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My 7th Year Anniversary; This Means 7 Lessons Of Course…

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014

Today is the 7th anniversary of I’m Just Sharing; yay! The very first post was pretty short and lousy and went live just after midnight, but the second post, which I wrote on the same day and launched an hour later, was about credit card debt. It probably would have gotten way more attention if it wasn’t the first real post on a brand new blog but hey, it ended up doing okay long term. Not a bad start to a new blog if you ask me.

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I’ve learned a whole bunch of lessons since those early days, and I figured I’d share a few things, for no other reason than I figure it’s time for another post like this about blogging. It also follows up on the last post I wrote that was about writing list posts; how about that for timing? 🙂

Also, this one kind of follows up on the 15 lessons post from March highlighting 1,500 posts on this blog. This is post #81 since that one, which is strange for me because when I first started writing, I was creating at least 300 posts a year for the first three years. Hey, such is life right?

Do I have 8 different lessons than the 15 from before? Let’s find out:

1. You can’t just throw products onto a blog and expect people are going to buy them. For the first 4 years or so, I would pop products at the end of posts that I’d pull up from Commission Junction, Clickbank, or a host of other places. I never sold anything from those sites from here. Matter of fact, besides selling one of my own books from here, the only product I ever sold was Mailwasher, which I still use, and I sold 3 of them; woo-hoo! Oh wait, that didn’t make me rich; hmmm… lol

2. You can be bypassed by folks who are willing to do more, even if you keep producing content. As some of you know, I’m an independent consultant, which means blogging isn’t close to my regular job. Because of that, there are times when I have to do other stuff that’s more important that blogging; I should be slapped for saying that.

Back in the day, this blog was ranked pretty highly. I was producing lots of content and I still had lots of time to comment on other blogs. This is before things like Facebook, Twitter was new (in those days having 10,000 people following you was a big deal) and nothing was automated.

These days, you can write a blog post and set it up with some software to post that bad boy once every 15 minutes if you so choose. You can also mix in as many old posts as you can, constantly keeping your name out in social media circles. Sure, commenting on other blogs still works great, but if you’re willing to automate you can conquer mountains.

I’ve refused to over-automate, allowing my new posts to go live and to have it tweeted and sent to LinkedIn when it happens, and that’s it; otherwise, if my posts show up again later it means I’m posting it. That’s why I appreciate and talk about my buddy Adrienne so much; she’s doing it the old fashioned way, networking and sharing and commenting; what a kid! Have you checked out her course yet (and remember, I’m not an affiliate, so I get nothing out of this)?

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3. If you write only for ratings you’re not really writing, you’re marketing. Yeah, I know, most people are trying to make some kind of money via blogging. I’m not immune to this; trust me on this one.

I refuse to go out of my way to do a lot of keyword research and the like for each post. I know I’m a dinosaur in this blogging game, thinking that the content should be enough. I mean, I have about 1,580 live posts on this blog, but it’s like the internet keeps saying “what have you done for us lately”.

If you want to write, write; if you don’t, don’t. If you believe you don’t write well enough get better; you do that by writing or taking lessons. If traffic doesn’t come don’t blame it on the writing; at least not initially. Go out and get visitors if you can. How? Are you ready for the work?

4. I really make a lot more work for myself than is needed. I gave you the link to 15 blogging tips above while forgetting that back in September I gave you another 55 tips and ideas about blogging; glutton for punishment I am. Still, I only have 4 more to go, including this one, so let’s push on…

Have you ever heard of a blogging club? It’s not quite like blogging sites where people join, share their posts and other people’s posts, vote on them, and have one overall person trying to promote them to heck. Instead, it’s where you have a number of folks, maybe 5 to 7, who all agree to comment on each other’s blogs as well as share those articles on social media.

At one time they were pretty popular… at least to start with. It’s a great idea and it’s a lot less structured than the other groups. It can work, but there’s a catch. You have to be interested enough in what someone is writing to be able to leave a legitimate comment. Otherwise, some comments look forced or amateurish, almost like spam, and nobody benefits in the long run and the groups fade out.

Instead, it’s better working towards creating a community of people who respect your work enough to at least want to stop by and read it often. Of course you have to be willing to do the same; being selfish never helps anyone.

