New Year New Blog Beach Cottage 9 Real Girl Sweet Blog Tips for New Girls

Fri 13th, Jan, 2012

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Happy 2012, ready for more Beach Cottage Blog Tips?  You loved Blog Tips last year from this old cottage, so here we go!

So I’ve been getting a few emails on blogging, from readers who want to start a blog this year, those feeling all full of enthusiasm and ready to rock the blogosphere!

Hmm, well it’s a wonderful world and blogging has done heaps for me…

Here are my few blog tips for getting going in the early days…it is easy to get caught up with lots of things with blogging…what platform to use, what colours to go for, filling it up with pretty badges, adding a traffic feed thingy, getting yourself on bloglove this blogranking that…these all add up to a lot of time spent on ‘doing blogging’ rather than actually blogging.. I do that still too sometimes…I would be a heap more productive if I followed my advice a bit more…

So these blog tips will hopefully help you out before you burn out before you’ve really got your mojo on and never turn on your blog again.

1. Real Girl Blog Tips – Just Do It.


OK the first blog tip… you have to get out there and get a blog set-up…and just start blogging…don’t worry about all the foofing and fancying…just write what you think and hit publish… the three main blogging platforms are WordPress, Blogger and Typepad…choose one, set up a profile and start blogging…


2.  Real Girl Blog Tips – Design

Stick with the basics & keep it simple to start off with.

Oh you can choose a million and one things to do to your site…you can add lots of bright colours, get an all singing, all dancing thing going on in your sidebar, you can add a widget for your stats,  you can add a widget for the weather, heck you can add a widget for how long it is that you have been blogging, I think it’s best to avoid all that..all of the blogging platforms offer a simple, easy and clean template that you can quickly, easily & simply customize as your own…stick with this in the early days and get blogging!


3. Real Girl Blog Tips – Pictures & Images

Get a camera and play with it.

In my opinion, this is crucial to blogging.  It doesn’t have to be a brilliant camera, I started with a falling apart, old and cranky Cybershot and nowadays I often blog my phone photos, but you do have to work it and get it illustrating what it is you are saying.

Be careful about using other images, copying and pasting stuff from magazines etc…  bottom line of this is that if you want people to read your blog, you need to blog your own stuff…you will see very very few successful blogs who are re-hashing and re-using other peoples/magazines pictures and content…most of the big bloggers, be it Home Decor, Lifestyle, Mummy Bloggers, Fashion Bloggers or Food Bloggers have been successful because they blog their own stuff, that is about them…


4. Real Girl Blog Tips – Blog What You Love

Love design?  Love Baking? Love Shoes?  Love gadgets?  Love reading?

Blog what you are passionate about.

If you look at any blog, successful (in terms of popularity & traffic or not), the one thing they will have in common, is not their similarities, but indeed the things that make them unique…blog yours.  It’s what it’s all about.


5. Real Girl Blog Tips - Get Social Media Savvy

No I don’t mean you have to get yourself on every social media site out there, but nowadays if you want to move and groove in the blog world it will be expected that you enhance your blog with social media and social media will help you too, whether you want to be the next Dooce or Darren Rowse or whether you want to connect with people that love quilting as much as you do…have a dig around with the top few…Facebook & Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and see what you think.  I started Facebooking on a whim and really enjoy what I’ve got from it…recently I got into Twitter too and have ‘met’ and communicated with some really interesting people from all over the world, that’s the beauty of it, so get on it.

I love Instagramming too…this is an aside to my blog…I love snapping & photojournalling my little life…you might too.

As a minimum link your blog to Facebook & Twitter…if you don’t know how, it’s pretty straightforward it, just google it, there’s YouTube videos on how to…





6. Real Girl Blog Tips - Set Some Blog Goals

OK, ask yourself ‘Why Do I Want to Blog?’

I have been asking myself this recently and my answers sometimes change.

In my case I have blogged because I want to share the things that make me dance and sing…but this might not be what you want to blog about…and my blogging goals have changed too…I’ll be blogging them soon :-)

You may want to get a huge following (in that case you will need to network like crazy) you may want to make friends in the niche that says you (in that case you will need to interact with other blogs and get to know them), you may want to make a shed load of money (good luck there ;-) ) or you may be blogging ultimately as a side plate for your business (in that case you will need a focus & you will need to stick to being professional)

It’s a good idea to set some small and attainable goals for your blog at the start…I didn’t do this, I just blogged for my life….hindsight is a very good thing!


