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Life Is A Party {And A Ton Of Blogging Advice}

February 28, 2012

By:

Erin Schrader

Boy oh boy.
Do I have a treat for you lucky dogs today.
Who doesn’t love a good batch of blogging lessons?
Oh, right.
Those who don’t give a bleep about blogging.
BUT.
For those that do care–you know they are the best thing since sparkly {anything}.
So today–I am over at Alycia’s blog sharing my blogging lessons learned.
And today she is here.
Because sometimes hanging out on your own blog after awhile gets a little boring ya heard?
So welcome Alycia and listen to what she has to say.
Word to the wise: She is a blogging genius.
Genuis I tell you.
Take it away girlfriend.
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Hey everyone! My name is Alycia visiting over from the Crowley Party blog πŸ™‚
My blog is a lifestyle blog where I blog about my life, and the things I love doing, which usually include food, fashion, and crafts. Since Erin decided to share some blogging tips on my blog today, I figured I would do the same here. Get ready for a meaty, novel of a post all about blogging!

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 What made me decide to start a blog?
I figured I may as well address this very important question first. What made me decide to start a blog? Well I have actually talked about this on my blog before. So first let me send you over there! So that is the longer version, let me give you the shorter version. I started a blog because everyone in my family had one, and my dad was giving me a hard time about not having one, and that he wanted to be updated on my life since I was away at college. So I started one. I hardly ever used it. It was called “Alycia’s World” original eh? haha Then when I got engaged I started searching online for wedding ideas/etc. and got sucked into wedding blogs, and from there blogging in general. It wasn’t until after I was married that I really started blogging. I love the world of creativity that blogging fosters, sharing ideas, and stories about each others lives. Blogging can be such an inspiring and uplifting pastime, and I am addicted to the “happy” it provides!
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Blogging Tips
Now usually when people ask for blogging tips it means they want their blog to go “somewhere.” When I started blogging, I was in it for the journal keeping aspect and sharing my life for friends and family. Little did I know that my “family & friends” would grow to include people from all over.  —that’s YOU guys by the way! πŸ˜‰ Some people blog just for that, and others want to find some form of “success.” Success is different for everyone, it is all about how you define it. What do you want YOUR blog to be? Do you talk about food, crafts, fashion? or do you not want to be defined and want to blog about whatever you feel like? I guess that is me, the “Lifestyle” blogger? But just like with anything, if you have a goal, you need to make a plan to get there. So if you want a “successful” blog, however you define that as being, then you need to set little goals to get you there. Here is some insight on what I think makes a big difference in blog-land.
1. Presentation. We have heard this all of our lives right? Your blog layout and design is the readers first impression, so you want it to be attractive. We all define attractive differently, but I have found that the less clutter someone has on their blog, the more appealing it is. Try and keep things clean and organized. Presentation is 50% of blogging in my opinion (maybe more!). Also, it doesn’t have to be expensive. 99% of my blog layout I taught myself how to do through google search, and didn’t pay anyone anything to design it. Now they have that great template designer, so there is really no excuse anymore when it comes to blog design!
—- Part of the presentation when it comes to blogs is PICTURES! We all LOVE pictures on blog-land, am I wrong?! While people love to read good content, a picture says 1,000 words. So try your best to have great quality pictures. Not everyone can afford a really expensive camera, and I am a big believer that you don’t have to have one to find success in the aesthetics department of your blog. However you must understand people will judge your blog based solely on the quality of the pictures! Most cameras today are great quality, your point and shoot should be just find. Read up on how to actually use your camera so you are getting the most out of it. It amazes me how little people know about their cameras! (trust me I still am learning too! haha)! Just be aware that people like pictures πŸ™‚
2. Blog for YOU. A lot of people start blogging and think it is going to happen faster then they expected. Well for some people their blogs just might, but for most of us gaining followers or getting comments takes time. I was blogging for almost a year before I got significant people commenting or following my blog. That is why it is important to be blogging for YOUR happiness, because if you are trying to blog for other people, that is no fun, and you will just end up being disappointed.  So don’t get discouraged, if you are having a fun time blogging and you are enjoying it, others will start to enjoy it too! Stay consistent and put forth that effort and eventually the readers will come, if having readers is your goal.
3. Be consistent and sincere. You can’t blog once a week and expect people to keep on coming back to your blog. When you are consistent, readers are engaged in your blog!  Some people say they run out of ideas to blog about. I am not really sure how to answer that one, except see above. Know why you blog, and where you want to go with your blog, and your content should follow. If you are really starving for ideas, see what it is you like to see in other people’s blogs. What are they writing about that you love and are interested in or inspired by, and find ways to do that in your life and blog. Back to being consistent, some people find that a blogging scheduled helps. I have kind of applied that to my blog, but have also found I don’t like being tied to or limited to a schedule that has been set. That goes right back to blogging for YOU and making YOU happy πŸ™‚ When you are happy blogging, you will also be sincere. People like to relate to other people, and by being genuine and sincere people will connect with that. This is the best part of blogging anyways, the connections we make with other people! Show people you are human, trust me, chances are… they are human too.
—another aspect to this is people who blog simply to make money, get famous, get free stuff, or get invited to places. Those who get into blogging solely for those reasons are destined to be disappointed. As mentioned before, people can tell when you are being genuine or not. Readers can tell if people are blogging for the joy or are solely in it for the perks. This isn’t saying people can’t enjoy the perks that can come from blogging, but it shouldn’t be the only reason they do it! Also don’t rush into accepting sponsors! I didn’t even think about accepting sponsors until I had over 1,000 or so followers. Even then I was afraid, I mean why would anyone want to pay me to put their buttons on my blog?!  But people had started to ask about it, so I figured, if there is a need for it and people want it, I can provide that for them. I still feel weird about it today! When you start to put a price on your blog you’re also turning it into a business. People are paying for something and expecting that in return, you can’t blog whenever you feel like it if you have people counting on you. You have made a commitment with someone. That doesn’t mean you have to post every single day, I take days off all the time. But I usually never go 2 days without blogging. At the start of this year I was so busy with school work right before I graduated. I probably went two months without hardly blogging.  I just did NOT have the time.  Trying to blog and do school and managing it all at that point was too much for me. I took a much needed break, because trying to get things done because I thought readers wanted it, made blogging not fun for me anymore. That would not have been a good time to have sponsors on my blog, it wouldn’t be fair to them, right? I didn’t get sponsors until I knew I could commit the time for my blog, me, and for them!
4. Be Respectful. Your readers and sponsors are the ones who come back every day and read your blog! Don’t write them off or treat them poorly! You can do things to show your gratitude with an awesome giveaway, or guests posts. Not everyone can do this, but who doesn’t love a good giveaway from time to time?! If you have the time, respond to questions and comments. I really do try to do this, but it can be hard when you get so many and have things to do during the day. But people like to know their not being ignored. (I swear I read every single comment people! THANK YOU!)

