It's almost your one-year anniversary, and I have to break it to you - you've hit middle-age. You see, in the blogosphere, a meager nine months is the average active lifespan of a blog. After this period most blogs are left by the wayside, abandoned URLs with low click rates and limited posts. Fact is, dear blog, you're one in 385 million blogs already out in cyberspace. And more than 100,000 of you are started every. single. day.
But, stats aside, my beloved web home, you have become a living, breathing creative space. And most days I find myself refreshed by your clarity of focus, relaxed in your organized aesthetic, and warmed by the generosity of those who also come to visit this address.
Let me share with you a few things I've learned and loved about our near-year together.
Paint the walls orange with blue polka dots
Blogging is freedom. I can express myself and any old way I'm feeling or thinking. I can choose to be positive and upbeat, silly and childish, serious and heavy, or none of the above. I can post seven times a day or take a month off (sorry about that December to January stint). My blog can be exactly what I want it to be at any old time of the day or night - and really, there's nothing else in my life for which I can say this.
Get a plan, stick to the plan and stray from the plan
I've learned that an editorial calendar is essential to successful blogging. What's this, you ask? That rough sketch of an outline where the daily posts are mapped out and regular series return on the same days week after week. I have written it out and crossed it off, and I have stuck to the proposed plan with a soothing rhythm and joy. Readers come back to see what they want to see on a regularized basis. But also I've received those inspiring emails or the middle-of-the-shower brilliant ideas that make me crumple the schedule in the cupholder and try something totally different. And I can do that, and it's all good, all welcome here in this space.
Make holes in the walls
I feel like the couch would look better over on that wall. Oh, wait, it's a sleeper sofa, and I'm here by myself, and there's a staircase in the way. This n e v e r happens with the blog. Enter through the back door and move that widget over, convert from one to three column design, add an instagram feed. And then change it all next week when I want a look that reflects something fresh and new. In blogging, invigorating design is encouraged and rewarded. Let your readers know that you're thinking of them and switch your look around.
Be a pal
Mom was right on this one. Be a friend to the bloggers you meet. Blogging success like any other success in life is about making real connections. You have to be willing and engaged in visiting, chatting, commenting, liking, posting, and retweeting all the goodness see others doing. Oh, and you can't just be in it to up your own numbers. That's the fastest way to becoming a blog has-been. Through this writing adventure, I've connected with amazing ladies from around the world, and I've been inspired to be more and do more.
The more you, the better
What makes you stand out amongst the 384,999,999 others? The you-ness. Blogs are inversely lovely to mass consumption, eg: the more you can be authentically, uniquely you, the better your blog can be. Find and use your voice. Hone in on it. Craft photographs as only you would see them. Overlay that fantastic font you know says wow. The world needs your blog.
There are already 99,999 other copycats arriving by sundown.
So Pars Caeli, you might be middle-aged in blog years, but you're always fresh, rewarding, and a wee bit intoxicating to me. Hugs to you, interweb cozy. Can't wait to see what's cooking for the terrible twos.
PS. What do you love mostest about your blog?