Let’s Talk Blog (Part Two)

Last week, in celebration of my 2nd blogiversary this week, I opened the floor to you all to ask me any burning questions you may have. Yesterday I answered some of your blog related questions, and today I’m answering the rest of your blog related questions. Get excited.

lets talk blog

How did you get noticed and start to grow you blog?
My very first DIY tutorial (thrifty hurricanes) was featured on Apartment Therapy. This rarely happens. It’s so rare I hadn’t been featured on Apartment Therapy again, to my knowledge, until recently for my stenciled file cabinet. My next big project to get noticed was my wine cork candle holders. I still get a lot of hits on these earlier posts.

I think I get noticed because of my photography. Think about it. We’re visual beings. It’s a lot easier (and faster) to look at a photo and decide whether you like what you see rather than spending time reading a post and deciding whether or not you like it. Does that make sense? My advice would be to pull readers in with awesome photography. Then hit them with great content.

Here’s the deal. I don’t know of a blogger who was an overnight success. I’ve never heard of a DIY home blog going from zero to 100,000 pageviews per month in the matter of a couple weeks or months. Success in blogging takes a lot of time and hard work. I’ve been blogging for over 2 years. The ‘big bloggers’ out there (Young House Love, Thrifty Decor Chick, Centsational Girl, etc.) have been blogging for 4+ years, and they started blogging when there were far less DIY bloggers to compete with. I don’t mean blogging is a competition, but the market is much more saturated with DIY blogs now than it was 4-5 years ago. Plus, those bloggers have 4+ years of content to lure readers to their blog. If you want your blog to be successful you need to put in the effort. Things don’t happen miraculously or overnight.

Everyone seems to say that Pinterest is a huge traffic source, so how do you think you started getting your images pinned on Pinterest?
Pinterest has been amazing for the growth of my blog. It’s currently my #2 traffic source. I think I started getting my images pinned on Pinterest by having great photos. (Are you seeing a trend? Everything goes back to photography.)  People are far more likely to pin and repin bright, crisp, eye-catching photos. How many dark, unfocused, and generally bad photos do you see on Pinterest? I don’t know about you, but I don’t see many– at least from the people I follow. If you do see a lot of these photos do you click on them to read the post? I’m going to guess that 95% of the time you skip over them. On top of having good photos, I try to add text to my images. This gives Pinterest users a clear indication of what they’ll find when they click on the image. You can easily add text to photos using free websites like PicMonkey.

how to stencil furniture

how to put lights on christmas tree 1

Where do you find link parties?
I’ve been linking up to the same link parties for 1-2 years. I couldn’t tell you how I found them because I don’t remember. Some of them are hosted by bloggers I’m friendly with, and some are hosted by blogs I’ve been reading for a long time. You can find link parties by seeing where other bloggers link up. For reference here’s the list of link parties I try to link up to: Home Stories A to ZTatertots and JelloHouse of HepworthsThe Shabby Creek CottageLiz Marie BlogThe Shabby NestPositively SplendidWhipperberryFunky Junk InteriorsClassy ClutterToday’s Creative BlogUncommon Designs, and Serenity Now. Tip:  Always, always, always link back to the blogs you link up to. It’s the polite thing to do, and you’re less likely to be featured if you don’t link back.

How many blog posts do you read a day? Or how many blogs are on your reader?
Depends on the day. I read my blogger friends’ blogs almost daily. Sometimes I get behind when I get really busy, but I eventually catch up. I typically go through blogs on my reader a few times a week. I have about 150 blogs on my reader, but I bundle them into groups. I follow a lot of my favorite blogs on Facebook. If I see the blogger add an interesting post I’ll click through to read it. I feel like a lot of people use Facebook to keep up with their favorite blogs, especially since you can organize your ‘liked’ pages.

