February 14, 2013

Blogging: Part 1 // starting a blog


Blogging about blogging is like writing a book about writing a book. Or teaching a class about teaching a class.
It may sound redundant, but it can actually be quite helpful.

This is the first part of the series I'm writing on blogging, covering the very basics and including my personal experiences along the way. Thanks to a great idea from a facebook fan, I'm breaking it into three parts: Starting, Growing, Maintaining.

Starting will include topics like:
why do you want to blog?
platforms
design
establishing social media (name, consistency)
time commitment

Growing will cover:
networking/connecting with other bloggers
link parties
pinterest
content
*vlogging, if you so choose!

Maintaining will cover:
finding your voice
connecting with bigger brands
attending a conference
making money

It only makes sense to share a little bit of my experience blogging, so we can start from the beginning.


I started blogging here at The Small Things Blog in January of 2011, after starting a few satirical and sarcastic anonymous blogs before that.


I would write about my travel experiences, tell over-dramaticized tales of things that I thought were funny, and occasionally rant about things that were annoying.


Thankfully that blog died a quick death due to disinterest after just a few posts.


I started The Small Things Blog as a place where I would share about "the small things in life" that I enjoyed. I'd feature an Etsy shop I loved, or share my new favorite lip color.


I filmed my first video hair tutorial in July 2011, and posted it to my blog as a resource for my clients to refer back to. I opted to post it on my blog instead of e-mailing the file to each client who asked for it.


Originally, I didn't want to be the girl in front of the camera. I searched YouTube and hair blogs, but I couldn't find any that were professional enough for me to share with my clients. I wanted to give them an option for a "second lesson" beyond what I taught them in the chair.


After a few weekly tutorial videos, I began posting the after photo's to Pinterest. Pinterest was exploding around this time. People were flocking to it like a moth to a flame. Everyone was talking about it, filling up their boards, and spending many hours on the site.


I thought, "hey. maybe a few other people might learn something. who knows."


So I pinned a few photos of my tutorials.
My they began to get repinned. And repinned. And repinned.


And I learned 2 important things:

1. Other women, besides my clients, are finding these basic videos informative.
2. Pinterest is a great way to reach people, especially new readers.

At this time I was also participating in link parties*, sharing my hair tutorial of the week. These parties helped direct traffic to my blog as well.

*what is a link party?

I kept filming, pinning, and filling the rest of the week with my typical content. I added a few more outfit posts, makeup ideas, and hair product reviews, but I didn't want to turn into solely a hair blog. I wanted to maintain the variety in content, in an effort to avoid burning out.

My blog grew quickly. Almost too fast. I felt "behind" immediately. I knew nothing. By the fall of 2011, my blog was averaging roughly 2-3 million pageviews a month. And since then, that number has continued to grow. 


Shocked? So was I. The hardest part was still learning how to blog successfully, but learning publicly with people watching. It's a humbling experience!


I joined the BlogHer publishing network in October 2011 thanks to a recommendation from another blogger. That was an eye-opening experience, and for the first time I thought, "Man, I could really turn this into a second job."


Fast forward to now, roughly a little over a year after having this blog become a source of income. I consider it a business, and now my second job, since I am still working behind the chair in my studio.


My time is split 50/50 between doing hair and writing this blog. I'm immensely grateful that I get to do two things that I love.


So what does the future hold for these businesses? Who knows. And I'm okay with that. For now, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing.


I struggle with writing about blogging. I often think things like : When have you learned enough to be a credible source? How many pageviews do you have to have in order to give advice? How many years should you have spent blogging in order to share valuable experiences? Do you have to be a "big" blogger? What is a "big" blogger?


I've been doing hair for 10 years. I feel credible in that arena.


I've been blogging for 2 years. I feel like a 1st grader sometimes. I'm constantly learning new things. And maybe that never goes away?


Nonetheless, I've learned a lot over these past few years, and if you are starting a blog, or interested in maintaining/growing your blog, maybe these tips will help.


So you want to start a blog?


1. Why?

It may be helpful to ask yourself these questions : Why are you interested in blogging? What blog(s) drew you to the idea of starting your own? What types of blogs do you find most interesting?
Answering these questions honestly will help you hone in your ideas, and give you a clear direction for starting out. There isn't a wrong answer, by the way. And you can change as you go, just like I did.

2. Are you a patient person?

Blogging takes time, effort, more time, and more effort. It isn't just snapping pics, uploading them to a post, writing a few words, and peace-ing out. There are so many more details behind the scenes that you won't discover until you start. So be patient. Learn. Skim through other blogs. Find your favorites. Read them consistently and see if you can notice routines and details. Perhaps begin to connect with these bloggers via social media.

