A few weeks ago a little notification turned up on my dashboard. It was WordPress reminding me that 5 years ago, on this day, I started blogging. It was one of those moments that was like, “wow, no kidding!”
A lot of parents talk about this kind of feeling with their kids. They remember the day they were born, then they blink once and their little baby is 18 and going off to college. That is the feeling I have with my blog. It seems like just yesterday, I was writing awkwardly and to absolutely nobody. Then I look at my page views and I see that they’re over 30,000 for this month. It’s all making me really nostalgic, so today I want to go back to yester-year and tell ya’ll how and why I even started on this crazy blogging journey!
My Blogging Story
I started blogging 5 years ago. To me it really doesn’t seem like that long ago, but the world was much different then. in 2012, blogging was still in its pre-teen stages and not near as common as it is now. Facebook was around, but was still only really used by college and high school kids. Twitter was just starting to really hit it big. Instagram was a mere 2 years old and nothing like it is now. The times were different (how grandma-ish did that just sound).
By some random way, I stumbled upon the world of healthy living blogs. These were real people, with their own websites. It was like nothing I had ever really seen before. These people weren’t journalists or tech people running a company website, they were literally just average people writing about their lives. I was instantly intrigued at this little subculture I stumbled upon. Most of the time, before people become bloggers they become what I like to call “blog stalkers”. This really just means they become dedicated readers of other blogs.
One of the first blogs I became loyal to was Julie Fagan of Peanut Butter Fingers. Julie is a huge blogger in the fitness world now, but I’m proud to say I was one of her first readers. I loved how genuine and bubbly Julie seemed, but what I loved more was that she reminded me of myself. After a few months of reading her blog, I really felt like I knew her. This was such an incredible thing for me because at the time I was going through a really tough and lonely stretch in my life. To know there were other people out there who were like me was the most hopeful feeling in the world.
Diving Right In
I wrestled back and forth with the thought, but finally, at a random little restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, I gave in and started my own blog. I didn’t know anything about blogging, but I knew it would give me an outlet and I knew I liked connecting with other people who were like me.
I wrote about everything and anything. It was the most random thing you probably ever would have read, but I stuck to it. I would write steadily for a while and then I would get busy and be MIA for a month or two. There was no pressure at all. If I felt like blogging, I blogged. If I didn’t feel like blogging, I didn’t. I didn’t have my blog in hopes of growing a huge audience or making tons of money (or any money for that matter). I had it purely for myself. It was an extension of me in a lot of ways. Sometimes I needed my blog, sometimes I didn’t, but it was always there and it was always a comfort to me.
Taking Blogging to the Next Level
About 2 years ago, I finally started taking my blog seriously. By that point, I had had my blog for 3 years, I was out of college, and about to get engaged. I knew I either needed to get serious and nurture my blog, or move on to devoting my time to other things. I went back and forth on this for quite a while, but in the end I knew I loved blogging and the creative outlet it gave me.
So I got serious with it. I learned how to write with a purpose instead of just randomly rambling. I learned the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org. I learned how to pick and design my own custom theme. I learned all about a wonderful thing called plug-ins. Most importantly, I decided what I wanted the main focus of my blog to be: travel.
Seeing things in Hindsight
Even though it was only 5 years ago that I started blogging, I still feel like things have changed so much. When I started, blogging was an “awe, that’s cute, you have a blog” hobby-type of thing. I’m sure there were a few select people making money from blogging, but I sure as heck didn’t know of any of them. Now there are people making their living off of their blogs, and they’re not just “getting by”, they’re making 6-figure incomes.
Now days, a lot of people start their blogs with the goal of making money or a career out of them. A big part of me is glad I didn’t start with this mentality. I’m really glad I took the time to figure out what I wanted from blogging. Yes, it’s part of my job now. Yes, I make money off it now, but it started out as something so much simpler than that, and that low pressure start really made me develop a love for it. Had I started out with money and huge pageviews being my main goal I’m not sure if I would have stuck with it.
As proud as I am for my blog growing, I don’t want to forget why I started – because I loved the community it provided me with. Posts like this aren’t going to get me huge page views, but they’re posts where I can open up to my readers, and hopefully you can open up right back. It’s where we can get dialogue going and make connections with each other, and that, above any income amount, will always be why I started blogging in the first place.