I can’t believe this little blog of mine (that started out on a whim) is now turning 3 years old. When I started this blog on May 31, 2011, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. And, actually, I have no idea why I even wanted to start a blog or where I got the idea. I didn’t think it would last 6 months let alone 3 years.
Up until that point, I had been known to hop on different bandwagons trying to find my niche. I have always felt that I needed to be doing more with my life. There was a little part of me that didn’t feel complete. On a personal side, I felt like I was going through the motions with no pure love and enjoyment in life. And, this had nothing to do with my family. All of that part of me was being fulfilled. I am talking about the internal bliss of life. I didn’t have any hobbies and envied people that were awesome at baking, knitting, or even coaching (yes, my husband). They knew their niche in life and I didn’t. So, I started this blog in an attempt to find me and my bliss. Low and behold, I found it!
I have been an organizing nerd since I was a little girl. I was the one that always carried around an assignment notebook in school, wrote on post-it notes, made lists, and kept my closet clean. You wouldn’t find a pile of clean clothes laying around on the floor of my closet. I have mentioned this before, but my final paper in my college English writing course was a descriptive piece on how my closet was organized (I need to find that and share it with y’all).
When I was supposed to put my big girl panties on and enter the workforce after college, I remember saying that if I could be a professional organizer, I would. That was my dream job! So, this is my dream job!
Do I get paid to do this?
Not in a monetary sense, but definitely in an internal sense. I love completing projects and sharing them with y’all. So, thank you for following along with me on this journey.
Now, over three years, I have learned a lot about blogging and I wanted to share some of them today…
1. Show Heart & Love for Your Space
I am a huge fan of blogs! I not only have one myself, but I have a list of my favorites that I check out daily. How have these blogs made my list of favorites? Because I can sense their personalities, love, and deep admiration for their space. They own it in every word they type!
Writing is a tricky beast. All writing is not created equal. People want to feel a connection with you when they read your posts. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about a life changing experience or an awesome new paper towel DIY project you just completed. They want to feel your emotions!
Writing in this manner is not something that develops overnight. It has taken me 3 years of writing and reading other blogs to understand how to write a post with emotion. I still question myself daily about if y’all feel attached to what I write, but I know I am getting there.
2. Include a Summary Photo in Every Post
The world of Pinterest is changing the way we look at everything. And, the same goes for the way you create blog posts. At the beginning of this adventure, I never included an eye-catching image that explained my post and intrigued others.
It took me reading other blogs, seeing how they had things organized, and being a lover of Pinterest to understand I was doing it ALL WRONG! This is important info. Are you ready?
People will not pin a post if it doesn’t have an awesome photo that is worthy of pinning!
So, how do I know this… Because that is how my mind works. So, now, you will notice that I include an intro picture (usually) that introduces and summarizes my current post.
3. Include Several Large High Quality Photos in Every Post
I am a visual person! I was the person in school that went straight for the photos in a book, which is probably why I have always been more of a magazine lover than a book lover. I love bright, bold photos that show and/or explain a situation.
My photos evolve almost daily around this blog. At the beginning, my photos were super small and not so great quality. I am actually in the process of editing all of those pictures. Man, it is taking a lot of time too. But, now, I am trying to include larger photos and more of them.
Lighting is so tricky! I will think I have an awesome photo, insert my memory card into my computer, then cringe. The lighting that I thought was good wasn’t so good. It is a learning process for sure. I am hoping to get better and better at my photography skills.
4. Don’t Overwhelm… Spread a Project Out Throughout Several Posts
I have learned that it isn’t good to overwhelm the reader. Once again, I am basing this on my thoughts and opinions. If I open up a blog post and a tutorial seems too overwhelming, I won’t even read it… let alone, attempt it. That is why you will see me stretch out a project (emergency binder, for instance) into several blog posts. It not only helps y’all, but helps me as well. When you have little ones running around, you only have a little time here and there. So, I very rarely tackle one project completely in one sitting.
5. There will ALWAYS Be Critics
Out of all 10 things on this list, this is the one that I have the hardest time accepting. I know there will be people that can’t stand my blog, but feel the need to bash it daily. Even though I know it, it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. I am a people pleaser at heart. It hurts my soul when people do not like me. I have been that way my whole life. I take everything personal… It is a character flaw. Yes, I guess I am OCD about that too.
I have had people criticize everything from my blog name to accusing me of copying information straight from another blog (I always tell y’all when I am using an idea that wasn’t originally mine… plus, reference where I got it). It hurts… It makes me second guess myself… It makes we wonder why?
When these things happen, I have to reflect on myself and my blog and make sure I know in my head that everything is ok. I do not know why people get joy out of hurting others. It confuses me daily. But, some people aren’t content until they voice their opinion. And, I have to accept their opinion and move on.
6. Link Up
There are a couple of blogs that I link up to weekly (if I have a project worthy of doing so). My blog is still fairly new, especially since changing to WordPress, so this is good to help increase temporary traffic. Linking up gets you noticed more and could lead to some great opportunities.
7. Pick a Few Social Media Outlets & Stay Connected
Social media was such a mind-boggling thing in the beginning. I was scared if I didn’t attack every social media outlet that I would be missing out. So, I started with one and gradually decided on the others that I felt fit me. And, believe me, it wasn’t an easy process. I actually have a twitter account (that I am trying to disconnect), but I do not use it. I think it is a little too impersonal for me. I don’t like the fact that I am limited on the amount of characters I can share with everyone. Plus, my OCD mind can’t wrap my brain around the speed of the site. For instance, I find a person more apt to tweet 5 times in 5 minutes than update their facebook status 5 times in 5 minutes. I am a simple person when it comes to social media. I want that connection!
So, after some trial and error, I have decided to stick with Facebook (even though it is getting harder and harder to reach y’all), Pinterest, and Instagram. I do have a Google+ account, but I do not use it very often.
Instagram has to be my FAVORITE social media outlet. I do not have nearly as many followers on Instagram, but I love it! I love to look at what other blogging mothers are up to. I am a picture person and love the up-close and personal connection I feel Instagram provides.
8. Include Social Media Buttons on your Sidebar
The social media buttons that you decide to use, make sure you include buttons on your sidebar that attach to each one. If they are easy to find, people will be more apt to click them and follow you. Make it easy for your readers!
9. Sometimes it Takes Awhile for a Single Post to Get Noticed
In a nutshell, it takes the right amount of people to start pinning and sharing your posts for them to get noticed more than usual. Sometimes, this takes some time. I have pinned things, opened the link, and the post was actually a year old. So, give it time! Sometimes, great ideas and information take a little longer for people to find.
10. Don’t Get Frustrated
This is one of those “easier said than done” things. You create an awesome post and you just know that a ton of people will look at it and response. Then, nothing! I still battle the frustration some. But, then, I remind myself of a very true statement that Ruth stated in her book “How to Blog for Profit Without Selling your Soul.”
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
Reading those words definitely left an impression on me. At first, I didn’t understand how I have been blogging for just as long as other people, but their blog has a lot more traffic than mine. Then, I sat down and really thought about it.
Ok, the first 9 months of my blog I was writing about everything in the book… no focus! Then, I wrote a good amount of information for a year, gained many readers, and then I got pregnant. Pregnancy threw me for a whirlwind and my blogging almost became non existent. That went on for about a year. Then, last summer, I started putting all of my effort back into this little blog of mine. So, technically, it has been a rollercoaster for 2 of the 3 years. And, based on all that, I am pretty proud of my progress. But, no more wishy-washy posting. I am here to stay and extremely excited about the direction of this blog. Thank you for following me along this journey.