Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’
July 2, 2014
This afternoon I wanted to continue on with a series all about blogging and frequently asked questions I receive about blogging I started last month.
In case you missed it, I kicked things off with quick tips on how to start a blog. Now that you’re set up and ready to go… what’s next?
Below are some of my go-to tips for bloggers who are just starting out. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I do get questions on the matter and this is the advice I pass onto those asking.
They seem to appreciate it, so here’s hoping these tips help you too!
(Or, what I wish I already knew when I started blogging.)
I have read several emails and comments asking about my blog design and where it came from. The answer is kind of tricky.
I have a friend who is a graphic designer but does not design “templates” per say. Basically, I had him draw up the design I had in my head and then he hired an outside party to put it all into code.
I love how it turned out, but it does have it’s downsides. I can’t really change anything about it since it’s so customized. Once it’s set, it’s set.
This has become a little bit of an issue over the past couple of months, since I’ve been trying to organize the pages, add sub-pages and categories, and display bigger ads on the sidebars. Eventually, I am going to hire someone to give my site a complete makeover and help me out.
For now, it is what it is and here’s how it all came about.
• Check out other blogs and website you like.
Ask yourself why you like them.
Is it a cool color scheme? Engaging logo? Fun fonts? Take note of those characteristics and incorporate them into yours in your own unique style.
• If you’re getting a customized theme, make sure it stems from an already existing one via WordPress or Blogger.
(My number one fail!)
My next theme will for sure come from tweaking one that already lives and undoubtedly works online. So far, I’ve noticed that Genesis is a great start.
• There’s nothing wrong with white space.
I used to want my sidebars to be busy and filled with all the colors and exciting things. Not only did unnecessary widgets slow down my page load speed, but they might have distracted focus from the content I was putting out there.
My sidebars are still very much active, but I have tried my best to condense them down to what I feel is essential to have there.
Also, try to avoid using a dark background with light text. It’s fine for some websites, but for blogging purposes it can tire the eyes quickly.
Here are more great tips about web design via Web Designer Depot.
• Make sure it’s readable.
When designing my page, I really wanted it to look like a magazine layout. The “housewife edition” of GLAMOUR, if you will.
I started playing with fonts and sizes and over time realized that my body font might have not been the best choice. It usually reads just fine, but I wish it were a little bit smaller. Also, the color of the links are almost too light of a pink. Once again, because my theme is so customized, I’m not able to fix either one of these things.
My new design will for sure be easier to read and navigate!
PicMonkey is the greatest online tool you will ever come across in the blogging world. At least it was for me, anyways.
It’s free to access (unless you upgrade to a premium membership for $4.99/month) and I started using it to create text on my pictures.
Eventually, I played around with it enough to realize I can basically do anything. Ha! I use PicMonkey to create all of my workout pin-ables, add text, and edit almost every single photo you see appear on the blog.
I choose to pay for the premium membership, but that’s only because I gravitate towards the fancy fonts and want them. I’m kind of high maintenance when it comes to graphics. (Whoops.)
• Web Editors
While I have never personally used either one of these tools (I’m ridiculous… we know this), I have only heard great things about both types of web editors that make blogging ten times easier.
The only reason I haven’t tried it out for myself is because I’m (finally!) getting a new MacBook in the next week or so. I use an iMac at home and the software is $39.99. I wanted to wait and purchase it to put on the laptop, since I knew that would be my main source of blogging down the road.
Now if one of you tells me I can use the software on both and that I could have been using Mars Edit over the past year when I first discovered it for the same price, I might die. *earmuffs*
I told you, I’m not an expert on these matters. I’m simply passing along what I know in hopes it saves some of you trouble down the road!
Basically, Hootsuite is the hub of all social media. Ninety percent of the time, when you see me share a blog post on my social media channels, it comes from Hootsuite.
In just one status update, you can share the same link on almost all of your social media channels.
Hootsuite automatically shortens your link and creates a shortened ow.ly/ address for it. You can also schedule tweets and shares to happen weeks ahead of time, which is perfect for when you are going on vacation.
(Now if only I was on the ball and utilized it like that!)
