The other day, I was talking with this close friend of mine who I haven’t met in a long time. Other than the casual comments on Facebook and WhatsApp messages, we somehow could never meet in person. We had a long talk on a variety of topics – family, work, and politics and finally, the talk veered towards my blogging activity. I was once again thrown into a familiar zone. I was prompted to write this post after that fateful meeting. My friend did not actually ask me about my business or how much money I’m making from my activity but his query was centred more on what I have learned, about the life skills acquired and how blogging has been a positive effect on my life. Having managed to touch upon a subject which was very close to my heart, I went on and on about my journey – how it all started, how I had overcome my many inadequacies and how I carried on without seeing any measure of “success” for a long time.
I have had my own share of frustrations and low moments. There had been many times when I almost gave up wondering if all these were worth it. When I started my blog, I was not that desperate to make money instantly and perhaps that saved me from quitting it all too soon. I had my job to finance my blogging project and so the money part wasn’t a big worry. I was prepared to wait. Of course, my ultimate aim was to make some money from my blog but I did not let myself get floundered with all the money-making “methods” people were promoting everywhere. I had my focus on learning the ways to create good content, drive traffic, and learn social media and email marketing skills. Today, when I look back, I realise how far I have come from the gawky newbie I was then. I had my highs and the lows and besides it being a highly hectic activity, blogging has taught me new life skills – skills that are universally applicable to other spheres of our life.
Let me share with you some of the best life skills that I learned from my blogging experience.
The Value of Time and of Time Management
Blogging, like any activity, takes time to mature and in many ways, we grow along with it. But unlike most conventional activities, when you’re blogging and learning the tricks of the trade, you are more aware of the value of time. Time becomes a crucial element in your blogging business. You sometimes wish you had more than 24 hours in a day!
The hardest thing about blogging is finding the time to work on your site. There’s so much to learn, read, watch videos, do keywords research, create content, SEO and they can take up a good deal of your time. The key is mastering time management. And when it’s someone like me who also has the office job to handle, it takes a different skill to juggle between the two activities. But I have managed to do it along with my family and social commitments. It’s all about learning to prioritise your activities. I have a cleaner lifestyle and for me every second is precious. I’m conscious of every minute of my living day. I do not let frivolous activities take my time. Talk of “living in the moment” and of the super-conscious state of mind! The best thing about blogging is that there’s no dateline to meet and everything is done at your own pace, but that does not make you sluggish or procrastinate whatsoever.
You Develop Better Writing Skills
I have seen my writing skills getting better after I started blogging. When I started, I didn’t realise that I would be required to write a great deal on topics in my niche. But later I learned that you need to publish good content regularly and especially when you are new in the blogging space. This is also to make Google and other search engines become more familiar with you and your website.
When you blog consistently, your writing skills improve. How good or average you are as a writer, the skills improve with time when you have the writing habit. As a blogger, you will be creating a good body of content. Obviously, when you keep on doing the same thing repeatedly, you become proficient and skilful at it.
Blogging is not about simply writing on a topic but about communicating with a specific audience in the mind.
Blogging is about giving value to the people in what you put across, it’s about the solutions that you provide, it’s about the inspiration you give to your readers. Okay, so the writing sounds stiff and lifeless? Don’t worry. When you have set your mind to become a blogger, things will improve as you publish content regularly. At first, the writing may be off-colour or even mediocre but you’ll soon notice that you gradually become better at it. The forcefulness, the sophistication, the smoothness, the humour – you are able to wear the many writing hats at once. Did someone say writing voice? You WILL develop your own voice.
You Learn to Create Long-Form Content
Long years of being on the social media sites like Facebook and Twitter had turned me into a “microblogger”. So, when I started my blog, I just couldn’t write long content. It took a great deal of effort to be able to write a 1200-word blog post. It took me days to complete a post because I had been conditioned to think (and hence write) concisely. But very soon I realised that the long-form content (posts with words > 1800) are better for rankings. There had been times when I thought I would never be able to write that long. But I did! And not by being verbose or anything to meet the word target.
I began to understand that if I wanted to really provide value to the readers, in many cases, a 1200-word post isn’t simply enough. Of course, not all posts have to be long and 1200 word-post is a good enough length for certain topics, but in most instances, in order to provide more substance and meat, I have to write longer. There are more things to say. This comes from experience. This comes from being more knowledgeable in the niche that I’m in.
You Become Better at Providing More Value in Your Content
I cringe at some of my earlier posts. The self-contradictions, the fumbling for words, the pretensions and plain bland – they were all characteristics of the posts I wrote in my early days. I followed too many bits of advice, and I got lost in the din that followed. I even tried writing using blog templates but none worked. In my eagerness to hit the publish button frequently, I used to churn our mediocre content with absolutely no takers. I nevertheless blogged on, and in time I saw things improving. And with more experience, I actually became better at providing valuable content for my readers.
You Become More Entrepreneurial
Blogging forces you out of your comfort zone and makes you realise the business side of your activity. Even if you had started blogging as a hobby, the money-making part soon catches up on you and you realise the immense potential it has in terms of earning a good income through it. The entrepreneurial side of you comes to the fore, and at once you discover the excitement that comes with it. Making money by doing the things that you love – well, it’s a high that has to be experienced. Blogging puts you directly in the e-commerce arena. Risk-taking, experimentation, keeping up with the business trends all become part of your daily activities. Before I entered the blogging world, I had remained pretty much oblivious to the commercial side of the Internet world. But now I’m able to understand much of how business is conducted over the Internet. I can now appreciate our modern day consumerism culture and how people are able to make money online from home. Blogging has taught me the art of selling and it’s a life skill that I have begun to appreciate recently. After all, whether online or offline, we are all selling our ideas and opinions to the people.