7. Real Girl Blog Tips - Follow a Blogging Superstar

I have watched with interest many around me rise (and fall) in the blogosphere and it’s interesting to see what they do.

So pick someone in your niche that you like, this can be someone small with a few, but very loyal and interactive readers,or it can be someone like Pioneer Woman….now look at how they do it…do they Tweet a lot? do they answer comments religiously?  do they posts two or three times a day?  what subjects do they post about?  how do they link in their social media?  are they consistent? (if they are big, you bet your bottom dollar they will not only be consistent they will be focused and persistent)  do they network?  do they comment on other blogs? do they use video too? do they give your their opinion?

One thing I always think with the Superstar bloggers is most of them are doing all of the above (or did at some point) to get where they are…lots of the bigger bloggers gloss over this fact…it appears to be effortless…that is so not true….

even if you did happen to have  even a blog that has ‘just grown’, it will have ‘just grown’ because the blogger turns up there a few times a week working on it… I was recently having a conversation with another blogger about this…she was amazed at how her blog had ‘just grown’…she did nothing to grow it…nothing but provide unique, consistent, high quality and engaging content ;-)

So observe and pick a few things to do yourself..don’t go overboard in the early days, just get comfortable and watch what goes on…don’t try to do too much…you may see your Superstar Blogger using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram plus see her around other places too…she will be good at it, she will have worked it into her life and more importantly she will have worked out how to work it all!  Take it one step at a time until you get into your groove with what works for you, but more importantly what you enjoy…



8. Real Girl Blog Tips - Keep it in Perspective

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else….that is one of the best blog tips I have, new girl or not….do not compare yourself to your favourite blogger, not that awful blog that you somehow find yourself reading that has a huge following but you can’t work out why and don’t even think about the big girls like Dooce.

It is probably fairly certain that in the first few months it will take a while for your blog to get going, you will need to be doing more than reading blog tips to make it successful…there are a few overnight successes but hardly any.


9. Real Girl Blog Tips - Love Your Blog & Be Your Own Celebrity in your Own Little World


This is something I learnt on my first ever blogging event only a few weeks ago (yep always learning in blogland)…yeah I was whisked off to Malyasia by those lovely guys at Nuffnang and to be honest I was apprehensive…I thought I would be very much out of my depth with all these big girl serious bloggers, I thought they would be all professional and interesting and focused and I would be some silly little housewife blogging about white paint and ballet flats…(they were all professional and focused btw, more on that soon)

but a strange thing happened…

I realised that the silly little housewife, with white paint and ballet flats is actually me, I am my very own little celebrity…just like the other girls there…the one who is seriously organised and loves it (please help me), the mummy who loves to travel (can you take me in your suitcase?) the one who owns rather a lot of beauty products and rocks them (& I thought I had a beauty product addiction), the one who takes photos I can only dream about (can you teach me stuff), and the one who blogs about the crafts she loves (can I come & stay in your caravan?)…all these girls are passionate and happy and love their blogs… and they made me see that I also love mine! …and that I need to shout it from the rooftops…

There’s nowhere else in your life, that you can be your own celebrity…you may be, like me a busy mum who may have lost ‘me’, you may be trudging away working full-time, you may have not much in your life to adore…well you can be…on your blog you can be your very own homegrown celebrity….on your very own blog, the place for you

One of the things I find really interesting in blogland is that many so-called ‘celebrities’ in media etc find it very hard to crack blogging…you see them trying…like really hard…because suddenly everyone needs a blog….if you like the same homey stuff as me you’ll know of a couple like this….you see some who have been on TV shows then try to carry it on to a blog and it doesn’t work…blogging is a very different, growing and changing medium and that is the very beauty of it for you… you have what it takes…YOU!

And I don’t mean in a totally self-absorbed look at me kinda way, I mean making a place that you love and rock and adore…that’s what I learnt in Malaysia from those other bloggers and that’s what blogging is for me

Your blog should be the red-carpet of your life…work it baby


And those my Beach Cottage lovelies are my thoughts on getting a New Blog in the New Year…my real girl doin-the-laundry while you blog tips

Do it…

I bet you’ll love it ;-)

Over and out from Beach Cottage Land, wanna see my bathroom?  It looks DIRE.




