Tuesday, August 2, 2011

{what i've learned}:: blogging

I'm excited to kick off this {What I've Learned} series! Over the next few months, I'll be diving into some of the lessons I've earned in the past two years about blogging, handmade biz, inspiration, packaging, and more. I'm still in the process of learning many of these lessons and I've learned many the hard way.

Today we're talking about blogging. I wish that we could sit down to coffee (or tea, or froyo....whatever your vice) and chat, instead of miles and miles apart through computer screens. But this will have to do for now, so here's what I would tell you.

{Figure out why you blog}

Why do you blog? It's an important question. It will determine what you write about, how you write, your reaction to comments, and the atmosphere that you create on your blog. 

 I blog to communicate and share with friends ("real life" and blogger friends) and family and as a way to share my passions, but more importantly, I hope to be a light for Christ. I'm a bucket full of sin and I'm thankful for His grace because I certainly fail at that second goal a lot. But, remembering that that's what I want to do with my blog helps me refocus when I lose track of why I do this.

So figure out why you blog and write it down somewhere. Refer back to it if you need a reminder. (I need a reminder more often than I would like to admit.)



{Always give credit}

One of the first lessons I learned when I started blogging was to give credit where credit was due. Whether you are blogging a craft, posting a pretty picture or trying a tutorial, it's important for us bloggers to support each other by giving credit and linking back to the original source. Sometimes I find a beautiful image on Pinterest, but it doesn't help anyone to just link back to Pinterest. Spend a few minutes hunting down where the image first came from and link to that post, website, etc.

If something is not your original idea, photo, tutorial on your blog, make it clear to your readers where you found it. They will thank you and the original source will certainly appreciate it too.

{Numbers don't matter, relationships do.}

It's so easy to get caught up on number of subscribers, comments, visits per day, etc. I am guilty of this and I don't think there is a blogger out there who can tell you they have not been at some point. But blogging is not about the numbers, it's about the relationships.

The truth is, spending time commenting (sincerely) on other blogs, tweeting with your favorite bloggers and getting to know other people with similar interests will most likely lead to more traffic, comments and followers for you. But more importantly, you'll form friendships with people that you probably would never have crossed paths with otherwise.

I have met so many inspiring, kind, creative people through blogging. I've met quite of few of these people in real life and have made life-long friendships. Take time to respond to comments (I'm sloowly working on getting better at this!), find new blogs to read, seek out more experienced bloggers for advice and less experienced bloggers to encourage them.





{Learn to say no}

As you meet other bloggers and make connections and relationships, opportunities may come to you for guest posts, giveaways, features, etc. There will obviously be many things that you will be excited to participate in, but there may be things that you are not interested in, or just can't do for whatever reason. Learning to say "no, thank you" kindly and honestly will allow you the time and energy to put more effort into the things you truly feel passionate about.

I find this is one of the most difficult things about blogging. It's never fun to disappoint someone and it's often taken the wrong way. But allowing myself to only say "yes" to the opportunities that I'm truly excited about lets me give 100% and keeps me from burning out.


{Negative comments will come}

Oh boy, there was a time not too long ago when I thought, Hey, I haven't had a single negative comment, I must be doing pretty well! But that didn't last for long. Unfortunately, there are people out there that spend their time writing hurtful comments. I've been the target of quite a few and they have hurt, badly. People may tell you to just brush it off, or to not let it get to you. 

But personally, I can't do that. It gets to me. Especially when people question my character. Negative comments hurt and that's the truth. This is where I remind myself why I blog. I'm not blogging to please people, and on the internet there are way too many people with far too many opinions for me to worry about making them all happy.

I wrote this post after receiving some nasty comments this spring and it reflects a lot of my feelings about this ugly side of blogging.




{Other stuff}

Pictures-- make them big and make them great! If your {Blogger} template doesn't allow for the extra large size, this is a great tutorial for making your photos bigger.  Not everyone is a photographer (ahem, yours truly) but play around with your camera for interesting, bright and clear photos.

Design-- White background and black lettering makes your blog easy to read (versus black background and hot pink lettering) There are a million free layouts out there to make your blog {you} but if you are interested in a custom or pre-made blog design, I highly recommend Designer Blogs. I've been working with them for over a year and love every design they've made for me!

For more tips on blogging, check out this article {5 simple tips for improving your blog} on Gussy Sews, and this series by Money Saving Mom on blogging.

Most importantly, don't let blogging rule your life. You'll have nothing to blog about (and you'll become a pretty boring person) if you sit on the computer all day, so go out and live life! Then come back and blog about it. ;)

Got any blogging tips? I certainly have not covered a fraction of what there is to know about blogging and I bet I can learn a lot from you guys.

What's your #1 lesson learned from blogging?

PS. All images from The Wheatfield on Etsy. Katie Daisy is a phenomenal artist, check her out!  

lindsay

22 comments:

  1. I have a question... how do you decide how much "real life" to let in your blog? Since you use it for family/friends and business... I want my customers to know me as a person, for sure, but I don't know how much is enough or too much... how did you choose your balance?

