Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What I've Learned In My Six(ish) Months Of Blogging

I started this blog about six months ago. Okay, like eight months ago. I created this blog in March of this year, but didn't start really posting until April. Anyway, I'm not an expert blogger by any means (lolz) but I have learned some things along the way, and I figured I'd throw them into a post in case they help someone else who's just establishing their blog.

You don't really need Passionfruit (or any other ad network) if all you're doing is swapping buttons. Don't get me wrong, I l-o-v-e love Passionfruit. When you're ready to actually sell ads, it's totally worth it. But if you're only going to swap ads with people, just add those boxes yourself. It's easy!! (If you need help with this, let me know, k?)

Give your blog some time to evolve organically, and give yourself time to find your writing voice. When I started this blog, I knew I didn't want to curse, and I wanted to keep it a totally positive space. I've stuck with the no cursing thing (for the most part. occasionally, a curse word adds the exact amount of emphasis I'm going for), and I keep it mostly positive around here. I posted in the beginning about how I didn't think that you NEED to post negative things to make yourself relatable, and I stand by that, but life isn't always happy and wonderful, and it's okay when your blog reflects that.

It's okay if your blog doesn't fit in a niche. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to find a place where I fit in. Then I realized that I've never worried about putting myself into one box, because there are so many sides to my personality. So why would I put that kind of pressure on my blog? You'll find people that love you and your blog no matter what your niche is. There are plenty of every type of blogger - you'll find your people soon enough. I promise.

Wait a few months before you purchase a blog layout (or be prepared to pay for revisions later.) You'll find that the things that you want at the top of your blog will change as your blog changes shape. Give yourself time to figure out what you really want up there before you spend $50-$100 letting someone design something awesome for you. It also takes a while to figure out what you like and don't like in a blog design. If you decide you DO want a fancy blog design immediately (I don't blame you), be prepared to pay a small fee for file storage and another one for revisions so you can change things as you need to.

Set goals, and then change them. My plan was always to center my blog around the set of goals that I set for myself. While I still DO try to stick to those goals, after I let my blog evolve on its own (ahem), I figured out that that I didn't want to limit the content on my blog to ONLY those things - I love having a place to talk about what's going on in my own life (duh) and a sounding board when I want to talk about politics/The Issues.

Blogging veterans might read this and think "well duh, Alyssa. How could you not know that stuff?" but for me, they're things I definitely have had to learn. In fact, I think I learn something new about blogging every single day.

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Rachel said...

Amen to the blog graphic/design one. I've designed all my blog layouts since I started in January 2012 and I'm JUST now at the point in possibly being able to hire someone else to help. Do it yourself at the beginning and save money!

♥Renee @ •Getting Fit Fab• said...

I got very lucky with the blog design, I know quite a few number of girls who do it for cheap but make it look amazing and than offer little tweaks for nothing.

It's okay if your blog doesn't fit in a niche - I love that, my blog definitely doesn't fit anything. It's life style, mixed with so many random things. LOL

Tracie Everyday said...

It has been trial and error with me since I started this blog this past summer. At times I feel all down like man everyone else's looks cooler and better, but then I realize I JUST STARTED Everyone's had this phase too! I love that you are giving helpful tips!

Amanda - Voyage of the MeeMee said...

Good point about waiting on a design. I like how mine is now, but, it's pretty bare and I'd love to spice it up. I don't want to get overly anxious though and like you said, end up wanting changes. Good post! :)

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

Everyday I learn something new about blogging! I am constantly tweeking my design so I totally agree on waiting till you know more of what you want before paying someone.

Yessenia said...

I just started blogging and love these tips. I bought my layout but that's because blogger doesn't have many options. It was only $15 does that make it better? :)


Kathy @ Vodka and Soda said...

i think every blogger needs to write what they want to write!! i think a big fear of blogging for many is that that they're afraid of not being appealing to audiences...but hey, you can't write to satisfy everyone! i curse a whole lot and i understand that some people don't but our styles are all different and if your style doesn't appeal to one person, it doesn't mean you're a failure either!

Vodka and Soda

Ginny @ Buttergirl Diaries said...

Hey girlie. I really liked this. I can relate on so many parts of this. I had a completely different design when I started and as I evolved over the last 7 months I wanted my blog to be more feminine, girly, and soft looking. I changed my colors to something more easy on the eye and stuck to something more simple. I agree, it's really not wise to spend a lot of money at the beginning on a professional design. I agree- get your feet wet first because you will be inspired by other blogs which will help you decide what you want your blog to look like.

I also agree a lot about the goals. When I started blogging I was going to have JUST a bulldog blog (about everything related to being a bulldog owner) but then when I started I wanted to talk about so many other things so I kept it open for all of my lifestyle. I don't really have goals anymore but rather certain topics that I enjoy writing about (coffee chat, makeup, etc) and in the end my goal is to really 'just keep this blog going to see where it takes me!' My goal is to not give up:)

Thanks for these reminders. We started about the same time. I really enjoy blogging but I will admit there are days where blogging is the last thing that I want to do. It's normal but it's important for me to keep going even when the going gets tough.


Dani said...

I like this. I was very lucky with my blog design and won a free package. It was awesome! I think what you listed are things one learns about as they are blogging.

Jessa @ Life of A Sports Wife said...

I absolutely LOVED this post!! I couldn't have agreed more.. It does take a while to discover your voice..

Lauren @ My Passion Journey said...

I'm new too and I like this post a lot! It's actually way more helpful than a lot of the "expert advice" I've read out there. Thanks for sharing!
- Lauren

Shannon Kerns said...

"Wait a few months before you purchase a blog layout" is great advice. I was in such a rush to make my blog look pretty. Four months in I want to make countless changes.

This is a great post! I've got a series I've been writting monthly about what it's like to be a newbie blogger (it's called Is There Anybody Out There). Check it out if you have a few minutes :).

Following you on Bloglovin's now and am looking forward to getting to know you better.



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