Reader Questions Answered: All Things Blogging

reader questions all things blogging

What’s the craziest, weirdest, or coolest thing that’s happened to you because of blogging? – Alyssa

You know what, it’s the money. I know I’m not supposed to say that but I just did. It still effing blows my mind that I write my thoughts and feelings on the internet and with a little magic from Google (Adsense, that is), I can nearly pay my rent with my blog earnings. Given, the rent where I live is super cheap, but still, WOW.

The coolest thing is seeing how supportive N is of this hobby of mine. We had been dating almost a year when I started my blog. He was my first reader and he’s my #1 fan. When I wrote in my Personal Questions post that I had never considered writing a book, he came home and asked me “why not?” He has more confidence in me than I have in myself.

N surprised me with this when I hit 1,000 followers
N surprised me with this when I hit 1,000 followers

I love your blog, your writing style, and your topics. I know next to nothing about the community/politics of blogging. Lots of big bloggers recommend button-sharing and finding blogs your own size to do so, but I don’t know the first thing about button etiquette (including even making one).  – Andrea

I definitely got to where I am today in part because I advertised my blog. A lot.

For button design, most blog design packages come with button design. Having a simple, quality blog design is important to the reader experience and will help you gain readership. There are tons of great designers for Blogger who charge less than $60 for a full blog design (Kalyn and Brooks come to mind). You can also get Blogger templates which are easy to install and usually less expensive than custom design (Rekita has some beautiful templates). For WordPress, pick a theme you like (I bought my theme for $25) and hire a designer to make you a button that matches your theme. Lisette knows a ton about WordPress and is a beautiful designer. She can also help you switch from Blogger to WordPress, if you’ve decided to take that step. I couldn’t run this blog without her.

Want to make a button yourself? Lauren from Pink on the Cheek just did a great tutorial on how to make a blog button using PicMonkey. PicMonkey is essential to me, as I use to create images for Pinterest and for all of my photo editing (<- lol at that. I don’t know how to edit photos).

In terms of etiquette, I think the only thing I can think of is to make sure that a button swap will be mutually beneficial for both bloggers. Getting those first 100, 200, 300 followers is hard. It isn’t really fair to have one blogger with 5 followers and very little readership ask a blogger with 200 followers to swap. Maybe this was just me, as I was always too shy to ask people to swap anyway so I waited, commented on lots of blogs every day (this helps people find you), and bought sponsorships once I hit around 100 followers.

What’s your suggestion for finding blogs your own size? – Andrea

For finding blogs your own size, I’d stalk Bloglovin. I would go to Bloglovin’ and click “find blogs” and then scroll through until you find blogs similar to your size. When you find a blog that you like, follow them. You then get an email from Bloglovin with the subject line “Suggestions Based on _____”. Peruse those, find ones you like.

I’d also check out people’s sidebar ads. I’ve found a lot of my favorite blogs from sidebar ads on other blogs. If someone has a sidebar ad, it means they are trying to grow their blog too. Usually you can find a lot of new blogs by sidebar hopping – click a sidebar ad on one blog, then click one on the next, and continue on. I get sucked in doing this sometimes.

Do you ever feel weirded out by a fan following you on FB, Twitter, Instagram, and tweeting you, commenting all the time? 

When I interact with someone a lot on social media, I usually start to think of them as like a blog friend. So no, it doesn’t weird me out. If anything, it’s flattering. Somehow it still shocks me a bit that people show up to my blog to read what I have to say. Same goes for social media.

Do you feel that blogging has changed you in any way? Better? Worse?

It maybe hasn’t changed me but it has certainly changed my habits, some good, some bad. Here are some things that have changed:

    • I don’t know if I ever would have bought a DSLR and learned how to use it, if not for blogging. Now I have a life-long skill and several thousand pictures of Archie to show for it.
    • Sometimes I go somewhere or do something because I know it will make a good blog post. That sounds a little lame but it nearly always winds up being a great experience. It’s hard to blog about your life when all you do is watch Netflix (which is what I’d be tempted to do). I actually think Sarah Christine wrote a perfect post on this the other day. She said “This blog has pushed me to do the things my heart always wanted to do, but my head was afraid to try.” I read that and was like YES. So. True.
    • I spend more time in front of my computer screen. Too much time. I have a tendency to sit next to N at night and not really engage with him because I’m working on blog stuff. I don’t like that.
    • I think I’m more creative than I used to be. After you start to run out of blog post ideas, you search for ways to boost your creativity. I feel like I’m always thinking and asking myself questions and trying to stretch my brain to find new places it hasn’t been.
    • I care what random strangers think of me more than I used to. #truth

How do you choose which blogs to sponsor?

