Blog, Inc.

I am not a fast reader at all!  When I got my hands on this book, I couldn’t put it down!  I was done within 2-3 days.  Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho is such an easy read with tons of inspiring information.  It was great to learn new things in the blogosphere that I have never heard of and be exposed to some great sites with inspirational stories of their success.  I never thought of my blog as a “business,” so it was great reading about taking it to the next level.  I highly recommend every blogger, and non-bloggers, to pick up this book.  

Here’s what I’ve learned from each section:

  1. Introduction to Blogging - Contact blogging community via email, friendly hello.  Leaving comments on other blogs.

  2. Finding Your Voice & Niche - Check other blogs with similar content to avoid an oversaturated category.  Provide the readers with something different and it fills a void.  Be true to yourself and always have content that reflects yourself.

  3. Powering Your Blog - Use about your About Me section to introduce yourself and explain the inspiration behind your blog. Surround yourself with inspiration outside your blog (diary, mood boards, etc.)  Posting regularly.  Plan ahead with future posts and establish a creative workspace at home.

  4. Blogging Community Etiquette - Contacting fellow bloggers with a genuine email expressing how much you enjoy their blog.  Exchange blogroll links.  Initiate blogger meetups for face to face connections.

  5. Making Your Blog a Business - get a business license, business bank account, and trademark your blog's name.

  6. Monetizing Your Blog - SEO (search engine optimization): using short dashes to separate keywords, crosslinking old entries with similar posts, using tags.

  7. Next Stage of Blogging Growth - taking classes, meeting up with fellow bloggers, interact with others, change of scenery, move around, reduce your number of posts to avoid feeling burnt out.

  8. Resource List - Tons of helpful links and blogs to check out.
Have you read Blog, Inc.?  What did you think?

Blogging Tips: Before You Get Started

When I first started my blogs, I just jumped into the deep end right away.  An interesting learning experience, but I realized if I wanted a blog with staying power I should have established some steps first.  Here are 5 things I learned I should have done before actual blogging and sharing with the world.
  1. Decide why YOU want to blog.  This should be the most important piece when creating your blog.  Although I don’t believe your blog should always stick to a certain “theme” or anything, I do think it is important to understand why you want to start a blog.  This will be a great driving force when keeping up with your blog.  It can be as broad as sharing your life or specific as a food blog.  So many people create blogs, but don’t keep up with it.  (Myself included.)  When you don’t have that “goal” of why you want to blog established, you’re less likely to keep at it and put time and effort into your blog.

  2. Find inspiration. There are so many pieces of life to see and share, and a lot of times it stems from inspiration.  You want to find things that inspire your blog as a whole, what you want your blog to look like, how you want it to flow, and more.  I find that finding inspiration from others encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.  Life is always changing and evolving, and you’ll see that happen with your blog(s) over a period of time.

  3. Find your own niche.  It’s great to be inspired by others!  However, you still need to stay true to yourself.  You may have a certain style of writing, creating images, or connecting with others.  Don’t lose sight of yourself when writing your blog.  Others will recognize that personal touch and true readers will enjoy it.  This way you don’t lose YOU in the blog.  (And feel the desire to keep coming back to it.)
  4. Organize your thoughts. I had SO many ideas with my blog and wanted to start writing about it right away, without getting my foot off the ground.  When I did that I didn’t establish setting up my blog properly.  Ideas are going to flow to you like a flood at times.  Take the time to explore those ideas thoroughly.  I found writing down my ideas and then taking the time to expand each one was the best solution for me.  Instead of presenting ideas with little thought, I was able to share in a way that dig into each idea to its full extent.  A great help for me was to also map out my posts/ideas on a calendar.

  5. Share your idea with a friend.  I was very shy sharing my blog with my friends in real life.  However, once I started to talk about it I found out I had friends who either had a blog or was having thoughts creating one.  Now we encourage each other to be consistent with our blogs and have adventures in blogging together.  They have also been one of my biggest supporters!  We share each other’s blogs with other friends.  You should take a little pride in your blog and share it with others!  This helped me become less timid about exploring more adventures for my blog.