3. Are you only looking for a get rich quick scheme or c/o clothes?

Plain and simple : it's fantastic to get paid for blogging. It's allowed me to take more time away from the studio in order to blog without loosing income. I'm grateful.
Can you make 6 figures? Maybe. I bet Pioneer Woman does. In fact, she probably makes 7 figures. And good for her, she's got a fantastic blog--which as morphed into an entire brand!

But think about how her blog started. It was out of a love for blogging/sharing. She's a writer. She loves to write. And her business grew out of something she loved.

So keep that in mind, as you begin your blog. Blog out of interest, and because you enjoy it. If it brings in some income, fantastic. If that hasn't started yet, be patient.
C/o clothes/items (aka "Courtesy of") are a great perk to blogging. Don't lose yourself in "c/o" clothes/items. Maintain your original sense of style throughout your blogging. It's obvious if you are wearing something that you otherwise wouldn't even go near in a store. I've learned from some hasty decisions that I've made in the past two years regarding c/o items, and am now tailoring my giveaways and c/o items to things that really and truly fit my personal style.
I would encourage you to do that from the beginning. Don't say yes to everything. No matter how valuable the product, or how good the money is. If it's not you, your readers won't care. They read your blog for you. Remember that.
This might be a good time to talk about sponsored posts. I'd recommend the same thing about sponsored posts that I do about accepting c/o items. If it fits your content, makes sense on your blog, and you actually care about it, I say do it. I don't think sponsored posts are bad, but it's important to not go overboard with them. I wrote a little bit more about this here.
From time to time I ask myself, "would I still blog if I didn't make any money?" At this point, it would look different as I would probably go back to the salon full-time, but I'd still blog. I love talking about beauty-related things in real life, and therefore, I love blogging about it.

The first steps:

1. Figure out a name. 
Good luck. 
That is one of the most challenging things about a blog. Think long and hard about it, and make sure it won't lock you into a certain category (unless you are sure you want to only blog about one, or similar, topics ). Type it out to see how it looks as a URL. Make sure it makes sense, it's easy to spell, and easy to say.
My original blog URL was "itsthesmallthingsblog.blogspot.com". People would ask for my blog URL and I would say, "It's itsthesmallthings dot blogspot dot com". It's its. It was redundant and annoying. When I bought my domain name, I dropped the it's. 
It's very simple to buy a domain name, click here for a guide

2. Choose a platform.

The debate between Wordpress and Blogger, two of the most popular platforms, is like comparing a PC to a Mac. Both will work for you. Both will do the basics of what you need. One is "cooler" and more popular than the other, but there are perks for both.
I've been using Blogger since the beginning but have considered many times switching to Wordpress. I haven't found a convincing enough argument to have made the plunge up until this point, but I'm always checking out other blogs and seeing if they are using a feature (on Wordpress) that I would enjoy to have on Blogger.

A lot of the articles or reviews comparing Wordpress to Blogger are incredibly vauge. I've read through comments like "If you want to take your blog to the next level, you have to be on Wordpress", or "There is so much more design freedom on Wordpress. You can do so much more". My question is, "Like what?". For someone who isn't a designer, I can't put a value on the design freedom since I don't really know what that is. The layouts are different, and I think you have more options for customizing your blog, but you can also customize Blogger pretty well too. 


As I write this, I'm almost 90% sure that I'm going to switch to Wordpress in the near future. I've picked up on some things that I'd like to incorporate into my blog, and I will definitely write a post about whether it was worth it!


I asked my friend Kacia to write a little bit about her comparison of blogger and wordpress, since she's done both. 

"When I decided to start blogging, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted for my little space in the online world.  I am someone who tends to research quite a bit, reading reviews, trying for myself, and then deciding upon the best choice for my needs.  When researching the various platforms, there were a few reasons why I chose blogger to start:
1. Blogger keeps blogging simple and straightforward: it is linked with your email, you don't need to know about servers or coding or hosting to get started.
2. If you want to purchase a URL, all you need to do is purchase the URL.  Blogger makes it very easy to make the switch.
3.  It's common and it's customizable!  You typically see larger blogs without custom URLs on blogspot.com, not wordpress.com.  There are a few reasons for this fact, but it is most likely due to the customization limitations on wordpress.com--no ads, no plugins, limited themes, etc.  

So why make the switch?  While there are many reasons to stay with blogger, there are probably just as many reasons to switch.  For me, it was the user interface for wordpress that really appealed to me.  It was easy to use and figure out--I love being able to customize with plugins and widgets that are drag and drop.  Wordpress also has thousands of themes available for free or to purchase.  These themes vary from simple blog themes, to websites, to ecommerce, to forums.  The wide range of site that can be built on wordpress is very appealing!  For example, you could have 3 sites all running on wordpress, but only one might be a blog-type layout.  

