Do you have a blog? And you want to know how to improve it? Or do you want a blog? And don’t know where to start?
Well I will hopefully be able to help :-)
I have been thinking about doing this for ages….I have so many emails about blogging, how to get started, what camera to use, how to get a voice, how to get traffic, whether to advertise, how to make it look pretty, styling tips etc etc.
And the other day someone was asking me a million questions about how to get their blog going…and I was talking to Mr BC about it and saying, what do I know???! And he came up with, I bet you know a lot more than the average man about blogging…
hmmm…oh yeah, I suppose I do…
And for sure, there are already a plethora of blogs out there with tips on how to blog…and there are a couple of super bloggers out there telling us bloggers how to blog…but, for me, these sites, are just so repetitive, so boring and when they start to go on an on about SEO, Top Ten Ways to Increase Your Traffic, How Blogging in Lists Gives You Fame, How to Have a Killer Blog, How to Blog in a Different Language to Increase Readers, Secrets to Making Money with Your Blog
Well then I switch off and think what the heck am I doing over here reading this site anyway?
My eyes glaze over after a couple of minutes and the worse thing is that I know that these sites are putting into practice on me, poor housewife reader from Down Under all their little tricks and tips to make me 1. stay on their site longer, 2. click their links so their page views go up and 3. direct me to their advertisers time and again so they get the affiliate revenue.
I didn’t want all that stuff, and when I thought about it, I thought I just want simple little tips and tricks that are quick and easy for real people like me, who blog but aren’t just bloggers…who have a whole heap of other things in their lives that mean learning the ins and outs of SEO is soo off the radar
So I’ve started Beach Cottage Sweet Blogging….Tips for Girls
…simple ideas on how to get a nice looking blog, how to get your blog voice and little tricks I’ve learnt through trial and error along the way….all things that have been done by a real blogger with a house to look after, laundry to wash, kids to run around and dinner to cook.
Today I am going to start with how I started abeachcottage.com, why I like and continue blogging and also we have Kate from Centsational Girl with her tips on how to blog successfully. The next part will cover finding your blog voice…
How I Got the Blog Bug
So, how did I get started in the land of blog? Well, I’ve blogged here for a couple of years now and before that I dabbled with other blogs…one was a personal blog about our move to Australia…average number of readers : 2 …the other was just another blog about what I was doing day to day…average number of readers : 2
Before blogging myself, I have always been a big blog reader and a heavy internet user with a habit….long before the internet was big, about 10 yrs ago to be exact, I set up a computer, back in the spare room of our house in England and when my babies were asleep and in the evenings I surfed the net. I am a huge lapper-upper of information. And as a young mum with not much going on in her life but nappies I positively consumed anything and everything from candlemaking to vintage linens to rock climbing. I found online diaries, became a member of a vintage forum and I loved being able to interact in people’s lives from different countries.
I found it astonishing, exciting and interesting this thing they called the net.
I began to read blogs then too…the early emerging ones…I read the Julia Child blog fleetingly, hooked up with Dooce long before she was famous, and read the early days of some bloggers who are now super-powers and some that were brilliant but never really took off.
And then I moved to Australia and bought an old cottage and while by that stage the internet had moved on in leaps and bounds and blogs were everywhere, I still hadn’t come across home blogs. Until one night, surrounded by packing boxes in the study, with a drink and very dis-heartened about the state of this tatty old cottage, I went online to check-in on the blogs I read…and somehow then I came across home blogs.
Oh my. Real women like me, who were painting, decorating, learning to use power tools, making over, upcycling, thrifting….there were women out there, not in magazines, not with a stylist to help them but with a budget and kiddos and life stuff who were blogging about all the things I loved.
One of the first before/afters I saw by a real woman working DIY on her own was from the lovely Rhoda, from Southern Hospitality…who is a hugely popular blogger from Birmingham AL, she had decorated and made-over a dead space under her house and had herself a new patio….though very different to my style I was blown away….you can see that post here.
And then I came across Cindy from My Romantic Home, again a very different style to mine but I just loved to see how she had made her apartment over.