My blog is definitely focused on healthy living. My goal with this platform is to post consistent, helpful content, but I like to include my every day life musings to keep it interesting.
I often post workouts and meal plans to hold myself accountable, but behind every post is a hope that at least one of you finds something useful out of it. Even if it’s for pure entertainment.
Here are my tips about finding your ideal writing schedule and style!
• Write like you have a million followers.
Even if you think just you and a few others are reading, it doesn’t matter. Getting content up will help you practice enough to get into the writing groove you are looking for.
• If you want to make blogging a job, you have to show up to work.
I heard this from a wise (amazing) fashion blogger, J, when I had the pleasure of meeting with her in Orlando. And she’s absolutely right.
If you want to build a consistent following, you have to give them something to expect. It’s okay to get off of your schedule on occasion, but overall, you’ll have a bigger following of every day readers if you stick to a predictable posting schedule.
As far as my blog goes, you can expect to see a new post go up once or twice a day during the week, and maybe even one on the weekends every now and then.
I have a very frequent posting schedule, but I choose it to be that way and I’d guess that’s what people are expecting to see. Don’t feel like you have to post nearly as often if that’s not what works for you!
• Check out and get active on other blogs
Once you have your blog up and running, expand your blog world by frequenting other blogs and sites you like.
Comment on pages you read and like and share the blog love! (More on this subject coming soon…)
Basically, getting into your own writing groove is all about trial and error. See what works for you and just take it one day at a time!
I feel like I could just keep going… so to spare you the boredom I’ll put together another tips for beginners post and share it in the next week or so.
Thanks for popping in, and good luck on your blogging endeavors!
June 14, 2014
Hi friends! I don’t usually pop in on the weekends, but since our regularly scheduled plans were cancelled, I had some extra time this morning and am inevitably stalling on all of the things I should be doing.
That’s what Saturdays are really for, right?
Plus, there’s a subject I have been meaning to get around to writing about, so I figured now is as good of a time as ever.
By no means do I consider myself a blogging expert, but over the past couple of years I have received the same types of questions from personal friends and readers in regards to my blog and how I dove into the online journey you see me document today.
If this introduction into my little corner of the blogging world goes over well, I plan to publish more start-up content and blogging tips down the road, but for today, I wanted to go from the beginning and focus on my tips on how to start one.
Lets talk blogging!
• Decide why you want to blog.
More than ever, people are creating personal blogs and websites to leave a virtual footprint behind their name.
I often get inquiries asking advice on the best way to go about starting a blog, and the first question I ask them is “What are your blogging goals?”
Do you simply want an online journal to share with friends and family?
Do you want your blog to have a focus and fit into a specific genre?
Do you eventually see yourself blogging frequently enough to potentially use it as a platform for income?
I have different answers to all of these questions, and we will get into that down the road.
• Decide on a blog focus.
This is something I wish I was personally more prepared for when I began.
I started blogging as a way to keep up with long-distance friends and family while documenting our wedding plans. That’s where my initial focus stopped. I had no idea I would eventually transfer my content onto an entire new platform and revamp the material I consistently write about.
When I first got the idea of starting Housewife Glamour, the content I thought I would be producing the most was healthy recipes, DIY projects, beauty tips, entertainment highlights and the occasional at-home workout.
I wanted to showcase that just because you get married and settle down with children, it doesn’t mean you have to stop being you. After a couple of months, I realized we weren’t quite ready to start our own family, and in the mean time I started getting other interests. Healthy living interests.
As time went by, I found myself less interested in writing about home improvement and more interested in health and fitness. I wish I knew this was going to happen from the beginning. But, I guess that is why I’m sharing my story with you.
When you decide you want to start a blog, think long and hard about what niche you would fit into the best. A mommy blog? Fashionista? Fitness?
On the contrary, if what you want to write about is not what you’re passionate writing about, then it isn’t the right focus for you.
I have personally seen over a handful of healthy living blogs turn into something completely different over the last year or so! Do yourself a favor and blog about what you enjoy doing the most from the get-go.
• Decide on your blog title and learn to brand it.
Once you have a focus, come up a blog title that represents what it’s about and helps it stand out.
