Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend. Our little corner of the world finally saw a bit of sunshine after a much too long period of gray skies. It was still too cold to really get outside, though. That didn’t bring down the vibes in our house, though. I’m also excited to share a tiny milestone with you all, Cookie Crumbs is 6 months old! It’s Weekend Recap time!
Weekend Recap: Tiny Dancer + Lessons Learned As A New Blogger
Our weekend was made busy with the arrival of Addie’s first dance recital performance. It left us home bound because Addie had dance rehearsal Saturday afternoon and Sunday before the recital. I wasn’t complaining though because it gave me some time to catch up on things at home and Matt and I even squeezed in some much-needed couple time. Addie was exhausted but so excited after she returned home from each rehearsal.
On Saturday evening we enjoyed a little Chinese New Year celebration with my parents and my one brother and his family. My mom made a wonderful meal of wonton soup and sweet and sour pork. Yum! Addie’s already excited state was made even more so when her cousins arrived. She loves any opportunity to have a play date with her cousin Lydia and enjoyed making her baby cousin giggle.
Sunday evening my family gathered to watch Addie perform in her very first dance recital. I wish I had tons of adorable pictures of her to share with you all but Matt and I were busy video chatting and doing Facebook Live so that Matt’s family and our friends in NY could be a part of her recital. Thank goodness for technology! Even though some of our loved ones couldn’t physically be there I’m so glad that they still got to see her performance.
Weekends at home are kind of my favorite kinds of weekends. I definitely prefer being home and comfortable to running around. A homebody is what my husband calls me. 😉 All and all it was the perfect mix of relaxation and being out and about.
Cookie Crumbs Is 6 Months Old + What I Have Learned So Far
Oh my gosh you guys, I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for 6 months already! This journey has been quite the learning experience for me. When I started Cookie Crumbs it was me finally realizing a dream. I had wanted to start a blog for ages but kept talking myself out of it. Cookie Crumbs has become so much more than a creative outlet for me, though. It has allowed me to interact with and get to know some wonderful people. The blogging community is truly a wonderful one to be a part of. Albeit small, I’ve also had the opportunity to help some of my friends with their own ventures. Blogging has been truly fulfilling for me.
Though Cookie Crumbs is still a budding blog I have already learned some valuable lessons and discovered some useful tools for new bloggers. Here they are!
- You Have To Love Blogging-Blogging is A LOT of work. It’s more than just creating a website and writing some stuff, though you can certainly do it that way. However, if you’re looking to build a following and possibly turn it into a business you have to put in the time. That’s not something you can do in any job or career for long if you don’t love what you’re doing. The same goes for blogging.
- Pick An Area To Focus On And Learn It Before Moving On-When I first started out I felt like I had to learn it all and I quickly became very overwhelmed. Slow and steady wins the race here. When I finally stopped and gave myself permission to cut back and only focus on one area at a time the pressure lifted almost immediately. Find the one thing you think is most important to the growth and development and focus on that, then move on to the next thing. You don’t need to learn all of the social media platforms at once. Pick the one you like the most and focus on learning that inside out. I prefer Instagram and Pinterest so those two social media platforms were where I wanted to focus. That’s not to say that I don’t have a Facebook Page or a Twitter account but I chose to focus the majority of my energy on Instagram and Pinterest first and am now moving on to focusing on the other two social media platforms that I am on. Figure out where you think you need the most help and focus totally on that before trying to learn something new.
- Create A Posting Schedule That Works For You-It’s true that you want to launch your website with a decent amount of content and in order to stay out there you should post fairly regularly. What isn’t true is that you have to kill yourself by posting every day. I’m a full-time working mom. I’ve got other things going on besides blogging. I just can’t justify staying up until Midnight to work on my blog just so I can churn out posts every day. So for me posting twice, maybe three times a week is a more plausible schedule. Find what works for you and stick with it. Don’t let others pressure you into thinking you should be doing more or less.
