Today is Bucket List Journey’s three year Blogiversary. Woot! Woot! Fireworks are going off in my head and an imaginary bottle of champagne has been popped open. I even drank a glass. Or two.
It hasn’t been all roses and butterflies along the way. I have made several mistakes, or rather, had many learning experiences.
1. Free Hosting
Not the biggest oops ever, but I started my blog with a freebie WordPress website. I didn’t want to waste the cash if I realized that this blogging thing was not my cup of tea. But, there came a time when I wanted more flexibility, to look more professional and actually “own” my blog. When that time came, the “switch over” was not as painful as the loss in readership and having to build up my backlinks again.
2. A Difficult URL
This may have been the biggest oops and I didn’t even realize it until I was doing a radio interview about bucket lists. The interviewer simply asked “what’s your blogs address?”
“www.mslistologist.com. That is ms like m-s not m-r-s. And list ologist. List o-l-o-g-i-s-t. Dot com.” Now, that wasn’t confusing at all for the radio listeners.
3. Different Name vs. URL
Not only did I make my web address too difficult, but I also named my blog something different than my address. So, my url is mslistologist.com and then the name of my blog Bucket List Journey. Brilliant.
Of course, bucketlistjourney.com is no longer available. Are you listening bucketlistjourney.com? I want your url when you are done with it. Please.
4. Not Responding to Comments
For some foolish reason, in the beginning, I never responded to comments…and then…it happened to me. I commented on an extremely popular blog and…crickets. My feelings got hurt. I’m sensitive.
5. No Networking
Speaking of comments, I didn’t realize how much leaving them would start to build my own blogging community and following. As a beginner, I believed that people would just do a search and find my blog and…POOF… followers galore.
One of my biggest lessons was learning that I needed to network through several different social medias in order to build a following.
The bonus is that it has been so enjoyable getting to know my audience. I have been invited on a cruise, offered a room on my Seattle vacation and was asked over for Thanksgiving dinner in San Antonio by 50plusandontherun.com. The generosity touches my heart.
6. No Blog Reading Options
Don’t people just bookmark the blogs they want to read? Nope. Every reader has their own preference when it comes to how they track and view blog posts. In the beginning, I gave them one. Bookmark it. Now all my posts can go to an RSS feed or be subscribed by email. I also list new posts on Facebook and Twitter.
7. Not Stalking Others
It has been very important in my progression to find the blogs that I admire most and stalk them. Not to copy, but to learn. I always follow bloggers that can push me to the next level. Not necessarily to the top tier, just the next level. This is because when I read blogs that are substantially better than mine I get discouraged, whereas, someone at the next level seems obtainable.
8. Didn’t Identify with a Niche
I started strictly as a bucket list blogger, which in itself is a niche…sort of. But, when you are using a site, such as StumbleUpon, “bucket list” is not a category option. I felt the need to belong somewhere while still creating my own path. Everybody needs a little support. I believe in bucket lists, so I tried to find a niche within that realm. I started to break down my posts to see what I wrote about most. Travel and Food. Niche problem solved.
Find a niche, but don’t sacrifice yourself. I am a Bucket List blogger who travels and eats…a lot.
9. Not Sharing the Love
“Why should I promote my competition?” Because they will do the same for you. I first shared my love by writing a post called “46 Inspiring Bucket Lists That I Stalk”. Since then, there have been links, retweets and Facebook shares.
10. Obsessed with Alexa & Other Stats (Note that this is an addiction that is still a work in progress.)
I quickly became obsessed with checking my stats…about 25 times a day. Just writing about it makes me want to check again. I will refrain.
Then there is Alexa. Damn Alexa.
Alexa is a website ranking system that is my nemesis. It is also a ranking number that most tourism boards and PR representatives will ask for. The lower the better. I have spent the last six months lowering my Alexa ranking which started at 1.2 million. I installed both the Alexa toolbar and widget. And my ranking quickly went down. I am now at 218,000, but covet being in the hundred thousands which has been a bit of a struggle. I am giving up on the obsession, but not giving up.
This only touches upon all the valuable lessons I have learned in three years. But, the most valuable of them all is that I am passionate about blogging. That is the best lesson learned.