It’s coffee chat time! Happy Thursday, loves! Thanks for joining us for another round of coffee chat. For this month’s installement each of us will be discussing what improvements we have made to our blogs over time.  coffeechat2 Allison:
“I’ve found that what works for me is blogging when I truly want to. This may go against what you read everywhere else about needing to get something out 5x a week, etc. But by blogging when I truly want to and really believing what I’m writing about, it lets my readers know I’m genuine.  If I crank out a post in 5 minutes just to get one out, you’ll be able to tell–it’s not my best and that’s not something I want. So be consistent, but be genuine!”

Cara: “Blogging is such a continual learning process and I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my blog I consider my blog as my own little space of the internet, so since the beginning I’ve really focused on creating a brand and identity that is uniquely my own and lets my personality shine through. For my blog design I chose to go with a bright and white look with hints of pink and green and feminine touches. I’m a huge fan of using Picmonkey to design my blog post images, and I try to always use similar fonts and styles so that my blog maintains a cohesive look. For me though, blogging has always been about engaging with my readers and followers, so I’ve always tried to make my blog super user-friendly. I made sure to install a commenting system that worked well early on, and I recently organized all my blog posts using an index organizer plugin, which I love. It makes it really easy for people to go in and look at the different types of posts on my blog and keeps everything nice and neat. I also recently updated my about me page to better reflect the focus of my blog. I think as bloggers it’s important to realize that we all are constantly learning and improving but at the end of the day it is all about the journey. I’m so thankful for blogging and all of the connections I’ve made throughout the process and look forward to all the fun adventures ahead.”

Chandler: “Growing my blog has been a long process but I’m so happy with where I am at currently. Everyone grows their blog differently and I’ve tried everything from sponsor programs, collaborations, giveaways, etc. but the biggest thing that helped me grow my blog was staying consistent. As soon as I picked my niche (which was a process on its own!) I knew I had to commit to it. I did some reader surveys which helped me get an idea of what people wanted to see more/less of and I did those things! Not only did becoming more consistent with my blog content help me grown but being consistent with my social media helped big time. On Twitter I only promote blog posts and day to day happenings and on Instagram I share pictures from posts and daily life with a “theme”.

Getting actively engaged on Instagram and Twitter has also helped immensely! People want to know that you actually see their comments and support and I honestly I love talking to them, so I respond to them. I check out their profiles, like some of their photos as well, and together we build an active community. Checking out popular hashtags I use to see what others are posting is fun and helps us all grow and connect; and knowing when the best time to post for your area and readers is important. These couple of things are a little time consuming but so worth it! Be patient and consistent and even if you don’t see big growth you will at least have very loyal, active readers – and that to me is the most important.”
Kara: “What a great question! Ever since I turned my blog from hobby to business – about a two years ago – I have made a TON of changes and I’m still learning and growing. I feel like I’ve talked about this before in my post about What I wish I knew before I started blogging and in my Blogology-101 posts but actually, I have never talked about what exactly I’ve done to improve. So I’ll give a list of the top five things [because I feel like it’s been everything lol]. I would say giving my blog a complete ‘face lift’ was the biggest thing. I took my blog’s look from amateur to professional overnight just by changing the overall look. I invested in myself and enrolled in a phenomenal course. Kimra’s course taught me SO much but mostly about photo editing, website and content creation, and email marketing. I also started focusing on really speaking to my audience and connecting with them through various social media platforms. Another improvement and one of the biggest ones I made was in my photos. I consumed everything I could learn from Pinterest on how to take better photos, about lighting, editing apps and about cameras. Lastly, I found out that consistency is key! I’m not just talking about posting on the same day(s) every week. I’m talking little details as well. Something as simple as using a “&” sign vs a “+” sign. In all of my posts you will see a “+” sign. It’s just what I prefer but my readers would notice if I use an “&” sign here then a “+” sign there. It sounds silly but it makes a difference and my readers feel more comfortable seeing the same things. I also edit ALL of my photos the same way. If you look at my IG you will see a white border around each photo and similar colors throughout. That was something I started doing more recently but it gives a consistent look or theme. I could talk about all of this for days but I’m going to ramble if I carry on so let’s just recap quickly: 1) Giving my blog a ‘face lift’, 2) Investing in myself and taking a great course, 3) Focusing on my readers and building my tribe, 4) Photography is a game changer, and 5) Consistency is key! 🙂 I hope this helps and if anyone has questions please ask below!”

