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The One & Only Thing to Do To Improve Your Blog ~ Sweet Blogging for Real Girls

Mon 24th, Oct, 2011

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G’day from a lovely warm, sunny laundry day on the beaches…

OK people.

Another Sweet Blogging post for ya!  I’ve been mulling this over pretty much all weekend since Twitter (I have been badly bitten by the Twitter bug, find me here) and some of the blogs I frequent in the bath were alive with blogging advice at the end of last week.

I am always surprised about how much I enjoy blogging about blogging…and from the feedback I get it seems you like it too…in fact I can’t actually believe that my first ecourse (another one in the pipeline) was about blogging…it just sorta happened that way…I think I talk about blogging because I find that what happened to me in blogging wasn’t typical of what the professional blogging sites tell you…for me it sorta worked a different way and it weaved its way into mine and this cottage’s life….I think of it as Real Girl’s blogging…

I am telling you though, I have read a whole lot on blogging in the last few years…some ridiculous advice that was oh-so-very inappropriate for a blogger trying to settle into a new country, an old cottage and with a busy life/home/kids and I think this is one of the reasons I think I like to give it my perspective, not from someone running it as an empire…

some of the blogging advice I read though I know now was absolutely one hundred percent spot on…and one of them was this….you hear over and over and over and over again, ’til you are about blue in the face is content, content, content.

In case that might not have been clear to you.

Content is King.

Or in this case Queen.

And the best thing I did in my own blogging journey, is throw most of the blogging advice out of the window and focus on my content – I removed myself from those ‘How Popular Are You, I Am More Popular Than You’ Ranking Sites, I stopped checking my stats, I stopped wondering about anyone else and continued to as I had started and to do this for the one person and the one thing that it turns out  mattered the most.

That person turned out to be me and guess what?  The content was what followed.

I decided to start running my own blogging race, to beat to my own blogging drum, to take it as it came and see what happened…

 

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There were three simple reasons for this…

1. time and how much/how little I had of it
2. I wanted to focus on what I was passionate about rather than thinking about stats
3. I was *very turned off by the get more advertisers/get more sponsorships/ get more networks type advice & decided that this blog would continue just because of me…

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah…content, shcontent…

What the heck is that anyway…?  Where exactly do I find that?  Can I download somewhere in the depths of this place they call the internet a magic little pill to give me it?

Well, here’s what I think below, The One and Only Thing a Real Girl Can Do To Improve Her Blog ….coming to you from the place of me that is oh-so-very much a blog reader combined with sitting down to blog my own stuff every week…although I am a blogger, my place in the blogosphere, as I have written before, is very much about being a blog reader…

I have come to think of great content as a combination of these things that follow (and please remember we are not talking a blog career here that will mean you can pay off your mortgage and buy a boat, though purlease I hope these things come for you (or me for that matter)….no these are things I have learnt as a Real Girl Blogging fitting this medium into my life as a mum, wife, fixing up this old cottage and having a real life…

Sweet Blogging for Real Girls What Does Great Content Actually Mean Anyway? 

 

 

1. Content = Consistency

Whether you post three or four times a day, or once a week, get in a rhythm with it…so you post 3 times a day, guess what, your readers expect it and will check back in with you, happy for the latest update….   maybe that’s not for you, you have a lot to say but it takes you a bit of time to fit it all together and you blog once a week in one big hit…fine…just make sure you stick to it…and when they take the time to arrive at your blog, you are there!

As a blog reader (and a blog writer) I am a creature of habit…my posts go out generally at the same time, and I get to know when my fave blogs will post…and I like that…and your readers will too…though throwing in the odd surprise post on a Sunday arvo always goes down well too…

 

2. Content = Your Blog Voice 

I wrote a whole load about this in my ecourse Sweet Blogging..in my opinion this is crucial to blogging, and you won’t find many, perhaps any big successful blogs who don’t have a very very unique voice.

Find yours.

