It’s hard to believe that I have been blogging for over a year now! I started my blogging journey on a free platform in November of 2016 with a post about a family trip to Savannah. A few months later, I moved the blog to my current website. Although I studied up before starting my blog, there was a lot I didn’t know about blogging. I had a lot to learn!
I was fortunate to make a few friends early in the process. They answered my questions, supported my efforts, and helped spread the word about my blog. Recently, I was nominated for a Liebster Award which gives me an opportunity to pay it forward and share the love for some other blogs. Afterall, love makes the blogging world go round!
Blogging is Not Easy
Blogging is much more complicated than I expected it to be. I really thought I would spend 30 minutes to an hour each week writing up a new post, copy and paste it into the website editor, click publish, and it would be done. I thought that if I wrote something interesting, then readers would flock to my site. In reality, there is a lot more to it than that.
If you write it, they will come. Right? Nope.
If you actually want people to read your blog, there are all these extra little things you should be doing.
- You need to make your posts visually interesting by including good quality optimized pictures.
- You need to write with internet readability in mind. That means you keep paragraphs very short, include headlines and subtitles, and share information in bulleted lists.
- You need feature images to accompany each post. These images will appear on your homepage and on social media feeds.
- You need at least one nice vertical image for each post in case readers want to save it to their Pinterest boards. You also need to include “alt text” for your images so that the description will prefill when a reader pins your post on Pinterest.
- If you want people to know about new posts, you need to open social media accounts to spread the news when new posts are published.
And, don’t get me started on Search Engine Optimization, social media strategies, keywords, cornerstone content, interlinking, Google Analytics… Oh, I was so naïve!
A Little Help From Friends
One pleasant discovery I made was that I am not alone. All bloggers struggle with these things, and as a whole, the blogging community is a friendly and helpful bunch. I am so grateful to be a part of this community who whole-heartedly help and support one another.
Bloggers often form groups on social media platforms (mostly on Facebook) to ask questions and support each other. One of the more helpful groups that I have participated is the Awesome Travel Bloggers group on Facebook. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to join this group as they were just starting out, and we all kind of grew together; we shared our struggles and questions, and we worked together to find solutions.
RELATED: Many of the bloggers from the Awesome Travel Bloggers group were recently featured in a Minivan Adventures collaboration post.
Through Awesome Travel Bloggers and a handful of other blogging groups, I gained confidence, knowledge, friendships, and even a little recognition for my blog.
My Opportunity to Pay It Forward
A couple of months ago, I was nominated for a Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to share their love for other blogs. By nominating another blog, a blogger is essentially recommending that blog to others. It is a way of saying “I enjoy reading this, and I think you would enjoy reading it, too.”
My Liebster Award nomination came from Tara with Travel Plus Family. Thank you, Tara! This is a huge honor because I admire Tara and her tireless work ethic so much. She consistently publishes new and interesting content on her family travel blog and social media channels but that’s not all…
Not only does Tara work hard on her own blog, but she also works hard to support others in the blogging community. She is heavily involved in the administration and organization of multiple active Facebook groups that provide support for bloggers (including the Awesome Travel Bloggers group that I found so instrumental in my own blogging journey). She is always willing to help brainstorm ideas and answer questions from others. Plus, she has a full-time day job. Seriously, she has some major hustle! When does this woman sleep?!?
Paying It Forward
As part of the Liebster Award, it is my responsibility to pay it forward by nominating other blogs.
Drumroll, please! In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite blogs at the moment. I enjoy reading these blogs, and I think you would enjoy reading them, too.
Monica In The Muse
I first met Monica at her wedding. One of the groom’s friends had invited me as his “plus one.” I even caught the bouquet at her wedding reception!!! While my relationship with their friend didn’t last, my new friendship with the bride and groom has survived. Since then, I have come to discover how incredibly talented Monica is. She can (and does) write anything and everything on the In The Muse blog – poetry, inspirational pieces, devotionals, interesting travel-related pieces, and laugh-out-loud observations. I love it when she publishes a new post, because even though I have no idea what it will be about, I know it will be good. Find her blog online at http://www.monicainthemuse.com/
Tread Lightly, Retire Early
I first discovered Angela from Tread Lightly, Retire Early her through her witty banter on Twitter. Then, I checked out a few of her blog’s links and discovered that we share similar interests like a desire to retire early, being avid users of our local libraries, and a love for family travel. Best of all, she is clever, engaging and genuine. Find her blog online at https://treadlightlyretireearly.com/
One Sarcastic Baker
I discovered Dee of One Sarcastic Baker through a Facebook blogging group a few months ago. She had shared a post about emoji cupcakes that I found clever. I subscribed to her blog and have been delighted with her posts ever since. She is an amazingly talented baker with a super witty personality. Not only does she share her recipes and baking tips, but she also shares a bit of herself in each post like her love for alternative rock music, her thoughts on superheroes, or her struggles with personal fashion. She bakes delicious treats and loves Pearl Jam! How could I not love her blog? Find her blog online at http://www.onesarcasticbaker.com/
Love Laughter and Luggage
I was truly inspired when I discovered Stacey’s Love laughter and Luggage blog. At the time, I had become discouraged because it seemed like every travel blogger I met traveled to exotic foreign destinations. I felt like maybe there was no audience or interest for a blog focused mainly on destinations in the United States, especially Midwest destinations. Then, I discovered Love Laughter and Luggage. Stacey primarily writes about US travel destinations (many of them around the Midwest region), and I love reading her posts about visiting Laura Ingalls Wilder sites, seeing the eclipse in totality and various adventures in Branson. If I enjoy reading her posts, then maybe there are people that would enjoy reading my US travel posts as well. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement, Stacey! Find her blog online at https://www.lovelaughterandluggage.com/
Let Me Give You Some Advice
This is my most recent blog discovery. Lindsay from Let Me Give You Some Advice blogs about all the things I love most – spending meaningful time with family, living in the Midwest, reading, and travel! Find her blog online at https://www.letmegiveyousomeadvice.com/
I love strange-but-true stories and facts, and the History Unfettered blog is a treasure trove of interesting historical tidbits. Its creator, Nicol, is on a mission to “release history from the bonds of boring” with her intelligent and well-researched posts. Plus, she is funny! Take a moment to check out her blog and learn about real sea monsters that threatened Scandinavian countries or how bathing has evolved or other odd historical trivia. Find her blog online at http://www.nicolvalentin.com/
Love Makes the Blogging World Go Round
Nominees – If you were just nominated by me for a Liebster, please consider paying it forward by writing a post nominating some of your favorite blogs. Simply tell us a little about your personal blogging experience, and then, share some links to a few of your favorite blogs.
Readers – If you are wondering how to help friends and family with blogs, Parenting the Principal (another one of my favorite blogs) wrote a great post on how to support a blogger.
What are your favorite blogs to read? Please tell us in the comments section.