What do you need to do to make the switch?
1.  Find a hosting company you trust--and one that will help you make the switch.  I highly recommend Kelly at Twenty70 Hosting--no, I'm not getting paid to say that!  She charges a very competitive monthly rate and will help you transfer your content from blogger to wordpress. 

2.  Research themes: google is your friend. :) I receive a lot of emails asking how I learned my way about wordpress and various types of code (HTML, CSS, etc).  My answer?  Google it.

3.  Have fun!  As I mentioned before, I love exploring, learning, and finding new plugins--maybe keep your blogger site live for a while, so you can create a sandbox website using wordpress just to play in for a while.  

4.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  The community of bloggers would be really boring if we didn't ask questions and help each other out!  Ask questions and then when you become an expert, share your knowledge with others as well!

I hope this helps!  I know there are many reasons why people love all sorts of blogging platforms: typepad and tumblr, to name a few.   Stay true to you, make a list of reasons for making the switch, and then just jump in to whichever platform you decide is best for you!"
Check out these articles comparing Wordpress and Blogger, and decide for yourself! 
here  //   here  //    here

3. Find a design you like. 

There is no shortage of design options to choose from. You can find some pretty fantastic free basic templates to start with, or dive right in and get a custom look.
I'd suggest starting with something free and see what you like and dislike about it. You'll be better prepared to help design a custom look if you already know what really matters to you.
One example of something I learned about design is after a new redesign I received so many comments of readers that were thankful that I finally put a "search" box in my sidebar. However, there was a search box in the previous design, but was placed lower in the sidebar. Make sure the "popular" features that people will want to use in your blog design are accessible and easy to find.
People occasionally will e-mail asking how they can follow me on Pinterest, for example, even though the navigation boxes are right near the top of the screen. They may not see them, or not know that they are clickable. So know that, no matter how streamlined the design, it can't be perfectly tailored to everyone's visual preferences. Choose a design that speaks to you, make it easy to navigate, and blog away.
The easiest way to look for a designer is to click through from blogs whose designs you love. The most common way to find who designed a blog is to scroll to the bottom of the page and you may find a "designed by" link at the very bottom in the center. Oftentimes you can click through to that designers site.
Otherwise, I would google "blogger blog design" "blogger template design" "blog design" "wordpress blog designer" and other keywords like that. You'll find a plethora.
Lastly, don't forget about Etsy. Search "blog design" on Etsy and you'll be brought to tons of designers. You can also choose a price range you are comfortable with, and narrow down designers that way.

3. After your blog is live, it's named, and designed, get going with social media. Choose usernames that coincide with your blog name.


Example blog : I Love Cats

URL: www.ilovecats.com
twitter handle : @catlove4life
instagram : @catlove4life
facebook fan page : facebook.com/ILoveCats

Maintain some level of consistancy so people can connect it to your blog.

Social media humanizes a blogger. It's more of a conversational tool than a blog post in itself, and allows readers/followers to get to know you better.

If I had to rate social media, and what they do in a relational sense, here is how I would rate it.

Instagram: the most personal. snapshots of daily life.
Twitter: the most conversational, especially around brands/other bloggers.
Facebook: the best way to connect with readers, especially those that don't have a blog.
Vine: awkward videos that also show more of your personality. Or your husbands. Whatever. 

4. Blogging takes time. But the amount of time is up to you. I'm spending at least 20 hours a week on my blog, or doing blog-related things. Most of my time is spent shooting and filming, but right behind that is answering e-mails or writing posts. 

You can make it whatever you want it to be. If you can only commit to writing twice a week, write twice a week. If you want to write daily, write daily. I even know some blogs that post new content mulitple times a day.
But again, it's your blog and you can do what you want with it! You'll figure out the right flow, and how much time you are interested in spending on it.

I hope this helps with the foundational aspects of starting a blog. If you have any questions relating to topics that I wrote about on this post, feel free to ask them below. Save any questions related to the Maintaining and Growing sections of this series for those posts please! 


Read Part 2 hereRead Part 3 here

106 comments:

  1. Thank you so, so much for this! It's not as easy as people think and often my friends just think that I am obsessing over something small but it really is work sometimes.

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  2. this is such a great article -- thanks for sharing this! xo

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com/

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  3. I am so excited that you are doing this series!! I have been blogging for a few months now, and have been trying to grow it a little bit more lately. I can't wait to see your ideas for maintaining and growing. This has become such an unforeseen hobby, and I absolutely love it!! Thanks for sharing your ideas!!
    www.livingasauceylife.blogspot.com

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  4. Kate-this is wonderful! Thank you! Love your rating of social media, I still have weird feelings about vine too haha

    I am printing this for my blog binder. :))
    Karen Kane Giveaway!
    http://coffeebeansandbobbypins.blogspot.com/

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  5. LOVE this - I've been thinking about starting a blog and this helps tremendously! :)

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  6. I've often wondered if Wordpress would be worth the switch, so a big thanks for posting this.

