For many of us blogging can be interpreted in several different ways. For some, it may be a hobby. For others, a way to promote their business or provide a general source of income. Whatever your philosophy is on blogging, we can all agree that there is always something we can learn.
When we first started our blog, now a year ago (wow, the time really does fly)! We honestly didn't have much of a clue with what we were doing. We wrote a welcome post, had a few other ideas of what we wanted to put out there, threw our link up on our facebook status saying we now have a blog, and couldn't understand why we didn't have over 100 followers by morning. Many of our friends didn't understand why we wanted to blog or seemed less than interested. And that's ok. We know we have a few secret readers ;)
The long and short of it is we have improved so much since our first few posts. We are still learning new things everyday and still have a long way to go. We've always said from the start this is something we wanted to have fun with, and that indeed we are.
Here are some of the things we learned within our first year of blogging...
1. BLOG DESIGN: Whether you are a graphic designer, HTML expert, or the everyday reader, we all want a space that is visually appealing. Busy graphics and hard to navigate spaces will most likely drive readers away from spending time on your site. We all might not have money to spend on fancy blog designs, but if you do a little bit of googling, you will find plenty of other bloggers who are sharing their basic tips. We are definitely no experts, and after dabbling with our own site and doing all of our own work, it's not as hard as you may think. On a side note, always make sure you back up your template in case something does go wrong.
2. CONSISTENCY: We've all heard this a lot that being consistent with your posts is one of the most important things. We do agree. However, we have been guilty of taking a break for a few weeks here and there, or just simply not having something to write about. Our approach on this might be a little more relaxed because we also saw a greater response when we took a step back and posted quality over quantity. Instead of throwing something together just to have a post up, when we have a good idea or something we want to write about, we post it.
3. LINK PARTIES: Link parties have been our best friends and really help out a lot. We are grateful that some of our posts were featured on some wonderful link parties. It's a nice way to connect with other bloggers and also come across other blogs you might enjoy reading. Although, a link party is way more than just adding your post and hoping for some extra exposure. You need to take the time to comment, visit other bloggers posts, and either include the link party in your post or create a link page showing where you are linking.
4. COMMENTING: We genuinely enjoy reading the comments you leave us. We also feel that it is really important that if you are taking the time to comment on our post that we take the time to comment back. There might be some mixed feelings on this, but if we visit a blog and see there are no responses to the other comments, we tend to be reluctant to take the time to leave one. We know that some bloggers are now responding via email but that's not always the case. Commenting can also be a way to gain more exposure for your blog on someone else's page, so comment how you feel is best for you.
5. NETWORKING: Like anything in life networking can be key. Find a niche that works for you and explore the options. Don't be afraid to ask other bloggers questions. If there is a blog that you enjoy reading and are wondering about a certain way they post, design, etc, contact them. Many bloggers have their email on their site and you can reach out to them privately.
6. PICTURES: A picture says a thousand words. We've all heard the saying before and in blogging it's true. Your photo quality can attract a larger viewing. People again want to see something that is visually appealing. We've fallen victim to the poor photo quality before. That's not to say that every one of our pictures is now top grade all the time (many of our Friday favorites still include random pictures from our phones, it happens). But, if you are putting a post together that you think could really be something great, try to take a good picture. You also don't need an over the top DSLR camera to achieve this. Yes, we did invest in one but that was something we wanted long before we began blogging. Some of our favorite pictures were taken with a regular point and shoot camera (you can check them out here and here). What it really comes down to is the lighting and knowing how to work the camera you do have.
7. SOCIAL MEDIA: Almost everyone is connected somehow through a social media outlet. Find the social media sites that you enjoy and include your blog. We decided to create separate social media sites for our blog. While we like to share things with all of you, there may be some things we want to share with a limited audience on our personal accounts. Since there are also two of us behind this blog it only made sense to have our social media specific to Winks and Eyerolls. Managing several different social media sites can be a lot, so decide which ones you want to maximize on and utilize them to your advantage. You can check ours out here, here, and here.
8. DO YOUR RESEARCH: We wished we would have done more of this from the start. We were always blog readers and somehow in our excitement of starting our own, we kind of got this ambitious idea to just wing it. Yeah not so much. We really should have had about a month's worth of quality posts planned (or in draft), gave the link to a few choice friends for feedback, and had our blog design better put together. You live and you learn.
9. STEP OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE: Don't be afraid to try new things or experiment with your blog. Some of those uncomfortable posts can turn out to be your best because they are challenging your creativity. If you want to do a fashion post, go for it! This is something we hope to do more of in the spring. It's definitely tough to get some good outside pictures in the winter during 15 degree weather. Some of our fashion posts turned out to be a lot of fun, and Faith's Eshakti post was featured on the front of their site! Check them out here, here, and here.
10. HAVE FUN WITH IT: Try to remember why you started blogging in the first place. Maybe it was to connect with other mothers or to build a brand for yourself. We hear too often that blogging is no longer fun. Don't get us wrong, we've also had those days. But that's when you take a step back and reflect on your little space of the world wide web. If you are no longer enjoying blogging and it feels more like a chore, that same outlook can transition over into the feel of your posts. Remember that blogging is a journey.