Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Tuesday Talk - blogging behind the scenes and some things I've learned

 



Happy Tuesday, friends! I have had a few friends in real life ask me about blogging recently, so I thought I'd share a post about blogging behind the scenes and a few tips and tricks I've learned along the way. I hope you enjoy this post, and more than that, I hope it inspires you! 


I first started my blog in 2007. I was looking back and something messed up and took me back to this year, so I can't say for sure the exact date, but needless to say—I've been around for quite some time. My blog has adapted to the circumstances I've been in over the years, so it's changed a lot. It's really fun to go and look back on old posts from when the boys were young. While I was looking through old posts last night, I noticed how sporadic I used to be here. And rightfully so, since I was still in the throes of raising our sons. I saw a couple of old posts that I thought I'd share with you, in case you'd like a glimpse of what those old days were like. Here's a post about our fall break in 2011. And here's a post about a wintry day in 2015. Those were the days! We always had such a blast together during our homeschooling days.


Anyway, because I've already mentioned how sporadic I used to be at blogging, I started something revolutionary a year and a half ago that changed my life...well, as far as this goes. Another blogger shared how she schedules her blog posts and keeps a notebook for hers. I think it was Andrea at Momfessionals whose post I saw. Since that day and because that resonated with me, I sat down with a composition book and mapped out the rest of that month. That was in the fall of 2021. Since the day that I started scheduling posts, I started to blog five days a week, and every once in a while I'll even throw in a bonus post. It makes a world of difference having a blog schedule and I've noticed it's something that I follow. The purpose is to find what works best for you and to stick with it. I know many of you who only blog two or three days a week and there's no shame in that! You know you best and what will work best for your life. 





I write 100% of my blog posts in advance. I never write and post on the same day anymore, unless it's on a bonus post day. This helps me tremendously, because I use the downtime I sometimes have an abundance of at night and use that time to write. One type of post that is very time consuming to write is the post where I share about the books I read that month. I try to do that as I finish a book, because it saves so much time! Another post that takes a long time are the link party posts that I host for now. I love doing them, but it takes time to organize that and to remember to remind people about them well in advance. Many of those participants are people who schedule their posts ahead of time, like me. I don't mind it, though and it's time well spent, because they're usually well attended, in the way of everyone who joins in. 


I've taken over one link party for someone this year, Anne in Residence, who started the Currently blog posts. I offered to continue the post for her and offered to give it back to her, should she ever change her mind. That's only once a month. I'm also hosting Thankful Thursday for my friend Rebecca Jo, who has been on a blogging break. I plan on continuing on with another link party who was started by someone else—I will continue with the Share Four Somethings monthly link party for my friend Heather. This one is an easy takeover, because the four somethings we share each month will stay the same throughout the year. This year's topics were things loved, saved or braved, gleaned and achieved. Stay tuned on the topics and date each month, but the link will open on a Saturday. I do this because these are things other people (and myself) love.


Speaking of link parties, I've learned to participate in them because that is what readers love! Those posts are easily my most viewed posts of the month. A Friday Favorites post may have over 500 viewers on just that one post. I also use those posts that lots of people see to remind them that I blog regularly. Another thing I have learned to do is to link back to each post from that same week. I am forever using the link tool here on my blog and I have it open to a new window so that they won't lose their place in reading that current post. I have noticed that when I write a serious post, there aren't a lot of readers. That being said, I won't ever stop those types of posts, but I may mix them in more with the lighthearted posts that seem to be everyone's favorites. 


Do you ever look at your blog stats? I do and I think it's helpful to do so. When I post here, I almost always share it immediately to Pinterest, where most of my views come from. Do you ever see me there? Here's my Pinterest profile, in case you're interested. Also, let me know yours! I love finding new people there. I used to share it on Facebook all the time, but I usually forget to go and have to do it manually now. I used to have it connected to Facebook through Bloglovin', but I don't know what happened. I like to know where readers come from and try to post wherever they view from. I do try to remember to try and share a link on Instagram stories, that also go to my Facebook stories. I like to post to places where you can easily click to get to the link. 


I try not to be redundant, but sometimes I have to be or I may repeat something on a Friday Favorites post that you've already read about. Even as recently as this past summer, I did not consider this. And about that, I am constantly learning from other bloggers! I love how certain blogs look and I try to mimic those here. For instance, I changed the look of my blog over the summer and simplified it to a more streamlined look. (Or so I think.) I do not have help with any of this blog—I do all of it myself and you can probably tell! I don't even pay for my own domain, but I may do that eventually. I also may eventually have someone help me with this. I think that's a good use of money that's gifted to you for a birthday or Christmas! 


