Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, writing

Finding a Place and Purpose For Your Blog. And How To Succeed Once You’ve Found It.

 

One question I’ve asked myself from the very beginning is “What is this blog going to be and what am I looking to get out of it?”  There’s only so many posts you can do about not knowing what to post, am I right?  It certainly seems to be a common theme amongst new bloggers.

There must be hundreds of thousands of posts, e-books, courses and probably other super cool types of media that I’ve never even heard of out there offering tips on blogging.  “How to grow your blog”. “How to get more followers on your blog”. “How to convert views to reader engagement on your blog.” But has anyone ever noticed that these “tips” are very much geared towards people who are selling something?  An e-course, e-book, or service?  I have nothing to sell.  That’s not what I’m here for, and neither, I suspect, are a majority of bloggers.  While some of these tips can easily transcend different niches, most of those are common knowledge.  Things like “post consistently” or “use proper tags and categories.”   I have read post after post that promised to help me and my blog grow, and unfortunately, I have yet to find my golden nugget of knowledge that will transform this blog into something more.

Here’s one of my issues:  When deciding on topics to blog about.  Do you rely solely on your passions or do you find yourself leaning towards a genre you know is heavily populated with followers?  For example: Two of the most preeminent niches for blogging is fashion/beauty and travel.  Those niches are filled with amazing blogs that have some of the best content and subscriber stats in the industry.  Sadly, for my, I am neither a trend setter or a jet setter.  I’m more of a couch setter.  As in, I’m gonna set on this couch and binge watch “This is us” all weekend so as to get mentally prepared for the upcoming second season.

As I have said many times at this point, I started this blog because I needed a creative outlet.  Parts of my life were in complete chaos, and I longed for a way to free up some valuable head space that was essential in me functioning as adult human.  As the days went by, and the posts published, lo and behold, this blog achieved just that.  And as I went along, my blog took its shape.  I was finding my niche.  In time, my posts became less and less about a traumatic event that occurred to a family member and they became about different aspects of family relationships, recipes, blogging, and life.  And while I have nothing to sell, I like to think that people may enjoy reading what I write regardless.

So, here’s my plan.  You’re welcome to follow along with me if you’d like.  I make no guarantees that this will help you and your blogging endeavors but it’s good to have a plan nonetheless.

Now that you know your niche, and even if you’re not quite there yet: Figure out what do you want to get out of this blog? What is your desired outcome?

This may very well be the most important thing of all.  But, you need to be honest with yourself.  If you say something like “nothing really, I just want it to be like a diary.” Then you have your answer. However, If that were the case, than presumably you would have your posts set to private, not public…  But that’s none of my business. Moral of the story is, if you’re not honest with yourself about your goals, you’ll never reach them.  Let’s say, you’re writing just to write.  Doesn’t matter to you if anyone reads it, likes or comments on it.  That’s fine, then base your goals with that in mind. But, I’d be willing to bet that once you see those stats moving, your blogging ambitions will change.  And it’s ok if they do.  Don’t be ashamed, or afraid of saying what you really want.  Do you want to write amazing content and become the next Jenny Lawson or Arriana Huffington? Who doesn’t!?!?  While those are some super lofty goals, whose to say you can’t achieve them?

Speaking of goals… Set some!

I’ve actually been putting this into play the last couple of months.  Go to your Stats and click on insights.  Those stats are what I base my goals on.

  • For the month of August, I had 2 short term goals
    • Reach 100 WordPress followers by the end of the month . I kid you not, I achieved that at about 11pm 2 nights ago.  I have 122 followers in total.
    •  Get more than 241 views this month in order to beat last months.  I surpased that goal by 46.
  • Long Term Goals –
    • Do at least 1 blog post every week for the rest of the year.
    • So, something I really love delving into is conversion rates.  This isn’t laid out for you in stats.  It’s an equation you can do on your own if you like analytics.  If you go under your blog post tab, it will show you all of your published posts, their number of views, likes and comments.  I measure how well a post did by dividing the number of views, by the number of likes.  For example, If my latest post has been viewed by 11 people so far and it received 5 WordPress likes, I consider that to be a pretty good conversion rate.  I could go on and on about these sorts of facts and figures, but I digress.  By the end of the year, I would like my view to like conversion rate to be 50% or better.
    • Try to get a total of 200 followers between WordPress, Email subscribers, and twitter.

