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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What I Didn't Know Before I Started Blogging

It was a cool morning in February when I had a brilliant idea...I will begin blogging and share with the world all of my knowledge on parenting, homeschooling, housekeeping, and more!  It will be the perfect way for me to merge my passion for writing and motivate me to get my life in order.  It will be amazing and will only take a few minutes every week!  Genius!  

...And then I woke up!

Blogging has been an awesome journey, no doubt, but I dove in head first and didn't really know what I was getting into.  Social Media suddenly had a whole new meaning to me.  I had no idea what Pinterest was or how to use StumbleUpon.  Twitter was like a different language all together!  On top of that I had to learn what it meant to "develop a brand", learn how to watermark photos, and of course how to work with html code!  I suddenly realized this blogging world was so much more than "just writing a quick post".  It was a whole new way of life.

I was lucky enough to have a dear friend that guided me to some great resources, and Google became my best buddy as I tried to figure out how to set everything up.  Suddenly I felt like the writing was no longer the main attraction.  I was frustrated and burnt out...and as a result lost all desire to do anything with my blog for almost 5 months.  

I am not sure why, but suddenly I felt I needed to pick it back up and continue my work.  I am so glad that I did, and I have to believe that it was the Lord prompting me to do so.  At this point, I really see A TIPical Day as a ministry for me.  I am excited by the direction I see it taking and the vision I have for it.

So the question remains, if I had know what it would be like, would I have begun in the first place?  Actually, I think I would, but at least I would have been better prepared for it.  



So here are just a few things I wish I had known before beginning blogging for the first time.

1) Be willing to learn.  I don't care who you are or how long you have been blogging, there is always something new to learn!  Things are constantly changing and you have to be able to grow and change.

2)  Take some blogging classes BEFORE you begin.  This will give you some great ideas and knowledge before you even start.  +Tanya, Blogelina offers some great classes and several times a year they are even free.

3) Purchase your custom URL right away.  You don't have to use it right away if you don't want to, but you want to make sure you can get the one you want when you are ready for it.  I bought mine over a year ago from +GoDaddy  but just finally switched it over last weekend.  If you are using a hosting platform like blogger it is really easy to get everything switched.

4) Spend some time learning about social media and how it works.  This is a huge referrer of traffic back to your site.  If you actually want people to see what you are writing you have to get it in front of them.  There are so many to choose from and it can be overwhelming.  The biggest ones are Google +, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  Many bloggers also have good luck with StumbleUpon, YouTube, and Instagram.  There are tons more, so pick 2 or 3 and perfect them...you can slowly add to your list after that.

5) Develop relationships with other bloggers early on.  The blogging community is overall a very friendly group of people.  Most are extremely helpful and will go out of their way to help promote, advise, and encourage other bloggers.  Start by sending emails to bloggers you already follow and respect.  Ask them for some tips for getting started.

6) Design is important, but content is key!  I have seen some absolutely beautiful blogs that had terrible content and as a result very few followers.  I have also seen some pretty plain Jane looking blogs that had the best content ever with thousands of fans!  People aren't coming to your page for the pretty background and sidebars.  The come because you share great content and a piece of yourself!  Remember that before you go and spend tons of money. 

7) Posting frequently is important, but don't do it so much that you burn yourself out.  Find times that work for you to work on posts.  Don't put pressure on yourself to post every single day.  I did this at first and that is really what burned me out.  If you finish a post quickly and have some extra free time go ahead and write up a future one that you can schedule.  Having some ready to go can be a lifesaver!  I wish I did this more often!  Also please don't get discouraged by lack of comments, or visitors.  It takes awhile to start building this up.  It may not mean that no one liked it...more likely it is that no one really saw it.

8) Keep a journal of ideas for different posts.  I keep my journal right next to my bed.  It comes in handy when I am stuck on an idea. 

9) There is a very fine line between spamming and promoting.  Be cautious of this...  Spamming is a huge no no and will get you in BIG TROUBLE!

10) Join support groups, and blogging communities.  There are tons of them on Facebook and Google +.  I am in a bunch of different ones, but the ones I like the best are smaller and more personal.  It is like having your own personal gaggle of cheerleaders!

I feel like this list could actually have about 100 things on it instead of just 10!  There are so many questions that come up while blogging, hopefully this will get you started and headed in the right direction.  If you have a specific question, please feel free to contact me!  I would love to help you out and answer your questions.  :)


Good luck!

P.S.  I am looking for 1-2 more guest posts for this summer.  If interested please email me!  :)
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28 comments:

  1. I blogged for a year feeling like I was talking to myself in black and white. I'm not sure how I evolved but one day I thought I'm ready to do more. Navigating through Pinterest to the original sites I found a party link up. My light turned on. Before that I didn't know how to find other like minded bloggers.

