Can you believe this is the 4th blogiversary that I am celebrating?
Yes, my blog turned 4 years old recently and I dedicate this feat to YOU!
Thank you for your love and support, and for making Aha!NOW what it is today. 🙂
What started as a hobby has become a habit, which I have now taken as my career.
In this post, I am going to reveal nine things I did and lessons I learned to survive this long haul of blogging.
These made my blog interesting. It made blogging easier and kept the blog readers happy.
Though my blog has made it to the milestone of “four years”, I feel happier that I was able to make it “for you” this year. Read on to know more about it.
This post is about your contributions, rather than my celebrations. It is about your care, support, and the community.
Life is a carnival that is full of fun and joy, ups and downs, shocks and surprises, meetings and partings.
So is blogging.
Today, I want to share my views with you about blogging, Aha!NOW, and life. It is my blogging story that has some lessons and tips for you.
You can never regret anything you do in life. You kind of have to learn the lesson from whatever the experience is and take it with you on your journey forward. ~ Aubrey O’Day
An Overview of Contents
Lessons Learned From 4 Years Of Blogging
If you also plan to keep blogging for as long as I have, then I guess you will be interested in knowing how my blog evolved.
Those who are associated with Aha!NOW for a long time, already know the story. However, for many who are either new to Aha!NOW or blogging, this may be a new learning experience.
As I talk about how Aha!NOW evolved, at the end I will be highlighting my tips and the things I did that directly or indirectly helped me to keep blogging, successfully.
To start with, Aha!NOW had a humble beginning as a family blog. The first categories I included in the blog were family, parenting, and relationship.
Very soon, I also included love and health niches as I started getting a positive response from my readers.
Later with time, I added about a dozen more categories. But all of this was very gradual, once I knew my audience liked what I shared.
In the future too, I might be adding more niches like the food and travel, etc.
I know some of you would love to have them on Aha!NOW, wouldn’t you?
#1 Make Your Blog User-Centric
I had no idea whether to start or not with a multi-niche blog, when I started blogging. In fact, I was clueless about blogging.
My first post was on 25th December, 2010. Though I lost that first post somehow, you can check the earliest Aha!NOW posts in the Archives.
It was by October, 2011 that I realized WordPress was better for blogging, so I migrated to it from the Blogger platform.
That time, I used the Genesis Framework. It was then that I also started using CommentLuv Premium. It is all mentioned in this post.
I would recommend CommentLuv Premium, especially for new blogs as it brings in a lot of comments, and you get to meet many bloggers too.
Are you also using WordPress and the CommentLuv plugin?
#2 Switch To WordPress And Use CommentLuv
I lost some blog comments due to the transition from Blogger to WordPress, but still there were hardly many comments on the posts during the initial phase of blogging.
I was not consistent in blogging and was busy with my writing assignments.
Due to this reason, in the first half of 2011, I only posted once or twice a month, or even skipped some months altogether.
It was by August, 2011 that I became serious about blogging and for the first time broke the 20-comments-in-a-post barrier, starting with this relationship post.
How many comments do you get on average in a blog post?
#3 Blog Consistently And Responsibly
My first blogiversary post was more of a wish list and resolution post than an anniversary post. You can read it here.
The year 2012 was a wonderful year for me as a blogger.
I called Aha!NOW as an SELFhelp blog, where SELF stood for Self-Development and Enrichment of Life and Family.
I created many posts that were appreciated and culminated the year with this second anniversary post.
In 2013, I started the Top Bloggers for Aha!NOW awards for men and women. Some of the posts that went viral then, still bring regular traffic!
Aha!NOW also received many small and big awards, several mentions and honors in all these years, for which I remain ever so grateful. You can read them here.
Do you also celebrate your blog, bloggers, and visitors in your blog posts?
#4 Create Anniversary and Award Posts
In 2013, I started the “Blogging” category on Aha!NOW. This was again, added on popular demand as surfaced in the first blog survey that was conducted in the 3rd blog anniversary post.
Also, in January 2013, I changed the WordPress theme of Aha!NOW to the present ThemeForest theme.
That’s because I wanted a new magazine kind of look and a responsive theme for my blog.
