10 MORE Tips for Bloggers…One Year Later

A year ago today, I hit “publish” on my post, 10 Tips for New Bloggers…From a New Blogger.

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

In some ways, it felt strange to be offering up tips on blogging when I had only been in the game for two months.  That’s why I needed to make things clear in my title.  (“I’m still new at this, people!”)

But in other ways, it felt right.

For one, I’m the sort of person who processes things through the written word.  It helps cement my learning.  What is the E.M. Forster quote?

“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”

Second, I wanted to hopefully give back to the community who had already given so much to me.  The craft / DIY niche is insanely supportive; they don’t tell you that when you’re just starting off.  And I felt compelled to pay it forward to my comrades who might just be shoving off.

One thing I never really anticipated when I wrote that post was the overwhelming response I would receive from readers through the comments.  In fact, I think that post holds the record for having the highest comment count in the history of The Thinking Closet.  (274 comments to be exact!)  And it was through those comments that I ended up meeting some of my best bloggy friends: Alex, Christine, Bethany, Kelly, Gabby, Beth, Linda, Johanna, CoCo, Lynda.

Looking back at my original “10 Tips” one year later, I still stand by them!  Yet, as I have grown from a “new” blogger into perhaps an “adolescent” blogger, I have new insights to share.  New offerings to give.  So, that’s why I thought I’d put together a post with 10 MORE Tips for Bloggers on this, the one year anniversary of my first installment.

Remember, these are TIPS and not rules.  I hope you can glean some wisdom from them.

10 MORE Tips for Bloggers...One Year Later.  By Lauren from thinkingcloset.com

10 More Tips for Bloggers…One Year Later

1.  Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

Tale as old as time: you’re toiling over your post on your Grandma’s lemon meringue pie only to take a break to Google “Lemon Meringue Pie,” just to see what comes up.  And you’re slammed with a slew of blog posts boasting titles more clever than yours and images more gorgeous than yours and writing more captivating than yours.  You start to wonder, “Why should I even bother sharing my recipe when there are so many others out there better than mine?”

It’s all to easy to get caught up in the comparison game, feeling inferior to the “bigger and better” bloggers all around you.  Trust me, I’ve felt it, too.

But what we must remember, dear reader, is that a lot of those bloggers have been around a lot longer, and they’ve put in their time working to develop their writing and hone their photography skills.

You’ll get there.  You’re just not there yet.  And that’s okay.  It’s part of the process.

(Also, don’t get in the habit of Googling your working titles.  I have found that it’s not productive.)

Bottom line: everyone has to start somewhere.  You’ll get there.  And how do you get there?

2.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Perhaps there are a few bloggers out there who have had overnight success, and their blogs blew up to a million pageviews/month because of one epically awesome post.  But if those bloggers are out there, I’ve never heard of them.

No, the bloggers I know and love share a similar journey to me: the journey of the tortoise.  The moral of the old fable rings true in my mind.  ”Slow and steady wins the race.”

Although I don’t think that “pageviews” are the only way to measure “success” for a blogger, it’s a measure of one form of success: traffic.  And if we’re talking about traffic, I can tell you that I’m working just as hard on my posts now as I did 5 months ago, yet I’m seeing 4 times the amount of traffic I was then.  {Record scratch.}  Crazy, right?  And what happened?  Well, I think there were a lot of factors.  A few of which I’m going to share in this list of tips.  But I still believe that it was just a slow and steady building of quality content that started to gain more traction on Google and Pinterest.

“Content is king.”  You’ll hear that over and over and over again in the blogger world.  And it’s true.  You can pay big bucks to have a fancy site and you can invest in a snazzy camera for better pictures, but if the content of your posts isn’t quality, if the meat of what you’re offering your readers is undercooked, you’re not going to sustain your readership, let alone grow it.

Bottom line: focus on creating quality content that has something of value to offer your readers.  And in time, your blog will grow.

3.  Create a tribe.

The concept of “tribes” was a foreign one to me until this past May (eight months into blogging), when a blogger friend invited me to join a Facebook group.  She described the group as being about 15 ladies who “help support each other in our blogging lives by asking for advice and sharing tips.”  She also said the ladies in the group shared about day-to-day things, too, and loved to joke around.  And you know me, any excuse to take things a little seriously, and I’m all over it like dots on dice.

Well, little did I know how monumental that group of ladies would be to my development as a blogger.  Just having a safe space to ask those questions that I felt too silly to ask in public forums proved invaluable.  I attribute the major growth my blog underwent over the summer in part to my tribe: the things they taught me, the confidence they instilled in me, and their generosity in showing my blog posts love through clicks, comments, and social media promotion.  I even joined a second tribe at the end of the summer, which has only furthered my growth as a blogger; however, I’ve declared two tribes my max.  (You want to be able to do your tribes justice and give them the time and energy they deserve.)

So, my charge to you, dear blogger, is that if you don’t already have a tribe, create one.  (Note, that I didn’t say, “Wait for someone to ask you to join one.”)  Reach out to some bloggers you’ve connected with through comments or emails, and see if they’d be interested!  You really only need one other person to get a tribe started.  Facebook has a great feature where you can create a “closed” group that is not visible to the public.  Or you could set up a weekly time to meet via Google Hangout!  It’s that easy.

Bottom line: we bloggers need each other.  So, tribe it up!

