6 Things to Check When Editing Your Archives

Over the last couple of months, I’ve started working on editing old blog posts in order to liven up my archives. I want to be able to share old posts in order to bring them back to life and in order to do that, I need to make sure they meet the same standards I have for my more recent posts. It’s not a tried and true method and it’s definitely more time consuming than this particular blogger would like, but having a list of things I want to get done on each post makes the process go a lot more quickly.

edit archives
Death to the Stock Photo

Font

One of the most noticeable changes I’ve been making to my old posts is the fonts – both the body font, and the font I used on my photos. When I switched from Blogger to WordPress in the fall, the fonts didn’t convert because I wasn’t using the default one in Blogger. And as far as photos went, there was a while where I switched up the font on each blog post’s photo – and it was always something cursive and vaguely difficult to read.

Looking back through my archives now, I want these things to be streamlined – and in the last several months especially, I’ve worked on making sure all of my blog photos use one of two fonts: Ariel or Modern No. 20 (I love Modern No. 20, but it doesn’t have a bold or italic and for certain posts, I need those features). So the first thing I do when I edit a blog post is to highlight the post, and clear formatting (if you use WordPress, this is the eraser on your toolbar).

Photos

It would be an understatement to say that when I first started blogging I didn’t realize how important photography was to the whole thing. That was five years ago, and even just last year when I started this blog I wasn’t paying that much attention to it.

Going back through my archives now, I have a checklist I go through for all of my blog photos:

  • Quality To be honest, this means that most of my photos come from a free stock source like Unsplash. I love photography, but I’m not that great at it and I’d rather use a free stock photo that’s higher quality than one of my own.
  • Size The first thing I do when I open up a photo in PicMonkey is resize it to match the width of my paragraphs. It’s something I never would have thought of on my own, but a while back when I worked with Kenzie on a blog consult, she mentioned that it looks a lot more pleasing to the eyes to have the photos match your text in width.
  • Formatting With any photo that I put text on, I use a transparent overlay to make the text more visible. When I first started doing this, I varied the sizes and shapes a lot, trying to figure out which I liked better. So now, going back through my archives, I try to make sure they all match with the box shape I use now.
  • Text I mentioned above that I like to make sure the text on all my photos is either Modern No. 2 or Ariel, so when I’m editing old graphics or creating new ones now, this is one of the things I make sure to do.

Layout

Another thing I’ve noticed has changed with the switch from Blogger to WordPress is the format on some of my older posts. For whatever reason (probably because I was always messing with fonts and sizes) the spacing on some posts is a little off.

I don’t know about Blogger (I can’t remember the formatting features they have), but on WordPress this is another thing that the Clear Formatting tool seems to fix. Although I did spend a lot of time retyping entire posts because I didn’t realize this was an option…Oops.

SEO

One of my favorite things about WordPress is the ability to use plugins for so many different things, and one of those plugins that I love is Yoast. I’m learning more about SEO now, but having a checklist of things to run through helps a lot in making sure that my posts are search engine friendly.

If you don’t know what Yoast is, it’s a plugin available with WordPress that allows you to enter a focus keyword or phrase and then tells you what steps to take to better your SEO on that post. A few things are making sure the keyword pops up in your title, page URL, throughout the post, and on your photos’ alt tag, and making sure to include photos and links in your post.

Tags and Categories

I’ll be honest: for a long time I paid absolutely no attention to the tags on my posts. Once again though, when I switched to WordPress I started paying attention and trying to keep my posts organized. Tags and categories are how I’m able to list a categories tab on my blog, and how I can direct people to posts they might enjoy based on other posts they’ve enjoyed.

Going back through my archives, I try to fit older posts into categories and tags I’ve started using in the last few months in a way that streamlines my content.

Grammar

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be pretty bad about this. I love editing other people’s writing and picking out grammar mistakes I find there. With my own writing though, I’m really terrible about finding my own mistakes. For whatever reason, I can read through something three times and still miss the same misplaced comma I did the first two times.

Sometimes the best thing for this though is time and distance. Going through old posts, I’m more likely to see the mistakes I might have made a few months ago that I couldn’t see then, and correcting these makes my blog look a lot more professional.

So what about you? Do you edit old posts and if you do, do you have anything specific you look for to update? 