I get emails from the gals on my course all the time about this…how they suddenly had a lightbulb moment when they started using their own voice rather than trying to be someone else….how when they just wrote about what floated their boat, almost miraculously comments appeared on their posts…all of a sudden, writing as them followers started hitting follow and as they posted more things in their own voice amazingly not only did they get commenters and followers, crikey those people kept coming back!

bottom line on Real Girls Blogging?

use that one unique thing that you have over every other of the bloggers out there…YOU!

Finding my voice was never really an issue, and I think a lot of that was because I used my blog as a log and a place for me to be a bit of me in the early days, but here’s what I notice about the blogs that I read..

 

Blog like you speak…what do you talk about with your BFF over coffee in the morning?  What do you ramble on about on the phone to your friend in England while you are in the bath?  What do you gossip about after a week at work in the wine bar…the latest tablecloth in your fave home shop, your kiddos education, that nail polish you bought and just lurve, your new IKEA mirror??   love it, blog it

Use Your Blog Voice to Just Blog You!…make ‘em laugh, tell ‘em what you do to make it through the day, make ‘em cry, get them to think, inspire them to go out thrifting, nudge them to get a paintbrush in their hand  (these are my connections in my voice…but what are yours…do you LOVE a particular popular tv show and its characters?  blog it, do you adore crochet, blog it, do you know every single thing you could ever know about baking…share it)

Your Readers Want You – this is one of the main things I have learnt as a blog reader versus a blog writer that I have incorporated into my blog…as a blog reader, I have been following some of the girls for a long time now….I feel like I know them, they are in a strange way part of me now, I think of these girls as my friends, Mr BC even knows about them, I actually think I have a friend in Portland, event though I ain’t ever stepped foot in Portland…and I know through my Facebook journey that girls from all parts of the world think that about lil’ old me….but what I have learnt is, I want more, not in a stalker way, just in an interested/friend/wow I am happy to know you kinda way…know what I mean?  Even on the business blogs, personal posts with some insight to the writer are normally pretty well received…sure I love reading about my fave bloggers new sofa and her amazing DIY skills, but what I also love is the little things about her life…how she found a fab new nail polish at the supermarket, what she wears to work, how she budgets in real life…

 

3.  Content = Your Own Ideas  - this is tricky, but I think it’s key to blogging success…readers know what’s going on in the blogosphere and if you hop on the bandwagon of the latest I Made a Vintage Bus Scroll posts you won’t make much impact…but you decide, with a passion, to paint one of your bedroom walls bright pink and it looks hot hot hot baby and you blog it, you will be building quality content that is your own.  The best thing I have found for coming up with content ideas is to just go with what I am doing anyway and am naturally interested in…that’s has most definitely worked for me….so have a go and find yours….

 

4.  Content = Themes / Niche – once you are big you can blog about a paper bag and someone will comment, before that your content needs a niche.  Your niche will, hopefully, be what makes you get up every morning, the hobby you love, the fashion you adore, being a new mummy, the DIY projects you get stuck into…find your niche, throw in some of the real you and you are on your way….

But most of all content will be there if you

love your blog!

 

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So that’s my Real Girls ideas on what content actually is…it’s not this magic secret thing, written in the most perfect way, alongside photos taken by a professional…it’s about you, your voice and what you’ve got to tell the world.

I hope that might help, that’s what I have done and it’s kinda worked….

Cheers for now lovelies, I am going to buy a front door today, woot woot….yes that is how exciting my life is, that is MY blog voice, I am dancing around this old cottage because of a door…and you thought your life was boring and you had nothing to blog about…

Adios from the beaches

 

 

my tips for great blog design, featuring an exclusive interview with the lovely Darcy from Graphically Designing,

the girl behind making blogland beautiful & the one you see on all the big blogs, here

 

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Sweet Blogging for Girls The ECourse Here!  $29

 

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52 Responses to “The One & Only Thing to Do To Improve Your Blog ~ Sweet Blogging for Real Girls”

  1. Well, you’ve got a friend in Ottawa, Canada too :). Love these posts and love the e-course. I’m making my way through it still and tweaking as I go. I’ve turned off my stats and am just having a really great time.

