Meet Leslie from Fresh out of Lemons. I love her blog and know you will too!
I was honored when Melissa asked me to be a guest blogger on her site. I immediately thought, ‘What could I share with her bloggers?’ I began to reflect on all that I’ve learned since I began my site, Fresh Out of Lemons, last August. I set-up my little space on the world wide web as a creative outlet; a place to share my life, projects, tips, and adventures. I quickly discovered that the process is much more than simply writing and posting pretty pictures. Blogging is a lot of work!
Marketing is the behind-the-scenes part of having a blog that you don't think about when you post your first piece. Writing is a reward, but knowing that people are actually reading makes the process way more fun! Numbers become almost as important as the words; how many visitors, how many Facebook fans, how many Google Friend Connect members, etc. Each statistic represents who you’re reaching and how your blog is growing. I’ve found that the easiest way to increase exposure is also the simplest— be an active fan and follower of other sites. Bloggers support bloggers. There’s a reciprocal rule; if I visit your site and leave a comment, the common courtesy is to drop by mine and do the same. Our worldwide community is such a close knit network, which was another surprise to me….
Fellow bloggers begin to feel like friends. When I hear something about Texas, I think about Haley over at Cardigan Junkie. When I come across a gorgeous and ruffled frock, I usually send the image to Laura, who has expressed her love of such things on You Stir Me. I’m enjoying following Julie’s wedding planning on Love, Julie. My blogroll represents a list of super talented and creative people who share the fun, relatable, delicious, inspiring, etc. parts of life. I often feel privileged to be allowed the access.
And I'm fascinated by the idea that my stories can be captured in this unique way for whoever comes across my little url. However, the flipside is that anyone can come across it. If you haven’t had your first mean comment, just wait; they’re unfortunate rites of passage. You will be stung. If you’re like me, you’ll feel nauseous and begin to question whether “exposure” is such a good thing. I just don’t accept the idea that I should develop a thick skin. What I do believe is that people have a choice— read if you like or forget my address if you don't. Zero tolerance for bullies. Who’s with me?!
The other part of blogging that makes me want to throw the laptop across the room— technical issues. Beautiful blogs impress the heck out of me because I know the work that goes into them. Coding feels like (dark arts) magic. Luckily I have a pretty great host company, Squarespace, that makes the work a lot easier. They also have super responsive customer service representatives who talk me through heart-attack inducing moments, like accidentally deleting my entire blogroll.
My final bit of advice that envelops all of the above— have a supportive partner in your life. My husband, Joey, was my first fan. He reads everything that I post, and he puts up with all the hours that I spend on my site and others. He also accommodates a camera in his face when he’s part of a project that I want to share, or the dinner delays when I’m trying to capture visual steps of a recipe. He listens to my stories about my web friends as if they’re people with whom we might go out to dinner. He keeps me creative and, despite all the extra work, that’s the most important part of blogging!