    I recently came across a blog that looks exactly like a Wordpress blog, but you can follow it via GFC. (I didn't know blogger could be customized to that extent.)

    I was curious who had designed it...needless to say, the designer is incredible and I only wish I could afford her! LOL.
    Anyway, I can't wait to read what you have to say next. :)

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    1. Love this...as a new blogger, this will be very helpful to me.

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience in this series! Looking forward to applying your advice to my own blog!
    http://penultimatist.wordpress.com/

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  8. Thank you for this post! So timely for me, too, since I spent much of my spare time yesterday reading articles about starting a blog. This post is by far the most thorough and informative. Looking forward to the rest of the series!

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  9. Thanks for all the great advice and great introductions to BlogHer and Twenty70 Hosting.

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  10. Social media name consistency. That's where I messed up in the very beginning. It never occurred to me way back when, that my Twitter, Instagram, and blog should be consistent. Too late now when I share a name with a "famous" person.

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    Replies
    1. you couldn't have known! and, it's easy to remember!

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  11. This is such great post with so much information! Thank you for sharing and I can't wait to see what else you have for us. You are so amazing to share your knowledge with everyone.
    Hailey @ Love, Laughter and Lipstick

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  12. Kate! Such a great post! I've only recently starting following your blog after connecting to it through Pintrest, and I think you're phenomenal! My husband recently purchased me a domain name for a birthday gift, and I've had a bit of trouble figuring out where to start and I haven't built up the confidence to make my first post yet. Thank you for starting this series, I think it's going to be become my blogging bible :).

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  13. Thanks for sharing your blogging tips. I've been wanting to start a blog for a while now, but I'm super intimidated. I've signed up on blogger, named my blog, and somewhat come up with a design. It's been sitting in cyberland for more than a month now. I know what I want to write about, but the whole html design part blows my mind. I need a crash course. Your tips are definitely getting me motivated to take the next step. Thanks!

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  14. I have definitely seen a huge difference in my page views from just Pinterest alone, I think it's a great way to get out there to new viewers.

    Thanks for the great tips and lessons learned. Look forward to tomorrow's post!
    -Michelle
    www.littlehomesandbighearts.com

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  15. Wonderful post! I love reading about your experience blogging. I am still very new and appreciate this info. It's so refreshing to ready posts like this since you can't chat with your friends/spouse/non-blogger about it. Check out my blog if you have a moment.
    Looking forward to the next sections.
    x

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  16. Your knowledge and advice is appreciated! Love reading your blog and the inspiration you provide! Thanks!

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  17. I was totally on board with this post until PW. Yes she probably makes a ton of money blogging. Yes she makes millions from the horses she brings up every other sentence also.

    Also, Kate, come do my hair :) please?

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    1. I think she's stayed pretty consistent with her writing throughout her days of blogging. She writes about her life on her ranch, and that includes horses!

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  18. Kate! Thank you SO much. This is the best article I've read on starting a blog by far. I'm two weeks in and need to remember your words of patience. I will definitely be referencing this post all of the time to keep these tips in mind. Can't thank you enough.

    Lacey
    sunny+turquoise

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  19. Thank you!! I'm thinking of starting a blog, and I've been looking for something like this! :)

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  20. As a new blogger who doesn't have a clue what she's doing, this is so helpful, thank you!

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  21. I started a blog a while back and grew a little frustrated so I've been very hit and miss with it for the last year. I want to get back into blogging regularly. I miss it so much, but worry I don't have anything to teach. I think as you go through this series, though, I may be able to find my niche. It would be great if your readers started a network to help and support each other as we all start (or start again!).

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  22. P.S., I totally used your "swept to the side" holiday hair tutorial for my hair on today's post. Thanks for the great idea and instruction :)

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  23. thanks so much!
    i'm really looking forward to reading the rest of this series...

    i'm very inspired to grow & create my blog :)

    thx - heather
    This Life Is Yours Blog

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  24. Thank you for all of this. I started my blog back in 2006, because I love to write. The more that I write, the more I love it. for me, blogging is an outlet for my creativity and for me to grow as a writer!

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  25. Fantastic post, Kate! I started posting on my blog at the end of December - it has been a HUGE learning curve. The writing comes easy as I love to write, but learning about photography, photo editing, linking and even developingcontent has been interesting! I absolutely love it, but find that my 50 hour/week day job gets in the way a bit. Hopefully in the future I will be able to find a good balance.