5. Research before you make changes to your blog. What’s this about? Recently I shut down a business and a blog. One of the things I remembered at the last minute was I hadn’t moved the link to the first product up there on the upper left (which you probably ignore most of the time you visit, if you’ve been here more than once lol). So, in another few days, if you happened to click on the link it would have gone nowhere, and I’d have been none the wiser; that would have been stupid.

Well, there are lots of folks who make changes to their blogs without doing a bit of research first to see what might happen. My buddy Brian of Hot Blog Tips recently changed his commenting process (Why Brian! lol) and discovered that it wiped out all the gravatars on previous posts, and he’s had that blog for years.

hot chocolate

Sometimes people change themes without realizing that all the customization they did on the previous theme doesn’t move along with the change, and they might not know how to do the work, and the new person doesn’t know how to do the work.

Sometimes people change plugins or add new plugins that don’t get along with what they already have. That can cause issues also.

Before you decide to make big changes to your blog, remember that we have these things called search engines; check stuff out before you wreck something.

6. With the good comes some bad. In my case it’s spam. I don’t get the amount of spam that many people say they get because I’ve set up a lot of filters. However, spam is ever changing, and I’ve seen some smart spam as well as irritating spam over the years.

It’s something you have to deal with if you decide to exert your rights to self expression on the web. Don’t fear it and don’t hate it; just recognize that if your blog and your posts mean anything to anyone, that makes it attractive to spammers, or people who write lousy comments. Manage it and move on; don’t let the suckers get you down.

7. Whew, this time it wasn’t easy; I think I’m in holiday mode. Well, that plus the day I’m writing this is also the day I started creating a presentation I’m giving to a medical group, which will happen two days after this post goes live. So I’ve already been doing a lot of writing and creating today and had to change gears for this post.

And I think that’s the last lesson I’m going to throw out there, that I hope I didn’t mention before, though now that I think about it I’ve addressed the topic. Either write what you have to or write what makes you happy but write.

Over the course of 7 years I’ve maintained 36 specific categories of posts, and not all of them about blogging or even internet related stuff. There’s nothing wrong with expanding niches when it suits you, even on a niche blog. For instance, on my finance blog I have 60 categories; I’m betting you didn’t know there could be so many thing about finance to talk about eh?

When all is said and done, unless someone is paying you to do it blogging is supposed to be an enjoyable thing. Even if you’re trying to make money, if people think your posts are forced they’ll feel it and they won’t enjoy them either.

I love blogging; heck, I’d better with all the blogs I have and write for. If you don’t like it, don’t do it; trust me on this one.

That’s it; gotta put this one in the can and move to the next bit of business. Thanks to the few of you who are still here after 7 years; let’s see what other trouble we can get ourselves into. 🙂
 

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23 Comments »

Happy Anniversary! Seven years of blogging is quite an accomplishment. Kudos to you!

I wouldn’t be commenting on this post if you hadn’t convinced me to start blogging over three years ago.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, after blogging for awhile, I realized my motivation for writing is simply to be a better writer.

I’m creating a collection of work, stories, etc. that certain people find interesting, informative, sometimes humorous.

I say certain people because I’m not trying to be all things to all people. I’m being me. That’s genuine. Real.

Readers tell me they enjoy my weekly essays. That’s more than enough satisfaction for me.
Steve Borek recently posted…How Do I Find the Right Person for the Job?My Profile

December 12th, 2014 | 10:20 AM

Good stuff Steve, and thanks for being the first commenter on my anniversary post. You know, maybe in another year you could go back, take a compilation of your best and favorite posts, and create a book out of it. That’s part of my long range plans. Keep it going!

December 12th, 2014 | 10:58 AM

Hey Mitch,

Happy 7th anniversary to your blog. That’s quite an accomplishment and as we both know, so many people never make it to 6 months let alone one year.

Not everyone is blogging for the same reasons. While I can appreciate those that just blog to either express themselves or like Steve, improve their writing skills, some are here for business reasons. Like me, I use mine as a marketing tool to make those connections so although I don’t do all the keyword research either I am focusing on a specific thing I want my readers to do.

Now automating everything, I agree with you about that. I could never automate my blog although I do write my posts ahead of time and set them up to be published on a specific day at a specific time. That’s about as much automation as my blog will ever see.

You’ve been doing this a year longer that me so I’m sure you’ve seen it all my friend and there is much more to come.

