5 Things I would do differently if I started blogging today

I have been learning a lot, not just from blogging, but mostly from the people I’ve met on my journey. It’s been a true adventure, and even though I didn’t start out, looking to meet people, the people I’ve met has been the most exciting part of my blogging journey so far.

Yesterday, I wrote about my most important WordPress plugin, because I kept asking myself the question over and over again. Which plugin would I keep, if I could just keep one? I have also been asking myself a question regarding what I would have done differently, if I started blogging from scratch today. I have thought a lot about it, and I’ve come up with five things.

1. Focus on people

I started this post by letting you know that I have met some incredible people through blogging. They’re not only gifted, and passionate about what they’re doing, but they care about other people, more than anybody most people I have met. They’ve helped me out when I’ve had problems, and they keep stopping by my blog to give me advice.

If I had started blogging today, I would have focused on people and building relationships. I would have started helping them, and letting them know more about who I am and what I want with my life.

The first thing on my mind when I started blogging was to focus on the technology, and get things right with the design, and that everything was working ok. I was focusing on driving traffic, and it was more or less all about numbers for me. Now, I know that one person can make a huge difference.

2. Be great with one

I really enjoy testing new software, and I really enjoy social media. I am all over the place, testing new marketing methods on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and many others. But, if I started blogging today, I would have started with just one method and one social media network, and I would have worked hard to be great with that one network.

3. Be happy with what I’ve got

It’s always something new happening. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought that I should switch to a new software, switch to a new webhost, or buy a new iPhone/iPad/Mac. I keep looking at what’s new and I just want it. I’m thinking that my life will be so much better, if I just got my hands on the latest technology or the latest gadget.

I have a new philosophy for a happy life, and I’m happy with what I’ve got, instead of focusing on what’s negative and the things I can’t do. If I keep focusing on the positive things about what I’ve got, I get a lot more done, and I’ll be happy doing it (in the end, I believe that I will turn out to be more creative, if I just keep using what I’ve already got).

4. Avoid over-thinking

I started my blogging journey, by looking at statistics and analyzing the behaviors of my visitors. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent, looking at numbers, thinking about ways to develop my blog and how the design should look. I wanted everything to be perfect for everyone. I was looking at the bounce rate, and I didn’t want one single person to leave my site without taking action. I wanted them to either sign up for my newsletter, or to visit one of my old posts.

If I had started blogging today, I would have focused on content instead. I would have focused on how to become a better writer, and I would have stopped analyzing everything. I want the words to flow. I want you to understand who I am and why I keep writing. The more I write, the more time I add to getting better at writing, the better results I’ll get – because I really want to be a better writer.

5. Commit to my goals

I didn’t have any goals when I started blogging. I thought everything was interesting. I wanted traffic. I wanted to earn money. I wanted to learn more about marketing, and I wanted to share what I was learning. Things have turned out differently, and some of the things I’m most proud of are the two stories I’ve published. Here are the links:

Lizarraga (Norwegian)
Fuzzy (English)

If I had started blogging today, I would have committed to goals, like writing new books, or projects that would help turn the world into a better place. It could be anything really. I would have added goals, and I would have committed to each of the goals – like I do today.

  • Ashley Faulkes

    Hey Jens
    Sounds like a leason it takes us all a while to learn!
    I also started out trying to do everything, everywhere and focused on the wrong things. I think what we all really needed was a mentor.
    Great to hear you have found your way and know what is what
    have a great 2014
    ashley

  • Kirk Jockell

    Jens,

    Nice post. Spot on. I came to virtually the same realization not too long ago. I too found myself all over the place and unhappy with my results. All five of the things you mention should result in better focus. And that is what I need, for my writing and my photography. Nice job.

  • Stephanie Riggs

    The basic purpose of blogging is to post such news which capture the attention of maximum people. So it is very necessary for the bloggers to post unique, original and interesting content and this is the ultimate requirement of SEO in 2014 if you want to retain top position. For new bloggers, your post is containing upon valuable information and help them how to optimize their website and write quality contents by keeping in minds their audiences.

  • http://inspiretothrive.com Lisa

    Hi Jens, oh yes, it’s been a learning journey for me as well. I didn’t start with goals – only to help better with their websites – marketing of them and it grew from there I would have started on WordPress vs Blogger from day one and focused more on content too. Making friends was the greatest benefit that I have no clue would happen when I began my blogging journey. Oh yes, many do overthink and do less writing because of their fears. Sometimes we just have to hit that publish button.
    I like your point about learning one social media network at a time. I find my home at Twitter but still use FB, Google Plus and Pinerest almost daily.

