What I’ve learned in 3 years of blogging

Ben Reed —  July 6, 2011 — 22 Comments

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for 3 years now. I’ve loved interacting with you guys, building this community of people, and processing my thoughts out loud. Thanks for giving me grace to think and grow all along the way.

I’ve learned lots of lessons over the past 3 years. Many I’ve had to learn the hard way.  Hopefully I can save you some frustrations.

Lessons I’ve learned in 3 years of blogging.

1. The more honest, the better.

People will connect with you more over your honesty and transparency than they ever will over your victories and moral platitudes.  My posts that have gotten the most positive feedback have been the ones where I’m gut-level honest with my thoughts and experiences.

2. The more accessible, the better.

As I make myself accessible (here, on the blog, through comments), I find people appreciate that. To build community, you’ve got to build relationships.

3. Be generous.

The more ideas I share, resources I recommend, connections I make, and in general, the more I can give away, the more I always get in return.

4. It’s as much about ‘rhythm’ as it is ‘discipline.’

I hear lots of guys say that blogging is a discipline. And I get that. But I like to look at blogging and see where it fits in the rhythm of my life. Rather than ‘disciplining’ myself, I’d rather it be a flow of my life.  I’ve found more joy and inspiration having a blogging rhythm than having a blogging discipline.

5. Put in the work now and you can reap the benefits later.

I can look back and snag some great, well thought out ideas. Someday, I just might write a book. You know where I’ll turn first for my good ideas? The archives.  And it’s because I have put lots of work into so many posts.

6. Just publish.

Some days, my thoughts aren’t fully developed or perfect or polished. But I just have to “publish” anyway.  It’s better to float ideas and thoughts out there, and synthesize them as you go, than to every single thought fully planned out before completion.

7. I enjoy writing.

I really do.  I’ve found it a great avenue to flesh out my thoughts.

8. It’s about quality posts more than ‘technique’.

I’ve read articles on blogging technique, SEO, key words, timing, consistency, and focus.  And while those things are important, don’t forget to write quality posts!  If you write good stuff, Google will find you.

9. Mixing up the type of posts I write (video posts, social media, theology, etc.) is as helpful for me as it is enjoyable for readers.

Writing the same kinds of posts every day gets boring.  So I mix up the categories, the style, and the focus to keep things fresh, both for the readers and for my own creativity.

10. I have no idea what it really takes to write a post that’s going to take off.

I have written about this before HERE…and it’s still true.  The posts I feel will take off…fall flat.  The ones I write on a whim go viral.  I default back to #8 and #9 (above)

11. I’m not done.

And neither is blogging.  Blogging is a great tool, and our culture is continuing to turn to blogs for information, ideas, and insights.  I’m definitely not done.

If you’ve read my blog at any point over the past 3 years…thanks.  Keep sharing your thoughts, experiences, and insights.  Keep leading well, changing, and growing.

I hope I’ve helped you on your journey in some small way.

 

 

 

 

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Ben Reed

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Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.
  • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

    Great thoughts, Ben. Number 10 in particular really resonates as it’s one that I know I’ve struggled with in terms of “wanting” it to take off. Fortunately God knows better than me.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      So true, Aaron.  But…you mean to tell me that not all of your posts take off?!?  They’re all so good!

      • http://www.bloggingtheologically.com Aaron Armstrong

        Sadly not, but it’s probably a good thing – I’m not sure my pride could handle it!

  • http://theperkinsblog.net MichaelDPerkins

    Good stuff Ben.  And 3 years is pretty rad.  I really enjoyed your point about using the archives for a book.  

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      The more work you put in on the front end, the easier that book will be one day!  Keep blogging, Michael…you’re awesome at it!

    • Anonymous

      Same with me. I look forward to writing a book after I have built my platform on my blog

  • Tack224

    Thanks. I have been a reader for a short time. And been thinking recently about starting a blog.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      What’s stopping you from launching yours?  

  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com Jason Wert

    Congrats on the anniversary man!!!  And as for what you’ve learned…that’s stout stuff.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks Jason!

  • http://twitter.com/noelbagwell Noel Bagwell

    Keep on goin’, buddy. We’ll keep reading and responding.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks, Noel.  I always appreciate your thoughts.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony J. Alicea

    That’s awesome. I’m coming up on my 1 year anniversary of my current blog. These are great tips. I especially relate to #4 lately as I’m learning to favor the concept of rhythm over the proverbial “balance”.

    Keep on, keepin’ on Ben!

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks Tony!  #4 has been a big one for me.  It’s been incredibly freeing, and, I think, has made my writing stronger.

  • http://theacufffamily.blogspot.com Suzanne

    Thanks, Ben.  I just started blogging in January, and the reason I started has nothing to do with the reasons I have continued.  This list is helpful.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      What reasons keep you blogging?  I’d love to know!

  • http://duane-Scott.net/ Duane Scott

    Cool lessons to learn… 

    :) 

  • Danblackonleadership

    Thank you for sharing what you have learned during the past 3 years. You bring up some great points.

  • Pingback: How I ruin my opportunity to have a great blog | John Cade

  • http://www.twitter.com/johncade John Cade

    Great post… love the rhythm vs discipline part. If it feels too rigid, it becomes a chore. But if it feels right… I’ll stick with it.

  • http://www.mustardseedyear.com Jason Wert

    Happy anniversary man!  I know my life’s been better by crossing paths with you here.

    God bless ya, dude.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Thanks Jason!