Blogging

19 Snippets of Advice and Learnings after 2 years of Blogging – the good, the bad and the difficult!

Birthday Cake for Two Year Old

Today marks 2 years since I started this blog!  Happy 2nd birthday MinsMash!

I cannot believe that it was two whole years ago that I jumped in naively and started this blog. I knew absolutely nothing about how to blog, exactly what I was going to blog about, or the blogging world. I started with a plan to do a 365 Grateful Project, thoughts to perhaps blog about my local area, and to use the blog as a place and a means to find out what my passion is. So much has happened over those two years. In addition to my love of blogging, I found my love and passion for photography. I’ve met some wonderful people all over Australia and the world! Most importantly I have learnt so much about myself – just as I had hoped to.

Want a laugh?  Here is my first ever blog post – HERE.  It seems so long ago!

MinsMash means a lot to me. I left a corporate life that was sucking the joy and happiness out of me and was affecting my health, in the hope of finding a more fulfilling life that nourished and filled me with happiness and joy.   MinsMash and my followers have shown me the way. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have read my posts, liked them, commented on them and supported me over these past two years!

I have pondered for some time over the future of MinsMash. I’m ready to move on now into that new life and I want to put the past well and truly behind me. In order to do that, I do believe it would be best to move on from MinsMash.

I have registered a domain name (secret name for now) for a new blog that will be created soon. I will be starting afresh and will not be transferring over all the content from MinsMash. The new blog will have a more defined focus and I’ll be diving into that one a little bit more informed than when I dove into MinsMash. However, MinsMash will continue for a while yet and ultimately will remain on the interwebs forevermore to refer back to as a reminder of how far I have come and the steps that I went through to get where I am going.  When MinsMash shuts up shop there will be a shingle hung on the door letting everyone know where we have moved to, and of course it will be in all my social media.  I really do hope that all my followers will come with me to the new house! 🙂

More on the new blog in the near future!!

Meanwhile, I would like to share with you some learnings and advice from my two years of blogging.

You can read what I have to say below OR read a more detailed & prettier version available for download in PDF form here: Blogging-19 Snippets of Advice & Learnings and again at the end of this post.

 


 

 

Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Australia

 

THE GOOD

  1. Bloggers are a very generous and giving lot! There are many seasoned bloggers who generously and regularly share blogging tips that are so incredibly helpful to new bloggers. Others run blogging schools or eCourses.
    (See a list and links to ‘some’ blogs that offer free blogging tips and those that offer courses in attached PDF.)
  2. Meeting likeminded people – all over Australia and the world! I think bloggers are people that have a need to be creative and expressive – like me! We understand each other. Bloggers often report having found their ‘trib
  3. Always learning. I love to learn and trust me, with blogging you are always learning something new!
  4. Making a difference. It feels good if something you write lifts someone’s spirits or changes their attitude or makes them smile or makes their day J
  5. You will find yourself! There is something about blogging that just lends itself to personal development and discovery of what makes you tick, what makes you happy, and what you are passionate about!

THE BAD

  1. Trolls and mean people on the interwebs. It hasn’t happened to me but I have seen it happen to others and it is awful.   The problem with expressing an opinion in a public way is that not everyone will share the same opinion and some people can be rather mean about it. Trolls just love to hate on people regardless. You need a tough skin if you are going to publicly express an opinion on controversial topics. My skin isn’t so tough – so I avoid this. To shine a light on the good thing that I have seen in relation to this stuff happening, is to make mention of the way that other bloggers rally to the defense of the blogger who is being victimized. Bloggers look after each other. I so love that!
  2. The risk of getting into strife with the law. Be careful and know the legalities of publishing on-line. Lucky for us Stacey from The Veggie Mama spoke on ‘Blogging and the Law’ at the 2014 Problogger event and has made a free downloadable PDF Cheat Sheet available on her blog. Thank you Stacey!  Find it here: Blogging and the Law Cheat Sheet

THE DIFFICULT

8.  Feeling disheartened. It can be very disheartening for the new blogger at times for many reasons, some of which are below (and which I address in more detail in following points). You’ve just gotta go with the flow and stay true to yourself and what you enjoy blogging about.  These things take time.