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85 Responses to “New Year New Blog Beach Cottage 9 Real Girl Sweet Blog Tips for New Girls”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just curious why you suggest facebook? How would people find me on facebook and what is the benefit? Thanks for your reply. Jamie wellnessandfamily.blogspot.com

    • sarah says:

      Jamie, you can connect with like-minded people, you can make friends and you can get interactive…get a Facebook Page and promote it on your blog


    • I have more people connect with my facebook page than my blog…it all adds up to more exposure and I am grateful for that! I auto-publish my blog posts to my facebook page using networkedblogs, and I love it :)

  2. Jen says:

    Warm, friendly practical advice!

  3. Cheryl says:

    Thank you for this post. Having gone through a major life change, I have been a little stuck. This may be just what I need to for a jump start!

  4. Thanks for the great advice!

  5. le says:

    Sarah you are such a sweetie :) thankyou for the summer re-focus – O think what goes around comes around and you are a keen example of that – share and you get it back threefold :) le xox

  6. Cindy says:

    Very good advice! Thanks!

  7. Sharon says:

    A great post thank you.

  8. Jacqueline says:

    Thanks for the great advice. I have been in and out of blogland for the past few years, and am reentering with a fresh new start as writing speaks healing to my soul.

  9. Great advice again, thanks!

  10. Heidi Meyer says:

    LOVE it Sarah!! The new year has me thinking about things I might want to do differently with blogging. Thank you for posting such great tips!

    • sarah says:

      same here Heidi, I love thinking of new things and especially new blogging stuff..got lots in the pipeline !

  11. Sue says:

    Excellent advice. I’ve started and stalled with my little, very basic blog as long hours at the office always won out over trying to capture little snippets of my life in Oz for family and friends back in Canada. I’ve also gingerly started leaving comments on my favourite go-to blogs like yours after years of quietly enjoying such inspiring blogs. But how wonderful to get comments back from my bloggy idols. What a surprise! I feel like a six-year-old getting a free, huge lollipop in a candy shop from the proprietor. Awesome.

    • sarah says:

      well thanks for leaving comments for me b/c my main blogging goal for 2012 is to get interactive for me..

      I LOVE getting comments back from the blogs I read too…I think that is how this blogging thing is very different to traditional media

      cheers Sue x

  12. loulou says:

    Hello Sarah

    thank you for your post.

    it doesn’t matter how much one thinks one know’s – we never know a fraction of it – so thank you for reminding me.

    anyway – your’s is a lovely place to come and thank you for that!

    Have a wonderful day,

    loulou, from hereiamloulou blog


    • sarah says:

      thanks loulou, I can’t believe how much there is to learn in blogging…you know what though I think that is why I am still doing it…I am loving blogging about blogging, which was strange when I started it…now I think I realise that I love the whole thing of blogging not just being a blogger…if you see what I mean…

      thanks for the blog love btw


  13. Tabby says:

    Thank you Sarah.
    I hope to start my blog soon and your post has given me much needed encouragement.

  14. kelly says:

    Hi Sarah! This is great advice. I’ve been blogging for almost two years now, and I got a lot out of this post. (Can I also suggest Squarespace as a platform? I switched over from blogger last year, and although it’s not free, it’s really easy to use.) Thank you!

    • sarah says:

      oh yeah thanks Kelly I will add Squarespace above..for some reason I never remember it!

      I am glad you got a lot out of this post x

  15. Awesome advice, Sarah. And not just for newbies! x

  16. Sandra says:

    Such good reminders for me even though I have only been blogging for a few weeks! (you’d think that I could remember to remain focused on my goals…). What resonated with me was the idea of just being myself and not comparing myself to other bigger, more popular bloggers. It’s so hard not to! I want to build a community around the things that inspire me creatively – right now, please…heh…I know it’ll take time and although I am not getting a ton of comments so far, I am building up readers.

    Anyhow, thanks so much for the down to earth advice!

    • sarah says:

      you are welcome Sandra!

      I think being yourself is crucial…when I was at the blogging event, more than one person said to me ‘wow you are exactly like you are on your blog’ …I thought that a little odd…why would I be anyone else?

      xx good luck with it!

  17. sgrmse. says:

    STAR TIPS! :D thanks for sharing and a very merry happy 2012 to you!! 14 days late but better late than never ;)

  18. Thank you for the advice. I just started my blog and it is so much fun, but I think you really do need to have a goal for it. You’d think we all had way too much time on our hands, but it is so much fun. I think it’s worth the time. Love your beachy vibe. Can’t wait to see what the new year has to offer on your blog. Keep up the good work.

