The fifth anniversary is finally here. Who imagined that I would get to reach five years into blogging. I am still blown away by this journey so far. The way it has been unfolding into great things and beautiful encounters. Blogging has been an exceptional experience in my life and added purpose to it. Although I started blogging late, it never felt late if I could still consider it late. After this long, looking back to when I first started, I think I started when I was ready the most, even when I felt scared and uncertain. Blogging started with advice from a friend of mine, to a journey that grew with my personal growth.
I first committed to blogging in 2017, and I didn’t have a clear plan or idea of what the blog would look like eventually. Blogger was my first platform to use for publishing. When I first started blogging, I only thought about the rate of articles published each month. Believe it or not, I only published two to four articles per month during my initial phase, which took so much time and effort.
I discovered my preference for topics to write about on the blog throughout the journey. Initially, I didn’t want to stick to one theme, so I kept it generic for more flexibility. It was a trial and error kind of experience; I was learning and discovering as I went into it. Flexibility is essential, and being open to ideas and suggestions made it more enjoyable.
Early Days into Blogging
If you are a consistent reader of my articles and you follow up with my blogging journey, I am sure you know that this website was not the first platform. I used to blog on Blogger under the name (mylifeasahumanandasalibyan.blogspot.com). My first published article was about 5 Things Teaching Kids Have Taught Me. In 2017, I worked as a teacher, and it was a lovely experience. I got the chance to work with children, teach them, and help them grow. It was an inspiring experience, and I wanted to share it with the online audience.
After that, I shared an article about online courses titled Reason Why I Got Addicted To MOOCs. Little did I know that the US embassy in Libya shared the article on their Facebook page a few days later. It received hundreds of views within a short time. It was too early to receive such recognition, especially since I wasn’t concerned or thinking about it. I started blogging to improve my writing skills and to share stories about things I am passionate about on the blog.
Five years of blogging in Numbers
When it comes to blogging, of course, numbers are essential. Any blogger must focus on or understand the performance of their blog. Since blogging depends on written work, the number of views per article can provide excellent metrics to understand the rate of viewers and the audience reach. I officially launched my current platform, personal website & blog on January 1, 2021. Therefore before this date, I was a full-time using Blogger. My first blog ”My Life as Human and as a Libyan” has received 146K views. Articles received 267 comments, and honestly, interacting with readers was incredible. Thankful to many people, especially those who followed up on my first blog on Blogger and provided feedback.
Also, tracking the blog’s visitors by country is vital as it allows you to understand the central regions your blog reaches around the blog. Below, you can see the top 10 countries that the blog gets, as the audience is in these countries. The United States comes first, Libya with the highest views rate. These two make up 24 and 23 percent of the total views. After that, the views are almost close to the rest of the countries. It is essential to know that Blogger provides excellent visualizations of stats.
My current platform, The Libyan Wanderer on WordPress, has received 29,696 total views since launching in 2021. Below is the total number of views in 2021 and 2022 thus far. I don’t feel that I started from scratch when blogging on my new platform. Initially, I was nervous because I began to think of having my own space in my third year of blogging, but I was a little scared of making this commitment. Until another friend offered to help set up the website at the end of 2020, I decided to take the risk.
In five years of blogging, I published 380 articles, and I contributed to about 20 magazines and online platforms. Total views combined reached 175.7K views. I interacted with hundreds of people, but most importantly, I made many friends through blogging.
Advice from a Blogger
As I mark my fifth year in blogging, I hope to share advice from my personal experience as a blogger:
– It is not too late to do what you love
If one thing I believe in now because of blogging is that it is never too late to do what you love. No matter what it is. I started blogging after I finished my Bachelor’s studies. 2017 was a year filled with uncertainty, but I had a massive motivation to try new things. I have always loved writing and dreamt of managing to write and publish, and blogging made it a reality.
– Consistency is key
I always tend to mention consistency in the articles I write about blogging. Consistency is what made it work for me. If I weren’t consistent in publishing and writing, I would’ve stopped long ago. It is not motivation that makes it work but consistency. You can love a hobby as much as you want and describe it as a passion, but if you don’t get to be consistent, you will never make tangible progress.
– Opening New Doors
Indeed, blogging opened many doors to opportunities connected with publishing. I got the chance to publish on many platforms because of blogging. It allowed me to get my voice heard in a written sense, connect with people through blogging e through blogging and find answers to many questions I had related to my country’s history. I got to interview many people from Libya and abroad.
– Breaks are as important as consistency
Although I have been writing for five years now, I have faced a creative writing block every year. In the beginning, it was hard to go through creating a writing block but slowly, I learned to embrace it. Taking breaks throughout blogging has been very important. I had a hard time publishing this year as writing and managing my other responsibilities became harder. However, I got to understand that breaks help throughout writing and publishing. It is crucial to take a timeout now and then.
– There is room for creativity
Writing about particular topics can become dull after a long time. Through blogging, I got to be creative. I didn’t highlight a single subject, but I highlighted many topics about history, culture, and art. I got to connect with artists from the MENA region based in France. It is one of the things that I never thought I would get to do because of blogging and connecting with artists from all over the world. Interviews made it possible. It is an aspect I never thought of doing, but it became an integral part of my blogging experience. In addition, I am currently studying the possibility of starting a podcast to expand my work and reach.
– Start Slow & Small
When practicing our hobbies or launching a specific project, we always think of big and sometimes set unrealistic goals. It is the reason why many people quit quickly. If you want to start blogging, start and don’t overthink it. You don’t have to have a personal website and put a massive investment from the beginning. You can begin on free platforms and test the waters.
From my experience, I realized that it was great that I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself from the early stage of blogging. I gave myself space to experiment and find my way. I didn’t set unrealistic goals and focused on the present time rather than the future. You must keep your publishing rate low, especially if you are not used to writing long pieces or used to editing. It will give you time to pick up your pace and work well with your busy schedule. It was how I managed my time between work, family, and blogging. I started from publishing two to three articles per month to between 6 to 8 articles per month now.
”Start small, and as you go, it will grow with you.”
It is essential to mention that I have taken creative writing courses and have enrolled in workshops about citizen journalism to improve my understanding of journalistic work and familiarize myself with the process. Improving yourself in blogging/writing is as important as the journey itself.
Above are some pictures of the interviews I had with many people via Zoom, some interviews were conducted via calls, text, or voice notes.I started interviewing people since 2019 and it is still ongoing.
Thanks to blogging, I learned more about my country, its beauty, the potential of its people, and its diversity. Blogging helped me share stories about Libya and connect with people from different parts of the world. I hope, through blogging, that I got to support, encourage, or teach people. Even if it was a single piece of information they took away from the blog, it is enough for me. I made a life-lasting connection.
For instance, I will never forget my interview with Queen Fatima’s private secretary, Mrs. Sahar Rifai, whom I am still in touch with. Including many other discussions, for example, with the Iraqi artist Nadim Kufi and the Iraqi calligraphist Hassan Massoud. Also, the Sudanese artist Hassan Musa and many others, Libyans and foreigners.
Most importantly, thanks to readers, family, and friends who have encouraged and supported my blogging journey. Without their support and kind words, I don’t think I would have made it to the fifth year. I learned so much because of blogging and witnessed many changes. Throughout turbulent times, writing was my escape. Blogging gave me strength and improved my writing and speaking skills. It is now not only a hobby but an integral part of my work. Happy five years blogging anniversary and to more years to come.
I hope this article can help new bloggers or those interested in blogging in general.