Katelyn: “When I launched Katelyn Blogs, I did a ton of research and was able to start out self-hosted with a custom domain name. But as much as I knew about website coding, writing, and the behind the scenes stuff, I knew relatively little about design. (And let me tell you, it was obvious!) I used to have a plain black and white logo in a really fancy calligraphy script (That was probably a little too hard to read in retrospect) on a plain white theme. I’ve since learned that color isn’t something to be scared of and can add a ton of personality to your blog. So I added some pretty pops of blush pink here and there in my blogs header and footer, and it has really been working for me! Using color and changing my logo to something more readable have been huge improvements since my early blogging days. The other way I’ve really improved my blog over time is by utilizing Pinterest to promote my posts. I’ve been really stepping up my game in making “pin-worthy” images and it has paid off big time with traffic! But overall, I think that improving your blog should be a continuous effort. There’s always a way we can keep getting better and better, and I can’t wait to see where Katelyn Blogs is a year from now!”

Lexi: “Blogging is something that is constantly changing, from algorithims to trends to even styles, there is always something new to learn.  When I first started A Blissful Haven, I was pretty clueless when it came to blogging. I had read a blog pretty religiously (The Hungry Runner Girl) and her style of writing was more of a journal.  So I thought when I started ABH that I would keep it as some sort of a journal.  Starting out, I barely did any research on what it takes to be a blogger, all I knew is that I needed some sort of creative outlet. One day I stumbled upon a post about blogging with tips on being more successful and earning money, that’s when everything changed. I decided enough with the everyday journal, my life wasn’t that interesting and nobody cared about me going to work, coming home, making dinner, and random shopping hauls. That wasn’t interesting. I decided to join Facebook communities and change my writing style (while still having my voice).  Since starting blogging about two years ago, my writing style has changed, I’ve made income, worked with brands, and I’m currently working on branding.”

Sami: “As someone who is constantly educating and researching topics, overtime i have researched how to monetized my blog, dove into SEO, ensured all of my website creative matched in graphics and theme, and found an effective way of writing style through experience. I do credit my prior experience with PR/COMMUNICATIONS/SOCIAL MEDIA/EDITORIAL for allowing me to advance within my first year of blogging to really catch on and believe that without those fields of knowledge, I would be farther behind. You either understand how to market something orits a learning curve that can take years. I monetized my blog after 5 months of creating the domain and somehow became sponsored by several brands to put me in the category of being a full-time blogger. I learned though, that less is more. One can really get burnt out trying to set goals of “blogging every day”. It’s not sustainable. After the creation, must come cultivation. If you are creating too often the chances of overlooking recently created blogs, is high. Quality over quantity, my friends. Focus on engagement.”

Sarah: “I feel like the blog world is ever changing and it is hard to always keep up with the newest trends, blog designs, and topics. When I first started blogging, it was solely a hobby I didn’t think anyone would read what I was writing. About a month after I started blogging, a pet company contacted me asking if they could send me treats for my little furbabies after posting Instagrams and little blurbs about them here and there. I thought that was pretty cool but I didn’t even know that that was a thing. I then started getting involved in various blogger groups and link ups. I was so obsessed with getting a post up and making sure it got promoted properly. But I have since realized that it is so easy to get caught up in the numbers and free stuff that sometimes the actual quality starts to lack.

I think that overtime the most important thing is to remember WHY I blog. I started as a hobby and that is what I want it to be. I want to use blogging as way to network and meet new bloggers who will become friends. I want to create quality content with high quality pictures. I also think it is important to realize you don’t always have to post. This was the best lesson I learned. After taking a few blogging breaks from blogger burn out, I realized that I can only really commit to 2-3 posts a week and that is okay. I need to be able to live life to write about it!”

Meet our two new hosts!

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Hi Loves! I am Sarah. I am a full time teacher by day and the blogger behind Sarah Emily Blogs by night. I am so excited to also be apart of this Coffee Chat Collab with some of my blogger besties.
I am a 20-something newlywed just trying to figure out this whole wifey thing. On Sarah Emily Blogs, you will find the rantings of my day to day life, beauty and style, travel tips and recipes. I am obsessed with coffee before 5 and a good white wine after then. Be sure to stop by and say hi!
Follow along here: Blog|Instagram|Twitter|Facebook|Snapchat: ssarahhhh14
samicoffeechat
Someone visiting my blog for the first time would gather that it’s wellness oriented with a high emphasis on mindful living and safe beauty. They might come there for a gluten free recipe but also discover that I give advice on why a body part might be hurting during working out (exercise science). Overall, it is the science behind all things mindfulness and wellness, very fact-based about creative ways to health in a comprehensive voice anyone could understand.
I started blogging to feed my passion for journalism. Since I was a young girl I have always been fascinated with journaling thoughts and fiction stories. They were deep and spiritual mainly, even at that young age. The older I got the more into editorial I got but discovered the creativity was taken away by way of several edits from people behind the scenes, putting words in my mouth along with adding words that didn’t even sound like something I would say. So I left editorial and created my own self-hosted WordPress blog with team of 2 other girls who helped create content. Now, I do editorial but on my own terms and independently contracted.  Follow Along: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Are you a blogger? If so, how has your writing changed over time?
 Stay tuned next month while we shift our topic to something more fall related! Be sure to check out and follow your hosts!