learned in 2.5 years of blogging…
1. Pinterest is a search engine
Maybe I should back up and first say I’ve learned what a search engine is! An example of a search engine would be google. Meaning, people type in things they want to know about, and then Google brings up articles and videos that relates to what they are searching for.
Since beginning blogging, I have learned that Pinterest isn’t a social media platform like I had thought, but rather a type of search engine that deals primarily with vertical pictures.
2. Blogging is a great way to meet people
I’ve “met” so many incredible bloggers through blogging Facebook groups, Pinterest, and Instagram. I also met new people when I attended a blogging conference. Additionally, I’ve been able to “meet” awesome people who read Joy Because Grace and connect with them!
3. Blogging conferences are so much fun
I went to my first ever blogging conference, Declare, in July 2016. I absolutely loved it! Read more about my experience at Declare here.
If you would have told my high school senior self that in 2 years I would travel two hours and go to a three day conference that consisted entirely of women who I had never met before, I would have said you were crazy. The thought would have terrified me! Going off to college was scary enough!
But I didn’t feel afraid to go to Declare. I was excited and felt at peace. These were my people. I could say things like “Facebook algorithms” or “Canva” and they wouldn’t look at me like I was crazy.
I had an absolute blast at Declare and want to go back again someday! :)
4. Consistent branding is key
All of the graphics here on Joy Because Grace have a cursive font (that is typically pink) and then a print font (that is typically brown). Sometimes I switch up when things are pink or brown, but those are my colors.
This isn’t because I lack ideas for how to make these graphics unique, it’s because this way when someone is scrolling through Pinterest and they see a pin with fonts and colors that they associate with Joy Because Grace, they’ll assume that pin goes to Joy Because Grace as well.
5. Consistency in general is key
Presently, I strive for there to be a post published on Joy Because Grace every Monday and Wednesday, with a My Singleness Story post on Saturday.
Last summer, I was busy with nannying and volunteering with various church summer camps, so posts were only published once a week on Mondays.
I don’t really thing the frequency of posts matters, rather, it’s more important to be consistent with when you post.
6. Guest posts are awesome
Here are 3 reasons why I absolutely love guest posts:
- Remember up above when I said presently there are 3 posts a week being published on Joy Because Grace? Well, I’m really only writing one of those. I don’t have time right now with my school schedule to write more posts, but I want to be able to provide new content more often than once a week. #EnterGuestPosts
- I love being able to offer the readers of Joy Because Grace different perspectives. I’ve been single my whole life up until 2 months ago when I started dating someone. Thus, I’ve never experienced a break up, something my readers probably have gone through. So, I was able to have someone guest post on how to survive life after a break up.
- It’s a great way to meet new bloggers and encourage others to check out their blogs :)
7. How to run a guest post series
My Singleness Story is the first guest post series I have ever hosted. Back in December I emailed those apart of the Joy Because Grace newsletter and asked them if they would like to share their singleness story. And thus this series was born!
Find out how you can be a part of this series here.
8. How to set up an email newsletter
Something I heard pretty much as soon as I started blogging was the importance of having an email newsletter for your blog. And I ignored this advice for about 2 years.
Finally, in June 2016 I decided to take the plunge and start an email newsletter. I used Melyssa Griffen’s Mail Chimp tutorial to help me figure out the logistics of a newsletter.
I also started off my newsletter by offering people a freebie when they joined. This one freebie has helped me grow my newsletter faster than I ever would have thought.
In case you were wondering, the freebie is the Praying for Your Future Husband eGuide, something I had been working on for 8 month before I finally released it :)
9. The power of Facebook
Facebook can be a blogger’s best friend… or worst enemy…
I personally love Facebook because of the Facebook groups for bloggers that I’m a part of, as well as using the Joy Because Grace Facebook page to share content from this blog and others with people.
10. Blogging is not about me
Waaaayyy back when I started this blog in 2014, I mostly posted about what was happening in my life or about my memories. Nothing that would really benefit someone who was reading my posts. (Want a laugh, go through the Joy Because Grace archives from 2014/ early 2015 to see what I’m talking about :) )
Once I decided I wanted to become serious about blogging, I started looking up things on Pinterest (remember, it’s a search engine ;) ) to learn how to improve my blog content.
And something I quickly learned is that blogging is not about the blogger. It’s about the reader. Each and every post should benefit the reader in some way. The reader should learn something, laugh, or feel something emotionally after reading the post.
This concept is now common sense for me, but, like I said, at the beginning of my blogging career I had no idea how to write a good blog post.
11. I don’t get Twitter, and that’s okay
Twitter is something I really tried to master spring of 2016.
I really did.
But I still didn’t understand how to do Twitter. So I stopped trying, and focused on some other area of growth. Presently, I have my Joy Because Grace Facebook posts auto-post on Twitter, and then I call it a day.
I’ve learned that I cannot possibly be on all social media platforms at once, and that’s okay.
12. How to develop my voice
When I started blogging, I searched Pinterest to learn how to improve. One of the things that bloggers said most consistently was that “you need to develop your unique writing voice.”
And I was like, “What the heck do they mean by that??”
But somewhere along the way I think I have discovered my “voice.” I don’t really know how to describe the process, it’s something that just sort of happens. I think it’s a combination of how we think and talk, with a bit of how we view the world mixed in.
13. How to make graphics
…Like the one you’re about to see below ;)
I love how with Canva it saves all the images you’ve made and you can even put them in folders. Also, you can set your brand’s colors now, which makes creating images a thousand times easier.