4 Tips for Stealing Inspiration Without Stealing Content

I’ve written before that one of my favorite forms of inspiration is the kind I get from other bloggers and articles I read online or in print. My notebook is filled with ideas prompted by things I’ve read online, and I’m sure that yours is too, which is great because that’s exactly why we’re all here and what makes this such a great community: to inspire one another.

Stealing inspiration from other bloggers can get tricky though when you’re not sure how to go about it, or when you don’t give credit where credit is due, and a lot of times, that uncertainty leaves us not wanting to hit the publish button on what might be a really great post. So today, here are my four tips to keep in mind when stealing inspiration from your favorite bloggers or articles.

stealing inspiration
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Ask Yourself Why

Why do you like this post – specifically, what about it? Is it the writing, the subject matter, the photos, the way they approach the topic? What specifically is inspiring you to write your own post and, if you were to comment, what part of the post would you respond to?

Once you know what it is that you like about the post or article you’re reading, you can start to narrow down what it is that you want to write about – and it may not be what this person wrote about at all. You may find that what you really like and were inspired by is their openness in discussing a certain topic, or that you think their photos are absolutely stunning. Whatever it is, figure it out and move from there.

Expand on That

Now that you know what it is you like about the post or article you’re stealing inspiration from, figure out what else you can say that the author hasn’t already said. How can you expand on their ideas in a way that they haven’t, and that you find interesting?

This step is so important because, once you know what you like about a post, it can be easy (and tempting) to just write about that exact same thing. Even if you’re saying it in your own words though, using someone else’s exact idea without making it your own is theft. It isn’t doing you or your blog any favors and would probably upset the original author if they ever saw it.

Don’t Steal

I keep saying that this is a post on stealing inspiration, but what I mean is that you should be using blogs, videos, books, and articles that you love as inspiration for your own ideas, not that you should actually steal.

That said, if you find that what you want to say would be really helped by a direct quote or a photo from the post that inspired you, ask permission first. Especially with bloggers, it’s crazy easy to shoot someone an email explaining how much you loved their post, and what your own idea is. Chances are, that author spent a lot of time writing their post or article and would be really upset if they saw their own words typed up elsewhere – even if you did give them credit. Beyond that though, having large portions of an article published in various places kills SEO because Google interprets it as plagiarism, and nobody wants that.

Give Credit

Finally – and most importantly – give credit where credit is due. If you got a great idea because of a post you really loved, then let your readers know that’s where you got the idea. Link back to the post that you’re stealing inspiration from so that if they want t0 (and they probably will once they see how great your post is), they can head on over and check out what that blogger had to say.

It may not make sense to start off your post with something like “this post idea came from so-and-so,” but it can be super easy to add something in like “after reading so-and-so’s post, I started thinking…” And most importantly, don’t just say you got the idea from someone and give their name or blog name – link back so that readers can share the love.

So what about you? What are your must-follow rules for stealing inspiration from favorite bloggers or articles? Let me know in the comments!

Basic Blogging Etiquette for Your Website

From the time we’re young, we’re taught the socially acceptable way to behave in public: don’t speak with food in your mouth, don’t interrupt someone when they are speaking, look at a person when they’re speaking to you (at least in Western cultures), and so on.  When you start blogging, the set of rules changes because suddenly, you’re not interacting face-to-face anymore.  It can be a tough set of rules to understand and get used to, and it took me years before I started understanding most of them.  So today, I want to talk about a few “blogging etiquette” rules that would have made my life a whole lot easier if I’d known them sooner.

blogging etiquette
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Comment Links

I can remember leaving comments on all my favorite blogs, always trailed with “stop by my blog!” and a link.  It never occurred to me that this was anything but friendly in the blogging world. Somewhere along the line though, I learned that this crossed the line from friendly marketing to being pushy.

Commenting on other blogs is one of the best ways to get your name out there and to find new blogging friends, so it makes sense that we would leave our link for others to follow, like a breadcrumb trail back to our house. If your commenting system is set up correctly though, whether it’s Disqus, WordPress, or Blogger, your username will link to your blog anyway; so that if someone wants to check out your blog they know how to. Leaving a direct link on top of that gets a little bit repetitive and starts to seem like you’re not commenting for genuine conversation, but for page views.

Sourcing

When it comes to textbooks and research papers, we all know how important it is to cite our sources because every teacher since the first grade has been telling us. With blogging though, it’s a bit more of a gray area of when do you just happen to have a similar idea, and when are you genuinely using someone else’s work.

