Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Blogging Tips: Take 'em or Leave 'em

As I promised in Part 2 of "Getting to Know the Bargain Blonde" aka longest post ever, here are my answers to your blogging questions.  Again, sorry they are so long!  Clearly I like to hear myself talk.

B said, "Love your blog! Any tips on starting one up?"
First of all, thank you so much! I'm always overwhelmed by all the love I get from my readers. XOXO

When I started my blog, I obviously had no clue what I was doing. For the first 4 months I didn't even have the "follow me" Blogger app on my page. Needless to say, I was blogger challenged in a bad way. However, slowly, but surely, I've picked up on the blogger game. Here are three tips I'd give a blogging virgin:

  • Give serious thought when choosing a blog name. Knowing what I know now, I would have never gone with the name "the Bargain Blonde" because there are SO many blog names with the word "blonde" in it. Color me stupid, but I had no idea. I legit thought I was being super clever when I came up with this blog name. I should have researched the blog-o-sphere to see what was out there first.
  • Be prepared for the commitment. Blogging requires a lot of time; It's not just about writing a post. You have to write, edit, take pictures, upload pictures, edit pictures, comment on other blogs, respond to e-mails, etc. If you aren't willing to put in the time or don't have the time, I wouldn't recommend starting one. I really think of blogging like a second job.
  • Be you. Don't start a blog trying to be anyone but you. Write with YOUR voice and write about things that you are passionate about. I don't think you have to have a "theme" to your blog, but you definitely need some direction. I've always been a bargain shopper, so it's easy for me to come up with content. I truly love blogging and if I could make a living blogging, I'd quit my job in a second.
Katie H asked, "Do you blog/read blogs at work? How do you keep from spending hours on end trying to keep up with every one's? When you first started, did you ever feel like starting a blog is kind of like trying to sit at the popular table at lunch in high school?"
I will read blogs when I have down time at work, but I like to do most of my blogging and reading after work. Typically I'll have blogger open while I watch my TV shows at night.

As for your second question, I wish I knew. I feel like I can never catch up. I try my best to stay caught up, but it really feels like an uphill battle.

I don't think I felt like I was trying to sit at the popular table, but I totally see what you mean. I never started this blog trying to be a "popular" blog. I started it because I stumbled across Helen H (formerly "Life as a Wife") and loved it so much I thought, "Hey! I could totally do this." I seriously was so excited when I hit 12 followers, and when I hit my 50th (Raven) this February, I couldn't believe it. How in a few short months I went from 50 to almost 750 followers is confusing to me. I really don't understand it. My goal was to hit 100 followers by the end of this year and I didn't think I was going to be able to do it. I guess I underestimated myself.

Chelsea asked, "Someone asked something similar to this but what's your blogging schedule? When do you write your posts, when do you read other blogs/comment, etc.?


"Have you noticed any particular source for where you get your readers? Social media, links to you from other blogs, etc.?"
When I think of a blog topic idea, I write it down or else I'll forget it. In August I started using a monthly calendar I bought at The Dollar Store to plan and keep track of my posts. On it I try to plan out my posts for the week, but I don't write them until the night before. I always write in pencil because I change my mind constantly. I never blog on the weekend, so I try my hardest to post Monday to Friday. That rarely happens, so I generally end up blogging 3 ot 4 times a week.

I think my readers tend to come from being listed on my besties blog rolls. When I first started out, I participated in "What I'm Loving Wednesday". I think link-ups in moderation when you are first starting out are a great way to get your blog url out there. However, I don't really care for blogs that ONLY do link-ups. I get they are easy to do, but in my opinion, you need original content as well.

There you have it; Blogging 101 with the Bargain Blonde.  Hopefully this helps a little.  Leave your tips in the comments if I left any important info out, which I'm sure I did. 

p.s. Tomorrow Raven and I have a fun announcement!
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  1. Blogging really is like a second job. I learned that right away. But, if you love it enough, it's totally worth it. Being "you" is great advice and I think that is what can really help separate you from others!

    I agree about the link-ups. They were totally fun at the beginning, but I've decided to kind of let them dwindle away on my blog so I can really focus on my content :) I definitely think I will be trying out this whole calendar thing. I have ideas all the time and forget them 2 minutes later! Great pointers, Linds! :)

  2. So interesting to hear what other bloggers have to say about blogging. You're right that it's much more of a commitment that I first realized. But my goodness, I've made some amazing friends. A couple of my real life best friends are people I originally met through blogging, though it's so hard to believe that now!

  3. Great tips! I absolutely love your blog and I think people are so drawn to it because you're so real. People appreciate someone who can be down to Earth and tell it like it is.

  4. I LOVE YOUR BLOG NAME! Seriously, I do. I hate mine, but like you said, I'm a "brand" now so I can't change it. hahaha!! just kidding. But I do love yours.

    awwww me your 50th follower, I love that. we will never forget that huh?

