Monday, September 9, 2013

What Do You Wish You Knew Before You Started Blogging?


When bloggers get together the topic often -- always -- turns to blogging. It doesn't matter whether we're at a blogging conference of 5,000 bloggers or over tea with just a few blog buddies. Blog questions are the best ice breakers. What do you blog about and how long have you been blogging are the basics and before I know it I'm just chatting away with people who were strangers ten minutes before.

I'm feeling a little reflective today -- maybe that comes with being inside much more than I've been since last winter -- and I thought of a few things I'd pass on to new bloggers, or chat about with those of us who have been blogging for years.

My thoughts -- in no particular order ...

1) My favorite part of blogging is...I don't have a favorite. I enjoy when people leave comments. I enjoy putting posts together and thinking about topics I want to write about and I enjoy taking pictures to illustrate posts. And I love meeting my blog buddies.

1b) About comments...comment, comment, comment! Social media is social and commenting is visiting. I have met some great friends by taking a few minutes to let them know how much I like their blog, how moved I am by their post, or simply to let them know that I grew up in New England, too. Everyone doesn't answer, but I think it's similar to going to a party. I may talk to a dozen people and a few or maybe only one of them may be someone I want to spend time with again, but I've had a fun time.

2) My least favorite part of blogging is the mechanics. I like being part of linky parties, but I don't like linking. It's goofy, but it seems "technical" and difficult to do. Of course when I've done the link or added a graphic I realize it doesn't take long at all and I am a little perturbed with myself. And I am still overwhelmed by the thought of moving Buttercupland to WordPress.

3) Don't be too hard on yourself. Every post won't be nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The important thing is to keep writing. It takes time to get your voice and be comfortable with putting out your thoughts and life publicly. I look back on some early posts and it seems they don't sound like "me." What I value about them is that they led the way to the fun I've had blogging for the last almost five years.

Let's chat, my dear blog buddies. Are there things you wish you knew before you started blogging? If not, is there advice you would like to share with new bloggers. The floor is open.

It's another beautiful day in New York City. I will be going outside today, and no fear, I will be wearing my boot. As always, thanks for visiting. 

74 comments:

Dee said...

Wow Wordpress! Big move! I'm excited to see how that goes.

My favorite part about blogging is just the writing itself, seeing everything come together on the screen. It's so satisfying to hit publish.

Nellie said...

Well, I would like to know how to do that "magic" of saying, "You may find that by just clicking 'here.'" Then, how do I get that magic spot to appear whenever a reader clicks? I just stumbled into blogging without any real tutorial, and I thought it would motivate me to take pictures. The picture-taking is working, and I LOVE "meeting" people from all over the world!

Have a good Monday, Buttercup!

Blackberry Lane said...

A good post. It does take a while for folks to learn about your interests, hobbies, views, etc. Once that happens, you have a great group of people who are actually interested in any and everything about your daily life. The most important thing is to be "real." People will either like you or not!
Wishing you a nice week.

Sharon said...

My favorite part of blogging without a doubt, is getting to know my blog friends in context with where they live. I love when they talk about things they do, see and enjoy in their communities and where they like to travel to on weekends. I'd still like to have at least one blog friend in every state and am working towards that goal. It's the icing on the cake when you actually get to meet a blog friend IRL!

Daphne Bryson said...

Good Evening Carol, I have surprised myself with how much I am enjoying blogging. I needed coaxing at first, but now, there is no looking back. I love that I have met some wonderfully creative women through blogging BUT, my problem is, sometimes things happen in my daily life which I need to tend to, and then I cannot find the time to reply to emails which I receive. I then feel unsettled, as the emails "play" on my mind until I am able to reply.
Apart from this, I love blogging.
Best Wishes to you,
Daphne

Susie said...

Buttercup, I wish when I started that I had kept a journal of written notes. I do not remember how I came across your blog. I was excited to "know" someone living in NYC...I have grown to think of you as my long lost sister, off on her own. LOL. I blog about anything and everything. I at first was drawn by the crafting make-overs. Now I am just me. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

I enjoyed this post. It made me think about my own blogging and how much I love it. I love to write, and I thought that would be the most satisfying part of it when I first started. But I quickly found out that it's the connections we make as we blog and read other blogs that makes it worthwhile. I also like the sense of discipline that blogging gives to my writing. I don't want to miss a scheduled post.

Melinda said...