It should go without saying that if you share a person’s photos or words, you absolutely need to link back, and should probably ask their permission as well. But when it comes to using someone’s idea to spark your own, it gets a little more fuzzy. My rule of thumb is that if you’re reading someone’s post and think hey, that seems like a cool topic – let me expand on it – you should reference that person when you write your post. Aside from being good manners (and a great way to avoid a summons in your mailbox for plagiarism), linking back to the person you got your idea from or who you’re referring to in a post can be a great way to make new blogging friends!

Inspiration

I mentioned above that it can be great to get a blog post idea of your own from someone else’s posts, and it is! One of my favorite parts of this blogging community is that we all draw inspiration from one another, and as long as you’re linking back there’s nothing wrong with that.

The problem comes in though when you don’t put your own twist on an idea you got from one of your favorite bloggers. If someone you admire writes a really great post and it’s something you’d like to write too, that can be a lot of fun and a great way to connect. But it’s equally important to make sure you’re making the post your own, and not just writing exactly what that other blogger already wrote with small changes here and there to make it “yours”.

Tagging

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite things about social media is the chance to tag people in your posts, especially on Twitter. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers outside of commenting, and can actually be more fun because it lends itself to a more immediate response.

In the same way that leaving your direct link in a blog post comment can seem pushy and insincere though, tagging a person on social media can too when it’s not relevant. For example, if you’re writing a round-up type of post like my weekly Friday Favorites posts or Crystal’s Currently Loving Link-Up, then linking to the people you referenced in your post is great! It lets them know you loved their post enough to share it and gives your followers a way to find them. Linking to someone because you want them to read your post, whether or not it has anything to do with them though, can be a problem because similarly to linking in a comment, you’re targeting them directly in your advertisement. It would be sort of like a Geico commercial that showed up to your doorstep and said “KIERSTEN!! SAVE $100 IN 15 MINUTES OR LESS!”

Sponsorships

We all love getting sponsored content offers, because it means that all the work we’re putting in here is paying off – and God knows we work hard enough on our blogs! Companies love these types of programs too because blog readers are a loyal group and tend to take the advice of their favorite bloggers. If someone like Erin from Living in Yellow suggests a favorite brand, you can bet that brand is seeing hundreds of sales coming directly from her page. So it’s a win-win-win situation when bloggers get to talk about products they love and that their readers will love.

That trust doesn’t come from nowhere though – it’s the result of honest blogging, and your readers will quickly stop trusting your suggestions if they can’t figure out what’s a genuine suggestion and what’s being paid for. I actually think this may be some sort of law, but even if it’s not: if you’re writing about a product or service in exchange for free product or payment, you should be disclosing that in your post.

So tell me – what are some rules of blogging etiquette that I didn’t mention here?

10 Blog Post Ideas to Beat Writer’s Block and Start a Conversation

Last night, after days of procrastinating the process of writing a blog post, I took to Twitter (and had a pretty fun conversation with Mary about abandoning our blogs to write about ponies and kittens instead), Pinterest, and Bloglovin‘ in search of some inspiration.  After reading through several “20 foolproof blog post ideas” posts, I started to experience deja vu in the extreme. Most of the “ideas” I was coming across were “what’s your favorite food,” “name an embarrassing memory from middle school,” and “what’s your favorite color?”

It took me a minute before I found the connection: they all were questions I’d been asked on the first day back from summer vacation in elementary school.  I’m sure that better writers than I could come up with a thoughtful, worth-500-comments type of post to one of those questions but me?  Nope.  Not at all.

So while none of the suggestions made their way into today’s post, reading all those articles did give me an idea: write a list of  10 non-fluff, non-middle-school-essay post suggestions for writer-blocked bloggers to check out.10 blog post ideas

1.  What made you start blogging?  We all started somewhere – something triggered that desire to open up a blank web page and call it our own.  So what’s your reason, and what makes you keep writing today?

2.  Write about something you feel strongly about.  Around here, you’ll find plenty of posts on feminism and other controversial subjects because that’s my thing: I love debate, argument, controversy.  I love figuring out my opinion on something and teaching others about it.  So what about you – what is your passion subject?

3.  Share some of your favorite bloggers/blogs.  But don’t stop there – share why they’re your favorites.  What makes you go back to those spaces day and and day out?  (and if you’re looking for some inspiration in this department, I cannot get enough of The Lady Errant, The Style Dunce, and Hello Neverland.

