How to be a Better Blogger - Part 01, Episode 01: Finding Your Niche


Sound the trumpets, everyone! Today I’d like to introduce you to a brand new blog series to kick off the New Year: (huzzah!) How to be a Better Blogger. I’ve been steeping in this idea for a few months now, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it to myself for long.

This series is going to run for a few months and will cover all the general topics. (Or at least, the topics I want to cover. Because, I am, after all, that thing the sun orbits around.) I won’t tell you everything we’re going to talk about, lest ALL THE DRAMA BE DEAD, but I will give you a pretty picture of my laptop and work station. Pacified? Good let’s move on.

I am by no means saying that I’m an expert blogger. In fact, I’m rather a novice. I’ve only been at it for 5 years. (That’s right! Fine foods since 2010 – go back through a wormhole to read my fist post ever. I’m an old person now, so I can say that it’s cute and not embarrassing.) I’m kind of an amateur when it comes to blogging. There are many others who far surpass me in the blogging game and I respect that and I aspire to be more like them. But I have learned a thing or two in my five years of blogging and I’d be thrilled if I could share that with you. So hold onto your warm, fuzzy, homemade, knitted hats, people, and LET’S GET STARTED. 


So. You want to start a blog…

First things first. Blogging is fun, yes – but it’s also hard work. From the surface, it doesn’t look so difficult to manage, but just wait until you step into the shoes of responsibility. Having a blog is like owning a cat. They general keep themselves sustained, but you need to provide them with basic needs. Then, and only then, can you have some good, decent, cuddle time.

Don’t get me wrong – I love blogging. My blog is my outlet to really express who I am and what I want to do in a very open, creative, and inviting atmosphere. I enjoy having a blog. But it’s a lot of work.

If you’re seriously considering starting a blog, then GO FOR IT. I promise you, if you’re passionate about your topic and excited to share what you think and feel and create with the world, then make like the Nike slogan and just do it! But first, one little thing.
Think long term.

I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. Not even using all caps. (Surprise, right?) When you’re starting a blog (or restarting a blog) it’s paramount to know what you want to be blogging about. Think about it – long and hard. If you think you’re passionate about something, think again. Is it going to be just a phase? Are you going to get bored with it after a while? Can you foresee a time coming – ever – where you’ll be like, “Ugh, I don’t really feel motivated to do this anymore…?”


Before you start a blog, make sure you have found your niche. This is more important than any other point I’ll make in this entire series. And in order to really explain to you how important this is, I have to tell you a little story about my blogging past. It has to do with chocolate and confectionary sugar and lots of stress-induced tears. (Cue the slow 1940s orchestra music.) 
Once upon a time…

I had a food blog. No, as a matter of fact, I’m NOT KIDDING. I decided about 3 years ago that I liked cooking and baking. So much so, that I wanted to make a go of food blogging. I did my homework, got covered in flour, washed hundreds of dishes, and saved up enough to buy myself a DSLR camera and a macro lens. My plan was to build up enough of a following to make an income off of advertisements. But I didn’t exactly get that far. Because something happened. I threw in the towel. I snapped under the stress. The infamous straw-picker just pushed their luck too far, and this camel’s back broke.


I realized that I just couldn’t do it anymore. Food blogging was great, and I really liked it. But it was a lifestyle change, and one that I wasn’t ready to make. It took hard work and long hours and I wasn’t turning a profit. I’d gotten pretty darn good at food photography and composition, creating recipes, and utilizing social media – but it just wasn’t what I wanted to be doing forever.

Food bloggers are awesome. I love them, I patronize them, and I sometimes even stalk them (shh!) I tried it, I liked it for a time, and I learned from that experience. I learned that when going into blogging, you have to think long-term. You have to KNOW that you know that you know that this is what you want to be doing for a long time.

I am super passionate about music. And you know what? I have no fear in those words. I know that I’ll never have to take them back – ever – because I know that this is what makes me feel alive. This is my niche. I was called to this, and I love every second of it. I post more often on this blog than I ever did on Everything Needs Salt, and yet I’ve never felt stressed or annoyed. This stuff just pours out of me. This very post you’re reading right now just poured out of me. (It might also be boring you to death, but hey – it happened.) And now I'm back in the game.


I went from hating blogging to loving it and all because I found what I really want to do.

