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Journey to a Better Blog – Part 5; Five Things to Do After Your Upstyle!

 

So your blog upstyling in complete. – But what do you do now? Maybe my little series hasn’t been the best at explaining step by step how to revamp your blog (don’t worry, I have a plan! Keep an eye out for that announcement!). But you get the gist – sort of, I hope – of where to start. So once you figure out the what, why, where, and how (technically part of the where) – what do you do now?

 

There’s a few things you can do now –

 

Firstly, start brainstorming content ideas. Take your passion and niche – think of the problems your audience will face. How can you help? What can you bring to the table? Think of all of the solutions to their problems. Think of other things you want to share with them; answers to problems they didn’t know they’d face.

Secondly – start investing in yourself. Start taking courses – even free ones are helpful (I’ve taken quite a few)! Buy that cheap ebook from your favourite blogger. Take that $30 course. Buy that $7 printable package! – Start learning, as much as you can. The people who make courses do it to help people like you and I. Invest a little more of your time into what you want.

 

Whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 hours, work on your dream. Every. Single. Day.

 

Thirdly, you can start figuring out how to monetize your blog! Whether it’s through affiliate sales, writing your own ebook and selling your own courses, trying to score sponsored posts – figure out how you want to do it! Different things work for different people, and you never know unless you try!

Fourth, you can try your hand at an email list. This is what I’m currently working on. I’m trying to setup a MailChimp to start off. They say the money is in the list. – I don’t know how true that is, but it would be nice to have a place where I can collect people who like to read my stuff. A place to get feedback and opinions, and a base I’d be able to immediately get in touch with.

Fifth, try to get organized! Everybody gets organized differently. Some prefer detailed planners, others prefer to schedule it on their phones, and some (like me) do it through bullet journal. There’s tons of ways to get organized! So try figuring out a schedule and an organization method that works for you! I post every Friday – or I try to, anyway. Sometimes I end up with Saturday posts or no posts at all. But I’m trying a new way to journal and get organized, so hopefully no more of that (especially with the school year coming to a close).

 

So, with all that said – this is the last installment of this series. But I’m very much looking forward to what is to come! I’m very excited about the new direction I’m taking my blog, and I hope that you’ll come along for the ride! It’s been an adventure so far, and there’s no doubt that there’s more adventures to come!

 

I’ll see you all next week!

~ Amber

 

Previous Installments

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 1; Time to Get Serious!

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 2; Why Do YOU Blog?

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 3; What Is Your Passion?

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 4; Where Is Your Blogging Home?

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Journey to a Better Blog – Part 4; Where Is Your Blogging Home?

 

So now you know why you blog and what you blog. But what about where? Where are you building your new blog home? Where are you building this community? A free blog, or a paid blog? I started with a free blog on WordPress back in March, built it up. Then I transitioned to a2 Hosting, and bought a domain. For me, paying $17 a month for hosting was rather expensive. Also, being able to edit the theme and CSS was important to me. But I had no idea how to do that on a2.

 

I had been experiencing problems trying to edit anything on my site. The page would always crash, and publishing was a nightmare. So I decided, when I started my upstyle, to troubleshoot it. It turned out that there was complications with some plugins I was using. I ended up deactivating all of them, and reactivating all of them one by one. With each one, I made sure that the customization still worked.  I’m still not sure which one(s) was causing the problem.

 

The big change came when I decided that I was going to change hosts. My Professional Portfolio professor uses WordPress, since he does professional photography jobs, he suggested 1and1.com for hosting. It’s only $9.00 a month – half of what I was paying. He also suggested using themeforest.com to get a new theme; one I liked and that I could customize  (which is the one I’m currently using and I love. It was only $20!).  I was excited about all of the changes I was planning! 1and1 was cheaper, and the interface looked easier to use. I transferred my domain over – and that was when a whole new set of issues arose.

 

At first, it was simply that I was having issues connecting my domain to the project I started for Pastel Bottle Rocket. Though it quickly escalated. I had accidentally disconnected the WordPress site that had all of my followers on it. All of the followers I’d built up since March – 1200+ – were gone in the blink of an eye.

