I’ve been blogging a month now! One whole month! Whoop Whoop Holla, Yayy me! Enough hooting my own horn, let me tell you that this has been one big old steep hill of a learning curve… curve? Mountain, no, try, about to erupt volcano! Gigantic slippery glacier! Am I being dramatic? I don’t think so and I’m sure there are a hundred bloggers nodding their heads saying “Oh baby, yep you’re right.” But I’ve uncovered some blogging tips along the way which I’d like to share with you.
But there’s always the other side to that curve or mountain, as big as it is for you.
And I feel like I’m slowly edging down the slope, hanging near the top where I reckon I’ll be for a while. Because blogging is tough. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to do. It’s more than just picking up your laptop, tapping on the keys and pressing publish. I’ll admit I was fairly naive as to how much was involved when I started blogging but boy was I determined to learn. I want my blog to be successful. I’m glad I have kept walking… crawling… a few days there I was scratching with the tips of my nails to keep moving on….because I’ve figured out quite a few things the last month and with knowledge comes power and drive. An 8 cylinder engine would have helped in those first few weeks but we all start off with a banger of a car when we’re learning to drive.
Blogging can drive you crazy, make you anxious, stress you out, suck all your time and energy. My first few weeks where tough but mostly because I jumped in the deep end and forgot my bright orange and red armbands to keep me afloat! I’ve always been a writer and thought blogging would come naturally to me, which it does but there’s sooooooo much more involved in blogging. My first few weeks I stressed myself out with Linkys (What’s a Linky? Keep Reading), with getting a post written, edited, designed and tagged every day. Yes every day! I blog as much as I can and I like to get at least five posts out a week but I’m learning to deal with the schedule of it all and trying to de-stress my blogging life. But boy should I have started slower or what!!
I was Bamboozled by Blogging at the beginning but I’m slowly getting to grips with it. Let me impart my wonderful wisdom on to you if you’re a newbie blogger, like me or if you’re thinking of starting a blog. If you’re in doubt, don’t let this post freak you out, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had, ultimately satisfying and I wish I had started years ago, so do as I did, and Just Do It!
So, what have I discovered, in no particular order!
Blogging Takes Time – Quite a lot of Time
I thought my evenings after A went to bed would be enough, an hour or two at night, and myself and B would have time to snuggle on the couch together and binge watch some TV. Nope. He’s still waiting for me to join him on the couch to watch Season 2 of Fargo. Blogging is all consuming. Every second of your day you will want to tweet, Facebook, check your stats, answer comments, read new blog posts, make comments, jot down an idea, write a quick post. I’ve been scolded by our two year old for using my phone when she wanted to play and don’t think I haven’t notice the glances B sends my way when he sees me pick up my phone for the 1,354th time that day. I’m learning to prioritise and organise my blogging life to fit in with my real life to give both their deserved and individual attention.
Back Up, Back Up, Back Up
My first lesson hit hard. I lost an entire post, which was 1500 words long, in a split second, never to be retrieved again except from my poor tired brain at 11pm at night. Of course I couldn’t go to bed and write it in the morning, I had to do it then and there when I could remember most of it. 1:45am I finished and I was up at 6:15am to go to work. I was not a happy camper that day. So, back up your work and save repeatedly as you write. I mean, for the love of Pete, the save button is there for a reason!
Blogging is Not All About Writing
Bloggers wear many, many hats and are frequently buying more. We are writers, critics, researchers, editors, copy writers, blog tech wizards, artists and graphic designers. We are involved in PR, advertising, reviewing, event managing… what else have I forgotten… oh and we make great cups of coffee for those endless hours at the keyboard. Prepare to amaze yourself with skills you never thought you had!
