I am so excited to have completed the 7 day blogging challenge put on by the talented Alex Beadon. You can, and should, check out all 7 days below! So much was challenged and put out through those seven posts, really channeling personal vulnerabilities and honing in on the type of people who may or may not like my images and words shared here (the intent is to reach people who like me for me, and enjoy the authenticity of my life and work. Not only did I feel like I grew immeasurably from this, but I also learned a lot from visiting so many other talented people who also share a love of blogging and sharing with others. These were not just photographers, although there were many; but also coaches, motivators, and various others who felt like that had (and did!) something to share with the world.
I have spent years learning what I have to build my website and blogs to where they are today, and while I have much more figured out in my head than real life, I feel like I have a lot to share from that, that may potentially be helpful. So, all of my new blogger friends, here is a general critique/idea list that may just serve you and your future space on the internet.
DON’T OVER DO IT
- While it’s crucial to share your style and pieces of you in your blog, it’s also really important to not put so much of yourself out there that you intimidate others and scare them away. What I mean by this is that when you, for example, design your blog and share only what you love without adding any helpful elements that eases readers in, you aren’t going to keep many people around. While it is YOUR space, remember why you’re here. If you’re trying to gain readers and help others, you want to ensure your space is welcoming, easy to follow, and just enough you they want to soak in your words and images, and maybe even be your friend.
WHAT DO YOU OFFER?
- It’s important to remember what draws you in from your favorite websites and blogs. Let’s talk about Alex for a second: she is bright, fun, and offers advice and good ideas that we all need to hear. We all love that about her, as well as the fact that she brought us all here together. Incredible right?! We can easily maneuver around her website to find what we’re looking for and the entire time you get a feel for who she is without being scared away. Make a list for yourself of what you love from your favorites, and add similar elements into your site that work for you. Ensure that your content matches that as well. Ensure you offer something to those who might be reading (I know this is really hard, I struggle with this regularly).
MAKE LISTS + BE CONSISTENT
- I’ve only recently started making myself blog weekly. I struggled with that commitment for years, wondering if I’d ever have enough to share that often. Surprisingly, when I stopped trying to share everything as it happened, it was much easier to go along with a schedule. If you struggle with figuring out what to write, make lists of what inspires you throughout your days that you might want to write about. Don’t just write to write: if it’s boring to you, well, it is for others. On the same token, again, look at your favorite bloggers and see what they’re doing in their down time. That might inspire more ideas for you. It takes some time to get this routine down, but once you do, it will come more and more naturally.
WRITE FOR YOU
- So I know the point is to write for others, what they might be interested in, etc.. But you know what, you can’t really know what other people want. It’s situational all across the board. If you write for yourself, sharing what inspires you, what you love, your life, your family – that’s when people come along. Not only does it show your most authentic, genuine self, but you aren’t trying so hard to write what you think people want. Those who have similar interests as you will love what you share, and THOSE are the followers/readers you want.
GET INTO A ROUTINE
- Making time for something like blogging can seem impossible. As I mentioned, it took me awhile to get into the groove of writing consistently. Once I got into a routine and made writing every week a priority, it came much more easily. I simply threw it into my work flow while I was already in my office editing and sharing my work. Think about maybe enjoying your morning coffee at the computer, or your evening glass of wine. Spend a little less time on social media, or simply skip the dishes for a few hours and get to work! It’s quite the accomplished feeling if it’s something you really want to achieve.
- If you are writing to share with others, it is NOT the place to vent! Leave the drama for your mama, and realize that no one goes to the internet to listen to you complain about this or that. We just don’t. We’re all looking to be inspired and lifted up, to find great ideas, or to simply feel like we aren’t the only ones going through something. So don’t be afraid to share controversial things, or about a challenging time in your life, but find the good in it and ensure that maybe there’s a lesson you learned that can help someone. People want to relate. Think, think, think about what you’re writing and if you wouldn’t want to read it, no one else will either.
THE BIG PICTURE
- You guys!!! This is numero uno – if you want to others to CONNECT WITH YOU, you need to not only make yourself approachable on your space, but also visit others. The internet is a big mess of people trying to achieve one thing or another. Lift others up, compliment their work, share something that inspires you. Don’t be so focused on yourself and getting your numbers up that you forget the big picture and what it really means to connect with people. While we live in a huge digital world full of insanely awesome technology, you simply cannot take away what real connection does for people, including you.
I feel like I could talk for days about this stuff, but these are the important things I think about for my corner of the internet. I hope you find it helpful, and if you do, comment and share away!