Ten Things I’ve Learned in Five Years of Blogging

June 2015 marks five years since I started this blog. Needless to say, it's been an interesting ride. Today I feel like talking about it, so here goes.

I've Learned to Take the High Road When People Are Mean

Sometimes people are mean and say rude things in the comments, on Facebook, or via email. Things they wouldn't say in person when they can't hide behind their computer screens.

I used to get rude right back, but I don't anymore. I've learned it's best to keep it classy. The “delete” button is really handy during these times.

I've Accepted That People Will Steal My Content

The more popular my blog has gotten, the more I find my content copied and pasted word for word onto other sites where people are attempting to profit off my hard work.

I used to agonize over it and worry about it, but now I just expect it to happen and I don't spend a lot of time stressing over it. Most of the time Google takes care of the offending sites. When they don't, there are steps I can take to put a stop to it if need be.

I've Learned That Your Site Name Matters a LOT

I picked a really dumb name for this site, and now I regret it. It's definitely not so easy to just change it, either, once your site is already very established.

I recently changed my logo to just say, “Real Ways to Earn” rather than the former overly-long six-word, spammy sounding phrase, “Real Ways to Earn Money Online.” It's the best I could do.

If I could go back in time, I'd have spent a few days thinking about this very important part of my site rather than the five minutes it actually took.

I've Accepted That Being Completely Original Is Outside My Control

My work from home blog certainly wasn't the first one, but there are a LOT of others now. While I am really glad that the work from home message is spreading, from a blogging perspective I won't deny that it is becoming more difficult to be original in such a saturated niche.

Sometimes this has me thinking seriously about what my next steps will be if “work at home” becomes so commonplace that no one really cares or gets excited about it anymore.

I've Learned That Blog Money Is Really Inconsistent

When you earn money with a blog, you're not getting paid every Friday like you might with any other job. The ad networks and affiliates that pay me do so once a month, and they don't all pay on the same day each month.

I usually have a vague idea of what day the money may come in, but it's never a certainty which exact day. This makes it hard to plan for bill-paying, so I've learned a savings account with money in it is a must-have.

Another roadblock is that you have good months and bad months. Because of that, it's hard to know exactly how MUCH money will be coming in month-to-month.

I've Learned That It's OK to Get Help When You Need It

I'm one of those people who doesn't want to hand over the reins to anyone else when I already know backwards and forwards how something should be done. And I do all the work here myself with the exception of the six posts Leisa Good writes for me.

It frees up a lot of time each week so I can see to other things, and she does a great job. I haven't (yet) needed to outsource anything else, but now I'm not quite as fearful about doing it if I have to.

I've Learned to Say “No” When I Know It's the Right Thing

It's not easy for me to disappoint people. I absolutely hate telling people no, and for this reason in the early days I might have accepted a few poorly written guest posts and accepted some advertising that I shouldn't have because I felt backed into a corner when people asked.

But that part has gotten easier. Some people aren't so nice about it when you tell them no, and some people are gracious and thank you for even considering.

At the end of the day, I just know that I have to do what's best for me and the site. If something isn't a fit, I say “no” (nicely) and move on. I can't say “yes” all the time just because I don't want to disappoint someone.

I've Learned That Two Blogs Isn't Always Better Than One

I realize that some bloggers are able to successfully run two or more sites, but I'm not one of those people. In the last five years, I've had at least 10 or so “great” ideas for new blogs to create, and the end result is always that I get burnt out trying to run multiple sites and give up on the new site(s) after a few months.

For me, it just divides up my time too much, and putting a lot of work into one blog always takes away from the other. So at least for now, I'm finding that it's better to keep my focus in one spot.

I've Learned That Investing in a Blog is OK

When I first started, spending any money on my blog didn't cross my mind. I went the easiest, cheapest route possible by starting with a free Blogger site.

But slowly I started investing — first a domain name, then a hosting account, then paying monthly for a newsletter — and it was money well spent because all of these things were to my blog's benefit.

