10 Tips for New Bloggers…From a New Blogger

Ten Tips for New Bloggers...From a New Blogger via The Thinking Closet

It was two months ago today when I clicked that glowing button on the WordPress homepage inviting me to “sign up now.”  After much deliberation, I gave my blog a name, wrote my first post, and bolted full-speed ahead into blogland.

Wow.  To think that just two months ago, blogger jargon like “link parties,”  “trackbacks,” and “grabbing a button” might as well have been Greek to me….

I have learned a lot in these first two months as a blogger, and though I have miles to go, I thought I’d take the time to reflect on what I’ve learned thus far and share a few insights with those of you who might be just now shoving off.  I hope you, dear reader, find it useful.

10 Tips for New Bloggers…From a New Blogger

1.  Take quality photos.

When figuring out how to create my own blog, I often relied on my favorite blogs to serve as a guide.  In reflecting on what draws me in to them, the common denominator was their photos: eye-catching, bright, and crisp.  Thus, I aim to post quality images on my blog.  This means I’ve received a crash-course in Photography 101 from my husband who is the Ansel Adams of the family with the fancy Cannon camera and three lenses.  As you may remember from my recent post on craftgawker, I’m far from professional, but I now know enough of the basics to post photos I’m proud of, and that’s what matters to me.  And you don’t necessarily need a fancy camera to take quality photos.  You really can do a lot with even the most basic of digital cameras.  Just avoid using your flash, use lots of natural light, experiment with your settings, especially ISO and exposure, and use a free online program like pixlr or pic monkey to edit and enhance your images.  Here’s a great photography cheat sheet to help you out in a pinch.

2.  Add a watermark to your photos.

After one month of blogging, I discovered the free online editing tool, pixlr, and it has rocked my watermarking world.  I have found pixlr to be extremely user-friendly when it comes to adding cool effects (like going vintage), creating photo collages, and “branding” my photos with a watermark of my blog or post title.  Why is watermarking worth your while?  In our world of pinning and re-pinning, it’s easy for images to get grabbed without a direct connection back to your blog.  By adding a watermark of your blog title, you’re providing a direct conduit back to the Mother Ship.  Not only does it protect your images from theft, but it gives your photos that professional look.

Update: I created a video tutorial on “How to Edit Photos with Pixlr Express.”  Click here to check it out.

3.  Give credit where credit is due.

Was your DIY pallet headboard inspired by a pin?  Show them some “link love” in your post by giving them a shout-out and direct link to their blog post.  Want to create a round-up of holiday projects?  Provide captions with hyper-linked text that lead people to the original source.  Not only is this important from a legal standpoint, but it’s polite!  I also try to drop them a comment on their blog to thank them for their inspiration and have received many gracious replies as a result.

Giving credit also pertains to your own photos.  When uploading images, I recommend giving them a title (and alternate text) that matches your post title and mentions your blog name.  For example, the image at the top of this post is titled “10 Tips for New Bloggers…From a New Blogger via The Thinking Closet.”  That’s what will show up if someone pins my image directly from my site, and that’s much nicer than IMG_4567 or “Typing Hands,” especially when you want to ensure proper credit.

4.  Link up!

I had no idea what link parties were until I started The Lil Journal Project, and we “linked up” our journal pages on Lil Blue Boo each Friday.  Then, it seemed that everywhere I turned, there were linky parties.  For those who don’t know, link parties are virtual gatherings “hosted” by different bloggers that usually take place once a week on a particular day; visitors to the party are invited to share one of their recent projects by uploading an image of their project that links back to their site.  Think of it like a massive “show and tell.”  Some hosts have rules that involve following the host or commenting on at least two links, and many hosts will feature one or more of their favorites each week.  I have come across some great blogs by participating in link parties, as well as have been majorly encouraged by others’ visits to my own blog.  You can click on my Link Parties tab for a comprehensive list of some of the most happenin’ parties around.

5.  Comment on other blogs.

This is a big lesson I have learned.  I used to be a “stand back and watch” kind of gal – - pinning neat projects online without the blogger ever knowing – - a “lurker” as the blogger jargon goes.  Now that I AM a blogger, I realize how rewarding it is to know that something you worked on inspired someone else.  After all, for many of us, that’s the reason we blog: to share with others…not to send our pumpkin cookie recipe into the silent black hole of cyberspace.  So now, I’m a commenter.  And I’m never turning back.

6.  Leave your handprint on your blog design.

There are free and really easy ways to give your blog a custom and personalized look without even paying a dime.  I still have the most basic (free!) WordPress account and was able to add a custom background, create a custom header, and customize my sidebar and footer to make this blog my own.  There are lots of options out there, but I used the Japonizer background generator to create mine, and I used Microsoft Word, the twice aforementioned pixlr, and a free scallopped border I found to create my custom header.  It’s important that your readers get a sense of “place” when they arrive to your site instead of “welcome to my generic blog template.”

Update: I have migrated to self-hosted WordPress and did a design overhaul since writing this post…so the details in this tip apply to my former WordPress.com site.  Just so ya know!

7.  Give your reader three or more ways of following you.

I know from experience that I like to have my options when following other bloggers.  For example, I like to receive updates from my favorite blogs right into my gmail inbox, so I subscribe to those via email.  For the 20+ DIY blogs I now follow, I like using bloglovin’, which sends me one email at the end of the day with updates from all of the blogs I follow; I can then choose which ones to click on through.  Pinterest is another great option; if I come across a blogger with snazzy style, I follow them via Pinterest because it keeps me in the loop not only on their projects, but on all projects that catch their eye.  So, of course, I offer these three methods on my blog, as well as a few others: Linky followers and R.S.S. feed for those who like to follow in a reader.  Do I need to even mention Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for those of you social media mavens?  When providing these options to your readership, it’s important they be visible at all times, either on your sidebar or menu.  Just visit the host sites themselves to walk through the steps of adding their buttons to your blog.

8.  When inspiration strikes, write it down.

This tip applies not just to ideas for posts, but the posts themselves.  Even if it’s July and you have an idea for a Thanksgiving post, start a draft.  I have several drafts cooking on the stove at one time.  In fact, I started a draft of this post a couple of weeks ago!  I just work on it bit by bit, as I’m inspired…and even if I’m not.  After all, as the famous Louis Brandeis saying goes, “There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing.”  And if I’m away from a computer when inspiration strikes, I grab a napkin a receipt, whatever is closest to me to write down the words before they fly away.  Ideas are too precious to lose.

9.  Post consistently.

I don’t remember where I first heard this tip, but many have shared it before me, and it’s a tenant I have aimed to follow from the beginning.  My personal goal is to post 3 times a week.  Not only is this good for me because it keeps me disciplined (which I am not naturally), but it’s good for my readers.  They know what to expect from me.  So, whether it’s once a week or once a day, try to be consistent.  And of course, give yourself grace when you’re not.

10.  Discover your writing style.

And how do you that?  By experimenting!  When I first started, I didn’t really know what I was doing.  In many ways, I tried on the styles of some of my favorite bloggers in an effort to discover my own style.  (In the writing world, this is known as “copy-change” where you copy someone’s structure, but change the contents to make it your own.)  I’m still figuring out my blogger style, but here are a few things elements I know I like to employ:

  • a catchy lead – I like to the pull the reader in within the first few lines.
  • comfy casual – I aim to have a conversational tone in my posts, allowing my true writer’s voice to come through, quirky though it may be!
  • incorporate a call – I like to give an opportunity for my readers to respond, usually at the end of posts.
  • thorough and clear tutorials – I tend to like a lot of details and photos when reading tutorials, so those are the kind of tutorials I try to create.

Your style will be unique to you…so get on with experimenting to find it.  Take risks.  Make mistakes.  It’s all part of the process.

The end is near....

Your turn!

What I love so much about blogging is the collaboration that can occur, especially through comments.  So, please, if you have a tip to share from your early days of blogging or just want to say hello, do chime in!

Want more blogging tips?

I wrote a follow-up post to do this post one year later…on the dot!  Check it out:

And here are some other reader faves:

Happy blogging, to beginners, veterans, and everyone in between.

Linking up here.

This is Lauren, signing off.

Lovely comments so far...

  1. Thank you for your inspirational suggestions. Two months! wow! you have done so well :D I have only had my blog since April and it is going well but i’m struggling to find time to do everything to it at the pace I would like – if that makes sense?! I have lots of ideas but it all takes time. you have mentioned some really good ideas though and I will certainly be putting some into practice xXx

  2. You’ve got some great ideas!
    Brenda

  3. I really enjoyed this post! I am a new blogger myself so I appreciated the tips.Thanks!

  4. Lauren,

    For a new blogger you rock! I’v been at it over a year and still haven’t honed my writing style or blog direction (but I also work a full-time job outside of home plus other responsibilities). I love your blog and the suggestions for new bloggers is well laid out and beautifully writen. There aren’t many blogs that I follow after the first visit, but I’m a new follower. I’m interested to see what you will share next. I’m pondering moving my blog to word press because I don’t have much flexibility with type pad.

    • Thanks so much, Sandy! I’m definitely still “honing” as well…probably always will be. And after a visit to your beautiful and poetic blog, I think you’ve really got a great style…and eclectic is part of your blog title, so I think it’s okay that your “blog direction” be eclectic, too!