How long have YOU been blogging? What have you learned from it? Are you tired of it? Have you ever thought about totally restarting your blogging experience? Have you found what you really love to do?

love,
abbiee

18 comments

  1. Hoo. You should title this series "How Hannah Joy Is Not A Good Blogger" XDDDDDD

    I have blogged for a little under a year officially. Non-officially....you'll never know. >:-)

    I have learned from it.... having tons and tons of followers is not my aim. I thought it was, at first, because who doesn't like having lots of people who pay you compliment you on your writing? But that's not why I write. That's not why I blog. So I guess what I've learned is that God uses everything--but not in the way I expect. :-)

    Am I tired of it? Eh...no.

    I have thought about restarting. But I haven't. And I probably won't. Not yet at least.

    Have I found what I really love to do? You know, that's a loaded question. I'm a dreamer, a visionary, and a person who acts on a lot of whims. Basically, I start something, get all excited about it, and then the excitement dies down a little and I plug away at it because I feel like I should. So I don't really know if "what I love" is the correct term for what I do. Probably more like what I'm called to do. And man, God gave me words. And plenty of them to weed through. XD So I think that the answer to the question is, I have not particularly found what I love to DO. But I have found WHO I love, and that makes all the difference. I don't know if that's really the answer to blogging...and yet...maybe it is?

    Sorry for the rambling. I stayed up too late. ;-) Love this post. And can't wait to see what else you come up with! :-D

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    1. DUDE NO! You're a fabulous blogger! ♥ I looooove your blog, girl. ;) And your words always inspire me. OOOH EVIL SMILEY FACE. What secrets have you up your sleeve???? I DEMAAAANNNND TO KNOWWWW. oki wow silly mood ahem. "having tons and tons of followers is not my aim." literally everything you said about this is like...just so comforting, you know what I mean? idek it's hard to describe, but like you just have a really cool emanation of rest in the Father and that really inspires me. :) But yes, you're right -- a certain number of followers doesn't matter. What matters is that you are doing the work of the kingdom and heart-punching as many people as possible. ;)

      It definitely is a loaded question. "Basically, I start something, get all excited about it, and then the excitement dies down a little and I plug away at it because I feel like I should." < um okay so you pretty much just described me, too. xD IT'S SO TOUGH THO. But yeah, I've been trying to practice being rational. And sensible. And what-not. But also just LIVING FOR THE DROP and letting scary things not scare me. Because we've got Jesus inside of us. WOOO NOW I'M RAMBLING LOOK. ack. "But I have found WHO I love, and that makes all the difference." Girl, you said it. You said it so good.

      I stayed up too late, too. XD blame it on da new year. haha. LOVE YOU ♥

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  2. YEEEP!!
    oh wow, i'm actually so excited for this new series. 2016 is going to be a good year, i can feel it. i loved this post, and honestly, i actually had no idea you've been blogging for so long (that's a good thing, btw. sometimes when i type words come out wrong. probably something with the sentence structure):)

    having a long term goal in my mind is so right. when i started AR&W i didn't have much of a purpose in mind, and over the years i think i've started slowly finding the niche. which is also sort of why i had wanted to change the blog title, but oh well. :-O although, i think that i have found what i love to do. i love logging on to my dashboard, seeing other people's amazing posts, and blogging about life and things that happen. it's so rewarding <3 i think i've been blogging for almost four years on AR&W, so yeah, it's been a good journey.

    Can't wait for the rest of this series :)

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    1. KSNDKALKL girl that makes me SO HAPPY like gah. ♥ eep! I wasn't sure if anyone would like it so yes this feedback is getting very comforting. ^.^ 2016 is going to be FABULOUS. And aw, yes -- I have been blogging for quite a while. Wow, girl, you've been blogging for a while, too! Props to you for sticking to it. ;) And yes, sometimes it's hard to really get a grip on what it is you love, but it's so important to remember that we're all such multifaceted creatures, it's okay to be super passionate about lots of things!