Price and Pageviews. It’s pretty much that simple for me. I also think it’s important to keep in mind that followers does not mean readers. God only knows how many Bloglovin’ followers I have (or other bloggers have) who literally never use Bloglovin’ and never stop by the blog. So sure, I keep followers in mind when I buy a blog ad but mostly, I rely on pageviews because that tells me how many eyeballs will be on my ad each day.

Shameless self-promotion: In the last 30 days, I’ve had over 60,000 pageviews. I keep my sponsor options cheap and simple. Want to take over the blog for a day? Use the code PIZZA to get 25% off a Saturday Takeover.

It seems like everyone is moving to WordPress. Is that really something I have to do?

Absolutely not. There are tons of successful bloggers who use the Blogger platform and love it. Helene recently wrote an article about why she still uses Blogger. WordPress costs money. If you are a casual blogger or you just want to keep things simple, stick with Blogger. I’ve written before about the downsides to WordPress. I do love it though – here are 8 reasons why!

How many hours per week do you spend on blogging?

Easily over 2 hours a day each week day. I’d say probably 15+ hours a week total. As I said in my tough stuff post, writing a single blog post takes me a long time.

What about blogging, or the world of blogging frustrates you?

Sometimes it feels like a high school popularity contest. There are plenty of mean girls. Trends get completely out of control (Stop it with the Chevron. It’s dead). The pressure to be Pinterest perfect. It feels like you have to get along with everyone or people won’t like you. The fact that sharing an opinion that others may not share can cause a lot of negativity. And I might be alone on this but is everyone seriously traveling all the time? I’m 26 and I cannot afford a fancy vacation. It feels like other bloggers go on vacation all the time. I’m envious.

Things that frustrate me about blogging itself:

  • My lack of understanding of the “coding” stuff
  • How long it takes me to write blog posts
  • The fact that none of my photos ever look super Pinterest worthy
  • That Adsense makes no sense and one day I could make $3 and the next day I could make $50
  • That I struggle to add my humor in to my posts without it feeling forced
  • I don’t really know how to grow my blog further at this point
  • I still go back and forth with not liking my blog name

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a question. If you have any other blogging questions, drop me a comment below and I’d be glad to answer. Other bloggers – feel free to jump in here too!

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  • Thank you for the shout out, it definitely made my day! Your ability to write so eloquently is one of the reasons you’re my favorite reads.

    • Well thank you! I’m happy to support my fellow bloggers. Hope it brings you some design business 🙂

  • I seriously love that N baked you a cake when you reached 1,000 followers! Give that man an award!
    I also loved reading your answers.

    • He’s quite enjoying all the love he’s getting on this thread lol

  • AWWW I can’t believe N baked you a cake! That is the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard. It makes it so much easier when you have a supportive bf, right? I’m glad mine is, too! He still thinks I’m a little crazy for always wanting to write, but at least he’s supportive. haha!

    • It does make it a lot easier. Because I spend a good chunk of time every day blogging, it would be so hard if he didn’t support this hobby.

  • This is great! I want to earn money from my blog, but I’m not really a fan of blog sponsoring or writing sponsored posts.

    And thanks for answering my question 🙂 I submitted the last one about frustrations.

    • I don’t love writing sponsored posts either. They feel like homework a bit although I’m always grateful for the opportunity. I’ve only done a few but I try to write a post I would normally write but incorporate a company/product into it. I don’t want the whole thing to read like an ad.

      Try Adsense though. It’s an easy way to make money and doesn’t require much work after installation.

  • i love this post. this is in part because people actually asked meaningful, interesting questions. and the money blows my mind too. i mean, what?! but really it is great. tips about sponsoring/advertising are spot on. this may be random but i think i identify with your bog so much. we write about different things but I always come over to your blog because I connect with it. keep it up.

    • I’m definitely appreciative to all the people who asked such great questions. And I feel the same way about your blog! We have such different interests and I still feel like we’d be friends in real life. I love the way you write.

  • Your Blog, Living in Yellow, and Two Thirds Hazel definitely have the funniest writing styles in my mind. Keep it up!

    • Well I’m very flattered to be grouped in with those two ladies, as they are both favorites of mine also!

  • Ahh this was interesting to read! I’ve been blogging for over a year now but still feel slightly clueless sometimes. I literally have no idea how to attract more readers without promoting my blog on other websites/buying ads. Any tips?

    • I think commenting on a lot of blogs every day helps. Especially with WordPress blogs, where you leave a back link when you add a comment.

      Pinterest is HUGE. I had no idea how big until one of my pins – the how to grow hair long fast post – was repinned a couple thousand times. Now it brings fairly steady traffic to my blog each day. One or two posts going viral on Pinterest can help you get a lot of readership.

