should I start a blog?

I’ve heard this question more than once, and I’ve never really chosen to answer it until now. Mainly because I’ve gone back and forth with having a blog myself. I still have phases that lead me in different directions. For many reasons, I’ve hung on, through the thick and the thin. I’ve slowly backed away to a degree over the last two years, and I don’t regret doing so one bit.
I chose to start a blog years ago, for the sole purpose of writing, and journaling life. I also desired to connect with other woman who were like-minded. I believe I have accomplished each of these desired goals and then some! For me blogging is a tool, I use it to share my heart. If you know me personally – I write much better than I talk. Though, I would consider myself a very fairly outgoing person – I like to take the time to think, time to put my thoughts together and then share. So writing is a good avenue to “get my thoughts out the way I intended them to be.” Blogging also enables me to share where the Lord has been growing me. Writing for me – also tends to be a form of relaxation as well.

 

 

I would like this post to help you and inform you to make a wise decision for you and your family. I cannot stress enough that blogging takes time. And if not careful can so easily take up a great
amount of your time, if not planned out properly & efficiently.

When I first started blogging, I spent a numerous amount of time trying to get it “altogether”. And I will be honest with you – it was a huge stumbling time waster in the beginning. If you decide blogging is for you, seek out assistance when beginning your blog, be it design or tips on writing.

 

Here is the latest question I received – concerning starting a blog:

“Hi Esther, I have been thinking
about writing a blog. It is in the thinking process right now and I was
wondering if you had any advice or tips. I have absolutely nowhere to start
or even what it exactly looks like. I heard somewhere you could earn some
money that way…and where is the best place to blog…anyway, do you have
any thoughts?”

 

Hi Friend,

As you probably already know – blogging is used for many different purposes and there are so many different
platforms people use to share their thoughts, their ideas and life. I don’t it any way consider myself a “professional”, though, I do feel like I have learned a lot on my own and from others in my blogging sphere, that may very well be helpful to you in making a wise decision for you & your family, whatever you decide to do.

 

My first question for you, and anyone else looking into starting a blog is this:

1.} What is your main purpose for starting a blog? Will it be for the purpose of sharing family events and news? Do you desire to reach a certain audience? If so, who? Is your ultimate desire to earn a little extra income on your blog?

2.} What is your niche? If you don’t know, maybe you should find one before looking any further into blogging.

3.} What do you desire to write about the most?

 


20 of My personal bits of blogging advice:

 

1.}  I wouldn’t recommend blogging to everyone.

2.} The purpose of your blogging endeavors must be decided BEFORE you ever start. This will not only save you time, but major headaches as well!

3.} Once you go “public” with your writings – don’t be surprised if your content ends up in a different place or blog. {If starting a blog – be sure to secure and copyright your work.} It’s sad, but we live in a very digital world where it’s easy for others to swipe what they find appealing to them and therefore make it their “own.” Protect your writings the best that you can.

4.} This is a “just don’t do it” tip: Copying anyone’s work is plagiarism. If you have a problem finding your own content to blog about – blogging is definitely not for you.

5.} Finding a group of readers & bloggers that are like-minded is important in “growing” your blog. Not in a spammy way or “come see my blog” inserts but, in building a relationship with them. Let your genuine friendship take character and watch things bloom from there. Learn from other bloggers, and share in a community of like-minded bloggers. And remember, blogging shouldn’t be a competition – blogging can be fun when working together and not against each other. : )

6.} Very few will make a “bundle” on their blog. To get to the “making a bundle” point is unfamiliar to me. As it has never been my main desire for my blog, and has never been pushed much on my end. I can tell you though, that only few will make an actual “income to talk about.” I say, having a full income blog should probably be left up to the experts! {And I’m certainly not one of them!} But, I’ve heard it is possible! ; )

7.} Blogging isn’t for the faint at heart. I learned early on that when a screen is placed in front of someone’s “mouth” they will speak out. And sometimes their “speaking out” is full of criticism, and dislike. You must be willing and able to deal with it on a personal level. If you can’t deal with criticism or critique in person, perhaps blogging isn’t for you.

8.} Learning to know when to lovingly respond to comments or keep quiet is an important blogging tip. {Now, not all comments are harsh – blogging is also filled with uplifting and very encouraging moments!}

9.} Don’t compare or compete with other bloggers. Your life is absolutely beautiful, on it’s very own. Live it, and write it.