      I can't wait to write the rest of this series. :) Thank you for reading, Autumn dear! ♥

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  3. omgg...your food blog. NOW I AM DROOLING OVER FOOD PICTURES. XD Although I totally get it! I mean, I am not a food blogger, but food pictures = amazing. hhehe. (And also make me hungry. Dangit, Abbiee. I need cake.)
    AHEM.
    Also I love the gifs for this post. xD
    Also I love this post. Because it's so true! Can you believe I was a TRAVEL BLOG!?!?!? And then a writer blog? And then a book/writer blog. But I really used my blog as a journal with my sister and we had all of 3 followers (who were like all our sisters) for about 2 years and really...we weren't blogging. But then I fell into the book blog community and it was like "THIS IS ME. THIS IS WHAT I WANNA DO." Insert happy dance here. It's really good to find a niche, and it does help you get more followers! Because followers like consistency. *nods* Although I do follow a lot of blogs that do blog about a bit of everything, and I love that too? Because it's pretty and arty and homey and comfortable to read. SO YEAH. It depends? But I'm still a believer of niches.
    I am absolutely sharing this post on my weekend recap. JUST SAYIN'.

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    1. GAHHHHH DUUUUUUUDE FKNLSMDKSLAM. (how come I can never reply to your comments without scrambling my keyboard? IDEK LET'S ROLL WITH IT.) Aw, GIRL THAT MAKES ME HAPPY. ♥ I do like my own photography, gotta say...haha! *delivers cake* EEEEE THE GIF QUEEN COMPLIMENTS MY GIFS. life = happy. ^.^ OMG DUDE REALLY? I did not know you were a travel blog! I love travel blogs (um because wanderlust) but yeah, I can definitely see how that wasn't quite you. I does take time to find what you really love to do and OMG YOU OWN THE BOOK BLOG WORLD, GIRL. YOU RULE. (literally. ;)) BUT NO YES I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN. Blogs that are super diverse can be just as amaze as blogs that are super specific. It all depends on the awesomeness of the blogger, I guess. HEHE. ♥ gahhh thank you for reading dear you rock my socks.

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  4. THIS. YES. I LOVE IT BECAUSE IT'S SO TRUE.
    I'm sure you know that Katie and you got me into blogging. I started a writing blog then a blog just about every day life. Yup, didn't work out on both of them. I couldn't keep up with the writing and the every day blog was too boring to me--not a whole lot happens in my life. xD
    But now that I'm starting a theatre blog, I finally feel like this might actually work. I ADORE theatre and it seriously changed my life (planning on writing a blog post about that actually). I could go on and on and on about this topic. It's, as you said, my niche. It's my passion. And now I'm sitting here wondering why this idea didn't hit me from the very beginning.
    As I said earlier, SUPER EXCITED for this!! Definitely gonna be keeping up to date on it! ;)

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    1. SUSAN!!! *dog piles* GIRL GAH I'M SO EXCITED YOU'RE HERRRREEE. ♥ eep, that makes me so happy to hear! When I saw you tweet about starting a blog I was, like, so freaking stoked! I remember your other blog from a while ago, and this new idea of a theater blog sounds AWESOME. And the fact that you're super passionate about it and affected by it, that is like so invaluable. :) GAH. You're going to rock at this, dude. I can feel it. LOVE YOU SO MUCH ♥ and I'm so giddy you're here. ^.^

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  5. Great idea for a series! I'm looking forward the rest of the posts, because there's always more to learn about blogging. I've been doing it for almost three years, I and feel like I've only just got the hang of it.

    I agree with finding your niche, but sometimes it's helpful to just be you, and see what comes out, kind of thing. And I guess having a personal blog, rather than a blog dedicated to a specific topic, is great for that. That's just how it worked for me - I posted stuff, but it wasn't really me, and it was only after I gave myself freedom to post whatever was on my mind, to just be real, and let people think what they will, that I really started to enjoy blogging. And, of course, I still have tons to learn and improve on. :)

    Anyway, can't wait to see what other aspects of blogging you cover! :)

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    1. "I and feel like I've only just got the hang of it." LITERALLY SAME HERE. It's really crazy how that works. xD After ending my food blogging project, I finally feel like I actually know how to blog. It's strange. But yes.

      You said it, girl! I know I hate to be stuck in a box. And topic-blogging usually does that, unless the topic is something you're just head-over-heels for. In which case, go for it and love it. Because always being yourself is paramount to everything else. That's something I'm still learning, but it rings true to me more and more every day. :)

      Thank you so much for reading Jessica you sweetheart!! ♥

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  6. I always love reading posts on how to blog, because half the time I learn new and exciting things and the other half of the time I get to pat myself on the back because "pffshhh, I've been doing that for FOREVER. I'm obviously awesome at this." #truth

    When I started blogging, it was under the name "Epiphanies," and was about all of these cataclysmic ideas and insights I was discovering and gaining as I grew up... which was cool, except every post was kind of like a preachy little sermon, with Goals and Morals and such. blegghhh. So I got rid of that and switched over to my darling little cwtch, a place of easygoing rambles and life and writing and hugs. Which is very much more comfortable and freeing and wayyy less "let me stand on a pedestal and tell you how to live your life because obviously fourteen-year-old-me is an expert on living life and stuff."

