Pro Blogging Mini Series – My Best Personal Advice About Following Your Dreams + How to Grow Your Blog Following

Hey everyone!

I hope your Wednesday is going well. We’ve had a nice week so far. Nothing super exciting, but we are soaking up the sun. It is so nice that it is finally warm around here. No more heater! YAY!

Today is the final installment of my Pro Blogging Mini Series. I’ve got a list of tips/ideas for growing your readership along with my best blogging advice. . . so far! I’ve been doing this for 6+ years, but I’m still learning & growing my blog. Maybe someday I will have another one of these mini series & have more to share ๐Ÿ™‚

Pro Blogging Mini Series by thescrapmaster.com

 

WAYS TO GROW YOUR BLOG FOLLOWING

  • Write about something you absolutely LOVE! If you love what you do, other’s can feel it. If you aren’t passionate about something, it will show through in your content.
  • It’s all about the content! I’ve mentioned this a couple of times during this mini series, but it bears repeating! The absolute MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to grow your blog is have great content! By great content, I mean interesting blog posts with clear instructions/explanations, and awesome photos. Post things that people want to see/read about. If you just slap some sloppy stuff together & don’t make it great, readers aren’t going to be interested in what you have to say. Seriously, take your time and make it great! If you’re spending 5 minutes on your project or blog post then 5 hours trying to grow your readership, you’re doing it wrong! Have great content be your #1 priority.
  • Offer RSS options – Use a feed subscription service like bloglovin or feedburner so that people can subscribe to your blog. With a feed service, people can receive an email every time your publish something new & they don’t miss out on your blog posts. It saves your readers time because they don’t have to check back to your blog waiting for something new to appear.
  • Celebrate visitor milestones & thank your readers! Even small milestones. This can be as simple as writing a blog post & telling your readers how much they mean to you. Or it can be offering up a nice giveaway for your readers. This is not only just a super nice thing to do, it can also help to grow your readership. As a reader of other blogs, just hearing a THANK YOU every once in a while means a lot & lets me know that the blogger actually cares that I am there. I don’t enter many giveaways but I do enjoy offering them up for you guys as often as I can ๐Ÿ™‚ A little appreciation goes a long way.
  • Interact with your readers – There are lots of ideas for doing this. Ask questions. Answer reader’s questions. The more interactive you are with your readers, the better your blogging community will flourish.
  • Join an online community – There are tons of different crafty message boards out there to join. Pick one to stick with & have fun there. Going back to my first post in this series, don’t spam your blog around, but just be helpful & friendly. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can make friends in an online community! Of course if your blog post is relevant to a discussion, share where allowed, but otherwise, just make friends! I frequent a couple different communities. It might help my blog, but more than that, I learn so much & get inspired by the other members! It energizes me & gets my crafty mojo flowing so it helps me to keep making great content.
  • Add a blog link to your signature line – In emails and in message boards where allowed. Make sure people know where you “live” on the internet.
  • Visit other blogs/Youtube channels & leave them some comment love! Not only can this be super inspiring to learn more about crafting, it can also help you build friendships & get your name out there. Your username always clicks back to your blog or Youtube channel so people can find you if they enjoyed your comments.
  • Ask people for what you want – Do you want people to subscribe to your blog or youtube channel? Then simply ask at the end of your blog post/Youtube video. You don’t have to be needy or cheesy, just ask nicely ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Offer easy ways for readers to share your content with their friends – Notice that Pin It button at the top of my blog post? That’s what I’m talkin’ about! I’ve made it super easy for my readers to Pin my blog posts on Pinterest so they can refer back to them later. There are many of these type of share buttons/widgets for Facebook/Twitter, etc thatย  you can find by doing a Google search.
  • Don’t only sell stuff & pressure people to buy all the time! Share projects, share ideas, and inspire. It’s ok to sell stuff too, but don’t be pushy. It really turns people away when it is always sell sell sell.