    Looking forward to the next post on blogging!

    Tegan
    Lemon Sugar Creative

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  26. This is so great, thank you for sharing. I started blogging at the end of last year (well officially, b/c I started a few times before that but never kept it up). Anyway now I am finally sticking to it. I have been saying how I don't have any blogger friends and sometimes I just have simple questions or want opinions on things and I don't know who to ask. These posts I think will help me greatly. You are so inspirational!
    xoxo
    Mags
    http://magsmind22.blogspot.com/

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  28. This is great info! I found my blog to be just a drop a photo here and there at first on my msn page, then it automatically got switched to Wordpress. It was kinda klunky at first, but they have greatly improved it! I LOVE their iPhone app. Makes it really easy to post on the fly. Since I had to go gluten free & dairy free my blog has transformed into a place of tried and true recipes for someone new or just needing ideas on such a restricted diet. I almost never make the same thing twice for some reason, so there's lots of variety on there!
    Jeni315.wordpress.com (for some reason the user name box wouldn't let me switch to my Wordpress account from google, strange).
    Thanks, love all ur posts! <3
    ~Jeni

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  29. This is so helpful! I've had a blog for years now, but considering changing to a 'dot.com' blog...but need to find a name. We won't always be THE FARRAR FOUR...and I've used Annie_loo everywhere else...so I'll need to stick with that. Thank you for this information!

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  30. This is a great post! I've been following your blog for about a year now (love it!) and have been waffling back and forth over creating my own. Your post today decided it, and I started it! Thank you for being such an inspiration!

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  31. P.S., it's http://www.abookwormandababy.blogspot.com/ in case you are interested :) I'd love your feedback!

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  32. Fabulous post! I cannot wait to read more! Very inspirational. :)

    Melissa
    http://www.willamettevalleywonderwoman.blogspot.com

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  33. I think I originally found you through another blog.. but I was drawn in by your videos of hair-dos! You are very good at that! Love the other stuff on your blog as well - My blog is kind of a hobby now, but I would like to take it to the next level someday! Your advice was awesome - can't wait for the next post. :)

    http://kellitfox.blogspot.com/

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  34. I've been reading your blog for a while now - and LOVE it! It's one I check daily. :)
    I was drawn in by your hair tutorials (thank you for showing us cute and easily do-able hair! - I now have great hair more days than not. yay!) and stayed because of your sweetness and authenticity.
    My blog is private - only because I have pictures of my kids on there, more readers are always welcome - it's more of a journal/document blog but I'd love it to be more one day.
    Great post as usual...thank you!

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  35. I've been following your blog for about a year now. I love that your style is the everyday girl/woman. You don't try and be something you're not. A log of blogs tend to do that and their c/o items will sometimes overshadow who they truly are. I can honestly say I use your blog on a daily basis. Your hair tutorials have been a godsend. I work in a proffessional environment and I've been able to use most of your hairstyles for my everyday work life. I've been wanting to start a blog as well and I thank you for starting a tutorial on your experiences. I look forward to learning more on blogging.

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  36. LOVE this series! I can't wait to hear what you say about growing and maintaining. I've had my blog fo 2 years, with one of those years being completely private (wasn't ready to show the world yet). I'm now getting the itch to do something bigger so I can't wait to hear what you have to say :)

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  37. This is going to be a great series. I really love blogging, and I have been for some time but it has never been nearly as successful as my Etsy shop. Looking forward to the rest of this series!

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  38. Thank you so much for this series!! This is so perfect. I started my blog back in the summer...actually a few years ago I started it and stopped. Then this summer I renamed it and restarted it. I have been doing a lot of research on how to get started and really get a better following. It definitely takes patience, but I love doing it and I'm not giving up easy this time! Thanks :)

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  39. Thank you so much for this extremely helpful informative post! you are a huge inspiration to me as a fashion, food, beauty blogger! really looking forward to the future posts on the blogging topic. xx. gigi. food and beauty blogger @ www.gigikkitchen.blogspot.com

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  40. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips! I appreciate that you have offered lots of suggestions and general things to consider, rather than strictly giving a list of "do's and don'ts." I have read blogging advice on other blogs that made me feel like I'm breaking some sort of "sacred blogging rule" but your post is inviting and encouraging for a relatively new blogger like myself. So thank you!!

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  41. These tips are really helpful. I've been blogging for a year without a lot of success, but I'm plugging away anyway. I'm working on taking it to the next level, so any advice I can find is completely appreciated!

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  42. I found your hair tutorials on Pinterest last year and I love them!!!

    And this article was just emailed to me and look who it is?! It's the girl who does the hair tutorials I love!