Thanks for the 7 lessons you’ve learned and I know we’ll have many more years to learn from you Mitch.

Thank you for the mention by the way, always honored. You enjoy your day and have a great weekend now.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted…What Do Offline Relationships Have To Do With BloggingMy Profile

December 12th, 2014 | 11:42 AM

Thanks for stopping by Adrienne and for the kind words. We’re together on that automation thing, though I’ve stopped castigating people who are using it because it’s hard to argue with the success of some of them. Overall I just like the fact that people blog, and I love stopping by blogs to see what people have to say and how they say it. I also hope that people are in it for the long run if they can be, but always amazed at how many people do it but hate it; what’s the point right?

So, let’s keep it going for a while longer. Course I only have to wait until February before I’m celebrating the 10th anniversary of my business blog. 🙂

December 12th, 2014 | 12:29 PM

Hapyy anniversary Mitch. I am very happy for you. And you are indeed awesome. Not only that, you rock.

I may not comment on all your posts, because many have no relevance for me, but read all of them I do.

Keep them coming.
Rummuser recently posted…Ippadikku, A Short Film.My Profile

December 13th, 2014 | 2:15 AM

Thanks Rummuser. You know, I thought so much about the 7th anniversary of this blog that I forgot it’s the 6th anniversary of my finance blog. lol Then again, its purpose is much different so I’ll forgive myself on that one. I’m going to keep trying to live up to the standards of people like you because I think your blog is fabulous also.

December 13th, 2014 | 11:16 AM

Happy Anniversary and glad that you shared the lessons you learnt during the course of your journey. I too in the initial days wrote reviews about products and didn’t even made a sale lol 🙂 but later realized how to market things which changed the perspective of my blogging career 🙂 Once again Happy Anniversary
Lakshman Teja recently posted…How To Install ADB Driver For AndroidMy Profile

December 13th, 2014 | 5:12 AM

Thanks Lakshman. Luckily I don’t see myself as having a blogging career, just being someone who writes a blog. Luckily, I’ve had lots to say over the course of years, and hopefully that shows others that there’s always something to write about.

December 13th, 2014 | 11:17 AM

Happy 7th Anniversary Mitch!

I a so glad you wrote this post because it kept me up to date with what you are doing lately.

I love to blog, but marketing is my passion these days. I used to be blogging hopefully in the beginning, creating a list and then did not know how to market.

But once a turned that corner of marketing oh boy I’m hooked. I use my blog to keep in touch with folks and engage with them. It is quite the passion.

My blog these days seems like a huge business card. As new clients that don’t know me find their way to me, they always check out my blog and it works so well as social proof. I never automate it though.

So nice to know you are busy and keep up the good work!

-Donna

December 13th, 2014 | 8:07 PM

Hi Donna; thanks for stopping by & looking at my anniversary post. By marketing, are you talking about your blog, a product, or your business? I can tell you’re growing in the blogging circles and I applaud you for that. I see your blog & I see people sharing your stuff on G+ all the time; you’ll be famous in no time. 🙂

Blogs are like huge business cards; I try telling people that all the time about both their blogs and their websites. Those are the best reasons to have them. Still, I had to get rid of one for my sanity; whew!

December 13th, 2014 | 9:18 PM

Happy Anniversary good buddy. I can honestly say that you are definitely one of the good things that have happened to me since I took up blogging. We’ve been through a lot together and I think it’s safe to say that we managed to learn a little from each other along the way.

I particularly liked the research tip, especially after making changes. I wonder hoe many people know they should’t change the urls to a post after publishing it?
Peter recently posted…Sportsbet Million Dollar TippingMy Profile

December 14th, 2014 | 1:41 AM

Thanks Peter. I’m not sure how many people might know that, but I remember early on when I changed mine to the way they look now and how I had to go back into all my previous posts where I’d linked back to myself and change them. Course the links are better now but you’re right, I bet a lot of folks don’t know about that even now.

December 14th, 2014 | 2:31 AM

Yep, I reckon theres a lot of stuff they don’t know. Heck, I’m sure there’s a lot I still don’t know lol
Peter recently posted…Top 5 Hot Sports Babes NewsMy Profile

December 14th, 2014 | 4:56 AM

Congratulations and Happy Anniversary Mitch, I’m a year behind you, it is great to see blogs that have been arounnd for so long, there have been so many that started around the same time that I did that haven’t made it this far.