 

MY BEST PERSONAL ADVICE ABOUT FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS
In this section, I just want to offer some words of advice & encouragement. Doing anything even semi-professionally in paper crafting is hard. You have to put your ideas & artwork out there. It can be scary to share that part of yourself. My best advice is just do it! If you want a career in paper crafting (or in any other field you feel passionate about), follow your dreams. Here are my best bits of advice on the personal side of things:

Don’t let your biggest skeptics in your life hold you back. You just can’t listen to any of the Debbie Downer talk, not from family, not from friends, not from yourself. If there are genuine reasons against starting a business then OK, but don’t listen to the useless negativity. Just because your dream isn’t the typical “9 to 5” job dream, it doesn’t make your dream any less special or any less real.
My biggest skeptic (other than my own inner critic) was my mom. She wanted me to get a “real” job & do something that was more “normal”.ย  She’s very proud of my job now, but in the beginning, she was definitely 100% against me starting a business or taking my blogging seriously.ย  I had to put her criticism aside and follow my heart.
I started my company without building up debt, while going to school at two different colleges (full time at a university 25 miles away & also some graphic design classes at a community college), with a chronic health problem (chronic migraine), & while working part time (as a nanny) to help pay for the business. I don’t say that to brag, I say that to encourage. If I can do it, YOU can do it!! Don’t listen to those negative people in your life.

Come up with a solid realistic plan, set goals, and work to make those happen! If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. Seriously, have a plan for what you want to achieve. Better yet, have a Plan A, a Plan B, a Plan C, etc. Take time to really think about what you want to accomplish with your blog or “professional” paper crafting.

If you can, find your support person or persons. My hubby has always been my rock. Even when I wanted to throw in the towel, he was there cheering me on. Find someone who is going to be your biggest fan. We all need someone in our corner. It would be even better if you had more than one of these amazing people in your life.

Remember to do the best you can & follow your dreams. It is difficult, but it is something really amazing.

And that’s it!

I hope that you enjoyed this mini series. Please let me know what topic you’d like covered in a mini series in the future. I’d love to hear what you’d like to see ๐Ÿ™‚ Leave me a comment below & let me know!

In case you missed any parts in this mini series:

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Pro Blogging Mini Series – Answering Some Of Your Questions

Hey everyone!

Happy Wild Wednesday! I’m back again this week with another segment of the Pro Blogging Mini Series.

Pro Blogging Mini Series by thescrapmaster.com

I am going to have one more post in this series next week. If you have any additional blogging questions that haven’t been covered yet in this series, please leave them below & I will try to cover them.

Today, I’m just going to try to cover some of the questions I see popping up. Some I’ve seen asked a bunch times & some I’ve only seen a couple times but I thought they were excellent questions ๐Ÿ™‚ And some of them I have grabbed from various online forums I have frequented.

How do you take photos of your scrapbook layouts?

This is all about lighting!! I have a big window in my scrap space that has two Expedit shelves sitting right under them. Click here to see my scrap space! When the lighting is softly shining through that window (usually mornings for me), I take my photos by setting the layouts right on the Expedit shelf. Then I try my best to line up the layout straight in my camera. I always take 2-3 photos of the full layout to make sure I get a clear one. Sometimes I end up with a blurry looking photo that’s unusable.

I take my photos with my iphone mostly. Occasionally I use an old Olympus DSLR.

After I take my photos, I edit them in Photoshop. I brighten up the color if needed, crop out all of the background, resize, sometimes sharpen the image. If the layout is crooked, I use the ruler tool to straighten the top part of the layout. If once of the sides doesn’t look square, I use the transform tools to make it square. I also add a watermark.
I’m not going to go into details on all these editing steps, but you can google them or search on Youtube to see how to do them. For me it was all trial & error trying to find out what editing I liked. It really is all personal preference of how you want your layouts to look in your photos. Sometimes I can edit the photo in one minute or less. Sometimes the photos aren’t that great & it takes me more like 5 minutes to edit the photo. Sometimes I have to use every step listed above, somteimes I just have to crop & add a watermark.

My best bit of photo advice I have is to make sure you have enough lighting! If you don’t have a bright window, get some lamps or a light box. If your photos are too dark, no amount of editing is going to improve the photos that much because darker photos end up more grainy & less sharp.
NOTE: If you do use artificial light, be sure to invest in some daylight bulbs or else you will also need to edit the white balance on your photos (regular lightbulbs are yellow tinted & some of the newer types of lightbulbs can be blue tinted. The daylight bulbs are supposed to be more like natural light). When the natural lighting isn’t very nice, I use my studio lights to make sure my projects have enough light.