  • Growing your followers
  • Growing your FB likes
  • Getting interaction/comments on your FB page
  • Getting comments on your blog posts
  • What to blog about?
  • What is my niche?
  • Does my blog look fancy enough?
  • The Comparison Trap: comparing your blog to other blogs

9.  Growing Followers / Growing FB Likes / Getting more interaction and comments: How do I do this?

I still have a long way to go in this area myself, so I am not advising from a place of great statistical heights. However, over my two years of blogging here is what I have learnt:

  • Networking is essential. Get to know other bloggers and they will get to know you. Join in with bloggy link ups (more on this later). Go to any local blogging meet ups that may arise. Consider attending a blogging conference – great way to network and learn.
  • Social media is a must. Try them all and then stick with the ones you like best. There is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Vine (and probably more!)
  • Hang in there!! These things take time. Two years in and I still rarely get comments on anything I post on my Facebook page AND my blog posts are lucky to get 1-3 comments UNLESS I have linked up with a blog linky. With regards to Facebook – please do keep in mind that unless you pay, many of your likers just won’t see what you are posting.
  • It depends on your niche. Some people are super funny and draw the crowds. Some are artsy or crafty and quickly find their tribe. Some are just plain clever and quickly get large followings. Some of us are a little more eclectic or different and it takes a little longer. Believe in yourself, keep going and don’t let it get you down!

10.  What to blog about / What is my niche ?

  • The best thing to do is to find what you love and blog about that. If you force yourself to post about things you perceive to be ‘popular’ but it’s not really something that you are passionate about or enjoy, blogging will become one big horrible chore.
  • Ahhh the elusive niche!! For some it is easy – fashion / food etc. For others it can be harder to nail down – mostly because you might blog on a number of subjects! Don’t get too hung up about it. If you don’t know which ‘niche’ you fit into it is not a big deal. The main thing to focus on is good content! If you must have a niche, how about being a “personal blogger” or a ‘lifestyle blogger’ or perhaps you could create your very own new niche!

11.  The Comparison Trap

  • I think most bloggers fall into this trap at some point – especially in the early days. You start a blog and a Facebook page. You struggle to get likes, comments, interaction, anything! You feel like you’re putting in so much time and effort and no one is reading your stuff. It’s frustrating! You see other bloggers with zillions of comments and likes and interactions and you start thinking you are obviously hopeless at this blogging thing.   The thing is though that that other blogger might have been blogging for many years more than yourself and they too would have started where you are. These things take time.
  • Remember this quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Aint nothing worth losing your joy over people!

MY ‘LIL TIDBITS OF ADVICE FOR NEWBIE BLOGGERS

12.  Don’t spend heaps of money on your blog when you first start out (logo’s, banners, graphics, fancy stuff).

You need to blog for a while to get a feel for what you like to blog about, where you fit in the blogosphere, how you would like your blog to look etc.   Wait until you have found your blogging voice, understand what you enjoy blogging about, know how you want to present yourself, and then invest.

13.  Blogging etiquette.

Be aware that there are some etiquette rules around blogging, which are really quite important. Mrs D plus 3 wrote a great post on this subject recently that you should read. Read it HERE.

14.  Have lots of white space on your blog.

Personally, I cannot stand blogs with black backgrounds and crazy and/or coloured fonts. They hurt my eyes. I will not read them. I click away. Sorry!

15.  You do need to have some consistency with your blogging to keep readers interested.

I haven’t been very good at this lately as I have been juggling my blogging with my photography studies etc. You don’t need to blog every day but at least two to three times a week would be good. If consistency drops, so will your stats!

16.  Learn to take a decent photo. You don’t need to become a professional photographer but a blog with crappy, fuzzy photographs is a real turn off. Make the effort to put only sharp, properly exposed and clear photographs on your blog.

17.  Be your authentic self. Be yourself. Don’t try and be someone who you are not because you won’t be able to sustain it!

18.  Be privacy and safety aware. Be wary of what you reveal of yourself and your family on the blog. Think through what you feel comfortable with. I have chosen not to reveal my husband or children’s names on the blog or to have any recent photographs of them on the blog.   I also haven’t revealed our surname on the blog. These are the personal choices I have made in consultation with my family.  Think through the choices that are best for you and your family.

19.  Join up with bloggy links. This is how you meet other bloggers, grow your network, get to find other blogs, and how others get to know about you and your blog. You will also get much more comment love and support as you go about your blogging journey. Here are a few of the ones I most often link up with:

  • With Some Grace’s – Flog Yo Blog Friday #FYBF
  • Essentially Jess’s – I Blog on Tuesdays #IBOT
  • My Little Drummer Boys – Wordless Wednesdays
  • My Home Truths – I Must Confess (Monday’s)
  • With Some Grace’s – Facebook Lovin Sunday

For a more comprehensive list of aussie blog link ups and links to those I listed above, see here:
http://blogchicks.com.au/blog-link-ups-and-blog-hops/

Happy blogging!

