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Five Things I Learned From Five Years of Blogging

Analytics Overview from the last 5 years

I've been blogging over five years now. There have been ups and downs along the way but overall I've managed to maintain and even grow an audience for my blog "A Humorous Guide to Switzerland". Of course, there are things I now think I should have done differently or better not at all but hindsight is always 10/10 and there's nothing better to do with mistakes than learn from them!

Now, my blog is by no means famous or extremely well visited. From my Google Analytics statistics I gather that about 2500-3000 people have a look at one of my posts every month. For me, that's quite an accomplishment, especially since this is a personal undertaking and not a commercial business. However, the success of a blog is a relative thing, depending very much on the time you're investing and the goals you're setting.

I also learned that blogging is not an exact science. What works for one blogger might be totally useless for another. It's definitely good to read about blog marketing, search engine optimization and other blog related topics but keep in mind that not everything will be applicable to your blog! What I'm about to share are the lessons I learned for my blog and my style of blogging!

Five Things I learned from Five Years of Blogging

1. The Name Issue

Oh the name of a blog! There are so many blogs on the web that it's hard to create a new, unique name for your blog. Something that will sound interesting but not too cheesy. Five years ago I chose "A Humorous Guide to Switzerland" because I wanted to write about humorous encounters in Switzerland or funny descriptions of Swiss behavior.

However, I soon learned that I simply couldn't produce enough content if I stuck to these topics only. Today, my blog is much more about Swiss culture and Swiss language, especially Swiss German, so I'd probably choose a different name. Nevertheless, I stuck with the original name to avoid confusion with the readers who were already familiar with my blog!

2. The Platform Drama

Wordpress or Blogger? That seems to be the question of the blogging world. I chose Blogger not because I researched the topic and accepted its advantages over Wordpress (if there are any) but because it seemed simple and accessible at the time. I have used Wordpress for other blogging tasks and found it good to use as well. The one great benefit I see in Wordpress is the greater variety and more possibilities in blog design.

3. The Crux with Posting Frequency

I started blogging with so much enthusiasm that I posted over 20 times in the first three months. That's about two posts per week! After the first few months I realized I couldn't possible keep up with this posting rhythm. One, I didn't have enough time to write posts and, two, I didn't have enough interesting topics to write about. Today, I only post once or twice a month and without a scheduled frequency.

I've recently started another blog (Destino Amazonas) and decided to read up on posting frequency. Most expert bloggers agree that a consistent posting frequency is better than bulk posting. Think about how much content you can and want to provide and stick to your schedule even when you have some badass posts up your sleeve! It's easier on your readers because they'll know what to expect and this way you'll avoid periods without any posts!

4. The Challenge of Interesting Content

Several times I thought that this was it, this is the one post that will make this blog popular. It has an interesting topic, is well written and I know just the audience for it. Yet, nothing happened! In fact, some of my best articles are among my least read and some of my quickly-and-sloppily-thrown-together ones are most popular.

I asked myself: Do you write in order to gain (audience, clicks, money, etc.) or do you write because you like writing about a topic. Now, there are very few famous "purist" blogs on the web (that aren't monetized) but almost all popular blogs feature great content. In the long run I believe that writing good content will keep my blog going. Not only because eventually the readers will catch on, but also because it's simply more fun to write good articles!

5. The Social Media Trap

Blogging itself belongs to the large group of social media activities. However, a blog barely ever exists on its own without Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Co accompanying it. Early on, I decided to use Twitter to promote my blog and am happy I did. However, I eventually decided to skip everything else. True, you can connect all accounts to one and manage them at once but somehow that didn't yield the results I imagined (I maintained a very inactive Facebook page for the blog for a while).



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