I am happy to welcome Natalka for today’s guest post and to hear her talk more about the “Skills I’ve gained since I launched my blog” and the story of her first year of blogging. I hope you find it valuable for the journey you are on as well. Also, find a full author bio at the end of this post and if you want to know more about Natalka check out her Blog ww.iwanttobuyahouse.co.uk. Xoxo Katie
Anyone who keeps there blog anonymous, or hidden from people they know in real life, can be forgiven. When you tell people you own a blog, their assumptions jump straight to you typing diary entries about your crush all over the internet.
When I started my blog I only told a handful of people, and there was more of them against the idea than for it. Funnily enough, my nomination for the UK Blog Awards changed their minds and now they are asking me for tips.
The thing is, blogging really isn’t about writing. It’s not even about grammar really. Good written communication and grammar skills are a good thing to have if you want to start a blog. But I’ve learned that there is so much more to blogging than anyone realises.
One year ago when I launched my blog I didn’t think I’d be able to CSS code from memory, earn money by building sites for other people, or analyse months of data at a time to find the exact statistic that tells me when to schedule a tweet. Here I am though. And here’s are the skills I’ve gained since I launched my blog:
Social Media Marketing
I have a bachelor’s degree in advertising and that did not prepare me for managing my own business on social media. If you take your blog seriously and are committed to working on it, you are running a business. Every business needs a social media strategy, especially one that exists solely online.
The most successful bloggers use the 20:80 ratio. So they dedicate 20% of their time to creating content, and the other 80% of their time promoting it. 100% of them are utilising social media.
I only use Pinterest and Twitter at the moment. Each platform was a challenge in itself, but I definitely have gotten stronger. As well as just using social media to talk to people, I’m using it to grow my network. The people I engage with are in turn helping me to improve my skills.
When you really focus on building a community of supportive people, all you have to do is ask. Seriously. Nothing is too much for the Twitter community. And I can say the exact same for my tribe mates on Tailwind!
Of course, my social media management skills aren’t just a reflection of my ability to talk to people. I know how and when to schedule posts on all platforms. I know what sort of people will engage, and how to write and create eye-catching content to drive more traffic to my website.
These are all things that come with trial and error. I’ve used loads of different focus colours on my pins. It’s taken me almost 100 before I realised that red works best for me, now I stick to a neutral red and white theme. It’s just a case of practicing and finding what works for you. Write your own list of do’s and don’ts.
Just in case I don’t bang on about it enough over on my own blog, I’m a part time masters student and a full time waitress. Anyone that’s ever worked in the service industry knows that a full time week is closer to 60 hours a week than 37. And I literally do not know what shift I’m working until 4 or 5 days before it happens. I could start at 7.30am or I might not start until 3pm. And who’s mopping at 1am? Always me. So as you can imagine, having a schedule of any sort is difficult.
I decided from the outset that I was going to take my blog seriously, and the only way to do that was to be strict with my time. I’m a money blogger, so as well as the content creation and social media promotion, I always need to get to the post office to send off an eBay listing or go and find out what bargains are in TK Maxx.
I write my content after work, so around midnight. That’s also when I’m most active so most of my blogging friends aren’t from the UK! I do my errands on the way into work, people love seeing the weird and wonderful items I show up with. But the biggest thing that has improved my time management skill is scheduling.
Everything is scheduled. EVERYTHING. I allocate about two hours on my day off to schedule my upcoming posts and social media content. At least I look like I don’t work six 14-hour shifts a week on Twitter, right? Two hours is a long time to sit at my laptop on my day off, but it frees up my time for the rest of the week and allows me to get my university work done.
Have any of you noticed that since you started writing, you’ve also started reading? I’m not just talking about blogs. Last October I read my first ever adult novel (that wasn’t Harry Potter). Since then, I have finished five books! And I’m really proud of that number because the length of time it takes me to read a book has halved since that first book I read last Autumn.
I wanted to start reading more because I thought it would improve my writing. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I did read an article somewhere that said the richest and most successful people in the world read over 50 books a year. Basically, reading is supposed to make you more successful. So I did that. And I’m getting better at it.
