(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:
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!