  • I loved this series, it’s been great learning a little more about you! Sometimes I wish I didn’t love design so much because it makes putting together posts take so much longer. I probably have an equal number of draft posts to published posts because it takes me so long to figure out exactly what I want the content to look like.

    N sounds like a such a gem! Bless his heart, my boyfriend is a huge support for my blog and I couldn’t be more thankful!

    • I’m a huge draft maker too! I’ve got 51 right now. I’ve also written full posts and just decided that the day wasn’t right to post them and then they just hang out in drafts forever. It’s such a weird process for me. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  • The whole blog world as a money-maker concept is really overwhelming, and as much as I’d love to dive in to it all, the buttons, the ads, the swaps, I don’t know where to begin and I don’t even know if I really want my blog to take over my other endeavors right now. I guess knowing that my family and friends read it is enough for me at the moment, and I’m content to write what I want and read some other great blogs (yours is one of my dailies!).

    • Then you are blogging for the right reasons! That’s a good thing! There is always time to get in to the business side of blogging, when you’re ready.

  • This was helpful in so many ways! I’m a new blogger and my first couple months of blogging have felt a lot like being a Freshman in high school. I feel constantly lost, but posts like this are a life saver.

  • Yes! Why is chevron still here?

  • I love these question/answer posts. Thanks for your honesty. xo

    • Honesty is my policy 😉 Glad you liked it!

  • I laughed at your chevron comment! So true. Target needs to get up to date on that, too.
    I’m kinda glad other people second guess their blog names, too. It’s weird how we feel better about ourselves when others feel the same as we do. But I guess that’s why we blog and read blogs!

    • That’s exactly why I read blogs. I love regular people sharing regular problems. I relate to other bloggers more than I relate to anyone on a reality show. It’s real life that we put out in public.

  • I can’t believe N baked you a cake, how awesome! Derek is one of those guys that isn’t too interested in my blog but he’ll read it occasionally (on his poop breaks, he tells me) but it doesn’t really bother me because I’m not in to everything that he likes either. Thanks for the mention!

    Also, I love my camera too and probably never would have gotten a nice one if it weren’t for blogging.

    • LOL at the poop breaks. What do they do in there?!

      I’m lucky that N supports my blog but secretly I think he just likes that something occupies my time so he can still play video games.

  • Chevron. Make. It. Stop. And N is a sweetheart!

    I loved this post (and thanks for the shout out!). I also struggle with coming up with new blogging ideas. Sometimes I don’t realize how long I’ve been blogging and that I’ve written down a lot of my thoughts, but since we’re ever-changing, new things pop up.

    I think, after 2 years, I’m finally starting to find my “blogging voice.” And hooray to paying rent with Adsense earnings! Woohoo!

    • I know I’ve told you this before but maybe it will help other people. I actually took Blog Clarity’s (formerly MomComm) Content Brew course. I feel like it helped me learn some brainstorming skills and the materials that came with the course were super helpful. Here’s the link: http://www.blogclarity.com/shop/

  • Your “things that frustrate you about blogging” totally spoke to my inner frustrated self! I’ve also been silently stalking your blog and now I feel like I need to just come out and admit it.. I love reading you every day!! This is my vow to comment more and tell you that! 🙂

    • Wow! Thank you so much. We all have similar frustrations with blog world and I think most of us aren’t sure how to change them. Hopefully being honest about it will help.

  • I love your answers to these! I agree with you about the frustrations of blogging. The vacation one included. We cant afford vacations either. Camping is about as much vacation as we can do. 🙂

    • Even a staycation sounds fun to me at this point. I just don’t understand how other people pull it off. Do they have credit card debt? Do they just make a crap ton of money? I do well for myself and I still don’t see how I could pull it off.

  • This was a really fun one to read! As a fairly new blogger myself, I find it really interesting to hear about how big blogs function and thoughts on the blogging world. This is probably a really stupid question ( so laughing is totally appropriate) but what do you actually consider your “followers?” Is it those who have subscribed by email to your blog, bloglovin’ followers, facebook followers, a combination of both? I just hear people talk about it all the time but never actually knew how people quantified it 🙂

    • There is no such thing as a stupid question because if you have a question about something, someone else does too!

      When I was on Blogger, I considered followers to be GFC and Bloglovin subscribers. Now that I’m on WordPress (and therefore don’t have GFC anymore), I just consider Bloglovin’ subscribers and email subscribers to be followers.

      I think of Facebook, Twitter, etc. to be social media followers, which is different because they are subscribing to different content (i.e. just your 140 character tweets and not your whole blog post).

      Hope that helps!