    I forget what I am going to blog all the time. I think I need a little planner like you. and yay! TOMORROW THE ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

  5. These are great blogging tips, thanks for the advice..Love your blog!!

  6. Loved this! That's crazy how you went from 50 followers to hundreds do quickly! Thank you for the tips!

  7. thanks for these wonderful tips!!
    im trying to be better, if only i could be more orgainized like u!!

    cant wait for the annoucement!! yay!

    loves. and hugs

  8. This was really good to read!! You are soo right. It's fun to really start to have favorites- yours is def one of my faves to read.

    But tell me- are those really your books? haha. I shouldn't laugh. But that is just kinda funny!

  9. I remember reading your blog when you had like twenty followers! Someone had posted on Facebook a blog post about self tanner and you had commented on it, and I decided I loved your blog ten times more than the one you had commented on. :)

    I also LOVE the idea of a calender to keep track of posts. I usually end up writing my ideas down on little scraps of paper during boring lectures and then lose them.

    You're a blogging genius.

  10. I think I should start a calendar like you have. Blogging is a commitment and between school, marriage, kiddo, and work I feel like I'm not up to par sometimes. Thanks for the insights!

  11. Ah thanks for sharing!!

    ANd I am anxious for this comment!!

    Are you guys going to say you are having a meet up1!? and INVITING US ALL!? ;) haha one can hope!

    Anxious to find out what this big annoucement is! I am thinking you guys are going to finally meet! <3

  12. Exactly! The look on Reese's face in the pumpkin pictures is exactly how most of them look. There are days I hate my job so much and threaten my boss' that I'm never going to have kids because of how horrible they act at work, but the little ones make it worth it.

    I will warn you, though, once he starts going to public school all that innocence seems to fly out the window. I had a kindergartner when I first started who told me that when her friend likes a boy she tells him she wants to suck him off. I also work in the ghetto of Crowley, though. Dallas schools are supposed to be much better.

  13. Thanks for these kind words, Lindsey - I love seeing you skyrocket to success over here - so inspiring!

    You gave me some much-needed momentum :)


  14. I love it when you post blogging tips. And you and Raven and an announcement? I die.

  15. word. i need to kick my little bloggy into gear- it's just so hard finding time to write posts. if there were a few more hours in the day, or if i got paid to do it, i could justify prioritizing it, but dumb school likes to take up all my time. frustrating.

  16. I love this!! Thank you so much!! I just started blogging in January & am still learning stuff! I love it though.

  17. Great post! I'm new to blogging and these are great tips.

  18. You are so right!! I was just telling Kendol at supper, how it really is like a 2nd job. But I love every second of it. Thanks for all of the great advice. Your blog is one of my very favs :)

  19. great advice love! and i'm w you on the blog name thing. love lipstick and pearls is soooooooo freaking long and there's a ton of other blogs w similar names. oy vey.

  20. TOTALLY agree with the second job part. It really is hard to keep up sometimes. Sadly, I suck most of the time. But the good news? We are facebook friends, and that my friend is LEGIT. Hahaha. TOO legit, TOO legit to QUIT! ahahaha.

    Mk. Come see me in ATX!

  21. Thanks so much for this post - it's so encouraging! I can't believe your followers jumped up so fast. BTW, somehow when we can't find our own pics to use on a post we always veer towards Mean Girls, ha.

  22. I need to start jotting down my ideas too... you are so right, it's a commitment that I have been slacking on lately!:( Love this post; thanks for all the tips!


  23. Well, milady, YOU are the reason I started blogging.

    I actually found your blog when I was googling "white bikinis river" or something, and came across your post on tubing down a river.

    I LOL'ed at the "I don't know who these skanks think they are wearing bikinis" and was pretty much hooked.

    I've only been blogging since late August, but I love it so much and have learned a ton already!

    Thanks for these tips and keep doin yo thang over here. My guess is you'll have over 1k followers by this time next year.


  24. THANK YOU so much for this post! It was SUPER helpful and really made me think of blogging in a different light.

    SO glad I found your blog today and consider me your newest follower.

  25. Loved this post- so much that I felt I needed to give you a tiny shoutout on my blog! xo

  26. LOVE this post! I'm new to the blogging world and I love it! I'm stuck at 24 followers and am really looking for ways to make that number go up! This wa really helpful! love love love your blog by the way!

  27. i agree with you, picking your blog name is very important! and blogging is something we really have to commit to, but it's also something that should be fun -- it doesn't necessarily have to feel like another chore we have to do. :)

    <3, Mimi

  28. As a new blogger, I loved this post! I have always wanted to start a blog but only got the guts to do so about a month ago. Since then I have loved it but still struggle on coming up with interesting and good content that I think people will want to read! Thanks for all the advice! Love your blog!

  29. Hi! I just discovered Your Blog and I LOve it! Love your personality! Following You!)