Blogging Etiquette | Word to the Newbies | Week 8

Good morning Monday readers! If you’ve been following, you’ve read seven bloggers best advice in this summer’s series Word to the Newbies. Today’s guest, Jacy from Hello Awesome, is our eighth and final contributor, and her word to the newbies is all about online etiquette.

Photo Source | Edits Mine

Photo Source | Edits Mine

Ah blogging. An outlet for creative nerds, weary mamas and sweet foodies ( I can say that because I consider myself all three!) It’s amazing the different kinds of blogs out there, all different sizes and topics. When I first started, it was overwhelming. I never knew there was this entire world online. As someone who was just laid off and struggling as an artist, I wanted in.

One thing I wished I learned 4 years ago was that etiquette matters on the internet just as much as off. It’s a huge mistake to think having proper manners doesn’t make a difference when we blog. Nothing can be further from the truth! Manners always matters and how you carry yourself speaks about not only who you are, but what your blog is about.

That being said, I have a little advice for you newbies. I only wish I had a time machine to go back and slap myself in the head with this. Not to be mean but to open my eyes. Relationships are what build your blog and brand. How you interact with others is just as important as what you post.

So do everyone a favor and please leave a comment, not a sales pitch.

In my book 10 Blogging Etiquette Tips for Newbies, this would be Tip #3. When you leave a comment on a blog, what you say shows where your heart is. Here’s an example of what not to do:

“I love your blog! Come check out mine sometime. I’d appreciate a follow back!! www.desperatenewbie.blogspot.com!”

Yikes. I know you’ve done it because we’ve all done it. We leave a desperate plea to try and get the other blogger to go to our blog and follow us. I like to call this “abusing the comment box.” Why? Well, it’s called a comment box not a promotion box! It’s totally fine to have that desire to bring people to your blog. It’s good that you have a drive to promote what you do but there is a proper way to do it.

This isn’t just something looked down upon in the blog world. If you’re on any social media site and get this notification, you probably would be turned off. Try to put yourself in the other blogger’s virtual shoes. How would you respond to a comment like that? What if it was on a post that took you three hours to write and shared the deepest parts of your heart? Kinda rude, huh?

By not acknowledging what the blogger wrote and instantly thinking of how to promote yourself, it not only will make the other blogger irritated but it doesn’t shine a nice light on your etiquette skills. You don’t have to write a novel or come up with false flattery but here’s a better way to leave a comment:

“Jacy, this post really got me thinking. I am going through the same thing, wow! It’s like you knew! Thanks for sharing.
Blessings, Newbie http://www.professionalsoundingnewbie.blogspot.com” 

Do you see how different that sounds? If you want to promote your blog, that’s okay! It’s not a bad thing. The problem lies with the approach and execution. If you truly love a blog, tell them that! Tell them why you love the post, even if it’s only a small part that jumped out at you. Respond to what they wrote and them simply place your blog link under your signature. No “follow me!” or “come check me out!” You just don’t have to say it.

Having good manners is thinking about other people. The best thing you can do as a newbie blogger is build relationships, make genuine comments and learn how to promote yourself properly.

Besides, you want genuine readers! Numbers don’t matter if no one reads your blog. If you can just be yourself and meet people on an honest level, the numbers will take care of themselves.

Word to the Newbies | Series Page

About the Author

JacyJacy is a New England girl to the end who loves Jesus, watercolors and anything with peanut butter cups. She’s wife to one amazing husband, and mama to one super cute/silly boy. She writes about motherhood, faith, crafts, DIY projects, recipes and anything creative.

Hello Awesome | Shop |Instagram | Twitter

Enough by Kate Conner [Book Review & Giveaway]

You may remember Kate Conner sharing her publishing journey with us during last year’s Everyday Author series in this post, this post, and this post. Today, I’m so excited to be celebrating with her and bragging on her NEW BOOK, to be released August 1:

Enough | 10 Things We Should be Telling Teenage Girls

You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.

I’ve followed Kate’s blog for a while. What draws me to read each and every one of her posts is her ability to engage me as a reader, weaving the wisdom and truth of Scripture through the humor of everyday life observation. Enough is no different. Based on her viral post Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls, Kate explores a list of things every teenage girl should know from the people who love her most.

In her own words . . .

Click HERE if the YouTube embed is not visible on your mobile device.

It’s not just about teenage girls

I don’t have girls, and it’s been a few years since I’ve worked with teenagers, but this book gripped me in ways I was almost unprepared for. I laughed, and cried, and highlighted my way through truths that spoke very clearly to my own heart, and I’m dealing with them still. Teenage girls are not the only ones who struggle with concepts of beauty, perception, emotion, and belonging, but what a gift to start that education young.

I finished reading this book (in record time!) with three thoughts:

  1. Man, that was an incredible book!
  2. I wish someone would have read this book for me, when I was a teenager.
  3. Thank God it’s never too late to learn important things.

To Connect with Kate

You can pick up a copy of Enough for yourself, or a copy of 10 Things For Teen Girls for the teenage girl you love, by clicking on the links in this post. For more of Kate, you can find her blogging regularly at kateelizabethconner.com, or posting on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Go follow – you’ll be happy you did :).

