Thursday, October 20, 2011

What I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging...

The lovely Tara of Tara Dara Made It asked me last week to be a guest blogger for her series on "What I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging"! I was honored to be considered- such a great series!

I have a mentor in almost every aspect of my life. There's a specific attorney I look up to for career guidance, a professor I look up to for school guidance, and even peers to help me with other miscellaneous things. The one thing I DIDN'T have that I wish I did was a "blog mentor". I went about creating my own blog all alone. My sister had a blog, but she was on Tumblr and for some reason, I knew from the beginning I needed one that was easier to read than hers (logging in with a Tumblr account, etc...)

With that being said, I was overwhelmed with the things to blog about! I was creative, a student, a daughter, an aunt, and in love. I felt silly having a blog without being married or having kids. I felt that all the blogs out there were family oriented or strictly crafting blogs! I tossed aside all my care last summer when Ordy (my fiance) and I were going to Paris and I wanted to keep my family and his posted on our trip... I thought our families were the only ones reading... Until I saw the traffic and noticed that 7 followers did NOT mean 7 readers!!! I was blown away. When I got back to the States and decided that blogging was done for me, I realized I loved it too much. I was even more surprised when random people were facebook messaging me asking to keep up with the blog! I couldn't believe people cared about what I had to say!

So, that's how I molded into a blogger, a year and a half later. It keeps me sane, it makes me happy, and it connects me with other like minded people! I have loved the people blogging has connected me with and I couldn't be happier to be a "blogger"!

It's so easy to get caught up in the comparisons. I would have never started if I thought my target audience was the entire world wide web. Knowing my target audience was just close friends and family took the pressure off of me. I knew I didn't have to have profound blog posts to be on the cover of Tip Junkie or other well known blogs (even thought that's nice- don't get me wrong)! The pressure to create a good blog post can be too overwhelming especially when you see blogs with thousands of followers and you get discouraged. Do it for yourself. The minute I realized blogging was keeping me sane after hours of reading cases for school, I couldn't care about being the next Tatertots and Jello or Pioneer Woman. They are brilliant ladies, but I was a full time law student and had to realize this was not a full time job!
Take some time to unwind. Don't neglect your friends and family to create your next post. Enjoy candid family moments. Not everything has to be documented. Pretty soon, people will question your genuineness and whether you're really having family time for the company or for a "good post". Quit looking at Pinterest, other blogs, facebook, or any other distraction for a few days. Sometimes you get sensory overload and want to do SO much you confuse yourself and don't get anything done!
Don't forget, you're doing this as a hobby. The chances of Home Depot or Michael's sponsoring you from the get go is rare- start out slow and build your followers. Progress into a loved (and sponsored) blog. Nothing is more annoying than seeing banners on a blog that has 5 followers, because I automatically feel that every post influenced by a product is a sponsor and the blog is not as authentic as I'd like. Don't blog with intentions of being sponsored, your readers can tell. This is a hobby- that may (or may not) turn into a full time job. Just don't lose followers before you even have them!
Set time aside for blogging so you don't burn out. There is nothing worse than FEELING like you HAVE to blog. You end up with 3 uninspiring posts vs. 1 quality blog post a week. Your followers would rather wait a week for that one good post than know you're pumping out lousy ones they don't care to read!
If you aren't tech savvy (which I'm betting most of you AREN'T), go ahead and spend some (not a lot) on a decent design package. I know if I'll like a blog (and follow) within the first two seconds of visiting. If you have too much going on or music playing, etc, it might discourage people from seeing the "meat" of you blog! Don't splurge from the get-go, blog a while and see if it's something you want to continue doing. I didn't care about design much until I realized it's the first thing people judge me on! I ended up googling until 4 a.m. several nights just to figure out how to do it for free. I found out I could do a lot on my own (with a few questions to graphic design friends) on my own free time. Here's a tip: I do most of my design on PowerPoint- it helps me pick my own fonts and images, then I take a screen shot and upload them to the blog! Feel free to ask me for help, I don't know much, but I can try!!!

I could go on and on, but I think these were the most important things that I wish someone told me! Thanks for letting me guest post!


  1. What a GREAT list :) Im gonna go over and check out the rest of the series too. Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much for guest posting! You are an inspiration!!!

  3. Very cool. :0 I know what you mean about 7 followers not meaning 7 readers. Sometimes I get dishearted by having under 100 followers, but then I realise that a lot of the people I get comments from aren't included in that widget. :)

  4. This is great! Thank you so much for sharing this! I just started blogging and the comparing and quality blog part can definitely get in the way of why and what you are trying to share with the world. Thanks again!

  5. I so agree with the "do it for fun" part. I've noticed more and more that people are getting mad about certain smaller companies wanting to sponsor and not paying enough. So ridiculous. Great post!

  6. I think these are the perfect right on tips on blogging. I agree wholeheartedly!