      Though I don’t know much about type pad, I’ve been really pleased with WordPress. I’ve seen a few posts around the internet on making the switch to WordPress and most seem to be really glad they did. Best of luck!

  5. This is so funny. When I first started reading your post, I felt an immediate connection to you. Your 2-month anniversary post is dated November 6. I just hit two months as a blogger on November 5. I think you have learned a whole lot more in these two months than I have. I salute you. I also appreciate all your thoughts and advice! Keep on keeping on! Linda @www..paperseedlings.com

    • What a serendipitous connection! Congrats on YOUR two month blogiversary. I stopped by your blog and am truly amazed by your paper crafting talent; and you have your own etsy store which is a huge feat in and of itself! Brava! Happy blogging to you.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you….

    As I stumble forward from a career as a second grade teacher into teaching the world about my “Fuzz” side (and all the wonderful crafty ideas and inspiration that come with me), starting a blog is the most logical next step. To be honest- I’ve known that this is my next step for months but have stalled because I had no clue where to begin.

    So thanks for a place to start. I may even start tonight… Or at least not procrastinate too much longer.

    • Wow, Suz! I got chills reading this. I’m so touched to know that my humble words may have inspired you to take that leap of starting a blog. It can be a scary leap, I know. We wonder, “Will anyone even care? Will I be able to do it well and do it right?” But if you have that tug in your heart, and know that you need to start, go for it, girl!

      A few of my favorite quotes (for when I’m stuck and don’t know where to begin):

      “Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.” -Madeleine L’Engle
      “Whatever you would do, begin it. Boldness has courage, genius and magic in it.” -Goethe

      Please let me know when you do start your blog. I’ll be your first follower!

        • I oooo’d and ahhhh’d at your crafty pics. The blogworld is in for a treat once you shove off!

          • I’m up and running!!!! FuzzBombCraft.wordpress.com.
            It is live and growing. I’m working on a few drafts to give my whole (long, involved and inspiring) journey up to now. The blog currently consists of a few pictures of a work in progress and a post about my puppy (all dogs are puppies to me, even at 13 years old). Even as small as it is, I was surprised at how fast I gained a few followers!
            And it is lovely to reread your tips. I have much to learn but I’m excited about this next step.
            Thanks again for that push and guidance.
            With love and light-
            Suz

          • Suz, this is SO exciting! Just started following you in bloglovin’ so I can stay in the loop on your fuzzbombcrafts (and puppy posts). I know your blog will grow and grow along with you, and it feels like a true honor to have been a small part of this process for you. I’ve been inspired by so many other bloggers, it’s a joy to be able to pass that gift onto others. Blessings to you as you shove off on this new voyage!

  7. Wow, this is great. I opened my WordPress account almost two years ago, but didn’t start to really blog until this past summer. I couldn’t agree more with your pointers. I take terrible pictures. It doesn’t help that my camera is older than my 11 year marriage. Following you now! I love your blog set up, maybe I could bug you for some pointers with mine? I welcome any constructive pointers you may have. Thanks!

  8. Been blogging for a while, but still feel new! thanks for the tips!

  9. Great post Lauren! You’re doing awesome for a new blogger! I feel like your site is leaps and bounds ahead of where I was a few months into it!

    Commenting on other blogs was one of the things I learned early on and I found it did generate some traffic! I’ve also really enjoyed the blogging community, not only in the virtual sense, but in real life as well! You can get connected to other local bloggers (through online lists or through twitter) it’s a fun way to meet people. I also went to my first Blogging conference this summer, and learned SO MUCH! Check out http://www.flblogcon.com/ They just added a Directory and you may be able to find some other fun blogs to follow there. Oh, and there’s a Central Florida Lady Blogger’s facebook page. Check that out too:-) Keep up the awesome site!

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement, Steph!

      And I’ve heard about the FL Blog Con. That’s definitely something I want to check out next time around…maybe we can go together! Thanks for the tips on the directory and fb page; definitely want to check those out.

  10. Thanks for the tips – this is (I think) my very first comment, ever. I’m going to make it a practice to find new blogs and comment. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Came across you on CraftGawker and I wrote a similar retrospective when I reached my 6 month blogging moment. – http://www.northstory.ca/?p=1677 While I completely agree that watermarking is important I totally screwed myself over with my experience doing that. The reason being is when I started my blog I broke a strict rule that I think is one of the most important and that is to choose your blog name wisely.

    When I started mine I didn’t think I would even consider it more than a hobby and it became something more. And by the time I transferred to self hosting I had decided to change the name of my blog b/c it didn’t fit my situation anymore and most of the good domains were taken with the original name. So now I have the fun task of literally re-doing photos in over 100 posts that are watermarked with my old name. Let alone write new ones. Needless to say I am really behind.

    Generally I am very pro watermarking for the exact reasons you stated but in my case I thought it may be helpful to any blogger that comes across this post that if you even for a second are thinking about going self hosted down the line, check to see if your domain name is available right away and register it. And make sure that the blog name that you choose is one that can grow with you b/c your original blog content may change direction down the line and then suddenly 2 years from now you’ll find it doesn’t fit who you are or what topics you’re writing about. Learn from my mistake.

    Otherwise really great write up! Cheers!

    • These are wise words, Alex. I’m so glad you shared your story…and I hope that the grueling process of re-watermarking ends soon (that sounds painful). And I loved your retrospective…so many great pointers. Shared more of my comments there.

  12. You’ve learned a lot in two months. I’m going to share your post with a friend of mine who wants to enter the blogging world.

  13. Just stopping by to invite you to My Wednesday Linky party. http://diycraftyprojects.com/2012/11/whatcha-work-up-wednesday-linky-party-7.html

  14. Network and build your tribe. Attend conferences if you can, or smaller workshops.

  15. Love it! I’m certainly not a new blogger, but there is always room to grow!

    Cheers,
    Cathy

  16. Love your tips! quality photos are my bane!

  17. Wonderful tips Thanks for sharing. Joining from Look What I Made – http://allthoseartsygirls.blogspot.com/

  18. Thanks so much for these tips! Blogging isn’t part of my life right now (although I follow a few blogs), but if I ever choose to do it in the future, I’ll be referring back to this post for advice! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  19. Thanks for your tips! I began my blog in August and I always get excited to hit “PUBLISH”!

  20. Hi! I’ve been blogging off and on for almost a year. I agree on being consistent and getting to comment on blogs! It’s really helped me. I just started doing link parties and that how I found your post :)

    • How fitting that you found me through a linky party. And that’s neat that you’ve found a lot of the same things to be true.

      Your blog makes me salivate, btw. So many yummy creations…tasty indeed!

  21. Susan Miller says:

    I just read thru your post and thank you for your time and advice. I’m a SAHM and I’m always doing something crafty and creative. My life dream was to have a business of my own doing what I love!!! I have been thinking about blogging for months but have no clue where to start. There is so much info out there and others saying do this and do that and now I’m even more overwhelmed. Would you be willing to email me on first tine pointers and whatand where is the best place to start. Thanks a million. Look forward to hearing fromyou. Best regards, Susan

    • Yes, it can feel overwhelming with so many voices clamoring for our attention. Where to start? I think a lot of it is about writing honestly and writing from where you are…even if your first blog post is just about being overwhelmed. And “day by day” is a philosophy I live by. To look at a year of blogging is too much. But one day…one post…that is do-able.

      And if I didn’t make this clear in my post, if you enjoy writing, creating, collaborating, sharing your work with others…you’re going to love blogging! I find blogging extremely fun and nourishing to my creative soul. It’s truly less daunting than it seems from the outside…at least, that’s what I’ve found!

  22. These are great ideas! Thanks so much!

  23. Well said. I started by posting every day for 1 year and then cut back until I write about 2-3 a week. Photos are a big deal in posting. I agree with all of your excellent point.
    Joy

  24. Great read. I am a new blogger and have learned many of these lessons as well! I would love for you to add this post, and any others, to my weekly Mom’s Library Link-Up.
    http://heymommychocolatemilk.blogspot.com/2012/11/co-hosting-moms-library-4-for-me.html

    Thanks and Be Blessed,
    Julie

  25. Great Tips. Thanks for sharing

  26. What a nice & Useful post ! Thank you x

  27. Thank you for all the great tips! I am always looking for new followers, so these will hopefully help me achieve my goal! (See? I’m commenting ;) )

  28. Wow thank you so much for these pointers! Most I haven’t even thought of yet. I’m quite new to the blogging thing so these tips come in handy. I’ll pass this URL on to some of my blogging friends. If you have the time please check out my blog: http://www.amorenmanie.blogspot.nl . It’s in Dutch but Google translate works quite well.

    Bye!
    Hester

  29. Thanks so much for your help with my site’s revamp. Your above post was very helpful, in addition to your private e-mail. Much love!
    And now for tip #11, participate in blog awards!

    I just nominated you for a “Liebster Blog Award”! Please check out my latest post: http://wp.me/p12yAb-H1, to participate and nominate your favorite blogs! Have a great weekend!

  30. floridaysmom says:

    I found your blog via Decorm DIY. What a great post! I love your approach to helping us new bloggers. I’d say the proof is in the pudding that you have this many comments in 2 months. WAY TO GO!!!!