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Enough

I’m so excited that B&H Publishing is giving away a free copy of Kate’s book to one lucky reader. To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment in this post saying why you’d love to read Enough. Winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, July 30.

Fine Print

  • Giveaway is open from Wednesday, July 23, 7AM CST through Wednesday, July 30, 7AM CST and open to residents of the continental United States only.
  • Winner will be selected by Random.org, announced on Facebook, and notified by email on Wednesday, July 30. (So please leave a valid email address when prompted before commenting!)
  • One entry per person, please, thanks, and good luck!

I was given an advance copy of Kate Conner’s new book Enough: 10 Things We Should Tell Teenage Girls in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. Some contextual affiliate links apply.

Loving your Small(ish) Blog | Word to the Newbies | Week 7

We are rounding out this summer’s blogging series - Word to the Newbies with a few more posts. Today I’m sharing about embracing and loving the blog you have. Even if it’s small.

Photo Source | Edits Mine

Photo Source | Edits Mine

I have never once, in real life or online,  run into a blogger who is completely satisfied with posting, just for the sheer joy of it.

As much as that element is present for bloggers that have any kind of staying power, there is always the desire to be seen, read, and appreciated by their followers. Part of the whole blogging payoff is knowing that what you’ve written, created, or presented to the world through your little online window meant something to someone else.

It would follow, that many bloggers experience a kind of angst after posting their very best work, and checking their stats all day long to find that all of four people viewed their post. One of which was their best friend. Two, themselves checking from different devices and only one, an actual verifiable visitor . . . bless that last persons little heart.

The truth is, those days suck. But I would bet 99% of the bloggers you read on the internet have had a day like that too, at one point or another. Instead of wondering what’s wrong with you/your blog, googling all the things that made successful bloggers successful, and trying to simulate some of their online love – let me remind you of a few very important things:

“Small” is normal

Wikipedia‘s best guess is that there are over two-hundred-and-forty-seven-million Tumblr and WordPress blogs worldwide. That’s not counting all the other blogging platforms that exist across the vast expanse of the internet.

According to WordPress.com’s stats alone, their users publish 42.6 million new posts EACH MONTH. In that same month, 14.4 BILLION WordPress pages will be viewed by over 409 million readers.

Translation: If you’re getting 35 hits PER MONTH you’re doing really, really well.

“Small” is WAY more normal than you’d think.

Maybe you’re not ready for a “big” blog

I know this one’s hard to hear, but if you’re not a self-aware blogger, when you do get big traffic, you won’t be ready.

Dream with me a little. What would happen if your blog magically got 20,000+ hits in a twenty-four hour period of time?

  • Would a visitor like the look and feel of your blog enough to read more, and come back?
  • Would someone be able to find where similar posts are on your site?
  • Would readers be able to quickly find your social media outlets?
  • Or would your site just lay down and die for all the stress? (404 error pages are NOT where you want an influx of traffic to land!) 

Everyone’s always looking for their “big break,” but you’ve got to be ready for it when it comes. If you’re running a small blog, you have time to make updates and improvements that a “big” blogger must have. Immediately.

So take that time and work diligently to create consistent, quality content. Post engaging images. Be present on social media. Re-organize your site. Brush up on the things you need help on, and take joy that you have not maxed out your potential. You have room to grow, and therefore so does your blog.

Magic traffic fizzles. Consistent hard work and determination always win.

Finding your niche is so much simpler on a small blog

There is a misconception out there that before you start a blog you must know exactly what you will post, in what style, and how often, from now until forever and ever amen. That rule may exist in the realm of possibility for someone, somewhere, but probably not for you or I.

I met this girl during my last freelance project, who commented how cool it was that I was a blogger. She went on to say how much she’d like to start her own, but didn’t know what niche she could fit herself in to generate consistent posts, and good traffic. So she hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

I smiled politely (because I’m a fan of being hired twice), but could not disagree more with her blogging plan. Frankly, that kind of thinking will keep you from starting a blog – ever.

  • If you want to write a big meaningful blog someday, starting small is a quicker way to get there than by doing nothing at all.
  • If you don’t know exactly where you fit online, experimenting with different kinds of posts will help you discover your identity.
  • If you’re not sure of your writing voice, the best way to find it, is by USING it.

Baseball legend Babe Ruth said, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Translation: Don’t let the fear of finding your voice, or your niche, or changing the plan keep you from blogging at all.

You have to start somewhere. With a small blog, you have time and space to try things – lots of things, anythings – and learn from both the successes AND failures. Starting small lets you make mistakes, or change course, or find your voice relatively privately. And that’s not a bad thing.

YOU (and your blog) are unique

It is helpful to hear how other bloggers got their start, and how their site exploded, but don’t try to make their story your own. You are unique and so is your blog. If you polled 100 big bloggers, they’d have 100 different stories of how they made it where they are. Sure they have perspective, but please don’t expect to follow a formula to get from point A to point B. It just doesn’t work.
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Being you, however, will.
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Find YOU, and then do that well. Your blog will follow.

so LOVE that small blog

  • Be thankful for what you have and work towards what you want.
  • Embrace “small” so when you find “big,” you’re ready.
  • Try, try, and try some more. There is value in the journey and in the discovery.
  • Hold tight to who you are and be proud of your individuality.
  • Do “small” well. It’ll pay off. I promise.