    • sarah says:

      yep it’s good when you do that…there’s a time for it but best focusing on what you love…

      x

      G’day Canada!!!!

  2. debbie says:

    Great post Sarah…..I agree…remove the stats, and just share yourself.
    Debbie

  3. Ana says:

    And another friend in Vancouver, Canada! Although I am by no means trying to create an empire with my blog, I am strangely addicted to stats. It’s not that I work to increase my traffic (I’m quite lazy and the last blogger to join other social networks), but days with very low traffic really get me down. How crazy is that? Thank you for the advice on content – I’m gonna keep focusing on it, but hopefully with less interruptions from stats-checking.

    • sarah says:

      i don’t think it is crazy….even though I started my blog for me-mummy-time, it’s nice to see when people visit too…you just need to keep it in check…best thing is to set a limit…I’ve read some bloggers only look a their stats once a week or once a month…a bit like dieting…

      most of all enjoy, there ain’t no point in blogging if it gets you down!

      xx

  4. Jane says:

    Ah Sarah, you’re such a breath of fresh air in Blogland. I’ve been following you for ages and I just love your naturalness and ability to laugh at yourself. Keep it up, my friend! J x

    • sarah says:

      cheers Jane, I have seen you around blogland, thanks for the little things you do for me ;-)

      xo

      • Jane says:

        Oh, my pleasure, Sarah. I think I found you through another Sydney beaches girl who’s done the reverse to you and is doing the expat in the UK thing now – the gorgeous Melissa of Miss Sew & So. I love seeing how each of you are approaching your lives abroad. J x

        • Hi gals- i love how this works…the links between blog friends and blogs we love!

          Sydney- Tassie- England…

          Sarah- as always you are *spot on* and we KNOW that you and your blog are the same – i swear if i overheard you at the beach one day- i’d know it was you just from the way you *speak* on your blog!

          Melissa
          x

  5. Hello Sarah

    Well I know the door will become another blog post – and a good one too – if anyone can make it interesting, you can.

    Am umm… I was one of those super tootin bloggers at the proBlogger conference on the weekend..

    Loved your steps – couldn’t have said it better – I was going to blog about it soon I have it written ready to post tomorrow – perhaps I might just do a blank page post with one link on the page – yours! :)) Can you imagine.

    Can I add one please (though there is always more than one)
    Design!!! Have a nice clean design – stop the crap everywhere on the side bars.

    take care and have fun door choosing – it’s always lovely to check in here with you for the ‘chat’ and have a “coffee”

    x

    loulou, from hereiamloulou blog

    .

  6. Shelia says:

    Hi Sarah! Loved your post! You’re so right – we should really love our blog and just be ourselves. I sometimes dream about what I’m going to post about! :) I think blogging has changed my life in that I look at things in a different way. Little small things speak to me like never before.
    Well, you know we all love your blog, your projects and lovely snaps.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  7. Dusty says:

    Sarah,

    Thanks for these posts. I read your post about the comments last week and really took that one to home. Although I have yet to find a comment box like yours, I did a little Q & A with my readers and the one thing they complained about was wanting to comment without scanning their pupil for approval. This element I really want to change in my blog. But someone asked me why I started my blog and I said, “for me”. I am a mom of a 6 year old, about to turn 40 and I wanted to share my thoughts and share the laughter. I started a post that I do every Thursday called “Two Cents Thursdays”. I have gotten alot of feedback from that from texts or threw email. So its my new Thursday ritual. I don’t get to see everyone of my family and friends all the time so it gives them a way to keep up and me an outlet to share and say what is the hightlight of my life or just the day! Love your posts and thank you for sharing.

