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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