  31. #8 – SOOO TRUE! I can’t tell how many times I come up with a sweet idea and then POOF it’s gone. I do find if I can’t write it down, it helps to take pictures of things that sparked the idea to re-spark it later. Thanks for sharing your tips! I’m only about 2 months into this blog journey with Bill and it’s been a very interesting ride!

    • Great idea to snap a pic, too, when inspiration strikes – - especially if you’re more of a visual person. And congrats on your first two months! Looks like you and Bill have been up to a lot of FUN projects. Keep on keeping on!

  32. Great tips! Where was this when I first started? Thanks for sharing at the Keep Calm and Link Up party! Hope to see you back next week!

  33. Thanks for the tips! I too am a new blog (started right around the same time as you actually!) and am loving every minute of it! Before I ventured into this world of blogging, i wanted to be sure it was something that I wanted to do and not waste my time over. So i did my research for a month or so. One tip that REALLY helped me: make a list of 50-100 possible ideas/topics. I worked on this list for about a week, adding many ideas i had at the time (and still adding to it). And now they help me wonderfully because whenever i get stuck on a topic to write about I turn to my list!
    Blogging sure does open up so much…and really teaches you lots (writing, photography, research, etc. etc!).
    Thanks again!

    • Great idea, Jovana, to do an ideas brainstorm…I have a running list going, but I think I’ll make an exercise of it, and try to get it up to 50-100 as you suggested.

      And yes, I’m learning so much, too…especially about photography! It’s great!

  34. Thanks for this – I have just done a week of blogging and will be prettying up my blog after reading your tips.
    Tried to install wordpress but it got the better of me – any tips?

    http://lisaunhemmed.weebly.com/

    Lisa

  35. This was an awesome post. I still consider myself a new blogger, but have been blogging for the better of a year now. I really liked your tips and agree that I was a sit back and look blogger at first, but now I like to comment and love when I receive comments:) I really need to work on better pictures. I feel like I lack in that area, but thanks for the tips!

  36. Such great advice!! Thanks so much!! I’m new to blogging, so this is very helpful!!

  37. You’ve done a GReat job with your tips…even if I did skim over some of them. I really like the pixlr link and will go there asap! I apologize in advance if you mentioned this…but the one thing that I thought of after reading through your post…is that I always, ALWAYS like to visit those that comment when they visit me. I’ve developed some wonderful friendships via my blog and it’s because of the back and forth bits of love that we share.

    • Yes, Annie, I totally agree about clicking on the blogs of those who make comments…it helps to put a face to the name and can lead to some great conversation. I, too, have made most of my blogger buddies that way!

  38. I love this! Definitely pinning, these are fantastic tips! Followed you on Pinterest and bloglovin!

  39. Great tips!!

  40. Thanks so much for all of the wonderful tips! I’ve just recently started linking up at link parties and have been posting their links at the bottoms of my posts. I love your link party page and am thinking about doing that, instead. I’m curious if you feel like you have a good way to keep it all organized – do you know of a good way to keep track of which posts you’ve linked up to which sites? Thanks for sharing your tips with us!

    • Laurie, you have some great questions here. I ended up making a separate linky page because it was just too much work for me to add the individual parties I was linking to one by one. I know some hosts ask for links directly in your post, but many of them understand.

      In terms of organization…my current system is this. If I link up, I try to do so within one week’s time (that keeps me from repeats), and I try to do all of the parties that I have listed for that day. Even if I don’t link up, I usually try to at least visit each party to see the features. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to sometimes find my project listed! Or if you wanted to link up older posts, you could get an excel spreadsheet going with checkmarks for each party…but I think whatever you do, make it a simple system because linking up can end up taking a lot of time, though it’s well worth it.

  41. This was very helpful for me, thank you so much. I am just getting started and need all the advise and ideas and help I can get! So thank you again, you make it so easy to understand. I hope you’ll visit me at Memories by the Mile.
    Hugs,
    Wanda Ann

    • So glad it was helpful; that was my goal! And I appreciate the invite to your blog; I’m so impressed by all that you’ve accomplished and in such a short time. Great photos, too! Happy blogging to you, Wanda Ann.

  42. Always good reminders, even as my blog turns one! Visiting from B&N party!

  43. If I ever decide to blog, this post will be what I’ll read first! You are certainly a great teacher sharing what you have learned so far! Can’t wait to hear what you’ve learned after a year or two into this!

    • Thanks, Mom! You’d be a great blogger…especially when it comes to psych. nursing. You’re such an advocate for nurses…especially young ones. Maybe something fun to do when you end up retiring…in 20 years. ;-)

  44. Love your post! I have been blogging since February and always looking for ways to Improve, so I was drawn to your post. I am currently hoping to add a pin it button and improve my photography. I think your tips are spot on, I especially like what you said about giving credit where credit is due. So many times I go to a blog only to find it a collection of ideas from other blogs with no sources to the originator, I have now refused to pin something from such a blog just because they have not given proper credit to the original source, I don’t believe they should get the traffic from Pinterest when they are just copying someone else’s idea. Sorry, got a bit long winded. Thanks for tips!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Ann! I, too, would love a pin it button (perhaps one of my blogger new year’s resolutions?).

      I appreciate you affirming the “giving credit” issue; it seems like a no-brainer to me, but sadly, I know not everyone does. Not sure if it’s true malice or just laziness, but it’s definitely not alright! Taking that extra step is not only respectful, but the right thing to do. And I believe readers will respect YOU more for sharing links to the original sources; I know I always do.

      Cheers!

  45. All great tips! Thanks for sharing!!

  46. Those are some really great tips! Thank you for sharing. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House which goes live at 8am CST on Monday. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  47. Love the suggestions all really good. I’ve been blogging for about 9 months and still feeling my way, having fun so far. I would suggest making pictures and text on a blog large enough to be easy to read and see. So annoying to squint or maybe it’s just me?

    • Yes! Those are great tips. I love blogs with big, bright images…and the text part is a great point. Sadly, with the most basic WordPress blog, I can’t adjust text size; one of the reasons I’m seriously considering an upgrade.

  48. You make me desire to open a blog :)
    Maybe, in new year coming…

  49. GREAT TOP TEN for new bloggers. I still consider myself a newbie, having started in February of this year. So, I still seek out suggestions/help from others.
    THANKS. Now following you. Please come visit me.

  50. Thanks! You have given me some good tips here!!

  51. Love this! I am also a new blogger, going on one month. I would add: Be patient. It is so easy to compare your blog to other blogs that seem more “successful.” Better pictures, more followers, etc. will come as you learn what you’re doing!

    • Congrats on your first month! And yes, you are so right about not comparing yourself to other bloggers. It’s a dangerous thing to do and important to avoid if you want to make any real progress. I try to remember that there will always be someone doing “more” than me or doing “better,” and that all I have to do is my best for today…and have fun! Thank you for your wise words.

  52. Wonderful list! I am pinning this to my blog tips board for future reference. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  53. Wow, you are inspiring! I have been blogging about 2 months as well, and have miles to go, but I’m learning little bits day by day. Thanks for the great ideas!

  54. Oh goodness, I love this! With all the DIY we’ve been doing to get ready for our wedding (47 days to go!!!) I’ve been considering starting a DIY blog myself, this was definitely useful! Hope Florida is treating you and Mark well!

    • Audra! I’m so happy to “see” you here. After visiting Josh’s place (your soon to be home!) and seeing all of your lovely D.I.Y. projects, I can only imagine the beauty and brilliance that is being wrought in preparation for your special day. But who has time to have a blog while planning a wedding? Truly, I don’t know how some people do it. I’m planning to do a retrospective of some of our wedding d.i.y. projects around our 4th anniversary in July. Maybe you could do the same at some point! I’d love to follow a blog of yours. Send our greetings to your hubby-to-be and blessings to you both as your prepare to get hitched!

  55. I recently started blogging about my 30 day challenge to spend less on groceries. I love your tip about using pixlr. Thanks! http://creativesaver.blogspot.com/

  56. Hi. Love your blog and your honesty.

  57. Thank you so much! Your tips are invaluable… have been blogging for 5 months and had no idea how to watermark my photos. Learning something new each day and loving it!

  58. Excellent post , wish I would have had this help when I started , lots of great tips .

  59. These are some great tips! This would have been a great post to read when I first started blogging rather than just trying to figure things out on my own. I’m featuring this tonight on my blog and pinning!

  60. All great tips! Thanx for sharing at THT!

  61. I agree with the “be patient”. It takes time to build an archive that then becomes highly searchable by search engines. The more content you have the more your page views will naturally grow. So be patient and consistent. Content is king! Having compelling, interesting content is what keeps them coming back :)

  62. Awesome tips. Thanks for the inspiration.

  63. I’ve been blogging for several years, but I appreciated the reminder on these.

    One other tip I have is that if you have more than one main niche, you might want an extra blog or two so that your regular readers aren’t overwhelmed with posts that don’t interest them. For example, besides my regular general interest blog, I have one for moms/homemaking, three for home schooling, and one for theology issues.

    As for the photos, I take mine with my iPod touch that is always with me. Sometimes the original quality is not the best, so editing is the key. Cropping is always the main thing; sometimes just decluttering the picture can make it pop. I also fiddle with the lighting and saturation using Picasa.

    Happy blogging!

    Virginia

    • Thanks for these great tips. Wow, I can’t believe you have six blogs! You are a super-blogger!