To read more about tribes, check out this post by Blogging with Amy.

4.  Attend a blog conference.

If you can swing it financially, I highly recommend attending a blog conference!  I made this one of my goals for 2013, and that goal was realized this August at Haven Blog Conference in Atlanta, GA.

You know how usually, when you’re having a conversation with someone and you mumble awkwardly about having a blog, it’s often met with a slow nod and an “Isn’t that nice?”  Instant conversation-killer.

Well, going to a blog conference, conversations start with a very enthusiastic, “Tell me about your blog!” immediately followed by an exchange of business cards.  {Here are mine.}  You’re surrounded by people who understand what it is to labor over the 10th draft of a post before clicking publish and people who understand how much a reader comment can totally transform your day.  And not only do you feel “known,” but you walk away with tons of inspiration, new ideas to implement, and even S.W.A.G!

(Just be prepared that once you attend one blog conference, you’re going to want to attend another.)

I also noticed that it wasn’t until I attended a blog conference that I started to identify myself as a blogger.  Now when people ask me “what I do,” I tell them, “I teach theatre part-time, and I blog full-time.”  Sure, it might be met with some furrowed brows and head tilts, but I’m mumbling less.  And owning it more.  After all, I’m SO not alone.  The blog conferences I’ve attended assure me of that.

If it’s too hard for you to get away for a blog conference, there are plenty of online blog conference options, too, like Alt. for Everyone and Online Blog Con.  In fact, my friend Emily wrote up a really great post called, What To Expect from an “Online” vs. “On-Location” Conference, that you should read if you’re deciding between the two.

Bottom line: conferences build confidence and community.  And we all can use some more of that!

To hear me gush even more about my amazing experiences at blog conferences, check out these posts:

5.  Back up your blog.

As bloggers, we work too hard crafting posts and building community through comments to leave our work unprotected.  ”Unprotected from what?” you ask.  All too often, you hear horror stories of self-hosted WordPress sites disappearing in an instant, either due to hackers or a server crash or an accidental back-slash out of place in a php file.  This stuff happens.  And the idea of having to start all over again after all the time, effort, and heart invested into building my corner of blogland just makes me sick.

So, I back-up my blog.  And you should, too!  Especially if you’re self-hosted.

Now, some hosting companies will offer back-ups, as mine does; however, what do you do if you run into problems with your host company and can’t access those back-ups?

There are plug-ins you can install to back-up your blog to a third-party site like Dropbox.  However, I personally found that the back-up plug-ins weren’t cutting it.  My Dropbox would fill up too quickly, so I had to switch to manual back-ups…which of course meant, I would forget to do them, sometimes for weeks at a time.  (No good.)

And another time, I got a scary email from my hosting company saying that I was violating the terms & conditions by uploading back-ups to the server (which the plug-in was doing unbeknownst to me); and that my blog would be shut-down within 48 hours if I didn’t delete those files immediately.  Ack!

So, me and my stingy self bit the bullet, and I now use BlogVault for my backing up needs.  (That there is an affiliate link, but this is a service I use and love and recommend to my friends.  If you sign up for it, you get it for the regular price, and I get a small percentage of the sale.  Thanks for supporting this site!)

To me, it is well worth the $9/month for the peace of mind of knowing that my site’s theme, plug-ins, images, comments, content, all of it, are backed up once a day in full.  It happens automatically, every night at the same time.  I don’t have to remember to do it or remember to empty my Dropbox.  I also love that I have access to the last 30 days of back-ups, and if need be, I can restore my whole site, top to bottom, in one click.  (There’s even a “test restore” option, so you can see what that would look like.  And yes, I’ve tested it!)  There are other services like BlogVault out there, but since that’s the one I use, I can endorse it wholeheartedly!

Bottom-line: prepare for the worst and back-up your blog.  The peace of mind is worth investing in a reliable back-up service.

To learn about backing up your WordPress.com blog or Blogger blog, read this.

6.  Watch what the bloggers you admire are doing.

Just this past month, I’ve been studying the habits of some of the bloggers I look up to, especially their habits on Pinterest.  For instance, I notice that they utilize group boards on Pinterest.  And many of them pin in the late afternoons and evenings.  They don’t just pin current projects from their blogs, but many times, projects from years past.  And when they pin their work, they’ll write the pin caption as a reader might.  So, it might say, “Love this inexpensive Christmas gift idea!” or “I wish I had heard about this 5 years ago.”

And I’m starting to emulate those same habits, and I’ll tell ya, I’m seeing much more Pinterest traffic lately.  So, just by being observant, I’m learning from the pros.  And you can, too.

When you’re reading your favorite blogs or dibble-dabbling in social media, don’t just fall into passive mode, but actively take stock of the behaviors of your influencers.  Chances are, they influence you because they’re onto something good.

Bottom line: learn from the behaviors of your influencers.  They have a lot to teach us!

7.  Take stock of what is draining your energy and make changes.

I have a personality bent toward burnout.  I suppose it’s the perfectionist in me or the type A first born child streak…but I thrust myself wholeheartedly into my work, too often at the cost of healthy living and margin.

But I’m starting to recognize the warning signs before I get to the point of burnout, and I’m determined to protect myself from blogger burnout.  So, periodically, I take time to step back and evaluate what exactly is zapping my creative energy, and then, I commit to changing that.  Because with blogging, at least for most of us, we are our own boss.  We are responsible for our own schedule.  We have no one to blame but ourselves for blogger burnout.  And it’s our job to protect ourselves from it.