4.  If you went to college – what’s one thing you learned there that had absolutely nothing to do with your syllabi or text books? For me, college was an incredibly eye-opening experience – it was complete culture shock and I’m a different (I think better) person because of it.  If you didn’t attend college, what did you learn in your first years out of school that no classroom ever could have taught you?

5.  As a blogger, you’re also a writer.  What does this art form do for you – why do you continue to write, and what do you think you gain from it?

6.  What is something you struggle with?  Why do you struggle with it, and how do you handle that?  My biggest struggle is my personality, hands down.  Most days, I hate being an introvert – and writing about it has been both cathartic and eye-opening (and beyond that, one of my more successful posts).

7.  If you had to narrow your entire life down to one core focus, what would it be?  Not just where do you see yourself in 10 years, but why?  How are you going to get there, and why is that space so important to you?

8.  If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, you’ve probably learned a thing or two.  Share some lessons you’ve learned from blogging, or tips you have for fellow bloggers.

9.  I know I can’t be the only Netflix binger out there.  I’ve wasted a lot of time watching shows on Netflix, but I’ve learned things from some of them, like Doctor Who, Law & Order, and Gilmore Girls.  Those shows mean something to me.  What shows have been important to you, or have taught you something?

10.  Inspire me.  Build a mood board on Pinterest and share it.  Curate your favorite/most inspiring Ted Talks or slam poems on Youtube.  Share your tips for getting inspired/creating ideas.  Anything.  Blogging is, more than anything, a source of inspiration for both the writer and the reader so – inspire.

10 Blogging Lessons: A Collaboration with Living in Yellow

I’ve mentioned before how much I’ve learned from and about blogging in the five years since I started, like what SEO means (hint: not short emo ostrich, which is what my 17-year-old self would have guessed), how to make friends online who aren’t 50-years-old, bald, and living in their mother’s basement, and that sponsorships aren’t just for PBS Kids.

Today, I’m teaming up with Erin from Living in Yellow to share 10 more blogging lessons we’ve learned over the years.

10 blogging lessons
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1.  There is absolutely no shame in this game. You will come to terms with this once you find yourself laying on the ground to get just the right angle of the Christmas tree – at the mall.

2.  Twitter is basically full of politicians trying to get the younger crowd.  And bloggers.  Mostly bloggers.

3.  By the time you reach around 1,000 blog posts, you will have a butt that resembles that of a pancake, a larger midsection, and many many empty bottles of wine to show for it.

4.  Those grammar rules you learned in fourth grade and promptly ignored really do matter, particularly when you’re writing for a potentially large audience.

5.  A blogger’s favorite thing to write about is blogging. That and what they did this weekend.

6.  YOU ARE BUSY NOW. Why? Because it takes approximately 38 minutes to look for the correct affiliate link to include in your post for that Goody hair tie that you accidentally had around your wrist in the midst of an outfit photography section. And why? For 12 cents in revenue. On a good day.

7.  Looking for a new way to style your favorite maxi skirt this winter? Blogland has about 20 ways.

8.  Other people are cooler than me and you. Don’t believe me? Scroll through your Instagram feed. The proof is in the filter.

9.  If you thought the SATs expanded your vocabulary, you’ll be shocked by what blogging can do. Words like “sponsor,” “giveaway,” “blogiversary,” and “SEO” start to take on meanings you didn’t know they had.

10.  Parking lots, yards, and any other place that is deemed good enough for an outfit post are full of funny things. Just look down, to the side, or up in the air and you’ll see it. If you can’t figure out what’s so funny then you aren’t looking hard enough.

6 Ways Blogging is Like Elementary School

All those years we spent in elementary school, one of the first questions we always asked was “when will I even use this?”  Well, now that we’re in the blogging community, the ghosts of teachers’ past are coming back to remind us why we studied our textbooks all those years ago.  Don’t believe me? Here are six ways that blogging is like elementary school.

blogging is like elementary school
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Math Class

Stats Nobody wants to admit it, but we all do study our follower numbers and page views religiously.  The dedication some of us have to comparing last month’s pageviews and bounce rate to this month’s, complete with percentage increase and average daily readers, is something many a grade-school math teacher would be proud of.

