Blogging Tips – What I Wished I Knew When I Started Blogging ~ Holly from 504 Main

Here we are again!

I hope you’re loving this series as much as I am!

If you have any questions or suggestions you’d like a guest to touch on, please comment below and I will do my best to find a fit!  I’m sure if you’re thinking of questions, there are at least 50 others thinking the same thing!  So, please, do not hesitate!!!  This is for ALL of us to learn and gain insight!  I’d love to have feedback from you, too!

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This week, Holly from 504 Main is here!

We met at Creative Estates in Phoenix and sat together at the Girls Night Out Arizona and had a GREAT time!

She’s fun, exciting, and tells it like it is!

{I like that!}

Here is her blogging insight for you in an interview format….

I’m curious to know if you had a definite direction for your blog in the beginning.
I only started a blog because my (book) agent told me to. I actually had my blog registered for one year before I published my first post. I had ZERO direction. I knew I wanted to be creative, but I knew I wanted to hone some of my writing skills and find my voice. I figured I would write about whatever struck my fancy when I felt like it. I had no idea there was so “much” behind blogging – when to post, what to post, basically the politics of blogging (oh yeah, there are “politics”). The direction evolves as I go along…and honestly it is still all over the place, but I am OK with it like that. Some times I think if I only did crafts or if I only wrote stories, that would be better, but then it would not be me.

At first I also wanted my blog to remain add free. Now that has changed slightly in the recent months…I have taken on sponsored products (that I believe in) and have chosen to write particular posts about other products that interest me…but it was my choice, I decided to try it out, and so far, so good.That said, I do accept free product and I will do reviews and giveaways, but only when they fit into the context of my blog. For example, I was asked to write a post for Invisalign. Normally that would not be something I would write about, but one week prior to that opportunity we had been to the dentist and been discussing braces for my son and what the next step was, so it was right there in the context of what was happening for me. I have been asked to write numerous posts about topics that do not relate to my blog for good money even, and I turned them down.

If not, what was your aha moment to where you decided that this is where you would like to take your blog.
I think I may still be looking for my a-ha moment. Many times in my life I have been provided with certain opportunities and even though they were out of my comfort zone, I took those chances.

I approach blogging the same way. I always thought of blogging as being a journal – a personal journal – and I appreciate that – the origins of blogging. Now blogging has evolved into a whole business venture, and it is a little hard to wrap my head around, even though I do participate in some product promotions, etc. 

I started to blog basically “just because.” However, I soon saw and realized that people blog for so many reasons –  to promote businesses, to get free things, to get big numbers, to do reviews and giveaways, to express creativity…and there is a place for every type of blogger – you need to do what is right for you. Ultimately, blogging should be about what you want it to be about. 

For me, I like to stick to what I like…and if that means doing paper crafts one day, spray painting the next, talking about a product, then making cookies with my kids, then that is what I am going to do.

Trying to fit into the mold of what makes a blog popular or big or what will make me that way takes away from the sincerity and purpose of why I blog. Oh – there it is…I suppose that is my ah-ha moment, realizing the blog is all mine and I can do what I want with it. I have been to blog conferences and other blog events and it has made me see that I am going to be who I am going to be…it does not feel right to be anyone else or pretend to be…if you like me great, if you don’t there is someone, something else for you out there. I may not grow by leaps and bounds overnight, but I like my blog the way it is and that is what is important. And there is a whole real-life world out there to tackle too.

Were you discouraged in the beginning?
At first I was not discouraged because I had no idea what a follower was, that their was a way to track numbers, or any of that other “stuff.”. While I had my blog one year before posting, I really did ZERO research about blogs…I had no idea what I was doing. That helped in the beginning.

Then as I progressed and I started to see people looking for followers, I started to see “the game” that can transpire (yes, there is a bit of a game to it – you know it is true!) and I got sucked in. I saw some doing things and getting huge numbers and thought…”hey my blog is just as good or better than that…how come my blog doesn’t grow like that.” It was a little hard. I still feel that way now and then…and honestly I have no answers…it is all a big bloggy mystery to me.

Now, I have realized, I can only be me. I only have control over my own content. When I concentrate on my content and what I love, then good things will come…and they have…and not all on the blog.

When did you start having more confidence in your blog?
About 4 months into the experience I found a group of people who regularly commented on my blog and supported me. It helped…….A handful of them still visit and visa versa. That was the beginning…and then there was a huge “time of doubt.” 

