After more than two years of blogging I’ve not only learned a ton, but established a set of rules I live by in my little blogging world. For my fellow bloggers, I’m sure you have the same. And for my friends and family without blogs, this will give you a little insight into what the blogging world is all about.
But first, a little background.
I started my blog two-and-a-half years ago as a platform for my writing. I hope to be a Christian author some day and figured it couldn’t hurt to “publishing” my own articles. I also wanted a place to share my fun DIY’s . And just like that Pretty Simple Ideas was born.
Backtracking a bit, I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I was very hesitant to start a blog. My husband kept telling me to for about a year but I didn’t want to be known as that girl with “a blog.”
I was wrong. Not only is it a great place to showcase one’s work, but it’s fun and there are loads of women out there making full-time salaries from “blogging.”
Second thing I’d like to mention before getting into my commandments is how I had no idea how much work it involved. NO IDEA. For me it’s become my full-time job on top of my full-time job. From writing posts, editing posts, taking photos for my posts, editing my photos, scheduling posts, scheduling social media, learning about the newest social media algorithm, trying to grow my Pinterest/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter accounts, trying to grow my newsletter subscribers, trying to re-do my branding, and trying to learn how to make money….I’ve learned it takes a lot to keep a blog running and successful.
Lastly, there is something incredibly satisfying about blogging, making money from blogging, and being your own boss. So here’s a shout out to entrepreneurs who have made their work their full-time job too!
Now that I’m all worked up, let’s get to my 10 Commandments of Blogging.
1. Thou shall always comment on other people’s blogs.
What I mean is, every time a blogger takes the time to write a thoughtful comment on my blog, I will try to go and return the favor as often as I can. Now, it’s not always possible to do this for every comment, but I especially try when someone leaves a really kind thought out comment on my post.
Many times I’ve seen bloggers valiantly share how they always respond to comments on their own blogs. How kind. Someone takes the time to come to your page, and you ever so kindly respond to the comment on your page. I don’t believe in karma, but I do believe in kindness. When possible, I try to return the favor.
2. Thou shall change their social media posting for every different platform.
I am slowly learning how different size and shape photos work on different social media platforms. I feel silly that it’s taken me this long to realize but once implemented, it makes such a difference. For instance, Instagram only accepts square photos, obviously, but because Facebook owns Instagram, it also will display square and horizontal photos the best. Save your vertical photos for Pinterest and Google+. Twitter, meanwhile, prefers thinner horizontal photos, much like a banner.
3. Thou will retweet anyone who tweets my content.
This helps us both gain more exposure. Thou will also thank them!
4. Similarly, thou will thank anyone who posts or shares one of my links on Facebook.
(As long as Pretty Simple Ideas is tagged so I can actually see it!) Again, it helps us BOTH gain more exposure and interaction, which Facebook loves, plus it is common decency.
I cannot tell you how many times I post a fellow blogger’s link, take extra time out of my day to link it to their Facebook profile, and….hear nothing back. I can’t be too mad because I used to do this, not knowing it helps both gain followers on Facebook. But if you’re learning about social media, this is one of those points you should learn early on. THANK the person who shares your comment. ACKNOWLEDGE that you saw what they did. COMMENT on their post. Again, common decency and it helps both your Facebook interactions. Win-Win.
5. Thou shall share other people’s posts.
I briefly mentioned this above, but a huge part of blogging is helping fellow bloggers. I started off as a very selfish blogger. I did not want to share anyone else’s content because I thought it could compete with mine, or people would like theirs better and go to their site. But after discovering Blogging groups online I see how wrong I was. We can all help each other grow.
So if you’re a blogger or entrepreneur who only shares your own content – whether you’re afraid of competition or your page not being cohesive – branch out and share the love. I aim to share other blogger’s posts at least three times a week and it’s actually helped my Facebook traffic.
6. Thou shall aim for progress over perfection.
One of my biggest stumbling blocks in blogging is that I’m not as good as others, or I don’t feel like my content or photos are “perfect” yet. This is tragic because while I’ve been focusing on what I don’t have yet, I’ve been missing out on how far I’ve come in over two years. If this is you too, keep track of the wins and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your progress! Plus, no one’s perfect. (Except Jesus, of course.)
7. Thou shall not touch logo/branding for two years
What I mean is, once I’ve established the look of my blog (which I’m still working on BTW) I vow not to touch it for at least two years. I once heard a big-time blogger give this advice and it was dearly needed at the time. There comes a point you need to move on from your look and focus on your content.
Then, after two years you can re-evaluate your site and make necessary changes then. Otherwise – speaking for myself mainly – you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to make your look perfect!
8. Thou shall constantly improve thou’s writing.
As a writer first, and then blogger, I greatly admire people that can write well. Oh, there are tons of people that can write well-enough, but far fewer people that are excellent writers.
I’m trying to recognize my own inadequacies in writing and improve my skills whether it’s reading books on writing, having others critique my writing, or reading people’s content that I admire to improve my own.
9. Thou will never stop learning.
So much to learn in the world of blogging, so little time. When we stop learning we stop growing and I promise to keep pushing forward. I hope you continue to in your pursuits too!
10. Thou shall not be ashamed to be a blogger.
I already shared how I was embarrassed to start blogging, but now I’m just embarrassed I didn’t join sooner – I’d be so much farther along. Blogging truly is a new growing profession that those outside the blogging world don’t know about yet. Bloggers get sponsors and companies to pay them to advertise products. Because wouldn’t you trust your friend more if she said she bought an awesome purse than just seeing a commercial? I’m no longer ashamed to be a blogger, and in fact, proud to be one and excited to see where it will take me.
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