Here’s a look at a before & after. The before is the raw photo. It’s only been resized & watermarked but nothing else was done to this photo:

How I take photos of my scrapbook layouts

As you can see, I am still wearing my PJ’s! LOL. The window is positioned on the opposite side of the shelf from where I am standing. I just stand there & hover over the layout to try to line up the layout in the photo. This photo ended up with the layout being pretty diagonal so I did have to straighten this photo with the ruler tool. You can see the layout is well lit because of that soft light from the window.

And here’s the after photo:

Scrapbook layout from thescrapmaster.com

I shared this layout a few weeks ago. To see more details about this layout, click here!

What version of Photoshop to you use?

I use Photoshop CS5 (Creative Suite 5). It is now an outdated version, but the programs are so expensive, I don’t have any plans to upgrade anytime soon. I got the full CS5 when I was in college & took some graphic design courses at a community college (while I was also enrolled in my last semester at a university where I double majored! LOL That was the same semester I started my company. Man, I was nuts!). Students get a huge discount on software. Most people could definitely get by with Photoshop Elements, which is a less powerful version of Photoshop, but it is MUCH more affordable!!

 

What is a Direct Link? URL? And how do I find them?

When someone says “direct link”, they mean the link that goes directly to a certain blog post rather than the link that goes to your blog main page.

For example, my blog link is http://thescrapmaster.com. The direct link to this blog post is http://thescrapmaster.com/2014/04/pro-blogging-answering-some-of-your-questions.html

A URL is just any website address/link. My blog link is also called my blog URL. URL’s usually start with http:// or https://

URL’s are shown in your browser toolbar.

To find the direct link to a blog post, you have a couple of options usually:

  1. Go to the blog. Find the blog post you are looking for. Click on the blog post title & then the URL/direct link will appear in your browser toolbar. Then you can copy & paste that where ever you need it.
  2. Go to the blog. Find the blog post you are looking for. Right click on the blog post title & then click “copy link location”. Then you can paste that where ever you need it.

 

How can I make money blogging/crafting?

This is just a basic rundown of some of the money making options there are out there for crafty folks who want to turn their crafting into a business. I’m not going to go into further details on any of these subjects as there are tons of resources out there in Google-land. Just Google any of these if you’d like to learn more about any of it. My personal comments/opinions regarding each money making options are in pink!