What is something you wished you had learned/done before blogging?

Blogging Tips: Tips + Tricks for Beginning Bloggers

I have been “blogging” for over 13 years now.  I say that lightly because I’ve used several platforms out there and jumped from ship to ship over those years.  From OpenDiary to Xanga to LiveJournal, for the majority of my blogging life, to Blogspot to then finding my place in Wordpress.  I honestly still consider myself as a novice when it comes to blogging.  (No where near an expert.)

I’ve learned some tips and tricks of the trade slowly since I explored this journey on my own.  With this Blogging 101: Tips & Tricks series I hope to share my knowledge in the blogging world and discover more aspects of this world with you.  Please feel free to share what you’ve learned as well, as we learn the most from our peers.

What is your best advice for someone who is just starting to blog?
Stay tuned for the next post: Before You Start Blogging

Blog Planning Printables

With "getting organized" playing a huge role in my life at the moment, I wanted to create a sheet that I like to brainstorm my blog post ideas.  I tend to use my iPhone or iPad to jot down notes in my Google Drive or Evernote account, but I like sitting down to write things out as I'm about to write the post.  Limits my writer's block and fuels my inspiration.  

Here are some links of some other great Blog Planners:

  • House of Rose Blog - 3 different weekly blog planner sheets.  Very cute and fun! (Free)

  • Laura Drayton Creative Etsy Shop - An entire kit of different sheets to help you get completely organized. ($)

  • Barely Mommy - Sweet, colorful weekly sheet. (Free)

  • Mama Miss - An entire planner that includes weekly and monthly planning, plus a menu calendar for those who like it.  ($)

  • My May Sunshine - This one includes statistics sheet, social media planning, and more. (Free)

For more printables and blogging tips, check out my Pinterest board!
What do you do to plan your blog posts?

2014 Goals

Happy February to you!  First off, I want to apologize for the lack of posts for the past two months.  I had my boyfriend visit from Australia for most of the break and then had my wisdom teeth removal surgery.  I'm hoping to spend more time with posts this year and update more frequently!  *fingers crossed*  I'm working on some posts this week, so make sure to check back (or follow on Bloglovin) for updates!

Happy Belated New Year!  I hope everyone had a wonderful time ringing in the New Year!  Did you make any resolutions?  I have a few goals I want to work on this year:
  1. Get Creative! Continuing this goal from last year.  I was more creative with my blog, posting more regularly than usual.  I want to continue with this (working on posting at least twice a week) and explore more.  I want to work on doodling more, working and trying new creative outlets (crafts, photo projects, illustrating on the computer, and more).  I got to work on a creative plan, step by step.  I tend to work best with steps to reach a goal.

  2. Get Moving!  I can say I've been wanting to move and experience a new place.  I've seen friends move on to new places and I enjoy seeing and hearing about their adventures.  I'm ready for a new one!  I'm only scared about feeling homesick, but I'm hoping as long as I keep in contact with home and enjoy all that the new home has to offer, then I'll be good.  I'm in the works to move in June.  (More information to come in another post.)

  3. Find Inspiration in Life! I've said this before as something I've wanted to do, but I want to get a small (nice quality) point and shoot camera and take it with me everywhere.  I want to feel less scared of taking pictures in public and take more and more pictures to help inspire me.  (Mainly for the blog, but creatively in life as well.)  I love seeing everyone's pictures on Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and blogs.  I'm hoping this will get my creative juices flowing and allow me to gather inspiration from various places.

  4. Get Organized!  I've been in this organization kick recently and I want to keep it going.  My work life is very organized this year than it has in the past, and surprisingly this is shocking for a teacher.  (Even though it's partially our job to be organized.)  I've let this habit trickle into my everyday life, and I have to say it's making a difference with everything.  I'm getting less forgetful and getting more things done early.

What are your goals for the new year?
How is it going so far?