Both Pic Monkey and Canva are free, but there are also paid versions of them where you can get more features. I just use the free options :)
14. That I can easily crank out a 1000 word blog post, where as writing a 1000 word essay for a literature class is more difficult.
Why is that???
…Probably because when I write a blog post its about something I care about, not about some poem that I hardly understand.
I like to write. A lot! Once upon a time there was the belief that shorter posts, like around 300 words, work the best. And I struggled to meet that guideline. Finally, I stopped caring and just wrote posts as long as I wanted.
Now, people are saying that longer posts do better, such as 1200 words or more!
This post is turning into a novel, speaking of which. The word count is currently 1576. If you’ve stuck with me this long, kudos to you! :)
15. Sometimes you can learn things for free and sometimes it’s good to pay for that knowledge.
As I’ve mentioned, I have searched Pinterest for everything blogging related that I could find. But I have also paid for some information as well.
About 6 months after I started blogging, I learned about Ruth Soukup’s book How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul. So I ordered it off of Amazon and got to reading.
Then, this past summer, Arabah Joy was reopening her blogging course, Christian Blogger Bootcamp, and I loved the reviews I had heard about it. I loved this course! It taught me how to best make images for Pinterest, and my blog traffic has greatly increased after implementing her tips. She also offers a lot of advice for Christian bloggers, which I loved.
This past fall, I read Brittany Ann’s book Strategies Worth Sharing which is all about how she grew her blog’s Facebook page from 2K to 100,000 in just 5 months. She offers great tips in this book that all bloggers can benefit from.
Brittany Ann also launched a Facebook course this past winter that I jumped on. I learned so much through Facebook Strategies 2.0.
16. The benefits of having a clearly defined niche.
This was another thing bloggers kept saying. “Have a niche!” “Have a niche!”
Once I figured out what the heck “niche” meant, I struggled for a long time to discover what mine was going to be. Would I write about college? Study tips? What I’m learning about Jesus?
And then I wrote the post 2 Keys to Being Contently Single in June 2015. I didn’t publish another post about singleness until October 2015 when I wrote The Secret to Being Content. Meanwhile, I had published the Praying for Your Future Husband series during September 2015 after I had seen the movie The War Room.
Even after all of this, I didn’t admit that I wanted to write the majority of my posts about singleness until February 2016 when I wrote the post Why We Should Surrender our Singleness.
I tell you all this as an encouragement. It took me FOREVER to figure out what the heck my niche would be, so if you don’t have one right now, no worries. :) Write about what you like to write about, and one day you’ll discover what you’re passionate about.
17. Bloggers are some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet.
I love meeting new bloggers. Be it in a Facebook group or at a conference, I love it! :)
I feel like I’ve already talked about this a lot in #2 and #3, so I’m gonna move on.
18. The benefits of scheduling posts ahead of time, instead of publishing them immediately.
Over Christmas break, there were 2 days where all I did was write blog posts. I was able to write 3 posts per day, and then schedule them out over the upcoming months.
One, I knew I would be insanely busy once school started back up, and
Two, I knew Caleb was probably going to ask me out soon and I wanted to get as many posts about singleness written while I was single as I could. (The post I published a few weeks ago, 3 Things to do When Facing Peer Pressure to Get a Boyfriend, is one I wrote during Christmas break.)
Scheduling posts ahead of time makes my life as a blogger sooooo much easier. I don’t have to scramble at the last minute to write a post.
19. That I can write an eBook
This was one of my goals/dreams back in March 2015 and it came true when the Praying for Your Future Husband eGuide was released in June 2016.
20. Facebook groups for bloggers are AMAZING!
I’ve already touched on this some above, but I want to link to my favorite groups:
- The Peony Project
- His Girls Gather
- Graced College Girl Bloggers
- A group that’s just now starting up!
I’m also a part of Facebook groups for the Christian Bloggers Bootcamp and Facebook Strategies 2.0 courses that I mentioned in #15.
21. Titles of posts matter
For instance, which post sounds more interesting to you: Contently Single, or 2 Keys to Becoming Contently Single?
This relates to point #10 when I talked about writing posts with the reader in mind.
The title of each post should directly communicate what the reader can expect to find in the post. A few post titles “categories” do better than others:
- “How To” posts
- A list post
- A question post
There are more “templates” than these of course, and you can find more on Pinterest :)
22. Pinterest group boards are fantastic!
These are a great way to share your content with people who aren’t following you AND a great way to find new content to pin!
23. The value of focusing on one or two social media platforms at a time.
I mentioned this when I confessed my lack of understanding of Twitter in point #11.
But really my friend. Blogging is a great way to learn that you can’t do it all and it’s better to do a few things well than all the things mediocrely.
I don’t have to worry about Snapchat or Twitter or Stumble Upon or any others that might show up in the future.
Knowing my limits brings great freedom!
24. I apparently LOVE reading blogs.
Quick list of [just a few of] my favorites:
25. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the encouragement of my readers and the grace of God.
So often, when I’m going through a “Blogging Crisis” when I’m doubting my calling or am experiencing writers block, I feel like I’m to the point of giving up.
When that moment comes, one of two things happens:
- I receive a message from someone who’s read one of my posts and it encouraged them so they wanted to shoot me a note to encourage me.
- Something comes up in a sermon or Bible study or during my personal Bible reading that reminds me that this is where God wants me to be.
If it weren’t for the grace of God and the encouragement of Joy Because Grace’s readers, this blog probably would have ended ages ago.
So there are the 25 things I’ve learned in 2.5 years of blogging. :)
Reflection is good. I like looking back over time to see how I’ve learned and grown and in the blogging world I suppose it’s no different.
Until next time,