Blogging Advice from 15+ DIY Bloggers
This week we covered the state of the blog address, blog finance tips, awkward blogging moments, and organization tips to be an efficient blogger. But if we’re being honest here, that’s nothing compared to what we have in store today. We saved the best of BLOG WEEK for last by rallying up 15+ DIY blogging hall-of-famers to share their BEST piece of blogging advice.
Before we get into sharing these invaluable words of wisdom, we want to share a huge THANK YOU to all of the amazing bloggers who agreed to share. We are continuously inspired by this group of women and feel humbled and honored that each of them was willing to share such great insight. So without further ado, here is a collection of 50+ years of blogging experience from some of the best in the “biz”.
How do you do it all?
“Blogging can be all consuming, but it’s super important not to lose sight of your life goals while you’re working towards your blog goals. Ultimately no matter how passionate you are about blogging, blogging is just one aspect of who you are as a person. Don’t let that one aspect overshadow the other important parts of your life. For me that means setting time limits for the amount of work I’m going to put into my blog and social media. It means making sure to unplug to spend quality time with my family and friends. It means focusing on the big picture and realizing that blogging is just one small part of who I am” – Carmel, Our Fifth House
“There is no way you can do it all…blog, life, family, work…or even do everything associated with the blog…finances, technical glitches, social media, contracts…so my advice is to focus on what made you start the blog in the first place. For me, it was the creative outlet and connecting with others. If you keep good content as your main goal, then the rest will fall in to place. And don’t forget kindness goes a long way.” Cassie, Hi Sugarplum!
“Schedule, schedule, schedule! I think I preach this so much because I’m honestly not that great at it yet. I’m constantly trying to figure out new and better ways to schedule blog posts, social media, my time blogging vs. my family and day job. I advise researching all of the available scheduling tools and decide what works best for you, your family and your blog platform. Reaching out to your blog friends to see what they use is a great help! I use WordPress plugins to schedule my posts to social media, Viraltag for Pinterest (but I plan on researching Board Booster because I’ve heard good things) and a great day planner and editorial calendar. I literally try to schedule every minute of my day or else I fall apart and just sit in a vegetative state on my couch staring at the ceiling :)” -Summer, Simple Stylings
Any advice to escape the blogging “comparison trap”?
“If you find yourself comparing your blog to another’s (and jealousy starts to rise), put on your virtual blinders. Stop looking at your stats or anyone else’s. Just focus on your blog and do what made you love blogging from the start.” — Brittany, Pretty Handy Girl
Are you thinking about starting a blog?
“Own your own domain (get rid of .blogspot etc.) and jump in and do it. You will learn along the way, if you spend too much time planning everything out perfectly you’ll never start!” Mandi, Vintage Revivals
“Be authentic. Find your voice. Think of the blogs that you love to read. What about them appeals to you? Most of the time you will find that the blogger behind the blog has a story or point of view or an authenticity that pours out from between the written lines of the blog. To quote Oscar Wilde, “Be you. Everyone else is taken.” -Karie Anne, Thistlewood Farm
“Be yourself and try to let your personality come through in your writing. Readers want to be able to connect with you on a personal level. And photography is just as important as content. It never hurts to read tutorials or take a class.” -Chelsea, Two Twenty One
My dad was an elementary school PE teacher. He taught me a lot as a dad and a teacher. When it came to the mile run, he would always remind us of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. Sure enough, he’d yell “GO” and my classmates would take off like horses at the Kentucky Derby. I so wanted to be right there with them, but I just kept a steady pace. Eventually, I’d pass them because they got burnt out. With blogging, that has been my mantra. I started it when I already had a full-time radio career. I knew I didn’t know everything I needed to about blogging or the time to learn it. But, I just kept doing what I could in the time that I could. There’s so much to learn about blogging. It’s seriously more involved than a lot of small businesses. Don’t let that discourage you from starting (or keep going). Do what you can in the time you can. And don’t be a Kentucky Derby horse either. Blogging can be so exciting and so much to learn that you end up staying up all night, living on protein bars and coffee, getting behind on the current season of House of Cards, and forgetting you have a family or pets (not that I can relate to any of this ;p). That is a recipe for burnout. Slow and steady is a recipe for resilience.
…And just so you know…you will fail. You’ll probably crash your site at one point, not properly do SEO (literally…I just figured it out this past year), call a client the wrong name, etc. But I promise you, you will learn and you will grow. I’ve grown more in knowledge and skills through blogging than when I was in radio. I was only required to know my one position. With blogging, you’re required to know how to run an entire business. It takes time. Don’t give up, just start.” -Heidi, Parties for Pennies
Do you have any tips for NEW Bloggers?