  19. Manda says:

    Thank-you once again Sarah. You sharing your knowledge and lessons is greatly appreciated by the blogging mums out there, this one in particular. Just wish I had more time to devote to it. I know it will come in time, as the kids grow.
    Thanks again.
    Love and hugs,
    xx manda

  20. Thanks Sarah, I love you when you give blogging advice as it really helped me get my blog up and running 9 months ago. My goal for this week is to link my blog to Facebook. I think it is so true that a blog can help you rediscover you. I am a very busy, stressed midwife and my career, much as I love it, had taken over my life. Blogging has helped me remember who I am and reconnect with all the things I love outside of my job. I’ve found it really therapeutic. And on top of that when you start to get more traffic and comments it is a real self esteem booster too. Love Erica x

    • sarah says:

      thanks Erica, I am really glad to hear that you blog is going well, especially as an outlet to a stressful job!

      I hadn’t ever thought of the self-esteem side of it…that’s so true!

      good luck linking with Facebook xx

  21. Julie says:

    Sarah, these tips are just fab, so helpful and easy to understand, pretty much just common sense really … Thank you. My big question is about “giveaways” …. You have mentioned in the past that you don’t blog to make money, don’t have adverts etc, so how (and why) do bloggers give away products that obviously cost a lot (in your case a super food mixer and a kindle for starters)? I assume bloggers do the giveaways to attract comments/readers, but surely you shouldn’t end up out of pocket just to get a following? Thanks again for giving your free advice – it really is appreciated. Perhaps one day us newbies will be like you with a brilliant blog, a huge following and sharing our tips from our early days :-) x

    • sarah says:

      well there are a lot of answers to this I suppose, my reason is that on my first giveaway, I was the one who totally loved it…it felt nice to give things away…and that’s why I continue to do so, cos I find it enjoyable and it’s a good way to add interaction to my blog…I do have adverts on my blog now…not a heap but a few…these go to funding giveaways

      • Julie says:

        Sarah, thanks for the reply … I agree it does feel good to give! PS when I go to the bc shop I get a message “if you’re the shop owner log in to admin” …. I am on an iPad – is this the reason, or is your shop not open at the mo? Julie x

  22. Lynne says:

    Very, Very, Very EXCELLENT. . .
    Appreciated . . .
    Saved . . .
    Shared . . .
    Repeated . . .
    Motivating . . .
    Thanks teacher, mum, white paint, ballet slipper, scarf, English, Aussie transplant, blogging friend . . .

  23. Cherish says:

    Thanks for the great tips. You have a beautiful blog and cottage. hopefully someday I will be looking for decorating tips for a cottage of my own. Untill then I will relish Yours. Happy new year.

  24. Ingrid says:

    When someone is so trully excited about what they are doing , it’s so amazing how contagious this can be! I can feel you excitment and enthusiasm! Love that! It gets me going on a positive road to my own endavors. Mahalo.

  25. Great post Sarah! And I agree whole heartedly! I want to just be me, just who I am on my blog. And if it inspires one person…….then I am happy.

    We make no apologies for who we are, and we do our best. Nuff said!

    Hugs and God bless you today Sarah!

  26. Hi, i found your great blog yesterday! I have just bought the cutest fibro beach shack, Count down to settlement and start the makeover. A definite retro beach Bach. I already have a blogspot Rowantree Blogspot, I design and make an eclectic range og children’s clothing, I blog about my designs, my life and my Grandson Rowan. Iwas going to combine the Bach blogvwith Rowantree Blog, but now I am having second thoughts about that. I think the beach Bach deserves a blog to itself. What do you think!

    • sarah says:

      hmmm, I think your blog now sounds interesting and you could easily tie-in moving to a beach shack with it all…blogging just about your house can get a tad repetitive hence why I added recipes and beach stuff to mine…hope that helps, oh and welcome to Beach Cottage Land, I hope you like it here :-)

  27. Hiya Sarah….
    That is all so well said.. I get emails as well asking how to become successful or big or whatever … and the one thing I can say it is hard work and will never come by itself..

    I also think bloggers like us who are on the blog for some years should still take time now and then to actually read other blogs and find new bloggers who are doing their own thing in their own world. I just love to introduce them to my readers and help them to get some traffic. ;)

    Loved to read your thoughts !

  28. Thanks so much for the pep talk. Sometimes I just feel like I’m hanging in there and forget why I started this blogging thing anyway. On ward and up ward…….

    • sarah says:

      hmmm if you lose sight of why you do it and you don’t love it, it’s not worth it, in my opinion!