I know you work with children, and I work in education. I am kind of avoiding telling people at work about my blog because I sort of feel like they might not appreciate my humor, or they’ll think I’m less professional. Do you ever feel this pressure or have similar worries? Any tips for filtering yourself but still being you?
I never tell my clients about my blog– mostly because the topic never comes up. I have co-workers, but I rarely see them so very few of them know about the blog. I don’t feel pressure or worry because I try to keep it clean on here. I debated calling my dresser turned TV stand a “crack house dresser” but I decided to go with it because it was funny and mostly true (seriously, this house was uninhabitable, and I’m pretty certain it was a former crack den). When in doubt, ask a co-worker you’re close with to proof your posts for you. They’d be able to tell you whether or not you’re being too risque. I doubt you’ll get fired from your job for referencing a boob light in a blog post, it’s not like you’re performing at Dancers on amateur night.

Do you help out your blog followers with projects they are working on by giving advice?
If you mean help out in terms of answering a specific question on a project I’ve covered on the blog but didn’t answer your specific question then I’m more than happy to help– just comment on the post or shoot me an email. If you’re talking about helping readers pick out a rug or lamp, the answer is not really. If I did I’d probably have to charge people. I’m all about helping people out but time is money. I’m sure I sound like a huge jerk, but I’m currently running three small businesses– my day job, the blog, and my Etsy shop. Plus I run Casa de Two Twenty One. I wouldn’t be the first blogger to charge though, many create mood boards for readers for a fee. If you want advice on certain projects (what color to paint something, which lamp to buy, etc.) I suggest getting on social media and asking your followers what they think. People love to give their opinions.

I hope I did a good job answering your blog related questions. Let me know if you have more questions or if there’s a certain blog topic you’d like me to cover in a future post.

 Check out my Pinterest blogging board, where I pin all things related to blogging.

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  1. Love this post! Great tips for some just starting out blogging. I don’t tell my coworkers/students about my blog but sometimes if I friend some other teachers on facebook, they will find it and come talk to me about it and how much they like it. It’s weird, but I’ve gotten used to it and I actually like talking about my blog now.

    1. I’m the same way. I post some blog related stuff on my personal Facebook page, so my FB friends know about the blog. I’m getting better at talking about the blog with people I’ve just met if they ask about my job. I used to not say anything because some people wouldn’t get it and they’d look at me weird. Awkward.

  2. Again, thanks for posting this! I’ve read tons of posts like this from “seasoned” bloggers, and I appreciate all the different views and opinions.

  3. Now you’ve peeked my interest! Who is your number 1 referrer? Stumble Upon has been huge for me I’m curious if that’s the same case for you.

    Congrats on 2 great years, and many more!

    xo Cindy

    1. Currently, my #1 referrer is direct traffic. My #3 is search engines. That’s great about Stumble Upon being a big referrer for you!

  4. Chelsea, I love how you keep it real! Good, solid advice without the sugar coating. You’re not a jerk; just realistic. I’m really enjoying this 2 year anniversary posting! Thanks!

  5. I have to tell you, you just changed my life with this post! PicMonkey is the most wonderful thing I have played with in a long time. I really need to get back to work now, but I keep editing my pictures for future posts now. Way to much fun!!! Thank you!!! Michelle (Grandma Agnes’ Attic)

  6. I loved both of these posts. I love when bloggers just keep it real, and say what’s REALLY on their mind… like the Dancers reference. Great post, girl! Keep them coming. Could you possibly do a photography post with you favorite tips? That’s the least you could do since you talked me into buying the Canon T3!!! 🙂

  7. That’s some epic advice there, especially about it all taking time and there being no overnight successes. Your photography IS killer. I wish you’d come take all my photos for me! Please?

  8. I loved your 2 year blog posts! I find it interesting to hear about all the “behind the scenes” work that goes into making a blog. I started a blog a while back for my family (I got kind of tired sending the same update email to everyone) so I find it inspiring to hear about how you manage your own blog. Thank you so much for all the tips!!

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