Two months into blogging and sometimes I feel the same way I did almost 2 years ago when my daughter was born: tired, worried, anxious, wondering why nobody told me about most of the motherhood challenges. So here I am now, wishing I knew these 8 bits of information about blogging before diving into the blogosphere:

  1. Blogging is addictive

    Blogging is more addictive than web surfing, than game playing, than anything I’ve personally experienced so far. First thing in the morning I check my blog site’s statistics, RSS numbers, approve comments held for moderation (and post replies), visiting my readers sites, checking the referral links, etc. In fact, I’m keeping an eye on my blog statistics all day round. I post one article and I already think what would I be writing next, collecting my thoughts and resources together.

  2. Blogging requires lots of time

    Blogging successfully takes more than just 20 minutes, or even 2 hours a day (as many bloggers claim) unless it’s a personal blogging. Well, I guess once your blog gains the success and popularity comparable to the one the A-listers enjoy, then you can relax and post something just for the sake of posting: it can be anything – one line question to your readers, a link to someone’s else article with a brief summary, or a funny video/images. But until then you must sweat a bit and write quality posts to gain your reader’s respect and attention. This particular post, for example, I’ve started yesterday and still working on it today. Of course, I had other duties and responsibilities in between: a job that pays and the family that needs me.

  3. Blog Anxiety

    There’s a new disease, called Blogging Anxiety, and I apparently suffer from it as well. Some of the symptoms: will my today’s post be interesting and helpful enough to get some comments; will my blog get more traffic today than yesterday, will my RSS subscribers number increase or decrease, will my comment on someone’s else blog be noticed and replied to. For more blog anxiety symptoms be sure to check Ronalfly.com.

  4. 60% of Blogging is Marketing

    Now, this is the most important piece of successfully completing the blog puzzle. As I found out later, blog’s popularity, high traffic and a large number of RSS subscribers don’t directly correlate with the blog’s high quality posts that readers would really benefit from. Most often achieving the blogging success is the result of an effective manipulative cut-throat marketing. Some people are just not made for that. I know, I’m not. So I’m finding my own ways to market my blog. It’ll probably take a longer time but at least, I’ll stay true to myself without taking advantage of others.

  5. An eye and mind for blogging

    Everything you read, you hear, you see will have to be absorbed differently now – from a blogger’s perspective. I see many bloggers collect a bunch of content from other sites, from media, from the daily conversations with their friends, colleagues, etc. and simply add their own twist to the stories and present as originals. I’m not saying that’s unacceptable, I’m just asserting that it’s one of the things I’m still learning about. However, in my personal opinion, high quality blogging should be more genuine than that.

  6. Blog talk

    This goes hand in hand with my previous point. Some successful bloggers are amazing with the blog talk – they manage to write about some obvious facts and present them as ingenious tips everyone applauding to, pondering how come they didn’t think about that. I myself commend their quick wit, and try to learn from them that not everything that’s obvious to me is evident to others. How many times did I read in “blogging tips” that bloggers should always reply to their readers comments. Well, of course I knew that – to me it’s indisputable, it’s like someone is talking to you and you’re ignoring his/her comments? But add to that recommendation: “replying to your reader’s comments will increase your blog’s traffic”, and you get a great tip that’s worth a standing ovation.

  7. Blog elite

    Oh, how naive was I thinking that at least in the blogosphere everyone is equal. Well, guess what, it is as corrupted as the real world – Blog Mafia rules. Or if you prefer to call them Blog Elite? To me it’s the same thing. All they care about is Money, Prestige, High Traffic and High Technorati ranking, they link to each other and look down on others, and their tips and recommendations are just that – tips – here, take these 2 cents, my poor blogger, and good luck with trying to follow my path to the top.

  8. Blogger’s block

    Blogging involves lots of writing, so no wonder that bloggers suffer from the writer’s block as well. That’s where other bloggers and readers come to the rescue – read their posts, visit their sites and get inspired, unlock your block.

Had I known about all these things before I started blogging, would I turn it down? No, I would not. Just like I never want to go back in time when I didn’t have my daughter with us. But I would’ve probably done some things differently.

So those of you who are just contemplating about starting your own blog, think about all those challenges and obstacles and play wisely, move in the right direction. And those of you who are already blogging, what are the things you wish you knew before taking part in this modern day craziness called blogging?