So, for instance, I have noticed that when I have too many “required” posts each month, ones that have hard deadlines either on other blogs or through sponsored content on my own blog, I feel stifled.  And overwhelmed.  So, I’m already making plans to cut back on a lot of those commitments in the new year.  Because gosh darn it, I love this blogging business too much to be burnt out of it.  That’s the truth.  So, I’m committed to making changes to my life and my blogging routine in order to ensure I’m in it for the long haul.  Or as long as I feel called to it.

Bottom line: as bloggers, we need to actively protect ourselves from burnout!   

8.  Focus on just doing a few social media platforms well.

I know, I know.  Most voices out there are telling you that you need to be all things to all people across all social media platforms: tweeting this and pinning that and Facebook-ing the other thing, all the while Google+ing this and Instagram-ing that and Stumbling Upon-ing the other thing.

Well, I have news for you: you can’t do it all.  You just can’t!  Not unless you hire someone to help you or grow a few more hands!

And if you want an “expert” to validate that claim, just watch this video by my girl Marie Forleo.  And she will put your doubts and worries to rest.

Right now, I’m focusing mainly on Facebook and Pinterest.  While over the summer, I was all about Twitter and Instagram.  I go through seasons of focusing more on some social media venues than others.  And I’m okay with that.  Remember, I’m trying not to burn out here.

So, until that morning you wake up as SuperWoman, don’t feel guilty for not being able to “do it all.”

Bottom line: only take on what you can handle well on social media, even if that just means one or two platforms.

9.  Take time to “unplug.”

One of the best things I have done for myself and my blog this past year has been carving out time to “unplug.”  Sometimes for all but an hour a day.  Other times for days at a time.  It has been so good for the soul to step away from the screens and step into the wild.  Or onto a ship.  It puts things all in perspective.

I’ve learned that my blog won’t explode if I take a few days off.  In fact, some of my greatest ideas and wildest dreams have been born during the time I intentionally chose to “unplug.”  (Imagine that!)

Oh, and don’t forget that God rested on the seventh day.  I dare say we’d be wise to follow His cue.

Bottom line: feed your soul {and your blog} by taking time to unplug.  You won’t be sorry.

My friend Alex wrote a post you should read on this very subject: I Took a Vacation from My Blog…And I Liked It.

And to read more about my experiences “unplugging,” check out these posts:

10.  Love on your readers.

This might be the most important tip I can offer you today, so of course, I’ve saved it for last.

But just as theatre is not theatre without an audience, I argue that a blog is not a blog without your readers.  I mean, if I simply wanted to document my creative projects, I’d keep a scrapbook.  But I’m doing this to engage.  To inspire.  To collaborate.  To teach.  To empower.  And none of those verbs exist in a vacuum.  They all require the presence of others.  And I’ve been so fortunate to have some of the most generous, kind-hearted, creative people hap upon my blog.  I know because so many of them leave me comments, and others email me, while others lend me feedback in a survey, or “like” my posts on Facebook.  {Thank you!}

And how do you love on your readers?  You keep sharing that quality content that they loved in the first place.  You ask them questions and care about their responses.  You engage with them in comments.  You might even make them a video on your blogiversary to thank them for being there.  For reading your work.  And for making this all worthwhile.

If you’re in this for the long haul, invite your readers to come along for the ride, too.

Bottom line: let your readers know they rock!  Because they do.  And we owe them a lot.

Blog Divider - The Thinking Closet

Goodness gracious, my “10 MORE Tips” turned into a short novel.  (Apparently I need some tips on conciseness.)

Your Turn

I’d love to keep the conversation going in the comments!  I’m curious to know what resonated with you most, and if you’re a blogger, what lessons you’ve been learning lately.  Seriously, don’t be shy, because I’d love to make a whole new slew of buddies as a result of this here post!

Want more blogging tips?

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

{I like to link up.}


Lovely comments so far...

  1. I really appreciate you saying that you don’t need to be a maverick on every social media platform. I’ve been trying to tackle one thing at a time, and I feel like social media is a beast! It’s good to hear that we don’t need to be able to tackle it all to be successful. :)

  2. Great tips, (I am backing up my blog now!) I just joined a tribe on facebook last week and have gotten so much out of it. I think this could really help me. I feel like I can open up and ask questions, everyone is really supportive.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Awwww! That post was the first Lauren post I ever read. I can’t believe it has been a year! I can’t remember how I found your post, Pinterest perhaps? But I knew that day I wanted to be bloggy friends with you. I’m so happy that we did in fact become bloggy friends! Hugs to you girl! You should be so proud of your blog. It really is amazing to me every time I visit and see a giant wall of amazing comments. You have really done a fantastic job and continue to be an inspiration for others (including myself!). {See, it’s my turn to leave an uber sappy comment! Hehehe!} Thank you for continuing to support and inspire everyone around you!

    Hugs my friend!
    ~ Bethany

  4. All great tips, again! Thanks for the shout-out on my “Online vs. On-Location” post!

  5. Great tips! Thanks once again for your generosity. I really need to figure out this backing-up thing and soon!

  6. Great post! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge on this subject! After all, posts like this are how I learn. I’m constantly googling… “How do I ________ on/with/for my blog?” So, thanks again! :)

  7. XOXOXOXO!!! Happy Blogiversary! Do you still remember me telling you that you were one to watch out for? I still stand by that. Thanks for the shout out love and I can continue to be your best Contest Promoter on Twitter. LOL Maybe one day I will win that elusive Silhouette.