    • sarah says:

      thanks Dusty, I am glad last week’s post worked for you, I totally wrote that on a whim after my experience trying to comment on blogs one night…amazing what a little tweaking can do x

  8. Kirsty says:

    Thankfully I have no idea what a vintage bus scroll is!
    Also I love this post because most of it is what I have been thinking lately. My favourite part about my own blog is just taking photos, doing them up and putting them online and have gorgeous people from around the world tell me how awesome I am. :P lol. But really I have decided that even though I feel a bit mean, not following their blogs, not caring if I get a million comments, not checking whether my blogger friends still have my button on their blogs etc etc. I have more time to focus on the aspects of blogging that got me into it in the first place. I just like taking pretty pictures and showing them :)

  9. Hi Sarah,

    A fabulous post for a relatively new blogger like myself. I’m off to get my blog on :)

    Kel x

  10. Emily says:

    I love your blog. I am new to this whole blog thing. Your advise really helps. I have even praised your advice on my blog. Although I wonder if anyone ever reads my blog – I’m trying and having fun. I guess that is all that matters. Thanks again for your blogging words of encouragement.

  11. Chy says:

    Thank you for this incredible advice. As a new blogger (from Canada again!!), I’ve wondered what readers, if I were to get any, would like to see. I am blogging for me, as a way to document this journey we are on, to create a vintage home in the country. It’s going to be a long process & one that I’m eager to jump in to. Sidetracked now while I figure out the best layout for my blog (still not happy with it) but appreciate your words as I create my “space”.

    I have no idea how to track any traffic that comes to visit my blog, so my innocence right now if probably saving me some grief!

    Happy Sunday. Hope you found the best door for your cottage.

    Chy

  12. carolyn says:

    It’s very interesting that you posted this today as I’ve been toying with taking some blogs (not yours!) off my feeder because I’m so tired of their content … or rather, lack of it. I do not want to go to a blog, day after day, only to find posts that read – I’m guest posting at blah blah blah site that is almost always some kind of corporate site. I like real people posting real things. Your post, although probably not your intention, has made up my mind … I’m going through and deleting those blogs. You see, they are “popular” and I have been afraid I will “miss something.” How ridiculous is that? Thanks for keeping it real Sarah.

  13. Beautiful post and so true. Looking forward to seeing that new front door!

  14. Grace says:

    Great post. I find blogging can be a hard balance when it comes to time management. I always have ideas of things to blog about, but not necessarily the time or energy to do the projects or write the blogs.

  15. Thanks Sarah, great advice. The stats are real downers most of the time! I am southern, I bet I sound southern on my blog too! LOL I hope to continue learning and blogging!
    Thanks again,
    Debbie

    • sarah says:

      I hope you sound Southern, cos that’s what I like about blogging and the blog world…I especially like it when girls use language from where they live…like when you girls say y’all and ‘girl’ ….love!

      good luck with it, most of all, have fun
      xo

  16. Mimi says:

    Thanks for your calm and encouraging advice! I always like to read your blogging posts!! ( and reread too!)
    Keep ‘em coming!!
    Mimi

  17. Morning Sarah- I love this post- as I do all your *how to blogging* posts!

    I still refer back to your blogging course whenever I feel a little need for some direction- it’s the most brilliant reminder to WRITE what comes from my heart- what rocks my boat!

    As I said with Jane {above}….I adore that we all can *know* one another across the bloggy world- one blog friend seems to introduce you another like minded blogger.

    I know I have many friends in Manly on my FB page that love your blog now…as I often link up your cooking pages- as I know they love cooking too….

    Thanks for the inspiration…on this blustery Autumn country morning in the UK- just what I love to have with my morning cuppa tea!

    Melissa x

  18. Jen says:

    Best blog advice I’ve ever read!

  19. SueBee says:

    I needed this. I have been in a blogging lull lately and can’t seem to get out of it. I see what I need to do now thanks to you! I remember finding your blog in the beginning and thinking WOW I like her! Thanks for the inspiration I needed today.

  20. Barefoot Liz says:

    I admit that my blog is a mix of a bunch of stuff. I have thrown it all together under the umbrella of “Life w/an Autism Spectrum Child.”
    It’s not always about autism. Not always about my son. Lots of health stuff strewn about and a generous helping of one of my passions… Books.