Blogging Report of Aha!NOW in 2014
My first post of 2014 was about creating a life plan. This is when I seriously sat down and planned for Aha!NOW.
Did you make any blogging plan for your blog?
Not to mention that, Aha!NOW was included in the Top 10 Personal Development blogs of the world of 2014.
It was the biggest public recognition that Aha!NOW got, and till date that award post brings daily traffic to the blog.
In the first half of 2014, I interviewed some probloggers and entrepreneurs, and invited few regular visitors to do a guest post on Aha!NOW. You can see all of them below. 🙂
How many probloggers have you interviewed?
#5 Have Guest Posts And Interviews
Meanwhile, Vinay, my better half, joined hands with me and wrote his first post on Aha!NOW on Father’s Day, titled “The Best Gift You Can Give Your Dad On Father’s Day.”
The year 2014 has been good for me.
The biggest achievement is the birth of the ABC – the Aha!NOW Blog Community. This is what I meant by making the blog “for you”, when I mentioned it at the beginning of this post.
Now, Aha!NOW is not only my blog, but even YOU can contribute to it as a member of the ABC.
That’s the specialty of a community – it makes your blog go dynamic!
How much engagement and interaction do you have on your blog?
#6 Be Creative And Innovative. Create a Community
Let me share a little about the community at my blog. 🙂
The ABC is the activity and forum-based membership community of Aha!NOW. It was started in July 2014 and has now become the heart of Aha!NOW.
“The beauty and specialty of the ABC is its quality interaction and real engagement.”
It is the heart of Aha!NOW that keep beating, working, and living 24×7. It is full of gems from all over the world and people from all walks of life.
You can experience the ABC for FREE by registering for it here.
If you need to know more about the ABC from the existing members themselves, you can read their voluntary testimonials here.
The members of the ABC are called Ahaians, and they actively participate in the community activities without any boundaries of country, community, color, or creed.
I started the GEMS of Aha!NOW series from October 2014, where I honor the most gregarious and engaging members of the community, and reward them.
I also had my first big giveaway of the Ergotron Sit-Stand Workstation worth up to $600. Ahaian Ravi Chahar was lucky to win it.
Do you also have giveaways on your blog?
#7 Give Incentives And Motivate Your Blog Readers
If you want to build your community, then joining the ABC will help you a lot.
You’ll be able to make new contacts, friends, forge relationships, collaborate, and also promote your posts!
To keep blogging, you will also need to make your blog worthy.
Make your blog a place that shares useful information, meaningful content and consists of a helpful community.
Besides, you also need to make it prestigious enough for others to want to contribute to it.
I had a rafflecopter giveaway of guest posts on Aha!NOW. You can see below a few lucky ones who got to guest post through a lucky draw, while the rest earned it through their efforts and skills.
Aha!NOW is a blog where only the community members are allowed to guest post.
The ones who are the toppers of the community leaderboard, win the prestigious guest post opportunitiy by earning the maximum AhaPoints.
What do you do to motivate your blog readers?
#8 Create A Value Proposition Of Your Blog And Its Activities
In 2014, I started with giveaway and paid reviews.
The first giveaway was that of the Ergotron Sit-Stand Workstation, and the other was the Grammarly review.
Aha!NOW is open to paid reviews, sponsored posts, and paid posts now. The first paid post on Aha!NOW was on happiness.
[I am offering 50% discount on all advertising on Aha!NOW till New Year’s Eve.]
If you are into a long haul of blogging, then remember that blogging will take most of your time.
Since time is money, I realized a bit late that I have to monetize my blog in order to survive while blogging.
That is because I’ve slowly become more of a blogger than a writer, as I was earlier.
Therefore I had to sacrifice my revenue through writing, which had to be earned back through the blogging activities.
How do you earn from your blog?
#9 Make Your Blog A Source Of Your Earning
Talking of reviews and sponsored posts, I want you to know that I rejected many attractive offers because they did not go with my ethics and the ethos of the blog.
It’s not only about money. You need to first think about your readers and reputation.
There you have it, my journey into blogging so far! I hope you liked and learned from my blogging experiences, though there is a lot more you can add to this list.
