Okay, I am super excited because today I am publishing my 100th post! It seems only fitting to write a little about my blogging experience, and how I keep my blogging ideas and paperwork organized. I realize many of you are not bloggers, so some of this post may not seem applicable, but I hope you’ll scroll through and read the sections that sound interesting. If it’s just not for you, I’ve got a new cleaning tip up for tomorrow, and a whole lot more organizing ideas coming soon!
Here’s Where It All Started:
I’ll be honest, I read a total of one blog prior to starting my own. One. The idea of blogging had crossed my mind sporadically for about a year, but the thought of figuring out how to start a blog felt extremely overwhelming to this computer-illiterate girl. (Seriously, I had to give a Power Point presentation at a local high school, and my, then, 9 year old had to help me. Power Point was not in use while I was in college; nor were cell phones and email. I know, I’m ancient at 37.) I’m not sure what finally turned this around, but on a random day in February, I decided to try it. I figured if I hated blogging, I was only out a few dollars and a couple hours of my time. Oh.My.Goodness!!! What would take the average 14-year-old two hours to figure out, took me approximately 1,786, but I did it! I actually got my blog out there on the web. Then, I watched as a total of 12 people came to read my posts each day…
Organizing My Blogging Ideas:
When I first started this blog I made a list (because I’m a list-maker), and I had about 300 ideas for posts. No joke. I was up until 2 in the morning, my brain swirling with ideas. Here I am on my 100th post, and I’ve probably used 20 of those original ideas. Some were great for brainstorming, but hard to carry out. Others are no longer “relevant” to this blog. I have learned that not every “good idea” needs a post. So here is what I do with the ever-evolving, ever-flowing ideas… I write them down. My ability to remember my own thoughts is not great, so I need to write things down! I created a printable to help with that. If you’re a blogger (or not) and would like a copy or two, feel free to print your own.
With such a long list, I had to figure out what to post, and when. I made myself a calendar and write in post ideas on the dates I hope to publish them. Flexibility is key here, because sometimes projects are more time-consuming than I expect, or ideas change. I just try to go with the flow.
(You even get a little sneak peek for what I’m planning next week.)
Organizing Linking Parties:
I discovered linking parties about two months ago, and they have been a great way to connect with other bloggers, while also sharing my own posts. For the longest time I used note cards to keep track of all the linking party information I needed: Name of the party, hosts, date and time, as well as a list of posts I wanted to share. It seemed like a good idea, but soon became a scribbled mess as I added new posts or changed things around.
I decided to create another printable to keep track of my linking party information. Again, feel free to print your own copy(ies) if you feel it would be helpful.
The purpose of linking parties is to support other bloggers and read, comment, and/or share posts you find interesting. After I’ve scrolled through the party and “mingled” I put a check mark. Any time one of my posts are featured, I highlight it to remind myself to thank the host(s) for the feature, and perhaps share on social media.
I keep all my paperwork in a 3-ring binder for easy reference.
Top 3 Lessons Learned:
- Have a “blogging friend”: I was lucky enough to find Sharon, a blogger at Pretty Practical Home. She started blogging about one week after me. We have emailed numerous times trying to figure out this whole blogging world, and her support has been invaluable. Sharon happens to also be hilarious, so each problem encountered was made light with her sense of humor.
- Interact on other blogs: I have found so many wonderful blogs out there. I am no longer a one blog reader. Comment on others’ posts, share content you enjoy, follow bloggers on social media… it makes their day.
- Social Media: You can’t do it all!: Speaking of social media… learn to use it, but you can’t do it all. There are so many social media options out there: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+… There is just no way to keep up with them all, so focus your attention on a few. I have accounts with all these outlets because I realize everyone has their go-to social media, but I pour more time and energy into a select few.
Top 3 Resources I Have Found For Blogging:
- Photography: I am not a professional photographer. Repeat. Not a professional. Remember I am also computer illiterate (but getting better), so editing photos was not something I did… because I didn’t know how. Very recently, I discovered this fabulous post about photo editing and photography in general. So helpful!
- Give Credit for Others’ Work: Remove the Pin Hover: Bloggers want to be credited for their work, and they should be. Here’s the problem: If I share an image from another blog, you can pin that image and every time it is clicked, or shared, the referral comes to my site, not that of the original source. Many bloggers make a note to pin from the original source, but I’m not sure people actually do. Here’s a post I found to guarantee the photo can’t be pinned from my page because I remove the pin hover button from the image. I use this technique every time I use a photo from another blog.
- Get Rid of Referral Spam: When you start blogging, you’ll most likely implement Google Analytics. It’s a great way to see how many people view your blog, where referrals are coming from, and which pages people are viewing, but it’s a bummer when you have 132 referrals from “spam”. These “spam views” aren’t real people, so they mess with your numbers. It becomes increasingly annoying because you start creating filters to block the spam, but every day a new spammer emerges. I found this great article on removing ALL that spam traffic so your numbers are accurate! Life saver!
Goals for My Next 100 Posts:
It is always good to have goals. Here are a few of mine to work on during my next 100 posts:
- Balance: I was under the impression that blogging would take a few hours of my time each week (insert loud laughter here). Blogging is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. I love blogging, and it can sometimes consume my days. Here I sit, writing about organization while my house is semi-falling apart. I have a hard time balancing the blog with housework. Since blogging is a whole lot more fun than housework, I tend to blog. I am also a mom and wife, so I need to find a balance in all the roles I play.
- Photography: I know I mentioned finding a great post on photography, and I’ve been trying to incorporate a few of the tips into my blog images. I have A LOT to learn in this area, and I want to learn because “they” say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m thinking mine are worth, maybe, 50 at this point.
Are you still there? That was a forever-long post! Thanks for hanging in there.
I am so grateful for my readers. Seriously! Without readers, a blog is pretty lifeless. I am happy to report that this blog has grown over the past months, and I really do have more than 12 people reading it now. I am excited to continue creating and writing and posting because of you, so thank you again!
P.S. If you are thinking about starting a blog or have blogging questions, feel free to leave your questions in the comments section below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love sharing information I have found to be helpful. However, if your computer has crashed or your site is down, I will cry with you, but I cannot help you.
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