This Grand Adventure: Chelsa-Bea: 6 Things I've Learned in My First 6 Months of Blogging

January 14, 2014

6 Things I've Learned in My First 6 Months of Blogging

Lessons, Tips & Tricks I've Learned in My First Six Months of Blogging | This Grand Adventure - www.chelsa-bea.com

While this isn’t my first go at blogging, like all new adventures, this time around has been a bit different. I thought I would share some of the highlights of what I’ve learned the last six months or so. Please remember I’m no expert, and everyone’s experience is going to be different but I just wanted to highlight a few of the things that I’ve discovered along the way.

1. Utilize your community and network.

My friends, family and work community have been my biggest support in getting my blog started. While I know I should be writing for more than my mom, and my best friends (hey there Kenzie, Laura and Liz!), it’s good to know that they are constantly supporting me in my endeavors. One of the reasons I started this blog was to share the recipes I made, at home, with everyone. So, while I love having people I don’t know read my blog and make my recipes, it’s also wonderful to share with people I do. Furthermore, my friends and family have been some of my favorite people to brainstorm and work with. This built-in support system has been awesome at helping me with photography, building my community, teaching me new recipes and overall giving me high-fives when I need them the most.

2. Patience. Patience. Patience.

There is no such thing as too much patience when it comes to blogging. I had a lot of goals and dreams when I started this little space and I still do. But, I quickly learned that patience was going to be my friend. While so much of social media is instant-satisfaction, great blogging can and will take time. I wanted my traffic numbers to be X when I started and I wanted to be featured on X food sharing website and I wanted X number of referrals. Maybe I was overly ambitious and I would probably say that initially my expectations were a bit too high but here’s what I know: set your goals, stay consistent, work hard and be patient. Good things will come. They just might take a little while.

3. Don’t be afraid to talk about your blog.

Unless you want to remain anonymous, don’t be afraid to talk about your blog. I’ve created some fast friendships and great connections by just mentioning my blog. At first, it was kind of awkward. I was scared and shy about telling people about This Grand Adventure, but the more I talked about it, the more comfortable it became. Over time and with practice, I found myself mentioning it more naturally in conversation. I created business cards in August, after some encouragement from a friend. This has been extremely beneficial in explaining what my blog is, and in creating new relationships and networking opportunities. 

4. Develop a routine before you hit publish.

There’s a certain method I go through now before pushing “publish” on a post. Here it is broken down:
  1. Read the post forwards and backwards twice, to check for grammatical errors and to  make sure it flows well.
  2. If you have someone else available to read, have him or her review it. My husband reads most of what I write before I publish but I often send things to my Mom and friends I trust.
  3. Check for spelling errors and make sure you Google words that you aren’t sure about. Like the time I published this recipe on Margherita Pizza and spelled it like the drink, Margarita and realized it 10 minutes after pushing “publish”. Don’t be like me.
  4. Check all formatting – font alignment, size, paragraph structure, etc.
  5. Double check permalink to make sure they are SEO friendly (see this article).
  6. Make sure all images have strong title text and effective and explanatory alt text, which is important for Pinterest and SEO. (read this and this for more info)
  7. Insert html code for jump break - <!--more-->
  8. Reread the post again to check for any mistakes.
  9. Hit "Publish".

5. Keep learning.

Several times a week I try to block off a few hours dedicated strictly towards educating myself on all things blogging. I’ve learned so much along the way, and there is so much I still want to learn. Between food photography, blog development, social media, marketing, working with brands, and just cooking in general I’m not sure how I fit it all in. There are some insanely amazing resources on the Internet and in your local library. Someday I’ll dedicated a blog post specifically towards them but until then, here are a few of my favorites:
For more resources, tips and tricks,  check out my Pinterest board on Blogging.

6. Not everyone is going to like you, so just be yourself.

I realize this sounds like the kind of advice your mom gives on your first day of middle school but the truth is, being genuine and your honest-to-goodness self is the most important thing when it comes to blogging. Not everyone’s going to love what you write, even if it does sting a little to hear. I know the first time I really thought about it I wanted to burst into tears. Basically what I’m trying to say say is don’t write for the people that aren’t going to like your blog. Write for those who do. Try not to take it personally (I still have to) and just be yourself. Be genuine, write about the things you love, the things that inspire you and the things that make you happy and sometimes, even cry.  As one of my favorite Milwaukee Bloggers said, “Blogging doesn’t work if it doesn’t contain a piece of you.” 
 

15 comments:

  1. I've been on the hunt for some new food photo tips...thanks, lady! love this blog. and you! :)

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    1. Thanks, Meg! Let me know if you want some other resources for photography. I've got lots of them!

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  2. Wonderful ideas here, Chelsea, and I'm really excited to check out some of the links you've shared in this post so I can continue to grow and learn this craft of blogging. No matter how long we've been blogging, I think there's always something new and exciting to learn... and that it's important to keep learning and exploring and figuring it out as you go along.

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    1. Thanks, Erin! Feel like I'm learning something new everyday! I can't wait to see where this blogging adventure takes me in the next 6 months.

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  3. I love these and have found many of them to be true myself. I've also found Food Blogger Pro to be incredibly helpful in starting a food blog. Your photography is beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Trisha! Food Blogger Pro is a pretty awesome site and has taught me so much.

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  4. I have loved reading your blog over the past 6 months. Time flies! Thanks for sharing these great resources too. xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Liz! Can't believe how quickly 6 months has gone by!

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  5. Um, Hi. Did you know that I was going to message you asking for any tips/suggestions on "growing a blog"? Seriously. I really struggle with #3. I want my blog to help others by sharing ideas, get tips, etc and I worry that people will think that I think I'm the expert (which I don't think I'm an expert of any sort. I'm just learning by trial and error)...which leads me to #5 right? Keep on keepin' on girl. I enjoy it!

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    1. Oh, Annie! I love reading your blog. You've got such a great voice and you've got so much to teach. Let me know if you need any other information, I've got an entire section of bookmarks dedicated to learning.

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  6. What an awesome post, thanks for sharing!

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  7. Awesome tips, Chelsea! Thanks for sharing. I'm bookmarking these links now :)

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