Hi and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy Designs Blog. Late last week the good folk at WordPress sent me a little notification saying I’d been blogging for a year!! Wow and yay!!! It got me thinking about everything I’ve learned during that time (which is a lot!), so today I’m going to share 10 things I’ve learned in a year of blogging. So let’s get straight into it.
Coming up with new content is hard
Yep, I know, it’s a bit in your face, but it’s the truth. Coming up with new content is hard, it really is. Why? Because I believe nothing is truly new. My blog posts are just a different perspective on something that’s never been voiced before. I consider it “new”, but coming up a different perspective is difficult.
I’ve learned over the last year that reading helps in this endeavour, so does listening. Listening to other perspectives through podcasts or just listening to your friends. As you listen to other perspectives it helps to formulate your own. Your sift through all the soil till you find the bits of gold you want to hang on to, and before you know it, you have “new content”. But it’s a lotta work and it just ain’t easy.
You do need to understand SEO
For so long I thought this was just something for web designers and pro’s, not for the average art blogger. I heard about SEO fairly soon after discovering blogging, but getting my head around it was another matter. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and yeah, you really do need to understand it. If you don’t, your blog posts aren’t picked up by search engine’s and you’re going to have a hard time being found online.
On WordPress I use a plugin called Yoast and it makes understanding SEO easy. It helps me ensure I use keywords effectively and it gives me tips on how I can improve my readability. It also shows me how to optimise my descriptions to ensure I’m found in searches. So yes, SEO is important and you do need to understand it.
There is plenty of free help out there
Now having said that, there’s plenty of free help out there. Some of the world’s best leading influencers have guides, 3 day mini courses, cheat sheets and podcasts that are chockers full of help for new bloggers. These are the top 3 chicks I love for this kinda thing:
I think you’re getting it… you are not alone in the big wide blogosphere and it can be a friendly place if you know where to look. There are heaps of Facebook groups about blogging where members are only too willing to help as well. I love the Own It, Crush It group run by Becky Mollenkamp on Facebook. The community she’s created absolutely rocks in the online blogging world.
This is another thing I didn’t want to admit, but it’s so true. Branding matters. You’ve gotta have a brand and be known by it. When I first started out last year, I had an idea what I wanted to be known for, but no idea how to visualise it. I was taking pics, the same way I’d always done, and thought it would be cool if I could tie them all together. Then I had a brainwave and thought I could do this by using yellow flowers in every pic.
The yellow flowers grew…. they grew to consistent colouring in all my images, consistent font types in all my graphics, consistent lighting in my photographs, consistent approaches to how I do things. This is how I grew my brand. It was an organic thing that grew over time…. now I see how vital it is, because it establishes your presence online, it leaves an impression with people and it’s vital for growing your blog.
My blog is like a visual online art diary and I love it!
My blog is like having a visual art diary online that’s available anywhere. As I look back I can see what art I was working on at any point in time and I love that!! It shows my artistic growth, it shows my development as an artist and I can’t tell you how much I love this!
Artist Interviews are my fave
Yeah, they just are. I am blown away, month after month, at the openness of the art community. Their willingness to share and build each other up is so awesome! I have learned soooooo much from these posts alone. Every artist has a creative story that’s always worth hearing…. period.
Editing photos is a must
If I could list one thing that’s the difference between a professional looking blog and an amateur looking blog, it would be the photography. If you pay attention to what draws you towards a blog, you will notice you’re partly attracted to the visuals. Good photography matters.
Unless you take can your photos in perfect light all the time, they are going to need to be edited. I’ve learned this by being the chick who was putting terrible photography out there. It was embarrassing. Again, just like branding, there’s heaps of help out there. You just gotta do some research and spend a bit of time on it. And it just so happens that I can actually help with this one. I wrote a blog post last year on How to Edit your Photos with Snapseed, click here to read it and get yourself up to speed with photo editing. After a year of blogging, I’ve learned it’s worth it.
Blogging can be a bit like a rabbit hole at times…
By that, I mean you learn something, you investigate it, you learn something more, you investigate it more and then you learn something else and so on and so on…. down the rabbit hole you go.
You have to set yourself some limits, you’ve gotta pace yourself and not try to undertake everything at once because it becomes all consuming. Blogging is a like a huge maze that is never ending. Around every corner you discover something new… rabbit holes are everywhere!
You cannot serve two masters
Permission to state the obvious? You know, maintaining a regular blogging schedule is not easy…. This is why I’ve decided I’m just gonna do my best in 2019. If I don’t post one week, I don’t post. If I don’t create new art one week, I don’t create new art. One thing I learned in this last year is that you cannot serve two masters.
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” And now I know this to be true because I’ve experienced it. It was a big factor behind my withdrawal from blogging and social media late last year.
With all of my heart I want to serve Jesus. So serving any other master (which includes this blog) is out of the question for me in 2019. I am going to do my best to maintain a schedule, but the blog will not rule me or my art this year, Jesus will.
That my subscribers mean the world to me
Oh my subscribers…. I really don’t have the words to express how I feel about you guys. You humble me! I’m blown away when I think about you signing up to receive my blog posts or my updates by email. You’ve entrusted me with your email address!! That’s so precious to me. Truly, what you’ve done is an incredible gift. It’s something I appreciate greatly, I treasure it and I value your subscription so highly. You don’t have to sign up, but you have, and I’m so very humbled and grateful. You are so so so appreciated my friend.
So that’s 10 things I’ve learned in a year of blogging
So that’s been the 10 things I’ve learned in a year of blogging. What I’ve learned over the last year has been extremely valuable. I can’t imagine what else I’ll learn after another year of it, I just know that I will. Let me know the top thing you’ve learned over the last year.
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Until next week, connect with the Creator, let Him inspire you. His magnificence and beauty is everywhere, even in art and craft.
Bless you my friend