1st Blogaversary – What I’ve Learned

1st Blogaversary – What I’ve Learned

Writing, maintaining and foraging for giveaways on She Moved to Texas has been a huge learning experience for me. I knew from the get-go that I wanted it to be more than a personal journal for me and my horse, but I wasn’t exactly sure what.

At first, the goal was to create a blog I could monetize with.  I have with this one… a little.  Still, this year has shown me a little of how blogs can make money and the tip of the iceberg as to what it takes to do so.  So really, the biggest thing I learned this year is that while I may have tons of dreams and ideas for a professionally run blog that generates side income… this blog isn’t going to be it.  It’s not set-up that way, and at the moment I don’t have time to run a blog like that.  You readers may or may not have noticed the metamorphosis, but at this point I can safely say that my goals here are to run an outstanding personal blog that engages people and slowly picks up in traffic (though I promise to still host giveaways).

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That being said, here’s what I’ve learned in the past year:

Content is King

If you write it, they will come… sorta.  As with any social media platform, the blogs with good, solid content will continue to attract people who enjoy that content.  With me, I have learned that the h/j crowd tends to like my “chronicles of Simon” if you were.  OTTB Spotlights, interviews, and general “stuff you don’t see everyday in your own barn” posts garner multiple audiences.

Basically, blogging has reinforced to me that a creative content strategy does more to build your readership than anything else.

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Stick to the Schedule

For most of the year, I try to have a post ready Monday-Saturday.  These posts are a mix of pre-planned “horse topic” posts and “what’s going on with us” posts.  I keep a Google calendar with “Blog” posts flagged with a certain color.  That helps me pencil in ideas as well as schedules for little blogging series I try to do (like this one).

The organization is pivotal for me to have almost-daily content, and when I fall off the schedule my traffic drops off substantially.  Once I’ve stuck to the 6-7 days a week, my traffic numbers have been steadily increasing.

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Facebook is Your Friend

If part of the reason you like to blog is to get comments and traffic, I highly recommend Facebook.  It’s my number 1 referral from all sites outside of organic traffic.

At first I would occasionally post a horse-themed post to my personal Facebook page, and my horse friends would like it and/or click but I looked like a crazy person I didn’t want to spam my Facebook friends with my blog constantly.  That’s when I created the She Moved to Texas Facebook where I concentrated my blog/horse related FB activity.

That page continues to slowly gain momentum and drives a lot of traffic to my site.  Plus, many people prefer to interact on facebook via a blog, so it gives me another way to get comments and likes.

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Don’t Get Obsessed with Comments

Everyone loves comments.  I love comments!  Comments are great.  Comments are amazing… but don’t let them determine what is or is not a good post for you.

Just because you think a post is amazing, doesn’t mean it will get a lot of comments.  Some of my highly trafficked posts this year (more on that later this week) have around 10 or fewer comments.  In fact, what gets the most comments is either a) something tragic happens or b) something amazing happens.  We all know we can’t live in a constant state of tragedy or elation.

And if you just really want/need a lot of comments on your posts to make you feel validated as a blogger, I have learned that you always get more if ask a question at the end of your blog post or write about something controversial.

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It Never Hurts to Ask

People have asked me how I’ve hosted so many giveaways on this site, and the short answer is… I asked.  I emailed companies and said “Hey I have a blog that gets roughly this kind of people, would you be interested in sponsoring?”  Most people said yes, but at the very worst they just ignored me.  No one was ever rude.

Same goes for interviews, I thought of someone and asked.  If you’re polite and humble, you’re never going to get yourself in trouble.  So if you have a good idea… don’t be afraid to ask!

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Those are the big take aways for the year.  Not like I’m any kind of authority (because I am so not), but if you have any questions about blogging or what I do here leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer as best I can!

16 thoughts on “1st Blogaversary – What I’ve Learned

  1. GREAT post. While I feel like as a blogger I knew all of these things in some capacity, it was really really nice to read it all and see it put into words. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for this post! I especially like the don’t be afraid to ask. It’s a good reminder for more then just when you are blogging.

  3. This is very informative. On the one hand I find it tempting to try and grow a big blog but for now that just feels like a lot of pressure. But, if that ever changes I’ll have some great tips. I really enjoy your blog and I love that you are also so active on other blogs. Thanks!

  4. Your blog is always full of tips and tricks on what others can do to make their blogging experience better and more fulfilling. I love expanding over different social media with B’s life like instagram and youtube as well as sharing links on Facebook for his stuff. It’s a lot of discipline I don’t have when it comes to keeping up and finding new topics other than “we w/t/c today… with a crossrail”. I’d like to get people to engage more and not just get comments like “good job” (which I love). But more of people’s thoughts and opinions. Something to work on for 2014! You’re definitely inspiring!

  5. The only thing that makes me sad about having my blogfeed accessible via smartphone is that I like to leave thoughtful comments that I do it much less often now than I did when I read blogs at a proper keyboard. Trying to get better about emailing myself blogposts to remind me to go back and leave comments.

    THANK YOU for recognizing that it’s not actually a good thing to be constantly either all the way up or all the way down. I totally get why that pattern is compelling to read and comment on, but wow, I hate to see it encouraged…seeing it consistently in somebody’s blog makes me worry for them sometimes!

    1. I’m the same way with my ipad! I only comment a lot when I have a real key board. Need to keep my ipad keyboard charged so I can be better about commenting from home.

  6. Happy Blogiversary. What I love about blogging is that there is a way each of us can do it, enjoy it, and make new friends in our own little way. It’s a personalized style and we just love that people stop by to see what’s happening in our lives. I simply am not happy without my blog. Looking forward to more years of reading.

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