What I’ve Learned From Blogging

I started blogging pretty much on the spur of the moment.  At the time, I was a final year undergraduate student and I was reading a lot of books that were not related to my university course and found that I had things to say but nobody to really talk to about them.  And so my Little Blog was born on a Monday evening in March 2012 right at the time when I should have been revising for my final exams (fortunately, I did alright in the end but it wasn’t really an ideal time to start it).

So I have been blogging for quite a while now.  I am, of course, still learning new things but thought it would be useful to reflect on what I’ve got out of it so far.  Here are my top 5 observations/tips:

1)  It takes a long time to develop a decent amount of quality content.  There are already squillions of book blogs out there so getting an audience does not happen overnight.  The eventual rewards, like being Freshly Pressed or getting a positive response from other bloggers, are always worth it though.  

2) It’s important not to just write stuff for the sake of it.  My book reviews are rarely more than 400 words long and I usually only post about once or twice a week.  After I have finished reading a book, it often takes me a while to gather my thoughts together so I might not publish my review until several days or even weeks later.  I still envy the people who manage to post every day but I do what I can manage.  

3) Reading other blogs is very useful.  You can learn a lot about what makes a good blog and which features, layouts and other aesthetic details are the most eyecatching as well as which debates and topics are the most interesting to read.  For a book blogger, other blogs are a brilliant source for recommendations as well as alternative perspectives on books you have already read.

4) Blogging has made me more confident about expressing my own opinions.    Reviewing books, or anything else for that matter, is fairly pointless if you don’t have clear views about what you liked or didn’t like about them.  My writing isn’t perfect but I hope it is improving.  Despite my blog tagline about extreme procrastination, blogging has actually made me more productive in that I now write a lot faster than I used to as I know that I only have a limited amount of time that I can spend on doing stuff for the blog.

5) Stats don’t mean everything but they can be very interesting.  I am not really preoccupied by the numbers but I do have a little obsession with filling in all the countries on the map of the stats page – I love getting hits from obscure places!  This week, I got my first hit from Honduras.  The search terms that lead people to your blog can also be intriguing.  I felt bad for the desperate person who was recently directed to my blog after googling the phrase “why am i finding wolf hall so difficult?”.  Sadly, blogging doesn’t always provide definitive answers to the big questions in life but I hope this person appreciated my review anyway.

What have you learned from blogging?

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30 Comments

Filed under Books, Other Stuff

30 responses to “What I’ve Learned From Blogging

  1. Great post! I just started my blog during exam time as well – procrastination definitely took a major hit. Not a good idea! And it’s reassuring that getting followers/views takes time; sometimes I’ve been actually tempted to log out and view my blog just to get my views up from zero. Thankfully I have not sunk that low yet.

    I love learning about search terms. The ones that are ‘unknown’ or ‘private’ always feel very mysterious, slightly ominous, to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on being a blogger for more than a year. I recently started writing and have loved it. I find the support from the community to be great. The best thing I feel is writing something and having an impact on someone. It is way better to make a difference in someone’s life than get an extra view. Best of luck with everything and keep on writing.

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  3. I’ve learned a lot of the same things as you. Blogging has improved my writing and gotten me to learn about all this tech stuff that I’m getting a little better at each time. It’s also allow me to connect with other book loving bloggers like myself. There’s nothing better than being able to discuss books with others. I’ve discovered new books and helped others discover new ones too. Blogging takes time and energy but for me it’s a pleasure. 😀 interesting post and keep ’em coming!

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  4. Pingback: Reflections on One Year of Blogging and My Book Addiction | Daniel Shank Cruz: Reader, Writer, Thinker

  5. Hope to read much more from you in future.

    And after all this time I am still amused each time I look at the collection of books in your header image. 🙂

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  6. I love this post about blogging and I might be your hit from Honduras!

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  7. Some great tips here. I’ll be sure to apply them to my own blog. Congrats on your success so far – well deserved, I’d say.

