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5 Things I’ve Learned From 5 Years Of Blogging

I don’t know how long the average blog lasts—maybe a few months? 101 Books has been around for five years and, as blogs go, that’s pretty ancient. It’s like the Bush, Clinton, Kennedy families in politics—whether you like it or not, we never go away!

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things. Most of them by accident. When I started the blog, I just wanted to start a reading blog—more specifically, a reading blog that follows this little reading journey with the Time Magazine list.

I’ve screwed up a lot, but I’ve had a few wins too. And, today, I want to tell you a little about both. Here’s 5 things I’ve learned in my 5 years of blogging at 101 Books.

1. More doesn’t always mean better.

I’ve been dealing with this a bit lately, as I mentioned in my post the other day. I’ve made nearly 1,200 posts on this blog and, for the better part of 5 years, that equaled to 5 posts per week. But over the last year or so, the strain of five days a week has taken its toll on me. I’ve simply been “following the schedule” instead of really thinking about what might be best for me, you, and the blog. You can post 5 days a week with mediocre to good content, or you can post 3 days a week with good to great content.

To counteract the approaching blogging burnout, I’m changing up my schedule. I’ll post more about that next week.

2. Don’t overthink your content.

It’s a trap! It’s easy to worry about which posts bring in the most traffic and which posts get the most comments and tweets. All that noise can make you devolve into trying to land every post on BuzzFeed—remember the time I posted about dogs reading books? Yeah, was totally trying to get on BuzzFeed, and it failed.

You’ve gotta post what you love to write about. If you don’t, your blog will never last (more on that in a minute). Because, believe me, the viral “high” fades and then you’re left to come up with the next idea–and there’s only so many pictures of dogs reading books.

3. Somebody will think you’re stupid.

In other words, haters gonna…no, I can’t say that clichéd phrase. I will put it in this less catchy, less Taylor Swift way: “People will dislike your work, and they will let you know that they dislike your work. There’s nothing you can do about it.” Catchy, huh?

I haven’t had a terrible time with the “haterz” here on 101 Books, but I’ve had my fair share. I probably shouldn’t, but I like to poke and prod them and have a little fun sometimes. One time, a commenter told me that 101 Books was “the death of art and meaning,” and I swear to you I liked that comment so much I almost made it my blog’s tagline. “101 Books: The Death of Art and Meaning.”

If you’re doing something you enjoy, somebody’s going to have a problem with that. Why? Maybe they suck at it, or maybe they just like to troll on blogs. Whatever the reason…who cares? Go do what you love and let the dislikers continue to dislike.

4. If you don’t care, nobody else will.

In short, you’ve got to be passionate about your blogging topic. If you aren’t that will show in your writing—and if your writing isn’t passionate and engaging, then no one will care about what you write!

“The Grapes of Wrath is a good book. It’s interesting. It has nice characters. I like it. You should read it. Great book.”

You get the point.

If you really want to blog, then you have to find a topic you’re passionate about, not just something you think everyone else will like. If you’re not engaged by it, then no one else will be.

5. Have an opinion.

You don’t have to be obnoxious about it—well, I guess you could be—but don’t be scared to share your opinions. Opinions make the world go round, and it is your blog, after all.

In my opinion (get it?), you’ll write better when you’re writing about your opinion. Why? It goes back to my previous point—when you’re writing about something you’re passionate about, your words are more engaging. Your thoughts are a little clearer. People might love your opinion or they may hate it but, more than likely, they’ll be interested enough to find out what you have to say.

That said, don’t be one of those Matt Walsh or Matthew Paul Turner shock jokes who just throws stuff up against the wall to see if it sticks. And, also, don’t be a troll—the internet is already full of trolls. But have an opinion, share it, and make that a part of your writing voice.

There’s a lot of bloggers who know a lot more about blogging than I do. But over the last 5 years, I’ve picked up on these few things.

Hopefully, you’ll find one or two that can help you.

Happy Blogging!

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

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44 Comments Post a comment
  1. Here are 2.5 things I’ve learned from 2.5 years of blogging:
    1. I learn a lot about myself.
    2. I learn a lot about other people.
    2.5 I really enjoyed your post today.

    Liked by 6 people

    October 9, 2015
  2. Good post.

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  3. That’s awesome!

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  4. Angel Payumo #

    LOVE THIS Congrats btw!

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  5. Congratulations and hope that the blogging journey continues to percolate lessons.

