Ahh...blogging. These days, that word isn't new anymore. Almost everyone has at least one blog in Tumblr, Wordpress, Blogspot, Squarespace, or maybe in all of the platforms out there. A lot of people even made blogging as their career. Several companies also use it as part of their marketing strategy. Today, blogging has grown into a full-blown industry.


Back when I started my very first blog, I didn't know exactly what I was doing. I just started putting out daily entries through Friendster's blog section like it was my personal diary. I mostly wrote about school, family, love, and relationships. Most of them will make anyone cringe and I'm glad they're all gone now. Some of the platforms that I used were Friendster, LivejournalWordpressBlogspot, and Tumblr . I spent four good years in Blogspot before I transferred to Tumblr.

Nine years and countless blog entries after, I'm back to Blogspot and this time I own a domain. Of all the years I spent blogging, here are five big lessons I learned about it:

KEEP IT REAL


Creating a blog is easy these days. There are tons of programs, tools, and platforms available online that will help people establish their sites. Basic coding is even taught in school now. Back in my day, I had to learn it all by myself through articles, video tutorials, and countless trial and errors. Nowadays, anyone can become a blogger. But what makes one stand out is the way they keep the realness of their content.


Write about your experiences. Write about what you know, what you're interested in or what you stand for. If you're going to write a review about something, regardless if it's sponsored or not, give your honest opinions. Don't push a product or a service (through beautiful photographs and sugar coated words) to your readers if you don't even believe in it.


CONSISTENCY IS KEY


Although creating a blog is easy, maintaining one takes a great deal of hard work. Coming up with a blog post requires two things: photos and of course, the write-up. Sounds simple? Not really. Pushing out a consistent stream of content is never easy. There are days when no matter how hard you force yourself to write, you just end up with a blank page. There are also days when you get caught up with so many things in your life that you forget to update your blog. It happens to if not all, most of us.


I've read an article a few months back and one line caught my eye: "Passion eventually fades, which is why commitment is the real key to success regardless of the type of industry you're in.~so cheesy~ but super true. So hats off to bloggers who, despite their busy schedules, never fail to publish at least one blog post a week. Honestly, this is something I struggle with until now, but I'm slowly trying to change that.


PROVIDE VALUABLE CONTENT


Since anyone can create a blog and label themselves as bloggers these days, tons and tons of content are being released in the digital world everyday. The competition to get the attention of readers is a tad bit tight. Sure, having a visually appealing blog or Instagram feed will greatly help in gaining followers, but providing valuable content is what will make them stay and come back for more.


Don't be all aesthetics and no substance. If you're a travel blogger, don't just show people photos of your trips and write about how amazing Japan is. Write about travel tips or about how to pack smart and light. Come up with city guides or safety guides for solo travelers — as much as possible, create content that will make your readers want to bookmark your site for future reference.


BE DETAILED AS POSSIBLE


Let's face it, not everyone has the ability to come up with well-written pieces and that's okay. When it comes to blog writing, it doesn't have to be complicated anyway. You don't need to use tongue-twisting (or headache-inducing) words. You simply need to express yourself clearly. That's it. Also, it wouldn't hurt to go the extra mile by providing as much detail as possible.

Write as if your readers are right there with you. Don't just say that Japan was amazing. Make your readers understand why you think it was amazing. Describe as much as you can and don't forget to include links to places you've visited or articles you've referenced.


If you're a fashion blogger, don't simply say that you like the latest collection of a specific brand. Let your readers know why. Is it because of the fabric they used? Or the cause they're supporting? Spill it but don't overdo it. If you don't know a lot about fabric, don't pretend like you do. You can describe how it looks and feels instead.


As a blog reader myself, I appreciate bloggers who do this.



COLLABORATE!


The blogging community is huge and you'll definitely stumble upon sites or even meet bloggers who write about the same niche you're in. Sometimes you'll find yourself comparing your site and your content to others. There will always be someone who will have a better site or a bigger following than you. That's just the reality. So instead of spending your time comparing yourself to others, why not do a collaboration? 

In a camp I attended a few years ago, one of the things I learned that I'll probably never forget is: "It's better to collaborate than to hate."  If you find a blogger that also writes about a niche you're interested in, like food for example, don't drag the person down. Collaborate! Maybe you and that blogger could do a 100-Peso food challenge and co-write a blog post. It'll be fun and it would benefit the two of you in terms of site traffic!



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It's been about nine years since I started blogging. Several people have asked me if I'll ever get tired of it. Sure, there were times when I wanted to shut everything down and hope Google would erase all my blogging-related digital footprint. But blogging is so much fun and beneficial in so many ways. Not only does it help me avoid getting rusty writing skills (since this is my only writing outlet as of the moment), but it also helps me meet a lot of awesome people who became good friends.


Pearl Aton is a freelance creative from the Philippines. She posts her work and thoughts on her website, pearlaton.com.  

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