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22 Insightful Bits in response to “8 Things I Wish I Knew About Blogging”

  1. Here you go, knock one comment off your anxiety list. ;)

    I think I am beginning to suffer from blog anxiety, or maybe I just love looking at statistical charts and graphs. I check those things way too many times each day — as if checking it more will magically make the numbers higher.

  2. Thanks for the mention. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets blog anxiety. :)

    I personally find your site and content very well done and very useful. I foresee this blog becoming very popular. Just keep at it.

    Your #4 point is right on. Blogging is mostly interacting with other bloggers. It’s how you get links, develop friendships, and even get blogging ideas. It’s also helpful to a blogger that can help mentor you.

    Thanks for the great post.

  3. ibit

    Thanks for the encouragement, guys. That really means a lot to me.

    Ronalfy, thanks for digging my post – see what constantly checking the statistics does? :-) I’ll be very surprised if this post reaches Digg’s front page though – Diggers form another clique ;-)

  4. Hi,

    I like your observations on blogging and I’d like to address some of your points here:
    1. For me it is also addictive, but I expected it to be this way, because I’m addicted to statistics in general. When I used to work in marketing, my colleagues always laughed at me, as I was staring at the marketing plans figures and achievements at least once a day.
    2. It’s true, I think it takes me more than 2 hours per day: not necessarily the writing itself, but reading other blogs and news, promoting my blog, checking stats… they all are part of blogging as well.
    3. Luckily (?) I don’t have this blog anxiety, because in 7 months of blogging I think I received less than 10 comments on my blog (less work for me, as I don’t have what to moderate and to address).
    4. Indeed, marketing is crucial. I remember, when I started, I used to browse through the top 100 Technorati blogs, and sometimes I really wondered what makes readers keep on coming to some blogs, while it was impossible for me to focus on reading.
    5. I suppose this is OK, if you have a news and information blog. I like to read people’s opinion on things, news and facts. When I choose my vacations, I always look for reviews of the place I’m going to, because the hotel owners are biased.
    6. I’m still learning everyday this blog talk. I like it.
    7. Unfortunately lots of people like that kind of “gurus” which they worship and imitate (thinking that they follow). But why should we care? I believe that we can create the New Elite, with our less than 1 year old blogs, we can promote, encourage and support each other. Who’s “we”? It could be me, you, and anybody else out there, who has something to say. I’m willing and available, I have some free time to spend on this, so should you be interested in starting a blog network together, drop me a message.
    8. Blogger’s block! For many months, I posted only when I wanted to. Sometimes I had 5 posts in a day, some other times I did not write for a whole week. But since I installed that Feedburner thing, and I see that I have 60-80 readers everyday, I feel bad if I skip one day of posting, because I have the feeling that I am below their expectations. So I can say this kind of cured my block.

    What I wish I knew before starting blogging?
    1. I wish I knew that plugins exist, and what was their role. Can you imagine that I was selecting and putting my Related Posts manually for each post? And that lasted for about 3 months?
    2. I wish I knew that I can change the permalink structure. Luckily, I discovered this pretty quick, so there was not so big damage to my inbound links
    3. I wish I knew how important is socializing, making friends out there, joining conversations… In my off line life I’m quite antisocial, the fingers of one hand are enough for me to count my friends, I enjoy spending time with myself, and I hate big parties.

    Nevertheless, I enjoy blogging and I’m happy I discovered it. Even if I decide to stop, I’ll always remember with pleasure this time of my life.

  5. ibit

    Wow, Simonne! You deserve a prize for the longest comment ever on my blog! What would you like to get? :-)
    Thank you so much for your input and perspective on my blogging observations. I did the same thing as you – checking out Top100 blogs and wondering how on earth most of them are attracting so many readers and so many links?

    I like your idea about forming our own blogging network, so I’ll be contacting you soon about that.

  6. Hey, I realized after I finished writing, that it looked like a post, rather than a comment. Let’s say I was inspired by your post :)

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

  7. I am not sure about the #4. The blogs which I keep in my rss reader don’t do much marketing…they are simply good, so I read them regulary. No amount of marketing would help, if the blog is not interesting (to me).

  8. ibit

    They still did some kind of marketing, otherwise you wouldn’t have found most of them in the first place, or would you? I’m not saying that the content is not important, but unfortunately, just like in any industry, powerful marketing can make even a mediocre blog (or book, or movie, or singers – anything or anyone) popular and successful.