Goodness, I am caught up.

My you are busy between you foot
and eye. Hope both heal soon.

M :)

Maggid said...

I simply learn as i go and don't worry about it . .

I'm grateful when you share with us.

love & love,
-g-

Theresa said...

I wish I had started blogging earlier in life:) It makes me document what I am doing and take LOTS of pictures to go with the story! I also love comments. Not everyone comments but I love to give and receive:) Have a blessed week sweet friend, HUGS!

Terra said...

I embrace all the points you make here.
If you move to Wordpress will it still be easy to follow you? Almost all the bloggers I know are on blogger.com

Jacquelineand.... said...

Hmmm, I wish I'd known how important my blogging friends would become to me.

augcott said...

You're moving to Wordpress? May I ask why?
Okay, I wish I knew how to attract more followers before I started blogging. With that said .... I now feel that I probably shouldn't let my "lack of" followers bother me. I've got a nice little group of "friends" who are there when I post and, like you, I really do enjoy it when they leave a comment.
:-D

Barbara F. said...

For me, I love visiting and admiring, and oohing and ahhing and commenting. I really just took the plunge, and have met so many wonderful people. I also did some things I would have never done if not for the blog. xo

Nancy said...

I wish I had known then what I know now -- would have saved me some headaches. Lol.

Seriously, it's the connections with people like you Carol. Someone I would never had "met" otherwise. My life is much richer for the friends I have made through blogging.

Mevely317 said...

Can I just "ditto" what Nancy wrote? lol.
I almost look back at the early days and laugh ... if I'd had any sense, I'd have STOPPED! :)

I think your 1(b) strikes the loudest chord. Encouragement is so important, I think. Wish there was a clearer way in which to find newbies and make them feel welcome. I still recall my very first comment and how it thrilled me.

Pondside said...

I think the best part is the friends I've made - and met all over the world. It is quite a thrill!
What do I wish I'd learned? I'd like to take better photos and upload them in a nicer way. I'd also like to know how to get that 'reply' box for each comment on my blog. It's a mystery!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Hmmm, what do I wish I'd known about blogging from the get-go, huh? That the process is a lot simpler when you use Chrome. The snags I ran into initially went away once I switched.

My favorite part of blogging is getting to know so many wonderful people from all over the world. I started doing this at the advise of several agents, who said all writers should have an online presence to establish a so-called "platform," but what I've ended up doing is making a bunch of new friends.

TARYTERRE said...

Love the blogging community, period. gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Joy/The Olde Farmhouse said...

Carol Z. (I went to grade school with a Carol Z but that was in Chicago in the "Olden Days!" Probably wasn't you! LOL
Loved this post and you really hit the nail on the head. I still don't know how to do a bunch of things that others do on their blogs but am still learning! I am surprised at how much I love my blogging friends and how important they are to me. And I wish I could learn how to write a nice short comment without rambling on and on.
Take good care of that foot and I hope your eye is getting better fast! {{HUGS}} Joy

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I've always loved journaling so when the opportunity to do so on line came I seized the chance. I can put down my thoughts and things I do and there they are to refer back to. When I first started, there were no comments, now I get a few and do appreciate them and the people I've come to know as friends. I wish I'd known that once you remove a blog it is gone forever. I did that once early on with AOL journals. I won't do that again.There are always changes and updates taking place but I do like blogger and will be staying here in blog land.

Marie said...

One thing which blogging has done for me is to find me all kinds of brilliant and much beloved friends. I consider my invisible friends every bit of a blessing in my life as my other friends. It's been pretty special. I have been with blogger for a long time now. I don't think I would ever want to be anyplace else. Blogging has also given me a voice. So many people have desires to be writers and dreams about such a thing. Blogging allows us all to do just that. I think it's pretty special. xxoo

BJ PUP said...

Just to let you know I visit. I enjoy the exchanges. My least favorite thing is the time it takes every day.

Your blog buddy

Deanna said...

I have totally enjoyed my experience with blogging...meeting people I would have NEVER met if it wasn't for blogging. That probably has been my most favorite thing about blogging...and the support you get, it's amazing!! Have missed a few of your latest posts...a lot has been going on in my life...don't know what happened to cause you to wear a boot, but hope it is on the mend.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I started my blog so long ago just to help me remember nice web sites I visited. It was in the day when there weren't that many blogs and hardly any readers. Then my blog grew to be a travelogue and journal of my life. I'm happy about that as I always wanted to keep a diary, and a blog is a combination photo book and diary.