    I don’t care about gets tons of readers. I just like when the bunch I do have leave comments regularly. Nothing worse than feeling like you’re talking to yourself. :D

  21. very inspiring and great advice. Coming from a girl who just fell in love with blogging and am trying to give all my love to my blog, it’s helpful to see that it’s not all about stats, etc. I love that I get to write about things I love–cupcakes, interior design, crafts, etc– and whoever wants to learn with me, can. It’s great to read about someone who just has a passion for what they love and loves to blog about it! Loving the motivation!

  22. My head spins every time I check my stats because I don’t understand half of it. So I don’t go there often.
    I have followed you for a long time and you have stayed true to yourself the each and every step of the way. So consider yourself having a friend in Florida as well!

  23. Rukmini says:

    I totally agree Sarah. I mean I know I’m really tiny compared to big fish bloggies but what the heck! I write, without SEO and SMO, and I write because I love my content.

    Well said. The blog would carry on because of us, not stats or comments. You have a friend from India :)

  24. Kathryn says:

    These are really fantastic tips! I’ve just discovered your blog, and have NO IDEA why I haven’t tripped over it before.
    I’ve been in a bit of a blogging rut, so timely advice.

  25. Well said! I am so in agreement!

  26. Carmel says:

    Hello I just found your blog through Centsational Girl and I LOVE IT! This is a great post! I love your advice- I’m definitely a real girl blogger :)

  27. Linda says:

    Sarah,

    Thank you for a wonderful and (for me) timely post. I just launched my blog this past weekend and I spent many months of “should I or shouldn’t I.” In the end, I chose “should” mostly because I so very much enjoy decorating and crafting and sharing my experiences with others. I just need to remember to not get caught up in the stats and comments and such.

  28. Thanks Sarah for posting this! I used your Keep Calm and get Blogging photo in my blogging post today and linked back to here as well!

  29. Great advice, Sarah!! Even though my blog is my “little business” that I very much enjoy…., I relate to this more than the “business” advice. The competitive mind set is fear based after all…, and stressful. I too, took my blog off ranking sites that I thought I needed to be on.

  30. My blog is a whole four days old, so this post couldn’t have been better timed. Thanks for your insights and tips, I’ll certainly be filing them away for future reference. I think your point about stats is interesting – this week I’ve just been amazed that people are actually reading my posts, so have been checking quite frequently, but I think I will try and keep it in check from now on. I’m really enjoying it so far though, long may it continue!
    Have a great weekend x

  31. le@third says:

    thanks again Sarah – I always find you inspiring – many hugs le xox

  32. Vicki Archer says:

    Brilliantly put… Content is king and originality is best and learning about the voice behind the blog is why we are attracted there in the first place… Great post… xv

    • sarah says:

      hey thanks Vicki

      long time no speak! I haven’t made it over to see you for such a long time, sorry…but I do see you on my bookshelf every single day…sometimes I open you…then I sigh…and plan my next trip back to France…bring it on

      x

  33. This is definitely why your blog is such a success, Sarah. It’s you. Your heart and soul and your cottage. I’ve written about and talked about all that you have said. It’s so simple when you break it down. Readers want you, be you and the content will flow. Love your work x

  34. Fabulous advice….and I think it came at just the right time for me. With 5 children I am struggling to find the time to put into my blog and get a little disheartened when I dont have the time or motivation to devote to the other aspects of social networking. But i need to remind myself that I am writing what I am passionate about and my blog is to be a springboard for my new business of helping families, and hence doing one quality post a week will be far more authentic for me than trying to churn out lots of posts a week because that s what ‘everyone else’ does. Thanks again :)

  35. More great tips and much appreciated by this newbie!

  36. Jackie says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks so much for these words of wisdom. My blog is very young so I was happy to see this post…you have kinda reassured me that its ok to just be me, nobody will mind me rambling a little. Confidence has never been mine in bucket loads so this is all a bit nerve wracking. Exciting though :)
    (I have to admit that I’ve been madly stat checking, reckon I won’t so much from now on, cross my heart……)
    Hmmm, so, content is the thing…great advice and something to think about.
    Thanks Sarah,
    Hope to bump into you in the land of blog real soon :)
    x