    Awesome advise! Can't wait to hear more!

    www.MommaCandy.com

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  43. I dig this, especially the Blogger/Wordpress debate. Kacia makes great points, especially about using WordPress to host multiple types of sights. Currently, I maintain three separate blogs, and the thought of having them on one central post is SO appealing. Kate, you've done a fabulous job growing up this blog in the public eye. Thanks for devoting so much to the small things!

    lacy blaine

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  44. Hey Kate! I've been reading your posts for months and months now but have never commented.....I just love your sweet spirit and all of the fun topics you write about.....

    You even inspired me to start my own review of my birchbox samples each month on my blog....never heard of birchbox til I started reading your blog...

    Anyway....am thinking over the idea of starting a blog with my sister about homeschooling and these posts will be so very helpful!

    Just wanted to say hi and thank you for all that you do!

    Blessings,
    Kendall in SC
    http://snyderscoop.blogspot.com

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  45. Thanks for the tips, they were so handy!

    A little bit Unique

    x

    Oh and I'm running a giveaway, if you want to pop over and have a nosey! Giveaway here


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  46. Thanks for these awesome tips! A new blogger one week in and while I have done research on the Internet I especially liked this because it is from someone that I have been following for a while so the advice feels a lot more personable! I :-)

    Andrea
    anakalui.blogspot.com

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  47. I just found your blog through Pinterest looking for hair ideas! Thanks for this series, I am following now and will definitely be back! Thanks!

    Heather
    www.golden-reflections.com

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  48. I have been following your blog for quite a while and it inspired me to start my own. I just want to say thank you for these posts and for being such an inspiration. I will follow your advice and hope that I get to meet new moms so that we can share motherhood experiences and serve as inspiration for others.

    Laura
    www.propermom.com

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  49. Thankyou SO much for posting this! The Small Things Blog is actually what made me decide I wanted to start blogging. I'm a beginner and very clueless when it comes to this stuff so I appreciate it. Very helpful info :)

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  50. I absolutely LOVE your blog! I get all my tips and ideas from your blog! Thank you so much! I am new to the blog world and would love your follow!

    inspiredcreationz.blogspot.com

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  51. Great write up Kate! I have been blogging for about 8 months and it's been an awesome self learning experience. I wasn't so sure what to expect but connecting with other people with similar interest & forming friendships is priceless!

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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  52. Thank you so much for the help! I've been blogging now for over a year and I still feel like a first grader!! Would you consider adding in some content about copyrighting materials and also adding photographs. I find information on the web very confusing as to how you can and cannot use Creative Commons images. I wish there were clear answers! Thanks so much!
    stylefromthesticks.blogspot.com

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    1. I'll try to add what I know about those topics in the next two parts!

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  53. yep, it is official, i must suck like hell! have a blog for two years now, the viewers you get in an hour, i get in a month! don't like the 'how to become a popular blogger' post! i know it is all about content and finding your voice and good photos and a good lay-out and ... . If you want to become popular (and be honest, all bloggers want to become popular) blogger you need to be a girl next door, a girl that people want to be, a queen bee, the leader of the cheerleaders. or you need to be an inspiration: like the man repeller or susie bubble (and those are the only two who became popular in this category). unfortunately i am not one of them, so i have a huge problem. i don't mind that i am not 'popular' but i do mind that my views do not grow with the quality of my blog. so there is no casual relationship between those two variables.

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    1. I'm not sure if you are referring to this post that I have written, but it isn't a "how to be a popular blogger" thing. It's, very simply, how to start a blog.
      I have to disagree with you about "all bloggers wanting to become popular". I know a lot that want to stay a little less public so they can feel a little better about getting personal.
      I think the worst thing you can tell yourself, if you do intend to grow your blog, is that you won't be able to or "you aren't one of them".

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  54. I am so excited to read parts 2 and 3 of your blogging experiences/advice. I have recently become more active in the blogging world and have been attempting to research some sound advice, but it seems like no one wants to talk about how to get up and going (frustrating!).
    I still feel like I'm floundering like a fish out of water, and am almost certain that the only visits I get to my site are from stat robots... but it's ok, I can talk to robots.

    Thanks for helping us all out!
    kidsbynicole.com

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  55. Thanks so much for this post. I feel like you read my mind! I just started blogging about a week ago, and have been looking high and low for advice on starting and growing a personal blog. Everything I find seems to be geared more towards businesses. I can't wait to see the rest of this series!

    www.thebergerqueen.blogspot.com

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  56. Oh my goodness!! These posts couldn't have come at a better time! I just started my blog this week!! I gave you a little shout out on there so hopefully others will gain from your post as well! I just love your blog and am so looking forward to the next part in this series of posts!Thanks so much!! www.maryinamartha.blogspot.com

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  57. I love this post, so inspirational! You posted at the exact time that I really needed a blogging inspiration boost. I have been so busy working and I haven't had time to make a post the last few days. So with all the stress from work, internship and graduate school applications I was just left feeling like my blog is pointless. But it's not. I do it for me and I enjoy it. Thanks so much for the post !!