Right now, I feel pretty confident (see above answer). When I quit worrying about the numbers, my blog flourishes and opportunities arise. I am not even sure how to say this – some companies care about numbers when it comes to working with blogs and some don’t and some of my best opportunities have come from companies that never even asked me for “those coveted numbers.”

 

What advice would you give other bloggers who are completely or relatively new?  I know being patient is good advice for the new blogger, but if you have something that goes beyond this, it would be awesome.  Something techie {that you learned along the way} or something to do with layouts, I don’t know, whatever you got will be great!

Here are some tips for new bloggers…I stink at tech stuff, but have been able to figure out how to make buttons and such along the way. Honestly designers for Blogger are not that expensive and there are great resources out there for that.

-BE SURE YOUR EMAIL is linked to your profile.

-BE sure your blog is linked to your profile – do you know how many times I go to visit a new followers blog and I cannot find it linked to their the GFC profile

-Research what bloggy platform is better for you. So many love WP. I happen to like blogger…I compare it to the PC vs. Mac, Coke vs.Pepsi type of argument.

-Be yourself, give good comments, be supportive of others

-Be sure you have comment notification on so you know when you get a comment. My first comments, I had no idea they were there because I did not have that turned on.

-Be responsive to people…it is easier to do when you are new. I used to respond to and comment back on every person who commented on my blog…I just cannot do that anymore…there was a world passing me by. I do my best. If someone has a specific question, I try to get back to them asap.

-Have a clean design – too many blinking things, busy backgrounds, and junk all over is hard to read. I prefer a light background and black letters (I read late at night and it is just easier)

-Content is key – be personable – I have written some really long posts that I thought people would be bored over, but the best comment I had was this “Yes, the post is long, but is was good so it could have been longer and we would not have cared.”

-Be careful with what you say about people, especially your family – you never know who is reading your blog and it also leaves a permanent record out there that can hurt someone later. 

-Respect other bloggers…If I make a project I have seen else where I give credit and a link back…even if I was inspired by the project I do the same. It is common courtesy and good karma!

-Don’t be afraid to comment on anyone’s blog…even a big blogger. They are just people with a blog (that is you too!).

Some of my best experiences with blogging have come as I came to peace with the fact that I cannot be all things to all people, I have a certain style that is liked by a certain person. I let it all be OK in my mind and amazing things have happened and started to happen. There is a place for everyone.

 Thanks, Holly!

I think we do tend to worry about content and about being pigeon holed as far as what we blog about.

More and more, I’m finding, bloggers are saying, “I blog about what I want”.  It’s kind of refreshing actually, in my opinion.

What do you think?

You can visit Holly at her site 504 Main

Or on Twitter @504Main

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PLEASE VISIT THE OTHER GUEST POSTS IN THIS SERIES: 

{my post}

 Bev from Flamingo Toes

Alison from Oopsey Daisy 

Denise from Denise Blooms

Carissa from Good and Crazy 

Lara from Less Cake {more frosting}

Allison from House of Hepworths

Mique from 30 Days

Steph from The Daily Blarg

Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy

Holly from 504 Main

Steph from Somewhat Simple

Kami from No Biggie

Jessica from Allora Handmade

Jamielyn from I {heart} Naptime

Megan from The Tuckers Take Tennessee

Amy from the Idea Room

Stacy from Not Just a Housewife

Mark Montano from TLC

Becca from Blue Cricket Design


Comments

  1. Yeah! This is really good, thanks! I am a fan of Holly’s because she is so genuine and relate-able and I always see her trying to give a foot up to the under dog. I think this is a credit to her success. Blogging is a strange world and I think it is so important that we stick to what we enjoy and not compare, although it gets hard sometimes. I am off to explore your blog:)

  2. Great interview Holly!

  3. Holly, THANK YOU for your thoughts and comments! I am one of those that is fairly new to blogging. I like reading what others say. I truly appreciate your attitude towards blogging.

  4. I loved this interview so much! Thank you Holly for sharing. I have been blogging for a year and half and I share many of the same thoughts and feelings toward blogging. I truly feel that as longs as I follow my heart and simply do what brings me joy, that’s all that really ultimately matters.
    Cheers!
    Cyndy

  5. Thanks for the great insight! I used to blog a looooooooooooooong time ago (when I was in Middle School still!) but when the website I used changed to a pay site, my friends and I quit. Now I want to start up again, and a blog series like this is incredibly helpful!
    Thanks bunches!

    Lys

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  1. Blogging Tips - What I Wished I Knew When I Started Blogging ~ Allison from The House Of Hepworths says:

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