SEO Remember fifth grade when your teacher walked into class one day and asked you “if Train A is travelling from Philadelphia to New York, and Train B is travelling from New York to Philadelphia, how long would it take them to meet if Train A is travelling 55 MPH and leaves an hour before Train B, which is travelling at 70 MPH?”  SEO is a little like that, bringing statistics, English class, and analytical reasoning together to come up with the best three-word phrase to bring all the bloggers to your yard.

English Class

Grammar Back in the third grade, your English teacher told you how important the difference between there, they’re, and their was.  But you probably didn’t believe her until the first time you started blogging. Now I bet you’re realising you should have paid more attention.

Reading Your mother would probably be proud of how much reading you do now that you’re following 50 different blogs on Bloglovin‘, but in grade school? It might have been a bit more difficult to get you excited about library day back then, though.

Essay Writing I know how much time spent complaining about introductory paragraphs, but now that I blog? I realize how important it is to introduce your reader to a subject before you start going on about it.

Art Class

DIY Art class used to be that “special” subject you waited all week for and now that you’re in blogland, art-day is every day with DIY, Pinterest Inspiration Boards, and more how-to’s than you could ever help to hit the “like” button on.

Social Studies

Current Events I don’t know about you, but one of the homework assignments I used to dread more than anything else was coming up with a current event to write about each week.  I love keeping up with this stuff now, but when I was 14 and more interested in having my best friend teach me to apply eyeliner, you could usually find me furiously paging through a two-day-old newspaper in homeroom come Monday morning.  We might not all love writing about current events in Blogland, but when something big happens you can usually count on the community to keep you informed.

Business

Sponsorships You might not have had this class until high-school but when you did, you started to learn about supply and demand, trustworthiness, and product worth.  In the world of blog sponsorships there’s nothing more important.

Recess

Building Relationships No day at school was complete without double dutch and tag on the school’s playground, and there was not a single friendship that didn’t find its start in those 30 minute breaks from class.  In the blogging world, there may not be a playground, but bloggers flock to the comment section and Twitter to build relationships with one another, and no blog is quite complete without it.

Cliques Recess may have been the most important part of the day, but it was also the part where the cliques started to come out. In blogland, we may not be as mean to those outside of our group as the 12-year-olds on the playground were, but there’s no denying that the community is broken into sub-groups: Fashion, Food, Parenting, Beauty…

How to Use PicMonkey for Your Blog

When I first started blogging back in high-school, I had no idea how important images were to what I went online to say every day.  I thought that the most important (and frankly, only important) part was my writing.  Now, over five years later, I realize that couldn’t be further from the truth.

For a lot of us (at least for me) this is hard, because as much as I love photography I’m the first to admit that I’m not that great at it; and I’m even worse when it comes to Photoshop.  And that’s exactly why I love PicMonkey, a basic (and free!) photo-editing website that I use to put all my blog photos together.  Everyone edits their photos differently, but it helps to have a few go-to actions when you’re putting a photo or graphic together for a post.  These are the three things I do to the primary photos for all of my blog posts.

PicMonkey for Bloggers
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Resize

For the most part, people react better to larger photos, and it’s better for the overall look of your blog if all of those photos are the same width.  For a long time, I just threw photos onto a post and left it at that.  Over the summer though, I worked with Kenzie who provided me with a ton of super helpful blogging tips and tricks.  One of her first suggestions?  Figure out my post width and size my photos accordingly.

Having a photo that takes up the entirety of the space in front of a person makes it harder to miss and gives it a bigger impact, not to mention how much more streamlined and together your blog looks when all photos are the same width.  Personally, I keep the width of each photo I post at 825, which is also the width of my post size.  So when I go to write a new post, the first thing I do to the photo is resize it.

PicMonkey for Bloggers

Text

One of the most important parts of a blog photo is to have at least one that can be used on Pinterest.  And how do you do that? Make sure your photo has some kind of description on it – whether it’s a title or something else – to let potential readers know what they’ll be getting if they click over.

Plus, starting a new post out with a graphic that has some kind of description on it lets readers know what they’re about to read about.  It’s sort of like the introduction paragraph your professors were always going on about with your college research papers.  The more a reader knows about what you’re about to start telling them, the more receptive they’ll be to that information.

PicMonkey for Bloggers

Overlay

I just told you how important it is to have some sort of text on your photo to let readers know what they’re getting into with your post, but all of that can be for nothing if they can’t read the text on your photo.  Especially with blog buttons, one of my biggest pet peeves is a title I can’t read because the color of the text fades into the photo’s colors, or just gets washed out by the background.