As of right now, that’s my plan.  What’s yours? Any tips or insight to you’d to share?

 

 

Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, Uncategorized, writing

I’ve been nominated for The Versatile​ blogger award?!?!

Thank you to the wonderful gal over at Runaway Nuns and Leprechauns for the nomination of the Versatile Blogger Award.  I was shocked to read the post yesterday.  I’ve only been doing this for a short time, and it means so much.  Now, there are rules that apply to this award.  They are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate 10 other bloggers of your choice.
  4. Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination.

 

So here we here we go.  Seven Facts:

  1. My eye color changes depending on the weather.  I think this may be fairly common, but I’ve never heard anyone else I know mention it.
  2. I was a volunteer firefighter for several years.
  3. I think that mint flavor should only be in toothpaste or gum.  I don’t understand how people can mix it with chocolate.  Yuck,
  4. I’m pretty sure  I was blocked on Facebook by the kicker of the Cincinnati Bengals. I really love the Bengals and have a thing for kickers. Apparently, he didn’t appreciate my adoration.
  5. I really really despise making lists about myself.  But rules are rules.
  6. I would give just about anything to have a goat named Cheese
  7. I prefer lake swimming to ocean swimming.

 

And the nominees are….

 

  1. Weird Guy With A Dog
  2. Not A Grouch
  3. A Beautiful Disaster
  4. Stitch and Shizzle
  5. The Writers Desk
  6. In The Garden
  7. A Thousand Bits of Paper
  8. Official Blog Of Kristy Gherlone
  9. The Webb Homestead
  10. Cooking with a Wallflower

 

 

Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, Inspirations, Thoughts, writing

A Procrastinator’s​ Guide To Tackling The To-Do List: Blogging Edition

First, A little back story.

I thought of the title for this blog post out of the blue one day.  So I quickly opened my WordPress app and typed it in. I hit save, under the Drafts tab.  Making absolutely sure that I didn’t accidentally hit the publish button.  That is the worst!  Publishing something before it’s ready, aaarrgh. It’s awful!  Anyway, as I was double checking that I didn’t post it instead of saving it.  I got the idea for the super cute graphic.  I immediately clicked on my Word Swag app and created the image you see above. And I LOVE it.  In fact, I love it so much, that I’ve started laying the ground work for this to be a series.  And I am super excited!

As I started typing and formatting this post I found myself back spacing and rearranging sentences a lot.  I just couldn’t get the concept to flow the way I wanted it to.  And then I realized why…. I am a procrastinator.  Procrasntintor’s aren’t usually the ones who write about getting things done.  We also aren’t the type of people to be made an example of when referencing expeditious task completion.  Something weird to note, that this is only in my personal life.  Like getting an oil change, or canceling a subscription. Which reminds me, I never canceled my husbands Dollar Shave Club subscription.  Shit.

Professionally speaking, I couldn’t be more opposite.  I’m known to watch my inbox like a hawk.  Always at the ready for the next task.  For me, there is nothing better than being asked to do something, completing it and sending back a “Done!” email.  My work inbox is pristine.  As I left yesterday for a week’s vacation, I didn’t even have to scroll.  All emails were visible on one page.  That feeling, for me, is pure contentment.

So, how do I get this, and the subsequent series posts I’m planning, to translate from personal procrastinator to every day efficient?   There only seems to be one solution.  I am going to try to fix something, that for the last 33 years of my life, has been one of the most predominant personality traits I have.  I’m going to become “The Blogger Formally Known As A Procrastinator.” You guys, my husband is going to be so effing excited when he reads this.