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  2. I've learned that life happens and it's ok if I only get one post out a week as opposed to the two or three that I originally planned : )

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  3. Great post! (and loved the linked post on being flawed but still loved)

    I'm still kind of new to this blogging thing. It's been less than a year... but I've gone through many stages already..
    I've definitely learned why I'm blogging.. it's a version of what I originally thought it would be.
    ... and is basically the same as your reason... I'm writing for Christ!

    Keep it up Lindsey! =)
    ~Brooke

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  4. You are totally right on all points. It is easy to get tangled into numbers, subscribers and words. Virtual life lures us into expecting super human results of ourselves. I love the challenges I've met in my blogging "life" because they have taught me so much.

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  5. Great post, Linds! Thanks for taking the time to write this all out.

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  6. I like to pretend like the negative comments don't bother me because I know if I showed how I feel that that would let the negative commenters know that they won. But it's rough! It's terrible that people feel like it's okay to be mean - especially when they do it anonymously!

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  7. This is brilliant. I'm 10000% with you on giving credit, there are FAR too many blogs out there that don't. x hivenn

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  8. I love this - great reminders & good things for all bloggers to remember! :) Thanks for sharing, Lindsay!

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  9. are you ready for the longest comment ever? becase i'm ready to type it, LOL!

    first off, i agree with you 100% on everything you hit on. i blog for an outlet, a way to relax at the end of a school day because school...well, it's not my friend. i lot of the things that i'm required to do so I can become a high school grad don't apply to what i want to do in college. BUT! i'm getting sidetracked here. ;) blogging is for YOU & only you; that's my motto or whatever. if it becomes a chore or something you don't like to do anymore then it's lost its charm for me.
    blog numbers don't matter. if i was concerned about those silly things, i wouldn't ever blog. but, Lindsay, i'm NOT a big time blogger like you or Moriah or Gussy by any means, yet I'm friends with you ladies {maybe that's only the way i feel so i guess it's a onesided relationship? LOL!}.
    thanks for writing this post girl. you rock my socks off. ;)

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  10. Great post...thanks for sharing.
    I am fairly new to the blogging world so any advice you share is greatly appreciated.

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  11. you're so right about everything especially the relationship part. I was initially hyper about the numbers and comments but as things go along, I began to make really wonderful connections with people and the numbers didn't matter anymore. Thank you for your valuable piece of advice.

    love,mongs
    mythriftycloset.blogspot.com

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  12. such good thoughts, friend. and well said. and pee-shaw (is that how you spell it?!)...you are totally a photographer! love your pics, girl!!

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  13. It made me smile to realize everyone gets the negativity, even someone as wonderful as you :)

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  14. Great post :) Saying no can be difficult, but is necessary! Love your new series, Lindsay!

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  15. Such great blogging tips. I agree with everyone of them!

    I think I'm going to like this little series quite a bit so I can learn a little extra or have some things reaffirmed for me. Like why I blog. I also started it as a Christ centered blog and I can see when I get away from that and quickly refocus.


    www.keepthefaithgoing.blogspot.com

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  16. I have enjoyed reading your blog since I started blogging over a year ago! I find you so inspirational and love that you're sharing these tips with us all.

    My biggest struggle with blogging was that my purpose when I started was just to blog about my jounrey as a military wife, for me and my husband to look back on- then I got a readership and realized I kind of had to cater or change what I posted about to them. At least that's how what I thought. It hurt everytime I lost a reader and felt it was because of something I said.

    I am learning to be more inquisitive and ask my audience questions. I'm learning there is an audience and I can't just "write for me" anymore.

    I also love that you mentioned giving credit! It is such an essential part of life, let alone blogging, to give credit where credit is due.

    Sorry for my novel! Thanks for starting this series and for truly being the light in your blogging! You inspire many more than just me, I am sure!

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  17. what a great start to your blog series! I think one thing that I like about blogging is reaching out to eh world and my family affair...but sometimes I have ALL this time in one setting but I like to spread out the ability to post by scheduling it to post at a certain date and time. Makes me feel like I'm productive all at once but then spreads the "wealth" at different times. :)

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  18. I love these tips! I love them all, really, but building relationships is important. And learning to say no. You don't want to overdo it and I have a tendency to do that! I love your blog and cant wait to read more!

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  19. I just discovered your blog and this is the first post I've read. I'm impressed by how well-written and insightful it is. I am a new follower. BTW, I love Katie Daisy and have that "Be Kind" print in my house!

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  20. great tips!

    And I just did a post on this artwork from katie - she's awesome!! ;-)

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  21. Light for Christ + Katie Daisy = you and I destined for blogging bff status. C'mon over to the Salty Shark and drop me a line! Xo

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  22. Lindsay- Thank you for sharing! I am new to the blogging world and so many of the things you wrote about I have struggled or wondered about! Thanks for taking the time to write it all out and to share your wisdom with us newbies!

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