8 lessons I’ve learned about blogging (& my 4th blog birthday!)

Do you remember in my last post how I mentioned that I’m bad at celebrating holidays? Well that applies to my own milestones as well. Because it just so happens that Friday was my four year anniversary of blogging – and I totally missed it. Oops! But better late than never right?

To celebrate my 4th blogging anniversary, I decided to share with you guys some of the lessons I’ve learned about blogging over the years. Maybe one of these years I’ll actually learn how to put up posts on time!

8 lessons I've learned about blogging

1. Don’t be scared to make a big change: This year I changed my blog name, got my own domain, and went self hosted. I’m not going to lie – it was pretty intimidating and I had to pay for some help since that kind of stuff is way over my head. But I’m so glad I did it. I feel like my new blog fits my vision a lot better and therefore has given me a lot more confidence when sharing it with others and pursuing blogging opportunities.

2. Find your focus: When I first started blogging, I had no idea what my niche was. I would post about new recipes, recipes I tried from other blogs, my workouts, my thoughts on health topics, and other tidbits from my life. And looking back, I can admit that it was unfocused and sloppy! So over the years I experimented with fitting in different niches – I tried being an eating disorder recovery role model, then I focused on posting about my nutrition program, then I tried to be more of an exercise blog, and finally I turned back into a food-centric blog. But it wasn’t really until I became Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen that I gained a strong vision of my blog as a food blog focusing on food I eat, make, and experience, with a dash of nutrition thrown in there for flavour. Now that I have that focus, I find it a lot easier to design my posts to fit with that vision.

3. You don’t have to blog about everything: This goes hand-in-hand with #2. Once I found my focus, I stopped posting about every aspect of my life because not everything I do is going to fit within my blogging niche. I went for a run yesterday, but am I going to post about it? No – I’m not a running blog. I had a fun weekend in London with my old roommates – but am I going to post about it? No – I’m not a lifestyle blog. Sometimes even if topics fit within my niche, I still don’t post about them because I don’t have the time, I didn’t bring my camera with me, or I just plain don’t feel like it. And hey, that’s a good enough reason for me.

4. Get a bit personal: No matter what kind of blog you write, throw some personality in there. Otherwise reading your blog will be a total snooze. I made that mistake at one point. I thought that in order to be a more serious food blog, I had to cut out anything personal from my posts. Wrong-o. Readers like to connect with the author – that’s what keeps them coming back!

5. Don’t be a lemming: Within any category of blogs, you’re going to find a lot of bloggers doing the same thing, whether that be all cooking with the same ingredient, trying out the same workouts, posting discussions on the same topic, or participating in the same link up. It can be tempting to follow the crowds and just do what everyone else is doing, but guess what? It’s okay to be different. Do your own thing and let yourself stand out!

6. It’s better to post less good quality content than more half-assed content: As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I don’t have as much time to blog this year because of my internship. And sure I probably could have kept up with posting 3-4 times per week if I really wanted to, but the quality of my posts would have really suffered. So instead I opted to post more like twice a week which has allowed me to put a lot of effort into writing posts I can be proud of. And as a result I’ve had more of my recipes shared on social media, more opportunities to work with companies, and more posts accepted to recipe sites than ever!

7. Just because your blog isn’t professional quality, that doesn’t mean it’s not good: Sure we all want to be like those big bloggers who have followers in the millions, take gorgeous quality photos, and make a decent salary off their blog alone. But before we compare ourselves to them, we have to remember that often their job is their blog so they have the luxury of investing a lot of time in it. And even if you’re not at that point (yet?), it doesn’t mean your blog isn’t good. You’ve still got good content, a unique voice, and a following of readers who have connected with you and enjoy reading your blog – so be proud of that!

8. Blog because you love it: Not to become popular, not to make money, and not to get a book deal. Because they might not happen. So ultimately it has to be your love of blogging that keeps you going – that’s what has done it for me!

I probably should have added a 9th lesson to say that I’ve learned that other bloggers and blog readers are amazing. Seriously. Thank you all so much for continuing to read and support my little corner of the internet. I’ve enjoyed connecting with each and every one of you! And if you haven’t commented yet – please do, hey? I’d love to hear from you!

Do you agree with any of the lessons I’ve learned? What have you learned from blogging?

43 Comments

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43 Responses to 8 lessons I’ve learned about blogging (& my 4th blog birthday!)

  1. i agree with all those lessons – definitely important to be yourself… can definitely be easy to get wrapped up in the comparison trap or “everyone’s doing it” trap in blogging!

  2. First off, I want to congratulate you on your fourth year anniversary, I’m proud of your hard work and dedication. Second, I want to thank you for this beautiful post and all the tips that you have given. I’m a new on blogger and want to blog about my lifestyle. I never thought about doing it to make money, I’m doing it because I love and enjoy doing it as a hobby. Thank you so much.

  3. Wonderful Chelsea! I love all those lessons! I think they can be helpful for ANY blogger to think about! Congrats on your blogging birthday! I have been reading since the start and I am so happy to have found your little corner of the web! :)

  4. These are such great lessons! Some of which I need to apply more. I’m totally with the quality over quantity. There are some nights when I don’t know what to write, so I don’t! I’d rather watch a TV show than stress about what I should blog about. Good thing my life isn’t that exciting anyways! haha

  5. I completely agree about getting a little personal – I like bloggers who are REAL and talk about their life out side of the blog/their struggles/happiness. It just makes bloggers seem more real.

    Happy 4 years :D

    • Chelsea

      Totally agree with you here! But I also don’t like the idea of getting too personal… I have a diary for that!

  6. Happy 4th blog Birthday! And yes, I definitely agree with all these lessons. I think it’s important just to be yourself – be real, not fake.

