I have learned a lot since I started this little blog about a year ago.  But, in reality, I have probably only learned about .687% of what is out there about blogging, how to build one, how to monetize one, how to operate one, and how to grow one.

But I have a learned a few valuable lessons that I thought I would pass on to brand new bloggers to help spare them the trials and tribulations I have experienced in my first year or so.

1)  Take some money out of your account, hire a designer, and get on WordPress.org.  Don’t bother with Blogger.com, Weebly.com, or other platforms unless you are intimately familiar with web design, operations, and HTML codes.  As a beginner, I jumped through all of the hoops, wasted money and time and lost valued readers along the way.  When I FINALLY listened and moved to WordPress, it was like starting over.  Learn from my mistakes and start where you can grow!

2)  Getting people to guest post is a great way to grow your audience but virtually impossible to execute.  I have had probably 100 people ask to guest post over the last year and only about 6 have actually sent in a post.   I understand how hard it is, especially when you are a growing blog.  Things come up, posts you have to do, kids get sick, time lines get away from you.  I know I have been asked several times to guest post and have said yes and then had to back out later.  It is not personal, it is just the way it goes!

3)  Just because a company says they will send you a review product does not mean that they will.  I have had countless companies email me, excited and loving my blog, only to never send a thing.  And when emailed, the email no longer works or I never hear back.  I have learned that there is a lot of turnover in promotions and it just happens.  But learn from me and do not tell people you have a great new thing unless you have it in your hands!

4)  Networking with “real” people is key!  Meeting people online is great.  There are really amazing people out there to get to know that are very helpful and very supportive!  In fact, my entire design and IT team are online finds.  But my blogging knowledge and feelings that I am on the right path were amplified when I found my local blogging group.    There is just something about sitting down face to face real people and listening to their stories and advice.  You gain confidence, great advice, and unwavering support!

5)  A thick skin will do you well.  I am a sensitive person.  I take criticism as it is intended but can have my feelings hurt easily.  Blogging has taught me that there is nothing wrong with having a thicker skin.  Every day I fight to be authentic and honest with my readers.  Some people are going to like what I post, some are not.  I am going to lose Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and GFC followers almost daily.  People’s needs and interest in blogs change.  Just as yours do.  I miss some of my dedicated early readers and often wonder where they have gone.  Especially since my stalking habits can not turn them up anywhere.  And for a while, I was really bothered by their absence.   But now I understand that they have just moved on and it probably has very little to do with me.

6)  Getting traffic is hard.  It is an uphill battle every single day.  And if you let it, any slide can leave you questioning whether you should keep going or not.  Some days you will be rewarded greatly and some you will struggle just to get one comment.  But if you stick with it, persevere through the bad days, you will be amazed at how quickly it will turn around.

7)  Blog about your passion.  I can name many a blogger who has started over the last year because they see blogging as a way to make money.  People think it is easy and that companies are throwing product and deals at anyone who has a “blog”.  This is most certainly not the case and almost everyone I know who said that they were doing it for that reason has closed up shop within a few months.  Blogging, at least for me, is a 24 hours a day, 7 day a week job.  I truly love every aspect of it.  And I love that I have a platform to discuss my kids and also share things that I, myself use and care about.  This is my 4th baby.  And if it were not, it would not still be here!

8)  Be honest.  Be authentic.  Be genuine.  I really try to be all of these things every single day with every single post.  As my opportunities grow, so does the reach of my blog topics.  It may seem sometimes like I am just posting to post but I am not.  I get many requests to review a product or post about an event or deal that I have zero interest in personally.  I never post these things.  Reputations are built on integrity and honesty.  I want my readers to trust me and know that I am doing my best to be true to who I am.  Otherwise, there is really no point in my continuing because no one will believe me anyway.

9)  SHARE!!  The biggest bloggers out there are ready and willing to share their secrets to success with other bloggers.  They are open books.  They are passionate and determined and never lose sight of the importance of helping other bloggers on their way.  I have received invaluable advice from bloggers much bigger and more experienced than myself.  And I have taken it!  I attribute their kind criticisms and advice to my still being here in this very competative world of blogging.  I try to do the same thing for others as well.  I do not know much and I am in no way a middle sized or large blog, but I do pay attention and am very proud of what I have created.  I am thrilled to share with others!  You just have to ask!  But remember, what works for one may not work for you!

10)  Being kind to one another will get you a lot further in this world of blogging than anything else.  Retweet, share, stumble, enter a giveaway, read a post and comment, or share a link on your page for someone else.  Promoting each other is important.  Building alliances and friendships is invaluable.  I can tell you that many a retweet has opened many a door for me!  But again, be authentic.  Don’t do it to do it.  Really care about what you are doing!  In the end, that is what feeds your passion and desire to make it through the darker times.

Just my two cents, mind you, but certainly lessons I have learned along the way.  I hope one of them can help someone else along the way!

Share your ideas and tips in my comment section!  I would love to hear them!