      • That makes PERFECT sense! Thanks so much for answering it for me! I felt silly asking but I get what you mean about the difference of actual blog followers and social media followers. You rock!!

  • Okay… this is like the 5th time you’ve mentioned wanting to change your blog name, and I think you should go for it (not that it REALLY matters what I think)! Like many of your readers, I stop by your blog for your content, not the name. Changing it won’t make that big of a difference, right? It might take some time to convert all the changes all over the interwebs, but at least you’ll be blogging on a domain you’re happier with. Just look at Diddy… he’s gone from Puff Daddy, to Puffy, to P. Diddy… be like Diddy, Nadine 😉 Xo

    • You are totally right. The problem is, I have no good ideas of what to change it to. One day, it will hit me. THAT is what I should call my blog! I’m holding out for that day.

  • Ah! I am so glad you liked my post, you have no idea how excited I got when I saw that! And I’m totally on the same page as you when you said N has more confidence in you. Bryan is the one who told me I could do any of this in the first place and his belief in me every step of the way keeps me pushing myself and growing.

    • Your post really spoke to me so I was glad to share it with other people. You wrote exactly how I’m sure many of us feel but never articulate.

      Aren’t we lucky to have such supportive guys in our lives? Yay us!

  • I truly appreciate you writing these posts and answering questions! I learn so much from you every time you post and I always look forward to what you have to say! And I agree with N, write a book haha

    • Well thank you so much! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this series.

  • I absolutely love this. You are so spot on about the blogging mean girl contingent and the pressure to feel pintrest perfect. It really is absolutely exhausting. BUT we tend to make ourselves feel that way, no?

  • I have pinned this post to my pinterest account. THank you very much for putting such a great page together.

  • Hey I liked your answers to these questions……..

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  • Thanks so much for the answer! My sub-question to my question is, “…..how do you KNOW a blog is the same size as yours?” (I’m an idiot).

    The pressure to be Pinterest-worthy is taking over the world. Even the “don’t like it, don’t do it” mentality doesn’t work anymore, because I never get so much side-eye as I do when I tell people I don’t Pin (and I ONLY say it in response to “oh, look it up on Pinterest!” which I hear more often than I’d like) You’re not even cool if Pinterest isn’t your go-to time-waster. Last I checked, funny cat videos on Youtube make me feel better than all the super cool projects I’m not doing in my free time that I apparently should be.

    • I think most bloggers think of blog size as the number of followers and/or the number of readers. I also think it’s important to add in the length of time that a blogger has been blogging. If someone has a similar number of bloglovin followers are you and started their blog somewhere around the same time, that’s what I’d think is a similar sized blog.

      I hope that helps!

  • Hi Nadine,
    This is my first time stopping by your blog (I think?) – I was referred by Amber at And Yes To Joy. I really appreciate you candidly sharing you tips on how to grow your readership. I’ll be back around!
    Jenn

  • Wow, what a great post! I’ve been blogging for years at a really small-scale (which is fine, since I mostly do it for friends and family), but this post still resonated so much with me. Really happy to have found your blog!

  • Great post! I am very new to blogging and have so many questions that you answered! I will definitely be taking some of your advice 🙂

  • I think I’m falling in love with your blog! I stumbled upon it from a friend who pinned a post of yours about blogging tips and I must say I’m super glad I clicked on that picture. You’ve got a great writing style and your tips are super helpful as I’m new to this whole blogging thing and trying to start a beauty blog. Thanks so much for the help!

  • Oh my goodness, thank you so much for this post, Nadine! I appreciate how honest you are; it really helps put things in perspective for me. I just started blogging about one month ago (am totally addicted now), but sometimes get frustrated because I’m not where bloggers who have done this for years and years are yet…. I know I have to realize that everyone starts somewhere, and this is just my starting point. Your content is so helpful, informational, and awesome! I really enjoy reading your blog 🙂 Thank you!

  • Thank you for including my tutorial in this post 🙂

  • Ray

    For you to have an issue with Pinterest worthy pictures, you sure are oblivious to how many times I have ran into your website through pinterest! LOL! Your photos are fine enough for me anyways LOL!

  • I cannot tell you how much this post has helped me, along with several other posts on blogging. I just started a few weeks ago and it’s blowing my mind how much there is to it. What do you think you’d say was your best tactic for keeping your motivation and passion for blogging in the beginning?

  • I literally just started blogging and came across your sight before the process. I am in love with your blog and it’s safe to say you inspired me to actually go for it! I’m from CA but used to travel to NY every month to see my ex (we broke up 2 weeks ago) so your blog kinda reminds me of my trips out there but also the possibility that I’ll one day be able to live in the big city!! Just wanted to say hello and introduce myself! Thanks for such great resource posts that helped me get going! – sanchita

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