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Hellooooooo! So, my blog is about two months old now… and not quite sleeping all the way through the night. I say that last part because I sometimes have an idea for a post and I’m so excited to start on it, I’m up at least two hours before my husband is on weekends, and I LOVE sleeping in. I haven’t even turned the coffee maker on yet, and I’m tapping away on my laptop!
Here is what I have learned so far in my virtual travels:
There are people out there who genuinely want to help you.
It’s heartwarming to discover this. Life can be competitive, and in so many areas of life, people don’t often extend a helping hand, but I’ve been blessed to come into contact with people who are so helpful and encouraging. I hope to help others one day, like those people have helped me.
Meet & Greets, Link Parties, Sharefests – These are oh SO important to get your writing seen, your voice heard! Search for them on Twitter, and READ the instructions… then read them AGAIN. Follow the host, and read at least a few posts from other people. Like and Comment. Go one step further, SHARE. It’s one or two clicks, it really just takes a second, and it means the world to fellow bloggers. Doesn’t it make your day when someone shares YOUR post?
I am FAR from being a pro at any of this, but my best blog days are the ones where I give and take, and share, share, share.
I’ve never been so unsure of myself before.
Being a perfectionist has definitely made me question myself. Even though I LOVE writing, there’s always that little question in the back of my mind, “Does anyone care enough to read what I have to say?”, or “Do I write well enough to do this, or am I wasting my time?”.
I have decided to ignore that little voice, and to just do this, because I genuinely enjoy it. For myself.
There REALLY is not enough time in the day.
Seriously. Really. Truly. Where did that stretch of five hours I had after work go? How is it bedtime already? I still have to do this and that! I had an idea for a post and never got a chance to start working on it!
This past week could have been better. My personal goal is to publish at least two posts a week, and I feel disappointed that I couldn’t accomplish that. I need to go easier on myself… I have a busy family and a full-time job. And those darned kids expect dinner. Like, every day!
Every blogger I’ve “met” has been in my shoes at some point.
They keep telling you not to focus on your stats and your numbers, but it’s hard not to when the page is RIGHT THERE! The people I look up to have been where I am, and wondered if they were doing this for nothing. I will continue to grow as a blogger just as I will continue to grow as a person. Remembering this, and reminding myself that I ENJOY writing, it really helps.
Social media WILL make your blog more visible.
Twitter has literally become my best friend. I probably over-use it, but if I used Facebook like I use Twitter for self-promotion, I’d be lucky to have three friends on it, and I can’t even guarantee that my husband and my son would be two of them. I am blessed to have every follower I have, and even more blessed to have the WP blog followers I have. Use Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. Viewing other blogs and how they promote their posts can help you decide what you like and what you don’t like.
I love the look of Pinterest and Instagram screen shots for tweets, and I figured out how to do it myself. If you’re ever in doubt about how to accomplish something you like, Google it, or write to the blogger and ask. I know for myself, I would feel honoured if I was asked how I did something!
Edit your blog photos.
I used Paint Shop Pro for everything at one time, but, I think the program is too old for my laptop and it doesn’t always load properly. I don’t understand Photoshop very well (although I’m confident if I had enough time to sit and play with it, I could do great things with it). I’ve tried PicMonkey… I wasn’t overly impressed with it, but Canva! WOW! I am Canva’s biggest fan. I use it to brighten and fix the contrast on just about every photo I have on my blog. I only use my own photos, and once in awhile I’ll use some of the free elements, but it is really fantastic. It’s free to use and gives you web-worthy photos that won’t bog up your page’s load speed.
Browse Other Blogs.
I wish I had more time to do it more frequently, but I try to do this a couple of times a week. I love using WordPress’ Reader view to catch up on blogs I follow. They are all in one place, and easy to comment and like. BlogLovin’ is another place I don’t get to as much as I’d like, but it’s the same idea. All your favourite blogs, in one convenient location. Reading other blogs lets you get to know the authors and develop friendships.
Use a scheduler for your posts/tweets.
I tried CoSchedule… didn’t want to pay for it because I’m still new, and I don’t want to be charged for a service I’m not sure of yet. So I tried Hootsuite. LOVE IT! There is a paid pro version, but right now I’m using the free version. I get to schedule my posts and tweets, and when I have busy weeks where I can’t post as much as I’d like, my online presence is still felt, because Hootsuite is putting it out there for me.
Like I said, I’m not a blogging pro. I don’t know all the ins and outs yet, I am truly learning every single day. This is what I have learned so far, and I am grateful for all the help and encouragement I have received so far, and will receive in the future.
So fellow bloggers… I’d be honoured if you would share what you’ve learned! =)