In February of this year, I did a “re-launch” of my blog. I started blogging back in another life, in 2011 when my only child was 3 and I found I finally had more time on my hands. I blogged for a while about finding my identity again after getting completely immersed in motherhood. Then I went through a twin pregnancy, and my blog pretty much went quiet while I got back into the life of 24-7 child care. Now those twins are toddlers, and I don’t quite have enough time on my hands to add anything more, but I chose to get back into blogging anyway. This time around, though, I wanted to challenge myself to make more of the blog. The original version was more of a personal journal, shared with whoever cared to read it. Now I am writing differently, writing more, trying new things, and being intentional about growing my audience and defining my brand.
I started over without any idea how to do so. I have spent a lot more time doing research and learning how to do things blog-related than I have actually writing. Most everything I have learned so far has been through using resources available online. There is SO much information available. There are bloggers blogging about blogging, freelance writers writing about writing, reviews of plug-ins, step-by-steps on how to do pretty much anything, advice about marketing, about social networking, about titles, about images, it goes on and on. I feel like I have read a lot of it. I haven’t even scratched the surface, and it is sometimes overwhelming. But I do think I have figured out a few things.
When you are blogging for more than a personal journal, it takes a larger time investment. Exactly how much is of course up to the owner, but staying current and active in social media and spending time reading other blogs takes extra effort. I’m trying to find and share relevant and interesting content from other places, creating and sharing my own content, reading and commenting on other blogs that I find interesting, and all of that on top of my full-time job, marriage, and three kids. This isn’t something I would do without really enjoying it. In fact, even while I really enjoy it, I still struggle to balance everything I want to do. Not a new concept to any bloggers, I know.
There are so many talented bloggers and writers publishing content. So very many. With all of that talent out there, you would think it could be extremely competitive, but I have found the opposite. Sure, everyone is focused on their own work, but the majority of writers are psyched to help out the newbies, to support up-and-coming talent, to give advice when it is needed. To all of you I say a big ol’ thank you! I’m trying to do the same as I stumble along.
It is always helpful to hear what works for other bloggers. With that in mind, here are a few tools that are working for me:
- Transitioning my blog from Blogger to WordPress.com. The instructions were easy to follow once I found them, and there were little to no hiccups. I chose to make that move based on my impression that it is a much more popular and widely-used service for what I’m doing. Someday I’ll work at moving to my own self-hosted site, but I have to learn to walk before I can run.
- Canva is a really easy and impressive online design program for creating awesome graphics. I’m just starting to figure it out, and I am not very artistic, but I know if anything can make me look like I am, it’s Canva.
- Elna Cain is a freelance writer and coach who I stumbled across when I first started thinking about re-launching my blog. I signed up for her Free 6 Day Email Course to learn how to get paid to write online. (She also offers other freelance courses and services for a fee). I didn’t sign up for the purposes of starting a freelance career, but I was interested in reading about what that world looks like. I’m a fan of step-by-step, and the content was extremely helpful. When I was completely overwhelmed and sorting through the massive amounts of information available, this was a nice, clean, easy-to-follow guide.
- @SarahArrow‘s Twitter account. She offers paid coaching as well, but just by following her tweets I have discovered a treasure trove of helpful posts to improve my blogging skills.
Do you have a post like this one sharing tips and tools that work for your blog? Please share in the comments and we’ll all learn together.