We’re now at the point where you may be asking yourself “why would I take advice from a woman who admittedly, can barely make a list of “to-do’s” to do the to-do’s.?” And I think that is a very fair question. My answer is this:  This post is meant for the people like me.  The people to enjoy getting things done, but in their own, type B personality, kind of way.  The type of people who may appear disorganized, and lackadaisical to some. But in all actuality do, for the most part,  have their shit together.

The To-Do:  Writing a Blog Post

This blog has been an eye-opening experience.  If you have been with me since the beginning you may recall my post Surviving Succulents.  In it, I wrote about starting projects and not finishing them. And how this project, this blog, was going to be different.  And while I’ve only been at this for about 9 months, it is the longest I’ve ever stuck with something like this.  And I still love it like I did at the beginning.  I think that is one of the most important things for a procrastinator.  And my first blogging To-Do.  Blog about something you love.  Or something that challenges you, whether it be a specific topic or niche.  Maybe even daring to try a different style. Like poetry, short stories or nonfiction.  In my very limited experience, I’ve found that writing about something you love, or something that you have an interest in, comes a lot easier and therefore quicker than something you don’t.

That brings me to my next To-Do, well this is more of a to-don’t.  Don’t force it.  Readers will be able to tell.  One of the followers of my blog recently commented that “It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.” And he is exactly right.  Just because you haven’t published a post in a while doesn’t mean that you’re failing or even that you’re procrastinating. Maybe you haven’t found the spark.  I’ve talked about the spark before.  It’s what I consider to be the moment you get an idea that you’re excited about.  When everything just comes rushing to you and you’re inspired. That spark can come at any time and even multiple times within a single post.  For example, I started this post on May 29th.  Almost 2 months ago.  And here I am just finishing it up.  I don’t know what it was about the last couple of days, but a majority of this post has only just been written in that time.  And that’s ok.  I didn’t want to write it to just to say that I posted something.  I wanted to write it to be good.  To be helpful.  Honestly, I don’t know if it will be either of those things, but fingers crossed.

And the last To-Do is to try to set aside time each day to work on your blog.  It doesn’t have to be hours, or at a set time every day.   Even if all you have is 15 minutes.  Go to your blog, under your drafts, and read what you’ve already written.  Add a sentence or two.  Rewrite a paragraph.  Touch up the graphic.  Do research on a topic you’re working on.  Whatever it may be, just DO something within your blog.  I guarantee the more you do that, the more quality content you’ll produce.

So that’s that.  My very first edition of “Turning To-Do’s into Ta-Da’s.”  Now, I am no expert on matters of blogging or most things really.  And while these tips are more common knowledge tidbits than insider secrets.  I hope they offer insight.  I hope this comes off as more of a pep talk than anything.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t worry about what others with think (this is still my biggest hurdle).  Because, from what I can tell, the bloggers who have the most followers aren’t necessarily the people who produce the most content.  And I think, by just doing these very basic things, you will greatly increase the chances of creating an amazing (Ta-Da!!!)  blog post.

 

 

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, Maine, Photography, Uncategorized, writing

A Place For Maine Writers, Bloggers and Photographers

 

Hi there! My name is Darci and am still fairly new to blogging.  I noticed that there aren’t any FB groups dedicated to bloggers in Maine.  I thought this would be a great place to first connect, and see if there may be in interested in joining one.  If there is, than I’d be very happy to get one going.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to be involved. Just comment below!

 

Thanks!

Posted in Blog, Blogger, blogging, Digital Marketing, Inspirations, Thoughts, writing

Beginners Bloggers Block

I started out strong. Just over eight months ago.  I was blogging often, having a fairly clear, concise point with each post.  The feedback I got was amazing.  People told me that what I was writing was relatable and how they looked forward to my posts. But, as the weeks went on, I found myself blogging less and less and less.  At one point going more than a month without posting a single thing.