This is one point I need to take my own advice on.
Had I have known I would eventually focus on healthy living, I would have rethought my title and probably left out the housewife part. It doesn’t fully represent the information I put out there, and I often feel like the odd man out when I’m surrounded by other healthy living bloggers and their titles.
But, I feel like it may be too late in the game to change it, so I’m learning to roll with it.
I know some people change their blog domains, but I also know it’s a long and complicated process that might do more hurt than help. I’m currently checking into my options, and will only move forward on a changeover if it makes sense.
Until then, I’m embracing my title and branding the crap out of it.
(I could write an entire post on branding. Stay tuned for more info here!)
• Get a domain name, and keep it simple.
I started my wedding blog on Blogger, but then realized that I liked the widgets and applications I could access through WordPress better. Blogger is definitely more user-friendly and easier to start with, but WordPress gives you more options and the majority of all the successful bloggers seem to go that route. Really, it’s your choice.
When I first started blogging, I didn’t have a focus beyond wedding planning and my domain was misspreshnmrhess.blogspot.com. Not only did that not match my blog title, but it was formed out of nick names nobody else understood. After we got married, I changed it to heather-hesington.blogspot.com, but it was still a mouthful.
The best thing you can do is to take the .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com out of your title by getting (and purchasing) the rights to it through that platform.
That is, of course, if you don’t plan on self-hosting your blog. But that’s another long and complicated topic that goes back to the first point of why you want to blog.
Since I am the furthest thing from an expert on this, I’ll now point you in the direction of Katy’s tips on self-hosting. She’s pretty much a blogging ninja and seems to have an answer for everything!
Basically, if you plan to blog for anything more than a hobby (hope to gain sponsors, get paid for product reviews, produce sponsored content, display advertising with an ad publishing network… i.e.: make money), self-hosting is a must.
• Start with the basics and write for yourself.
All of that self-hosting talk I just mentioned might sound overwhelming.
I get that, and totally thought the same thing at first. So let’s back up and put that on hold for a minute.
If you’re not ready to invest in your site or jump into the whole hosting debate with yourself, start with baby steps.
Set up an account through Blogger or WordPress, name it (maybe even with the .blogspot or .wordpress.com still in the title) and start writing.
Create content, but keep it private for a while.
(This is something I didn’t do, but pass it on as something I wish I did!)
The first couple of blog posts (or even months of blogging!) can be a little all over the place. It usually takes a while to get into the groove of your writing style and get it to what you like to produce.
Personally, this took me years to accomplish! When I look back to some of my first posts, I absolutely cringe. There’s just no need for that many capital letters or that many explanation points in a row. Ever.
Once you feel confident in your material, make it public and invite readers to join along in your blogging experience.
• Get on social media.
Once you feel ready to share your blog, make sure you reserve a name for it on all major social media platforms.
(Also, this could also spark another entire blog post. Stay tuned!)
• Give your blog it’s personality.
I honestly only come back to read blogs I can relate to.
A blog can consistently spit out the best content in the world, but if I can’t picture or relate even on a small level to the person writing it, my interest is often short-lived.
I’ll click over for information from time to time, but my favorite blogs I subscribe to and keep up with on a regular basis include the bloggers that show their true personalities through their writing.
If I can virtually get to know a blogger, I’m more apt to value their opinions and take their advice on things, and especially products.
I feel like I keep it real with you guys. I don’t always have incredible days, and I don’t just post the perfect.
On the other hand, I don’t want to ever seem negative, so I mostly point out the bad with a light heart and a sarcastic smile. That’s pretty much what I do in real life and who I am outside of the blogosphere is who I strive to portray right here on the blog.
Be genuine with your words and in your topics. Don’t write anything that feels forced, and remember to stay true to who you are.
If it helps, write like you’re chatting with someone face-to-face, and the rest will flow naturally.
Now, I could expand on each of these points with many sub-categories, so I’m going to stop there.
If you have any specific questions about starting up your own blog, please feel free to utilize the comments section or personally email me at email@example.com.
Hopefully, this is just the first installment of a new series that comes about every now and then.
Good luck on embarking on your own blogging adventures!