Stuff I Didn’t Know I Needed When I Started Blogging

 

Today marks my 400th blog post. I’m kind of stunned that I’ve stuck with it for this long. Stunned and weirdly proud, that is.

Last night, feeling saucy and over-confident, I installed a new WordPress theme all by myself. Okay, it wasn’t completely by myself because I texted Lisette about a dozen questions first. But still, just me and the code. And if you had clicked over this way around 7:39pm last night, you would have found a seriously effed up blog and could probably hear me screaming “oh, shit!” through the screen. But alas, here we are and all is well.

When I started blogging, my standards were low. My content was crap, my design was rough and pieced together, I didn’t know what a button was or why I needed one, and I had no idea there were all these things you could do to grow and improve your blog. It’s turned out to be worlds different from I thought it would be.

Stuff I Didn't Know I Needed When I Started Blogging.jpg

1. A cute dog. Archie’s popularity has rubbed off on me. He is re-pinned like crazy on Pinterest and pictures of him are liked way more than any others on my Instagram. He also gives me something to take pictures of to use on the blog. Basically it’s Archie’s blog. I’m just here to type since he’s lacking thumbs.

2. A cooperative boyfriend or friend. Who do you think takes pictures of me? That lovely task falls to the boyfriend. I don’t know how other bloggers do it but I have to set the whole photo shoot up, then take test shots of N, then we trade places and he takes my pictures. Sometimes he mocks me during this time by posing like a fashion blogger. Jerk.

N Pretends to be a Blogger

3. A DSLR. It seems like all the top blogs have high quality pictures. It’s a thing. As much as I didn’t want to invest $700 into blogging, I did because I knew that I’d use this camera to document life. I have! After one photography class I feel much more confident with my photography skills. I love taking pictures and it’s made my blog more visually appealing.

4. Thick skin. Sometimes people aren’t nice. I wasn’t ready for that but I put myself out there for people to read about my life and make commentary. It is what it is.

5. Exceptional time management and organizational skills. I’m a work in progress on this one. I was unprepared for the number of comments I’d get, the amount of time sponsorship takes, and generally how long it takes me to write and edit a decent post. If I’m not one day ahead, I get behind. And then I get apathetic about the whole dang thing. Like I said, I’m a work in progress. I have a planner (a simple one from Office Depot, none of this $50 planner nonsense), an idea notebook, and my phone with me at all times. You never know when an idea will strike!

blogging supplies

6. Basic knowledge of HTML code. For that first time when Blogger spacing really screws you, you’ll need to know what to add or delete to fix it. Now that I’m on WordPress it’s a little easier because the code doesn’t look so funky. Still, you can’t be dependent on others to help you with super basic stuff.

7. Social media. I had no idea how important social media was to growing your blog and interacting with followers. I’m not always good at it. I try to be but I have my on days and I have my off days. Anyone else like that? I’m inconsistent but I know it is an important element of blogging. And don’t even get me started on Facebook (insert eye roll here). It’s a necessity but not one I love.

There are still things I’m discovering every day that are essential to blogging. Things other bloggers do that I had no idea were a part of this whole thing. It’s madness, I tell ya.

What didn’t you know you needed to be a blogger? 

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  • I wasn’t really aware of social media and I think it was a downside I faced in blogging . I am still managing my time for blogging organizing !

    • Nadine

      I’d rather spend my time coming up with new content but promoting the existing content is important too. It’s challenging, for sure.

  • It looks great btw!

  • I love his pose!! It’s awesome. I need to take lessons from him. I’m always so stiff. Well a baby helps!! People love cute pics of babies. I don’t have one either. : )

    • Nadine

      He’s always messing around and making fun of me. Goofy man.

  • Cat

    New blog layout looks great 🙂 well done you! I’m brand new so I guess I have to find out what I didn’t know I needed, right now I’m still on, have no idea what I need or what I’m doing 🙂 x

  • My husband always makes me take a picture of him mocking how I pose after he’s done taking my outfit pictures, too. Although I’d argue that his poses look nothing like mine.

    • Nadine

      N takes the poses that I do and just exaggerates them. Posting this picture is a bit of payback 😉

  • Having only started blogging recently these things are all becoming very apparent. I think it’s weird how most everyone’s content really evolves as they get more comfortable with their blog. I’m still working on that!