    Amanda
    www.hushbeautyblog.com

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  58. http://pinterest.com/toripfau30/ Check out my pinterest! (follow)

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  59. Kate, when I went to a Christian writer/blogger/speaker conference I first heard the best reason to switch to Wordpress (self hosted, there's a difference) versus Blogger. It is this: if you're using Blogger you do not own your content. Google does, since Google owns Blogger now. And they can take your blog down at any time and you cannot get it back. If you think it won't happen, ask Ann Voskamp. A site she was blogging for with other Christian women was taken down by Google and something like 7 years of content was gone! (Lisa Boyd and Amy Bayliss taught the breakout where that story was shared, so if you're wanting to verify that story see them).

    Thank you so much for sharing this, it helped me think through a lot of what I'm going through starting my CandidNikki and ShatterproofMinistries blogs. I've loved your blog forever <3 keep it up!

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  60. Thank you so much for posting this! It is very helpful. I've been wanting to start a blog for quite some time now, but honestly it can be a little intimidating. I'm looking forward to using some of your advice.

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  61. Hi Kate,

    Thank you so much for writing this post! You have encouraged me in so many ways! I have been following your blog for a while now and I have remained silent on the comments but, your post has encouraged me to connect with you. I had a fashion and beauty blog a little over a year ago but just like your first blog, it died a quick death. For a few months now, I wanted to begin blogging again and about two weeks ago I bought a new domain name and started setting up the design layout. When I heard that you were going to write about, “how to start blogging” post I was so excited. Thank you for all of your wonderful tips and I know I will be coming back to this post as I start my new blog and even after that!

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  62. This was very helpful!! Thanks for sharing!

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  63. You forgot that it's important to blog about your cats. :p

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  64. Thank You! i'm so grateful for your blog and love it whenever i stop by! You're hair How-To's are the BEST and thank you so much for not charging like some other (losers) do. i've tried to start a blog as a sort of journal to my future kids but i find it's slow going and such a time commitment! Eeeek! i need to be better..
    Keep the posts coming!
    xo

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  66. Thank you so much for this post Kate! It inspired me to take the plunge and create my own blog :)Looking forward to the rest of the series!

    http://www.xtremelyv.blogspot.com/

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  67. I read this post last week and it really inspired me to start a blog. I have been thinking about doing it for a while but didn't know where to start. Your blog really helped me start researching about what the steps I would need to take to start a blog. I finally decided on a name and the part you discuss that in this post really helped me decided on a name. My husband laughed at some of my original names (Radiant Rachel, Sparkling for Him, and many more embarrassing names :). My husband and I started taking a course on finances by Dave Ramsey. The course really started making me think about finances and other areas of my life where I can be more prudent (health, my walk with Christ, marriage, parenting, etc.). So, I came up with "The Prudential Woman." (http://theprudentialwoman.com/2013/02/20/my-first-post-inception/) I set it up on wordpress.com. I was just looking at BlogHer that you use and I can't advertise on wordpress.com using BlogHer. So, I still need to do some research and I guess I will learn along the way like you have. Sorry for the long post but I just want you to know how much you inspired me! Thanks!!!!

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  68. Thank you! I have a "The Small Things Faves" folder in my email and this one is going right in there. I'm not a blogger (yet), but have been pondering it more and more. I just want to make sure I will be able to commit fully to blogging. Thanks for reminding everyone how much effort it really takes to have a quality blog. I love yours and your sister's because you both seem to stay away from the bloggy cliques that you see in blogland. Not that it's bad to connect with other bloggers, but sometimes they go too far and kind of alienate their actual non-blogger readers. You just seem so personable but professional at the same time and I love it. I'm looking forward to your other posts in this series!

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  69. a big thank you for this post! i've been thinking about starting my own blog for a while, and after reading this it was confirmed. i look forward to reading part 2 as i get my bearings as a new blogger.

    i enjoy reading your blog regularly and appreciate the authentic and honest posts.

    http://www.lovelivedwellrepeat.com/

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  70. Thanks for your advice! I finally started my own blog :) I love reading yours. :) God bless!!

    girlswhoshop.blogspot.com

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  71. I was stopping by to check out your last posts and hair tutorials and was delighted to see this post- I started blogging a few months ago and recently started putting more effort and time into it. I'm focusing on DIYs, recipes, style, and exploring my new city of Charlotte. Can't wait until the next post in this series. Thanks Kate!
    xoxo,
    Jamie
    Marilyn to Jackie, a Lifestyle Blog

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  72. I loved this post! Very informative and helpful for someone looking to get started.