    As an example, my husband is a songwriter/composer/writer. He’s very talented and most of his work is exceptionally good. But regrettably we can’t effectively market him, so all he’s got is a small number of people who value and appreciate his talent.

  9. Ok, maybe they did some marketing, but I disagree with that “60%” or “most important piece” claim. In those successfull blogs, maybe you didn’t regarded their posts as “high quality” or “beneficial to readers”, but their subscribers did. ;-)

    I wish success to your husband! Regarding art, my personal feeling is, that in every time period, certain kinds of art are “in” or popular, while others are not. Then no matter what you do, you just can’t break into “mainstream”…but I really don’t think marketing can significantly help.

  10. Great post. I am very new to blogging. I had no idea how much I would get addicted to it. When my puppy wakes me up at 4:00 am I don’t fuss at him anymore, I just get back to the blog stats, research and read blogs.

  11. ibit

    I can relate to that. The only difference is it’s my baby waking me up :-)
    Thanks for the compliments, Joey.

  12. You forgot Blog Attack.. second phase of blog anxiety but gives you a heart attack as well.

    Awesome writeup.. I can feel how it is to write a big post like this and get few comments so here is a +1 from me! =)

    Let me blog about this as well and divert all my traffic around here so you have a +40 on your blog stats tomoro! ;)

  13. Wait.. maybe not tomoro but sometime in the future. I forgot I had 100 other draft posts waiting to be blogged about!

    Take care and keep up the good work.. we are reading ;)

  14. Sorry about this but maybe that could be included in the “addictive” bit.. once you start a blog there is so much you want to write about that at some point your drafts list gets insanely long!!

  15. ibit

    Thanks, Ilker. Good for you – for having 100 draft posts waiting to be blogged about. I usually have 1-2 only sitting there, and the rest is in my mind – I’ve got a huge memory bank there :-)

  16. This post is right on the money!

    When I first started my blog, a little traffic would trickle in and my anxiety levels were very low -it’s hard to be anxious when no-one is reading. Then one day an article of mine got dugg, and I suddenly had 15,000 readers in a single day – the pressure to come up with a ‘killer’ follow up post was quite overwhelming. Of course the traffic spike dissipated, and reader numbers, while much healthier than before, have returned to a more modest level. And I found my performance anxiety reduced greatly too. Now I am more confident in my ability to select an interesting subject to blog about, and if a topic doesn’t occur to me immediately, I’ll just wait until inspiration strikes. If people like a particular article, great. If they don’t, so be it.

    I figure that if my posts are pleasing and relevant to me, then they will probably strike a chord with my audience too. Like you, I try to avoid rehashing someone else’s article and putting a “spin” on it. In the blogosphere the signal to noise ratio is very low, and I believe that the way to develop a meaningful and sustained audience is to offer something substantial, insightful, unique and personally relevant.

    Marketing is the area I need to work on most. In a sea of 50 million blogs it is certainly not true that “if you build it they will come”! You mentioned you had found your own methods for promoting your blog – care to share them with us? Myself, I try to participate in other blogs I enjoy (posting comments like this one!), and also post frequently in a few favorite forums.

  17. ibit

    Thank you, Jonathan. My methods for promoting my blog are similar to yours, in addition you can read my post on 30 traffic generation tips

    Other than that, I’m also trying to leave comments on other blogs for the posts on the similar topics I’ve blogged about, and I include a link to my blog post with a brief explanation why they should check it out. For example, I’ve written a post on 8 remarkable wordpress themes, and when I saw a similar article on Smashing Magazine’s blog with the list of 83 WordPress themes, I’ve added my comment saying that if any of you wishes to check the 8 amazing wordpress themes without going through a huge list of 83, then check my post. Until now I see people are coming to my site from that comment on Smashing Magazine.

  18. Nice one – thanks for the “29 Traffic Generation Tips”! A lot of great ideas there…

  19. Great post. I can’t agree more with the addictive thing, I really didn’t think it would be. The people you meet are great too, you just wouldn’t normally be able to chat with like minded people all over the world in one day! I totally agree with you about the marketing bit too, I am happy to exchange links and tag etc blogs I read or like, but not indiscriminately for the sake of getting to the top of a chart.

  20. Vivien

    Thanks, Tara. It’s actually interesting to note that even after almost 3 more months of blogging since I wrote this post, I still wish I knew more about these 8 things before I got into blogging. Nevertheless, I’m glad I did start blogging :-)

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on