4 Lessons I’ve Learned In 4 Years of Blogging

Me in 2010, the day I embarked on my blogging journey. Hey there, iPhone 3!
Me in 2010, the day I embarked on my blogging journey. Hey there, iPhone 3!

Today my blog turns four. Four years ago, if you would’ve told me that I’d have a blog that would last for at least four years, I would’ve responded with, “what’s a blog?” Back in 2010, I knew nothing about WordPress, barely anything about Twitter–I was just looking for a way to create writing samples.

Fast forward to today and I can’t imagine a life without blogging. It’s become my strongest passion and something I absolutely love. It’s through blogging I’ve been able to connect with all types of people from around the globe, trade stories, learn new recipes, receive book recommendations, and simply be entertained. Blogging has opened my world to a whole new slew of people, events, and thoughts. It’s helped me tighten my writing and allowed me to continue to view the world through a critical lens.

As I sit here in my college friend’s apartment in Washington DC, a city I haven’t been since I was a newly 21 year old intern in the House of Representatives, I reflect on what I’ve learned in my years of blogging. Here are the four lessons I’ve learned in four years of blogging:

1) Don’t think, write.

Often times as writers, we stop ourselves before we start. We come up with an amazing idea and then toss it out the window before a post comes to fruition. I’ve learned that when an idea strikes my mind, I should just go with it. As my Creative Writing professor used to tell us back in college, don’t stop yourself before you even start. Get those ideas down and you’ll find that it will become a wonderful post.

2) Share the love.

One of my favorite things about blogging is reading and commenting on other blogs. I love sharing the posts I enjoy reading and promoting other talented and well-spoken people. You can’t blog in a bubble, you must be a part of the community!

I’m also a fan of getting people to start their own blogs. I know so many people who are talented and would benefit from sharing their opinions with the world. Just recently, I helped my friend get his wine blog up and running.

3) Get out of your comfort zone.

Say the toughest thing. I’ve found that some of my best posts have come when I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and discussed hot topics, particularly when it comes to politics and education. Those posts have fostered interesting discussions and have helped me to strengthen my own opinions and arguments. It’s also fun to get out in the field and research a completely new topic and see where it takes you.

4) Frequency is key.

In order to maintain the community surrounding your blog, you have to post! The number of posts I wrote in 2013 decreased significantly from the years prior and it definitely made a difference in the number of visitors that came to my blog that year. I saw a lot less traffic in 2013 because of that fact. This year, I’m making it a goal to post at least once a week.

Here’s to another year of blogging!

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Happy Blogiversary To Me!

cheersToday marks my three-year blogiversary. Quite a milestone, if I may say so! I’d actually forgotten the exact date I took the plunge into the blogosphere until today when my WordPress account prompted to renew my expiring domain name (something I have to do annually).

Three years ago today, I bought my own Tweetupdomain name and started a blog so that I would have writing samples for potential employers. Little did I know that blogging would catapult me into a completely new career path and take me into the uncharted waters of tweet-ups and other social media/blogging-related meetups. Not to mention the countless people I’ve met virtually and in real life thanks to this medium.

I don’t think I ever thought about where blogging would lead me or what would actually become of this blog. I simply just wrote in hopes that someone, at least–if not solely–my parents, would read, enjoy, be entertained, and be challenged by what I wrote.

breakfast sandwichMy first blog post was about a sandwich. I’m a woman of many words when it comes to the foods I enjoy, so it’s no surprise that food posts have made many appearances on this blog. I’ve shared family cooking traditions, expounded upon my own food obsessions, and even passed along a recipe or two.

classroomAnother thing I’ve loved about having this blog is that it’s been a great forum for creating dialogue on social issues that are important to me such as education, health care, and the latest happenings in local government. Facebook and Twitter rants don’t quite do it for me.

I raise my glass to you, Prince William!

Then of course, there’s the lighter side. That’s the great thing about having a blog called Ramblings, I can write about whatever I want. Conversation starters for the socially challenged, gushing over my literary crushes, reflecting on an old celebrity crush, requesting to work for Saturday Night Live in a cheeky cover letter, lamenting the death of romance, ranting about Comic Sans. One of my greatest joys came from solving the age-old mystery from my youth about the disappearance of the other Cinnamon Toast Crunch bakers.

Perhaps the biggest laugh for me is in realizing that Snooki has provided my blog with the most traffic. Thanks to the post I wrote about her publishing a novel, there was always a spike in traffic to my blog on Thursdays just before Jersey Shore aired. Thank you, Google image search!

So, what’s next? What will the next three years bring? More of everything, I hope! For starters, it’s time to get back to a more frequent blogging schedule. Second, it’s time to get more personal. Perhaps throw in a bit more about my own life, only the interesting parts of course! Lastly, I really want to take a look at how I can engage foreign readers. Within the last year, WordPress started keeping stats on clicks by country. It’s really cool to look at the map of top views by country for my blog:

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 9.47.56 PM

People from Myanmar have visited my blog? Not to mention Albania, Egypt, Mauritius, Australia, and India. It blows my mind! If only I could get this visitors to speak to me and share their stories. The possibilities would be endless. I would love to find a way to foster an international conversation.

We’ll see what’s happen. Here’s to the next three years and beyond!

Champagne toast!
Champagne toast!