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  8. Ditto….almost! I was in the last year of my BA degree and wanted an outlet for writing that wasn’t about books! I have definitely procrastinated via my blog when I should have been studying/writing assignments but it has freed up some writers block a couple of times. I’ve been blogging a year this week, nothing earth shattering, mostly nonsense, but have enjoyed the contacts I’ve made and the content I’ve read via other bloggers……….one even led to a book club at Goodreads, so I’ve done a wee bit to keep the cogs churning for my Honours year in English Lit, and not been completely wasting my time…….I think 🙂

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  9. Great post! Agree about the stats and search terms. I’m always amazed by the number of people who find their way to my blog after searching for the ending of particular books as I have a very strict no spoilers policy! My favourite search term ever was “is reading Enid Blyton cool”? Hell yes!

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  10. All true. Also, the more you write, the better you write… and the more you like it!

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  11. Very nice tips, thanks! i’m just starting my blog and really understand what you means. Your blog is a great, pretty and simple model: congrats, bravo!
    Send from Lebanon : Lebanon, where, what is it ?!!

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  12. I learnt that even though blogging is a hobby, it’s important to be organized and also to be mindful of the content that you put out there.

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  13. I am just starting to learn and I find your remarks really interesting and useful.
    My two basic rules:
    1) blogging is serious fun
    2) I should write post I would not be embarrassed to re-read (or at least try)

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  14. Good tips! I started my blog because
    (1) of boredom
    (2) the excitement of my spanking new computer (at that time)

    Blogging is good as we get to practise our writing/editing skills. I love to write (though I’m not sure how good I am at it) and blogging is one way to expose my writing (and my thoughts) to the real world. By reading other blogs, we get to learn about different people in different places and different opinions too. No one lives under a coconut husk.
    I guess one useful tip would be to have a focus in the blog. In your case, it would be books. In mine, basically anything! Haha! I need to work on that! 🙂

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  15. And I have learnt that where blogging about books is concerned you young ones (relatively speaking !) have so much to offer me. I go looking for books that have been reviewed which would otherwise have passed me by. A single post about a book, the comments that then flow and the silent readers of the post act as a link between so many people from different places and backgrounds.

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  16. When you get Guam on your map you know you’ve arrived! Points two and four are my favourite of your points. Posting every day is something that is the holy grail for me, but i am happy to take up every other day with reading all these fine blogs and enjoying the chat and change of scenery.

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  17. Those search terms are certainly a source of amusement at times. Maybe you should do a post just based on those now and again. Good point about avoiding the pressure to just write something, anything rather than miss a slot.

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  18. Jo

    I’ve added a link to this page for my required reading (for my English Senior Seminar students). In teaching this class, I allow a great deal of freedom regarding a final project – and several students end up creating blogs. Your five points – and all your great detail – are invaluable.

    Thanks!
    Jo

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  19. bean's book blog

    I’m impressed at 1 or 2 posts a week when they’re book reviews. As as high school English and writing teacher, my life seems to belong more to my students than to me. On school vacations and in the summer, I madly read and try to keep up with my posts, but then school resumes. And. I. Stop. So I’m about an inconsistent as a blogger can be.

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  20. Pingback: About Blogging Basics | spidermonkeycat

  21. I too have learnt to write with greater speed through blogging than when I was writing my novel–which at least bodes well for my second! I have delighted this week at a visit from the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos and have been left perplexed at the search engine visit from someone who typed in my name followed by the word ‘panties’…Ho hum, a blogger’s life for me 🙂

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  22. I only started blogging last December 6 of this year. I started it just to have an outlet for discussing books. Thank you for this. I hope I’ll be consistent throughout the year starting next year.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thanks for this post. I just started blogging recently, and sporadically, but now that I’ve graduated I’m hoping to dedicate more time to it seriously. This is all useful, concise and encouraging. Enjoyed the detail about the poor soul struggling with Wolf Hall!

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  24. Thank you so much for writing this! I wrote recently about staying motivated when blogging and this post (although I’m 3 years late lol) really resonated with me 🙂 Great content

    http://www.quiteanovelidea.com

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  25. Be yourself ,follow your passion

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  26. Number 4 really spoke to me. I’ve challenged myself to review every book I read, and that’s meant letting go of the perfectionism and just getting an opinion down before I’m too far through the next book to remember what I thought! 😉

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