Things I have Learned Since I Started Blogging
The idea for this blog post came to me after I was reading over many threads on a blogger support group I joined. Last year, Crandom was getting between 900-1,000+ views a month. Then I had issues with my previous hoster – BIG issues that resulted in my leaving them and loosing out on the last few months that I had already paid for. I switched over to Who Is as my hoster and while the service now is amazing, the switch came with many difficulties. I have had to start over not once, not twice, but three times in the past twelve months. Twice of which were in 2017.
These seven little things are things that I have learned since I started Crandom in 2014. These are my opinions, I feel the need to state this. They may different from your own, but they are mine and I just want to share them with others.
01. Be Yourself
It’s okay to find inspiration elsewhere, trust me. I do all the time. Funnily enough my favorite two blogs are my favorite because they inspire me to be me – to be more comfortable with who I am and the skin that I am in. Both of the bloggers have books out now, but I only found one of them through a book. It wasn’t an ARC either. I was at work one morning and I heard this woman on the radio and she reminded me slightly of me. She was talking about her new book and I had to look her up. I fell in love instantly and her book has been read many times since I bought it. Those two blogs – cause I feel the need to get this out there – are The Bloggess and Hyperbole and a Half.
While I know there is no way I will ever be as big or as good as they are, that’s okay. I am not Jenny Lawson, I am no Allie Brosh, I am ME! Sandra, who I was born and meant to be. Crandom is about me finding my voice and being confident enough to get it out there. It’s about me sharing things that I love, things that I am passionate enough to speak up about. The best person to be when you sit down to put your blog together, or to make a post, is yourself.
02. Get Outside your Comfort Zone
This is something I hate doing with a passion. I hate change, I hate discomfort, I hate socializing with others, I fear what others think – even though I know I should not. However, since 2014, I have tried out many things with this blog. I have worked with different companies and I have realized that some things just where not right for me. Product reviews are one of those. I agreed to test out a few things, they were on the blog before the last restart. As much as I hate to say it – I am kind of glad that I lost them during the restart. I have affiliated with different companies as well, I have finally found one company I am actually comfortable being teamed up with. That company is Elk River Soap Company – you can find their link in our menu. I am proud to be an independent affiliate with them and if you are interested in more information, feel free to email me.
03. It’s Not About the Money
Maybe this really varies, depending on the person, but for me it really isn’t. I do have Google Adsense on the account, I did team up with Elk River Soap Company. Not to make profit off the blog, but to keep it running itself. I consider this blog my ’employment’, but I don’t get paid for it. For me it really is about getting my voice, my passions, and my opinions out there. Truthfully? I would not want it any other way. You should never start a blog with just the intent of making money. If you are not blogging about something you are passionate about – chances are your post will show that and your readers will pick up on it.
Currently, I am not making enough money to cover the cost of the blog upkeep. I am okay with that for now, but it would be nice for it to change. It’s just more of a priority (for me!) to focus on the blogs content and not ways to make money.
04. It Takes Time
Before 2014 – I had no idea how time-consuming keeping up with a blog could be. I get tons of emails every day from readers, from authors, publishers, affiliate inquiries. It overwhelmed me a lot at first. I couldn’t keep up. I had to get friends and family members to help me sort through emails more than once. One top of reading and responding to emails – I had to take the time to plan out post, to get pictures together (my own or stock – whichever the post called for). I still haven’t managed to perfect balance to all of this, but I am still trying. I am still a one woman show and I hope that you can all appreciate all the hard work I put into Crandom. Time management is a skill that I recommend learning if you are wanting to start a blog – I am still working on mastering this (because I suck at it). It’s a very time-consuming thing, but I love it.
05. Protect Your Blog
There is so much I could type under this, but I will try to keep it short and sweet.
- Be careful who you allow to guest post on your blog. While guest post can be helpful and it is good to network and team up with other bloggers, make sure it’s the right kind of fit for your blog. It could do more harm than good in the end if it’s not.
- Virus protect = a must! I have a program I use on WordPress that blocks hackers and lets me know when they try to login. It also blocks anything unauthorized and runs virus scans. It’s amazing. There are plenty of plugins that do this, so be sure to do your research and pick the one that works best for you and your blog.
- Backups! Oh, the third time is the charm alright. After three restarts, I now back up the blog at least once a week. You never know just what will happen and it’s always better to be ready. There are many ways you can do this. You can do it yourself for free (I am not going into the technical terms here) or you can pay through Jetpack. I do them myself for now. If I can start making enough off the affiliates and ads, then I would consider paying through Jetpack. It would be a lot easier and I would rather do it that way. Trust me.
06. Niches? Not for me…
I tried doing the niche thing. Really, I did. I focused first on lifestyle, moved on to just books, then I tried reviews, and now…. I am back at lifestyle (if I had to label it?). Labels are something that I have always hated, so this really is not a surprise for me. My blog is a reflection of who I am as a person. Picking just one of my passions or part of my personality would probably be disastrous. I am an introvert, I have social anxiety, I have undying passions for reading, gaming, crafts, photography, and my family. All of these make up who I am and what Crandom is. If you want to pick a niche, go for it, if it works for you – work it! It doesn’t work for me though. I’ve tried it and things are better the way they are. Crandom after all got its name by merging Crazy and Random together.
07. Spell Check and Fact Check = Your Friend
Most blogs have spell check built-in and google is an awesome fact checker. Use them both to prevent embarrassing mishaps. Once I posted an article about something personal. A bad habit of mine, if I remember correctly, happened in that post. I used the phrase “Nip it in the bud”, however I put down “Nip it in the butt”. Why? For some reason that was really what I thought the saying was. My sister called me laughing about it. I, however grateful I may have been, was also mortified and I rushed to edit the post as soon as she told me. Oh, the lessons we learn the hard way. However, I am sure I still make mistakes with grammar, spelling, punctuation, and fact checking. I am sure we all do sometimes. We are all humans, after all.