There are so many things that I am grateful for in life these days. However, one of the things that I find myself most grateful for is this amazing tool and resource we call the Internet.
Not only does the Internet provide us with the means to communicate with friends and family all over the world, it provides us with a tool to self-educate, monetise our knowledge and skills, and connect with a global audience of over 3.5 billion people who are just a click away from you.
Right now, we are living in truly extraordinary times in that we are able to express ourselves and pursue multiple projects like never before in history.
We have everything we need to begin and build something meaningful and of value in the course of just a few hours.
And that project of yours in today’s digitally connected world gives you the opportunity to build a community of followers who can learn something from you and your experiences.
Understanding how to take advantage of the wide choice of platforms available online is not reserved for the few or talented among us. Just like anything in life, it’s about practice and experimentation.
Everyone started from somewhere and knowledge itself, is very much a muscle in that it needs to be stretched and worked on regularly for us to develop new skills. And it is these new skills that will allow us to ride the technological revolution that we’re currently experiencing and benefit from it, rather than being a victim of it.
I know this because I pretty much had no idea how to do some of the many things I now know how to do today.
How I Started a Blog
I have always been in awe of the amazing things that the Internet makes possible in our lives, but I have transitioned from being a mere consumer of content on the Internet, to being a creator of content and exploring new ways of reaching readers and customers across cities, countries and continents.
What compelled me to take action in starting my online lifestyle blog about food and travel was really my curiosity.
With this curiosity, I began a journey of learning from as many sources as possible. I read books; I took courses (both online and offline); attended workshops here in London; and, began following other successful bloggers to learn from their successes. In effect, I became a sponge, absorbing as much information as possible
Having learned a fair bit, I knew the hardest part was now getting started. In buying that domain, putting the website together and publishing that first article onto the web.
I was a little nervous.
Perhaps it was because of the thought of whether people would like it or not.
But then I did it.
Once I did, it was pretty much like the snowball effect. Things just started gathering pace. Soon after making my site live for the world to see and telling everyone who would listen about it, I began learning first hand all about SEO, Adobe Photoshop, social media marketing, design, and so on. I’ve even become a better photographer throughout this process!
The blog became my arena to put all the knowledge I was building into practice. I began learning what worked and what didn’t work very quick.
This has been my biggest win from blogging.
While I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy all the brand collaborations and press trips around the world to beautiful hotels, dreamy destinations, and restaurants serving flavour-packed plates of food, the opportunity to have learnt all these digital skills along the way has been the ultimate win.
It has empowered me to experiment more and push my comfort zones further.
The journey has also been a real test of my patience and persistence, both of which I’ve had to work very hard to maintain. In order to create regular content that is of a high quality, you have to be incredibly passionate about what you’re talking about. It’s got to be about something you find yourself talking about to people around you every single day.
If, like me, you’re considering launching your very own blog, I wanted to share with you my top 5 lessons I’ve learnt from my journey as a blogger:
1. See Your Blog Through Your Readers’ Eyes
It’s important to remember that your readers are the ones you’re writing for and so your writing needs to be conversational in nature, provide some personality and even allow the reader to imagine that they were there experiencing what you’re writing about, and provide enough value that will compel them to engage with you and share your content with others.
2. Plan Fun Activities In Your Calendar to Fuel Your Creativity
If you want to be blogging regularly and be providing your readers with fascinating insights, you will need to have plenty of content to write about.
This is where your creativity comes in and to help spark some of those creative ideas, it’s important to schedule some fun (and sometime spontaneous) activities into your calendar as well as quiet periods for reflection. Ultimately, this helps to make you a more interesting person to your readers as well as inspire your writing.
3. Develop Relationships With Other Bloggers
Blogging can be a lonely activity and so it’s therefore important to tap into relevant communities and connect with others to share your journey and be inspired by what others are doing. You can connect and engage with other bloggers via platforms such as Instagram or Facebook groups.
New opportunities can easily come from being connected to the right person at the right time, something I’ve experienced personally in recent years. In fact, I’ve made some of my favourite friends through meeting other bloggers, other passionate people who understand the journey that we are on and going through.
4. Your Brand First, Money Second
Understanding what your brand about is very important as you start your blog and online identity. It helps you to say ‘No’ to an exciting opportunity just because it pays well, but has nothing to do with what you blog about or doesn’t align well with the brand you’ve created. It also helps PR companies and brand representatives to know in advance what opportunities would be best suited for you.
5. Take Regular Breaks to Maintain Some Work-Life Balance
Exhaustion can have a negative influence on your writing and creativity. It’s therefore important to take regular breaks to recharge (such as a digital detox day) after starting your blog and regularly refine the way you work so that you’re working more efficiently.
Some of the most experienced bloggers I know for example, will write a few blog posts in advance to ensure they can maintain their publishing schedule, even when they take short breaks.
If you’ve already started your online blog or have been doing so for some years now, I’d love to hear some of your personal lessons!
One of my goals this year is to share some of my lessons and experiences with others who are serious about starting their blog. I know it’s something I would’ve benefited from years ago and as a result, the first steps in this has been producing an online course about how to begin blogging this year. Also, check out my new creativity blog Dreamer to Creator.
So if you’re looking to finally start that blog this year, sign up here and let’s make it happen! Also, on 23rd April 2017, I will be sharing some strategies on growing your personal brand and influence to boost your career and business through blogging, join me by RSVP your spot here.