Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blogging 101 - 7 things I learned about blogging this year

A year ago, I posted about my blogging style and although I was still a relatively new blogger, I wanted to share some of my insight. This year, I don't think my blogging style changed much but I learned a lot with the fundamentals of the blogging world and I want to share my knowledge.

(1) Do not sell yourself short
This is by far the most valuable and perhaps the most important lesson I learned. I was super stoked when I was approached by a company asking me to write about certain products. Essentially, it was a what kind of items I would like to receive sort of post. Being the beginner (or Noob) that I was, I wrote the post naively thinking it would give my blog exposure. It didn't. I was never linked to their page and well, my readers had to read an advertisement. Incidentally, I would like to take this opportunity and apologize to you, my readers, for doing that. I got no physical product to review in exchange for my time and the kick in the teeth was during Christmas time when  I received another e-mail from the same company. They wanted to thank me for my contribution by offering me a coupon.

For the record,  I am still receiving e-mails from other small businesses asking me to write about their products for nothing in exchange.

I would like to point out, I have no problems doing product reviews on items I purchase for myself. If I like something that someone is doing or making within the Goth community, I will write about it and not expect anything in return. As you know,  I have written these sort of posts in the past and was more than happy to do so. Please don't think I am looking to get freebies because I willingly did an item review.

On the other hand, if someone wants me to write an article for them, the least they could do is give me something in exchange. I am open to sponsors but it would also have to be something that myself and my readers would find useful. Like cool goth clothing or dark stuff for the little ones are a perfect example. I once got an email from a sporting company asking me to rep a bunch of jerseys!Really? Did they not even read my blog or see the title?

With that being said, I have NO problems with people sharing my posts. In fact, I got tons of new readers (even made friends!) that way and it shows me that my writing is appreciated but I will not write an actual advert for free. This does not count as guest posting on another blog, by the way. At one point I was interested in doing but didn't find the time.

Set your limits and boundaries. Do what is best for you and remember, don't sell yourself short!


(2) If you care about your blog stats, Google Analytics is the way to go!
A friend of mine pointed me in this direction. I like reading stats and seeing which posts are well received. It is fun and interesting to see the parts of the world my blog is being read too. Google Analytics gives you more accurate statistical info. I love the Real Time feature where you are able to see who is visiting your blog that very moment!


(3) Writing skills
My mother tongue is English but I learned to read and write in French first. You could say that while I am obviously more comfortable writing in my mother tongue, I am technically writing a second language. I pretty much self-taught myself how to read and write in English although I did get a lot of help from my sister. I learned many faux-pas along the way too, such as: it is should have and not should of.  As a writer, your style constantly evolves and changes .I realize this is the same for me. Sometimes reading my posts out loud helps. I often fear I am not making any sense!

(4) Thick skin
I have been on the receiving end of some rather...ahem...interesting comments. Not everyone is going to agree with me or like what I post about and that is ok too. I guess some people have nothing better to do than to pick my posts apart and take things out of context.

(5) Photography skills

My husband and I are really not pros. Perhaps, eventually, I will get the funding to get a new uber digital camera and will be able to take better photos. I learned a lot already about lighting. I am still not satisfied with my photos but I have learned a few things. Too much light on a certain angle is not good and not enough light is also bad. I like to think I learned how to pose better for the camera and like to think I look less awkward. Taking pictures outdoors is ideal but only during certain times. I do not like Photoshopping my personal features BUT... I do have an app on my Smartphone called Photoshop Express. It helps me put filters and fix the darker photos. I want my readers to get a better view of the outfits I am wearing!  I also use it to sometimes crop out clutter. Here is a tip: use the magic wand thingy located on the top corner. Here is a before and after example:

Before
After


(6) Friendships
I have made some friends via the blogging community and that is very nice. It is also very comforting to know that when I need fashion advice, I got it! It is so much fun reading other people's blogs and seeing their outfit posts. I often get inspired and am constantly challenging myself to dress up or wear my makeup a certain way. Thank you everyone for having my back and for inspiring me! You guys rock!


(7) Write about something you are enthusiastic/passionate/pissed off about.                    
People are very open to honesty and some of my more popular posts were the ones I was brutally honest about myself. Sometimes a good old fashioned rant makes a good read too! I know sometimes it is hard to bare all online but giving a little bit of personal info about yourself goes a long way. I personally like reading posts where people open up a little bit about their lives and I think a lot of people who read my blog enjoy that about me too.