I would still go to WordPress almost every day.  Just under the “Reader” tab.  I would scroll through my saved categories, spending a majority of my time under “Blogging”.   A common post I’d see would fall along the lines of “So, I haven’t posted in a while.” or “Things have been really hectic lately and I haven’t logged in”.  Listen, I get it. I do.  Life gets busy and things come up.  But I couldn’t help but wonder…  Were they really too busy for days, weeks, on end or maybe it’s because they didn’t have something to say? Something they were proud of, or inspired by, or excited about. And by no fault of their own necessarily.

It’s so very easy to rely on an excuse, rather than admit that you’ve maybe lost motivation.  Or perhaps, you’ve been looking for inspiration and have come up empty handed.  I find that so many of my posts have come to fruition because I was inspired by something.  Something happened or I read something.  Whatever it was, was so amazing that it just compelled me to write. To tell the WordPress world all about it.

A few weeks ago, I got the blogging itch.  The one where you need to write something down, purely for the sake of writing.  But, I didn’t know what to write about.  I needed inspiration in real bad way.  So I went over to  Dream Big, Dream Often, to see what the author had been up to. He has a fantastic blog.  Every day he publishes posts that are not only thought-provoking, but also entice engagement from a seemingly very diverse audience.  I’m pretty new to this, but even I know that is no small feat.  And as I scrolled and read, there it was. A simple blog post, about nothing really. It was maybe 3 or 4 sentances long.  In the post, he had asked a question about social media usage. I answered, and in my response, I typed the title of this post.  That’s all I needed, I had my inspiration.

When inspiration hits, there’s no other way to describe it other than a spark.  When I have an idea for a post that I’m excited about, there is nothing that will stop me from writing, editing, revising and hitting that beautiful blue “publish” button.  My eyes light up, you can see the wheels turning and from there, my fingers glide over the alphabet keys with the utmost of ease.  You never know where the spark will come from or when it will strike.  But thankfully, inevitably, it does.  Whether it’s slight or fierce, sooner or later, you’ll have a creative urge that will bring you back from that merciless thing called writers block.

Posted in Blogger, blogging, family, Inspirations, life, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Mischance, Migraines and Milestones

These three “M” words won’t mean much to most, but to me, they are perfectly entwined.  For better or worse.

A few people have mentioned recently that I hadn’t done a blog post in a while.  And they are right in a way. I haven’t done a public blog post in over a month.  But, I have been writing. I have a few posts drafted and edited, ready to go when the time is right.  I did, however want to write something to check in, in a way.  With myself more than anything.


 

Mischance – An old-timey word for bad luck.  Bad luck is what started this blogging journey. When my brother was in his work accident, I needed this outlet so badly.  And as his recovery has progressed, I realized it’s no loner my story to tell.  My perspective at this stage is a sort of a moot point.  He has his voice and can post his updates as he sees fit.  That may be hard for some, family especially, whereas he’s very stingy with his information, but that’s his choice.

One of the main reasons I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been having a lot of migraines lately.  I had never had a headache in my entire life, until about a year and a half ago.  Except a hangover headache.  Had plenty of them.  Stress does weird things to a person’s body, and mine apparently deals with stress in this form.  I’ve lived a fairly stress free life, which I am incredibly grateful for.  But, I think it’s catching up with me now.  I’ve been through a few different types of medicine, and recently switched it again, and so far so good. Hence, this blog post.

It has been 6 months since I started this blog.  It was a milestone I wasn’t sure I’d see.  Even though I had made a couple of posts at the beginning about my motivation and wanting to see this through. There is always a little doubt.  Can I do it?  Do people want to read it?  Does it matter if they do or don’t?  I can do it.  I have no doubt of that.  My self-confidence shakes a little when it comes to the last two questions.  I guess we’ll see how this goes along.  Maybe I will answer them at my 1 year milestone.

 

Posted in belief, Blogger, Inspirations, life, Maine, writing

Why Lularoe? Why now? My “Why”.