    I strongly agree with your tips and the tribe thing is one of the most important. Being a Canadian blogger I noticed so many US bloggers had them and I felt like here we were kind of floating around b/c in many ways the way we can work with companies is a tad different than what is available to you guys. So I started a FB group for Canadian Bloggers and the energy in there and the support is so not only what I needed but what we all needed. It took me awhile to clue into that. You can’t do this on your own and expect to grow.

    Can you believe I actually have witnessed the enigma of a friends blog post go viral? And in one week she had more views and new fans than that of her previous years (years – that’s not a typo). And her new fans stayed – but and this is a big BUT – because I don’t want people thinking this is the easy cheat way to success, it is in many ways it is the equivalent of being cast in an Oscar Award winning movie, winning the Oscar and then what? If you don’t have the talent and body of work and ongoing body of work to sustain that momentum, that one post (or Oscar) isn’t going to mean squat. It will become a moment in time and people will find other bloggers to read. The bloggers that last and continue that success are the ones that work their asses off and create good content. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned is the insane amount of effort and time that goes into maintaining a blog. It is far beyond what I expected.

    Congrats again my friend!! Here’s to many more years!

  8. great tips again, thanks for sharing!

  9. Well written and informative, as usual. You are a wonderful resource for all bloggers, not just newbies. It never hurts to go back to the basics. That said, thank you for including me in your list of ‘best blogging buddies’. I feel the same about you, even if I am not so present in blog world as of late. I always still make time for your blog and an odd comment here and there. ;)

  10. That was a really good read! Thank you for sharing all your tips. So many resonated with me.

    The one I liked the most was about recognizing the signs of your own burn-out. No one has ever put it that way before and it made something click in my brain. Like you I try to do it all and I end up fustrated and cranky. And I know it’s my own fault!

    I’m going to take a page out of your book and watch myself for signs of a burn-out. VERY wise advice!


  11. Great post, Lauren! I ate this up this morning when it showed up in my e-mail. I agree 100% with all of the points. And I really can’t narrow them down to favorites and not favorites. All of them have been major players in growing my blog. I will say that going to Haven this summer and starting a tribe has been HUGE, as you know all too well. :) So glad I met you there! Sharing on Facebook and Pinterest!!

  12. Great post. Number 8 is the biggie in my opinion, but they are all excellent tips. Tip 11 would be “persistent hard work pays off” :) and tip 12 “have fun, it shows through one’s work”

  13. Great tips! I definitely am one of those people who gets burned out – went from very regular posts when I started my blog to maybe once a week…but hoping to get motivated and get some projects posted before Christmas insanity takes over! Anyway – thanks for sharing your advice :)

  14. :-) great post Lauren (great tips), I need to take notes (Ah, I already did) :-)
    you know, I really like you because you always share everything you know with us :-) you are the best and I wish you many, many more years of successful blogging :-)
    congrats on always being a good bloggy friend to many of us, you have always been supportive and kind to me, I appreciate it :-)

  15. Hi, Lauren
    I am one of those new bloggers (told others in early October) that totally appreciates everyone of your awesome tips!! I agree with keeping your social media work down to a manageable number. And I am a huge fan of Pinterest. I won’t spam you here, but if you’d like pls go to my blog and follow me there. I’d love to follow yours. I am really curious as to how you built up your subscribers. I have so many people verbally tell me how they like my blog; e-mail me or otherwise., but not actually subscribe. Also, if you notice that some have subscribed but not validated their subscription, is it correct to contact them to kindly ask if they’d like to finalize it? I am a new follower of you now! I found you via House of Turquoise FB Fan Page. Thanks!

  16. Great tips, Lauren! Hooray for paying it forward! And tribes. Ours is a “blessing” in more ways than one…

  17. What a wonderful post! Thanks so much for offering your insight. I have just met my one-year mark on my blog as well (on the same day, in fact!), but nowhere near as accomplished as you (not that I’m comparing! ha!). I love tips 7, 8, & 9… I try to practice all of them each day. ~M.

  18. Great post, Lauren! All of those tips are fantastic – and some of them are ones that I need to pay more mind to (like unplugging, or scaling down the social media craziness). Can’t wait to see what your second year brings, lady!

  19. Wow, Lauren, what great tips! You are spot on…and I can’t believe this is your first year blogging! You have a confidence and voice of someone seasoned! You are truly an inspiration and fantastic blogger and WOMAN!

  20. Great tips! I hope we can finally meet in person at Haven next year.

  21. What a great post and it’s so well written!It was so good to read and realize that I am not alone with : “we can’t just do it all”. I was always wondering how other bloggers can keep their sanity with all that social media out there? I just simply don’t have the time and energy as I am not a full time blogger. I am new here { found you through a FB post by Laura @ The Turquoise Home} and I gotta tell ya, I won’t leave anytime soon :-) Your blog is so inspirational! Hop over if you have a spare minute.Xoxo

  22. Wow! This is one of the best (if not THE very best!) blog tip posts I have ever seen. So informative and I felt like I learned so much more than I usually do. Thanks for this!