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  6. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  7. Hi Robert
    my blog has been on the go for 8 years now so maybe I’ve qualified for some kind of longevity award! I agree with everything you see here – it’s really important not to get too hung up on traffic – and to take breaks when you feel a bit devoid of inspiration, which is what I’ve been doing of late. Lying around on the sofa, reading and covering oneself in boscuit crumbs, is a great way to get the inspirational juices flowing again. Thanks for your great blog – I really enjoy reading it !

    Liked by 1 person

    October 9, 2015
  8. Thanks for this info. as a new blogger it is v.useful

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  9. I thoroughly enjoyed this article. As I recently started blogging, I think you are so right – passion is the key, but also for anyone starting out – perseverance. I have been trying to get people to comment on my blog to no avail, but through perseverance I have just landed a deal reviewing books, on a site that will definitely drive traffic to my site. It takes time. It is great to see what you have achieved over 5 years and I have no doubt there are times you need a break. People get that, and will follow if they like the content, and won’t desert you if you are not there all the time. They probably need a break too! Best of luck for the next five years.

    Liked by 2 people

    October 9, 2015
  10. Susan #

    “The death of art and meaning.” That so needs to be on a t-shirt! It’s an insult so pretentious and overblown that it is almost a compliment.

    Liked by 2 people

    October 9, 2015
    • Agreed! I feel like if I can single-handedly kill art and meaning with a meager book blog then I’m a super big deal!

      Liked by 1 person

      October 9, 2015
  11. I agree completely with Scarlett. It’s about authenticity. There’s a saying I’ve heard bantered about,” writers don’t write because they want to; they write because they must.” I think this should play into why we do what we do from all vantage points. And to hand you another platitude: show up, do the work, and see what happens! Thank you for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 9, 2015
  12. Congratulations on your blogging milestone and here’s to the next five years.

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  13. Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    Robert says: “I haven’t had a terrible time with the “haterz” here on 101 Books, but I’ve had my fair share. I probably shouldn’t, but I like to poke and prod them and have a little fun sometimes. One time, a commenter told me that 101 Books was “the death of art and meaning,” and I swear to you I liked that comment so much I almost made it my blog’s tagline. “101 Books: The Death of Art and Meaning.”

    If you’re doing something you enjoy, somebody’s going to have a problem with that. Why? Maybe they suck at it, or maybe they just like to troll on blogs. Whatever the reason…who cares? Go do what you love and let the dislikers continue to dislike.”

    What I like about Robert’s posts are that they seem so down-to-earth and genuine. Read the original for more…

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  14. Totally agree with you. As someone who is new to blogging, I was worried that maybe i am not disciplined enough for this, since I don’t do it regularly. I only write when I am urged to do so on some thought which just keeps pestering me. But reading your opinion has made me believe that i am on the right path. Believing sincerely on what you are writing and not overdoing it to attract attention is the right approach. Stay honest and true to your writing!!

    Happy Blogging…

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  15. Great post. And good effort making it 5 years!!

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  16. Well said! I particularly like and agree with #2.

    Like

    October 9, 2015
  17. jae #

    as a beginner, this list is so refreshing.

    thanks for the advice 🙂

    always,
    jae
    xo

    Like

    October 10, 2015
  18. I care how many likes and comments my posts gather yet I care more about posting consistently, going for at least every four days. The best part of blogging are the interactions. It’s better than the pen pals from fifth grade.

    Like

    October 10, 2015
  19. Reblogged this on priyadharshinivijay and commented:
    I learnt a lot through this… check it out…

    Like

    October 10, 2015
  20. I was so nervous in the beginning trying to blog. I thought I wasn’t interesting enough or what I was passionate about wasn’t good enough for cyber-space. It’s been two years now and I have learned that there are myriad of topics to blog about. I am very comfortable about it now, two years later. I have also learned a lot about others and have received help from other more experienced bloggers.

    Like

    October 10, 2015
  21. This post is literally the death of art and meaning.

