Ten Things I've Learned About Blogging....
1. Be Yourself! You were created unique. Your life and your story are important with divine purpose. Don't be a copy of someone else (no matter how cool they are!). I have found some of the most amazing, inspirational people through the world of blogging! But at the end of the day, I am not them...they are not me. If I forget who I am, and strive to be like someone else, my blog will not be authentic! So be who you are, strive to grow into the best version of yourself you can be, and live each day knowing that what you do does matter and you are loved by the God of the universe!! That's pretty special**
2. Be a friend! This applies to all avenues of life, but in blogging-where 99% of your interactions with people are online-it's extra important! We don't see each other on a daily basis, except through our writing and our activity in social media. So take the time to put yourself out there and be friendly! If someone leaves a comment on your post, by all means, visit their blog, leave a comment, say hello. Strive to get to know others and strengthen the friendships you make while interacting with other bloggers!
3. Network! Going right along with #2, networking is about meeting other bloggers. Be friendly of course, leave comments on other blogs when a post you read impacts you! Take as many opportunities as you can to link up with other blogs. Utilize Facebook, Twitter, and other sites to help you meet other well-established bloggers and to encourage those who are starting out! You will meet amazing people with amazing stories, skills, and products. Share what you have to offer and tap into the resources that others share with you.
4. Redeem Your Time! In order to redeem something, it first has to have value. You can't redeem a coupon at the grocery store if it's not good for any amount off your bill, right?? Well, your time is worth something! It matters how you spend it! This may sound funny....but sometimes you need to stay off the internet. If you spend all your time perusing other fabulous blogs, drooling over their sites, their pictures, their amazing-ness....your time will be gone. You will have used up time that could have been spent snapping pictures of your kids at the park, creating a yummy recipe, or trying a new craft project. Use your time wisely!
5. Learn As You Go! My blog design has changed numerous times since I became serious about blogging 5 months ago. Back in May, I new nothing about HTML code, making crafty items, opening an Etsy shop, blog design...the list could go on. And while I am so far from an expert, I am much more capable in these areas than I used to be. I have chosen to make blogging a learning experience! If I were to stop blogging today or never see my hope of gaining sponsors become a reality, I would still walk away with skills that I can take and use to benefit my family down the road. Things like designing blog buttons, custom designed links, and custom headers...things like making ruffled flower accessories and pom-pom necklaces.
"If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. But if you teach a man how to fish, he'll eat for the rest of his life."
I guess I've learned how to fish! I can take these learned skills with me down the road, and someday they may provide a stream of income for us!
6. Guard Your Priorities! I love blogging...but I love alot of other things too! It is easy to become obsessed with looking at Pinterest for hours, spending a night in the basement painting furniture, or doing other things that revolve around blogging. I've found it is so important to guard my priorities because of this! My house still needs to be cleaned, laundry washed, dinner made...and those are just the basics! Sometimes Josh and I go a whole evening sitting on the couch next to eachother, while we're each holding a laptop. Comical, but sad. I don't ever want blogging to become what I love most. So I strive to guard what's important in my life from what is my latest fascination.
7. Don't Be Discouraged! There have been many times in the last 5 months that I have considered giving up on blogging because of discouragement. When you've written a great post, linked it to Facebook and Twitter, and 3 link parties without a single comment - well, that's enough to make anybody want to quit! But take heart... Stay true to your priorities and who you are, and you will see growth. You may not go from 10 followers to 3,000 in a matter of six months...but if you stay encouraged you'll be in a better mindset to go out and promote your blog.
8. Know When to Walk Away! Blogging is not for everyone. It does not fit every single person's lifestyle, situation, family dynamics, or time schedule. And there is no shame in saying so! There have been many nights that I've walked in after teaching piano lessons and wrestled with whether or not to blog... because I'm tired, because I haven't seen Josh in 14 hours, because I haven't eaten. If I didn't love it, I wouldn't do it. Blogging is a huge time commitment, and there are times that I think I would be happy to stand on the sidelines cheering on all the wonderful women I have met through blogging. So be honest with yourself. If you'd rather be a cheerleader than a blogger...make that decision and run with it.
9. Set Goals! I am a list-maker by nature. So setting goals for my blog is something that came pretty easily to me. For others it may not be...but try! By setting goals, you effectively break down a huge undertaking into manageable pieces. Your blog design will not be perfect from Day 1 (unless you can afford to shell out the big bucks to a designer!) But if you set weekly goals like: Look into how to make a custom header, Experiment with my blog layout, Set up a Twitter account....your accomplishments list will grow, your blog will grow, and you will be encouraged!
10. Own Your Choices! "All that your hand finds to do, do it with all your might!" (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Whatever your choices are when it comes to blogging, (or anything for that matter!) ultimately they are yours. So make your choices with thought and wisdom. Choose what message you want your blog to portray, choose what bloggers you associate with, choose how much time you devote to your blogging activites, choose....then get out there and rock it!