You Appreciate the Importance of Networking
Blogging for business or Internet Marketing is all about making new connections and expanding your social and business network. You have the opportunity to meet and connect with people all over the globe. I have connected with many fellow bloggers and Internet marketers in the past few years. Some of them are now very good friends.
Networking helps in generating good traffic and better engagement on your posts too. Your online friends are more likely to react or share the content that you post on your social media channels. They might even refer clients to you. New business opportunities are shared more readily and I have seen many online friends teaming up for new projects. Whether its affiliate marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes, expanding your social network definitely pays. By nature, I’m a private person. But blogging has made me come out of my comfort and be more open-minded to new situations. That has been a big positive change I have noticed in me.
Being More Accommodative to Criticisms
As a blogger, you are constantly under the scanner of unknown people all over the Internet. You are vulnerable to criticisms, and the anonymity provided by the Internet makes people mean, nasty and direct in their opinions. Not all comments are going to be positive and not all criticisms will be constructive and healthy. I was never comfortable in the beginning but slowly I learned to take everything in my stride. I have learned to take the positives from certain types of criticisms while at the same time, I have learned to disregard some. Being able to take criticisms is one skill I developed from my blogging activity and this will stand me in good stead throughout my life.
You Learn Better by Making Mistakes
In the early days of my blogging, I used to commit many mistakes. Niche selection, theme selection, choosing domain names, the various technical aspects of the WordPress, the affiliate products, well, I made lots of them. But the best thing about blogging (as with most things in life) is that every mistake taught me new ways of looking at things. The knowledge gained in finding the solution to each mistake is ingrained in me forever and will not be forgotten easily.
A mistake spawns multiple solutions and they are not limited to the original problem only.
I still remember the almost irreversible mistake I made while changing from one theme to another of my WordPress site. I got myself into such messy situations on many occasions but like I said, they had helped in the consolidation of my knowledge. Without these mistakes, my progress would have been much longer.
If you’re blogging, there’ll be many times when you’re unsure of so many things. At times, you might be required to take calculated risks – some may work, some may not. You need to put yourself out there first and not worry too much about being perfect.
There’s No End to Learning
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced blogger, you will always be learning. The Internet and the online market are constantly changing landscapes, and the things that we learn today might become obsolete in a few years from now. The search engine algorithm, the SEO efforts, the affiliate market, the general data privacy policies and the WordPress itself keep on changing. As Internet marketers, we need to keep ourselves updated to the changing situations to be ahead in the race. Like all things in life, every day we learn new things about blogging. That is why experience counts a lot in the blogging world. No matter how techno-savvy you are, no matter how good a writer you are, when you decide to become a blogger, you are going to be a beginner. Did you think the famous authority bloggers and the influencers stop learning once they became successful? They are also still learning.
You Learn Self-Promotion
All blogging niches are competitive. The competitiveness might vary from one niche to another, but there’s none that has no competition. If there’s no competition, then it means, there’s no market for it. Now, in order to stand out from the thousands (and millions) of websites providing the same information, you will need to let people know about your work. What good is your website if people don’t know about it? You will need to promote your work to the people. You will need to understand the dynamics and effectiveness of the different channels of promotion.
When I started out, I found it extremely difficult to promote myself. I was not confident and did not want to take the risk of people criticising my work. I found it difficult to come out of my comfort zone. But as time went by, I could free myself from the shackles of self-doubt and low confidence levels. I learned the value of self-promotion.
Critical thinking is the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking. Blogging forces you to be critical thinkers and encourages you to use your ability to reason. There are tons of information available on the Internet for any topic on blogging and SEO, and they can easily overwhelm you if you do not inculcate critical thinking. You need to learn to separate the chaff from the grain and your ability to interlink different ideas in many ways will determine your success. It is all about being active learners rather than being passive recipients of information.
Critical thinking allows you to be consistent and systematic in your approach to finding solutions.
Looking for Out-of-the-Box Solutions
This is related to critical thinking. Bloggers are required to have clear, uncluttered thinking to be able to assess different situations for the best possible outcome. It makes you think of out-of-the-box solutions to the different problems people face on a day-to-day basis. The ability to do this enables you to create valuable posts for your blog. Blogging is all about helping people solve their problems and if you really want to help them, try giving solutions that are unprecedented and different from those in thousands of blogs on the Internet. Give alternative solutions. People stand up and take notice of things that are out-of-the-box and unconventional. Blogging has allowed me to experiment and think of finding alternative solutions to problems. This has been helpful to me in real-life situations too.
Blogging for a More Focused Living
I never thought I would be a blogger and it happened more as a chance when I was looking for a healthy activity to hook myself on to de-stress myself from the many ills of the modern-day life. I was looking for a change. At that time, I was not looking at blogging as a means of earning a second income or anything like that. I simply wanted to get myself involved in an activity where I could help people and enjoy at the same time. Blogging was the answer I was looking for. Here, you do things that you love (writing on things close to your heart), you help people by providing solutions to their problems and by inspiring them to make improvements in their life, you connect with people from all parts of the world and while you’re doing all these, you also earn money. Now, what could be more wonderful than that? But today, blogging is more than all the things said before. It has brought positive changes in me as a person. I have acquired skills that have universal applications in other areas of my life. Blogging has disciplined me into learning these skills that I know will stand me in good stead throughout my life. Blogging has made me a better person.