      Your tip about gearing your material to the niche that suits your readers is a good one. And you’re so right about cropping to de-clutter.

      Thanks again for taking the time to share some of your tips and tricks of the trade.

  64. Wow, this is great, for a new blogger you are miles ahead of me. I just started a blog about two months ago too, but you my friend, are way better than me! I am pinning this, and maybe I should learn to take better pictures, even with my crappy camera! Thanks so much! Can’t wait to explore your blog!

    • Mindi, your blog is fantastic! I especially love your graphics and buttons…miles ahead? I don’t think so! ;-)

      And I’m finding a lot of folk started blogging about two months ago…interesting! Must have been something in the air….

  65. Great tips! Thanks for linking up to Tickled Pink! I am sharing this tomorrow…it is always good to share others perspectives with bloggers and we can all learn and grow!

  66. Thank you so much for these tips! I also consider myself a new blogger, although I’ve been blogging for about half a year now. I still feel pretty new to it all. I only just discovered link parties, but have only tried it on one post so far. I’m still pretty new to it all. These were really great tips and you are a very concise and clear writer. Thank you for sharing with us!

    • Thanks for the compliments on my writing; I always aim to be clear and conciseness is something I’m working on, so that perked me up to hear it! Love how your blog is written like articles…you’re a very gifted writer yourself! I appreciate the follow, Bethany. So happy to have you along for the ride.

      • Thank you! I just signed up on Bloglovin and I am totally lovin’ it! I just unsubscribed to all the blogs I am following via email and started following them on Bloglovin. I then spent the other half of the night looking for new social buttons for my site that includes both bloglovin and pinterest. What a great tip!

  67. Some good information here, thanks for linking up last week!
    http://www.joyfulhomemaking.com/2012/11/welcome-to-think-tank-thursday-5.html

  68. Hyaneeshna! 151 comments? You’ve clearly struck gold on this one, sis! Congrats! And boy oh boy, I’ve been blogging since ’10 and don’t do many of these things…I’ve got to revamp my blog etiquette one of these days soon!

    • Well, half of those are mine, ha ha, but still, I’m so happy this has sparked such a dialogue! This post has really opened my eyes to what blogging can really be – - a way to inspire others to grow, encourage one another as we take on new challenges, and share what we’ve learned to help a sister (or bro) out! It has definitely gotten me thinking about what this blog might grow to become in the future….

    • And keep in mind, you’re in a different blog “category” than I am…so some of these suggestions (like link parties) might not apply…. I think you’ve got a pretty good thing going over at Squeeze it Into Little Inkdrops!

  69. katiesnestingspot says:

    I completely agree with all of your suggestions! I especially think watermarking and giving credit where due are especially important things to remember.

  70. Good tips!! Thank You for sharing. I’m new myself to this and experimenting!!

  71. wow – where have you BEEN!! :-) I’ve been needing this type of help ever since I started this adventure in March – just popped over from a link on a new blog I discovered, madewithhugsandkisses, and now I need to go back over there and thank her for this link. This is one that should be on Freshly Pressed.

  72. Love your ideas, but I do not understand how to use Pixir. I would like to watermark my photos. Can you help?

    • Here’s a basic walk-through:

      -Open pixlr express.
      -Click browse and select the picture file you want to work with (saved on your computer).
      -Now that the picture is pulled up, click on the box with the “Aa” that says “text.”
      -Click on a font category (i.e. novelty).
      -Then, choose a font name within that category by clicking on “font” (i.e. Comic Zine Ot).
      -Click where it says “Type your text here” and type what you want your watermark to say.
      -You can then change the color by clicking color or the size by grabbing the corner of your text box and making it larger or smaller.
      -To achieve the transparent watermark effect, when selecting color, you’ll see two rectangles – - one with a rainbow of colors and one that goes from black to white. The second one is the one you can adjust to have your text start to fade. I usually drag the notch about 1/3 of the way down for my watermarking.
      -Click apply and you’re ready to save your edited image back to your computer, so you can upload it to your blog.

      I hope that helps! If you still have questions, shoot me an email at thethinkingcloset {at} gmail {dot} com, and I’ll see if I can provide even more detail. Good luck!

  73. These are really great ideas for beginner bloggers as well as seasoned bloggers. I’ve had a number of blogs over the past few years and I’m always learning something new. I particularly like your tip about watermarking your photos. That’s something I never think about but I really need to start doing it. Thanks!

  74. I am new bloger from June.Iam learning,learning every day.I am so proud to create my blog becouse i am alone and read,read…i dont know how to create LABELS to my blog.I think that is important.Thanks for sharing.If you help me to my problem ,PLEASE give me link where i read that.
    Your blog is beautiful:))))

    • Cale! Thank you! It’s always great to meet other “new” bloggers. I’d love to help answer yours question…but I might need more explanation. When you say “labels,” do you mean banners on your sidebar or text on your photos? If you could explain in more detail, perhaps I can help and share some links. ;-)

  75. Thanks for all the helpful tips! I asked for a more professional photo editor for Christmas but I’m going to start playing with Pixlr today and it’s all thanks to you :)

  76. kelly thompson says:

    this was helpful, I just ran across your blog and am a fan, just one question as I am a new blogger too, if I want to tell people about other websites I like for instance that sell soap supplies or tires or whatever, do I just give the website to the readers to help them or should I get with someone on the other end first…do readers like to have lots or possible info like websites to click on or is it overkill ever….and should I expect a thank you from the person I am giving free advertising to or expect nothing in return if they dont even know I am telling readers about them? thanks!

    • Great question, Kelly! (Others, feel free to weigh in.) But here’s my two cents:

      A lot may depend on the purpose of your post. Are you writing to help your readers? Then, link to the appropriate sites so your readers can get it on the goodness. But don’t expect any compensation from the company. OR are you writing to advertise products you love in hopes of helping out companies you believe in? In that case, you might consider writing a draft of your post, contacting a marketing person at said company, and seeing if they’d be interesting in sponsoring your post. But be prepared for them decline. (This coming from someone who has never been compensated for a post…so take it with a grain of salt.)

      I think I did a little “link” overkill in my beginning tutorials (providing hyperlinks on every single supply I used for a project, when folks could have easily googled them). But if you mention other bloggers or smaller businesses that have been great resources for you, I think hyperlinks are always polite. Not only may they help your reader, but the company you link to may even notice traffic coming from your blog. You might get a thanks, and who knows, it could inspire a collaboration someday!

      Hope that’s helpful! And feel free to email me with more specific questions or clarification if I didn’t quite answer your question. Happy blogging!

      • kelly thompson says:

        thanks for responding, I am just about to read it now- for some reason it never occurred to me to come back to look for a response…I thought for some reason it would just appear in my inbox…duh! thanks again! Love your blog- so creative!

        • I’m working on that whole “comment replies to your inbox” thing. My blog is hosted for free by wordpress.com, so there are limitations. But one of my goals for the new year is to switchover to self-hosted WordPress where folks will have the option to receive replies in their inbox. Anyway, I’m so glad you came back to check my reply…hope it was helpful.

  77. Hey Lauren! I’ve shown some “Link Love” to your post here. It’s a good one, as I’ve told you before :) I hope you don’t mind my ranting and raving about how helpful you blog is on my blog, ha ha. In “My Blogging Lessons of 2012″, I let everyone know that your article gave me what turned into one of my most helpful tips- use Pixlr. Thanks again!

    • Ha ha, rant and rave all you want, Carly! :-) I’m so glad to hear pixlr has been a huge help to you, too. I see from your post that you’re adept in using the advanced version of pixlr; I might need to pick your brain on that. I tried it once, but didn’t quite even know where to begin. It appears the student has surpassed the master! Lol. :-)

  78. About 1 billion years ago I took a class that mostly focused on photoshop. If I were smart I would have purchased the photoshop software then with the school’s discount, but “When would I ever use this in real life?” Right? Ha! It turns out Advanced Pixlar has a lot in common with that ancient version of photoshop. I figured out a good deal of the features after tinkering with it for… more time than I’m willing to admit. I love love love to help! I’m intensely rusty, but I would be tickled to death if I could be of any assistance to you, or anyone else. I used the advanced option in Pixlar to update our header and to create the first image in the post “My Blogging Lessons of 2012″ if that gives you any idea of my capabilities and limitations. Let me know if there’s anything I can help with, especially as you move forward in 2013 and starting self-hosting The Thinking Closet.

    • You’ve inspired me to fiddle around in the advanced version of pixlr to see if I can figure things out a bit…and I’ll definitely come to you with questions. In fact, I have one in my head right now – - will shoot you an email about it. Thanks for offering to be a resource, Carly! You’re the best.

  79. Great food for thought here on your pages, just glad I found it. Hopefully this will kickstart my New Year. Hugs Wendy

  80. Thanks for all your tips, but I need specifics on how to link back when joining a linky party. Do you copy the button by right clicking and then will it add the link or do you have to add the link separately? I have a WP blog and have not been doing it very long so would appreciate the walk-through!