  • Add Google Adsense to your blog (banner ads) – With Adsense, you make money based off of how many people visit your site & see your ads + more when people click on your ads. My thoughts: In my opinion it takes a LOT LOT of visitors to make any money through adsense!! And I have a bunch of visitors & I still don’t make very much through these ads.
  • Become an affiliate for your favorite crafty stores – Many larger online scrap stores like SVGCuts, Scrapbooks.com, and Scrapbook Steals (all affiliate links) offerย  affiliate programs. The basic way they work is you have special links that you can use on your site. Those links are trackable & when people click those links and make purchases from those websites, you receive a % of the sale price off of those items. Usually affiliate programs have certain standards (# of followers/visitors, etc) for what affiliates they let join their program so if you are just starting out, you might not be able to get into their programs because you might not have enough of a following yet.
    My thoughts: I haven’t been promoting affiliate companies for very long (or very well actually! LOL) so I can’t give much of an opinion on this one yet. I think if you are good about knowing how/when to post affiliate links, then this could be a nice way to make some money. There are entire books written about how to make money through affiliate programs, but I’ve never really looked into it very much.
  • Start selling products for a Direct Sales Company – Direct Sales companies like Stampin’ UP and Close to My Heart have demonstrators/consultants. These people are not employed by the company, but they are independent contractors. You purchase some sort of starter kit & sign some agreements in order to sell the company’s products. Sales can be based off of home parties you host or online sales through your demonstrator website. You receive a percentage of the amount of items that you sell. The direct sales company handles all of the packing & order stuff. Usually there are quarterly sales minimums that you have to meet to remain a seller.
    My thoughts: I guess I “started” my scrappy career as a Stampin’ UP Demonstrator before I launched my own stamp company. I was able to make a little money at it, but there is a lot of pressure to buy buy buy for yourself too. There are plenty of demonstrators out there making a career out of direct selling. It still involves customer service/book keeping/promoting, but you don’t have to worry about any order fulfillment stuff which is AWESOME!
    There’s also sort of a sense of community among the demonstrators for direct sales companies. Sure some of them can be ultra competitive and catty, but overall they are all very helpful & having a lot of other people running similar businesses as you can be really helpful.
    Coming from being a sole store owner packing all my own orders & managing every single aspect of design/order fulfillment/manufacturing. . . well, direct sales sounds like such a better idea than owning your own store. I think if I get too bored once my store is finally shut down & if I feel like I have nothing to do, I’ll seriously consider joining Stampin’ UP again somewhere down the line.
  • Open your own etsy shop & sell your finished products or handmade embellishments –
    My thoughts: Some people have great stores on Etsy selling their cards or pre-made scrapbook pages. Personally, I sold die cuts on Ebay before I even started blogging so it was kind of similar. It takes pretty much all the same stuff that running any store would: making things/order fulfillment/bookkeeping/customer service,etc, except the website design & shopping card feature is pretty much done for you, which is nice.
  • Start a scrapbook store or scrapbook company selling products wholesale or designing your own products to sell (retail or wholesale) –
    My thoughts: This is what I’ve been doing for the past 3.5 years and it is NOT EASY! It was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but it can be done. It costs a TON to run a business & get products made. Way more than you ever estimate. And most businesses don’t turn a profit until sometimes their 3rd, 4th, or 5th year. It isn’t for the faint of heart. And it definitely wasn’t for me. I consider my store experience very successful because I turned a profit in my first year, but it was hard hard hard work. Running my own store & doing everything alone almost made me lose my scrappy passion so that’s why I decided to close down my shop. I’d say this is the most complicated, most costly, most time consuming of all the options listed here, BUT it is incredibly rewarding to build something so amazing from the ground up.
  • Join a for pay design team – most design teams only offer product as payment & not cold hard cash so this one might be difficult to find.
    My thoughts: I’ve been on for pay & for product design teams. In my experience, joining design teams should be purely for fun because you do a lot of scrapping work for not a lot of “pay” either money-wise or product wise. I join design teams because I love the products & would be buying them & using them anyway. I’ve seen plenty of people try to join design teams for the fame & fortune & they are usually the members who end up getting kicked off the team or who leave before their terms are up because IT’S A LOT OF WORK & they are expecting to just get a bunch of free stuff or get famous quickly. Well, it just doesn’t work like that most of the time! LOL!
  • Design products for a scrapbook company – You would definitely need some sort of graphic design background for this.
    My thoughts: I don’t have any experience with this, but I assume it would be much like any other “real” job for the fact that you would be employed or contracted by the company.

 

How could you afford to start your company? Are you rich? Does your blog bring in a lot of money? How much money do you make blogging/on Youtube/with a store, etc?

This one kind of makes me chuckle because I get comments sometimes that makes me think that some of you think that I am rich or something & that couldn’t be further from the truth!

I have been asked these questions outright as well. Of course I am not going to tell you how much money I make! But I don’t like you guys thinking we are rich because we totally aren’t! I started my store when I was in college & we actually were just broke college kids. We even lived with my mom. We sacrificed a lot to start my business while my husband was going through grad school (free time, extra fun money, starting our family), but we chose to start a debt free business. We spent some of our savings to get the company going & then I expanded as my profits allowed for that. I worked as a nanny to help get my company off the ground after I graduated college. It wasn’t easy, but it was so much better than building up debt trying to start a company.

Last summer, my husband finished grad school & got a job so now we’re just an average family trying to get by, stick to a budget, & live within our means.ย  It’s always helped that we are actually really cheap, lol!! I spend more on my scrapbooking stuff than I spend on anything else for myself.

We spend on the things that matter to us & it’s really all about priorities. I spend a ton on scrapbook stuff while others may spend a ton on designer clothing, eating out, or expensiveย  handbags. You just gotta do what works for you & what makes you happy.ย  I don’t spend much on ANYTHING EXCEPT scrapbook stuff.