  23. #1 is insanely huge for me right now. I’m only a couple months into blogging and I’m already having so much trouble with that. Bugs the hell out of me because I know better than to think that way!
    This was so helpful and simply just an enjoyable read. Your personality shines through your writing, almost as if I can almost hear you talking to me through my computer screen :).

  24. 1 year that’s so exciting!!! As a still mumbling blogger, thanks for all the awesome tips. It’s always good to be reminded about #1 and #2, and I’m going to look into a #3 and #5. Happy Blogiversary!! – Dee @ From Wine to Whine

  25. I love these 10 new tips (I’m new to your blog) and agree with them 100%. I’ve been blogging for a year (this month!) and going to a Blog Conference WILL make you want to go to another. Also, I love that you mentioned “take time to unplug” in a world where you check every social media account, your blog and email it’s easy to lose sight of what’s around you.

    One thing I would add is Hootsuite – you can schedule facebook posts, tweets, blog posts in advance which saves so much time in the long run :)

  26. Wowee!! I am so honored to be counted among your friends! You are a sweetheart. I fell in love with you when I found your Migration post (I think that’s the first one I read?).
    #1 is where I’m at these days. I literally unsubcribed from many blogs and quit reading so much because I was pulled about and judging myself and trying to force myself into someone else’s mold.
    Love this whole post, love the way you write, love how you make us smile :) Happy Blogiversary, My Friend!

  27. This is a GREAT article! Now I know to look for/form a tribe, I had no idea. Stopping by from catch a glimpse Thursday.

  28. Well, now I know where that magical spike in traffic came from – THANK YOU for the shoutout, Lauren! I know I’ve said it before, but may I re-iterate how happy I am that you posted those first ten tips, because I never would’ve found you otherwise!
    Love these new tips as well! I would add one thing that ties into unplugging, which is not putting so much pressure on yourself; for the last two months, I’ve barely been blogging, just churning out my standard posts to have something appear on the blog, and it made me feel so guilty and stressed. But I mean, I was in the middle of quitting a job, moving halfway across the country, starting university… without superpowers or extra hands like you said, where in the world was all that tiime supposed to come from?! I think as bloggers, we’re sometimes really hard on ourselves because we’re afraid our readers will leave us if they find out we’re actual human beings, and really, we need to chill the heck out. I’m slowly learning, but it’s always nice to read that other people, other bloggers, struggle with the same things. Oh, and the burn-out-tendency-personality?! #soulmate-alert
    xx Johanna
    Dear Life, We Need To Talk

    • Oh, yes! We are hard on ourselves, but I can say: The readers are still there. And they will wait for us. When I posted my “I’m back”-post just recently I had some awesome comments on it. Just like yours! You were waiting there for me and so am I for you <3
      (I read your posts. Each of them. Just the commenting is not working from phone in the train… But I'll catch that up!)

      Love, Midsommarflicka

  29. Hi Lauren,

    I found your blog through Rebecca (Love At First Book) and mentioned you (plus provided links back to your blog post about blogger tips) in my Thursday Mashup post.

    Thanks for the great tips! Loved reading everything!

  30. Thank you so much for this! I’m trying to gear up from “blog as online scrapbook” to “blog as business builder” now that I’ve passed my boards to become an IBCLC. I really needed some of these reminders…

  31. Oh, Lauren!
    Perfect moment to post these tips… I am just back on my blog. Like, really back, not just posting a pic from time to time and am thinking about, how I want to start again, if and what I maybe want to change for the upcoming year and what I’ll be focusing.
    Thanks for your tips, I love them, just as your first 10!

    Love, Midsommarflicka

  32. Thanks for the great advice, Lauren. While I don’t consider myself a blogger, I truly enjoy supporting Becky in her endeavor whenever I can. We’ve had a great time this past month but have sooooo much to learn. I do worry about Becky burning herself out with a fulltime job and 3 children to care for. I don’t know how she does it! Thanks for everything, you have been so helpful to us.

  33. Another great tip list! I have never even heard of blogger tribes! That makes me motivated to make some friends in the blogger community so I can set one up! I also appreciate the links to the online blog conferences – something tells me there aren’t too many in-person ones up here in Alaska! LOL

  34. I love this advice. I’m where you were a when you wrote the first one (ie 2 months in) and love the way people like yourself offer such great help & support. I had already decided points 1 & 2 so it was nice to see my gut thoughts being validated. I’m reading, I’m learning, I’m backing up, I’m loving it, and REALLY appreciate your words of wisdom. Thank you.

  35. Really good tips! Thanks so much for sharing these. There’s a few on there that I’ve not ever thought of…going to make them a goal now!

  36. As a new blogger, I can’t tell you how helpful and encouraging I found this post to be. Thank you!!!

  37. Lauren, this is awesome! I think that creating the tribe is soooo important! That’s one of the things I learned from you at FL Blog Con, and my private book blogging group on FB is AMAZING! I am beyond impressed with my fellow book bloggers who have totally taken it and run with it, providing tips, tricks, ups, downs, etc.

    I also think that those Pinterest tips you’re using are genius! I think I need to up my Pinterest activity, but it can be tough! Although I do think I could make a goal of setting a small chunk of time per day, or a few times a week to do it.

    And comparing middles to beginnings. . . it’s so true! Just this week I had two brand new bloggers randomly reach out to me for book blogging tips! I gave them a few simple, simple tips and told them it all takes time.

