{Be Successful} Starting a Blog


Hi everyone! My name is Annaliese, and I’m a college sophomore attending a private college in North Carolina. I’m originally from Maine, and I lived in the same small town until I moved to college. I love my new life in the South, and you’d probably guess that moving for school was the best decision of my life. Well, it’s actually the second best decision. I can tell all of you that without a doubt, the best decision of my life was one that I made on a random afternoon in January 2011:starting a blog.

I always enjoyed writing short fiction stories as a child, and I had tons of notebooks and journals in which I would let my imagination run loose. But as I got older and my only opportunities for writing became school related, I started to lose interest in it. I saw writing as a chore and something that I would be getting graded on- I certainly didn’t see it as a stress relief! During my first two years of high school, I never even followed blogs. I’m not even sure I really knew what they were.

My junior year of high school was a rough one for a variety of reasons, and for the second semester of it I stopped attending classes at my public high school and instead switched to dual enrollment at the local community college. During this time I also got back in touch with some old friends from my homeschooling days (I was homeschooled from grades 2-8). One of them had been writing a blog for a couple years, and one day I randomly discovered it. She didn’t have very many followers, and she blogged mostly for personal benefit. But her posts were amazing. Her blog allowed me to catch up with what had been going on in her life for the past few years, and I was amazed at how she used her blog in such a positive way. So many of her posts focused on being grateful for the little things in her life, and that inspired me. I decided that I wanted to start a blog after reading my friend’s. I started my first blog, Confessions of a Maine Teenager, in January 2011. The name just came to me… I was a teenager, I lived in Maine, and my posts would be my confessions. :)

Soon after I started blogging, I began following tons of other blogs. I had no idea that girls my own age could have blogs that had hundreds (or even thousands!) of followers, and that inspired me. The main mission of my blog was still to blog for myself, but I also started wanting more followers. I taught myself the basics (and I mean BASICS, I’m no graphic designer) of blog design, and through reading other blogs I learned about things like link-ups and giveaways. Slowly but surely I started getting more followers, and I began becoming braver what I shared on my blog. I was writing a lot about my high school experience, and how it hadn’t gone the way that I thought it would. Very few people in my personal life knew about my blog, so I didn’t have to worry about my peers reading it and making fun of me.

Blogging was also a way for me to feel affirmed about my Christian faith. There wasn’t really any sort of a Christian population in my high school, and I always felt like an outcast because I was raised by parents that had morals and standards and I was involved in my church. It was wonderful for me to find blogs by Christian girls who were sharing their faith and thanking the Lord for His blessings. (How wonderful it would have been if I’d known about Delight at the time!)

I decided to start a new blog in September 2012 to document my adventures in college. I didn’t think that my old blog applied to my life anymore, and I felt much more inspired to be starting over! My new blog has grown a fair amount in its first year. No, I don’t have tens of thousands of followers like some of the “big bloggers,” but I currently have just over 250 followers between GFC and Blog Lovin’ (which are the two main ways to follow Blogger blogs) and I think that’s pretty good! I have also gotten the opportunity to try a lot more types of posts on my new blog. I really enjoy doing fashion posts and sharing pictures of my outfits now, and I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to make a little bit of money through blogging by doing a few sponsored posts for reputable companies! But definitely the best part of my blogging journey has been the friendships. I’ve now had the opportunity to meet one of my blogging friends in person, and I’ve skyped and become Facebook friends with several others! My blogging friends always encourage me with their sweet comments on my posts, and I know that they’re always there if I need someone to vent to! Fun fact: I never would have found Delight if it wasn’t for blogging!


I hope that I have encouraged any girls that have never thought about blogging before to perhaps give it a try! Building a blog is a slow process, but 100% worth it. Below are a couple of my tips for getting started!

1.     Decide on whether you want to use WordPress or Blogger: These are the two main (and free!) platforms for blog hosting. I decided to go with Blogger when I first began blogging, so that’s what I’m used to. But I also know of many bloggers that enjoy using WordPress. Both are different in terms of design, but both allow you to host a blog. There are pros and cons to both!
2.     Blog design: Good content is important, but the appearance of your blog is equally important in obtaining followers! I personally am terrible at graphic design or anything computer-design related, but that hasn’t stopped me from being able to have a cute blog! There are tons of graphic designers or blog design companies that love to work with bloggers! The only bummer to this is that sometimes blog design can be expensive, but I have a few cheaper solutions for you. If you learn the basics of how Blogger (or WordPress’s) design works, then you can get free pre-made blog templates or decorations from websites like Hot Bliggity Blog and Cutest Blog on the Block! These are the websites that I used to decorated my first blog.
3.     Focus on making friendships, not just gaining followers: When I was first starting out in the blogging world, I followed aton of blogs!! But I would often leave comments on other blogs that said something along the lines of “Please follow me back!” or “I’m a new blogger please follow!” I quickly learned that actually makes people less likely to follow you! The way to get the most followers is by trying to genuinely interact with the bloggers that you follow. Leave comments on their posts letting them know how much you enjoyed the post, or if it touched you at all. Share a story in a comment if you can relate to what their post was about!! Follow bloggers on all their social media forms… if they keep seeing your name pop up they will remember you! And a good way to let other bloggers know about your blog is to leave your blog’s URL after you write a comment. This is how I sign my comments on other blogs:
xoxo Miss ALK
Happy Blogging!
xoxo Miss ALK :-)

November 2, 2013

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