I wish you take the tips and implement them on your own blog as and what suits you.
“Knowledge without application is simply knowledge. Applying the knowledge to one’s life is wisdom — and that is the ultimate virtue” ~ Kasi Kaye Iliopoulos
The ABC As A Platform
The ABC has been the most rewarding experience for me in my 4 years of blogging.
Aha!NOW has grown from being a blog into a platform, thanks to the ABC and its wonderful members.
Presently, you can use this platform to do three things:
Make Friends, Discuss Topics, and Promote Your Blog. It is all FREE! [Tweet This]
I define the ABC as a blog community because it is more than merely a blogging community that is used to promote your blog posts.
The ABC is a place where bloggers and non-bloggers meet, become friends, and discuss topics related to various aspects of life, including that of blogging.
It also has discussion groups, where like-minded people can discuss issues related to their interest.
As of now, we have three groups on the ABC managed by the Ahaians:
Tech Tricks – Group Admin Ahaian Rohan Chaubey of RohanChaubey.
Be An Inspiration – Group Admin Ahaian Ikechi Awazie of AwazieIkechi.
In the New Year, you will see more groups from experts and famous personalities.
The Special Christmas Giveaways
As announced earlier, here are the winners of the Grammarly Review post’s best commenter and the ABC giveaways in this Christmas-cum-blogiversary post.
The lucky commenter who wins the one-month premium subscription of Grammarly worth $30 is Brenda Lee from United States.
Congratulations Brenda and I wish you make the best use of your Christmas gift from Aha!NOW and Grammarly, and have a great New year.
The Ahaian who topped the leaderboard in this month of December is Abrar Mohi Shafee from Bangladesh.
Congratulations Abrar, you have won the one-year premium subscription of Grammarly worth $140 from the ABC and Grammarly.
I wish you have a great year ahead and go on to win the guest post next month in the New Year!
The Mega award for the Ahaian who has scored the most AhaPoints overall, to date, is Yvonne I. Wilson from British Virgin Islands.
Even though Yvonne was not able to be regular this month due to her professional engagements, we recognize and appreciate her efforts in the past 4 months on the ABC. Moreover, she still tops the leaderboard!
Congratulations Yvonne for winning the $140 one-year Grammarly premium subscription from the ABC and Grammarly.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Look forward to having you back on the ABC in January 2015. 🙂
The ABC Santa has one more gift left in his magic bag!
It is a guest post for Nathaniel Kidd of United States for being the runners-up on the community leaderboard. His interaction and comments on the ABC have been so impressive!
Congratulations Nathaniel, we look forward to a guest post from you in January 2015!
I also congratulate this month’s ABC gems – Larry Frank, Sivaramakrishnan, and Navneet Teotia. More about them in the next GEMS post in January 2015.
Dear readers, this is the last post of this year at Aha!NOW. The next post will be on January 12, 2015.
We expect to start “Season 5” at Aha!NOW with a bang, but you all are free to visit the ABC even during this winter break.
Yes, the ABC will be open and active – there are no holidays for the Ahaians! They can have fun round the year. 😉
Since I will also be active on the ABC and will work along with Vinay at the backend making changes and improvisations, I might not be able to visit your blogs and be as active on the social media.
Please excuse me for that because I need to spend time doing up the blog and ABC, and that takes time! I’d be back again, with more surprises for all of you.
So, though I’d be home and taking a little break to be with my kids and family – I will be working alongside too.
Thus, if you want to be a part of the engagements and interactions at the ABC in the winter holidays, register yourself here.
And a special note for all the ABC members – during this last week of the year, there will be no reward points for the community activities.
However, the activities will be as usual and you can communicate, share your posts, and be with each other as always.
But No points, No leaderboard, till 1st Jan., when the new leaderboard starts again. Till then, just enjoy the fun! 🙂
Happy Holidays everyone!!
Over To You –
What lessons do you take home from my 4 years of blogging experiences? Have you made any plans or strategies for long-term blogging? If you’ve been successfully blogging for many years, then what are your blogging lessons or secrets? Share in the comments.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
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