I try to listen to suggestions and ideas. One reader suggested a type of post recently and I wrote it and published it over the weekend. On this note, I think it's good to ask for ideas from readers! Nobody knows a readable topic more than the one who is reading your blog. For instance, I love home tours and find myself doing them regularly as well, at least for the seasons I like to decorate in. 


I have learned that people love comments on their blog. Who doesn't? That being said, I try to consistently take the time to comment on all the blogs of the people who read mine. Theirs are always my favorites to read! I love the big blogs, but I really love the smaller blogs that I have gained a sense of community in. You know the ones I'm talking about, because you're the ones who keep coming here and commenting. Thank you!!! 


I try to keep things fresh, but I also have weekly things that I do all the time. My blog really is about me and my own tastes, so of course I do that, but I want to keep it fresh and interesting. You may have noticed that I titled this "Tuesday Talk". I think I'm going to start doing this monthly here on my blog, where I share a new topic each month. I already have them scheduled in my handy blog notebook! 


I read blogs Monday through Friday, every single week unless I'm sick or out of town. I try to let people know when I plan on taking a break here, like when I traveled to the Cape Cod area in the fall. And even though that trip ended early and I came home late Tuesday night, I still pretended like I was gone and took a real "vacation" from life...work, Bible study, choir practice and this blog.


One last thing I've learned is that a picture—or several of them—is what catches the eye. I love taking pictures and am always taking them while I'm out and about. I've actually started conscientiously thinking about this! I'll be out and see something (or experience something) and take a picture of it, knowing I'll only share it here on my blog. Sometimes I share it on social media, but I've been trying more to keep the two separate. One thing I'm always taking a picture of is my food, because I love and appreciate food that's pleasing to the eye and to the tummy. I don't usually "stage" pictures, I try to take a picture that is genuinely good. I like to pick and choose which picture I use for the link parties, too, because I am drawn to what looks appealing. That's something I spend a lot of time thinking about. 


Well, that's about it for the things I thought about that I've learned over the fifteen years of this blog. If it inspires one person in how they blog, then my day will be made. I hope it inspires you and challenges you to view your own blog! Thanks for reading, friends. Love to all! 



I'll leave you with this adorable store front on our town square. You know how I love it here. ❤

23 comments:

  1. I am going to have to go back and read this again because you share a lot of good tips. I like having a schedule, too, but I just do all my titles on Sundays and take a little more time with my blog on Sundays. I am a morning writer and if I write a post too late in the night it's not good! I can't keep up with adding Pinterest and more social media to my blog. I can't even begin to imagine how many hours it takes the big bloggers unless they have help.
    This was very informative and helpful!

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  2. Thanks, Amy! I actually saw this post recommendation on another blog. I've read lately that a couple of bloggers that I like are kind of new to this world, so I thought I'd share what I do on the chance that they could use the help. And I love getting new ideas for my own, so I love these types of posts that other people write.

    We just need some help occasionally, in all areas of life! I usually spend about an hour after dinner writing here...so it's not too late, or it would be a mess, like you said. About the the bigger blogs- I think at least one or two of them must have help with theirs, because of their hectic lives. It is like another part time job, sometimes! I love it, though. I hope you have a great day!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your blogging experience and tips- very valuable- so true about pictures and link ups- they help draw traffic for sure!

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  4. Thanks, Holly! I like to pass on what I've learned from others! Have a great day, my friend!

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  5. I recently stumbled upon your blog and love it! We have a lot in common! I have wanted to start a blog for years, but never have. I love to write and share! Can you share how or who created your blog/web page? Thanks for sharing!
    Laura

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  6. Good post, Jennifer! I admire people like you who post a lot; writing for me is something that I am not fast at and I'm not willing to devote more time to it than I already do. I like "real life" blogs like yours and a hand full of others who write to share their stories, struggles and life in general. I don't begrudge someone wanting to make a little money on the side via a blog but I won't read blogs with too many advertising banners. They are distracting though an affiliate link doesn't bother me as long as the main purpose of the blog isn't a money maker. Well, I went down a rabbit hole didn't I?? That is cool that you're taking over Share Four Somethings. I started to link to that in the beginning of the year but have not done so lately. I will have to look into that and the other link ups that you're hosting.