    Like

    October 10, 2015
  22. I really love your blog, thank you. Best wishes from Perú.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 10, 2015
  23. I totally agree! One of the greatest pieces of advice that I was given when I started my blog was to be true to myself and to not write simply what was popular. That has kept me happily blogging for over a year

    Like

    October 10, 2015
  24. thank you for sharing this. at least it reminds me on something. there are ups and down in a journey of bloggers and sometimes we just forget that it’s not just about recognition, collecting more “likes”, “followers”, and targets like how may times per week to post. but great contents and do what we love to do most are main things why a blog stays alive despite the winding and rocky road along the way

    Like

    October 11, 2015
  25. Jose Luis Conde #

    As someone who’s been blogging for nearly two years now, I found your post very refreshing.
    Thanks

    Like

    October 12, 2015
  26. That does help… I have been in this profession from as good as 2 years now and although I have many points to share, one peculiar lesson I learned here on wordpress blogging is that, no matter how much time you invest in your story or an article, when you read the final draft you will still not be so sure to publish it. So, the better option is have it read by a friend of yours or someone else so you don’t get into traps of falling prey to your own mindset… You can also wait for a few days, then read your content as if you never wrote it, and many be you get a better idea of what’s wrong or what’s the plus point for you. I hope it helps too.

    Regards,
    Akshay Varma
    http://www.namastethoughtsblog.wordpress.com

    Like

    October 12, 2015
  27. cristinaburcus #

    Thank you for sharing this 🙂 I had some experience with some ‘haterz’ as well and it made me realize that some people will just try to make you stop what you really like doing just because they don’t like your work. Even though I tried to explain why and how I write this person didn’t care to really listen to my reasons. So I decided to let it go and follow my passion no matter what. 🙂 I find your post really helpful. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one that sees these things. 🙂

    Like

    October 12, 2015
  28. Thanks for sharing and I congratulate you once again on your milestone.
    Regarding consistency of posting on the blog: I was hospitalized last year for two weeks. When I got home, I had no energy or inclination to write. Time passed. I finally got back to blogging and, though I had some sadness about what felt like playing catch-up, I felt no guilt. I did what I could do. I generally try to post once a week, and try to do it on the same day of the week, but certainly don’t kick myself if it’s Friday instead of Wednesday. (I’m as passionate on Friday as I am on Wednesday.)
    We learn as we go.
    Regarding the idea of having opinions and writing about them: College professors say (paraphrased) “If you pick a thesis for your argument that no one could, or does, disagree with, it’s a bad thesis for your paper.”

    Like

    October 12, 2015
  29. I started a blog went headstrong for a while then fell off a cliff and then I just found your blog and this post on My Reader. I am truly inspired by this piece and have it bookmarked so I can refer back as I start my plan to get revitalized and organized. And Looking forward to reading about your reading lol 🙂

    Like

    October 12, 2015
  30. Reblogged this on and commented:
    The Death of Art and Meaning.

    Like

    October 16, 2015
  31. Great post! Although I am a new blogger, I can totally relate to a lot of your points. In fact, I heard a lot of them in a couple books, notable “Edgy Conversations” by Dan Waldschmidt and “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Those are the two books that inspired me to start blogging about my passion–books!

    If you have time, I would love your feedback.
    http://www.booksavage.com

    Liked by 1 person

    October 22, 2015
  32. I want to thank you for the wonderful advice. When I was younger I use to write, mine was poetry. Now a gazillion years later I am blogging. I am new to this so what you have written is very valuable to me. You touched my heart with the truths of truths. Everyone will have an opinion which is true. All we can do is write from our hearts and let our words help each other. Whether it is for knowledge, or getting us out of our pain, or staying in our pain to change the situation to make it better or even greater than our lives were before. Words are everything, be the best you can be.
    Always always be true to yourself.

    Like

    October 24, 2015
  33. Thank you, this is very helpful. I started posting 5-6 times per week in the first 2 months but that burned me out quickly. Especially as it takes me 1 week to write one article because I read research papers etc. I try to stick to 2-3 now and it has helped to lower stress levels 😉

    Like

    October 28, 2015
  34. Thank you so much for all your insight.
    The girls are practically new to blogging (a Year) but for their age it is almost a lifetime so weekly posts have worked for them and for the commentator…lol.
    It is wonderful when other bloggers connect to your blog in a meaningful way, but you have to continually self inspire. Again thank you.

    Like

    October 28, 2015
  35. thanks for the post. it will be a great help for newcomers like me.

    Like

    November 1, 2015
  36. Your quite right, quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. Plus, I tend to think that trying to turn out a post everyday could turn into a grind. That kind of defeats the purpose of blogging in the first place. That of doing it for the pure joy of it. :O)

    Like

    November 16, 2015
  37. This post is not just about blogging, it encompasses every sphere of human endeavor. Your idea of being passionate, doing what one enjoy, and living above haters made my day. Thanks very much!

    Like

    November 21, 2016

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