- Batch Your Posts!-You guys if you listen to nothing else I say here this is the one thing that has been huge for my sanity. I batch and schedule my posts a month ahead of time. There are some exceptions to this rule like I do a Weekend Recap every Monday so obviously, I can’t write what we did during the weekend a month ahead of schedule. Also, I would recommend leaving at least one or two slots open for sponsored posts (If that’s something you are looking to do) or for the brilliant idea that comes to you in the middle of the month that you just can’t wait to share. By batching my posts it gives me that whole month to write as I have time, without the pressure of a looming posting deadline. Batch your posts, it’s that important.
- Gain Knowledge From The People Who Have Already Been In Your Shoes-I’m a total newbie so I knew that I needed to find people who knew the ropes and that I could bounce ideas off of. Facebook groups were huge for me. Some of my favorites are Boss-Moms, Cold Coffee Collective, Big Up Blog and Online Business BFFs. Utilize Facebook Groups, they will help you learn and they will help you gain exposure.
My Favorite Blogging Tools
I don’t have a lot of discretionary income to throw at my blog to pay for subscriptions and blogging tools so I wanted to be choosy about what I did use that was going to cost me money. Get the most bang for my buck if you will. These are the tools that have been the biggest life-savers for me and that I think every new blogger should be using.
- Canva–Canva is where I create my blog post graphics and social media photos. They have easy to use templates for each social media platform so I can design all of my graphics and social media photos in one spot. You can use your own photos, pull from their large pool of free or low-cost photos and illustrations or use a stock photo. Canva should be in every bloggers toolkit.
- Speaking of Stock Photos, if you’ve read anything about blogging one of the biggest things is having good photos and graphics. People are very visual so having eye-catching graphics and photos is key to drawing them into your content. You might have also noticed that Stock Photos can be expensive! I simply do not have the funds to pay for stock photos right now so I found ways to get top notch photos and graphics for free. The biggest thing is taking my own pictures. There are so many editing apps out there and you don’t need an expensive camera to take great photos. I use my Samsung Galaxy S6 and my Pic Art phone app for my photos. My favorite free stock photo sites are Minimography, Pixabay, and Pexels.
- Grammarly-Everyone makes mistakes in their writing. I was an English Major and I still need help! Grammarly is great because you can download a plug-in right to your computer that will proof your work as you type. Not at your computer? That’s okay, just log in to your Grammarly account and upload or type your document right there in Grammarly. It will check your work as you type. When you are finished just move the download the document where you want to post it and you’re ready to go. I love Grammarly and think that every blogger should be using it.
- It is absolutely vital that you have your Pinterest account automated. I don’t know about you but I don’t have a ton of time to spend on Pinterest every day but if you’re not consistent you won’t gain a following on Pinterest. There are two automation tools that I absolutely love for this; Boardbooster and Tailwind. I love both of these tools for different reasons. Boardbooster has a great looping feature that pulls my old pinned content and repins it as new so that my pins are staying fresh and in front of people. Tailwind has a great multi-pin option that allows me to easily and quickly schedule a big batch of pins at once. Both applications offer so much more than just those two features. Whichever one you choose, or both if you can afford it, make sure you are automating your Pinterest profile. Your blogging life will be so much easier for it.
- Speaking of Automation, let’s talk social media scheduling. I don’t know anyone who has the time to sit each day and schedule multiple social media posts across multiple social media platforms. I certainly don’t. Did I mention I’m a full-time working mom? Two of my favorite social media automation apps are Buffer and Hootsuite. Just like Boardbooster and Tailwind you can choose to use one or both of these automation tools. I love that both allow you to build a social media posting schedule that is optimized for each social media platform. I really like that Hootsuite integrates Tailwind in as well so you can have a one-stop shop for your social media scheduling through Hootsuite. Do yourself a favor and automate your social media posting schedule.
There you have it guys! I want to take this moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming on this journey with me. I have truly found something that I love doing and I can’t wait to grow and learn as the months and years go on. I hope you choose to continue to come along with me!
What were you up to this weekend? What was the biggest lesson you learned as a new blogger? Let me know in the comments below! Happy Monday!