  • http://daringblogger.com Jeevan Jacob John

    You have definitely made me think about my strategy….

    As you know, I just started the new blog…so I am still working on the strategy.

    I do believe in many things you mentioned, like focusing on numbers….(I really don’t like them…but, my approach for the new blog is to start with numbers. While they are not a good measure, they could definitely help me keep track of my progress).

    Time is limited (especially now that I am taking more of my core classes)….so, I have got to focus on something (even if it is something I don’t entirely agree with).

    I think, in the end, it will help me achieve my goals (as long as I don’t obsess over the numbers, which shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’ve had enough experience with number obsessions :D).

    As for social media, well, my initial plan was to divide sites into two categories (monthly rotating set and a permanent set). But, once I got down to writing everything down, I discovered that I didn’t have that many sites on the rotating set (I wanted to be selective..these sites are mainstream, but they are still popular – like Quora for instance).

    Plus, I began to realize how much free time I would have…so, I changed my plan.

    Right now, I am focusing on just 1-2 sites per month…limited activity on all other sites ;)

    It’s has been working great (so far). I can’t say much, since there is no previous data to compare to.

    Hopefully, everything will go well ;)

  • Aahna

    Hi Jens,

    Really useful points, Blogging is about building relationships with your readers and niche experts. Google too wants us to build relations that’s how we can achieve more relevant exposure and build our brand. Earlier blogging used to start with building thousands of low quality links, which is now suicidal so focus on building relationships. :)

  • Elissa

    A great post. I started blogging (again) this year with goals similar to what you have mentioned. Your 5 things are a great reminder. I revived my wordpress blog (strategic elissa) and started a visual blog on tumblr (colour-365). My only goals are to publish. WordPress is once a week and tumblr one image a day. At the moment, like you said, the goal is really more about me – holding myself accountable and doing the creative work. Being “real” is ultimately what people relate to – so if I can do that and even one person is inspired, then that makes me happy.

  • http://joshuawilner.com/ Josh

    If I “magically” started over I definitely would start focusing on building relationships much sooner than I did. In the early days I was more caught up in other things, didn’t realize how much value there was in people.

    That was a big mistake on my part.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens-Petter Berget

    That’s probably the number 1 mistake I made as well.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens-Petter Berget

    That’s great Elissa. Staying focused is the really important thing. That’s why I wrote the 5 things in the first place. When I started out, I was doing “everything” and I wasn’t focused on anything. I had a lot of issues with blogging, and most of my time, I spent dealing with technical issues and design and doing things I thought was important.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens-Petter Berget

    Hi Aahna,

    It’s harder than I thought to focus on building quality relationships, instead of focusing on taking short cuts and trying to cheat and focus on getting short term traffic. Once in a while, I think that, if I just did this one short cut, I’ll end up with more traffic. It’s tempting, but I’m doing my best to try to keep my mind thinking about all the long term benefits of keeping the relationships in focus.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens-Petter Berget

    Hi Jeevan,

    I’m sure you’re going to have a huge success with your blog. Your working hard, and you understand what’s important. You have already made a huge impact on people with your unique comments. This means that people care about you, and they’ll help you out.

    Numbers are great, when it comes to measuring “success” – but when it comes to building relationships, it’s hard to measure them in numbers or in ROI.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens-Petter Berget

    Hi Lisa,

    I’m more Twitter than any of the other social networks as well. I’m trying to write more than I use to, mainly because I feel better about myself if I’m writing what I’m thinking about. I write about what I do every day, and I’m writing fiction. I like to add some extra levels of action to my life, life gets more interesting that way.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens-Petter Berget

    Hi Kirk,

    That’s great. You should connect with Ed, he is commenting on my posts too, and he’s a brilliant photographer and he’s awesome at social media and blogging.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens-Petter Berget

    Hi Stephanie,

    I agree with you. On the other hand, I don’t focus much on news. I try my best to tell my story, and help people learn by turning complex things into something memorable, something they’ll understand.

  • http://slymarketing.com Jens-Petter Berget

    Hi Ashley,

    I’m sorry for the late reply. I have been everywhere lately, everywhere, except for at my blog. So, I’m still struggling a bit to find the right “system” to keep me focused. Well, I have been busy with my job, because I’m new (I started 2 January), so I have a lot to learn.

    Have a great weekend.

    -Jens

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