I want to thank you all for your support during the past year, almost two years of blogging. It has been a fun ride and here's to many more!

I am going to end this post referring you all to Nancy from her Blog Retro Electric who has also covered this topic recently and has some great advice to give on the subject. She has expanded on what I wrote here and I am sure you can benefit from her wisdom.  It was such a great post and I want to  thank you, Nancy! Incidentally, the cool traffic feed on my sidebar, I also thank Nancy for that too! You are awesome!
 

18 comments:

  1. Last year a company contacted me to do a zombie apocalypse training and review their company's merchandise. I turned them down because they were a hiking/athletic company and I honestly wouldn't have worn anything of theirs. I tried to be super polite about it. I completely get what you mean about not wanting to sound like an advertisement. I also don't have a good poker face in person or on the web. If I love something, it's obvious. The counter is the same too.

    I love reading about your daily stories :) I think that is one way bloggers build online friendships that often can transition into in-person friendships. Getting to know each other is one of the best parts :D

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    1. I used to be super polite but now I ignore the emails. I also got contacted for the Zombie training! I had to decline for the same reasons as you AND I work in outdoor gear. It would have been a huge conflict of interest with my employer! Besides, if I were to rep outdoor gear, it would be the brands I work for because they are awesome!

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  2. OMG. that whole thing about random companies getting you to write about their product for nothing in return. I get that all the time for stuff not even closely related to my blog topic. Like formal menswear or *financial planning*... what? Like, I've had to this kind of cold-calling publicity and you have to offer something of value to the bloggers you are reaching out to. Free stuff, useful news that's related to your blog, cross-promotion. Anything but "hey can you mention us? kthxbye"

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    1. Hahaha! I got the financial planning one too!

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  3. I think constantly evolving in any way is always good! I get a lot of offers from company's and even turned down a goth clothing brand, because I wasn't familiar with them (I am now), so I didn't feel comfortable. I think going with your instinct is always best! <3

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    1. Oooh I would love for a goth clothing brand to approach me but I get why you turned them down. I agree, your instict is always best.

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  4. Great list! I might have to check out Google analytics, have never thought about that before.

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  5. That's a great list^^ I'm very much in the mood for blogging these days, but I don't really know what to write about. I don't want it to be boring or too personal...but I'm going to take your advice and write about whatever I'm enthusiastic about. ^^

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    1. I don`t really want to tell you what to write about on your blog but I hope you don't mind me making a couple of suggestions. You take great photos, why not showcase some of those? You also cosplay and personally, I would love to see and read more about that! You like animé, why not write a review of one of your favourites? You could write about a favourite character. You recently posted about how sexualised some women are protrayed in your last post, why not feature Hayao Miyazaki - women are portrayed as the opposite, often strong, independant, free thinkers in his classics. You have so many wonderful interests and a great personality, the sky is the limit!

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    2. Thank you! I'm definitely planning to continue with the cosplay challenge and I will post cosplay related stuff and progress photos too, I just have to catch up with myself, because I'm working on so many things simultaneously...If everything goes well, my camera will be fixed this month, so finally I can post pix too. ^^

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  6. I think I got the same 15% off coupon offer as you at Christmas! And I was under the assumption my post would be linked on their FB page too, although I never actually asked before writing it so I've no one to blame for that but myself. :)

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    1. Haha! Yeah they never mentioned that i would be linked too and I agree, I have no one else to blame for that either. I just learned a valuable lesson, that's all.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your experiences! Ive been bloging for 7 years and only received a suggestion once from a writer that wanted me to read his book and do a review on my blog. I have been blessed from evil comments as well, so my posts are perhaps completely meaningless X-D . I have never taken offence of anything you have written. Happy blogaversary Sylvie and keep doing an excellent job :-D

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  8. Awww, my wisdom <3 *blush* I'm glad you agree with me, our thoughts are basically the same! Although I still don't know how to use the Google Analytics xD

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  9. I adore all my blog friends! They are so inspiring (yes that includes you! ;P )

    My mum would have been bilingual as a child, growing up in Hong Kong, I was brought up only speaking English which seems the done thing in Australia at the time I grew up, especially as my dad only spoke English. I can't imagine knowing two languages! My mum even knows a fairly decent tourist level of French!

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  10. Very nice tips :D
    I always say no to emails about blogging about things for free, I don't feel that it suits my bloggingstyle at all.

    May you blog long and prosper!

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  11. This post will be very useful to me because I re-opened my blog recently after a 3-year hiatus.

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