In my opinion, the best way to avoid this is to provide a base for your text with an overlay.  I put a rectangular overlay on each of my photos, edit the transparency so that readers can still see the photo below, and use black or white text over that to make it easier to read.

PicMonkey for Bloggers

PicMonkey for Bloggers

Looking for more tips on PicMonkey? Check out Helene’s post on the topic!

3 Reasons Why I am a Bad Blogger

Okay, let’s be real: I love blogging.  The fact that I’ve been doing it for years is probably proof enough of that, and looking at posts I wrote even a year ago show me how much better I’ve gotten at it.

But at the same time, I know there are things I do (or don’t do) that guarantee I’ll never be one of those full-time, gets interviewed for a movie kind of bloggers, and here’s why.

bad blogger

Editorial Calendar

I know the benefits of having one, that especially given my schedule it would make this thing so much easier, so much more manageable.  And actually, I do have an editorial calendar; but using it is an entirely separate story.  I have an entire month’s worth of post ideas scheduled into my iCal, but the idea that I’ll actually write the posts there is laughable most days because, when faced with a blank screen and a new post to write, I cycle through all the ideas I have waiting and usually come out not knowing how to verbalize them in a readable and enjoyable way.

Social Media

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love Twitter (and if I’m being honest, I think I’m pretty good at it, too).  And I’ve written posts about how important I think sites like Pinterest are to growing your blog.  But when it comes to Facebook and Google+? Don’t expect much from me, because my G+ hasn’t been updated in a while, and I. hate. Facebook.

I know that most good bloggers will tell you that every social media outlet is a must for your readers’ and your blog’s sakes, but personally I think that the social media sites you need depend on what type of blog you have, and nobody needs to be active on all of them.

WordPress

Confession: I am not on the I-love-Wordpress wagon with pretty much all the rest of blogland.

I switched over in the last couple months, and aside from the plugins, I’ve yet to find a reason why this is better than Blogger.  In fact, I miss knowing how to do basic edits to my layout and blog’s appearance without having to pay a designer over $100, and I’ve been having more trouble than I can count with my blog this past week.  Updating on a bi-daily basis drives me crazy, as do the 2,000 spam comments sitting in my queue and five e-mails I have just in the past seven days saying that people from Uzbekistan, Taiwan, and Germany are trying to hack into my blog.

Suffice it to say, I know there are supposed benefits to having WordPress, and I likely won’t be switching back, but for the most part, I’m not on the WP bandwagon yet.

So what about you? What makes you a less-than-perfect blogger?

Top Social Media Sites: The 3 Accounts You NEED to Have

Last week, I was struck with the question of which social media sites are absolute musts when Aly emailed me to ask my opinion on just that.  Of course, you’ll always see the idea that if there’s a social media site out there, you should have one, and to a point I agree.  Not everyone who reads your blog is going to be a blogger themselves, so having options other than Bloglovin‘ is important. But maintaining a social media presence can be difficult on top of writing blog posts and having a life outside of blogging.  So today, I want to talk about the top social media sites that I believe you have to have as a blogger.

top social media sites
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Facebook

Okay, let’s just get this out of the way: I hate Facebook.  Not just in terms of my personal account, where everything is about passive aggressive quotes aimed at someone’s ex-boyfriend, engagements, pregnancies, and outright not-so-humble bragging, but also when it comes to blogging.  The layout is constantly changing in totally confusing and frankly unnecessary ways, and we all know how impossible the new algorithms make it to get your posts seen.  Even when you make sure that each post has a .png photo and a link, even when you manage to get people to comment on and like your status, you’re lucky to see one 10th of your follower base actually see your post, and even fewer than that will click through.  On a regular basis, I see fewer page views coming from Facebook than from any other website, including Google+ and random websites who happen to have shared a link to my page.

But we also know that there’s always that “top” social media site that everyone and their mother seems to have, and right now (and for the past several years) that site is Facebook.  I mentioned above that not everyone who reads your blog is going to be a blogger themselves, which means the likelihood of them having a site like Twitter or Bloglovin’ to follow you on is pretty slim.  Facebook provides a way for anyone and everyone to easily follow your blog and hopefully, if your blog is one they’re genuinely interested in, they’ll make sure to check your Facebook page for updates.

