19 Blogging Lessons For My 19th Blogiversary

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

19 years ago today I was a 6th grader wandering through our public library with my mom. In the featured books section there was a book titled something along the lines of “How To Build Your First Web Page”. On a whim I decided to checkout the book and see what this web page craze was all about. There were a few gymnastics pages out there that I had obsessed over and I wanted to learn to do it myself. 19 years ago today I started my first website on Angelfire. It was called World Famous Gymnasts and one section I kept updating regularly was my online diary. You know, a blog long before the word blog existed.

Thanks to that day at the library I’ve have met some incredible people and made life long friendships that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve had the fortune of meeting Olympic champions, designing their websites and getting to know members of their families. There are inside jokes to last a lifetime with one of my closest friends who designed websites with me for years. Most importantly it lead me in the direction of my career. Ironically enough my career ultimately led me to my husband. I don’t blog for a living nor am I involved in website design anymore. The skills and knowledge from hundreds of hours in front of the computer lead me to Internet Marketing and I couldn’t be happier where it has taken me.

With that being said, I guess you could say that I’ve officially been blogging for 19 years now. Believe it or not I still have about 95% of the blog entries I’ve written over the years in some capacity. Many are saved in Microsoft Word documents and some of the really old ones are even still published way back on this blog. I’ve learned A LOT of blogging lessons over the last 19 years so in honor of my 19 year website/blogiversary I thought I would share 19 blogging lessons I’ve learned in 19 years of writing about life.

19 Blogging Lessons

Important Things to Know

One. Not every day is a breeze. There are good days where your post gets hundreds of pageviews and there are days where you’ll be excited to see 20 pageviews. There are days where you want to write and there are days where Facebook sounds like a much better idea.

Two. Haters Gonna Hate. This phrase makes me laugh as I type it but it couldn’t be more true. This is quite possibly one of the biggest blogging lessons (or website design lessons) I’ve learned. I will never forget the very first night I spent in the dorms at Valparaiso University. My phone rang at 5am because one of my websites was getting spammed with angry gymnastics fans over the results of the Olympic All Around competition. I was up and working early and my roommate thought I was crazy. Some days you are going to get negative feedback. Ride it out, things will turn around.

Three. Not every post you write will go viral. If it happens to you, that is incredible. Even better if it happens not long after you launch your blog. Sometimes that post you worked for hours and hours on isn’t going to get the traffic you expected. Sometimes that post you would least expect to be a big hit is the next big thing. You never know what the Internet will get excited about tomorrow. Let’s be honest, who could have predicted our obsession with a Giraffe giving birth?

Four. You never know who you will touch with your posts. One of the biggest things I used to do was hold back ideas. If it didn’t fit with the theme of my blog or I thought people would judge me for I didn’t write it. Then I started connecting with other bloggers and I’ve realized that just because one person might not agree with a post I want to write there might be someone else out there who can walk away from it with a new perspective. Write it down anyways, you might touch someone when you least expect to.

Blogging Tools You Must Have

Five. Don’t hesitate to invest in a good host. I’ve used Dreamhost to host my websites for close to 10 years now. Their support staff has been wonderful. Having your own domain will gain you more respect throughout the blogging community, give you room to expand your blog and help with your SEO. Trust me, take the leap and buy a domain.

Six. Buy a template. This is one of my newer blogging lessons I finally adopted. I used free templates in WordPress for years. While they worked for me they never had me completely satisfied. After purchasing a template that had almost exactly the layout I wanted, the customization options were so simple from there.

Seven. Find a community. Over the years I’ve taken various breaks from blogging. Some have been weeks, some have been months. I always go back to missing the basics of blogging. I’ve come to find that the main reason I’ve taken those breaks is because I lose the excitement a community of bloggers brings. In my website days I lived for chats with my fellow webmasters. These days I get excited to see what my favorite bloggers have to share in my favorite Facebook groups each morning.

Three Must Have Blogging Tools: A Good Host, A Good Template & A Community. Click To Tweet

Physical Items You Should Invest In

Eight. Invest in a good pair of headphones. No seriously. Over the years I have blogged listening to music, podcasts, youtube videos and even thunderstorm sounds. Cheap headphones don’t last long and I finally decided to invest in a good pair of headphones. Not having your headphones break at an inopportune time can save you more stress than one would expect.

Nine. Caffeine will be your best friend. Just kidding, okay not really. I personally write my favorite posts over a cup of coffee. Many lattes have been consumed over the years. Invest in a good coffee mug (or 20). If you would ask me which of my blogging lessons I’ve mastered over the years… it would be this one.

Ten. Back to school sales will be your best friend. If you are anything like me, you will have hundreds of notebooks with ideas written down. Again, maybe it is just me but I used to spend hours sketching out website designs and blog ideas in notebooks. I still carry notebooks around with me to jot something down if a post comes to me when I’m in an awkward spot. Looking back through some of those notebooks makes me laugh but also makes me realize just how many ideas I’ve had over the years that I never even bothered to go through with.

How Many Cups of Coffee Does It Take To Write a Blog Post? Click To Tweet

Social Media Is Still Important

Eleven. Don’t hesitate to share your blogs on social media. Every single blog post I write gets shared on at least four social networks: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter. Chances are at least one person will click through. Maybe someone will even share it to their own page.

Twelve. It’s okay to pay to advertise your blog on social media. Some of my favorite blog posts I’ve read have been from clicking on an ad on Facebook. Advertising on those platforms is not just for Fortune 500 companies. Anyone can do it.