If I had to do it over, however, I would not have chosen such a difficult and crazy blog name! Then again, it makes me rather unique as the blog with the crazy and difficult to remember name...lol :)

Cee Collins said...

I jumped into blogging in July 2013 with both feet because blogspot was so easy to get started. A friend referred me to blogelina who paid for a year of free hosting on wordpress and voila! here I am learning as I go. Yes, I would say I wish wordpress were as easy as blogspot but I am enjoying the challenge of learning and growing. I wish I had started blogging years ago.

Marie Tucker said...

Things I wished I would have known before I started blogging: How to set up a blog. I didn't know the first thing and am still learning as I go. Thanks to Blogelina, who has helped me so much!

Cindy Howell said...

Good morning! I'm debating the move to WP too. I guess I've already decided to do it, it's just a matter of getting the ball rolling at this point.

Before I started blogging, I wish I had know just how important and time consuming the social media part would be. I'm still learning how to balance my time!

Brielle and Me: Our Journey said...

I totally agree about not liking the technical parts. That's why I have a "go-to" techy friend. Source that tough stuff out, for sure. I also think not knowing what impact you might have out there in the big wide blogging world. I almost wish you could FORCE people to comment if they go to my blog. I'm am generous with my comments and offer them often. I don't think I ever realized how much work and time goes into it either. But keep blogging!

Linda Sears said...

Point #3 - Amen!

What I wish I knew beforehand is that I need to think of myself in a more professional manner.
What I would do differently? Start on self-hosted wp. (Thank you Blogelina!)
What I love most is the creative outlet, even if no one reads. But those comments and stat bars do give me a bit of a rush when I see them rising.

Enjoyed hearing about your experience - so true what you said about meeting new bloggers - we become friends so easily!

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

Great thoughts on blogging! My favorite thing has been "meeting" new friends all over the world, and realizing just how much alike we really are, no matter where we live. And getting to meet some of those online friends in real life is priceless!

Amanda Smith said...

As a new blogger I really appreciate this post! I appreciate all the comments too! I am so overwhelmed with blogging! I need a blogging mentor. LOL

Paul Harbour said...

Hello,

My favorite part is seeing new viewers. To see that someone visited my blog and stayed to read it is very rewarding.

Lisa @ Pebbles and Piggytails said...

You really described the essence of blogging. I love being able to write what I want, when I want, and how I want. I sometimes struggle with the mechanics too. But I LOVE being able to have a voice. That's why I blog. I'm kinda a shy person. But with blogging my voice is heard.

B. Jenkins said...

I love Wordpress soooo much better than blogger! I would say, what I don't like most about blogging is when I'm in a funk and can't find anything to write about! What I love most about is getting comments and building a relationship with my readers!

hthrbelle said...

I write just to have all my thoughts in one place. The comments, friendship and community that come along with it are just icing on the cake.

P.J. said...

I'm a bit jealous of those of you who have blogging friends. I truthfully don't know anybody local to me who also blogs. It also seems like women bloggers are more apt to meet up, which is too bad. I'd love to meet bloggers -- any -- at some point. Maybe a conference will do that for me.

As for knowing before, not really. My blog is a personal one where I tackle whatever is on my mind. I've always been a writer, so I've enjoyed seeing my blog develop over the years and I look forward to seeing where it goes in the future!

Heather said...

What I love about blogging is getting comments and visiting other blogs and reading about other people's lives, especially if we are going through similar things.What I wish I'd known: get a decent host first! I had so many problems with hackers. But it's all good, my new domain name is actually better than the old! (onestepatatime.co.za is better than surviveandthrive.co.za)!

finchnwren said...

Ah, I love these bloggers who make me ponder! Really good questions, I think. I love a LOT about blogging: ways to be creative; a place to share my thoughts; an awesome way to connect with my sister (we share a blog); and meeting folks I may never see face-to-face. Of course, I didn't even mention the opportunities blogging opens up.....frankly, it's lots of great dessert!

:)Wren
P.S. Blessings on your foot! I've had both feet in a boot at various times!

Tammy Doiel said...

I'm newer at this--and I like the machanics least of all too; also the watermarking and design of the post. It's just so time-consuming. But I love the friendships I've made and the memories I've recorded.