I was sooooo inspired…I loved making things over, goodness we had bought this house with that in mind, I loved my vintage furniture and I absolutely loved nothing better than scouring around the beachside suburbs looking for vintage junk! These girls were after my own heart!
And so with that in mind, right there and then I started my own blog…the name? because we had laughed so much about the real estate marketing this place as an ‘original beach cottage’ …which was a real stretch of the truth, I decided to go with that.
And over the next couple of weeks, as I settled more into the cottage, I searched more blogs, I took photos of things I had already painted, I wrote about my vintage finds, I joined in other blog communities and more I began to see as I logged into my blog with my latest finds, or a picture of the beach, or a new thing that I had painted, that this blogging thing was making me look at life quite differently…my life was a long long way from perfect, but the blog made me see that what we had here was pretty darn good baby. And blogging made me see that pure and clear.
Why I Love Blogging
Blogging has become for me a home, it’s the place I get to show what I am up to…it’s like I’m talking with friends…It focuses on the things in my life that are good, that I am enjoying, that I am grateful for and what I love. It doesn’t show me complaining (well not that much), it doesn’t show off my kids (this is the place I am not mummy) and it doesn’t tell you the cr*pola I’ve been through in my life that’s got me where I am now.
Blogging has made me confident about myself and what I love…it’s made me see that yep there are other people out there who like to run around looking at old junk on the side of the road, there are other people out there who like ruffly shoes and taking pictures of them, there are other people out there who like vintage not brand spanking new and stainless steel. And I love that.
Here, I love smiling to myself when every single comment comes in, I love it when people say ‘I feel the exact same way’, I love the unexpected interaction of Facebook, making friends from all over the place. I am humble and happy and proud that people just like what I go on about – on here, save the odd few little Blog Trolls that pop up every now and again I am not worrying about what people think or say or do….
I love that on here, I take a picture of ballet flats or an old trunk from a garage sale ‘cos I love them nearly as much as my kids and people get it. I love that they like that about me.
And that is what I think makes a successful blog…blogging about what you are passionate about…in your own voice…
Blogging and my blog understands who I am when I am not having to worry about all that other stuff that people judge you on before you’ve even really told them what makes you tick.
And that is why I keep coming back…
Kate from Centsational Girl & BC Sweet Blogging
Now enough about me, I am very very happy to welcome Kate from Centsational Girl with her tips on blogging for girls like us..
When did you start your blog?
My blog began as a hobby in February of 2009 as a way to write about my favorite things, which include DIY projects, great design, and seasonal decorating.
Do you blog full time now?
What is ‘full time’ these days? :) I’m a busy mom running a household and raising my children, so I blog whenever I get the chance. I try to keep it all in balance, but there are those days this train runs right off the track. Boom, crash! But I just pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again, as the song goes.
What did you do in the early days to get your blog out there?
I concentrated on good content and writing in the beginning, then sent my work to a few larger sites and they featured me. Word of mouth spread, and people started finding me through Google searches or featured on other blogs or sites, it was all very flattering and I’m grateful to this day.
What are your best ideas for increasing traffic?
Number 1, have good content in the first place that others will want to share. Be creative, be original, use your voice, write well. Build up a brand so readers know what to expect when they come to visit. Number 2. Be social and share your site with others in your niche, become part of an online community. Number 3. Use social media like Facebook and Twitter to connect with like minded people.
Three tips for great blog design?
1. Keep it clean, no visual clutter. 2. Have a site that’s easy to navigate. 3. If you’re not savvy in HTML, invest in a professional site designer to pull a look together for you and to assist in organizing yoru site well.
Do you plan your blog posts or are you spontaneous?
How do you interact with your readers?
I try to respond to as many emails as possible, and also respond to questions in comments. I have a Facebook Fan Page where I also intereact and answer questions. I often ask a question at the end of a post about a project ~ I find readers are savvy and often have something to add or a tip to share that will benefit other readers too.
thanks so much to Kate!
OK, that’s it from Beach Cottage Sweet Blogging tips part one…more coming soon
and now it’s your turn…
If you have any questions or things you want to know more about re blogging and all that goes on with that,
please let me know in the comments…plus I’d love to hear your ideas on what to include in this series…
BC Alert : Super Giveaway Coming soon…stay tuned