Posted in Blogging & Social Media

New Blog? Here Are the Next 5 Steps to Take for Success!

Congratulations!  You’ve just launched your new blog!  So… now what?

If you’re a new blogger, you may be wondering what to do once you actually get the blog set up.  Here are the next five steps you can take to set yourself on a path to success.

IMG_0524
Getting started is the first step to MAKING IT HAPPEN! What’s next?

1.  Decide on your niche.  It’s your blog, and you can talk about anything you want!  But if your first three posts are a brownie recipe, a review of a TV show, and a how-to on changing your own oil, it might be a little confusing to determine your target audience!  Your niche can be as broad or narrow as you like, but there should be some sort of theme.  Otherwise, how will readers know if they want to follow you or subscribe?

Now… if you’re writing your blog for your own personal satisfaction, or for your family, and you don’t care whether anyone else ever reads it, then the sky is the limit!  But if you’re hoping to gain a following, or possibly even monetize your blog down the road, a niche will help you settle into your own corner of the blogging world.

2.  Choose your social media platforms and set up accounts.  Social media is big business, and if you’re a blogger looking for an audience, you want a piece of it! With so many platforms, how do you decide which ones, and how many accounts to use?

My personal opinion: Select two or three platforms to start out. One I would definitely recommend is Twitter. One of the biggest surprises when I started my website was how HUGE the writing and blogging community is on Twitter. I’ve found a lot of other bloggers to follow, and they have been so helpful in networking, sharing one another’s work, and offering support.

Aside from that, choose another account or two that best fits your niche. (That’s why choosing your niche was step one!) For example, if you’re blogging about local interests or activities, you might want to get on Facebook to follow and interact easily with other local organizations. If your blog will be heavy on photography, that would translate well to Instagram. An account on Goodreads is the perfect fit for a book blogger, while Pinterest is great for all types of bloggers, and another one I would highly recommend you explore. (Want the rundown on Pinterest for bloggers? I wrote about it here!)

There are options for everyone! You can always add more later, but if you can focus on just a couple of accounts at first, you can build a good base while not spreading your attention too thin… otherwise you could literally spend all your time on your social media accounts instead of actually blogging!

3.  Write your first post! Already done?  Write another one!   The best way to build your blog is to get in the trenches and write.  Most of us, immediately upon setting up a blog, will write some sort of welcome post. That’s a great start, but the more content you get up on the site, the more people can read on their very first visit. And you know what they say about first impressions! In your very first week, if you can get another post or two written and published, you’ll be ahead of the game!

Now, even though we were talking about finding a niche… it doesn’t mean all of your posts should be exactly the same!  For example, I’m primarily a book blogger.  But in addition to writing reviews, I post lists of books, share posts from others, and write about blogging and social media… like this post!  So don’t be afraid to mix it up a little to keep things interesting!

4.  Network with and support other bloggers.  Blogging, above all else, is a social activity.  When you take the time to connect with others who are in the trenches with you, it’s good for everyone.  Bloggers who network learn from one another, promote one another’s work, and offer support on the days you want to throw in the towel.  (You just started, and the blogging world is shiny and new, but those days will likely come at some point!)

Find other bloggers on the social media accounts you’ve set up. Share your new blog with your friends and family and see what other blogs they enjoy reading. Read, comment, and follow when you find a new blog you enjoy. All of these activities will help you build connections.

closeup photo of person s fist bump
We’re all in this together… build connections with other bloggers!

5.  Build some margin and balance into your life.  Blogging can be exhilarating and addictive.  It can also be draining and exhausting, mainly because you’re the only one setting limits on yourself.

When you’re first starting, it’s easy to throw every moment of your free time at this new project, especially when you see so many bloggers posting like crazy.  Do yourself a favor: don’t.  Yes, you’re going to have to spend a substantial amount of time on your blog to achieve success, whatever success looks like for you.  But make time for other things.  Keep reading good books.  Keep going out with friends and participating in social activities. And whatever you do, keep sleeping.  Don’t stay up until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning trying to perfect a blog post.  Too often.  Not that I know anyone who’s done that…

Stay social and stay healthy.  Balance is key!

As a semi-new blogger myself, I know all the ups and downs you’re going through.  Take a deep breath.  And welcome to the blogging world… you’re gonna love it here!!

Want a few more tips?  Try this:  New Blogger Insights: 3 Things I’ve Learned in My First 3 Months!

Readers, what do you think… what’s your best “next step” for a new blogger?

As I’ve embarked on my journey as The Biblio Blonde, it’s been sometimes difficult to decide how much to promote myself to real life friends and family, and how to describe what I’m doing.  “Blogger” would seem to be the obvious choice when sharing what I do.  But somehow that doesn’t seem to cover what I’m trying to accomplish. I hope that my website will become a place for people to find great book recommendations, a community where I can network with authors and writers, and a home base from which I can launch a writing career.  That’s a bit more than “I keep an online diary of my thoughts,” which is how the term was sometimes originally used.

Plus, there are still a lot of people who have a negative connotation of blogs and bloggers.  Case in point: a couple of years ago, Glennon Doyle was in the news over a new relationship.  Now, this talented woman has launched a non-profit, created a large online community, and written multiple best selling books.  But what did the media call her?  “Mommy Blogger” Glennon Doyle Melton.  And you can bet they didn’t intend it as a compliment.

Obviously, the best outcome would be for the general public to understand that “blogging” is much more than jotting down a few thoughts on a screen, and that most of us need to be skilled in technology, writing, visual layouts, promotion, and more. But until that day… how do you accurately describe your work?

