I have been blogging since April and I still feel very much like a new blogger. I thought now would be a good time to take stock and reflect on my blog and life as a new blogger. This isn’t a tips piece, there are plenty of those out there (I should know, I read most of them). This is simply a real life account.
How Did I Get Started as a New Blogger?
It’s something I thought about for a long time without ever taking the plunge. While I was working up the confidence this time round I read as many advice blog posts as I could. Some of them contained excellent advice which I have forgotten while some contained terrible advice which I probably still follow. Time will tell.
Some posts left me feeling confident that I could be a blogger while others left my head in a spin. After a lot of procrastination I finally signed up for WordPress and bought my domain name. The next step was to build my website and get to grips with plugins.
How is My Social Media Going?
Away from blogging I am not very active on social media. I look at Facebook most days but only post major life events (i.e. the birth of my children). For work I post on Facebook often, I have dabbled in twitter and I love Pinterest for ideas. I had never used Instagram.
The problem I have found with social media is that people (and by people I mean friends and family) find out what you are doing. That might sound like what I want, people reading this blog. I do, as long as those people are strangers. While I’m still a new blogger I would rather people I know don’t read my writing.
Instagram has been the biggest revelation to me. It turns out it’s my kind of social media. Your feed is not flooded with school friend you haven’t spoken to in 15 years commenting on their work colleague’s (who you have never met) holiday photos and other such rubbish. Following and crucially unfollowing people is not such a big deal and you’re not expected to be “friends” with someone you spoke to at a BBQ for 5 minutes. (I may be being a little harsh on Facebook here.)
Although of course you can follow your friends on Instagram it’s also completely normal to follow strangers. It’s all about making connections with people who have similar interests to you without the restriction of geography.
After a fairly slow start I started to get to grips with how Instagram works and I now have 800+ followers. I would guess I’m adding about 100 followers a week. My hope is that I will hit the big 1000 before the end of September which shouldn’t be a problem at my current rate.
I wouldn’t say I have found the magic Instagram formula just yet but I do have a few tips (I know, I know, I said this wasn’t a tips piece). The most important thing is to be active. That means posting regularly, I try to post daily. It also means following, liking and commenting on other people. Instagram only works if everyone participates and forms a community.
The downside I have discovered is that Instagram is even more addictive than Facebook. I spend many hours scrolling through, watching people do interesting things in interesting places.
28 Day Challenge
In order to raise my profile on Instagram I took part in a 28 day challenge set by @havekidswilltraveluk. Taking part in this meant posting to my stories on a daily basis, often talking straight to camera. This was well out of my comfort zone. My comfort zone was well off in the distance. It was also during this time the friends and family started to find out about my rise (ahem) as a blogger/social media queen which only added to the awkward.
I did it though. Ok, so I missed the final couple of days because we were away but I can claim I completed a 25 day challenge.
Twitter and Facebook
While my Instagram has taken off, Twitter and Facebook have lagged behind. I was reluctant to share my Facebook group with friends and family due to the chronic shyness I have already hinted at and I just don’t know where to start with Twitter.
My other problem is what to post. I get why people follow me on Instagram, I can post a half decent picture and caption. What do I put on Facebook that isn’t a repeat of my Instagram post? Twitter is even more difficult. I’m trying to tweet daily but it’s hard to come up with something pithy and entertaining enough to inspire people to follow me.
With that endorsement behind my accounts, follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Any hints on what I should be doing on these platforms are welcome!
I am a big lover of Pinterest as a consumer of ideas. I must admit I’ve always focussed on the crafts and theming ideas for events I have been putting on. However, I had never really look at the travel boards. Turns out there’s a lot of them.
It took me a while to work out how to use Pinterest as a new bogger pinner but I’m happy with how it’s going now. I read many blogs suggesting both Canva and Tailwind for making and pinning pins but it took me a while to try them out. I can confirm, both are excellent tools.
Tailwind is a pin scheduling tool. I was a bit dubious as to it’s value at first but I think it’s definitely worth trying out the free trial. I’ve found Tailwind Tribes much easier than joining lots of Pinterest group boards too.
I use Canva on my phone to create beautiful and eye-catching pins. It has templates for graphics on all sorts of platforms and is really easy to use.
Have a look at my Pinterest boards, bet you can spot the moment I switched to Canva.
Time – My Biggest Blogging Challenge
Regular readers (hi mum!) might have noticed that this is my first post for about 6 weeks. Clearly not good enough for a new blogger. It’s not the usual (and perfectly acceptable) parent excuse that I have spent the summer holidays entertaining my children and so blogging has taken a back seat. No, my excuse is that the summer holidays are stupid busy for both myself and David at work. Throw in three significant weddings (I am considering hiring myself out as an experienced, professional bridesmaid) and I feel like I’ve barely seen my children. We have been making up for it as best we can this last week but the parent guilt is still weighing heavy.
Before I started as a new blogger I read a lot of posts telling me how time consuming and all-encompassing it was. This has turned out to be true. Researching, planning, writing, proof-reading, editing the post, editing the pictures, more editing, posting, promoting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all take time. In many ways the writing is the easy part. It takes longer when you are a new blogger as well as you are learning so much as you go along.
I am attempting to make more time by taking a step back at work for a while. Now that the busy period has passed and half term is a few weeks away they should be able to cope without my daily input, for now at least.
Ted is back at pre-school but it’s impossible to have my laptop open if Miss May is in the vicinity and it’s looking like she’s planning to give up her nap altogether. She’s not 16 months yet. She is turning into a strong-willed young lady.
So am I Enjoying Life as a New Blogger?
Like anything in life there have been good bits and bad bits to being a new blogger. Overall, yes I am very much enjoying it. The downside has definitely been not having the to get my teeth into it as much as I would like. I’m also still uncomfortable with putting myself out there for the world to see but I’m overcoming that with time.
The pluses have been amazing. I love having this creative outlet and learning new skills along the way. It’s also really encouraged us to make the most of our days off so I have plenty to write about. I am also loving the online community, particularly on Instagram. That one has been a real surprise to me.