Luke 16:10 (NIV) “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”

Word to the Newbies | Series Page

About the Author

Christine TrevinoChristine is a wife, stay-at-home mom and freelance writer. Her blog christinetrevino.com celebrates family and motherhood, her faith journey, and her love of all things creative. She’s in love with a good latte, and lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and two boys. Christine Trevino | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Making Friends with Your Competition | Word to the Newbies | Week 6

Hey Friends! You’re joining us for week 6 of Word to the Newbies – a guest series full of best advice, from bloggers, to bloggers. Today’s guest is Faith from Life of Faith, and her word to the newbies is about competition and online friendships.

Making Friends with your Competition | Word to the Newbies | Week 6

Photo Source | Edits Mine

Hey there! I am excited to be sharing with you what I wish I knew when I first started blogging. I began The Life of Faith as more of a personal journal until I realized how much I enjoyed writing and sharing what was on my heart! I absolutely loved knowing that what I was writing actually meant something to someone else.

When I started to monetize my blog, my perspective began to change and I saw blogging as more of a job rather than something I did simply because I enjoyed it! As that mindset took over, I began to view other bloggers as competition.

These are just a few of the ways this affected me:

  • I rarely visited or commented on other blogs
  • I never shared other blogger’s posts (even if I liked them!)
  • I did no networking whatsoever
  • I didn’t make friends with fellow bloggers who reached out to me
  • I felt jealous if I saw another blogger getting more “likes” or getting more subscribers than me

I soon realized that this mindset was not only harming my blog, but it was harmful to me as well! I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing and I was missing out on so many opportunities!

No one understands you like another blogger.

We are a special brand of humans who get enjoyment from countless hours of writing, designing, editing and staring glassy-eyed at a computer screen. When you cut yourself off from that connection, you are not only missing out on great support but also amazing friendships! After becoming a member of an online blogging community, I met some amazing Christian bloggers (Christine being one of them!) who changed my life. Not only did we help each other out with sharing posts and troubleshooting site issues, but we were also there for each other emotionally and spiritually to offer advice and lift each other up in prayer. After being part of that group, I realized that I needed to change my blogging perspective and align it with Philippians 2:3-4,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

For me, that meant reaching out to other bloggers, not as a competitor but as a friend! I started “liking” other blogger’s posts, sharing them, commenting on them, and linking up with them at link parties. I stopped looking at the numbers and started to blog not for my own success, but rather to be a blessing to others! The reward from viewing my fellow bloggers as friends rather than competitors has been so rewarding! Not only has my blog grown, but I have made amazing friendships with moms who are in the same stage of life as I am and share many of the same values. In fact, I’ve even had the chance to meet up with some local bloggers over the past couple of years and it has been so fun being able to share my life with these amazing women!

Faith Konrath and Blogging Friends

Amanda from Amanda Lynne Designs, Aleks from A Slocum Story, and Sarah from The Linley House.

If you are starting out, my number one word of advice to you would be to make friends, get to know your fellow bloggers, and network, network, network! Even if your blog never ends up being the next big thing, at the very least you will have made some great connections and hopefully even life-long friends!

I would love to be your friend and encourage you as you begin this blogging journey! You can find me at The Life of Faith, or contact me here.

Word to the Newbies | Series Page

About the Author

Faith Faith is a daughter of God, wife, and mama to a sweet little girl. She is a part-time nanny of three, employee at AllieRuth Design, a personal Etsy shop owner, and author at Life of Faith. When she has a spare moment, she loves healthy cooking, crafting of any sort, organic gardening, camping with her family, and relaxing with a good cup of cream and coffee!

Life of Faith | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Mom Trevino’s Cherry Torte

My in-laws were in town over Dad’s birthday and to celebrate we made Mom’s Cherry Torte. This family recipe, descended from Mike’s Grandma Vara, was a huge hit – not only with my own boys, but also at a recent family gathering.

The best part? This is one of those super-simple, I-can’t-believe-how-easy-this-is types of desserts, that’s substitute-friendly for all types of seasonal palettes. I’m pretty partial to the raspberry filling myself . . .

Mom Trevino's Cherry TorteWhat you need

  • 1 – 8 oz container Cool Whip
  • 1-1/2 bricks Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 – 21 oz can of cherry (or other) pie filling
  • 1 – 9 oz ready-made graham cracker crust

Raspberry variation of Mom Trevino's Cherry Torte

How to make it

  1. Set Cool Whip and cream cheese out at room temperature to soften.
  2. With an electric mixer, blend softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Fold softened Cool Whip into cream cheese mixture with a spoon.
  4. Level cream cheese & Cool Whip mixture into the bottom of the prepared crust.
  5. Spread pie filling evenly on top.
  6. Freeze for at least one hour before serving. Torte can be frozen overnight for a more ice-cream like treat.