  29. What a great post very helpful. I keep trying the Facebook thing. but unfortunately I just don’t have the following there… I have started to build a nice group of friends at my google plus circle though. Hugs and Smooches, Katherine P.S. have you entered my pink poodle giveaway yet?

  30. shauna says:

    Thank you for the tips!
    I am on a steep learning curve with blogs after a few years of lurking and browsing others. I started mine just before Christmas. I am not even sure if others look at it or not, but I am enjoying being part of this brand new world! x

  31. Sarah, as always, I love your blog tips and your blog. I met some new bloggers from your recommendations too, so thank you for that. You are so right, it is an incredible community of bloggers out there…and it is wonderful to be a part of it. Your blog was THE FIRST BLOG that ever inspired me, and I will be forever grateful to Catherine Doherty ( and her sister) for helping me to find it.
    Lynne xx

    • sarah says:

      you are welcome Lynne…thank you for jumping right on in and being part of the community here…that’s why I come back and blog cos of the friends I have made

      it really is a small world nowadays isn’t it…who’d have thought my friend, your friend etc etc

  32. Sarah says:

    Great tips! I especially love not comparing yourself to other bloggers…this is a tough one.. It can make you feel like a total loser, but, you just have to stick to what you love and let your personality come through. I have struggled with this, but, I find I get new Twitter follower requests daily over blog followers, so, go figure??!!! Have a fab week! ;-))

    • sarah says:

      yes this is probs one of the biggest pitfalls to get into in blogging…it can be a downer…

      the Twitter thing is a new thing for me…what I have learnt is that most people have a preferred medium that they like to read…some might only visit your blog once a week and never comment but they pop up on Twitter cos it’s where they like to hang out…go figure!

      cheers Sarah happy blogging

  33. Barefoot Liz says:

    For awhile there, I really wanted to get lots of subscribers/readers. Now, I mostly blog just because I enjoy it. Of course, I love when I get comments, etc. I battle myself on whether to keep blogging or not. I’m getting more interest from people who would like me to talk more about special needs issues but I’m not sure if I have enough time to devote to it regularly.

    • sarah says:

      it’s interesting where blogging can take you Liz…I guess you have a lot of insight into special needs and I think that probably shows hence the interest…

      the time thing is the thin most people find hard I think…I don’t really have a solution to that…I am lucky that I have just got into a fairly good routine with it

  34. Rochelle says:

    Hi Sarah, I do love you! Thanks for this wonderful post. I really need to start and get my r end in gear. My problem is I am a perfectionist, however disorganised most of the time, none the less perfectionist, and because I want all to be perfect from the start it is keeping me from starting. So I need to get going. Thanks so much for the reminders.

    hugs xx

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  36. great tips! just a girl trying to survive in the blogging world but loving every minute of it!

  37. Jen says:

    Thanks for these great (and real) tips. I’ve been blogging for several years but haven’t really reached with it yet…and am inspired by this post. Thanks!!

  38. Katie says:

    I absolutely love this post, you are so inspiring. I recently took your blogging e-course and learned so much. It has really helped me with my new little blog, you really give us rookies some hope :) thanks again!!

  39. onLINEoff | Tina Gray {dot} Me says:

    [...] 9 sweet blogging tips that aren’t just for newbies. Sarah is a hidden gem – to me anyway! [...]

  40. Beth says:

    what a fantastic post, thank you

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  42. Jenn K. says:

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing!!!

  43. Diana says:

    Loved your 9 Real Girl Sweet Blog Tips post!! Got so much from the article. Thanks for sharing the info. Have a great day! Diana

  44. B says:

    Wow – you get LOTS of comments!

    Love these tips – I need to work more at LOVING my blog. I am working on a make-over for mine. I am hand drawing everything from the header {my blog lets me have 6} to the social media buttons. I sure hope I can pull it off – if so – it will be totally – COOL!

    I am heading to Blogopolis in June and am petrified – small fish in a big pond… But – I am excited as well. Meeting some bloggers in real life will be dead cool.

    Great post… gosh, I have to wonder if you have time to read this many comments??!! You must be a SUPERSTAR! ;0)

  45. Stephanie - seamummy says:

    Thanks a gazillion!! x Great read – Im hoping to have my blog up in the next day or so – just passionate stuff about me and what makes us (my husband aka Mr NASA) wise enough to raise our children and love each other to reach our goals in life! – Hey Im liking the celebrities of our own blog concept!! Thanks xx

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    hey bridlington accomodation please don’t spam my site