  • I hardly buy makeup or beauty products (my wonderful mother-in-law has been giving me Ulta gift cards or I really wouldn’t spend much on those things either because I’m too cheap lol)
  • I’ve bought one cheap knockoff handbag in like the past 5 years or more (I think it was $39.99 and I almost didn’t buy it because I thought it was expensive for a handbag!). All my other handbags are the cheap ones from Target.
  • I hardly ever buy new shoes (my most recent pair was probably about 2 years ago).
  • I hardly ever buy new clothes -I bought 2 workout shirts on clearance last month & that was the first clothing purchase in many months. The only other clothes purchases I have made within the last year were because I don’t fit in my larger clothes anymore since I’ve been losing weight ๐Ÿ™‚
  • We don’t have cable.
  • We don’t go out to eat a bunch.
  • I have a 10 yr old car that’s doing great & don’t plan on buying a new one until I absolutely have to.
  • We don’t go out very often to do very many expensive things like go to movies or concerts or take vacations, etc. If we do, we budget for them.
  • I pack my hubby’s lunch almost every single day for work & I eat my lunch at home almost every day.
  • I pretty much cook every meal we eat aside from a weekly trip out to eat & an occasional lunch out (at most once a week for that). And even those times, we budget for it!

We live pretty frugally. We actually don’t spend a lot on “extra” stuff really. We spend money on scrapbook stuff, dog stuff, and good food at the grocery store & that’s about it! Oh, and we got the nicest house that we could afford, but we didn’t get something out of our price range. We’re CHEAP (aside from my scrap addiction).

I don’t make very much money directly from just my blog or just my Youtube channels. I make money primarily though sales in my store, but that’s an indirect result of having awesome readers/subscribers/customers of my blog & Youtube channels. And I’m about to make significantly less money soon since I am doing away with my physical store offerings ๐Ÿ™‚

 

If you had it to do over again, or if you were just starting out, what would you do to make money in the scrapbook industry?

Honestly, I would probably approach things pretty much the same way! I would start a blog! My husband and I live a pretty minimalist lifestyle so I think I would take a different approach to how I sold things so it was more in line with our lifestyle. My scrapbook overconsumption is in stark contrast to the rest of the way we live our lives – we buy what we need, we try not to waste, we use what we have. I’m always trying to tame my inner scrapbook big spender so that it is more in line with the rest of our ways lol.

I would probably still start out on Etsy or something similar, selling handmade goods or join a Direct Sales company. There is minimal financial risk involved in either of those. Even if you want to start your own company, those are both great places to start out & learn some ropes before you take that giant leap.

Having my own scrapbook company was a dream of mine & I am so glad I got to live that dream!! I would probably have done it all over again even knowing all that I know now, but I would have been much more selective with the products I chose to manufacture/design. I would definitely choose more digital product offerings because those fit in with my lifestyle better. I would have tried to grow slower than I did. I ended up going from a couple of great customers to hundreds and hundreds of customers in what seemed like overnight & I just couldn’t keep up with the demand. If I had fewer physical product offerings & was more selective, I could have grown at a much more comfortable pace.

 

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

I love the sweet comments I get from all of you!! It seriously feeds my soul when someone says they were inspired by a tutorial or a project here. When someone says, “Thank you, I can’t wait to try that out!” I light up. I just love that anyone stops by & enjoys sharing in this passion. Watching those numbers go up is just mind blowing for me. Over 1 million visitors!! It’s been a while since then, but I still can’t get over it. I love y’all so much, you really have no idea!!

I was recently telling someone how much I love our little crafty community & how much all of my readers meant to me. And how I appreciated y’all even more now (if it is even possible because I always appreciated y’all so much!!) after moving to a new state & not knowing anyone in town. If it weren’t for you guys, I would have felt SO ALONE. So thank you for being here ๐Ÿ™‚

 

What’s your least favorite thing about blogging?

Editing blog posts! Rereading what I’ve written & trying to correct grammar and spelling mistakes is just not my thing! I love to write, I love to make projects, I love to teach, but I do not like proofreading! My best advice is to not get bogged down in the editing process. Read over your posts a couple of times & call it done! You could spend way too much time editing each post & trying to make it perfect, and the few minor changes to your post really won’t make that big of a difference in the long term (and I say this on my 3rd and FINAL edit of this blog post, LOL!! Most of my blog posts only get one edit!)

Another bad thing is the negative comments/hateful comments. Mean people just suck! It takes guts to put yourself out there & open yourself up for criticism & unfortunately, I’ve had my fair share of the hateful comments. If you have a following, chances are you’ll have some hateful people appear too.
I could definitely get up on my soapbox about this one. I just wonder how messed up someone has to be on the inside to spew such mean crap. Them just thinking those mean things to begin with is pathetic enough, but to actually take the time & write it out to try to tear someone else down. . . well it makes me feel really sorry for them that they are that unhappy on the inside. Mean comments say WAY WAY more about the person saying them, than they do about the person they are aimed at.