5. Source Content. Part of the “respect” mentioned above is sourcing where you borrowed or took anything offline. Sometimes people are worried they will loose followers if they have links to other people’s sites and blogs, but your readers are not going to leave you because of that, in fact they will probably appreciate you sharing the wealth with them! If you don’t know the original source for your pictures, etc, be open to someone sharing it with you. Then link appropriately!

6. Network! Get your name out there! Don’t be afraid to say hello or email your favorite bloggers. If there is someone you want to interview, ask them! Go ahead and trade buttons with someone with a similar readership as you and even taking out sponsorships on larger blogs that have a following you wish to have! Don’t be afraid to branch out to other “genres” of blogs… crafting, recipe/food, fashion, mom blogs, etc. The more the merrier! Pass it around! If you are not active in the blogging world, commenting, talking, sharing, how do you expect anyone to know who you are? Very few people will just “find” you!

7. Don’t be annoying. Don’t spam people’s blogs with your link. No blogger likes when people are just trying to get you and your readers to their blog and leave their links and other sites attached to their comments. Just by leaving a comment you leave a trail to your blog if people want to read it. I don’t think it is necessarily bad to leave links in the your comments leaving, BUT just make sure you are not coming off as trying to fish for followers! It all comes back to being genuine. If you leave comments, you should be genuine as well! Another aspect of being annoying, is some people are turned off by auto-music playing on blogs. Some people don’t care, others do. I say, do what YOU want for your blog. Just a tip if you are trying to take your blog “somewhere”— it does bother some people. So if you care what other people are thinking, you might not want to have it, but change the setting so it doesn’t just start. But again, let me reiterate, do what YOU want!
 
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Sorry for the novel people! haha I hope this helps people to find/achieve whatever it is they are looking for when it comes to blogging. I know that for me, blogging became an outlet at a time of my life that I didn’t even realize that I needed it… and boy did I need it. I thoroughly enjoy creating, reading and being inspired by all of you. I enjoy the friendships and words of encouragement, jokes, just all of it. I think you know what I mean, or you wouldn’t be here right now reading this, right? haha
So since I just jabbered on for forever (this has probably been one of my longest posts in terms of writing!) haha Why don’t YOU guys share some of the tips/frustrations/whatever you  have to say when it comes to blogging or people’s blogs?!
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Now be the nice little ladies that your momma’s raised you to be, and say hello to Alycia.
You will not be sorry you stopped by her blog.
{Have I told you yet it’s one of my faves? So much so I am sponsoring her in March.}
Holler.

Now go have the best Tuesdays ever you braniac bloggers you.

Oh PS. If you are visiting from Crowley Party–Whaaaaaat’s up.
So glad you made your way over to these parts.
I would promise that you made an excellent decision, but I’d rather you be the judge of that.

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