Thirteen. Create images that are Pinterest friendly. People love Pinterest and saving things for later using the network. I recently read that you should always have a Pinterest friendly image for every single post no matter what the topic is. This gives people the option to pin your images if they want to save it off and you still will have control over what image they pin. Boardbooster is an incredible Pinterest tool if you are looking to up your game.

What is your go to social network to share a blog post? Click To Tweet

Monetize Your Blog

Fourteen. Years ago I put Google Adsense banners on my websites and quickly discovered you could earn a decent little paycheck if people clicked through your ads. Eventually I bought into the idea that people don’t like seeing ads on websites and stopped. That was stupid. People will use an adblocker if they get THAT annoyed by ads. You run your blog, why not make some money?

Fifteen. Don’t miss out on affiliate opportunities. You don’t have to just use ads to monetize your blog. Chances are if you are blogging you at some point in time will reference a product you love. Have you ever looked into an affiliate program for your favorite products? Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a game changer when it comes to learning how to monetize your blog. Michelle will give you ALL of the tools necessary to promote your favorite products and make a few dollars while you’re at it.

You don't have to make a living blogging, but you can earn some extra cash while you are at it! Click To Tweet

Never Stop Learning

Sixteen. Last year I discovered Facebook groups and it took my blog into so many directions. The amount of blogging lessons and information these groups provide are incredible. Have a question about Pinterest? Need some advice on a logo? They have it all. Don’t ever hesitate to pose a question to fellow bloggers, they will (almost) always be happy to answer.

Seventeen. Never hesitate to try something new. The internet is always changing. This is probably my favorite part about the last 19 years, there is always something new to learn. Last year Instagram was the be all end all of organic marketing. This year it’s Pinterest. Next year who knows what it will be. Take a leap of faith when someone tells you to try something new.

Whatever you do, don't ever stop learning. Click To Tweet

Be Yourself

Eighteen. Don’t write a blog that you don’t believe in. If you walk away remembering any of these blogging lessons walk away with this one. So often we get caught up in the idea of certain opinions getting more traffic to a blog. Your blog is YOUR blog. Your community visits your website because they believe in the content you have to share. They will keep coming back if they find that you are truly genuine.

Nineteen. Do what you love and love what you do. I spent the first 10 years of my online journey designing websites for gymnasts while maintaining my own personal website. Over the years I realized I fell out of love with the process of designing the websites and fell in love with the process of creating content for the websites. The most important of all of the blogging lessons I have learned over the last 19 years  falls in line with one of my favorite quotes:

“Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

These last 19 years have been a wild ride. I can’t wait to see what the next 19 years bring.

If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a blog, what would it be? Do you have any favorite blogging lessons you’ve learned?

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links.

Comments (37)

  1. These are great tips! I totally agree with getting a good design in place and focusing on social media. My piece of advice would be to BE transparent. Your readers will be able to relate to you and will want to come back when you’re open and honest!
    Carrie this fit chick recently posted…Friday FavoritesMy Profile

  2. Oh I love these tips! I am still a newbie and have been thinking about buying a theme but have been unsure which direction to go! Congrats on 19 years!

  3. I love this! Thank you for sharing. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine that we’re already to the point in history where someone has blogged for nearly 20 years (it all still seems so new). Thanks for opening up your storehouse of wisdom and giving us some great pointers and encouragement! <3

    1. I feel the same way! I honestly have a hard time looking back and saying “has it really been that long?”

  4. This is a fantastic list. I agree about the caffeine. I feel like I drink more when I have a lot of writing to do. Just makes my fingers go faster!!

  5. Wow you are so inspiring! 19 years, YAY. These are such great tips for me as I slack on my blog. Thanks!

  6. Well this is pretty cool. I thought about starting a blog back in 2008, but didn’t start till last year. Hope I can be as success

  7. I must say starting a blog on something that you feel passionate is really great. But the hardest things to keep in mind is that not every day will it be easy where words flow and people love what you have to say. You need to put best efforts for success.

  8. Wow! Congrats on 19 years! I’ve only been blogging for a few years and I think that’s awesome that you’ve kept up with what you’re passionate about!

    1. Thank you!!! It’s funny to see how much my blog has evolved over the years though! Good luck continuing with yours!

  9. Congrats on your 19 years! You’ve listed some really great tips for anyone starting out, and as a great reminder for those who have been blogging a while

  10. WOW, 19 years that’s impressive! I am for sure pinning all of these great tips. Congratulations to you!

  11. Happy birthday! I hope you’ve learned a lot from.blogging and those will help.you to guide you on your success.

  12. This is such a cute idea! I built my first website in fourth grade – I’ve never thought about exactly how long ago that was! I agree that cute coffee mugs are worth it – there are some in my cabinet that have been way more effective than others!

  13. Ok the tip about the coffee is my favorite. Right up there with be yourself because that is really what it is all about, expressing ourselves with authenticity, in the hopes that we reach others in a meaningful way?
    Robin recently posted…Shop My StyleMy Profile

  14. Navigated here from you May update post. Insightful tips from 19 years of blogging. I wonder who came up with ‘Haters gonna Hate,’ it’s so true. No matter how we present ourselves or our opinions (even if we are neutral), there will always be people who disagree and hate us for it.

    I have a facebook page and twitter but have not got started on Pinterest yet. That boardbooster tool looks interesting.
    Leo Tat recently posted…40 Foods High in Polyphenols Antioxidants With Net CarbsMy Profile

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