    • Good question. If they have the button code listed beneath the button, copy the part of the code that starts in http and ends in jpg / png / gif (picture files). OR you can right click, hit VIEW INFO, and copy the html from there. Then, go to your blog, and wherever you want the button to end up click ADD MEDIA. Then INSERT FROM URL. Paste that url that you copied into the HTTP box and the image should immediately pop up. If it doesn’t, you didn’t grab the right info or maybe missed a letter. After that, you want to go back to the website hosting the party and copy the actual website url (for example, mine would be http://thethinkingcloset.wordpress.com). Return to your ADD MEDIA page and insert that url under CUSTOM URL. So, when people click that button, it will take them to the site. You can add a caption if you like and alternate text (which is simply the text that appears if your mouse hovers over the image…might be the blog title), but those are optional. I hope that makes it more clear! If not, let me know, and I can try to explain it another way. Have fun linking up!

  81. Thank you for all those useful tips! I´m new to all of this, but you really made me think about a few things. I´m especially excited about pixlr, and can´t wait to post nice photos on my blog.
    (sorry about any spelling or grammar mistakes, I´m danish :))

    • Sofie! Thank you for your comment. Not a spelling or grammer mistake to worry about (and even if there was, never fear!). Pixlr has been such a great resource for me and has definitely amped up my photos. Even though I’m looking at investing in some new photo editing software, I think I’ll still use pixlr for certain things that I’ve just grown accustomed to (like the Sanna effect and the collages). Let me know if you have any questions! (Especially with the efficient version.)

  82. Great post! One of my goals for 2013 is to grow my blog, and this has given me some great tips! Thank you for putting together some real-world tips for those of us just getting started!

    • Just came back from visiting your blog and you have some GREAT ideas, Katie. Love how you made family chores so much more fun – - and organized! Glad you found some helpful tips here. Happy blogging!

  83. I’m a little late to see this post, but I really appreciate all of your thoughtful ideas. I’m standing on the edge of the cliff and contemplating jumping in with my own blog. My goal for now, to stop lurking (the term I noticed you used, too), and comment when I really connect with a post. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Way to go on already taking steps toward accomplishing your goal! I have found that leaving comments and receiving them has been one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging, so especially if you’re considering starting a blog (which you should…it’s so darn fun!), commenting will be a great way to start to make connections with other bloggers. Glad you found encouragement here today, Rose! And let me know if and when you start your blog. I’d love to stop by and leave you some comment love. ;-)

  84. I just left a comment but I don’t think it posted….so in case it didn’t, just wanted to say thanks for a great post! I too am a new blogger and I enjoyed reading your tips here–I am now in the process of adding a title and alt text to my images! I too am kind of a lurker, but not after this comment! Thanks again! :)

    • Thanks for speaking up and for breaking the “lurker barrier” with your comment (I totally was a lurker, too, so I understand). Good for you that you’re starting to add titles and alt text to your images; it’ll be a great help when folks are pinning your projects and I think it helps from an SEO standpoint when you add keywords to photos. Brava!

  85. Reblogged this on fuzzbombcraft's Blog and commented:
    I’m loving this blog and this post is what pushed me into the start of mine. Some really great ideas…

  86. Thanks for sharing these blogging tips. I, too, am a new blogger and trying to feel my way through the whole process and finding my way into the blogging world. You have a great site here. I’ll be checking back soon. Have a great day.

  87. Oh, I meant to ask you this ~ what theme are you using? I really like it.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Lori! I very much enjoyed my visit to your blog just now…your blog design is just lovely. You are definitely making your way!

      And to answer your question, my theme is Splendio by DesignDisease – - and I’m doing my best to make the most of it. I’m so glad you like it!

      • Thank you, Lauren for visiting my site and leaving me such nice comments. They made my day. I have been feeling a bit insecure about the way I have designed my blog ~ especially when I look at other blogs and see all of the talent and great designs. So your words comforted me in ways you’ll never know. You are very talented and I love your photos and sense of humor. Have a great day.

        • It’s easy to fall into the trap of the comparison game – - I’ve done it, too – - but I keep hearing from other bloggers that there will always be someone posting more than you, doing more than you, with more followers that you, and that it’s important to seek inspiration from each other but not compare ourselves to others. I really think you’re blog design is gorgeous, Lori! And I’m glad that my comment was an encouragement to you. Thanks for your kind words, and I look forward to staying in touch!

  88. This is so cool! We are new too and learning about the wide world of link ups and craftgawker (I’ve had two denied submissions too! :) ) …glad to know we are in good company :) Love!

    • Oh yeah! I’m really racking up those craftgawker rejections (ha ha)…but I try not to let it get me down! Oftentimes, it’s simply because my image doesn’t crop well into a square or there’s too much going on in the background. Craftgawker loves the simple white background I have found. Thanks for you comment! I’m still obsessed with your vintage pyrex candles…must – make – my – own!

  89. I’m also a newer blogger and I really appreciate the tips you’ve mentioned. I think it’s good to be consistent like you said, and post on a regular schedule. For me that means once a week or bi-weekly so that I can give the best content possible. That allows me wiggle room to work on each article I post.. I need it since this is an “all-me” production!

    • As I commented on your blog earlier, way to go with posting less so that you can post more quality! And I love that you gave your readers the heads-up about the changes to come, so they know what to expect. That’s great! Best of luck as you forge ahead, Bekka Poo.

  90. I have been blogging for around 6 weeks and I am loving it! Sometimes I feel so lost in this whole crazy thing though, so I appreciate these tips! I am pinning this so I can reference it again and again!

    • It is easy to feel lost, isn’t it? Especially with all of these bloggers writing “Tips” posts left and right (wink wink). But seriously, I think you need to take what resonates with you and let the rest go; at the end of the day, it’s YOUR blog. Not mine. Not anyone else’s. And it’ll grow the most when its driven by your passion and authenticity. That’s what’s been on my mind a lot lately.

      Also, I think there’s value to focusing on one thing at a time. In the beginning, I think I felt so overwhelmed by all that was out there, that I was a little scatterbrained and unproductive. Better to do a few things well than a million things poorly, right? This is a bit of a rambly reply, but hopefully some truths are peeking through.

      Thanks for the pin, too, Heather! I appreciate it.

  91. This is the end of my first week of blogging! It’s super addicting and I’m starting to figure everything out SLOWLY! This is a great summary of what I’ve been trying to do for the last week and planning to continue (yesterday was the day that I figured out I should comment on other blogs…duh). Thanks for posting!

    • Wow! First week down? I’m so excited for you, Beth! And actually, I don’t think I grasped the importance of comments for several weeks into blogging, so consider yourself in great shape!

      I just came back from a visit to your beautiful blog and love it. I’m amazed that you have such a clear vision for your blog already…that probably reflects on your clarity of vision for your life. So glad that you may have found affirmations of your instincts here today…and I’d love to read YOUR tips for new bloggers in 2 months. Seriously, I have a feeling that you’ll have some incredible insights to offer blogland.

  92. I am not a blogger (yet), but you never know what might happen in the future – ha! But I did read your very helpful tips and wanted to say, nicely done! Thank you.

    • That’s right! Never say never…. I didn’t have any time or desire to blog until September of this past year; prior to that I was just too busy. But certain seasons of life will bring new activities, right? Thanks for reading and for dropping such a sweet comment.

  93. I’ve been blogging for over a year and still have so much to learn. Thanks for these tips. Like you I was a lurker and have found that leaving comments on other peoples blogs is so important. We all love some kind of recognition.

    • I feel like where blogging and the internet are concerned, there’s always more to learn! And I’m sure you could teach me a thing or ten after having a year of blogging under your belt. Yes, it’s so true that comments really are a source for such connection with blogging. I probably spend more time writing and reading comments than I do crafting! But it’s worth it for me. Thanks for leaving a comment, so I can visit your blog!

  94. Thank You for sharing all these tips! Even though my lack of English, I believe I learned a lot, and I guess I will visit Your site often :-D.
    I was specially curious about Linky Parties – I think we Finns don’t have them…
    Sunny spring wishes!

    • I’m delighted to hear that you found this a helpful post…and from your comment, it seems like your English is in great shape! I had not heard of linky parties until I became a blogger; and you would be welcome to join in on the linky parties hosted by bloggers in the U.S. or Britain (those are the only ones I have seen) if you were interested…it’s a virtual party, and I know I personally love connecting with other bloggers around the world!

      Happy to meet you, Eeva, and sunny spring wishes to you, too!

  95. Thanks for your well written blogging ideas. I will definitely try them out.

  96. As someone who’s literally just started blogging (still in my first few weeks!) this is incredibly helpful, and reassuring too. Saw you on a link party (also my first one!) and I totally agree – great way to connect with the likeminded. This has definitely encouraged me to comment on other’s blogs, as you can see!
    Thanks,
    Ella

    • Congrats, Ella Elizabeth! I just came back from a visit to your blog, and I’m so impressed by what you’ve done already. And you’re 17!? Awesome. As I wrote to you over at Little Scarlet Robin, the voice of the student is much-needed in this niche.

      Let me know if I can be of any help to you as you navigate the uncharted waters ahead. Though it looks like you’re off to a fantastic start!

  97. This post is a wonderful resource, Lauren. Thank you! I’m not a new blogger, but I am a ‘novice’ blogger. I’m looking at self-hosting now and taking my blog into new territory. Your tips are just what I needed. I was directed to your site by Beth at Whole New Leaf. I think I’ll go back and read from the beginning post!