 

I freaked out.

 

I immediately headed over to WordPress support. They told me that my followers should all be in the database from my previous site. So I exported the SQL file, but had no idea how to make an empty database or anything on 1and1 (tech savvy, I am not). So I tweeted support, and then decided to call when I didn’t get a response (although they’d been rather helpful before). It took a bit before the support guy and I were able to figure out what I wanted, and what exactly was going on.

 

He was gracious enough to connect my domain to my database and get everything up and running. – Although it did take a while, since there were a lot of website files. But after, I discovered that my 1200+ following was still gone. They weren’t connected to anything anymore, just lost somewhere in cyberspace. I still have yet to figure out where they’ve gone off to.

 

Which leads me to where I am today.

 

Here, in my home, I’m still trying to invite new guests in. 1and1 is a good host; cheap, easy to use interface, cheap startup price. But, due to my own stupidity, all of my previous guests were gone. Although I’ve never been happier with the look and feel of my blog. I’ve decided to view this as a way to do this the ‘right way.” The way to read that all the big blogs do. I’ve decided to use this as a way to start over fresh.

 

So where are you making your home? Do you like it? If not, I think it’s time for a change. The look and feel of your blog is very important. Just like you have to like what you’re writing, you also have to like where you’re writing. The blog is your second home – make it yours, make it comfortable. Would you read a blog that looked like yours?

 

If you’re planning on upstyling your own free blog, I’d say you might want to consider moving to a hosted service! If you already have a self-hosted blog – try buying a theme, giving your site a face lift. Maybe rebranding is the thing you need!

 

There will probably be one more install of this! See you then!

 

Thanks for Reading!

 

~ Amber

Don’t Miss the First Three Installments!!

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 1; Time to Get Serious!

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 2; Why Do YOU Blog?

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 3; What Is Your Passion?

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Journey to a Better Blog – Part 3; What Is Your Passion?

Last time, we talked about why you blog. In this one, we’re going to be talking about what you blog. Your content is the lifeblood of your blog. You can’t have a heartbeat without blood, and you can’t have a blog without content. So when it comes to choosing what you write, you’re going to want to think for a while on it.

 

What are you passionate about?

What do you know?

What niche does it fall under?

How can you help?

How can you add to that category?

 

I was very anti-niche before. Because why choose one thing in a wide variety of topics? I liked to write about a lot of different things. But I changed my mind when I started hunting down email courses and webinars to help me. One thing I read (by the lovely Helene in Between) said to write about your passions – which is very important. You have to like what you write. But a webinar (by Kate at secretbloggersbusiness.com) I watched made a good point, where a blog with a niche is easier to grow. It has a targeted audience, and very selective content. Rather than a blog that encompasses a lot of different topics.

So I thought why not combine the two? Find your passion, and then find the niche it fits into. I like to create things, I’ve always lived a creative life. My whole family is creative, so Occam’s Razor runs in slightly different circles for us. That’s why I decided that, once my upstyle was entirely done, I would start curving my blog towards a creative lifestyle direction. It’ll be chuck full of DIYs and tutorials and creative solutions.

Nobody likes to write about things they don’t know about. Nobody likes to write about things that bore them or things they aren’t passionate about. So don’t pick a niche just because it will get you views. There’s no point in having a fanbase that you dread writing for. Write what you love and love what you write. Do what you do, not for money, but for the joy of it.

I adore blogging. I think it’s fun and therapeutic. Even though, at times, it can be stressful. I found my stress always came when I disliked what I was writing. So far, I like being able to write about my journey and I’m really looking forward to what’s to come. Blogging is so much more fun when you’re enjoying to write.

 

What do you write about?

 

See you next week!

~ Amber

 

Don’t forget to check out the last two installments!

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 1; Time to Get Serious!

Journey to a Better Blog – Part 2; Why Do YOU Blog?

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Journey to a Better Blog – Part 2; Why Do You Blog?