Monica McConkey said...

I love a lot of things about blogging...recording activities and events from our family life, collecting and sharing crafty projects and learning to take better pictures. I love the other bloggers I have met...online and in real life and I love when we realize we can all promote each other and we all win. =)

Lisa Noel said...

my favorite part is the friends it's brought.

keepingthemeinmommy said...

I'm new to blogging and it's been a learning curve but the only thing I wish is that I had started blogging earlier!

Rachel Maurer said...

I really just love the writing itself. I have a lot to say about thing so I really enjoy speaking my mind:)

Amy Atkins said...

I am on Wordpress and I love it but it's very daunting to begin with. There are a lot of resources for support. I wish I knew about the SEO tech stuff like naming your photo before you upload it with a great file name related to your post.

Danielle Miller said...

Be true to yourself because if your not your readers will sense it.

Janine Mayes said...

I took the plunge to wordpress earlier this summer - a leap of faith, but I made it!

I do love the comments, and try not to take it personally when I don't get many commetns :(

I have "met" some lovely bloggy friends online, and met up with a few of them who were visiting Ireland - always fun!

michelle jones said...

I am actually on my 3rd blog. Yes I have began and quit many times. This time I have wonderful community of other bloggers, and that is the key to my small successes now. My last blog was on blogger...but now I'm on wordpress. Wordpress takes some time to learn, but I think it's worth it. You can do so much more with it! I am still trying to find my way, and getting everything so so! I love your background!

Tamara Brower said...

Love your background! I enjoy blogging. Used to write a lot but had put it aside when I got married and had kids. I kept hearing people talking about blogs and blogging and decided one day to take the plunge. It's been fun so far. What I don't like is the "spam" or robot comments I get. So I have to moderate everything.

Dog Training At Home Tips

Sandra Lee said...

When I started blogging three years ago I had no idea how much time it takes to keep a blog running. Beyond taking pictures and writing engaging posts, inevitably you want to attract readers. The most challenging part however is to not compare your blog to some of the other more popular ones. Being true to yourself is most important and it should always be fun. When it's no longer fun it may be time to let it go.

Narelle Heath said...

The thing I struggle with is the confidence to promote myself and my blog. That although what I do isn't perfect, it's still good enough to share.

Blogging is such a journey, with continual learning and development. I'm so glad I'm on my journey!

Sarah said...

Great topic! There's sooooo much I have learned along the way and wish I'd known sooner. And the technical part is tricky, but I also totally love knowing how to do it all!

Andrea of Project Simple Home said...

I LOVE getting comments on my posts but I feel like I typically get more spam than anything else. I wish readers knew just how much real, meaningful comments mean to those of us who put our time, heart, and soul into our blogs.

I feel like I've tried all the tricks to getting comments and interacting with readers. I leave open ended questions, I occasionally ASK outright, I've even tried to make it super simple by removing all spam checkers. By the way, I don't recommend that last one.

Lynda said...

Wow - - you definitely got a response on this one!!! I wish I knew how to change the background - - easily -- - - from other websites and not just blogspot. One of these days I will find someone who can show me easily - - - and I have time to do that.

Dawn Madsen said...

This is a great list, and good encouragement to comment, comment, comment :) I generally feel like no one has visited or read ANYTHING and then I look at the google analytics, or I'll see someone and reference something I wrote, so I know they have been there, but a comment is such nice confirmation and edification.

I'm going to work on getting better at this!

Dawn from http://www.ithinkwecouldbefriends.com

Regina said...

Great post. I haven't been blogging very long, since May of this year. I love it though. About the only thing I don't like about it is when the technology doesn't work. Ugh.

I truly believe comments are extremely important. As you said, this is social media. We need to be building relationships with each other and that only comes from communicating. Comments are the basis of our communications. Adrienne Smith has a free Relationship Building Guide on the importance of relationship building. (http://www.adriennesmith.net/)

Thanks for sharing your expertise with us.
http://www.reginaatthelake.com

Bobbi Parish-Logie said...

My favorite part of blogging is hearing that what I've written has meant something to one of my readers. It has helped them, or taught them something or opened their eyes to a new idea. I can't ask for anything better than making a difference in someone else's life! ~ Bobbi

Kelly Joseph said...