    • Gotta love that Beth! Thanks for stoppin’ by. Connecting with other bloggers is one of my favorite things ever, so you have just made my night with all of these sweet comments I get to respond to. How exciting that you’re contemplating switching to self-hosted WordPress. It’s definitely a big endeavor, but now over a month on WordPress.org, I can say that it was well worth it for me. Please let me know if I can be of any help to you as you contemplate the migration!

  98. Thank you for the Pixlr tip!

    • You are so welcome, Cindy! Though after visiting your blog and spying your beautiful images, I’m not sure you need any help in the photo editing department! You do beautiful work already. (If you are curious, though, about some of Pixlr’s features, I plan to do a Pixlr 101 post in the coming weeks.) Thanks for stopping by. Loved what I saw over at Zo Moo!

  99. Wow! What great tips. I was wondering how you made your header. It is really neat.

    Emma

  100. Thanks for these tips! I’ve been blogging for a month and trying to make my work more pin worthy. Pixlr is rocking my world!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Sometimes, it takes a while to get a sense for a blog and what they’re about…but within reading a few sentences of “You, Me & A House Makes Three,” I was gripped! Your voice was loud n’ clear, and I wanted to read more and more! You’ve only been blogging one month? I think you’re off to a great start, Berennisse. Looking forward to seeing more from you, girl!

  101. Kimberlee says:

    Awesome tips!! I especially loved the Japonizer!
    Also, do you (or did you) use WordPress.com or WordPress.org? Although I’m not even really sure what the difference is. I’m about to start a blog but I’m not sure what platform to use.. I want the freedom to customize everything myself but I’m not too savvy when it comes to encoding and web design and all that jazz!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Kimberlee, that is a grrrrreat question. And one that I wish I had even known to ask before I started blogging. So, here’s the deal: I started out on WordPress.com and recently migrated my blog to self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.org. I decided to migrate for a lot of reasons, and you can actually read ALL about it in “My Blog Migration Series” that starts here.

      But in my humble opinion, if you think that you’ll be in this blogging thing for the long haul (several years) or that you might ever want to monetize, then definitely start off on WordPress.org. You also mentioned the word “freedom,” and I felt extremely limited with customizing the look of my blog on WordPress.com, so WordPress.org has really given me space to breathe and find my stride. While I did have help in doing the migration and getting things set up the way I wanted, I know a few bloggers who started on WordPress.org and have managed just fine on their own, and with little to no technical knowledge. The thing is, there are so many great tutorials out there and so many bloggers eager to help a sister out, you really can DIY with WordPress.org.

      If you decide to start on WordPress.org, let me know! I’m a part of a FB group for folk on WordPress.org and I have learned a ton from the questions folk have asked and information shared. It’s truly been an invaluable resource for me, and I’d be happy to send you an invite in the future.

      Let me know if you have any other questions I can help you out with! Best of luck to you, Kimberlee.

  102. This is a fabulous post! Very informative! You have great tips in here! Thanks so much for sharing; I pinned to my blogging board ;o) Hope you have a wonderful Thursday!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      So glad that you found it informative, Elena! In fact, I’d love to check out your blogging board (always looking for blogging tips, myself). Off to find it!

  103. How great! :) I just started my blog five weeks ago and I’ve done all of those as well.
    xoxo Aimee
    bowsandbeau-ties.blogspot.com

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Wow! You’re in great shape then, Aimee. And welcome to blogland! It’s a marvelous place, isn’t it?

      • Thanks! :) The blogosphere is so creative and supportive. Love being part of the community and having a spot to share my personal style.
        xoxo Aimee
        bowsandbeau-ties.blogspot.com

        • thethinkingcloset says:

          Well said! It’s this wonderful merging of individual expression and community engagement! I’ve never really named it as such until now, but you’re totally spot on there. (And I just figured out the double-meaning of your blog title. Beau-ties / bowties…VERY creative.)

  104. Lovely post that can make life much easier for us newbies. You have learned so much more than I have. I started my blog awhile back, but just started blogging consistently in January or February. Now I feel like I am addicted!

    One thing I learned the hard way is naming your blog and not changing it. I started out with a blog name that was dull and boring, because I couldn’t think of anything catchy. I didn’t have any clue that I would end up where I am today, doing what I am doing, or that it would matter to change it later. When I finally came up with my current blog name, the switch was excruciatingly painful losing pageviews. That was about a month ago. My new blog name has caught up and surpassed my greatest expectations, so it doesn’t hurt so bad now ;)

    Picture taking is my down fall. I use my cell phone or my tablet and both have their good and bad points. But my biggest problem is containing my anxiety to get tohse pics to the press! I get so anxious to write my post, I often sarifice quality, and am working on stopping that.

    One more thing… Content! at first I let myself feel like what I was posting was pretty corny, especially i comparison to what other’s with more experience post. Then I decided that my it is mainly my lack of experience in both blogging and what I am doing, and that I can only improve with time. It’s al about growing and getting better to me. I try not to post babble, but let myself every once in awhile, because I do love to ‘talk’.

    Thank you for sharing!! And for ‘letting’ me share too. (Sorry for the length!)

    Bev @ Give me a paintbrush

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Bev, I totally remember our correspondence about your twin headboard debacle. Excited to hear you are enjoying a fresh start on your newly named blog. And I know several bloggers who went through your same situation of changing their blog name and going through the loss of their old posts…or at least the need to change their old watermarks (see Alex from Northstory’s comment up above). Glad to hear that the short-term pain of starting over has already shown long-term gain. And you seem to have an invigorated spirit from what I can tell.

      And I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling so anxious about clicking that “publish” button. Fear can be our biggest downfall, and if you can put it in perspective and think, “What’s the worst that can happen? I get a negative comment for my blurry picture? Oh well. Life goes on”, it may take help minimize that catastrophic thinking that can be so paralyzing. May you continue to build up your blogging confidence so that your content will truly soar.

      All in all, you sound like you have a healthy perspective on where you’re at in the game, and I’m proud of you for no longer judging yourself as having “corny” content. Playing the comparison game is never good; so put on those blinders and keep doing you, Bev! I know from this comment and the others that you’ve left that you have a vibrant personality. You’re “real” and that’s really refreshing to come across; I know that if you keep on keeping on, you’re going to grow even more than you can fathom right now.

      Don’t apologize for the length! I love to babble back! ;-) Thanks for sharing.

  105. Hi Lauren,
    this came at exactly the right time for me! I’m currently getting set-up to move from Tumblr to Blogger (babysteps!), and I feel so much pressure to get things right and find readers.. sigh. This really made me think about how blogging should, first and foremost be fun, and not to stress so much. Thanks for writing it!
    Cheers from Germany!
    Johanna

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      So glad that the timing on you finding this post was so perfect! Love it when that happens…. Haven’t heard about many people migrating from Tumblr to Blogger, but I’m sure it happens quite often. Is there an easy way to transfer your content and followers? Or is it a matter of starting from scratch?

      Yes, you are right: blogging should be a joyous act, and whenever I start to get stressed by it, I remind myself, “I chose to do this. It’s not a job. And the internet won’t explode if my blog isn’t perfect.” Sometimes I need to step away for a while, so I can return to it refreshed and reinspired.

      I migrated from WordPress.com to WordPress.org (you can read more about it here) and that was definitely stress-inducing…but I learned a lot, and definitely grew as a blogger and a person throughout the process.

      Hang in there, Johanna. And let me know if I can be a support to you in any way. Sending a hug from Florida to Germany!

      • It’s definitely starting from scratch; I feel like Tumblr is more of a collection of random things, and less of a traditional blog, if that makes sense. So I’m fairly certain I’ll have to find new followers, but I will be able to use all my old stuff. I am actually going to use it as my first posts on Blogger – kind of cheating, but I figure that I wrote it, so what’s the harm? It also really takes the pressure off when you have material prepared to post.
        I’m working with a lovely designer at the moment to get everything looking pretty and professional, but I’d love to know what you think once it’s all set-up! May I email you when I’ve gotten settled? I think it’d be really good to hear what an impartial person thinks, rather than my friends and family.
        Thank you for the link to your migration! I’m gonna check it out today, I’m sure I’ll find some useful things even though we’re on different platforms. I’m so happy I found your blog! :))

        • thethinkingcloset says:

          If and when you do make the transfer, see if you can post an eye-catching image on your Tumblr telling people that you’ve started a blog and that you’d like to continue to inspire them over there! You might be at how many followers trickle over from an announcement like that. And I don’t think that’s cheating at all to use some of your older content at all…it’s yours, right? It’s what I call “plagiarizing yourself,” but whereas real plagiarism is naughty, “plagiarizing yourself” is just being practical and time-saving.

          Yes, please do let me know when you do have your new blog up and rolling. I’d love to stop by and drop you a comment! My email is thethinkingcloset {at} gmail.com Excited for you, Johanna.

          • Thank you so much for the tip Lauren! I will definitely use that idea to let my Tumblr followers know what’s up. I am keeping the Tumblr, though, so I think they’ll be alright (I hope!).
            And I will be in touch when I have everything ready to go – thank you for being so kind and helpful!
            Hugs from Germany!

  106. I’m in Florida too! Thank you so much for sharing this post. I seriously feel like a lighbulb has just gone off in my head. As a new blogger, I can’t wait to get started with your advice. I just found you via Cozy Little House. I’m a new fan :)

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      I’m so glad that you feel reinvigorated after reading this post, CoCo. That was my high hope when writing it! And it delights me to connect with another Floridian blogger. Woot woot! Congrats on your new booth, too! How very exciting indeed.

