It is such a privilege to be able to contribute a post on the lovely Angel's blog once a month. It's a highlight of my month to have been brought together with some other fabulous ladies here on Sew Crafty Angel as one of her Contributing Angels :)
I've been blogging for just a little over 6 months now, which seems so fast and yet like an eternity. I have learned so much about the blogging world, the community of bloggers, a little bit of coding stuff (yikes- just tipping the iceberg on this one) and so much about myself.
Even though I have learned many things and the learning will hopefully never stop; there are things I wish I knew before I started blogging. It would have been very prudent to have thought things out just a little more before my launching of Heartbeats~ Soul Stains. I basically started my blog and hit the ground rolling and learned as I've gone along. Not the worst thing on earth, but it has made things a little tougher.
Here's the 6 things I wish I knew before I started blogging
Naming your blog- There are many factors that go into your blog domain and naming your blog. There have been times when I write my blog title and feel it may be a bit long, a little wordy or maybe even too many S's. Ease of writing it out and something memorable are important factors, you can read more about how I came up with my blog name here. At this point I wouldn't change my domain because each part of it is so important to me, but it would have been good to have thought it out just a little more before starting.
Identifying a niche- It would have been a good start to have identified my blogging niche before getting started. Maybe even before doing anything else. Having a very specific focus is very important, it is what you build everything around. I feel I am still wandering around trying to find my place in this blogosphere and have yet to find a specific focal point. Although, I am closer now then when I started.
Commitment time is a family affair- Blogging takes a big commitment and a lot of effort if you want to have consistency on your site. I had no idea how much time was going to be needed. This has had a huge effect on my family as they have had to adjust to me taking a little bit of time to myself to work on the blog. Discussing the commitment with them and letting them feel a part of the blog (since a lot is written about our life) is something needing to be done before embarking on this new journey. Getting your blog up and started and then helping it to grow is a lot of work.
I am nowhere near where I want to be. Angel here at Sew Crafty Angel and so many other bloggers are wonderful inspirations. In order to have the content and look I want, I need to put in the time and energy to achieve my goals. I do my best to work on the blog when the kids are sleeping or at their practices, but there has been a definite change in things in our household. Preparing my husband and kids for what was ahead would have saved some conflict. For instance, they already know now there may be times dinner may be delayed a few minutes because I need to take pictures; for a recipe I want to share. My family has been wonderful and understanding especially since they have seen the importance and fun I am having with my blog. It takes a while before you are able to find balance with family and blogging, for me it is a work in progress. Helping everyone to see this ahead of time and discussing how you will address the changes is ideal.
Coding and techie stuff- Before I started blogging I had no idea what coding was. I thought websites were just typed up in word and voila that was how those pages and posts were created. WRONG!!!!! Writing and editing your content is just a portion of what goes into a blog or website. I know very very little still about coding- I know just enough to hold my head slightly above water. It would have been a huge benefit to have researched the technical side and to have read the countless instructions and tutorials the internet has on coding. This is a great tutorial that I have used if you are looking into coding/html.
Specific blogging email- Once my domain name/blog name was chosen and I decided to go with self-hosting on WordPress I should have made a dedicated blog only email. Since I had no idea about this I just started out using my personal email. Now I am receiving email for the blog and other social media on my personal email and on my newly created blog email. It can get very confusing at times and I have missed important things because I have different things going to different emails. I'm trying to slowly correct this but at this point it is still an ongoing issue that if I had created the email from the get go wouldn't be an issue at all.
Pictures are as important as the words- Well almost! When I first started posting I thought I just needed to write down my thoughts. I had no idea how important having at least one picture was. The significance of photos is not only for the aesthetic appearance of the post, it is equally valuable for SEO purposes (another confusing topic). If you don't have a picture you will also find generic pictures or nothing at all when you go to promote to social media or other venues. I have a huge amount of early posts that I need to go back and spruce up with some pictures.