2 years ago on our first anniversary I wrote that I had ‘no idea how this happened,’ and you know what? I still feel that way. It’s been 3 years and I still feel like it’s all brand new.
Laika’s a little greyer in the face, so I know time has gone by…it’s just gone by so fast.
I blogged a little in the late 90’s early 2000s (livejournal & geocities anyone?), and I wanted to try my hand at writing again. One night the name ‘Puppy Leaks’ popped into my head and I knew I just had to have it. A site about dog news called Puppy Leaks; it doesn’t get any better than that as I thought while laughing to myself.
And here were are 3 years and 470 posts later. It feels a bit surreal to say the least. It’s our 3 year blog anniversary. For real. (it was actually in June, but shhhh)
Puppy Leaks 3 Year Blog Anniversary
I still don’t know how to host a proper blogging anniversary. I don’t have any cake or prizes to give out, and I don’t have any entertaining stories about how I celebrated the date (I watched a Golden Girls marathon with Laika, and then let her have all the sticks). So I figured I’d go with the standard “blogging advice + posts from the past year” format.
There Is No ‘One Size Fits All’ When it Comes to Blogs
I don’t know that you’re reading a blogiversary post for blogging advice, but it’s the one time of year I can fit some in without feeling like a sleazeball, so I’m going to run with it.
I think the biggest lesson I learned this year is that there isn’t ‘one size fits all’ advice when it comes to blogging. There’s a ton of blogging advice out there, but you don’t have to do all of the things in order to make it work. Focus on what you want your blog to become, and then think about the steps you’ll need to take in order to get there.
Some people blog for fun, and others do it for a living. Some people blog about their personal life, and other’s give general advice. Some people blog about a subject they love, and others choose one they think is profitable. Some people make their own products, and others run ads or use affiliate links. Some people write reviews and others focus on personal essays.
There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. Ask 5 people what the word blog itself means and you’ll get 5 different answers in return. Make yours one that means something to you.
Figure Out What You Want Your Blog to Be
For me the biggest ‘a ha’ moment came when I stopped writing about dog news and started focusing on topics that actually interested me. Writing about news was easier, but it didn’t leave me feeling like I’d accomplished anything other than rehashing what someone else had already done. For me the ability to take a broad subject or theme and make it into something of my own was much more enticing.
Define Success On Your Own Terms
We can’t reinvent the wheel, but we can try to make the internet a better place. And it’s that belief that keeps me going. I try to entertain, inform or inspire. Does it work all the time? Hell no, not even close. The majority of my traffic comes from 10 posts, so in terms of judging ‘success’ in terms of traffic alone that means 98% of my posts have been ‘failures.’
And while 2% sounds bad on paper, those posts have enabled me to make a living writing about what I love, and there’s no way in hell I’d consider that a failure. Being able to reframe expectations can keep you from getting discouraged. Don’t let someone else’s definition of success override yours.
My biggest advice to new bloggers is to find a way to make yourself proud of what you’re doing. Focus on why you’re blogging to begin with, and find a way to make it truly yours. Write about subjects you’re passionate about to keep that interest alive. You can add in SEO and a social strategy for better results; but that stuff will only take you so far. Unless you’re interested in your own work to begin with you’ll always be at risk of burning out.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
If you’re a blogger please don’t compare yourself to others; you’re never going to win that game. (there’s always going to be someone doing better, no matter how far along you are) I did this for years, and it was always discouraging. It distracted me from what I wanted to be doing, and I ended up spreading myself thin trying to do all of the things.
Focus on what you want your blog to be, and think about the skills you bring to the table. If you’re funny make a blog that will keep people entertained. If you’re an actionable person make a blog that will inspire others. Play to your strengths, and focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. We can’t do everything, but we can each do something.
My Favorites From the Past Year
These were some of my favorite posts to write from the last year. And looking back it seems as though I still can’t get enough of listicles.
Thank You For the Support
Thank you for all of the wonderful comments, shares, and emails. And thank you for reading. The support I receive from you is what makes this possible, and I don’t have the words to express the amount of gratitude I feel. I’ve been able to make something out of writing words on the internet, and for this I’ll always be grateful.
And thank you for being a friend, traveled down the road and back again…Everyone knows a celebration isn’t a real celebration without a few references to the Golden Girls.