Blogger Basics: 5 Blog Things I Wish I’d Done Sooner

Balancing the blog and junior year has been a super hard task. I try to use my breaks to my advantage by having all of my blog ideas scheduled and photographed. I’m not lying when I say that I have had a blog idea ready to go for every Sunday and Wednesday, but I haven’t put enough time into taking the “perfect” photos or making last minute edits. I’m finally ready to dedicate my heart and soul into this pretty cool corner of the internet! That’s going to include bringing some pretty awesome and different new content.

For some reason, our blogging advice posts are crazy popular. I have a lot of wisdom when it comes to telling people what NOT to do, and so I’ve decided my Wednesday posts will be mostly dedicated to blogging focused things. I’ll keep Sundays for lifestyle and college posts. Now onto the good stuff >>

 

Hannah and I have had this blog for almost two years now!! We’ve learned a ton about blogging, from every angle. I figured that I would share some of the things that we’ve done to elevate the blog to the next level, but that I wish we had done way sooner!

If you are at all interested in things that you should do immediately as a blogger, keep reading!


1. Switched over to self hosting.

This one is especially important if you are considering buying your own domain and are pretty serious about continuing in the blog world. Self hosting gives you so much freedom to take your blog to new heights that free sites really do hold you back from. Some blogger networks will only work with you when you shed the wordpress.com all together.

This is a great platform when you are still trying to navigate the beginning of your blogging journey and not everyone [including us] has a huge amount of money to shed on hosting costs. However, I do wish that we had switched to self hosting when we bought our own domain name for two major reasons: 1. It would have been cheaper to buy the domain for the year. 2. It would have eliminated almost every issue I had during the transfer process and would have significantly minimized the down time for the new blog.

Keeping in mind that I am a chemistry major and have taken some of the hardest stem classes at UNC, I will say that trying to transfer our blog and getting the new site up was one of the most mentally taxing periods of my life. Save yourself and switch over before buying the domain! As soon as you know that blogging is something that you want to continue, go self-hosted.

2. Invested in a DSLR.

My experiences with my Nikon D5500 have been all positive so far. It takes incredible pictures. Absolutely incredible! I can say that after having my DSLR and being able to take high quality pictures for several posts now; I 100% would encourage any blogger {or human} reading this to invest in a quality camera as soon as possible. It makes capturing life moments even that much more enjoyable. I also like to say that I am “shooting” to my friends. #hipster

But seriously, your photography and the graphics on your site are crucial to your growth. I can appreciate really amazing pictures over grade A grammar anyway. That may sound silly because the bulk of blogs and blogging is going to be communicated through words. But, I still feel that a site with crappy photography doesn’t really have me itching to return. The sooner you can get a pretty nice camera device the better.

3. Utilized the brilliance of automation and scheduling tools.

I laugh just thinking about how long it took us to find out about the greatness that is Buffer, Boardbooster, Tweetdeck, etc. You can significantly improve page views by sharing old content. But, literally no one wants to do this themselves [at least I don’t think so]. It’s nice having a library of old shared tweets and Facebook posts that I can recycle. It gives Hannah the ability to save her witty pun that took 2 hours to come up with and share it 9-12 months later when the post is relevant again.

My personal favorite is Buffer. It allows me to share my 1,000th Monday Motivation approximately 4 weeks in advance when I am scouring Pinterest for my new mantra and adding to our pretty popular Quotes board. We pay for Buffer because we find its services to be pretty worthwhile, but I would definitely recommend trying out Tweetdeck to try out scheduled Tweets. Buffer also allows us to share to Google+, Facebook, and others. Seriously, these tools are great for growing your site.

4. Themed the Instagram.

I think this is the first controversial suggestion, but I am an insta-fanatic and will defend this till I take my last breath {or until I’m too old to really care what filter to choose for the season.} People like to look at cohesive and pretty things. It’s been proven and likely has some psychological principle. I don’t really know, but #science doesn’t lie. I am a fan of pages that have some kind of color or content aesthetic. Foodie? I’d like to see an entire account dedicated to hip food options. Fashionista? Join the fashion blogger ranks and hit me with OOTDs!

Lifestyle bloggers and content creators typically have a diverse array of content types that can be posted on Instagram, which is why I find that having a consistent color scheme or vibe compensates for the inconsistent narrative. Sometimes, I want to go from Latte art to my planner, to the wedges I got for $5 at Target. That’s life? I love accounts where there is a common filter used in all the pictures or something unique and consistent about the editing. A really crisp and high quality photo will also help here as well! I personally use VSCOcam and have heard good things about A Color Story and Afterlight!

5. Interacted with other bloggers in my niche.

As soon as I thought of this, I smiled because college bloggers are some of my favorite humans. Aside from being able to relate to their obsession with staying on theme and jointly complaining about apartments or houses with horrible lighting together, most of the gals I have interacted with are absolutely brilliant and extremely funny.

I’ve even gotten the chance to meet Shaguna from Gold&Hearts when I was in Houston! It was such a cool experience to meet her. It was so nice to not be judged when I wanted to take pictures of my food which, naturally, involves multiple angles and alterations of the plates and decorations on the table. I knew it really wouldn’t be an issue when she pulled out her Canon DSLR. Queue that moment when you realize you are with “your people” >>>

10/10 would recommend meeting up with fellow bloggers and dropping into some DM’s of people you want to get to know better or want to know their secrets, to blogging of course! My next goal is a blogger trip because can you imagine how great a vacation with all those creative minds would be like?! You can connect with other bloggers by commenting on their blog or Instagram photos or participating in Twitter chats. Our favorites are: #BloggingCollege and #SwirlSocial. We also have The College Blogger Initiative Pinterest Board that has a huge amount of college bloggers in several different niches.


Hopefully, this was helpful, eye opening, different from what you were expecting. Sound off in the comments if you have anything else that you wish you had done sooner as a blogger!

xo,

  • Great post, Gabby! I wholeheartedly agree with all of these points. I REALLY agree that it is important to invest in a DSLR… I am actually looking to upgrade mine now… It’s time for a change/upgrade!

    Love this post! Great job!

    Sweetly, Sally // http://www.sweetlysally.com

    • I actually read a post of yours before I upgraded that was super well done so thank you for that!!! I’m glad this post was on point, definitely some gems in here!

      Best, Gabby

  • Couldn’t agree more with all of those things! I am actually looking into buying a DSLR, but I just don’t know where to start.. I don’t know that much about photography and cameras, so I have to admit that I’m not sure whether I should take the plunge or not!

    • OMG, yes as soon as you can! They are kind of fantastic for all picture taking needs! Hannah is writing a post that’ll go live on Sunday all about her experience so far! So be on the look out for that! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Best, G

      • I’ll definitely keep an eye out for that post! I really want to get more into photography, but I just don’t know where to start.

  • thesophiadiaries

    Great tips, and i couldn’t agree more!!!