  7. Happy blog birthday! I love that your blog has been around for so long it makes me feel like you are a log time friend! These are all great lessons. I really need to work on incorporating more personality into my blog. You have a great balance with that!

    • Chelsea

      Same to you! :)

      And I’ve noticed you’ve started showing more of your personality on your blog lately – I’m loving it!

    • Chelsea

      Same to you! :)

      And I’ve noticed you’ve starting showing more of your personality on your blog lately – I’m loving it!

  8. Four years? Belated or not that’s a reason to celebrate and be proud of yourself. Still considering myself somewhat of a newbie in terms of blogging it’s great to hear what others have learned through trial and error. I agree with all of the points you made and especially the last three. No matter how big or small a blog is it can be of great quality as long as we as the bloggers behind it truly enjoy writing.

  9. Definitely agree with all of these! I love number 7 – we don’t have to be a ‘big’ blogger to put out quality content or make a difference in other people’s lives! And of course, you have to love it – you can’t write a blog for years if you don’t enjoy the experience!

  10. Amen girl! And congrats on four years! That’s awesome :) I know the biggest thing I’ve learned is if my heart isn’t in it, take a break. Don’t post, don’t feel the need to comment and read everyone else’s stuff, just do me for a time and eventually I’ll be back!

    • Chelsea

      That’s a great point – there’s nothing wrong with taking a blog break to give yourself a rest and reignite your passion for blogging! It has definitely worked for you. :)

  11. Yes to ALL these lessons — especially 6 and 8. I used to put so much pressure on myself to blog every day or blog about things that I thought people wanted to read, and I only ended up getting burnt out and hating what I was doing. It’s important to be passionate about what you do and put your heart into it — that always leads to good places :)

    Great post, girl! And congrats on 4 years!

    • Chelsea

      I used to put so much pressure on myself too! And now? If I don’t want to blog for 5 days in a row, I don’t. It’s so freeing to feel okay about doing that now!

  12. Congratulations on the 4 year mark- I am stoked to have come across your blog, and become good mates with you- and not in the hopes of taking advantage of your cooking skills when I visit- You scream genuine and honest in all your posts and that, my friend, is a rarity in this blogging world.

    Keep it strong, ChelseaKale.

  13. Congrats! I agree with nearly all of them (the ones I have experienced anyway)! I love your blog, and you are one of the ones I now look up to! I am excited to see how your journey progresses, and you have a lot to offer the world, so excited to see what you will share!

    I agree about the not posting everything, not only is it exhausting, but I as a reader cannot keep up with posts every day! I think you have a perfect balance!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks so much Tina – that’s good to hear that posting less is actually a good thing. I agree with you that I definitely can’t keep up with bloggers who post every day!

  14. helloveggy

    Love this! Congrats girl!

  15. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHC!!!!! You are like my wise older sister!

    I could not agree more with all of these.

    I want to comment on #7 because as you know I only work part-time for Kewaza and obviously do have the privilege of lots of time to work on my blog. It’s funny because I’m not picky about the “quality” of the blogs I read. As long as I like their voice I will be a dedicated reader. But it’s also no shock to you that I’ve spent a lot of time trying to improve the quality of my blog because it is partially a business for me (does mean I love or care about it any less!). It’s interested to be a part of a world that has both business-type bloggers and hobby-type bloggers. To me it doesn’t matter if they’re making money or not or have a million followers or not. If I like THEM then that’s all that matters!

    • Chelsea

      Aw thanks Davida! That’s a great point. I follow a lot of business bloggers and hobby bloggers too, but to me it’s about the blogger, not how successful they are. PS. I’m super proud of you for how much you’ve transformed and progressed your blog in just a year – it’s really admirable!!

  16. Chels, I LOVE your new blogging approach. It is so YOU and you’ve always had your stuff together, but I’ve loved seeing things REALLY come together! Keep doing what you’re doing – the world needs more blogs like yours inspiring peeps to get healthy!

    PS I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger award — http://happyisthenewhealthy.com/2014/04/02/blogging-fun/ :)

    • Chelsea

      Aw thanks Cheryl! And you too. You’ve seriously found your blogging groove and I LOVE it to pieces. Hopefully one of these days when I’m in London next we can catch up. :)

  17. I have honestly loved the transformation of your blog girl! These lessons are GREAT!

  18. Wow you are such a seasoned blogger! And so full of good advice :) Congrats lady!!

  19. Happy Anniversary! Your blog is like my blog’s big sister … it’s my anniversary this week too! :) Great advice. Especially about doing what you love. Have a great weekend, Chelsea!

    • Chelsea

      Happy belated anniversary Sharon! I wish I could stay on top of comments enough to wish you happy anniversary on time. :P

  20. I love all these, it definitely took me a while to fall into the blogging swing in terms of what to and to not write about. Happy belated blogiversary!

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  22. I definitely agree with these!

  23. Aww, happy (belated) blog-birthday! I couldn’t agree more with your points and I love the way you presented them…clear and to the point! Sometimes I feel like I’ve come a long way since I first started blogging and other times I feel like I’m still trying to find my voice. I’m not exactly sure what I really want KMB to be when she grows up…maybe because I’m not really sure what I want to be when I grow up! Haha!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks Heather! I don’t think we’re ever going to really have things 100% figured out in terms of blogging – as long as we enjoy it and feel like our blog is a good reflection of ourselves, that’s what’s important!

  24. This is a great post! I’ve read you pretty much from the beginning and I have to say, I love this new reincarnation. I would say my blogging history has been similar – it’s taken a while to realise that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, either in terms of topics, or posts, or time that is spent on it. Thanks for the reminders Chelsea!

    • Chelsea

      Thanks so much Sarah. I think we all take a while to figure out our blogging groove, but it feels so good once we do!

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