You might remember this post about how I chose Lovely Indeed’s name, but I’ve been getting more questions lately about how I actually started the blog and the path I took to where I am now. First of all, sometimes when I’m writing these Blogging posts I feel like a fraud, because by no means am I an expert at blogging. But I am an expert at my own life and my story, so this is what I know. There were a few things I did that were major turning points on my blogging path, so I’m sharing here. These are the points that I can look back and say,” That definitely helped grow my blog.” Hopefully some of these will help grow your blog too!
Creating a Big Batch of Quality Content. In the beginning, before I even publicized my blog, I was writing and posting on it for about a month. I started very small and just for myself, so before I started linking to it or publicizing it, I created a bunch of content. That way, when people came and saw it, it was somewhat established and there was plenty of content to look at. Of course looking back now, those posts have terrible photos! But the DIY concepts were solid and the projects were good, so I had that going for me. And later on, the quality of the content started getting noticed.
Submitting Posts. I started getting to know people when I began to submit materials to be featured on other blogs. Ruffled was having a DIY contest, so I submitted a bunch of projects and got linked to a few times. I sent in our engagement and wedding photos to a few different blogs before they were picked up by The Sweetest Occasion. Every time you put yourself out there, your name travels a little farther, and this was the beginning of how I got to know people in the blog world.
Becoming a Contributor. I got my first offer to become a contributor after Cyd from The Sweetest Occasion featured our engagement photos. She offered me a position contributing DIY projects to her blog and I jumped on it! I had long been a fan, and I was honored that she would trust me to produce content for her. Through that, I met other awesome contributors and bloggers, and more offers to contribute came in. This was a pretty major turning point — it introduced me to bunches of people and made me strive to do better work.
Investing in Quality Tools. After I became a contributor, my standards of quality in my posts skyrocketed. I realized that I needed to invest in a few key items to raise the standards of what I could do, so I invested. I got a better version of Photoshop, I picked out a few great camera lenses, and I paid for classes to really learn how to use them all. This was major.
Reaching Out. Things also started to really change when I stopped being chicken about reaching out to other bloggers. Whether it’s through a blog comment, on Twitter, or with an email, it’s important to both stay in contact with your contemporaries and reach out to bigger bloggers who inspire you. You never know where it could lead.
Going to Alt. If you want to do this blogging thing, go to Alt. Just go. Your first time will be overwhelming, but you’ll also leave with fire in your heart for what you do and a list a mile long of ideas. I left with my head spinning and a bunch of new buddies who are now old friends.
Being More Active on Social Media. This year, I have been trying to really stay on top of my social media interactions, and I’m loving the results I see. I feel like my blog’s community is growing and becoming more authentic, and I love talking to readers and knowing what they’re all about. Social media is such a great tool for lending authenticity to yourself and your brand.
Going to Alt Again (and speaking). This falls into the “Not Being Chicken” category, but last year when I tossed my name in the hat to be a speaker at Alt, I never dreamed I would have been chosen. Going a second time and speaking on a panel forced me to bring my A game, and I’m so grateful for the experience. It was such a reinforcement that it’s crucial to push outside of your comfort zone; I almost always find that when I do, great things happen.
Treating it Like a Business. That’s where I am now. I talk to an accountant. I send invoices. I have business cards. It’s legit. This is what I’ve been trying to work on more this year, and I find that it’s all about mindset. If you treat your blog like a business, it will be. No one can legitimize it but you, so get crackin’.
What else?! I’d love to hear from some of you bloggers out there about the choices or moves you made that turned out to be game changers. Please share in the comments and we’ll all bask in the wisdom! xoxo