    Anyhoo! Excited for eppy 2!

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    1. EEEE HI. Girl, you are an awesome blogger! Your posts always inspire me so much gaaaaah. And you're just awesome in general. Your old blog sounds like it was very cool (they usually are, right? just not incredibly entertaining to write forever xD) but yes, I know how those posts can be...sometimes a burden to both write and read. I think the cwtch definitely suits you much more and it's AWESOME. And I hope you know that through it, you still minister to us. You've definitely ministered to me, and that is pretty cool. ;) "let me stand on a pedestal and tell you how to live your life because obviously fourteen-year-old-me is an expert on living life and stuff." Haha, this cracked me up. xD I know what you mean though, I was/am still? like that too. x) THANKS FOR READING, GIRL! ♥

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  7. OOH! I can't wait to read the rest of this series!!! I love reading these kinds of posts and learning from other bloggers' experiences.

    I've been blogging since 2009, I think, but at the time, was blogging privately with two friends. On our little blog, we posted videos, devotions and other random tidbits of our lives. Then in 2015, I started another blog, but this time, went solo in the project. My blog now, Kianna Rose ETC. is mainly lifestyle stuff and even though it isn't a concentrated theme, I think it's very me in a sense because it (hopefully!) covers all the things that I'm passionate about :)

    From blogging for several years on my current blog and on another from 2011-2014, I've learned so much! For starters, consistency is key! Readers like to read blogs with new content, especially when it's super interesting and worthwhile. Also, PICTURES are everything! Even if you have a long post, a couple of pictures here and there, spaced out in the post, completely change the reader's experience.

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    1. HIIIIII KIANNA ROSE! How I've been meaning to check out your blog! Ugh, where does the time (and my memory) go?? xD But I'm following you on Pinterest (idk I somehow found you there?) and OMG best pinner. EVER. Your laughter board had me cracked for an hour. It was amazing.

      That is so great! Thanks for sharing a little bit about your blogging experience. It's definitely important to not limit yourself to just ONE thing -- because we're multifaceted creatures and we love all kinds of stuff! For example, my blog is technically a "music blog," but I also post travel stuff, tutorials, fiction, playlists, and all kinds of other things. It just matters that you love it. :)

      "Even if you have a long post, a couple of pictures here and there, spaced out in the post, completely change the reader's experience." I'm so glad you brought that up (and I'm going to get to this in a future episode -- stay tuned!) because it's true -- pictures are so important and they completely change everything. Plus they're pretty and shiny and I live for aesthetics. xD

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving me a comment, Kianna Rose! I appreciate your words. Like so much. ♥

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  8. I've been blogging for several years now on and off but I feel finally it's my time to knuckle down and do it properly. My fave part is taking and editing photos. I did start a new blog but I went back to my old one as I missed the people so much. I have a lot of things I like to blog about, travel,crafts,baking so I try to do varied posts. Great post!
    - Becky x

    http://adaintyfawn.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Becky! Sooo sweet of you. :) I'm so glad you read this and liked it! And that you've gotten back into blogging! That is super exciting and it's always awesome to do a restart. REFRESH and stuff. ♥ thank you again for the sweet comment dear. :)

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  9. First let me say that I am so excited for this series you have planned! As I've only blogged for almost a year, I feel like I must learn much more! And I agree that purposing your blog around a lifetime passion is so important! That's why I made the theme of my blog is finding God's grace in the everythings of life, because I can't see any time in eternity when I won't be breathing in God's grace in a unique and beautiful way!

    Great post! Look forward to the rest!

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    1. HANNAH. HI. ♥ oki so your blog sounds amazing and perfect and I must go! and check it out. ;) And eeeep I'm so happy you're here and that you're excited for this series. Because getting feedback like yours makes ME excited and that is always a good thing. hehe. Thank you, dearest!!

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kind words are like raindrops on the desert. they make me bloom with happiness, as absolutely cliche and cheesy as that sounds. even if it's just a simple alt+3 i will heart you for it. so, go ahead! MAKE MY DAY. literally.