10.} Make your blog a piece of who you are, not something you’re not.

11.} Be real. Don’t embellish, or wear rose colored glasses. Don’t be afraid to share the “down in the valley” moments. But, don’t write when you are depressed or down. Write about the down moments when your up. Your perspective will be a learning experience and a good reminder for you!

12.} First impression is everything! If your blog is not easy to navigate or the design is not pleasant to the eyes, your readers will not take the time to read. And it won’t matter what you write about. If it hurts the eyes, or the design is not eye pleasing, your blogging efforts won’t go far. If you don’t have the talent or desire to design your blog yourself, I’d recommend using a pre-made theme, or better yet, paying for a good theme.

13.} If I could start blogging completely over, I would have started with a self-hosted site on wordpress. If you plan to blog for a long time – investing in one would be well worth the money! Right now my blog is hosted on blogger. And what you see, is what you get. I’ve pushed blogger to the limits with my designing. One day, I dream to switch over. But, for now I am content, and right now it works for what I need. But, I will say, if your funds don’t provide the ability for a wordpress self hosted site – blogger is great too! It’s easy to get started, and less intimidating for the beginner.

14.} If you blog, remember you’re going public. You may eventually have acquaintances from long times passed find your blog. If you want to keep your blog private you are limited a number of readers you can have. And for me – just my family alone surpassed that number! So, be careful what you share. Keep private things private. Learning to balance what to share and what not to share really should be based on your family’s decision. Be wise & be safe!

15.} Using social media to enhance your blogging experience can help a lot. Though, Facebook & Pinterest and other media sites are truly a love/hate relationship for any blogger. They are great ways to grow your blog, and learning the ins and outs are important as well. But there are downsides to them as well. Use what works best for you. But, remember we live in a social media world!

16.} Use photos! Photos enhance any post and make it more reader friendly. And don’t just use any photos – make sure you’ve taken the photo yourself or you use a royalty free image site. I think the best blogging posts though are when the blogger shares their own photos. It’s personal, and part of their life.{Don’t just post the “perfect” photos either – the not-so-perfect ones are just as lovely and oh so real.} Don’t forget to watermark your photos! {There are “photo snatchers” out there whether you want to believe it or not.}

17.} Nobody is perfect. Be honest. Genuine is key. Humble, real and raw is what draws the right kind of readers.

18.} Following the recommended 3 posts a week – can be daunting. If you write good content, it won’t matter how often you write a post. Your readers will be back! Writing just to write to fill the the space is what ruins a blog. Write when content is rich and you really have something to say. This advice probably won’t be found with any “professionals” out there but, I find this very important to me as a wife & mother: Don’t let your blog consume you. Write when you want and are able.

19.} Blog smart. You don’t have to list where you reside. Limit names of family members if possible. {Hey, I don’t even advertise my last name, but it seems to find it’s way out with family & friends following the blog.} Don’t ever announce when you won’t be home, or if you are gone.} {Unless you want to be broken into or you have a house sitter.} Remember, if your blog is public – you never know completely who is viewing it!

20.} And my top advice would be this: If you decide blogging is for you. I can’t impress this one on you enough, it can be very time consuming! Figure out what time works best for you to write. If married, consider your husband and your children in your decision. When you find that time, set yourself a time limit for ALL blogging and media endeavors. Keeping within your time limit keeps you aware of the time spent, and allows you time for the rest of your life. : ) Also, learn to write in advance and schedule posts – both on your blogging platform and on social media sites. Post your more conversational pieces or questions when you have time to chat with your readers about it.

And before all else, when it comes to blogging keep The Blessing of Breathing in mind. And Live life. Blog freely.

 

Are you a blogger? What bits of advice would you add to this list? Make a wise decision for you & your family, friend!

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1 Comment

  1. I love your heart in sharing these tips! I started out blogging purely as an outlet. I recently started advertising but its not my goal to make any money as it would take so much time that I dont have. I am the same way where I feel I can articulate much better through the written word rather then spoken though once I get going I love to talk with my friends. I have come to love blogging but have found I have to be very self controlled in my usage of time spent blogging in order to continue to put the ones God has placed right in front of me first.

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