    Going to read you “old” post right now!

  38. This post if full of great tips! Thank you! I’ve really been thinking lately about reaching out to other bloggers to form what you call a “tribe.” I really think that is a huge way to branch out. It is how I have found other blogs. Thanks!

  39. Lauren–these are wonderful tips! Thank you for taking the time to really explain each one. I love the quote on not comparing yourself to someone else’s middle. So important to remain on your path and be excited for the good things going on in your own life and be excited for those that are ahead of you! Glad I stopped by from Serenity Now! (my link ups were #10 and 12)

  40. Lauren–these are wonderful tips! Thank you for taking the time to really explain each one. I love the quote on not comparing yourself to someone else’s middle. So important to remain on your path and be excited for the good things going on in your own life and be excited for those that are ahead of you! Glad I stopped by from Serenity Now! (my link ups were #10 and 12)

  41. These are so great! Thank you so much! I have been doing my blog seriously for a few months and some of these have really helped, and others I hadn’t even thought of. Thanks for the list!

  42. Thank you, for sharing those wonderful tips! I’m close to my blogiversary too, and see the change of the quality of my blog posts, blog designs and photos. The advice to attend a blog conference might be an option to get in contact with other bloggers too. And learning from the Pro’s is always a good thing. But don’t just copy them, transform those inputs to your own style. (That’s what I learned)

  43. Lauren, I loved this article!! I, too, just started a blog on Aug. 13th of this year. I love it, I am hooked and I feel as though I have found my place in the world. So, I gleaned a lot of good and useful info from you. Thanks so much!! hugs, Patty

  44. Thank you for sharing these great tips! I’ve only been at this for about 5 months and I especially agree with #9. We had internet issues for about 10 days in September and I ended up not posting for over a week. It was rejuvenating! I’m taking the week around Christmas off too. :)

    Cindy from Superheroes and Teacups

  45. I love how humble you are, considering you have done tremendous things and gained what I would call MAJOR success in just a little over one year of blogging! Your advice was wonderful a year ago, and your new tips are wonderful now. I am guilty of comparing my progress to someone else’s, but thankfully I’m learning to do it less and less. Also, thanks for the tip on back-up… How am I not doing that right now?!?!

  46. I just found your blog and I’m so glad I did! I can’t wait to spend more time on your website and learn more about you. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  47. Great post Lauren! I’ve been blogging nearly three years and agree with everything you said. Deadlines and commitments kill my desire to blog as well, and the only social media I use is pinterest and facebook (and I rarely use facebook). I do abuse pinterest though, I have a google docs spreadsheet where I keep track of all my pinnable images and which group boards I pin them too (learned that in a blog tribe!). I have to tell you though, I’ve never backed up my blog. I think my host does it? I might have to look into that, haha.

  48. These are amazing tips for a blogger of any season. Thanks for linking up to Tickled Pink Times Two. You are amazing!

  49. These is a great list if tips! Thank you for sharing these! You have a wonderful blog. I am looking forward to reading the first post of tips and more.
    Stopping by from “Nifty Thirfty Sunday”. Following via Bloglovin.
    Have a great day :)

  50. I love this post (and your blog)! What great tips! I just began blogging and I felt sorta crazy. I identify with you mumbling. It’s difficult to have that much confidence in ourselves, I’ve never been much of a sales person (and I’ve tried)! When I first began I bought the e-book I-Blog. It has really helped me, as it was also written by other bloggers. When I began, my intention wasn’t to develop new relationships, but it’s been an awesome surprise along the way. Happy Blogiversary! :)
    (I found you on Think Pink Sunday.)

  51. Hmmm. Good advice. I’ve been blogging since February of 2010 and have not backed up my blog! Yikes. I think I’ll take your advice. Thanks.

  52. A new follower here! This is the second time I have caught one of your great posts! It’s always good to hear about limiting social media. I always feel bad I’m not on Twitter but I’m just not a 130 char or less type of person Love my Pinterest & f-book though! What f-book group did you join? I belong to one that while good, I feel like I have joined an established group of friends and I’m an outsider. I’d also love those with a good sense of humor!

  53. Definitely some good tips. Thanks for sharing!

  54. Lauren, dear, you have done it again! I will be pinning this post right alongside the first 10 tips that did, in fact, get me started with my little blog a few months back. Little did I know as I referenced that post over and over again that you would one day become such a dear friend.

    I have to say my favorite part of this post was your line “if the meat of what you’re offering your readers is undercooked, you’re not going to sustain your readership, let alone grow it.” This is so true and I love the analogy. I do believe this is worth one of your cute little quote graphics!!

    And lastly, tip #6…. watch what the bloggers you admire are doing. Can I just say, I got my eyes on you, Wazowski!! You are a rockstar. Your kindness is contagious. YOU are on my radar!! Way to go, friend!!

  55. These tips are so helpful to me. I have so much to learn. I am pinning this so I can read over and over.

  56. Thanks, Lauren! As I was reading this, I backed up my blog for the first time this month, and I decided it’s OK to just be on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram! Great message – thanks for putting it out there for us!

  57. thank you. i loved reading your post. i am especially smitten as i, too, am new to the blogging world and needed an outlet after choosing to stay home. thank you for your advice, thoughts and realistic point of view. just what i needed. congrats of all you have accomplished in one year… you should be very proud. thank you again.