    • Nadine

      My content now is pretty different from when I started. I think you find your voice after a while. I find and lose mine and then find it again.

  • I definitely wasn’t aware of the benefits of social media for at least the first six months of blogging, but it is definitely important if you’re interested in growing your blog. And time management! I’m so bad it isn’t even funny, but somehow it all works out.

    • Nadine

      I had no idea either! I still don’t think Instagram does a whole lot on the blogging front but it’s so fun to be friends with other bloggers on there. I guess it’s just good for relationship building.

  • I know there are a lot of little things that are easy to forget about (or you don’t know about) like being a no-reply blogger, making sure you have a way to be contacted, etc. Blogging is definitely a learning experience! Some days I swear I learn something new every day ha ha. Time management is a killer.

    • Nadine

      All the stuff we think is common sense about blogging now wasn’t at one time. I remember when I learned how to turn the captcha off my blog comments. Whoa! Big day. lol

  • Haha. That N is a little smart ass. But he still looks cute making fun of bloggers. I forgive him.

  • liz

    Just wanted to drop a comment to say I love the new layout! 🙂

    • Nadine

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it.

  • Adore the new layout and you’re so brave to do it all in one night. My fix-ups are always on weekends! Great list and all so true.

  • Twitter. I didn’t realize how important Twitter was to creating an engaged audience and forming relationships with other bloggers. I was definitely late to jump on that bandwagon, but sine I have my readership has grown and I’ve created connections with lots of great people. 🙂 Wish I had done that a year ago!

    • Nadine

      It definitely is important for relationship building. Instagram isn’t as useful from a blog perspective but it also helps with relationship building. You have to find blogger buddies.

  • I’m still trying to make Twitter work for me. When I first started I thought I NEEDED every social media and the longer I blog (and build my small business), the more I realize it’s more important to be very active on one social media site then completely unactive on all of them. 🙂
    xox
    giedre
    http://www.walkingdotphotography.com

    • Nadine

      I go back and forth about what is my favorite social media. I definitely think twitter is the most useful but I enjoy using instagram more!

  • Thanks for the post! Especially starting out as a new blogger these are great tips!

    Meet @ the Barre

    • Nadine

      I’m glad it helps! I didn’t really set out to write a tips type post but I guess it wound up being that way.

  • Kai

    Well… I dont have a camera unless you count my 8MP smartphone lens. No pets of any kind either. unless you count my brother</strike.
    Guess Santa better get on it!

  • Kai

    Also I clearly fail at basic HTML because i forget to add all the things and then my entire comment is basically strikethrough-ed. Boo me.

    • Nadine

      A good number of my pictures are taken with my iphone. I love my DSLR but my iphone is much more portable. And I don’t know complex html, just very basic stuff like adding a line break and stuff.

  • I’m definitely still a work in progress. I’d like to say I have #1 a cute dog. I’m working with #2 the boyfriend seeing as he still doesn’t understand what blogging is, haha. And #3, well. Let’s hope that happens this Christmas. (fingers crossed). As for #4, 5 and 7. Um, I’ll get back to that. Haha. I still consider myself a new blogger.

    Great post!

    • Nadine

      #2 and #3 kind of go together. If you get a camera but you are always the picture taker, you wind up with TONS of pictures of your cute dog and your boyfriend, but none of YOU. I’ve been working on getting N better at photography.

  • Such good advice! All of this is so important! Hehe that picture of your boyfriend made me laugh! Too cute:)

    • Nadine

      I’m sure he’s thrilled that I put that on the internet 🙂

  • Ace

    This is an awesome post. I had no idea how much time I was actually going to need OR how fleeting good ideas are! I think of them and within seconds they’re gone.

    A really cute dog doesn’t hurt, either.

    Great post, Nadine!

    -Ace

    • Nadine

      I’m the same way with ideas! I picked up a journal at Office Depot and I carry it around with me everywhere. When I’m driving I record voice memos. I swear my best ideas happen at times when I can’t write things down!

