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:
- Read the post forwards and backwards twice, to check for grammatical errors and to make sure it flows well.
- 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.
- 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.
- Check all formatting – font alignment, size, paragraph structure, etc.
- Double check permalink to make sure they are SEO friendly (see this article).
- 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)
- Insert html code for jump break - <!--more-->
- Reread the post again to check for any mistakes.
- 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:
- On Blogging - Food Blogger Pro, ProBogger, CopyBlogger, The B Bar
- On Photography - Tasty Food Photography, Photographing Food, Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
- On Social Media - Constant Contact, Altitude Summit, Independent Fashion Bloggers
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.”