The Technical Side
I’m not going to go into the unbelievable amount of technical knowledge you will learn through blogging, there are a ton of amazing blog posts that can explain it much better than I ever would. I do just want to say one thing though. I set up my blog on WordPress and I love it. I have bought my domain and hosting but have still to transfer over to it (for some reason I’m nervous about that – terrified of losing everything in one schwoop). But back to WordPress, it took me eight hours! eight full straight hours to set up my blog. I really didn’t think it would take this long, but between going through themes, designing, uploading, writing About Me pages, contact pages, it took that long. I love how my blog looks but don’t underestimate how much time you’ll spend tweaking it and designing. There are still elements I don’t like, don’t understand and want to fix like the blog post title superimposed over my own awesome graphics on individual posts (?????), but all in good time.
Linkys – Link Up Spectaculars
If you haven’t joined a Linky yet, jump on the bandwagon, you’ll be very welcome! Nope, this is not a brightly coloured coil wire you walk down the stairs … Slinky IYDK… but places to share your blog posts with other amazing bloggers.
Bloggers are so friendly and welcoming and most of all supportive. So many beautiful bloggers organise Link Ups which is no easy feat. It’s time consuming and demands a lot of attention from the hosts as well as the participants. I’d love to be a co-host some day. Have to prove my worth first I suppose 🙂 But I’m here if any of you want me! I’m in this for the long haul!
I found out about Linkys at the end of my first week of blogging. They are some of the best collections of blogs you’ll come across. There are so many to choose from. I couldn’t choose, I did as many as I came across and I keep coming back every week as much as I can. If you don’t want to add your own post, they’re a great place to read some brilliant blogs and get inspiration. Bear in mind they are time consuming as after you upload your own post, you read and comment on as many other posts as you can. This takes time. So I’ve started allocating ‘Linky Time’ into my day to make sure I’m being fair. It’s not nice to post and run. We won’t like you for that!
So far, these are the Linkys I’ve been involved in. As I say, I try to come back every week but as there are so many (and I’m sure I’ve missed loads here) it’s not always possible. There are so many great link ups and obviously time is a huge factor for everyone, so choose which ones you like and suit your blog. If I have forgotten anyone let me know and I’ll update this list (sincerely sorry if I left you out – lets call it a rookie error!)
And Finally – For the moment at least – Blogging Anxiety
Am I the only who who has this?
First week was fine, but by week two I wanted to do do do do. I wanted my blog to be awesome and fine tuned ASAP, right there, right then. I wanted the SEO to be perfect, the writing to be magical, the images and graphics to lure everyone in, I wanted to tweet and facebook and share share share until I had a million subscribers and a trillion followers. By week three I realised, hold your “Donkey Horses” as my daughter would say.
You can’t have it all in week one or week ten or by that 1 year anniversary. Blogs change and grow and develop and it doesn’t happen all at the same time, or at the beginning. I’ve been reading so many incredible bloggers who share their blogging tips. Aby from You Baby Me Mummy (follow her twitter here), Corinne from Skinnedcartree (follow her twitter here). These bloggers and many many more are invaluable. They teach and guide us newbie bloggers to focus. Bloggers need focus, otherwise you may get like me and suffer blogging anxiety. I’ve learnt to tone down and now heading into week five, I definitely feel a lot more focused. I’m setting goals, scheduling blog posts, and actually remembering ideas once I write them down. I still have Baby Brain and I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon!
Most of all, blogging is supposed to be fun! I just didn’t realise how much was involved and tried to do it all at once. Figure out how much you want to do and enjoy it!
My blog is slowly growing. I get ridiculously excited when I see someone new has signed up to follow my blog. I don’t think that feeling will ever get watered down. But ultimately, I’m writing for myself, I’m sharing my experiences and I’m LOVING writing. To know that I’m also being read, is pretty awesome. I’m more patient now than I was at the beginning and realise that my blog will grow, I just have to keep writing!
I hope these blogging tips help even just one person who is finding those first few weeks a little daunting. The blogging journey is hard, but very rewarding. Plan and focus and it will get easier. Don’t get bamboozled by blogging. You won’t regret starting on this journey with your very own space on the blogosphere, Just Do It!
Thank you so much to all of this awesome bloggers who have talked to me, offered tips, followed my blog, commented on my posts and even just said hi. The blogging community is unbelievably welcoming and friendly, those who are old hats at this and those like me who are new to this world. Thank you all!