  107. Hi Lauren-

    I soooo loved reading all these tips!! I am very new to the blogging world and feel so overwhelmed sometimes with so much to learn. I am having so much fun though. I am a diy addict and am having so much fun creating. Guess I am just having some issues getting the right pictures and putting it all into words! Your post inspired me! Thank you! If you have time will you stop by my little old blog??? thx Lynda

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Lynda, can I just say that you are doing AWESOME! I am floored by your amazing collection of before and afters, especially after learning that you considered yourself a creative misfit growing up. Maybe you were just a late bloomer, but you have certainly blossomed now! Your home is absolutely gorgeous…so artfully designed. I know that putting tutorials together can be tough (mostly just time consuming between taking so many photos and writing out the steps), but you certainly have so much to offer blogland, it’d be worthwhile for you to share your gems of knowledge and experience in some detailed tutorials. At least, that’s my two cents!

      Thanks for your sweet comment; I’m so glad you found some inspiration here! Happy Memorial Day weekend to you and your family.

  108. Amazing blog! You are an inspirational personality! I get completely engulfed in your posts! I really am taking a lot from this particular post as I am really just starting to step foot in the big beautiful blog world and to be hones it’s a little overwhelming. Especially with so many well done and picture perfect ones! I love how honest you write and break it down! I am now a faithful follower! You really have me thinking now!! Thank you and can’t wait to keep reading your previous posts and ones to come!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Chelsea, you’re too kind! But I’m delighted to hear that you’ve felt welcomed here during your visit to The Thinking Closet, and that you’ll be back again. In fact, your comment has given me the warm fuzzies! Thank you.

      Yes, it can be really overwhelming, especially in the beginning. It’s easy to start comparing yourself to other bloggers, but remember that a lot of folk have been at it longer than you have, and everyone is going to have their own talents and gifting. So, as long as you’re doing YOU, you can’t go wrong. What is the Judy Garland quote, “Always be a first rate version of yourself rather than a second rate version of someone else.”

      I’m excited to stop by Chellybean Crafting for a visit! See you in a few….

  109. THANK YOU for this! Exactly what I need! I am a very, very, new beginner in my blogging journey and will definitely be returning to your page for insight. XO!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Congrats, Meghan! Blogging is truly an exciting and incredible journey, and it delights me to know that these tips may have been a help to you, however small. Happy “travels.”

  110. This is an awesome post Lauren! I can’t believe your blog isn’t even a year old yet! You sure hit the ground running and have not stopped!! Your blog is amazing! (Gabby and I were just talking about you the other night on the phone…your ears should have been ringing)
    I wish I had read this 6 months ago when I started my blog…you never know just how much is involved until you start! You offer such great advice throughout your blog and I appreciate it!!
    Hope that someday I’ll make the switch to WordPress…but right now I’m too busy learning a new language (CSS and HTML)
    Just wanted to let you know you have earned a HUGE fan… us Florida blogger gals need to Unite!!
    Happy Summer!
    xoxo

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Sharon! Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to this awesome-blossom comment. My ears are ringing retroactively (you and Gabby are such dear-hearts). And it’s true: blogging really is an animal of its own, with a language of its own (props to you for taking the time to learn CSS and HTML! You’re ahead of me!). I’m definitely no expert, but it is thanks to the kindness of bloggers like yourself that I have managed to chug along, learning tricks and tips along the way, keeping my smile and hopefully give a few smiles to others. We really cannot do this bloggy thing on our own…at least not well!

      And yes, I’m excited to meet you face to face at FL Blog Con! Eep! :-) Thanks for being such a warm-hearted bloggy buddy, Sharon. I feel the love!

  111. Wow. This is awesome! Thanks again! 2 months in you sounded like a pro. :) I am defiantly practicing these! I love “write it down” I need to do that more. I’ve been researching the need to knows and all the story ideas are getting pushed out the other side lol. I can’t wait to grt in my first link up and meet more bloggers. :)

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      “Write it down” has really proven SO useful! And I use Evernote a lot now to “clip” ideas as I find them as well as keep a running list of post ideas.

      And lest you think you need to have “all your ducks in a row” before you start your blog, let me share with you one of my favorite quotes: “Leap and the net will appear.”

      Can’t wait to read your first post, Marilee!

      • I love evernote. I’ve had it for almost 2 years now and I’m almost to the upload point where I’ll have to subscribe. I feel very prepared now that you said that. Lol
        Great quote! :)

  112. Naman Pratap Singh says:

    Such a great piece of information.
    Hats off….Most amazing blog posts of 2013

  113. Hi,
    Thank you for this great post! I’m completely new to blogging world so it was extremely helpful ;) and I had no idea about link parties!!! :D

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      You are welcome, Lina! Yeah, once I happed upon the underworld of link parties, it blew my mind! And grew my blog in incredible ways. It’s hard to find the time to link up now, but it is definitely worthwhile if you can make it happen. Have fun partying, Lina! (One of my closest friends from high school is named Lina…so in a way, I already feel a kindredness to you.)

  114. Hi Lauren! I found your blog last night via a no longer remembered rabbit trail. It was late, and I was tired and I posted this comment on another post, instead of here where it belongs. Oops!!! I purchased a year’s worth of hosting in late August and have since posted a grand total of THREE posts and ONE page. **sigh** I’m seriously A.D.D. and all of this fabulous information and great tips from veteran bloggers are flying around in my brain like the ball in a pinball machine. Haha. First, and foremost; though, is when you’re doing your first few posts, and you KNOW that nobody is reading them, how do you get past that awkward voice in your head telling you to stop talking to yourself before somebody commits you to the funny farm? LOL. Thanks for these tips and I’m bookmarking this page for the next time I catch that pin-ball in my head :)

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      First of all, congrats on publishing anything at all! Getting started is definitely the hardest part, and after visiting Just Trixie, I can tell you are off to a solid start.

      I think you answered your own question in your first post: “…but every post I make here, will be from the heart, a letter to a friend, from my heart to yours.”

      My answer to you as to how to overcome the voice in your head is to choose someone specific to talk to when you write. Your husband. Your daughter. Write that letter to a friend. And just by envisioning a face on the other end, it will help you overcome that hurdle of an imaginary or nonexistent audience.

      And keep on keeping on. Blogging takes a lot of hard work and a lot of posts without much engagement…but if you’re sharing from the heart as you have committed to do, and if you are sharing generously with your readers, a vibrant audience of readers will grow.

      You can do it, Trixie!

  115. Hi Lauren,
    Thank you for sharing these great tips! I really like that you share your knowledge of blogging with useful posts like this one and others about the link parties. As a new blogger, I just discovered that things like link parties existed and am yet to join my first. Your posts will surely guide me :)
    smiles,
    Bipasha
    http://sunnydistrict.wordpress.com/

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Bipasha, I’m delighted to know I’ve been of help to you. We bloggers need to look out for each other! Yes, linky parties are a TON of fun – - watch out, you’ll get sucked in fast (they can be addicting!). But linky parties were really responsible for a lot of my blog growth, especially in the beginning; it’s such a great way to network and meet other bloggers and get your content out there. Happy linking!

  116. 275 comments and you just posted this today!?! Wow!
    Well, I think I follow about 1 of those tips out of the ten, but at least I do one :)
    Keep up the good work! With 275 comments, that means your tips are great ones!
    I’ll pass this along.

  117. Thank you for sharing these tips! I randomly found you on Pinterest today and you new tips post plus this one are wonderful! I just launched my own blog and will take your tips to hear. Thank you for sharing – your blog looks great!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Hi Emily! So glad you found this post helpful! Congrats on the new blog (now a bit less new). Off to visit you there!

  118. I just started my blog a couple of weeks ago, so these tips are well timed, thank you! Some good ones here, and I’m excited to read the related posts.

    If you’ve answered this question in another post or comment, I apologize, but how did you make the graphics that link to the other posts? I’ve begun using to picmonkey to add to pictures, but I’d love to make poster like images like this. Yours look great!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Robyn! Just got back from a visit to your site and I had SUCH a grand time. Girl, for being only a few weeks in, you are leaps and bounds ahead of where I think I was when I first started. Brava!

      Also, I’m MORE than happy to share how I designed the graphics for some of my other posts. So, I can be fickle, so all three were done using different sites. The third one, “5 Pearls,” I made using a site called Recite This. It’s the easiest to use BY FAR, but doesn’t really have any customization options. Still, they have a lot of fun design templates to work with and it’s pretty much “plug and play.”

      The “10 MORE Tips” graphic I made using a new site called Canva. They’re still in beta mode, I do believe, but you should be able to sign up for a free account and use their resources. When I joined it was invite-only, but they now appear to be accepting folk that create an account. They have a lot of fun templates to choose from with WAY more customization than Recite This! https://www.canva.com/signup

      And the graphic for “5 Tips for Overcoming Blogger’s Block” I made using a combination of PicMonkey and Pixlr. To get that background in PicMonkey, you need to select the butterfly and then add your own image atop of a blank canvas or image. It’s a workaround for customizing the background. And if you’ve never used Pixlr Express before, I have a tutorial on that! http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2013/04/16/how-to-edit-photos-with-pixlr-express-a-video-tutorial/

      Hope that helps! And let me know if you have any more questions I can take a stab at. Not too long ago, I was in your shoes. So, I do my best to help other bloggers out when I can!

