Hey guys! It’s birthday week over here! Today is my 28th birthday and just a few days ago this blog turned 5 years old!
To celebrate, I’m sharing 5 lessons I’ve learned in the last five years of blogging today, and I’m also hosting a live Q&A virtual birthday party tonight! Whoop whoop!
Sign up HERE and come and join me for a video chat where you can type in any question you have about blogging, entrepreneurship, writing for others, etc. and I’ll answer it – any question is fair game! It’s my gift to you. 🙂
Okay now that the PSA is over with, here are the five big lessons I’ve learned in the last five years since I started a blog:
1. Prepare for the Almighty Glitch
Website problems are a part of blogging. If you had a brick and mortar business and a pipe bursts, you’d have to close the store and lose business for a few days. Online businesses are no different, except the issues that happen are slightly more technical in nature.
In the last five years, I’ve had my blog completely cyber attacked or click bombed as they called it, I’ve written 2,000 word posts only for them to totally disappear, and even silly things happen, like how this post went out blank yesterday when it was meant for today. That last one was more of a user error, but it just goes to show that even someone who blogs professionally and has done it for five years still has to deal with little things that don’t go the right way.
The best way to remedy this situation is to monitor the back end of your site carefully, have extremely good and complicated user names and passwords, and to hire people who are more knowledgeable than you are to help you fix problems when they arise.
2. Hire the Best Help, Not the Cheapest
I’ve hired a number of people over the last five years to help me with my various business endeavors, and I can honestly say, the team I have right now are superstars. I’m serious. In my early blogging days, I worked with people who almost lost my entire blog during a server switch, people who said they could design blogs and logos but gave me products that I could have made myself, people who were supposed to help me by lightening the load but weren’t fast learners and so were more of a burden than a help.
Now I have weeded through all of that and have finally found four people who help my business grow and hum along. They are:
- Grayson Bell of iMark Interactive, who I pay a monthly fee to make sure all of my websites are glitch free and always “on”. Grayson answers e-mails with lightning speed and is absolutely amazing at what he does.
- Kayla of ShoeaholicNoMore is my blog manager, staff writer, and organizer in life. She is absolutely incredible and is definitely the reason anything stays on track over here. She hasn’t let me down yet and we’ve been working together nearly a year. I couldn’t get through one day of working without her.
- Gretchen from Retiredby40Blog is a genius with Pinterest. When I first hired her two months ago, only 2% of my traffic was from Pinterest, and now over 10% of my traffic is from Pinterest and growing every day. It’s now to the point where I’m getting more than 50 new followers every week on Pinterest, and it’s all because Gretchen knows exactly what she’s doing.
- Jeff from TheBusyBlogger who knows everything there is to know about lead generation, creating courses, and webinars. He brings so much knowledge and brainstorming to my business. It would have taken me months and months to learn what he’s taught me in just a few weeks.
If you would have told me that my blog, which started out costing me only $10.00 for a domain name on a free blogspot server, would five years later require well over $1,000 in monthly expenses, I don’t think I would have believed you. However, I realized about a year ago that by hiring out tasks to others who are experts at what they do, I can focus on what I like to do and leave the rest to them.
3. Do Not Check Your Stats Every Day
If you’re a blogger and you go to your analytics account every day, you should definitely stop. It’s just going to drive you crazy. I check my stats maybe 3-4 times a month, usually because an advertiser asked for up to date numbers or I want to see how a particular post is doing for affiliate income purposes.
I never get worked up about the numbers or wonder why one day was better than the other. If you’re blogging and enjoying it and putting out content and connecting with others, your blog will grow. It’s really quite simple. But, beating yourself up about the stats and using them as a metric will only cause frustration, unless it’s an awesome day, in which case you should revel in it. 😉
4. Re-Invest and Learn Every Day
If you want your blog to be your business, you have to constantly re-invest and learn everything you can about your craft. I regularly pay for new blogging classes, coaching calls, technical upgrades, etc. Even though I’m a full time blogger and I’ve had the opportunity to get hired to write for some incredible sites, I still like to read how other freelancers get writing jobs, organize clients, etc. If you reach a point of success and think there’s nothing more to learn, then it’s definitely your loss. Online businesses change at an extremely rapid place. You have to be constantly on your A game learning about marketing, Google updates, and other changes that could affect your bottom line. Don’t get so caught up in your own site that you forget to learn how to improve it.