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Since I’m going to be upstyling my blog, I thought I’d make a blogging series. I want to make my blog better, as I mentioned before. I thought I’d share my process, and see if I can help anyone with theirs! Blogging is an amazing experience, and loads of fun to do. But first you have to be confident with your blog itself. Not just the appearance, but also with the contents on your blog. You have to be confident in the heart of your blog.

I wasn’t really sure what I was doing when I switched to self-hosted. I just switched to a hosting site that had good reviews, and then shoved on a bunch of plugins I had found on Pinterest. I didn’t really take care to do a lot of soul searching; neither in myself nor in my blog. I also didn’t really bother to research the plugins more, and soon found that I couldn’t customize my site. It didn’t work half of the time either, which frustrated me to absolutely no end!

When I started upstyling my blog, I decided to fix all of that. I decided to put the heart back into my blog. – After I finally got it working (which I’ll touch on at a later time). I needed to figure out where to start though. So I started with two simple questions –

 

Why do I blog?

What can I offer that other people can’t?

 

You’re going to want to think long and hard about these.

One of these questions is harder than the other, but I found both were necessary before I could continue. You have to figure out why you blog before you can put the heart back into your blog. What drives you? Why do you write? Is what you’re writing making you excited to blog?

If your heart doesn’t beat for what you’re writing, then your blog’s heart won’t either. You’ll be able to tell that, meh, maybe you’re not really into this one subject. But you’re in love with another subject, and wrote a ridiculously long post about it. You can tell by people’s posts whether or not they truly love what they’re talking about.

I felt that in my own writing. I felt the lackluster as I began to dislike my blog. I began to feel like it was a chore. That, by the end of the week, I had to find something to grind out. I didn’t want that. Although it was clear by my terrible posts that I didn’t like what I was writing. But I wanted to keep my blog active, I didn’t want to give up. So I kept writing even though my posts were awful.

That was the starting point where I knew I needed a blog revamp. So I decided to start over, and now here we are!

So why do you blog?

 

Thanks for Reading!

~ Amber

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Journey to a Better Blog – Part 1; Time to Get Serious

 

When I started up Pastel Bottle Rocket, I had no idea what I wanted to write about. I had a general idea, based around the business I gave the blog’s namesake to. But writing about my buttons and pins and Etsy store – I didn’t know what I’d write about. I’m learning how to be a businesswoman. How to make my blog bigger, more beautiful, more functional. Alongside that, I’m still learning how to make my Esty bigger, fuller, and more functional.

Maybe I should have started writing about my journey. But it didn’t occur to me then. So I picked a general topic – Lifestyle. Perhaps the most saturated community among the blogosphere. Though everyone has their take on it. They have their own way of doing things. Of dealing with things and sorting them out. From there, it spread more into beauty and fashion.  But what did I know about those things? What did I have that nobody else did?

I never bothered to ask myself. That, I believe, was my mistake.

I wanted to start up Pastel Bottle Rocket to go alongside my store. Now, though, I’ve found my store goes alongside my blog and YouTube channel. I’ve floated through the internet, writing up these articles, and not having a direction. If you flip through all of my writings, they don’t really have coherence to one another. When I switched to self-hosted, I wanted to change that. Switching platforms was supposed to be a huge move, but I’ve found it’s done the opposite. But that’s my own fault.

However, I’m more determined than ever to set my blog on a steady path. To turn Pastel Bottle Rocket into a flourishing place, filled with new ideas and a fun community. Starting now, my journey begins now a new road. It isn’t going to be easy – there will be a lot of soul searching, as well as internet scouring. But blogging is something I love, and I determined to breathe life back into this place.

I hope that you will follow along in my journey of blog reformation. I can’t thank everyone enough for sticking around as long as you have. It means the world to me, and I couldn’t have done it without such amazing support from members of the community. I hope that you all will continue to be here through this. I’m hoping to bring you even more content in the future, and is way more useful and amazing than it’s been in the past.

 

Thank you so much for reading!

~Amber

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