Here’s to many more years of blogging to the world x
Karen Woodham recently posted…Jupiter Ascending New Character PostersMy Profile

December 14th, 2014 | 1:02 PM

Thanks Karen. You’ve gone really far with your blog and career because of it. It’s been great seeing your growth.

December 14th, 2014 | 6:31 PM

Happy anniversary Mitch, that’s a cool achievement. Especially since the majority of bloggers never see the end of a single year before they give up.

I took Adrienne’s course and she did a fine job. She has also put together one of those blogger clubs you mentioned. I’m a member but I’m usually one of those that never show up for practice and can’t remember how to play the game.

Yes, I did a real number to my blog comments. I had been thinking about switching to Disqus for months after getting on the radar of some pretty bad spam networks. Some mornings I’d have over 300 hundred spam comments that literally appeared overnight.

Anyway, you’re right; I didn’t research well enough. I seen they had a comment “import” feature and I thought everyone’s links would remain intact. I was sure I had seen other blogs switch without losing every link.

Not only did almost every link disappear, so did the avatars. What an ugly mess. The only exception, I think, is when someone used the same email address to comment as they have registered with Disqus. I’ve been using the same email for commenting for years, which is the same one I used for Disqus, so my avatar never disappeared from blogs that switched. It looks like almost no one else is doing that, at least from the looks of my blog.

December 15th, 2014 | 12:33 AM

Hey Brian. I saw that and noticed all the avatars, including mine, were gone. Course we both know I’m not signing up for Disqus so I guess I’m stuck that way. Still, have you found an overall improvement with your blog since you switched, or is the elimination of spam enough for you?

The thing about research is that you can still miss stuff. Hopefully I haven’t overlooked anything since my other site will be gone as of tomorrow. At least I know how to change things if I need to; whew!

December 15th, 2014 | 1:06 AM

Actually,the site is loading in about a second and I’ve gotten a nice spike in referral traffic from Google. I also switched hosting a couple of months ago so I’m not sure how much of that is server or comment/link related.

December 15th, 2014 | 1:41 AM

Something else must have changed because you’re not getting any CommentLuv links either. Does it not work with blogs that switch to Disqus?

December 15th, 2014 | 3:33 AM

It used to, am I right? It’s certainly not now. I had to deactivate it.

December 15th, 2014 | 7:37 AM

Yes it used to. Thing is, there are other people who don’t use it who still have their links show up; strange…

December 15th, 2014 | 11:13 AM

Happy Seven Years of Blood, Sweat and Tears! 🙂
I agree everything you’ve written. Although I no longer allow comments on my blogs, spammers have not gotten the better of me. They just wasted too much of my time.

I love automation, but we have yet to create life-like clones that don’t annoy our followers. Until then, I’ll do an auto-tweet from TinyLetter and that’s that.

Here’s to the next seven years!

Cheers,

Mitch
Mitchell Allen recently posted…Empire of the NicheMy Profile

December 15th, 2014 | 11:58 AM

Thanks Mitch. Spam is an odd dog because overall it doesn’t bother me, though some of it confuses me. Still, I’d rather deal with that then have to deal with moderating everything, which as you know I still hate with a passion. 🙂 Onward and upward right?

December 16th, 2014 | 4:03 PM
Before you leave a reply; please see the comment policy if this is your first visit. This blog doesn't accept keyword names. I need a real first name or a legitimate nickname that you're known for. If your name has more than 3 words or the email address begins with "info" or "admin", the comment automatically goes to the spam filter; same if there are any links in the comment or if you don't have a gravatar. If your comment goes to spam for any of these reasons, or any other reason listed in this post, it may never show up on the blog (I do forgive the link issue if you've commented on the blog previously and I'll forgive the gravatar thing for first time visitors). If it goes there for any other reason (and I know some do), I'll pull it out as I don't intentionally moderate any comments on this blog.

One last thing; if your link is an affiliate link or goes back to a strange website or webpage I don't like, if I keep your comment I'll remove your link. That's why I have CommentLuv for blogs; if you have a legitimate business just leave that link & no sub-links. Trust me, it's best to read the comment policy if you don't get it, or never see your comments showing up here.

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