NOTE:  Here is the more detailed & prettier PDF version of the above available for downloading:  Blogging-19 Snippets of Advice & Learnings

 


 

Ciao for now,

Min Signature - Dec13

 Linking up today with With Some Grace’s #FYBF

fybf

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20 replies »

    • Thanks Lee-Anne! I laugh every time I read it! lol I’ll have to go and check out your first post. I’m sure its not as corny as you might think. I’m glad u like my little blogging tips. I’m no great blogging success but I think it is worthwhile sharing what I’ve learnt along the way because it might be very helpful for someone starting out. 😉

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    • Thanks Stacey! When you consider I knew absolutely ZILCH when I started out, yes I have learned quite a bit over the 2 years. Still lots to learn though! The learning never stops! I’m very excited about my new endeavour! Thank u for the birthday wishes. Terrible twos haha! xo

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  1. I love this post, I’ve been blogging about two years to and I feel like I have done a very similar journey to you. Thanks for the mention and a very happy bloggy birthday to you!! Looking forward to seeing your shiny new blog on the the interweb soon – exciting times xx

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    • Thanks so much Robyn! I didn’t realise you’d been blogging about the same amount as time as me. I thought you had been blogging much longer. Your blog is so much more stylish than mine LOL Just wait till you see my new one. I’m so excited!! My pleasure to mention you & your fab post. Thanks for the birthday wishes and I cannot wait to have my shiny new blog and share it with everyone. Very exciting times ahead! 🙂 xo

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    • Thanks so much Grace. My pleasure to mention you and #FYBF and #FBLS. Both of these link ups have been an enormous help to me with regards to getting to know other blogs and bloggers and getting me known to them! Cannot wait to share the new blog with everyone 🙂 xo

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  2. Awesome advice! I think that a lot of people are coming into blogging now and think it will be easy and it’s just not that way, at least not if you want a decent blog, that you are proud of.

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    • Thanks Tegan! Blogging isn’t as easy as people may think. It’s a lot of work and sometimes it can be a lot of work for no comments, no likes, no response. You’ve gotta have a thick skin. You have to believe in yourself, want it enough and just keep going. You either want it enough to push on or you quit trying. I want it enough. I’ll keep pushing on but I’ll be doing it from a new shiny blog soon and one which I think I will feel very proud of 😉 xo

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  3. Can’t wait to see what comes next. So exciting and scary creating new homes on,one but glad I am not the only one doing it xx deb

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    • Exciting and scary for sure Deb! I have two new homes to create: 1) New Blog & 2) Photography website with its own little blog within. I’m thinking I will forge ahead with the new blog first and hold off a while on the photography website. Can’t wait to see your new home. I’m sure it will be fabulous!! 🙂 xo

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  4. Happy Blog anniversary! And, yeah for moving on to a new blog now that you have discovered what you want and love to do. I wish you all the best and I will certainly continue to follow you! Great blogging tips in this blog!

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    • Thanks Rita! Those two years have gone by so quickly! I’m glad you think the blogging tips are useful. I’m proud of where I am now compared to two years ago. I’m proud of this blog (even though it has not got a polished look about it) but will be even prouder of the new one when it is out of my head and here in real life! 😉 xo

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  5. Congratulations! You have hung in there for two years and still going strong! I will be two years in November and it has been a huge learning curve for me. I started writing about life at fifty and included a lot of stuff that my friends either said or did (mainly funny little anecdotes) and eventually I lost their friendship because they couldn’t handle my blog. So lesson number one was “don’t write anything that your friends think (the emphasis on think) you are writing about them”. Nowadays I write about travel mainly so I have found my niche and will stick with this. My website is http://www.50shadesoage.com.

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    • Thank you Kathy! It has not been an easy two years. There have been ups and downs. I am so thrilled there is someone else out there 50 or over that blogs!! Hip Hip Hooray – Yes!! I have just gone to your FB page. I had already liked it but have not been seeing what you posted. So, I have clicked to get notifications so that I will be alerted to when you post. We need to stick together us 50+’ers. You are lucky to travel so that you can blog about travelling. I’m going to make a point of going over to visit your blog to see what you’ve been up to! My new blog will focus more on ‘life after 50’ as well as some other stuff. xo

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  6. Thank you for sharing your advice. Wondering if you could explain something in more detail. I’ve joined / participated in blog link ups before but I must not be utilising the exposure properly as I’m not seeing new followers. Besides flogging my blog on these link ups am I suppose to do anything else? Or is it simply people don’t want to follow, comment etc

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    • Hi Cam! I don’t think I have got any (maybe a few at most) followers from joining in blog link-ups. The blog link ups might get me some comments but rarely gets me new followers! I’m thinking the key is in your meta tagging. Make sure you do good meta tags so people who are looking for the kind of stuff you blog about can find you. If they like what they see when they find you – then they may follow, like or comment. It’s also all about SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – which I’m afraid I am not the person to explain or help you with this! It’s also a matter of hanging in there. It all takes time! Good luck! 😉 xo

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