Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Blog Diaries :: Tips & Tricks

Blogging - a few years ago, it was something I never thought I would do, and now I can't imagine my life without it. Melodramatic maybe, but seriously, the blogging community is unlike any other. I love having my own space to share my favorite things. There are so many things I wish I had known or advice I wish I was given when I first started blogging. I literally just pressed publish one day and hoped for the best, but there are so many things I know now that I wish I had known then - and there are so many things left to learn!

This is the first post in The Blog Diaries -- a series I'm excited to start that will offer advice and thoughts on how to start a blog, things to consider, what I wish had known, and the like. I'm excited to have some of my favorite bloggers sharing their tips and tricks of the trade -- lessons they've learned, specific advice in the blog world, or just what helps you stay motivated, excited, and focused.

Keep things fun. Don't get so incredibly caught up in the 'rat race' that can be blogging that you stop having fun with it. Write about what you love and what makes you happy; this, powered by a genuine voice that will shine through to your readers, will definitely make them want to come back each and every day!

Ashley :: Turquoise and Teale
In the beginning of blogging (and even to this day!), it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and feel like a teeny tiny fish in a huge pond. You start feeling pressured to post more, comment more, be more present on social media, etc. For me it’s best to take a deep breath and relax. It’s ok to not be everywhere all the time. What I’ve learned is the value of quality over quantity post. I would much rather leave my little corner of the internet blank for a day (or two) than stick in a ‘filler’ post that really doesn’t serve a purpose. Stay true to you and your style. Don’t dig the Birkenstock trend? Then don’t feel like you have to post about them. A trend is exactly that, fleeting. Write about what brings you joy and represents you, and the passion will show through in your posts. When all else fails, remember why you started. That’s normally all I need to clear my head and get me focused again!

Laura :: Louella Reese
Honestly I could talk for days about what I've learned from the past year and a half of blogging. I feel like every day, event, blog post, etc..I learn something new. The biggest lesson I believe I've learned and would pass along to new {or discouraged} bloggers would be...focus on you, your blog, and your passion. What others are doing does not affect your blog or your dreams. The best part about the blogging community is there's so much room, there's brands for everyone, and endless opportunities. So don't stress about someone else's success, yours will come!! Stick to your passion, work hard, and opportunities will come your way that'll fit your personality/brand perfectly!

Taylor-Rae :: Style Souffle 
When working with an affiliate or brand remember that proper communication is key. For a lot of us, email is the home base around which most of our businesses operate; therefore, it is important that you always remain professional in your approach. 1) Lead with a proper greeting: This is when being professional, and making a good first impression, really pay off! Never abbreviate, misspell, nor call someone by only their first name unless they are a close acquaintance or someone you know personally. 2) Solid Introduction: I never assume someone knows who the heck I am. I always introduce myself and my business in the first few sentences. This lets them know who you are and why your email is relevant. 3) Short and sweet descriptions: This is where most of the work happens (sharing your business or product with someone, delivering your pitch, relaying important information, or asking for advice). Like you, the reader probably doesn't live to read emails 24/7, so try to get your point across in two concise paragraphs, which standard in the corporate world. 4) Proper closing: A simple "Thank you for your time, Mr. Reader", is in my opinion the best way to close out an email. There is no need for guilt-induced pleas or lengthy signatures that go on for days. 5) Double check: Ohh man is this important. Guys, I can't tell you how many times I have been in a rush and sent/ replied with faulty messages. Do yourself a favor and turn on "Google Lab's" UNSEND setting for Gmail. You can thank me later! For those who are interested in more on proper email correspondence please don't hesitate to reach out to me at
One thing I would’ve done differently when I started blogging would be to purchase a blog design right off the bat. Of course, when I started blogging I really had no clue what I was doing and didn’t really want to invest in a custom design. Plus, making it myself would be fun, right? You can just imagine the hours I spent trying to learn HTML coding, designing a header, and scouring the web for Blogger tutorials. SO. MUCH. TIME. After blogging for a year I finally broke down and got a template. It wasn’t anything custom or fancy and only cost me $35, but it has been one of the best decisions ever! Nothing beats a crisp layout that’s easy to navigate.

Some of the most important things I've learned since starting my blog are a few special ways of helping it grow more quickly. The most important part, to me, is making sure you are posting consistently. That doesn't mean you need to post every single day, but try to stick to a regular schedule (M,W,F or T,Th posts) and readers will start to come back for more! It can be very hard to stick to a routine blog schedule, especially if you're working full-time in addition to your blog, so I like to use some blog planner notepads to keep me on track. Another way to see some growth is by being more social on social media! Comment on other bloggers' content and you can guarantee you will see some engagement in return. Make it a small part of each day, even if its just for 10 minutes, to give some blogger friends some love on their posts (including social media)! To make this more organized and simple, find a feed you like to use (I prefer Bloglovin') and add your favorite blogs to your feed.

Don't compare yourself to other bloggers! This one is obviously easier said than done. It's easy to compare your blog to another blog, especially blogs within the same niche, but everyone is different and that's the great thing about blogging! There are so many things that can contribute to someone's success and truthfully their success might not be the same success you'd want. Just be authentic and most importantly be you! After all, being you is the reason people came to your blog to begin with so don't worry about what others are doing and just enjoy what you're doing.

Zelle :: Southern Style
And what's my advice? Find your niche and develop your brand. For me, it's taken a bit of time, but I've realized how much I love fashion blogging. I love putting together looks together and finding pieces that I really and truly love. And though I mostly share posts about fashion, I've branded Southern Style as a life + style blog, which lets me incorpate travel, design, and beauty into the mix as well. Whether you want to be the next major fashion blogger, be a foodie, or just share your adventures with your family, it's important to identify your voice so you can also identify your brand. Create a space that you're really and truly proud of, and blogging will become your retreat.

Have questions? Let us know! The coming posts in The Blog Diaries will be more subject-specific to dive into the particulars of the blog world. P.S. It looks a little different around here today - hope you love the new design! There are still lots of tweaks left to be made before it's perfect and I'm still working out some formatting things, but I'm definitely excited to try something different for a little while.
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