 

How long does it take you to make a blog post? make a video?

This varies greatly depending on what I am making. Not including the time it actually takes to MAKE a project, blog posts & videos can take me anywhere from 30-45 minutes to a couple of days to finish. This one has taken a couple of hours to gather my questions & write out what I wanted to say.

Scrapbook pages or card projects where I just write about the steps & supplies used are the quickest kinds of blog posts for me.

Tutorials or video tutorials take a lot longer. Process videos where I show a project from start to finish can sometimes take me days to make because of the amount of editing, planning, filming, voice over-ing, exporting, uploading involved. There are a lot of processing steps in which the computer has to just take time to do something to the video & there’s nothing to do but wait for those steps. I definitely set the computer aside and work on other things during those times & just keep having to come back to the video until it’s done & uploaded.

Blogging and video making is definitely a time consuming endeavor, but they are definitely incredibly rewarding for me. I just absolutely love being a blogger & youtuber!!

 

Conclusion

Alright, so I covered a lot of questions & I hope that you got some good info out of this post. I kind of had a mini rant on my “Are you rich?” question lol, & gave you kind of an inside look into our lives with that one.

The next Wild Wednesday blog post will be the last one in this Pro Blogging mini series. I plan on giving you some tips for growing your blog following. If you have any other blogging related questions, please be sure to leave them below so I can try & answer them next week for ya!

In case you missed any parts in this mini series:

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Have a fabulous day!!





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Pro Blogging Mini Series – Blogger vs WordPress & the Editorial Calendar

Hi everyone!

Happy Wild Wednesday!!

Pro Blogging Mini Series by thescrapmaster.com

We’re continuing on with our Pro Blogging mini series today & I am going to cover a little about blogging platforms & I want to talk to you a bit about one of my blogging essentials – my editorial calendar!

How to set up an easy blogging editorial calendar by thescrapmaster.com

BLOGGING PLATFORMS
There are three main blogging platforms (Blogger, WordPress, & Typepad), and which one you want to use really comes down to a personal choice. I have not used Typepad so I am not going to cover anything on it. I have used Blogger & WordPress so I am going to give you my opinion of each & kind of talk about each of them. Blogger vs. WordPress seems to be a hot debate among crafty bloggers so I thought I would share my 2 cents since I’ve used both.

BLOGGER
Blogger is a great basic blogging platform and the great thing is that it is free to start a blog on blogger. All you need is a google account & you can get your blog up and running in a matter of minutes! Their sign up form is super easy to use. All free blogger blogs have a URL that ends in .blogspot.com . Free accounts offer you a certain amount of space for free. Once your photos/data exceed the allotted amount, then you have to start paying for hosting space.

If you want your own .com rather than the blogspot part being in there, you need to purchase a .com and pay for hosting somewhere else.

And their blog editing tools are pretty easy to use too. Blogger all around is just a really user-friendly blogging platform for the everyday blogger. I started my blogging journey using Blogger & switched to WordPress near the end of 2013.

Blogger becomes more difficult to use if you want a lot of custom functionality added to your blog. There are plenty of free blogger template websites out there, but if you want to go DIY, you pretty much have to know a lot about scripting languages: HTML, Javascript, and CSS. This is where blogger became challenging for me. I wanted a lot of functionality that I just couldn’t get with Blogger without paying someone to do everything for me because I simply don’t understand enough about coding.

WORDPRESS
Wordpress is an open-source blogging software, which means that the software is freely available to use – if you have a website, you can add wordpress to it for free. WordPress.com also offers a free hosting version & all free WordPress blogs hosted through wordpress.com will end in .wordpress.com . Like with Blogger, the free blogs only offer you a certain amount of space & after that, you have to pay. When signing up for WordPress.com, you have the option of choosing a .com right then and there & they charge $18/month for that. You also have the option of purchasing your .com elsewhere & paying for hosting elsewhere.

WordPress has A LOT of functionality, but I found it to be a much more complicated & less user-friendly experience than first learning Blogger. I feel like the learning curve for WordPress is pretty big.

What makes WordPress so neat is its use of what are called “plug-ins”. Plug-ins are things that other coders/developers make that you can add to your blog! In the admin section of your blog, you can search for plug-ins and add them to your blog and you have to know little to no coding at all!! There are thousands and thousands of plug-ins available to do pretty much anything you want a blog to do.

