Hi everyone! I am SO excited to present today’s guest post, written by Lauren of LaurenElizabeth.
Lauren’s blog has been one of my favorites for awhile now. I enjoy reading because her posts are so relatable – I find inspiration for outfits, healthy eating, and room decor. I asked if she would be willing to answer a few questions about blogging, and she kindly agreed.
How would you describe your blog?
I would describe my blog as a life and style blog with an emphasis on personal style. I don’t consider myself just a personal style blogger, because I do like to share DIY projects, interior design inspiration, recipes, and whatever else I feel like writing. I like the freedom that comes along with being a “life and style” blogger because I haven’t enclosed myself into one category. I like the variety that comes along with sharing different bits and pieces in my life, and I think my readers like it, too!
Your sister is Kate from The Small Things Blog, which is quite popular. Yet you’ve created a blog that is unique to your own personality and sense of style. What advice do you have for bloggers out there who are trying to find their own voice?
Find what you like and blog about it. Too many people have seen the success that some bloggers have found and think that they can blog about the same things and be just as popular. It doesn’t work like that. Those popular bloggers are popular because they put their whole heart into it. Their blog is about what they’re passionate about and what they love to do, so they don’t get burned out after just a couple of months. It is way too exhausting to try to be something or someone that you’re not, even on the Internet, so don’t try! Not everyone is made to be a blogger, and not everyone will have a successful (depending on what your idea of success is) blog. And that’s ok!
If you’re thinking about starting a blog because you want to have a lot of followers and be popular on the Internet or get clothes for free or make a lot of money, don’t do it. You’ll probably end up hating it and you’ll just be disappointed if it doesn’t work out the way you want it to. Be yourself! Write about what you love, what makes you happy, what inspires you, what you’re passionate about. People will see that when they read your blog and they will want to keep reading because they will be getting to know YOU.
I know you design your own site through Photoshop. How did you learn to take ownership and teach yourself in areas like design? What motivated you to keep going when you bumped into obstacles?
My first introduction to Photoshop came through a fabric design class that I took during undergrad. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but learned most of the basics over the course of the semester. I ended up purchasing Photoshop Elements, which is a great beginner software for anyone looking to design some elements for their blog (and it’s quite a bit cheaper than Photoshop). So, I knew the basics before I started designing for my blog, but didn’t know a thing about HTML/CSS. All of that was learned through good old-fashioned Google work. Unfortunately, I never came across a really great resource for basic Photoshop design (if anyone wants to start a blog about this, you should. You’d be an instant success.), but was able to find most of what I needed. Searching things like “how do I change my post title font in Blogger” and “how do I add my own header to Blogger” usually returns a lot of results and the right ones are in there, you just have to do a little digging. Once you learn HTML (even basic HTML), you know it forever.
My best advice for someone wanting to design their own is to create a “test” blog that is set up just like your actual blog (same width, layout, etc.) and add your newly-created design elements to that one to make sure you like it or make any changes. Once you know it looks how you want it to, then you can add it to your actual blog and not risk messing up any of the HTML of your real blog.
Do you have advice for bloggers who are trying to decide how much of their personal life should be shared online? What is your own philosophy on this?
Deciding how much and what to share from your personal life is, well, personal. (sorry, had to!) Honestly, it totally depends on what you’re comfortable with and what you’re okay with any stranger coming across on the Internet. I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as an open book, which is funny because I basically have one on the Internet. I tend to be very private, even in my personal life, but I’ve learned that people reading my blog like to be reminded that I’m real and that I struggle with things just like everyone else. There’s a really easy trap to fall into as a blogger that makes you think that you have to have this “cookie-cutter” life and everything has to be Instagram-worthy or your outfit has to be Pinterest-ready. That’s not real life. Real life is having a really messy apartment, not washing your hair for three days, feeling insecure, making mistakes, the list could go on. We’re all human, even bloggers! I think it’s important to share what makes you real and what makes you like your readers – share some of the hard stuff, the messy stuff but also celebrate the good stuff, the happy stuff. Try to do it with grace and from a standpoint of just wanting to share with your readers.
My readers have almost become a little support group for me. They want to celebrate the good things with me and they want to share in my struggles and pain – that’s amazing! I feel so loved when I share something personal and see the response that it elicits from all the ladies that have been reading my blog for months or years. It’s a really cool, unique thing.
Which social media outlet do you find most useful for marketing? do you market your blog on your personal Facebook?
For my purposes, I’ve found Instagram to be the most popular social media outlet (in terms of number of followers/interactions). I think that people like that they get sort of an “inside look” into my life because I can share pictures of my outfit of the day, what I ate for lunch, or what my cats are doing at any given moment I also really like Twitter because it allows me to engage with my readers and participate in conversations with them, as well as connect with other bloggers. Twitter is probably my best networking tool. I do share on my personal page that I have a blog, but I rarely use it to talk about my blog, that’s what my fan page is for! I like to keep them separate and on their own pages.
Any general advice for someone just starting out?
My best advice is to blog because it’s something that you want to do. Don’t start blogging in the hopes of turning it into a source of income, or to become popular, or to be given free products in exchange for your opinion about it. You will quickly get burnt out and it won’t last. Blogging isn’t easy. It’s so much fun and such a great community to be a part of, but it’s definitely work. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to stick with it and create a little community. I really feel like I’ve put my heart and soul into my blog – it would be so, so strange to wake up tomorrow and never blog again. So, do it because you love it. That’s my best advice. Oh, and be active on social media! It’s a great way for people to get to know you and to network with other bloggers!
You can view Lauren’s blog at thelaurenelizabeth.com. She also hosts the High Five for Friday linkups I often participate in. Thanks so much Lauren for taking the time to share your thoughts!