Since the early days, I've paid for plug-ins, graphics, content, courses to help learn more about blogging, and all kinds of other things. And I wouldn't hesitate to pay for any of these things again! Particularly the EBA blogging course, since it was a complete game-changer for my blog.

Although it's important to note that I started slowly. I didn't have much money to invest at first, so I waited until my blog was actually earning money before paying for many things.

I've Learned That You Can Make a Living With a Blog

I'm not one to share my income, but I will say that after five years, this blog does earn me substantially more than any outside-the-home job ever did.

If you really want to make a living with your blog, you have to accept first that it won't be easy at all and that lots of frustration is ahead because things won't go like you want them to all the time.

The difference is, when some people feel frustrated, they give up completely. Instead of giving up, you have to be one of those people that turns those frustrated feelings into a fire that drives you to work even harder to get the results you want!

I honestly believe that changing frustration into determination has been the key to my blogging success, and it can be the key to yours, too.

Do you need some blogging guidance?

Read my post on starting a blog so you have a good idea of what's going to be necessary if you want to go about this the right way and set yourself up for money-making success. Know that blogging is a six figure income for many people, and for others it easily replaces a full-time job or brings in much needed extra money.

Good luck!

28 thoughts on “Ten Things I’ve Learned in Five Years of Blogging”

  1. Hi Anna, I just came across this article and it is exactly what I needed to read. I just started a blog, and some days are overwhelming. A lot to get started. Thank you so much!!!

  2. Anna, thank you for this post. This is excellent feedback on your journey and very encouraging. I totally understand the multiple blogs thing. Its something that I learned the hard way many years ago. It caused me to burn out, just as you stated above. So I’ve been on a looooong break. Now that I’m back, I’ve ran across some work at home sites… some almost identical to others in content as well as the look and feel of the blog. So I see exactly what you mean by “saturation”. However, your site has always been one that I love and visit quite frequently. I think it really stands out from others and you provide excellent content and resources. I love Caramel Frappes and have a Starbucks not 5 minutes from me. But I’ll travel across town (passing several of them) just to get to that one because the way they mix it taste better. That’s what your blog reminds me of. There are many others similar sites but I just like your blog. Keep up the good work – you’re a true inspiration!

    • Your kind words mean a lot, thanks! Glad to see you back around. Sometimes a long break is very necessary to re-charge!

  3. Congratulations on five years of blogging! I love your blog and your helpful articles.

    I’ve been blogging for six years, and I agree that the space is much more crowded now. Standing out among so many can be a challenge.

    I, too, have tried to run multiple blogs, and it was difficult, to say the least. I do much better focusing on just one blog. Kudos to those who can manage two or more!

    We shared this post on 1099 Mom.

  4. Hello Anna,

    I recently found your website by mistake, but this has been life changing to see all the great opportunities that you list on your site.

    By the way congratulations on your site’s 5 Years in the BIZ.

    I am just a few years away from retiring and I want to be active but I do not want to work for somebody in an office.

    I am looking for something NEW and DIFFERENT.

    I am even thinking about starting y own BLOG, which I never even considered before.

    I have been reading all your Blogging Tips and I hope I can get started very soon.

    All the opportunities that you have listed has been an eye opener for me.

    I think that you have done a great job and I even like the name.

    So all I can say is Thank You Thank You Thank You,

    Any idea what I should write about on my new BLOG?

    How to I find firms that want to place ads?

    Christian

    • Hi Christian,
      Thanks for the kind words. I’d recommend writing about a topic you have a true interest in. That will keep the blogging work fun. For ads, you can sign up with ad networks like Google Adsense and Media net. This is the easiest way. You’ll have to apply at both sites and wait for approval. I think Google requires that your blog be up for six months before they will let you place ads on your site.

  5. Hi Anna, I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge, insight and perspective on blogging as well as sharing the challenges, difficulties and blessings that come with having your own business. Because your blog is your business. I have learned and will continue to learn and grow from the positives and negatives of blogging and hopefully encourage others to give it a try also. This post has definitely enlightened me and I know that it will do the same for others also.

  6. Congrats Anna! Your site was the first step in leading me to a life I never dreamed possible. People constantly ask me about my income sources. I tell them to check out your spammy sounding website. I reassure them not to worry, your site is legitimate and I still stop in 1-2 times a week.