I touched on this when I talked about the social media skills I’ve gained since I launched my blogs. This is a skill I’m sure all bloggers can relate to but maybe didn’t realise they had it until they read this post. I’m very anxious when it comes to meeting new people. My personal social accounts are almost untouched because I never think anything I have to say or show is relevant to anyone else, so I don’t bother. I had to get out of this mindset to take my blog in the direction I wanted it to go in.
I’ll tweet pointless bits of information, just because I find it funny or interesting. I’ll comment on other peoples blogs, asking them questions to find out the things I want to know to improve my own site. But one of the most valuable things I’ve learnt is that most people are in the same boat.
I would never have emailed or messaged someone I didn’t know asking for something before I started a blog. In my head, the recipient would just be huffing at their screen thinking how annoying I am. Do you know what I’ve realised? That is not the case.
Everyone is rooting for each other in this little community we’ve built. I don’t have any problem when it comes to networking with other bloggers, brands, or just general people. These are the people who could come knocking on my door with the next most useful plugin, or they might remember my own blog one day when they are looking to buy a house. Networking is one of the irreplaceable kills I’ve gained since I launched my blog, and I think it’s the one I’m most grateful to have received as well.
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. I’m a blogger, not a CEO of a Wall Street-based financial corporation. No one expects my grammar to be perfect. No one expects me to be signing off emails in the proper way or structuring my sentences using vocabulary that I learned in a textbook. In fact, people are more comfortable when I’m just using my normal voice. Now I type to someone the same way I would talk to them, and I’ve learned that people are much more sincere that way.
Another one of the most important skills I’ve gained since I launched my blog was SEO. No one can launch a blog, on a self-hosted domain, without picking up a little bit of SEO knowledge. I think it’s what I research the most. I want my site to be on the first page of search engine results pages. Don’t we all? So I’ve had to develop this skill from nothing in under a year.
If you want to start blogging yourself, download our FREE SELF HOSTING PDF Guide below:
Luckily, there are loads of resources online. I’ve gone through the first four pages of Google results already, and there are so many useful bits of information on the subject. My main focus has been to improve my on-page SEO and I do that by improving the readability of my content, using high quality images with alt text relevant to the keywords that I’m trying to rank for, and placing heading, subtitles, and lists within the text so that the Google bots that analyse my site mark it as user friendly. There is so much more to it than that, but you can research that yourself if you’re interested!
I also want to touch on domain authority. I feel like it should be the first thing you learn about when you launch a website, but it’s not. It doesn’t really come into play until you want to monetize your site, and even then no one talks about what it is or what you can do to improve your score. I’ve been reading (again) and I’m proud to say I’ve improved my skill level (and my domain authority) significantly in just one short year.
Data analytics goes beyond your daily traffic insights (who knew). Since launching my blog a year ago, my ability to read and analyse data has improved so much that it has had a positive effect on all of the factors you’ve read about above. It’s definitely one of the most important skills I’ve gained since I launched my blog.
I know the exact time of day when I get the most traffic from Pinterest, so I schedule content and social media posts on Pinterest at that time. Also, I understand my bounce rate and how to keep people on my site for a little bit longer. Furthermore, I know the different behavioural paths of a person using a tablet compared to a person using a mobile. My site has benefitted from my ability to analyse the data.
I’m getting weirdly obsessed with my Google Analytics account. I know people say you should avoid checking it all the time, but I can’t help it. Honestly, I don’t even monitor my daily stats… Mostly I look at behavioural paths in different cities and other really weird bizarre statistics.
Understanding how to analyse data is relevant to loads of industries and careers. That’s why people will pay you to complete surveys, they just can’t get enough data to analyse. It was a really vital part of the advertising agency that I used to work in as well. The fact that I’m gaining this skill from running a blog is a big deal, and is something I will be putting on my CV for sure.
And that’s that. I think. I’m sure I’m learning more. Yesterday I ordered a book about CSS coding so I could have lied and said I was an expert coder and web designer but I figured this post was already getting too long to keep your attention. What skills have you learned since you started blogging?
I love hearing about the weird ones that you wouldn’t necessarily link with something like blogging and if you enjoyed reading about the skills I’ve gained since I launched my blog. Leave a comment down below to start the discussion or head over to my site (http://iwanttobuyahouse.co.uk/) for more ways of getting in touch with me.