      • So much for sleeping tonight… I’m just going to be experimenting with these sites all night now! Thank you for sharing, and sharing with such detail!

        I’ve just spent the last half hour reading through different posts of yours; I love them! You’re going in my bookmarks and my feed. I love your voice and the helpful content you share. Best blog find of my day. :D

        I’m so glad you came by Living What You Love too! Your words mean so much to me, and any kind of encouragement is so great to hear. I do hope I’ll be seeing you around, I’m sure we can connect in lots of ways!

        Thanks a ton Lauren, you’re a sweetheart!

        • thethinkingcloset says:

          Aw…best of the day? Wow, way to make me blush! So glad my response was helpful for you and that you enjoyed your exploration of some of my archives. I work hard to create content that either teaches or inspires (and sometimes, when it’s the perfect storm, even both!)…but you can start to second guess yourself sometimes. So your affirmations are a great encouragement to me! (Look at us…bolstering each other’s spirits in the same night.) Let’s definitely keep in touch, Robyn! You’re a gem and a half, I can tell. ;-)

  119. Thank you so much for this post! I’m about a month into my blog and have been like a sponge trying to soak up all the info I can! :)

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      You are so welcome, Whitney! Your blog seems to be off to a fantastic start! I’m diggin’ your honest, heartfelt blogger’s voice. You’ve got this, girl.

  120. Hi Lauren
    I came to your blog through Pinterest ( my online addiction ) :) I’m loving all your great tips on blogging. I don’t currently have a blog but am in the process of researching as much as possible before “going public” my husband and I will be blogging together, he is the more technical guy and I’m the designer gal. Our blog will be geared around a new direction we are taking in life. We are selling everything we own and moving onto a 40-45′ catamaran to sail the world with our 8yr old son. Stay tuned for the actual blog!
    All that aside my question is how do you crest the poster – like images that have text ? The ones that are commonly pinned? Not sure what to call them. Is it a site like picmonkey? Any advice is appreciated.
    Thanks Lauren, living the blog, I will be back for more.
    Cheers, Krista

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Wow, Krista! This sounds like a fabulous adventure you and your hubby and son are embarking on. Can we come with you? Seriously, that is a dream of my husband’s. Undoubtedly your story will be an inspiration to others – - so I’m delighted to hear you’ll be starting a blog!

      Now for your question. To create those pin-able pics with text atop photos or just text atop a digital background, there are a few sites I use:

      1) Recite This. It’s the easiest to use BY FAR, but doesn’t really have any customization options. Still, they have a lot of fun design templates to work with and it’s pretty much “plug and play.” http://recitethis.com/

      2) Canva. They’re still in beta mode, I do believe, but you should be able to sign up for a free account and use their resources. They have a lot of fun templates to choose from with WAY more customization than Recite This! https://www.canva.com/signup

      3) PicMonkey and Pixlr are great for adding text atop of photos. And if you’ve never used Pixlr Express before, I have a tutorial on that! http://www.thinkingcloset.com/2013/04/16/how-to-edit-photos-with-pixlr-express-a-video-tutorial/

      Hope that helps! And best of luck to you and your family on your grand, grand journey.

  121. Thanks for these great tips! I am slowly getting more into blogging and plan to start following your advice to grow! I’ve never heard of link parties before, I’m going to look into that, thanks!

  122. I’m always so happy when I find posts like this! Since starting my blog recently, I’ve found that getting advice from those who have been successful in this crazy blogging world have been the most helpful. I don’t think I realized how many DIY blogs were out there when I first started this journey. Your advice is very encouraging and I can relate to the “standing back and watching” girl you talk about (which is why I decided to comment!) Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  123. Phew! It took me about a half hour to scroll down to the bottom of the comments! Popular post. And I can see why. I’ve read a lot of posts like this (beginners tips for blogging) and you offer some new ideas and insights few others have suggested. So glad I found your little corner of the internet Lauren.

    • Lol. Yeah, I’ve been amazed at the positive reception to this post! So glad it has proved helpful for so many of my fellow bloggeresses! Happy to have you along for the ride, V. And I KNOW I can learn a lot from you, too!

  124. Great post! I just launched my blog this week and I can honestly say that if I could go back the advise I would give myself would be to not worry about what the blog looks like because…no one is really looking at it yet! If only I would have known that 3 months ago…

    • You’re so right! And I think one of the hardest things is just getting started, which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Goethe: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, BEGIN IT. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Even though it took you three months, though, you have begun it, and that’s more than some folk can say! So, here’s to pressing on and freeing ourselves of worry!

  125. scratch map says:

    Thanks so much for these tips! Blogging isn’t part of my life right now (although I follow a few blogs), but if I ever choose to do it in the future, I’ll be referring back to this post for advice! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  126. Thanks for sharing! I had to pause from reading to go and change the names of my photos, such a great tip! And I, too, have several drafts “cooking on the stove” at a time ;) Have you ever used Evernote? It’s perfect for when I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and need to write it down!

  127. Thank you for the great tips! I just started a new blog today, and you listed several things that hadn’t crossed my mind. I’m thankful that you posted.

    • Wow, Holly! Congrats on the new blog! The hardest part is getting started, so you’ve surmounted the greatest hurdle tonight! And I’m so glad to know these tips have proved helpful for you. Looking forward to staying in touch!

  128. Thank you so much for the awesome tips! Especially using watermarks and photo editing.
    I am a very new blogger (started on Apr13th)…. I am so nervous that I haven’t even shared my blog with my friends and family yet!
    Your words and tutorials come across as very bright and bubbly and I can only imagine that is the type of person you must be!
    Thanks you!
    Quin

    • Quin, I’m deeee-lighted to hear that my tips were helpful and encouraging for you! It felt like just yesterday I was just starting this whole blogging process, too, and I remember feeling very overwhelmed, intimidated, and very grateful for those who had shared their tips and tricks with me; so it’s encouraging to know I could pay it forward to you!

      And I encourage you to share your blog with your loved ones…at least soon! Although I know it feels scary, I’m sure that if you tell them how much it mean to you, they will shower you with support that can only spur you on to success! (And knowing you have an audience, however small, can really push you to grow and improve as a blogger.) You can do it!

      Ha ha, and I take the “bright and bubbly” comment as a great compliment. I can be a little “hyper” sometimes. Here’s video evidence.

      Best of luck!
      Lauren

      • Thanks Lauren!
        Your words are very encouraging….and I will let everyone close to me know I’m blogging soon-ish…. lol
        And I will definitely check out your video soon – its midnight in Calgary already!

  129. Hi Lauren!
    I just found your blog through Pinterest and what a great find! I just love it. I am knee deep in all of your posts right now, ha. This one and the follow-up to it is really helpful … I started Farm & Pretty back in December and while I have okay traffic, it’s not much (100-200 a day?). I hit that mark and then sort of plateaued, even though my social media (specifically Instagram) grow by the day! But I am working hard, trying to find my voice, and content readers want to be a part of (working full time doesn’t help ha ha).

    I really appreciate this post and all that you share! Hopefully one day I can grow bigger and see it really come to fruition!
    xx Kelsey

  130. HI Lauren,

    Thanks for the great tips! I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since you’ve written this post yet you’ve grown to 4,500 follows on facebook – that’s inspirational!

    I just followed you myself and can’t wait to get your pins. If you ever have time come check me out at http://www.prettysimpleideas.com or on facebook!

  131. Hi Lauren,
    I just stumbled across your post and I think it will be very helpful. I’m a newlywed (June 28, 2014 to be exact <3) who LOVES to decorate and do DIY projects and an even newer blogger. I haven't even made my first post yet and my "blog" is pretty pitiful because it's just really hard to figure out all the "tech-y" stuff, but I'm excited to try some of the things you talked about. Honestly, I'm a little hesitant to get into Blog-world because I'm afraid it will suck me in. I'm usually an all-or-nothing kind of person, so I know I'll need to be careful. I already prioritize wrongly when it involves DIY projects, decorating, cooking, and cleaning…cooking and cleaning sometimes get pushed to the back burner.
    The two ladies that inspire me the most in the realm of blogging and decorating right now are thefrugalhomemaker.com and penniesngrace.blogspot.com. I can also see that you like to decorate with Scripture, so I'm taking that you are probably a professing Christian as well. :)
    I feel like this is all kind of scattered and random, but I was compelled to comment since you so strongly urged it.
    Anyway, thanks for the tips.

    • Congrats! On both your recent marriage and your new blog! The hardest part is getting started, so the fact that you have gotten as far as you have is a big accomplishment. {Pat on the back.} I will say that I am an “all or nothing” person, too, and in my experience, blogland DOES suck you in…but I’m learning how to set healthy boundaries on my time and on my blog work. It’s a process…but one I think I’m making progress in! But as challenging as blogging has been, it has been an incredible gift in my life – - and now I can’t imagine NOT doing it. It has put me in contact with so many incredible women (like yourself)…and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

      Thanks so much for the comment! And blessings on your blog journey, Emily!

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  1. [...] my own, or even find time keeping on top of my blog, comments and other blogs I like to follow.  The Thinking Closet was kind enough to compile a list of really useful hints and tips for new bloggers that I know I [...]

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