Hi Peachies! Today's post is something that I'm sharing because I hope it can inspire and help new bloggers or anyone in a blogging rut.
I'm not a professional, myself, so all statements are my own opinions and findings through my own blogging journey.
I started blogging in 2013, actually I think it was around 2010. My son's first grade teacher had a class blog that all the parents could read and interact on. Even the kids left sweet comments. It got me thinking about the moments I wanted to capture and save so I started a blog, two actually, one for me and one for my son. It was never meant to go anywhere. I had no idea how to even make it start going somewhere so I blogged what was on my heart for my blog and shared my son's milestones on his and proudly e-mailed his out to all the family, especially those who live out of state.
I had just started reading blogs like Kevin and Amanda & Maggie Whitley Designs and while I swooned over them daily, I had no idea that a girl like me could start a blog and have it become something. Honestly, i'm not even sure how I figured it out or who showed me the way. I just did it. Because i'm nosey and have Google, y'all!
In 2013, I merged the two blogs into one (and sadly lost all those moments I was saving for my son, because amateur) and I started one blog. When that wasn't going in any direction at all I scratched it and started over with Peachy Keen-A Southern State of Mind, that was in May 2013.
You can see my first post here.
Since then my blog has been through many changes as I've grown. Just recently (this week) my blog has gotten a mini face lift and a new name, Peaches & Willow. I'm like Beyonce over here, y'all, I keep re-inventing myself. Can't stop. Won't stop.
In all my growth as a blogger I've learned some things. And I still have a lot to learn but I want to share some of those things here. Now. Today.
Here's what I've learned in blogging (so far).
+ Don't feel like you have to fit into a niche or fit in anywhere.
It's okay to be a "lifestyle" blogger. That's pretty all encompassing and that's okay.
My life doesn't fit into a niche, so guess what? Neither does my blog!
If you want to blog about recipes one day, heart stuff the next, and recipes the day after-do it!
Don't conform to titles and niches, if you don't want.
+ Be genuine and blog about what your passionate about.
People can read through you if you aren't being true to yourself. Yes! Even on the internet.
Make your blog a true reflection of yourself and if you aren't passionate about it, don't blog about it.
+ Get invovled in Facebook groups.
This was a game changer for me, y'all. When I found out there were blogging groups on Facebook I was excited.
People who understand me and have the same goals as me?!?
It was through my blogging groups that i've found my tribe & grown my blog exponentially.
Join them and share your posts but be engaged and share theirs and comment on theirs, too!
My favorite blogging FB groups are:
Show Your Blog Love
Blog Passion Project
Boost Your Blog
The Peony Project
+ Take as many webinars as you can.
A lot of bloggers like Helene in Between do amazing webinars.
Some even free but you can bet, if she's doing a webinar, i'm all in.
+ Don't blog for free.
I've learned this the hard way. I've had two companies contact me for collaboration posts but there was nothing given in exchange.
I did them because I thought they were a great way to boost my blog, turns out I was being duped.
They were getting free advertisement from me, I was getting nothing.
At least ask if your blog post will be shared so you can get some advertising from it, too.
+ Find a passion project.
A passion project is just that, something you're passionate about. Your blog can be your only passion project & that's okay but remember this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, “Honor your creativity so much that you don’t demand it to provide for your entire life.”
It's tricky to decipher in terms of blogging because you may want to make money off your blog, trust me, most of us do but this just means that if the joy is sucked out of your passion then you're doing it for the wrong reason. Joy should be just that, joy. Not something dreadful.
+ Get involved on social media.
Share those posts on all platforms of social media you can.
Here are my Social Media profiles.
but the more platforms you share on, the bigger your following can be.
Of course you can't just dump a post and run. You have to spend time recriprocating what you expect in return.
Leave meaningful comments, not just "nice post" or "thanks for sharing." The more time you spend giving love, the more you get in return.
+ Create a blogging tribe.
This takes time but the more you interact, the more people you're going to meet and click with. I have friends in the blogging community from all over the world now. We talk on SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, and through e-mail regularly. I've even been asking a couple of them advice about starting to collaborate with brands and how to monetize your blog.
+ Pictures matter.
This is something that I haven't really given much though to until recently. I had one of those "ah ha" moments and it struck me that it's all about the pictures! And who can blame anyone for wanting to look at quality pictures? Since I've been taking better pictures, my Instagram game has changed and so has my blog. I feel so happy putting quality images out. Especially since they are a reflection of me.
+ Quality over Quantity
Speaking of quality. I'm a huge believer in providing quality over quantity. Meaning less posts but better content and better pictures.
Your readers can tell if you're half doing it so just don't. If you aren't 100% into a post or a topic then skip it. There are times when I blog 5-6 days a week and there are times when I blog 2-3. It just depends on the content I'm writing about and what inspires me.
+ Join Link Ups.
Some weeks I do 2-3 link ups. Yes, that's a lot of link ups and a lot of content that I can't fully take credit for but link ups are a great way to network and share your posts plus the content is fun and usually easy to write about. This is sometimes where you find your tribe, too.
+ Brain Storm Ideas.
Remember when we were learning the writing process in Elementary school and how the first part was always to brain storm and write ideas down?
I loved that part because it got the creativity flowing. This is one of those skills that you never thought was very useful, until you started a blog.
When I started out blogging I'd just sit down and see what happened. This didn't always work out for the best. Now I have a notepad dedicated to nothing but blogging topic ideas. I'll sit down at the beginning of the month and write down any topics I can think of. Most of the time I come up with too many to cover in a month so I keep the list rolling on. It's good to have an on going list of ideas, because, when you're in a rut you can look to your list and pick out a topic to write about.
+ Give Into the Planner Craze.
When I first figured out that creative planning was a thing I was instantly hooked. I knew I needed a planner and all the cute pens and stickers and washi tape to go in it. I thought it was just a craze that people were going through but it was a craze I was excited about so I gave in. Now my planner is my life and I look forward to sitting down at the beginning of each month and filling it with blog posts and life events.
Here's the planner I have
This one is amazing because it's got tons of note taking space in it.
Remember those webinars I told you I like to take?
Yep! The notes are all in here!
So are tons of other notes related to Social Media and ideas I have.
Here's the next planner I'm swooning after
And Lastly, I'm leaving you with this
Blogging is Hard Work
When I started out I'd sit down at my computer for 30 minutes, type something out, press publish and be done with it.
It was easy. But when I decided I wanted to make this blog go somewhere, I saw it in a totally different perspective.
One I obviously love or I wouldn't still be here but it takes me anywhere from 2 hours to days to get a post ready to be published.
You have to type the whole thing out, go back and proof read, and pictures. Don't forget pictures. Taking them can be tedious enough but then you have to edit them and make graphics for your post.
I started this post yesterday. I worked on it for 2 and a 1/2 hours and another two hours this morning. Usually I like to have my posts ready to hit publish on and scheduled to post on all my social media accounts with Buffer the following morning but yesterday was an unusual day around here so things didn't get done the way I had planned. And that's okay because it's also important to be forgiving to yourself when life happens.