  58. I found this post from a Link Part (Not just a housewife) and I enjoyed reading your post! I started my blog in May 2013 and took a break but started back up again in early October. I’m loving every bit of it. I really took a lot from your comment about backing up your blog. I haven’t done that yet…and I can’t imagine losing everything. I clicked on your link to the Blog Vault but it’s only for WordPress blogs, mine is Blogger. Have you heard of great services like Blog Vault protecting Blogger blogs?

  59. Thanks for the great tips, Lauren. Now, if I could just get people to read my blog…

  60. I love all of your tips! It’s so refreshing to read a post with such honest tips on blogging. Thanks so much for sharing. Stopping by from the Dream A Little Bigger linky party.

  61. LOVE THIS!!! I love the tips and believe them all and know they are right and what I need to change. I have been learning a lot about community and tribes lately. This is hard for me to put myself out there and ask people to join me for various reasons. But I’m learning that I can only fail if I don’t try, so I’m building one myself. If you know anyone interested in joining a great tribe, let me know! I’m also realizing that organizing my blog is important in terms of how often and what content. Not so strictly that I’m stressed, but just so I don’t get blogger’s block. Impressive how you know so much after a years worth. Know that slow build, that’s me. It’s been a hard path, but I’m determined. Thanks for the inspiring encouragement!!

  62. LOVE THIS!!! I love the tips and believe them all and know they are right and what I need to change. I have been learning a lot about community and tribes lately. This is hard for me to put myself out there and ask people to join me for various reasons. But I’m learning that I can only fail if I don’t try, so I’m building one myself. If you know anyone interested in joining a great tribe, let me know! I’m also realizing that organizing my blog is important in terms of how often and what content. Not so strictly that I’m stressed, but just so I don’t get blogger’s block. Impressive how you know so much after a years worth. Know that slow build, that’s me. It’s been a hard path, but I’m determined. Thanks for the inspiring encouragement!!

  63. Lauren, Congrats on all your success! You’ve worked hard creating your tribe and writing valuable content. I just need to say this…..not everyone who starts a blog wants to grow it, make money from it by having ads and sponsored posts. Some people actually blog to have an online scrapbook for the 20 or 30 people who read their blogs and look at their photography. I actually prefer smaller groups. I stopped blogging to take care of my health and personally I got bored and overwhelmed with information overload, but that’s just me. There are literally millions of blogs on the internet. For many it started as a hobby but then it became a business. As a visual person I prefer looking at gorgeous photography with very little talking. I love looking at beautifully styled rooms and occasionally I love looking at crafting information. I’m so happy that I stumbled upon your blog and think that this is the perfect venue for you but all of your tips are for people who want to be successful bloggers. Does that mean those that want an online scrapbook and aren’t doing it to engage a large audience aren’t successful? People blog for different reasons. I’m hearing this more and more…..ways to get traffic, engage, teach and inform. That’s great but not everyone has this as their goal. If I can connect with a handful of people then I consider myself successful. These are great tips for bloggers who blog because they are creating a business. I”d love to see a blog without all the social media icons and just a few words and some absolutely gorgeous photography. In fact, that’s why I started a blog because I accidentally stumbled upon Dear Daisy Cottage. We all have different tastes and different goals. Your tips are “spot on” for the DIY and Crafting crowd and those who wish to grow their blogs. I couldn’t resist sharing my thoughts about blogging.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Sandy, I think your perspective is a really valuable, and one that we forget sometimes! “Achievement” looks different for all sorts of bloggers. And I think that’s why I prefaced my list with the disclaimer that these are not rules. There really are no rules to blogging. These are just tips I’ve learned along my journey, and I hope can be an encouragement to others in their journey. Although by no means do I think they will apply to all bloggers.

      Although I of course miss my visits to the Delightful Eclectic Abode, I’m so glad you did what was best for you and your health and your peace of mind. I don’t know if this blogging thing is something I will always do, but for now, it is work I feel called to. But you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll keep unplugging and keep checking in with myself and with God. This may just be for a season, but it has been a really rich season, mainly because of the incredible people I have met online as a result…yourself included, Sandy.

      Thanks for the reminder that some blogs ARE online scrapbooks and that’s a-okay. I’m with you 100%!

  64. Thanks for sharing this post! Great tips for us beginners!:)

  65. I absolutely love that you wrote this. Awesome tips – and you can tell how much you’ve grown over the past year!! This post reinvigorated my love for blogging. Thank you!!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Your comment warms my heart to no end, Kayla! Thank you for sharing. And may that reinvigorated love for blogging power you onwards to new blogging heights! You’ve got this, girl.

  66. Thanks! I am new to the blogging community and I’m really enjoying it! I do get a little overwhelmed at times! This post helped me regain some focus today!
    Thanks a bunch
    Jessica @ http://www.sparklesandglue.com

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Yay! Welcome, Jessica! And I’m delighted to hear this post may have been a help to you. Just do your best to put your blinders on when things get overwhelming, and just focus on creating awesome content right now! “If you build it, they will come,” doesn’t just apply to baseball diamonds. That’s for sure.

  67. Thanks for this advice! Great list and some tips that I will definitely use!

    Stopping by from the Live, Laugh, Rowe link party…

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Blair! I’m glad you found some take-aways in this mix. Also, I’m diggin’ your blog-title (I’m a sucker for puns)!