Twitter

huge part (and some would argue, the most important part) of blogging is the community you’re able to build with your little space of the Internet. I’ve mentioned before how important Twitter is for doing that, because it provides an easy way to have conversations with other bloggers, pose questions for your followers, and hear what other bloggers have to say.  Without a doubt, as much as I hate Facebook, I love Twitter.

In terms of blogging, I think this site is a must have because it’s such an easy way to meet new bloggers, interact, and share your own blog posts.  We all know how important it is to read other blogs and comment on them, but I’d argue that interacting with your favorite bloggers on Twitter can be even more important. It’s a message that goes straight to them, probably right to their phone, and that allows you to have a conversation that others can chime in on.

Pinterest

I can hardly remember when Pinterest first came out because, before I even knew what the website was for it had already taken over the Internet.  On a daily basis, Pinterest is in the top three resources for where pageviews are coming from on She is Fierce. In a way that is arguably more efficient than any other website, you’re able to quickly and easily share your posts with hundreds of people, who will then go on to share it again and again.  Months after I’ve posted something on Pinterest, I’ll see it popping up again as it makes its way through more and more Pinterest feeds, and that’s something that no other social media site offers.

Even if you don’t cook or do DIY, Pinterest can be so important for sharing your blog.  On my Pinterest, I even have a board titled She is Fierce specially for every post I publish on this blog.  Even if it’s not something people will share, it does get out there so that some people will click through! Beyond just sharing your own work though, Pinterest is also an amazing resource for tips, inspiration, and tricks you may not have thought of otherwise.  Whenever I’m feeling low on blogging inspiration, or I need some help with something, my first resource is Pinterest because it’s like the Google of blogging – it has everything. 

So what about you? What are your must-have social media sites for blogging?

Breaking the Blogging Mold

I always struggle with introducing my blog because there’s not quite a category I fit into.  I don’t know the first thing about fashion or makeup, my DIY’s aren’t anything anyone would want to duplicate, I can’t cook much more than mac n’ cheese and bang bang cauliflower, and HTML is a foreign language I don’t even know how to say “hello” in.  So when I read that we’re supposed to have an elevator pitch for our blog – what we’re about and why – I struggle.

Generally speaking, I guess you’d call me a lifestyle blogger, but  I try not to write too much about my life just for the sake of writing about it.  You’ll probably never find an “if we had coffee” post here, but what you will find are feminist articles, personal essays, creative writing, and thoughtful discussions about inspiration and current events.  And if this mixed bunch of writing that I don’t know how to classify says anything about blogging, it’s that there’s room for everyone in the blogging world.

blogging mold
Unsplash

Be Yourself

This is advice you hear a lot in the blogging community, but that’s because it’s important.  Most of us ended up here, writing a blog, because it’s something we wanted to do; whether because we love writing, want to connect with other people, or because we feel we have something to share.  Don’t forget about that once you’ve been blogging for a while and have found a ton of really successful blogs out there.  Don’t let your reasons for being here change because someone else’s reasons have gotten results.

Blog What You Know

If you aren’t into fashion, and cooking a delicious three-course meal is the last thing on your mind, don’t blog about those things just because other bloggers do.  Blog about what makes sense to you, and what you enjoy talking about – I bet there are other people out there who like the same things, and would love to read a blog post about them.

If what you know is how to take care of birds, then that’s what you should blog about.  Or if you’re more well-versed in politics, then there are plenty of uninformed voters out there who would love to hear what you have to say about the candidates.  Maybe what you know the most about is something we’ve never even heard of, and that’s all the more reason you should write about it.

We Don’t All Fit Into a Mold

There are all kinds of blogs out there: fashion, design, travel, marriage, gourmet cooking… But we don’t all fit into those specific categories.  Even “lifestyle” can be restrictive if what you have to offer isn’t funny stories about your day-to-day life.

But the great thing about blogging is that you don’t have to fit into a mold.  There’s space for everyone, and if what you have to say doesn’t fit into a category, then make your own and figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it!

Get Good at Knowing What You Write

If you don’t fit into a category that most people know, that makes it harder to tell potential new readers why they should stop by.  Know what it is that you love talking about, and get good at telling people about that!  If you were talking to your best friend or your mom, what would you tell them your blog is about?  How would you describe it?  Figure that out and remember it for the next time you get asked what your blog is about.

This post first appeared as a guest post on The Charming.