Meet Denise Riches
I am excited to share another guest post here on Everything’s Coming Up Rosie. I met Denise Riches through a Twitter chat called #sitsblogging. Denise is a Virtual Assistant (VA) and currently lives in Ontario, Canada. As a VA, she enjoys doing all those pesky tasks that a blogger or business owner might despise doing, or maybe they just don’t have enough time in their day to tackle them all themselves.
So, I was stoked when she approached me and inquired if she could guest post on Everything’s Coming Up Rosie. And today, she is sharing how to survive your first year of blogging. We’ve all been there, the lessons that we wished we knew before we started blogging.
(Interested in guest posting on here? Check out my Guest Post guidelines here)
What I Learned from my First Year of Blogging
My blog, Smores and Sundresses, was ‘born’ at the end of August 2015. I’d been contemplating building a blog for about a month beforehand because I’d had a lot of friends and family ask me for tips on camping. They’d ask me what kinds of campgrounds are close to home, what food to bring, how to manage younger kids on camping trips and what kinds of activities are best for kids.
I was always happy to help them and thought it would be a great idea to blog about our family adventures and share what’s worked so well for us in our 20+ years of camping experience.
So I wrote and wrote. And wrote. I’m still writing, and since that day, I’ve transferred my blog to a self-hosted site and still love to tinker with it.
Blogging is all about trial and error, but if I can help even one person to reduce the number of errors that I had, I’m happy!
First Time Blogging? Read These 5 Tips.
Have a Role Model
There are two major bloggers that I look up to, and I get to interact with them on a fairly regular basis. I love reading Terri’s blog at www.secondwindleisure.com. She’s always been there to answer questions and never fails to comment on my posts. I love returning the favour because, although very busy with her teaching job, she writes about some awesome leisure activities that I would love to try one day. I’ve been lucky to know her at a time when she hosted a link party. Unfortunately, it became too much and she had to stop hosting it.
The other is Janice from www.mostlyblogging.com. If you’ve never been to her site, she has a WEALTH of great blogging information and tips, and if you need to have someone Stumble your posts, she has a list for that. All of her posts a relevant and helpful.
Role models can help guide you through the tricky blogging waters of the blogosphere.
Use Social Media
Social media is extremely important for getting your posts out to the reading world. Out of all of the platforms, I would say that the three most important are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, especially if you like blogging with graphics.
Posting your material is best done once for Facebook, at several intervals on Twitter over a few days, and if you are a member of Pinterest Groups boards, you want to post to as many of them as possible.
Create Pinterest-Worthy Graphics
I’m a Canva fan… some people like it, others hate it, and some will never leave PicMonkey. Canva lets anyone design their own graphics and it’s super easy to learn. In fact, I’m in the midst of writing a Canva “how-to” to help newbies learn to use the program.
My best piece of advice for Canva is NOT to use their images. If you use their images, you are not only paying for those images, but those images do NOT belong to you. Get acquainted with your camera or phone camera instead and take as many pictures as you can, because those images ARE yours.
Can’t be bothered, or just have no luck with a camera? There are great sites out there that offer free images, and Pixelbay is my favourite.
Pinterest loves tall graphics, so before you get started, be sure to Google the size of Pinterest pins graphics to get the correct size.
Create a Posting Schedule
Everyone is busy, right?
You’re no exception. It’s not easy to run a blog. It’s not easy to keep those ideas flowing and making the time to right. Sometimes, the words flow through to your keyboard, and other times, you can sit there for eons, waiting for the ideas to come, and they don’t. Blogging is a challenge, just like anything else worthwhile.
At the beginning of each month, sit down in front of a calendar and plan ahead. Start by figuring out how many posts you can realistically put out per week. Then, write a list of possible topics to write about over the course of the month ahead. Keep that list handy and in a place where you will see it every single day. The more you see it, the more you will think about those topics and then your mind will fill in the blanks.
Finally, take half an hour or an hour and write as much as you can about any topic on that list that keeps the words flowing. If you’re feeling extra creative, make all of your images after you write the post, that way you don’t have to go back later to do it.
The SITS Girls has an awesome monthly blog prompt list, and WordPress,com has a Daily Blog Prompt as well. The bonus of using WordPress prompts is that they offer a line of code you can add to your post, which links it to their daily post, and that, in turn, brings more traffic to your post because people will be checking out your interpretation of the prompt! Creativity AND traffic! Woo HOO!
Lastly, schedule them in WordPress! You can choose the date and time that each of your posts goes live, and you can also choose what social media platforms receive those updates. Boom… you’re a blog boss!
Like, Share and Comment Like Mad
It’s hard to do this when you’re already limited on time… all your fellow bloggers understand! Reciprocation is the way to your fellow bloggers’ hearts. We all love receiving those comments and shares, but the only way you get them is if you give them.
What if someone’s post topic doesn’t really interest you? At the very least, like it. You don’t have to be everyone’s biggest advocate, but liking something you don’t really jive with won’t kill you, and it will make them feel awesome!
And if you LOVE someone’s post, hit that comment button and tell them why you love it!
Commenting is the best way to open a dialogue with fellow bloggers and develop friendships!
I know a blogger who looks like Colin Farrell (no joke, I’ve even told him as much), and he writes awesome stuff. His niche is movies, mostly the older ones and I adore reading his takes on some of the movies I grew up with. It wasn’t until I started to like, share and comment on his stuff that we started to develop a rapport. It really does work!
I think I’m over my word count, but I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what I’ve learned in my blogging travels. I invite you to share your favourite tips in the comments!
Guest Writer Bio
Denise Riches lives in southern Ontario with her husband of nearly 19 years, and their two boys, Tyler and Caleb. She enjoys nibbling on chocolate and long, romantic walks to the fridge for a glass of sauvignon blanc.
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