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  7. Thanks, Debbie! I know you could kick yourself for deleting your old blog. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said about this blogging community. I do still read some big blogs, but when they post on a day trying to sell something, I skip it. I don't begrudge them trying to make money from it, but that's not why I'm in it.

    I'm like you and want connection. I think we've made ourselves a nice little place here online! I love the days of old fashioned blogging and would love to see it get back to that as well. I love when you share from your heart...I've read some of those posts and they're always so encouraging!

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  8. Thank you for the feedback, Laura! If you want to start a blog, I say go for it! There is no better time than right now. You don't have to worry about finding your niche or "brand" or what you want it to be like all the time, just start writing from your heart.

    I haven't had any help with my blog, but I would suggest using WordPress to get started. It should be pretty self explanatory! You could always search for video help on YouTube as well, but I would just jump right in if I were you! Maybe start with an introduction post and then follow it up immediately with another post of whatever you want to write about- it could be about your family, a tradition, some favorite things of yours, or it could be a memory. I started mine as an online journal, but it's progressed over the years to what it is right now. There's beauty in just writing from whatever comes from your heart. Let me know when you start it, I'd love to read!

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  9. I love this post about your blogging experience! Definitely some great tips. I started blogging in 2010 as a way to announce my pregnancy to the family at once. It's evolved to our family scrapbook since then!

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  10. Thank you, Maria! I wholeheartedly agree about what you said about blogs that are in it for money...while that's not a bad thing, it is definitely not as interesting to me and I find myself reading those less and less. I also think all the ads are distracting! I think it's great that you've found your own groove- that is what suits you best, so it's good to stick with that plan!

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  11. Thank you, Crystal! I love that. I started mine as an online journal for family members who wanted to keep up with all our goings on, but it's progressed over to this. I do miss those days, but I also love it as it is right now. This happened before the days of social media- this was all we had, well this and email.

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  12. Love reading your blog and so glad we connected here!!

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  13. There are so many great tips here! Blogging sure has changed over the years. I am down to posting a few times each week, but I'm hoping to get more inspiration as I get settled into my new phase of life! You are #goals with posts five days a week!

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  14. Thanks, Tanya! You made me laugh with the #goals comment. It sounds like something one of my boys would say! I do definitely get easily inspired to write here...I often will dream and wake up with an idea for my blog. This is mid-life. Ha!

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  15. I buy a second wall calendar that I leave near my laptop where I plan out each post (sometimes a full year in advance!). As soon as I get my new calendar i schedule in all the fun link ups like the NJAM that I co-host, your Currently series, the What's Up Wednesday, and assorted others I enjoy) then fill in any other posts I write each month-- my sentence a day posts, my bucket list posts, etc. Leaving plenty of gaps each month for seasonal inspiration/ vacation posts/ recipes and the like. I write all my posts in advance too and try to keep one week ahead (for example today I am writing next week's Wednesday's post and will schedule the post to publish sometime today). Figuring out how to schedule and publish posts ahead of time was a real game changer for me.

    I'm excited to hear all about share 4 somethings!! I'm sure I'll be joining in on that one too. I definitely feel like I repeat some pictures and topics and news on my blog but I try not to too much as I don't want my readers to get bored. This was such a fun post to read!

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  16. You are just a blog angel helping host so many of us who needed a break or needed to let it go! I'm just glad I found your blog awhile back - its always just a ray of sunshine here!

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  17. That's a great idea too, Joanne! I'm glad to hear you're thinking of joining in with the Share 4 Somethings post...it's a fun one and the prompts stay the same all year, so it's fun to look back on. Thanks for that, friend!

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  18. Rebecca Jo, you made me laugh! I'm glad to do them, because I like them and other people like them as well! It's hard to say goodbye to a good thing.

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  19. I really need to get better with pictures. This might be something I need to get my daughter's help with....I need all the help I can get:) I wish I knew more about how to send viewers from Pinterest to my blog. Again, something I need to research. Thanks for all the help and tips!!

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  20. Jennifer- I think that's something all of us can work on! I think if you share it from your blog to Pinterest, that would help. That's what I do, just share every post there. Lots of viewers come from there, but again...the eye-catching pictures help. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

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  21. You've definitely inspired me! I appreciate this post and look forward to more Tuesday Talk posts.

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  22. Thanks, Lucy! I'm so glad you stopped by today. I always appreciate encouragement like that and am looking forward to doing new topics each month.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog!

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