  • Jay

    How did you go about learning HTML code? It’s something I would definitely like to get better at (even minus having a blog) but don’t know where to begin. It’s time like this I am kicking myself for not taking at least a basic computer science class in college!

    • Nadine

      I definitely don’t know HTML code well. I just know how to make basic blog adjustments like add spacing in a post or create a link. I learned some of the basics by having an issue I had to fix and googling a lot.

  • Samantha

    Agree with everything! I still don’t have time management down… maybe one day…

    • Nadine

      My email is a constant disaster. I can’t even handle it. That’s the worst part for me.

  • Genesis is the best- I just installed it on mine (by myself, too haha!) last month. Looks great!

    • Nadine

      Thank you! I’m still so happy with my decision to switch to WordPress. The only problem is it made me want to learn how to do things by myself. I want to take WordPress classes or something. Do they even exist?

  • Whenever you’re making changes to your blog visually, those are the scariest of times! I always hope in my head that no-one bothers to visit during the time that I’m doing some serious changes! I really liked this post because I didn’t know about half of these things either when I started blogging either!

    • Nadine

      I don’t know what got in to me last night that I just up and did it. It definitely looked horrible for a couple of minutes but I got it sorted out.

  • I am loving this new theme!! Good for you for doing it all by yourself! I did a few minor tweaks with the HTML on blogger for my blog, and even though they were MINOR, it seriously took me hours to do it all! HTML is no joke!

    • Nadine

      Blogger made things a little easier because you could preview all the changes before making them final. You can’t do that on WordPress so you are kind of shooting in the dark.

  • I love the new layout! Looks great!

    Also, I think you should do a post that is strictly just pictures of N’s posing! ha!

  • love the new look…it makes me want to switch over to WordPress! 🙂

  • The test shot of N is hilarious! I didn’t realize I would need to be more organized and it’s still definitely a work in progress!

  • I did a post like this a few months back, but in a sarcastic sense. It’s weird to look back at your first few posts and see where you’ve come. Congrats on your 400th post!

  • This post is exactly why I need a boyfriend aka to take artsy pictures of me :-)! Great post!

  • All important things! I’m still working on the cooperative man thing 😉 He puts up with it, but he’s not as excited about it as I’d like him to be sometimes hahaha

  • Everyone talks abt this negativity. Where does this come from? Am I missing something? I never see bad talks of bloggers!!

    Good thing I have those cute dogs 🙂

    Welcome to wordpress!! I’m working on mine at the moment!!

  • Hi! I am a professional wedding photographer (7 years) and have managed to avoid blogging all together. I have been active on FB and instagram, but not twitter so much. I am wondering about blogging, mostly- why do you do it, how does it earn you money, where should I start, and how often must you post? Thanks for sharing your insights!

  • I love that you are reluctant about social media. I feel like I am the only one. I am a new blogger and love writing, but I hate how intertwined it pretty much has to be with the media outlets to be successful. I used to love Facebook as much as the next college student, but don’t like what it has become over the years. I have had friends scoff and ask me why I have a blog but not a Facebook. Yeah, because a post that you put thought and effort into is completely the same thing as throwing up constant mindless selfies with your toddler captioned “so happy to be watching a movie with my buddy!” (nope)

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  • I learned that Content is the most important thing for the success of your Blog.

    I found this post on pinterest 🙂

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  • This was such a great post to read. I started my blog at the beginning of the year, and this is so right on. I love the part about having a good friend, or boyfriend to take your pictures. My husband is a hoot when it comes to picture time. I have recently been playing with my tripod. It is definitely a work in progress. I get a lot of funny looks. Which is making me get out of my comfort zone, and grow a thicker skin for sure. Loved your post. 🙂
    Angela
    http://www.prettyinherpearls.com

  • Love your new layout (well, not that I saw the old one, but this one is really nice!). I giggled about you just typing because Archie doesn’t have thumbs. I feel like that every now and then on instagram when it’s basically just a string of dog pictures, but hey, it’s gotta happen sometime!
    Also I’ve gotta say I wasn’t aware how much time social media would take! I’ve just started my blog recently and knew it would be important, but in the last week have only just got around to completely setting up profiles and making sure everything is linked. Seriously, so time consuming! But it’s for something I love, so I’ll deal. 😉

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