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  73. I really love your blog and have been following it faithfully for over a year now. You have inspired me to write my own so thank you.

    Can't wait for you next post!
    Susan

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  74. I just started my blog and have asked myself all of these questions. I was reading other peoples blogs that were really helpful and inspiring so I decided to create my own. I had no idea all the hard work that you have to put into it. With that said, I love it. It's kind of like an outlet that just makes me happy! I have wondered where I fit in, or what I want it to be about. But after reading this, I really need to just focus on what I love and write about that. Thank you so much for sharing your insight. It has really helped!

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  75. the reasons for being on WP vs blogger isn't really about aesthetics and what you can do and control it's more about ownership and seo.

    on Blogger, you do not own your site. Simple as that.

    A self-hosted WP blog holds MUCH more SEO rank than a blogger blog. WP blogs are your best bet for showing up in search engines. When it comes to Google as a search engine, you're more likely to see relevant tags and searches from Wordpress than from Blogger. When I first moved from Blogger to self-hosted WP, my pageviews quadrupled with in months, and continued to grow with much more speed than I ever did on Blogger (that's because I was showing up in search results)

    So, if you're reasons for blogging have anything to do with business or monetization, self-hosted Wordpress is the best option. If your blog is purely recreational in nature, then Blogger is a great option!

    My only regret with moving to WP was that I didn't do it sooner.

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  76. TidyMom, is the self-hosted Wordpress .com or .org? I went with .com but think I made a mistake.

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  77. Oh my goodness. Thank you thank you thank you for taking the time to write this. Very helpful. I'm new to blogging and I came across your blog from I heart organizing and ad I was looking through your posts I saw this on blogging. Awesome stuff. Off to read part duex.

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  78. This is so informative. I have had a blog for a while now, but I am still getting into the groove of things! I love your blog and my hair thanks you for all of the great videos!

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  79. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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  80. What kind of camera do you use for your tutorial videos?

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  81. Kate,

    Thank you so much for posting this series. I read them as you posted, and then recently went back to the beginning. I finally decided to start my own blog to chronicle my journey of deciding teaching was not for me and to see what else is out there :)

    Your guidance was much appreciated! So much more interesting to read than those WordPress forums ;)

    Best,

    Jessica
    http://www.thiswonderfullifeblog.com

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  82. Thank you Kate for this blog. I am a regular reader and had book marked this post to come back to. I have wanted to start a blog for awhile now and am finally at a stage that I might actually do it.

    Thank you!

    Jody

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  83. I would love to know who designed your blog? Did you do it yourself? I am thinking of upgrading to a "professional" look - and would love to know who did yours! Thanks!

    Ginny
    www.moderncommonplacebook.com

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  84. This was extremely informative! Just started a blog, and needed some help. Thanks!

    Mikayla http://mylittleblackblazer.blogspot.ca/

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  85. Hi Kate,
    Love this post...I've been tossing around the idea about starting a blog and your post covered all the things I've had questions about.

    You're awesome!

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  86. I have often considered Wordpress and Joomla platforms Manchester escorts would be value the change, so a great thanks for publishing this.

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  87. I love this post, so inspirational! You posted at the exact time that I really needed a blogging inspiration boost. I have been so busy working and I haven't had time to make a post the last few days. So with all the stress from work, internship and graduate school applications I was just left feeling like my blog is pointless. But it's not. I do it for me and I enjoy it. Thanks so much for the post !! Beauty Products Best of Luck.

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  88. This post is very helpful, Thank you!!

    www.everbluepearls.com

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  89. Thank you for writing this post! I have read it a couple of times and it has been very helpful. I enjoy reading your blog!

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  90. Thank you so much for this post. I just found your blog...not even sure how. It was linked somehow to another article I was reading. It is interesting how we can stumble upon one another, isn't it?
    Www.booksandmarks.com

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  91. This is quite interesting.. definitely food for thought.
    Great advice and very informative. Thanks
    anonymous hosting

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  92. Cool....i just love learning new things, thanks for the good instruction that i have found here.

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  93. This post was really helpful! I stumbled across it while google-ing tips for starting a blog. I know what I want, and why I'd like to write one, but I'm having a really hard time coming up with a name. Much like my struggle to choose a name for my quickly arriving daughter (I'm 37 weeks pregnant now), I can't seem to pick anything that I feel good about, knowing it will be what I'm using forever.... Any extra tips or help on choosing a name??

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  94. This is really great thank you for posting!
    Geekybeauty.com

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