5. It’s Just a Blog
Although this blog means so much to me and is my full time job, at the end of the day, it is just a blog. It is not the most important thing in my life although it is definitely closer to the top of the list. When I get frustrated or fall into the habit of comparing myself to others, I have to remember, it’s just a website. If it all went away tomorrow, I would still have my family, my friends, and my happiness. I’m lucky that I started blogging five years ago before blogging was so saturated. It allowed me to get a bit of a leg up and learn by trial and error.
However, I don’t know if I’ll be blogging at age 60 or doing something completely different. What blogging has shown me is that I am an entrepreneur, something I didn’t know I was a few years back. It showed me I can run a business – and a pretty busy one at that. It’s taught me a lot about marketing, interacting with the world, and positively influencing those who might need help. I’m so grateful for it. It is just a blog, but it’s my blog, and the last 5 years have been an incredible journey.
Thank you so much for your support of this blog over the last 5 years. If you want to ask questions about becoming a full time blogger or anything related, remember you can sign up HERE to come to my awesome sauce birthday webinar tonight. Hope to see you there. 🙂
34 responses to “5 Lessons I’ve Learned in 5 Years of Blogging”
Happy Birthday and anniversary Cat! #3 was a killer for me in my my year blogging, always check my stats, looking for growth. Not so much anymore. You just need to continue to write and network and it will happen over time.
Happy, happy birthday and happy 5th blog anniversary Cat! This Thursday is my coming birthday too! 🙂 And you definitely have a great team!
Happy birthday, friend!
Aw thank you! 🙂
Aww! Thanks for the shout-out Cat. 🙂 HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
Good work. I used to check my stats every day and now it’s just once per week. But checking today, I saw that I had a day last week where my traffic was way up and had no idea.
Aw man that’s an awesome surprise!
Stumbled across your blog via a link on Twitter. Firstly, happy birthday. Secondly, great post and thirdly, I look forward to reading the rest of the content in here over the coming weeks!
Aw thank you Simon you rock!
Happy birthday Cat! Hope it’s wonderful!
Aw thank you Chela!
Happy Birthday Cat!! It was great seeing you dancing on your birthday! You were rocking it 🙂
Also, I really like your point about not obsessing over your stats. Sometimes some of my most success has been smaller but very intentional traffic that really zoned in with what I was sharing.
Another point you shared that really hit home with on your chat was that blogging should be 20% writing and 80% marketing. That’s a huge key that really hit home with me.
HA! Yeah I like to get my jam on! 😉 So glad you agree about the 80%
Congratulations, Cat. And happy birthday! I didn’t realize how young you were! What incredible accomplishments you’ve made. Here’s to the next 5 years : )
Aw thank you so much!
Pinterest is where it’s at. It’s the best blog hack I’ve done in the last year. It took my traffic from 125 / day to 1,200 / day.
Happy birthday to you and the blog! Five years is truly impressive–congrats! (as is 28, of course 😉 ). And, thanks for the great advice! I need to get better about Pinterest-ing… it’s just one of those things I haven’t focused on much… but, seems like such a great source.
Man, it seems like it’s free learn how to write a blog week in the personal finance world. Thanks for this wisdom, and congratulations on five years!
Happy Birthday Cat! And happy 5 year blogging anniversary. Keep up the good work!
Happy Birthday Cat! You’ve done such a great job in your five years blogging, keep it up!
Congrats on 5 years Cat! You and your team have done an amazing job 🙂
Congats, Cat! You run a great site and have been a big help in encouraging me to start my own PF blog. Keep up the great work.
Congrats on the milestone! I’m still working on not checking my stats too often. Doing so is unproductive and is quite an emotional roller coaster.
Impressive 5 years! I am so impressed that you have maintained it so well, Cat. More years of blogging to come. Good luck!
Happy anniversary Cat and happy birthday! You’re such an awesome blogger!
Congrats! The party was so fun and helpful! I love so of these, but #5 is great. Hard to remember sometimes when you’re building a business!
5 years already! Good luck and I hope there’s many more years of blogging to come.
I’m an obsessive stat checker, it’s bad :/
I love that you make the point to point out that paying for information, systems and classes is smart! I have such a hard time relaying this information to friends, clients, other business associates. Paying up front saves time which is so much more valuable than money! You are dead on.
Hey Cat, thanks for the great blogging lessons – especially the reminder to not check stats every day! It’s awesome to see how far the five years has taken you. Who knows what the next five years will bring?
I can definitely relate to not checking the blog stats every day. When I first started blogging I would check multiple times each day and it drove me nuts counting each visit. Great post!