“Blog because you are passionate about sharing your gifts, talents, wisdom, thoughts, etc. with the world and for no other reason. If you have the passion combined with the talent, the rest will follow!” – Beth, Home Stories A to Z
“Blog about what you are passionate about and it will never seem like work. Stay true to yourself, don’t force content that isn’t a true reflection of your personal style, and always remember to have fun! I always keep myself in check by telling myself that blogging is not brain surgery and that the world won’t stop turning if I can’t get a blog post published. By not putting so much pressure on myself, my blog remains my “happy place” where I can be creative, colorful and create content that I’m proud of” – Mallory, Charming in Charlotte
“Take it slow don’t overdue it because you’ll burn out very fast.” – Julia, Cuckoo4Design
“Register a .com right away! Switching over from a .blogspot after years of content, or trying to get your blog name after you have been using it for awhile, may prove to be tricky. Snag that .com baby up as early as possible.” -Jen, IHeartOrganizing
“Don’t feel pressured to force content just to build content. I have gone through many phases of blogging over the years, and the days I feel the most excited to hit that “publish” button, are the days I have been living with a project I feel great chatting about. A post I have taken my time with and thought out completely. One that I am passionate about. When I force a project just to deliver content, I always regret it and usually end up changing/tweaking it down the road. Good quality content is better than an abundance of half-quality content.” -Jen, IHeartOrganizing
Should I blog this project or skip it?
“Write about what you would do, and don’t force yourself to make for blog content alone. Ask yourself, would I be excited about this project if I wasn’t going to share it online? If yes, have fun, create and share the inspiration with others! But if you reluctantly dive in knowing you’re simply making for content, don’t do it. Your time is better spent with friends and good conversation. I truly feel that less is more, and I’ve found that I personally connect more with bloggers that write from the heart, and those that write with passion in their projects.” -Kim, Yellow Brick Home
Do you have any social media tips?
“Decide if you want your online presence to be based on your blog name or your actual name:
1. Establish your online presence with your blog name and make sure all social media platforms are available with that name. If not, you may want to reconsider and try another name. Build your brand with that name and make it easy for readers to find you on all platforms.
2. Establish your online presence with your name. This is the path I chose. If you have other online sites besides your blog, you may want to consider this option. For example, I am a watercolor artist, and I sell my prints and home accessories on several different sites. Therefore, establishing my name, and myself as an online influencer was the right choice for me. Instead of my blog name, you can find me on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter as @lauratrevey.” – Laura, at Bright, Bold and Beautiful
How do I know how much to charge sponsors?
“Know your worth! Calculate what you want/need to make annually, add on expenses and divide by the hours you’re working to find your hourly rate. Don’t forget to factory in your following, and highlight your strengths. Factor in your fee for creative concepts, styling, photography, editorial, and social media promotion.” -Julie, Julie Blanner
Is there anything you would do differently knowing what you know now?
“Definitely treat it like a business from the beginning. I started my blog on a whim, so I didn’t think much about the business side. I’m currently changing a few things – and realizing that it would have been a lot easier if I set it up correctly to begin with! Think carefully about your blog name, web address, user names, and hosting provider!” – Sarah, Sarah M. Dorsey Designs
What’s the most frustrating part of blogging?
“The most frustrating part about blogging is that most people think it isn’t really work. The perception is that you write a story with some easy and fast snapped photos. It couldn’t be the furthest from the truth. There is so much work that goes into a blog.” – Julia, Cuckoo4Design
What about ‘Blog Friends’?
At times blogging behind your computer can feel like a lonely island. My advice is to find friends in the biz! One thing I’ve learned is that there’s no need for harsh competition between bloggers, there’s more than enough space on the internet for everyone! And before you think all I’m suggesting is one great, big, blogger BFF love fest, think again. Having friends in this business is vital to keep up with the latest technologies and trends, to get a pulse on what brands are searching for and provide a great platform for collaboration. These friendships over the years have provided me with much needed encouragement, honest feedback on my blog and overall great sound advice. A lot of times blogs are a one woman/man show and for those of you juggling all that a blog requires on your own, a blogger ‘friendship’ can feel more like a partnership in an industry that is sometimes very isolating. Look at some of the most successful bloggers out there and I promise they have close blogger friendships…YHL & Bower Power…Emily Henderson & Oh JOY to name a few. If you’re new to blogging, a conference or workshop is a great place to network, hear the latest and greatest and of course meet like minded individuals like yourself. Don’t be afraid to put a face to the blog…real, actual face time in the blogging community is what has granted me some of the best opportunities and of course where I’ve met some of my closest blogger friends! But I will acknowledge, that sometimes being the ‘newbie’ to the blogging community can feel intimidating and other bloggers can sometimes come across as cliquey. Don’t be discouraged by this and definitely don’t take it personal! Sometimes, a blogger is exactly who they appear to be on their blog…and sometimes they’re not. What’s important is for you to find those relationships and personalities that work with who you are as person and blogger. So, the next time you come across a blog or blogger you love, don’t be afraid to stop and say hello or drop them a line! You may just be surprised what kind of friendship may ensue! — Michelle, Iron & Twine
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.