We have been blogging for about/just under 5 months now and have learned a lot along the way…mainly what not to do.
- Launching without a ‘soft opening’ was in hindsight not a great idea – we hit publish on our blog and put up a couple of posts. Then we took to Facebook inviting everyone and their cat. Afterwards we looked at each other and thought ‘what have we done’. Looking back we would have rather invited a few friends/family to look at it as we made a few tweaks and fumbled our way through the first week or so.
- If everything is perfect you’ve waited too long to publish– We agonized over which pictures looked the best, whether or not we needed a logo to launch, edited and re-edited our pages and wondered for weeks if it was good enough to hit publish. Turns out the best way to learn is by doing. While we tried to make decisions about what to do before publishing we really didn’t know what we were doing until we were in the thick of it. It’s never going to be perfect and it’s never as bad as you think it is. Get yourself out there and figure the rest out as you go.
- Don’t let social media get you down – looking at your unlikes, unfollows, lack of comments or likes is upsetting. When you are just starting out (and even when you are successful) those pesky Facebook insights that tell you someone unfollowed you will make you want to throw-up. Don’t look at them! It’s not worth it. A good piece of advice we love from Pinch of Yum is to wait a while to see how much attention a post got, this way you are already over that post and on to the next one. You can’t make content that everyone is going to like. All that will happen is you will be like this poor kitty.
- There are a million different places you can find blogging advice – don’t let it bog you down. Advice is good and we probably could have dug around a little more before we got started and spent a great deal of time yelling at computers and pulling out our hair. BUT there really is so much advice out there that you can easily get lost down the rabbit hole and lose many hours of your life/content writing time. You can easily spend all of your time sifting through and reading different advice instead of actually writing content for your blog. If you have found yourself lost in the advice abyss, come up for air and decide on one place to follow advice from at a time.
- The same way there are a million places to find blogging advice, there are about as many blogging groups offering said advice – it is not realistic to join them all. In the early stages of blogging these groups are invaluable. You will find lots of advice and support from fellow bloggers. However there are so many of these groups you could not possibly keep up with all of engagement/promotion threads unless you quit your life. Try a few out and stay in the ones you feel the most comfortable in and get the most out of.
- Try not to watch your blog traffic like a hawk – sitting at your computer constantly hitting refresh to see if you’ve had any new traffic is another colossal waste of time that we have taken part in. It can be exciting to see those numbers roll in and is similarly just as disappointing when in one minute since you last hit refresh you haven’t had a new visitor. What is that old saying…a watched blog never boils..er grows. Of course it is important to know where your traffic is coming from but you do not need this information every minute of the day – especially when you’re brand-new!
- Another note about blog traffic numbers – don’t get caught up in the numbers right away. It takes time for blogs to grow and the beginning can be a roller-coaster of up and down as you figure out what works and what doesn’t.
- Can’t forget about content! Posts are not going to fall out of the sky -when we started we thought all the posts would easily come as we had so many ideas of what to write. But if you are busy, sick or having a crappy day/week it is easy to be uninspired. When you are feeling inspired write as much as possible as the days when you aren’t will come. We like to have a few blog posts on the go at once so if one topic is making us yawn we can work on something else until we are feeling refreshed and revitalized (or caffeinated enough) to pick up where we left off with the other one.
- Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers – even if they started around the same time as you. Everyone is unique, has their own voice and way of doing things (if you are not sure what your voice is yet you will find out along the way). You will only drive yourself (more) crazy if you try to be like someone else.
- Try not to agonized over finding your ‘niche’ – it will happen. We got so caught up in trying to define our niche that we lost sight of why we started blogging in the first place. We wanted something to do together and trying to fit ourselves into a predefined niche would have forced us to separate, likely into two different blogs. So now we’re in the process of shifting our focus to finding a ‘tribe’ instead of a niche. This way we’re interacting with and supporting bloggers from a wide range of niches and exposing our current audience to a wider range of topics.
Blogging is an exciting, time consuming, fun, scary, wonderful and rewarding journey! You don’t have to be perfect you just have to do it!
Share your top tips for what not to do with us below!
Life is full of misery and despair….and you thought this was the happy, cheerful category, just kidding, it is. While that may be true sometimes we give all the misery too much space in our lives. And I am not pointing fingers at anyone but myself. Feel free to point your own finger at yourself.
I’m not entirely sure what to call this. I think the original recipe was for a type of lasagna – and included meat. My version has evolved into a vegetarian stuffed pasta made with butternut squash, spinach, and feta. This is a fairly simple recipe to follow and keeps well in the freezer.
Life is not always sunny and cheerful, and we don’t have to pretend that it is. I enjoy life and do my best to make the most of it. I can be happy, excited, joyful, feeling good and worry free, but
unfortunately not all of the time. There’s anxiety, panic, depression (to name the more serious stuff), perfectionism, decision paralysis (and other things that cause many misadventures) and yet I still remain hopeful that we can always keep taking two steps forward, no matter what life throws at us, even if we end up taking one step back.
May was a strange month. I found myself (mostly) settled into a routine with weeks at school and weekends in Belgium doing exactly what I set out to do, and yet I spent most of my time feeling the least inspired I have ever felt in just about every aspect of my life. I’m typically a ‘get-up-and-go’ type of person but an unusually persistent feeling of blah left me searching for new ways of finding inspiration. Here are five ways I used for finding inspiration when my ‘get-up-and-go’ got up and left.
Misadventures of a perfectionist
One of my favorite things to do is waste time….err not really, but frequently I find myself caught up in some of these common time sucks. Aside from the internet, decision paralysis and perfectionism are great supporters of wasting time.
May was a month for getting back in tune with ourselves, each other, and our goals. Part of that has been a redesign for the blog (still ongoing..!). As such posts were a tad scarce as we found ourselves in a holding pattern waiting for various ‘design’ elements to come together. So now onward and upwards to June and a schedule of regular posts!
As a kid Bounty Bars were among my favourite treats. (side note: if you’ve never had the Bounty ice cream bars you are seriously missing out.) Turns out homemade bounty bars are probably the easiest candy ever to make! With only 3 ingredients including the chocolate for dipping, there is no excuse not to make these right away!