    I found your site when I was living in the U.S., but I now live a semi-retired life on a tropical island in the Asian South Pacific. I am still under 40 and will always be indebted to you for providing my endless supply of white sand beaches and fresh coconuts. THANK YOU!!!!

    • Wow! That is so awesome, Christian! Thank you (and everyone else who has commented) for making me smile today. I am so happy for you and thrilled that my site has been a stepping stone in getting you to where you are!

  7. Great advice! Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I found my main online job through this site and it continues to be one of the best!

  8. Thank you so much for your Blog Lessons. I recently started my Blog and I hope in five years I can be as successful as you! I’m glad a came across your webpage today. (Found out about it through womensday.com)

  9. First of all, major kudos and congrats for being around so long! And also for replacing an income with your blogging, that is really cool!
    As far as the name of the site goes, I can see where you might feel like it seems a bit long, yes, and maybe some folks would see it as spammy, but I never thought “spammy” when I saw the name. And, truth be told, it is a really memorable name, which has helped me locate you on Google more than a few times (I now have it on my list of most frequented sites, so I never have to look it up these days lol 😉 ). I kinda like the name. *shrug*
    So anyway, I am glad you have learned to relax about some of the other stuff, relax about the name, too–it’s all good! 😉
    Again–CONGRATS! TY for doing a great job!

    • I am glad someone likes the name! Thanks for the kind words! I do agree it’s memorable, so that’s one good thing about it anyway. 🙂

  10. Congrats!!!! I love your blog and am very pleased. I’m glad I took a chance (despite the name hahaha). It’s helped with my new work from home job and I’ve met some great people! I tell my friends looking for work about your blog. Great work!

  11. Can’t believe it’s been five years! Congratulations!
    Your blog has been so helpful to me, and I’m very glad I took a chance on it despite the spammy name. It does make it a little difficult to tell my friends about it without an addendum, but I haven’t found any place else so consistent, trustworthy, and nicely organized. You’re an awesome resource, and an incredibly helpful person :).

    • Thank you! I appreciate you giving it a chance despite the name. 🙂 That’s why I changed my logo to just say “Real Ways to Earn.” Not as much to say all at once and removing the “money online” part takes away a bit of the spamminess (at least I think it does).

  12. Congratulations Anna on your five years with this blog. That’s an accomplishment you can be proud of in my honest opinion. It’s interesting how you talk of work at home becoming commonplace. I wonder about this as well. It seems as it gets more and more saturated with people looking for work the stakes for requirements of companies keep going up and landing a job gets more and more difficult. I keep thinking of the future and what my goals are when it comes to working at home but it’s hard to know if the goals you set for yourself will actually be achieved. I think you have to regularly assess where you are going and make changes.

    • I have for sure seen an overall increase in the number of companies hiring for work from home. A lot of big names are now open to the idea of telecommuting when before so many wouldn’t consider it. But, as you said, more people are looking, too, and that makes it so competitive overall.

      I do think it’s becoming more commonplace, but there’s still a long way to go before it’s truly “mainstream.” Good luck, and thanks for the congrats!

      • I have been lucky to be with a work at home company for ten years and have no intentions of leaving it and they don’t have any intentions of letting me go so I guess I have a win-win situation there. I would like to have a backup plan, in other words a part time something but that could become more full time in the event I needed it to. I don’t feel it will have a long way to go before it’s truly mainstream. I think it can happen sooner rather than later. There are day time shows, new segments that run work at home information on a regular basis where before it was looked at as a scam kind of thing by most. Even magazines have been running work at home companies as a regular weekly segment in their magazines. Each week a new company or a new way of earning money working from home on the Internet. You are correct though that more better known companies are offering work to those that want to work from home however they also want to change the definition of an independent contractor that could end up to bite them in the rear-end. In my opinion there needs to be a set definition of an independent contractor that doesn’t allow companies to change it to suit their needs. Unfortunately I don’t see that happening and in the end many companies will fall victim to high turnovers.

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