April 16, 2014

Blogging Foundations: Getting Started

This blogging thing is pretty interesting. Don't ya think? There is so much to learn and for the most part you never stop learning. When I first started there were so many things I needed to figure out and so many things to consider. What I've been learning along the way is that everyone's experience is different, what works for me, might not work for you. I thought I would share some of my thoughts about the things I considered in the beginning that helped create a strong foundation. 

Be decisive: Think about why you are blogging. This will lay the foundation for your blog. Are you blogging as a hobby, wanting to share your thoughts and have a creative outlet?  Are you blogging to pursue blogging as a career? Are you blogging just to see where things go? All these questions will help shape your content and give you confidence moving forward. When I started I knew that I wanted to pursue blogging as a career and knowing that really propelled me in the direction I wanted to go. It also helped in shaping my content, something I'll be sharing on tomorrow.

Design: Your blog design is the first impression of your blog. In the beginning nobody's blog looks that great, but it's important to strive for a visually appealing blog. I went through multiple blog designs until settling on the one I have now. As your blog grows so will your design and there are plenty of options out there, from templates, to custom designs, to DIY. I've been down the DIY road many times.  For me, it's most cost effective. If your working on your own design be organized, make things easy to read, and easy to find. In college I did research on the effect of visual appeal and websites. In a couple of weeks, I'll break down how and why I decided on my blog design and the effects of visual appeal. Stay tuned!

Be you: I think in the beginning we all struggle to find our own voice and I think it can be intimidating to look around at other bloggers who are past their beginning and wonder how we get there. I think we might also have a tendency to try to do what the "cool kids" are doing. Remember, no one else has the experiences that you have, let you personality come through in your content. That is what people will be drawn too. Don't ever not share who you are because you don't think it will go over well. BE YOU.
Photography: Photos help tell your story and striving for quality photos in the beginning will help you create better content in the long run. You don't have to have a big fancy camera to take great photos either, you just have to be conscious about when and how you take photos. Remember that everything is a learning experience and the more you take photos, the better you will become.

Network: Building a network of friends is key. They will cheer you on, help you out, and encourage you through your journey. In the beginning connecting with other bloggers can sometimes feel awkward, but it's such a great experience! Networking can happen in tons of different ways. Focus on building relationships. Reach out to other bloggers you admire. Email them and tell them how much you appreciate their blog. Leave comments on other blogs and start connecting with new friends. 
Starting a blog and then building that blog is hard work, crazy hard work, but it's also incredibly rewarding and fun! What do you think? What are things you considered when you first got started? How did you create a strong blogging foundation?
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24 comments:

  1. I love this! I completely agree with finding your own voice. I still consider myself a new blogger and last year I had no real plan of what I wanted my blog to be. This year I have been focusing on my faith, my art classroom and my marriage on my blog. While I still have a lot to figure out it has helped me stay true to what I want to say! I can't wait to read about how you designed your blog, I need to work on that!!!

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    1. I'm so glad it was helpful! It's always helpful for me to have a plan, it keeps me focused. I hope the design post helps too! :)

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  2. this is so great! : ) i love what you said about finding your own voice, that's so important to just be yourself!! also, the community here is truly incredible! it's so fun to make new blog friends!

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    1. Finding your own voice is so liberating! It's tricky in the beginning trying to figure it out, but once you do it's so nice!

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  3. I love this! My blogging ideas have really changed since I started but there are a few things I used to blog about that I'd like to bring back. I need to sit down again and have another brain storming session on what I want from my blog.

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    1. Brainstorming sessions are so great! I love that they help flush out good and bad ideas!

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  4. Great tips!!! When I first started I struggled with being myself so much! I eventually just had to quit reading other blogs all together just so I could find my own voice!

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    1. Thanks! Me too, it was nice once you finally get into a groove with your own voice.

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  5. I think I need a blog focus session for myself coming up soon. These are all great things to keep in mind- so I think I will sit down with your article....a cup of coffee, and a notebook and do some brainstorming!

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    1. I'm so glad it's helpful! I hope you have a great brainstorming session. I really enjoy brainstorming sessions, it's nice to just write down ideas.

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  6. This is good advice. And sidenote, I have that shirt and have been asked on different occasions to either be a "dancer" at a bar or be a model while wearing that shirt, so we have deemed it the stripper shirt.

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    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful! That's such a crazy story. You should deem it the "Model" shirt. :)

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  7. I think you hit the nail on the head. I have a question about the pictures in your post =) Do you take those yourself? Was that a learning process too? I'm asking because tomorrow is 'Photography Friday' and the theme is 'self-portrait'. I took over 200+ pics and kept I'd say about 10 - 15 of them.

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    1. I love questions! :) My husband, Tyler, actually takes all the photos of me. I've done a few self-portraits, but it's really tricky. Our camera would work best using a remote, but I don't have one. Did you use a remote with yours?

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  8. I agree with everything you said! I didn't even know about the blogging world when I started. I decided to grow, brand, and strive towards monetization a year after I started blogging(and a year ago now!) which resulted in me starting to be more organized, scheduled, and officially developing "blogging brain". That thing that says, "oh! I can blog about this later"

    But really I commented to say that I freakin love your tank top.

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    1. Good thing for "blogger brain!" Makes coming up with ideas so much easier.
      I love that you said all the to tell me how much you like my shirt! Thanks! :)

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  9. I think networking is the hardest. I pretty much blogged for 3 years before I started getting any kind of consisten comments and started to meet people. We look at these blogs that have a thousand followers after like two months, but that's not the norm, and it's not all that realistic either. I'm DIY blog design all the way! Why pay someone when I could do it myself? I'm not serious enough about it to need a super fancy design.... Yet ;)

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    1. Agreed! Networking can be so hard! I remembered when I first got started and I saw all these blogs with their numbers jumping up crazy high. I really like doing my own blog design. I don't like the idea of not being able to change things whenever I want.

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  10. 1. I think we have the same blanket!

    2. I love this! Everything you said it so spot on! Don't compare and be yourself! great advice!

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    1. 1. I think we do too! I've noticed your blanket before! Where did you get yours. We picked ours up at TJ Maxx.

      2. This was a really fun post to write! I rewrote and rewrote too, which is something I don't do that often, but I wanted to make sure everything made sense.

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  11. LOVE!!! I'm in my beginning stages and you are totally and completely right!!! Super Hard work! But I'm loving it and truly love connecting with other bloggers, I too want to have my blog as a business ♥

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    1. It is so rewarding and I love being able to connect and build relationships! :)

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  12. This is great advice, Samantha! Networking with bloggers and finding your own voice is so important! I've been doing the DIY blog design thing too :)

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    1. I love that you're a DIY blog designer too! I really like it because I can change it whenever I want and I'm not stuck with any one thing.

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**I love reading all your sweet comments and love getting to know every single one of you. I do my best to respond to every comment and will do so via email. If you don't receive a response, you may be a no-reply blogger.

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