There is so much I want to learn about blogging! I have a lot to learn including Linky parties (no clue), Link ups, grabbing buttons...it is all so overwhelming! I really like your idea about commenting. I am learning the value of doing this. Not to mention, I feel so special when someone takes the time to comment on my posts! Looking forward to learning!

Kimberly Ann Hawes said...

I wish when I started blogging...I had more organization and a clear cut vision on where I wanted my blog to go.

It took a good 6 months to get it together, although I"m still learning and expanding.

Thanks for the great information.

Yvonne A Jones said...

My tip to new bloggers would be to make sure that you're very familiar with your topic, you like your topic, and will enjoy writing about it, otherwise you'll get bored and discontinue before you build momentum.

All the best with your move. Almost five years ago I started on Blogger.com then moved to Typepad and have been on self-hosted Wordpress since 2010.

Jennifer Schonhaar said...

I'm pretty new still to blogging - just started in March. I'm enjoying it although I'm still pretty nervous about doing it. I struggle with some of the "techy" parts but that's why I have a teenage daughter, right? :)

lifewiththebs said...

I wish I knew that most people don't comment and that it would take a long time to build a readership. After a year of blogging, I think my relatives are still my biggest fans.

Michelle Garrett said...

The more I blog the more my answer evolves. A few years ago, it may have been receiving interaction and comments from readers. While I still enjoy that (of course!), the blogging season that I'm in has me super thankful for the blogging relationships I have formed. The bloggers I've connected with and learned from and with.

Angela Thiede said...

My favorite part of blogging is the actual writing. I'm a writer at heart; I used to write exclusively fiction, but have wandered into the blogosphere. A close second favorite is comments...there is nothing better than someone taking the time to comment on your hard work.

I wish I knew how time-consuming a blog would be before starting my blog. It's often hard to find time to actually blog with a toddler demanding attention (and food).

Tiffany said...

I started blogging as a new years resolution. I had been an avid blog reader for a year or so before that and thought that it would be great to document my life. That's what I've done, created a lifestyle blog and I love it. Who doesn't love receiving comments? I refresh my email a few time at work each day hoping there are some awaiting me in my inbox. What is crazy though, is I find it so weird when people come up to me and tell me they read my blog or that they saw that one my blog. For some odd reason it's super personal and I want everyone to know, but at the same time I get embarrassed when they verbally let me know they read it.

craftingafairytale.blogspot.com

Nancy Wolff said...

I've only been blogging for two years and I enjoyed reading your post. I think the thing I've enjoyed the most is the people I've gotten to know. Most of those relationships starting with a comment left on my blog!

Stephanie Bourne said...

I like meeting new people through my blog. I don't post many personal posts or other posts other than giveaways but I am slowly trying to add more content. Thanks for sharing!

Ashley Slaughter said...

I still feel super new to blogging but I have enjoyed the journey of learning. I've always thought I was pretty good with computers and technical stuff...well starting a blog has been a serious learning curve but I'm thrilled about all the new knowledge!

Ashley O said...

Awesome post! Being a new blogger, I'm really working on not being so hard on myself. Thank you for the tips! I'm definitely going to use them! :)

Kristen @ It Comes Full Circle said...

I still consider myself a new blogger (less than a year) but I wish I'd started earlier! I would go back and tell myself to just "learn as go you." It's amazing how much you do learn in the process!

Felicia Moore said...

There are so many things that I wish I knew before I started blogging. I can't even list them all, haha. In particular, I wish I would have known that I didn't have to post every day. That was a big mistake, in my opinion, and I ended up burning myself out really quickly, which hurt my blog in the end.

My best piece of advice to new bloggers is to be yourself and don't feel like you have to follow all of the advice you get from "expert" bloggers because what worked for them, may not work for you.

Jana L said...

There is so much I wish I had known before I started blogging. I don't even know where to start listing them. Probably with the fact that blogging is HARD. It's fun, amazing, and rewarding, but it's hard. I also wish I had known that it'd lead me to start a blogger mentoring business. THAT was completely unexpected.

If you need any help with moving to WordPress, please contact me. I did it myself about 2 years ago with the help of an amazingly talented friend and it's SO much easier than you would think.

Irene Soh said...

My fav part of blogging is getting to know new friends from all around the world!

Ashley Roe said...

I think one thing I wish I knew what that it's okay to not be perfect. I want to have a good blog, with good graphics and so on but it was super stressful at first trying to get it all just right. Now I do what I can and let it be. I love meeting new bloggers too!