  68. These are all fantastic tips! Everything is so true. I often find myself comparing my blog to others and it is never productive. The stage in my life I am at doesn’t allow me to blog as often as I would like and I know eventually that will change (mainly when my daughter starts preschool and I don’t have to be “mom” 24 hours a day!). Also, I love the idea of having a “tribe”. I really need to do this. I am a member of some larger groups, but having a smaller group would be really beneficial. And you are so, so correct on the social media thing. There is no way to be 100% active on all forms, unless you spend your entire day focusing on that. And if I plan on getting any blog posts out, I can’t spend all day on Facebook and Twitter! ;) Now, I am off to read your original 10 tips . . .

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      To everything a season, right, Laura? And I know that when we have kids, the time that I have for blogging with dramatically shift…and that’s okay because it will mean I am spending that extra time with my family! I know my friend Rachel (who blogs over at Lines Across) says it made a world of difference when her two little ones were both in school a few days a week this year. She finally had “ME” time for the first time in a LONG time. And boy, did it feel good. You’ll be there soon, Laura!

      And yes, although the big FB and forum groups can be great resources, I have really felt like the smaller groups are the best for growth because then you feel safe to ask honest questions and share your ah-ha moments! I hope you can start up a smaller tribe of your own soon.

      Thanks for your awesome comment, Laura. It’s great to “meet” you!

  69. Hey Lauren! I am really late to read lots of posts lately as we are preggers…again! Almost 3 months! When I saw your title I got excited and I remembered that I met you with that initial post and was so excited to read some of your new advice because I remember your post standing out so much to me over a year ago! so glad that I found it in google or pinterest, not sure where and was able to meet you! It was really the push I needed to write my next post at the time! I was even more excited to be considered a bloggy buddy! I know that you were my motivation to take leaps and try changes and also not to apologize for having “a life” when I felt compelled to explain why I had not posted in a while! I took that advise and am using now in fact! I will get back in the game down the line after I get over all day/morning sickness! I read lots of blogs but I can honestly say that I Iove yours because you have a way of making people feel involved and appreciated! That means a lot when many people are simply competing for page views and are not concerned enough to respond to reader comments! Plus everything is step by step and simple but still detailed! So glad I found you and excited to keep reading and my only advice is continue to be yourself ’cause yourself rocks! Peace out!

  70. I love both this and your earlier blogging tips because they’re real and they’re true. I hate going and seeing a “just do it!” type of tips post that doesn’t really help anybody with anything. But you’ve laid it all out there and I really need to take your cue and try to focus on only certain social media. It’s stressful having so many things to keep up with and rather than do a few well, I often fall short on them all for a want of time!

  71. Thanks Lauren for such an inspirational post! So much to take away from this piece but I really love the quote “…if the content of your posts isn’t quality, if the meat of what you’re offering your readers is undercooked, you’re not going to sustain your readership, let alone grow it.” That is such great advice.

    I am off to research blog vault now (sounds easy!). Thanks for the tips! Oh and I am featuring this post at Tell Me Tuesday! Have a wonderful night :)

  72. Hi! Thanks for the tips! I have 10 months of blogging under my belt, but I only really started to “try” this summer. I met Tori from lilmrstori.com at the SoCal Social last month and she told me that you were awesome. I love these tips and I can’t wait to poke around even more!

  73. Marmie/Lauren's mom says:

    Every single one of those tips was powerful and could have stood alone as a post. Obviously you took a long time collecting this wisdom. I also appreciated how you responded to the precious person who just blogs for 20-30 people. There are as many reasons to blog as there are people and I love how you are constantly evaluating and putting this passionate aspect of your life in perspective.

  74. Thanks for the tips! Your list is great, especially #2 (slow and steady can be a challenge to remember!) and #9 (unplugging is one of my goals–I take each Sunday as a mental rest–it is definitely proving to be beneficial).


  75. This has got me thinking about stuff again. I’m always evolving as a blogger and I feel my current format isn’t working as well as I’d like. I have yet to set goals for anything this new year… but I’m thinking about it. Thanks!

  76. I’m so thankful I came across this blog. I am new to blogging and was doing google searches trying to figure out what the heck I am doing. This is GREAT!!! I feel such a sense of relief knowing that there is someone out there who is friendly, intelligent and informative that I can follow to learn more about how to increase readership and do what I love for a living. I just started following you on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. God bless you for being a light in the murky waters of trying to become a professional blogger.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Wow, Karyn. I am so touched by your response! The waters can be murky at times, can’t they? But I suppose I’ve been so blessed by those bloggers who have offered a torch of light to me, I was hoping I could do the same for someone else. And I’m delighted to know that hope has perhaps been realized in you! Welcome to blogland, Karyn, and I sure hope you come back and visit often! What a dose of sunshine you are!

  77. I just started my blog, and am reading everything I can find on tips and tricks and how to grow my readership.. this (and last year’s post) are two of the best out there. Thanks so much for sharing! Love your writing style, and really appreciate your sharing your blog wisdom and perspective :)

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Wow, Karen! That’s high praise; I’m so touched by your remarks! And I’m honored to know that these posts have been so helpful for you. That was my hope! Best of luck to you and Branching Fig! (Love your blog title, by the way.)

  78. Thank you for this Lauren – it’s such a helpful piece. I’m definitely going to be referring back to this.


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