I’d thought about writing a post about how “blogging” isn’t something I feel like I should brag about as a new career.  But I don’t have to.  Today I stumbled across this post from late last year, and it covers the topic beautifully.  So please take a peek at this post from Elizabeth at Rosalilium, who shares all the different hats bloggers must wear and the skills a person really needs to succeed on this journey. Then let me know in the comments here: How do you clearly communicate what you do?

Happy reading!

Whenever anyone asks me what I do, I always hesitate. Without fail, every time, I hesitate, before I answer “I’m a blogger”. Why the hesitation…

via Not ‘Just A Blogger’ – My Job Description and What Does It Really Mean? — Rosalilium

 

Not ‘Just A Blogger’ – My Job Description and What Does It Really Mean? — Rosalilium

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekend Thoughts

Happy Friday, friends!  As you head into your weekend, here’s a little push toward making your life what you want it to be.  If you’re not living the life you imagined, why not, and what is one step you can take to get closer to that new reality?

Hope you get to enjoy some down time over the next couple of days… time to read, to rest, and to dream!  💛​

 

4e8705af2740566f7cd33ead187d1ede

Posted in Uncategorized

You can’t follow your dream if you’re standing still…

I once read a piece of advice that said:  Do one thing every day that scares you.  Not exactly a safe way to go through life, but then again, that shouldn’t be our goal.

 

IMG_0593

 

Growth can be frightening.  Going after something you really want can scare you senseless, but leave you exhilarated at the same time.  And I think that’s called being really alive.  Staying in one place (figuratively or literally) doesn’t give us the chance to grow.  You can’t follow your dream if you’re standing still.

What’s your dream? Does it scare you? Does it thrill you? Then you’re probably on the right track. Pursue your passion!

Posted in Book Notes

Book Notes: “The Dress Shop of Dreams” by Menna Van Praag

Hello, and happy Monday!  I hope you had a relaxing weekend and that your week is off to a wonderful start!

One of the things I’d like to do on this blog is to highlight and review books that I’ve enjoyed.  I’m a reviewer for Net Galley, so I’ll do some advance reads from there, but sometimes, I’ll do one I’ve selected just for fun… and that starts today!

I’m going to call these “Book Notes.”  A book review sounds so formal, and I like to think of this as sharing some thoughts between friends.  🙂

 

fullsizeoutput_1dc9

 

For my very first Book Notes entry, I’ve chosen The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag.  The intro from the publisher begins:

“For fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, and Adriana Trigiani, The Dress Shop of Dreams is a captivating novel of enduring hopes, second chances, and the life-changing magic of true love.”

That description is on target!  First of all, are you familiar with magical realism?  Goodreads defines the genre like this:

Magical realism is a fiction genre in which magical elements blend to create a realistic atmosphere that accesses a deeper understanding of reality. The story explains these magical elements as normal occurrences, presented in a straightforward manner that places the “real” and the “fantastic” in the same stream of thought.

Basically, it’s a story set in the real world with ordinary people, but it’s just a given that a magical thread is woven through their lives.  This is one of my *favorite* genres to read, and the book I’m currently writing has elements of this genre.  If you’ve never tried it, this story is a good place to start!!

In The Dress Shop of Dreams, Cora is a twenty-something who, after the sudden and mysterious deaths of her parents twenty years ago, has shut herself off to love, wonder, and emotion.  Instead she resides in the world of science, logic, and facts.  She’s never been in love and doesn’t see the point.

Cora’s grandmother, Etta, lives in a different reality altogether.  Etta’s unassuming but delightful dress shop appears somewhat ordinary, but holds a big secret:  with a few stitches, Etta can give the right dress the power to unlock a woman’s deepest wishes and desires.

Etta would love to apply this magic to her granddaughter, who has been oblivious to the fact that Walt, Etta’s neighbor and owner of the local book shop, has been in love with Cora for years.  So Etta, innocently enough, adds a few small stitches to Walt’s shirt, just to give the potentially perfect match a little help.  But magic isn’t exactly science and sometimes takes a path of its own, and in the end, Etta has unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that quickly spirals out of her hands.

Throughout the book, secrets are revealed and incredible connections are made between seemingly unrelated incidents.  By the time the story wraps up, Cora’s life, and the lives of everyone around her, are changed in stunning ways.

Whew!  Let me start off by saying, this is a book I couldn’t read all in one sitting.  Not because it wasn’t magnificent, but because it’s the sort of read you don’t just rush through.  This is meant to be savored and pondered.  It may seem like a light read on the surface, but the author hits on so many universal experiences:  unrequited love, life not turning out as you plan, and good intentions gone awry, to name a few.

I really enjoyed the characters.  Cora, the protagonist, had the most obvious growth throughout the novel, but I loved the changes to the other characters as well, particularly Etta, who turned out to have a secret of her own.  This is a story where you root for the characters, and for them to have happy endings.

fullsizeoutput_1e34

All in all, I loved this book.  The threads of the story were woven together much like the threads Etta wove into her creations, to give us something whimsical and wonderful.  To call this magical realism almost seems too light… this book was just plain magic.  Highly recommend for a great summer read!!

Order The Dress Shop of Dreams here!

Did you enjoy this post?  To get future Book Notes posts, follow my blog, or sign up on the home page to get updates by email!!   Thanks for reading.  🙂

 

(This post contains affiliate links, which allow me the opportunity to earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.  Please see my policies for further information.)