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    1. Yes, I agree. Blog hops and link ups are a great asset to the new blogger. Getting into the right one can REALLY get your blog seen. It makes for a nice network of bloggers helping each other out.

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  2. I started blogging just as you did...Jumped right in. I had no idea what I was doing. I actually started because of my family's Etsy shop, but it quickly grew into so much more. And then, just these past couple of years, I really started focusing on the blog more & more. I've only just [barely] started joining blogger communities - and oh how helpful they are! I've learned so much in these past couple of months. Plus, I've gotten to meet more awesome fellow bloggers like you. You've given 10 excellent tips here!

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    1. That is so sweet! Thank you Kim! I really think getting invited into my first blogging community was my big turn around. Up until then I was just sort of stumbling in the dark trying to find my way. It was so nice to have a group that I could bounce ideas off of and go to with my questions! I also had a few real life friends that blog and they offered tons of support and answered so many questions for me. Ha at times they must have seen me coming and thought, "Oh no! Not another question!"

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  3. I made the mistake of not joining support groups early on. I'm happy now that I'm in one and getting on the support I need.

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    1. So glad you found one that is helping you Louida! They are such a blessing! Thanks for visiting!

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  4. Thanks for the tips. I jumped right in and am still stumbling along in addition to home schooling a big family. Not sure if I can squeeze in a class, but I am definitely going to look into it. What is the advantage of buying a URL? Years ago we bought a domain as a family and we lapsed to paying the renewal fee only to discover the site was filled with porn links within a week, so I am a little apprehensive. Any advice?
    brelinskyville.blogspot.com

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    1. I can see why you would be gun shy about getting a custom URL. I had never intended to use mine, I was planning just to stick with the .blogspot. I bought mine on the recommendation of another wise blogger. She said that even if I didn't use it, I should get it so that it was reserved for me...you never know where your blog might take you and at some point you may wish you had it. I was glad I purchased it when I did, because about a month later I got an email from Go Daddy saying that someone was interested in buying it from me since I hadn't used it yet! Had I waited, I would not have been able to get the one I wanted. I paid a very minimal fee for it, and have an automatic renewal so it doesn't lapse. My final decision to change was because I felt the .com was more professional and easier to remember than the .blogspot address had been. The other thing to think about is that you may decide later on that you don't want to use blogger as your host. Having the custom URL on your blog will make the move to a new host much easier. This is all personal preference though. If you are a casual blogger and just do it as a hobby or for fun, then you may not need to get it. Hope that helped!

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  5. This is great advice. Building networks and community is so important. Other bloggers inspire me when I lose my mojo...such a support. Stopping by via Blogger FB group. :-)

    Kelly
    www.alovelylifeindeed.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Kelly! I agree that other bloggers can really inspire and push us to do better!

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  6. Thank You so much for the post! I am just starting out and these are some really helpful tips :)

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    1. Happy to do it Tami! If you have any specific questions I can help you with, feel free to contact me directly! :) Good Luck!

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  7. I did an article like this a while back and hit many of the same points you did - if only we had known lol. YOu're doing great - keep it up! The biggest thing I've learned is to pace youself. You are sure right about that one :)

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    1. Thank you Erica! Wish I hadn't had to find out about pacing myself the hard way!

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  8. Such a great post and #6 is so very important!

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    1. Thank Antionette! You have to have good content! ;) (Hope I do! LOL)

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  9. These are wonderful tips. My blog just turned 9 years old this week, and I have learned a lot as I've gone, but the rules are also a lot different now than they were 9 years ago. Especially Social Media...I'm learning a lot still, especially since I sort of took a blogging break and am coming back to it the last few months. I pinned this post. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for pinning Lara! Glad you came back. I enjoy reading your blog! :)

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  10. Great article. I need to do all of it, but I am going to learn the hard way and do only most of it. I need to work on patience. My first thing I am going to check out is spamming verses promoting. I would hate to get in trouble there. Thanks again!

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    1. LOL Yes pay attention to spamming! That probably should have been higher on the list! Thanks for visiting!

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  11. You are definitely right about the blog group support! Yay!! I need to buy a journal at the dollar store, I have notes on so many scraps of paper. I am going to look into that spamming verses promoting. Thank you for all of the good advice!

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    1. As long as you are following rules for your support groups and link ups I am sure you will be fine.

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  12. agree that networking from the beginning is so great. I was so pleasantly surprised by how friendly most other bloggers are!

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  13. This is awesome advice! Thank you for posting :)

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  14. This is very helpful! I started my blog a few months ago, and am just beginning to get serious about it. Love the tips!

    Eve Galati
    http://littlebitofwit.com

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  15. Thank you for the tips. Recently, I started a blog to showcase my sensual short stories. I'm learning that it's best to do your research.

    www.shortstoriesbymjb.com

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