Learning about certain features of WordPress made me decide to switch over.

FOR THE BEGINNER
If I were just starting out, I would definitely stick with Blogger. I had a lot of trouble initially trying to use WordPress. I found it was not very intuitive even after knowing how blogging works. If I was a brand new blogger, I think I would still stick with Blogger. The good news with that situation is that if you ever want to switch over to WordPress, it is pretty simple to get your Blogger blog posts imported into a new WordPress blog!

The same is not true. It is much more complicated to move from WordPress to Blogger. I’ve personally never tried it, but I have heard folks having to hire someone to get their WP blog posts imported into Blogger.

All in all, I feel like Blogger has plenty of functionality for most bloggers out there so it is definitely a great place to start or even stay. I just happen to like a lot of bells & whistles on my blog so I found WordPress to be better for what I wanted to do with my blog.

Now, let’s switch gears a bit:

THE EDITORIAL CALENDAR
Simply put for blogging purposes, an editorial calendar is a calendar you plan out your blogging schedule. This can be an actual calendar with the squares for each day or it can be a numbered piece of notebook paper to represent the days of the week. You can make your editorial calendar any way that you want, but I have found my editorial calendar to be invaluable!

Whether you plan on blogging once a week, a couple times a week, or every single day, it is great to plan out your blog posts a little bit. I’ve found that having things on a calendar REALLY comes in handy to keep my blog posting on track.

When I was suffering horribly from chronic migraine (now being treated with Botox for prevention), having a calendar helped me keep my blog running smoothly even when I was sick many days of the week. Even when I’m not sick (haven’t really been sick for the past 3 years or so thankfully!!), my calendar helps me stay on track! Having a plan lets you work ahead so that you have more time to fine tune & edit your blog posts.

Since I know what’s coming, I am able to work here and there on blog posts that are more involved than others (like this post! lol).

MY EDITORIAL CALENDAR
Over the 6 years of my blogging life, I have graduated from a notepad to an actual calendar. My system has evolved over time & my current system is working out really well for me.

If you’ve watched the My Planner mini series from earlier this year, you will have seen my most recent editorial calendar before the one I am using now. I used a list style printable that I had made. This printable is available currently in the SP Digi Shop. I plan on probably using this same printable next year, but I actually switched to the smaller spiral bound Walgreens planner at the end of February because I was tired of having 2 planners.

Blogging Monthly Schedule Planner Printable โ€“ 8.5ร—5.5 Macaw Blue

Blogging Monthly Schedule Planner Printable โ€“ 8.5ร—11 Macaw Blue

Now, I am just using the calendar with squares inside my Walgreens planner. I tend to move blog posts around a bunch so I write all my ideas down in pencil so I can erase & move things around. I used to go back and write things in pen once they were set in stone, but I got lazy & thought it was a waste of time & ink. Now I just leave everything on my editorial calendar written in pencil.

I like to work ahead when possible so when I have a blog post in progress, I add a little check mark on that date to signify that the blog post is in progress.

When I complete a blog post, I give myself a sticker! LOL. It sounds so juvenile, but it is incredibly satisfying for me to add that sticker to my calendar!!

Here’s a look at last month’s editorial calendar:

How to set up an easy blogging editorial calendar by thescrapmaster.com

And here’s a look at some of April. I’m actually writing this blog post on 4/8 so you will see there are unfinished blog posts earlier than today’s (4/16) date ๐Ÿ™‚ย  You can also see lots of erasing lol.

How to set up an easy blogging editorial calendar by thescrapmaster.com

One of the great things about planning out your blog schedule with an editorial calendar is you have the ability to skip around & work on whatever subject tickles your fancy at that moment in time.

So as you can see, my system is VERY VERY simple. For me, it just has to be kept simple because I just know I wouldn’t stick to an overly complicated system. And I find giving myself a sticker to be a fun little extra that keeps me happy with the system.

And that’s everything I wanted to tell you about blogging platforms & editorial calendars. I hope that these ideas inspire you. If you aren’t blogging yet, but want to, I say go for it! When I first started blogging, I had NO IDEA where it would take me. I just did it purely for fun & I had no intention of it being something so important in my life 6 years later!! And I have you to thank for that so THANK YOU for stopping by!

In case you missed any parts in this mini series:

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Have a fun-filled day!





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