 

When you sign on to be a Lularoe Consultant, they ask you to create your “Why”.  Your reasoning for signing up with the company.  It’s not just about selling clothes, or their amazing leggings.  It could be, they are that good. It’s about so much more.  They are a company who motivate and inspire people to work hard and achieve their goals.  They built their brand with ethical business practices at the forefront,  a unique plan for customer engagement, and a beautiful product. So, this is my “why”.

The Backstory

A few months ago, I started to get bogged down a little.  I felt like I was starting to drown. One morning I was reading the news and came across a story about recurring dreams.  The most common one is where you feel like you’re falling.  I had recently started having this dream almost nightly.  The article said that usually means that you feel like you’ve lost control. And it was right, I had.  There was so much going on at home, with my brother, professionally, financially.  It was overwhelming.  I didn’t feel like any one person or thing or task was getting  100% of what they deserved or needed.   I was keeping a running tally in my head of who I had disappointed.  J.J. wanted to go to the store one night, but the dog was sick so I couldn’t take him.  I told him we’d go the next night.  The next night, something came up with Kruno, and he needed something.  But I had already disappointed J.J. the day before so I couldn’t do that two days in a row to him, so that night I had to disappoint Kruno.  My work suffered, my relationships, my health.  One of the biggest reasons we moved home was because of my health.  I was stressed to the max in Colorado.  I was having migraines almost every day.  I had lost feeling in my left arm and leg, and I had a 1.3 cm cyst in the middle of my brain.  Stress does very strange things to the body.  And some of the same symptoms had started happening again. I had to regain control, prioritize, and just get my shit together in general.

 What I realized

As things started to fall into place, and the stress was subsiding, I started to wonder about these episodes.  They seem to come on during times when I was in, what I consider to be, a mild state of depression.  I was down and out, unhappy, a real negative nancy.  In going along with my New Year post, that simply wasn’t going to do anymore.  I desperately wanted to change.  My outlook. My situation.  In order to do that, I had to do some serious soul-searching.  This is my theory:

I decided to take on a second job…  I know, it sounds crazy.  I’m sure most people would think that taking on additional projects or business ventures would be counterproductive.  Hear me out. While I enjoy my lovely little life.  I am truly blessed in all aspects of it.  There does seem to be something missing. It’s hard to put into words exactly what it is.  It’s lacking a little creativity, a bit of a social aspect, a desire to be in control (to a certain degree) of my future and success. I don’t feel completely fulfilled.  And I really really want to be, or at least know I’m working towards it.  Think of your life as a set of gears.  Lots of them, but all different sizes. Some big some small, remove one and everything after that one, will stop. And the end result will never be realized the way it was meant to be if all the gears were there. And maybe that missing gear is an aspect that you unknowingly long for, and just didn’t realize until now. For me, I think  that gear is something that brings a sense of accomplishment and confidence.  And it only took me 33 years to realize how important these things are both professionally and personally.

The Plan

Kruno and I want to be business owners.  We both have an entrepreneurial spirit.  We want something of our own.  Where we get out exactly what we put in.  We don’t expect to quit our jobs and start a business, have it be a success and make six figures tomorrow. But we wanted something to work towards.  We’ve tossed around business ideas for months.  There was always something that held us up.  Not enough time, or space, but mostly money.  It takes a lot to start a business.  But, what we’ve come to realize recently, is there will, most likely, never be the “right” time or specific conditions, for anything.  And if, by chance there is, you only realize it was perfect after its passed. I think this is true for most everything.  I probably shouldn’t be giving advice so early in the game, but at this point, I say if there’s something you want, or feel like you’re missing in life, get after it! (responsibly, of course)  You want to go on a trip?  Book it.  Want to start a new career?  Make the leap.  Want to adopt a child?  Do it.  I am a firm believer of the “everything happens for a reason” theory.  I think this opportunity came along at exactly the “right” wrong time for us.  It’s a wonderful company with a product I believe in.  I think this will give me the exact gear that I’ve been missing my whole life.   And Kruno and I couldn’t be more excited.

When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.                                          – Alexander den Heijer