It has now been 4 years since I’ve started my blog, jblea1016.com. While I can’t say that blogging success has allowed me to retire, I can say that it has grown and continues to grow. I am quite grateful to everyone who reads visits my blog and actually reads the posts; it’s not easy to write new content. Believe it or not, sometimes, I simply don’t have any ideas about which to write. But I love writing and jblea1016.com has become my outlet to share things that I find interesting and/or useful (maybe even a little entertaining?) and now that I’ve been at it for 4 years, I can’t imagine my day to day (writing) life without it. But I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and I am happy to say that I have learned form those mistakes and I wanted to share 4 things that I have learned since I started this blog 4 years ago:
1. Promoting the blog takes almost as much focus as actually creating content for the blog.
Figuring out that it takes social media promotion to actually push social media was a tough pill to swallow. I’m really not much for self-promotion, which has been a huge limiting factor in my writing career. While it may seem obvious that people need to know about a blog before they can visit it, it took me a really long time to accept the fact that I have to use other social media to get people to visit the blog. So, if you’re going to start a blog (or have already), then be prepared to promote your content with as much focus as creating it. For my purposes, I have found LinkedIn to be useful (although with its recent “upgrades,” it’s a lot less useful) and I have recently began using Instagram to get the word out about the blog. Surprisingly, social media promotion actually works (Obvious, right? What can I say, I’m a slow learner…)
2. People have a really, REALLY short attention span.
Content on my blog basically has an 8-10 hour window where it gets visited after I’ve initially posted it. One day, I might have a bunch of traffic because of a popular post, but lo and behold, the very next day that once popular and attention-getting post has fallen by the wayside like yesterday’s diapers. What’s worse is that if I don’t post regularly, the blog itself really fades in terms of visitors. I’ve always found it surprising how quick the decay rate is for social media; when I first started jblea1016.com, I thought that people would love each post and that each post would read over and over again throughout the week. But that’s simply not the case. If I really like a post (like the podcast posts), then I have to remind people about it every day sometimes 2 or 3 times a day! There’s such a huge bombardment of information that unless people are reminded, my content will be lost in the shuffle of high social media turnover rates.
3. Tend to resist the space between their ears.
I advise people, over and over again, both in real life and in the blogosphere that only they can own they space between their ears. One of the big reasons why I started this blog was to provide insight into how critical reflection and journaling can help people find their best and healthiest path. But really, people don’t seem to care much about my posts about critical reflection. As a matter of fact, I’ve written a few posts about demonic possession within the heroin addiction domain and those posts are, by far, the most popular on my blog. I would prefer that people use my blog (and my book, 49 Tips and Insights for Understanding Addiction) to mine the space between their ears. But alas, they don’t and in my experience, people really do resist turning the light towards their own abyss.
4. I have far more to learn than I know.
I’ve studied and written quite a bit on this blog (almost 1,000 posts) and I can safely say that, while I am an expert within the addiction treatment field, I know very little about anything, including that domain. There’s always a comment or two about what I need to learn and it seems like I really don’t know much of anything. I hope to continue growing and learning as a writer and as a blogger; I’m always open to suggestion about ways and means to improve my work (feel free to lambast me below in the comments section below).
So, after 4 years, I feel like a real blogger. I don’t make any money off of jblea1016.com and I don’t know that I ever will. But it’s a great avenue to express stuff and as a writer, I simply love my blog and I hope to keep it up into the foreseable future. Thank you to all of my readers; without you, I’m just talking to myself, a lot.