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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blog Boss + Reader Poll

Lately, I've written a couple posts about blogging (here and here), but I am a student at heart- I guess five years of college plus three years of law school might be a good indicator of that.  I love to read and learn and take courses and digest material.  I'm into lots of things currently, like cooking and photography, but I never tire of learning more about blogging.  I have been to a couple blogging conferences (BlogHer and Haven) and taken three online blog courses by whom I consider to be a real pioneer in the blogging world, Holly Becker of Decor8.


I took Blogging Your Way twice (it was different material each time) and am currently enrolled in Blog Boss, a course for intermediate and advance bloggers.  Blog Boss lasts one month and costs $149 (returning students get a discount, so I paid $129).  The class is a mix of podcasts and written lessons (with homework) and covers the following topics:

Turning blogging into something you love again
Essentials of color psychology for blog branding
Using color psychology to influence your editorial decisions
Working from home and how to find balance + dealing with mom guilt
Ways to overcome jealousy of other bloggers and how to turn envy into something productive for your business
Knowing which ideas to pursue and which ones to shelf for later 
Goal setting + turning your ideas into action
New, smart ways to make money as a blogger
Do not work for free or for exposure and why
How to monetize your blog without ads
Storytelling for bloggers and how to find the best story angle
The power of a mailing list 
Planning and prioritizing your blog posts the easy way
How to organize your blogs, sites, shops and social media accounts in one place so others can find you easily
Social media tips and tricks for FB, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram
Teaming up with other bloggers, things to do and to avoid
Should you outsource?
Believe in yourself- you are enough

As you can see, that's quite the load of good class content.  I'm only into the first week of class, but so far it's amazing!  I just wanted to encourage you to consider a course like this if you want to delve deeper into blogger or need a recharge with some very practical information from experienced, talented and creative individuals (Holly has co-teachers as well).


Of course, there is so much FREE info on the web you can learn about blogging, so a paid course is not a necessity, but I am confident that Holly's classes, in particular, are worth it.  You can check out my Pinterest board "BLOG" for lots of sites that contain free blogging tips.


In the first lesson this week, Blog Boss recommended taking a reader poll to learn more about your readers.  I've wanted to do this for a long time, and I'm just now getting around to it.  I'm only asking two brief questions to make it simple, but I'd really appreciate your answers so I can get outside of my own blogging head and hear about who you are/what you might like about my blog.  If you want to leave a comment expanding on your answer, I'd be so happy to read it.  The poll format I used didn't allow open feedback, just the check-a-box answers.  What are your favorite blogs?  

READER POLL





21 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your heart.
    I have been inspired to share my journey with Huntingtons Disease. I would be honored if you would follow.
    Www.livingwithpassion90.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much Alexandra. I will check it out.

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  2. I think it speaks volumes that more of your readers are moms that work outside the home! It's refreshing because I love to read blogs, but so many are not relatable because of my work/life balance :). Are you planning on going back into practice? I understand getting off the litigation roller coaster (I did), but a 9-5 government attorney position is a fantastic middle ground where I can still use my degree, but gets tons of time with the family. Great blog -- keep it up!!!

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    1. If I found something like that I'd probably go for it too. The life balance is calmer now, but I stay active and am involved in lots of things (my personality I guess) so my schedule stays pretty full. I was surprised how many readers don't have blogs, seems like everyone has one now!

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  3. As you are well aware, I have been following along pretty much since the beginning and consider you to be a "friend". The blogs I follow, or initially started following, were the ones I felt I could connect with the writer in person. We shared a love for the same things. I have to say however, that within the past year, there are several I either no longer follow or don't follow along as frequently (some of whom I do consider the writers "friends") because I feel they have gotten away from the reason they started blogging and have turned their blogs more into a money making business. Don't get me wrong, I am all for someone making a little money on the side or as income to enable them to stay home with their children or provide extra income for their families, but the constant bombardment of ads, pop up and otherwise and affiliate links has detracted from the content in my personal opinion. I do enjoy someone sharing something they truly love or feel is useful, but so many times I feel they are just pushing a product, style of fashion because they are getting a kick back. And, when I learned that bloggers are getting kick backs from certain companies weeks later if I chose to purchase something else on their site, but had previously clicked something very different on their blog prior I stopped doing so. I have no problem with them getting a "commission" just like a sales associate that helps me in the store (I worked retail for years and some of them truly earn it) if I chose to link over and purchase the exact same thing they recommended. I speaking honestly as I know I am echoing some concerns I have heard recently regarding blogging becoming to "commercial" and less what it started out to be, personal, engaging, a place to share.

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    1. I think you voice the opinion of many readers. They are happy to support a blog they love and are okay with the blogger earning money, but they don't want to feel like they are being "sold" something or that the blogger only posts for income, not for the authentic love of sharing their passions. I'm sure I've been guilty too and it sometimes takes you listening to that inner voice that lets you know when it starts feeling icky instead of authentic. I'm getting more opportunities to make money lately, and saying no can be difficult, but it's a necessity to stay true to yourself. Hopefully, my readers enjoy my content, regardless of whether a post is sponsored or not. That's one criteria I have for accepting a collaboration. Thanks for your honest feedback Lauren.

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  4. what a great post! the course sounds great, there's always room for learning more about blogging! thanks for sharing

    styleandchocolates

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  5. I love a good survey. And that's one thing I've struggled with the most on my blog. I put up surveys, and my "views" are high, but the survey response are super low. I'm curious if you have any feedback or suggestions about that.

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    1. This is my first poll and I think it's easy to participate bc you just check a box. We're your polls open-ended questions? They would provide the most feedback but also require the reader to give more time/energy into the answer that they might not be able to give.

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    2. multiple choice like yours. I actually linked to you today. Feel free to check me out in all your spare time :-) www.camusrd.blogspot.com. I find I return to your blog because you are relateable. Thanks for all the great posts.

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  6. Going to look into this class! Thanks so much for always posting encouraging posts. I took a break from blogging after my daughter was born and I'm currently diving back into it! You're one of my favorite bloggers and I always look forward to your posts!

    Kaitlyn
    www.thebirdsnestblog.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for saying that Kaitlyn. It feels really good to know. I'll be by your blog soon!

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  7. Thanks for this post, Megan! I am actually considering starting a blog in the next 6 months or so and was looking for some resources for beginners, so I will have to check out the beginner level courses - love your blog!!!

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  8. I would like to know more about how you made the move to work at home (how you made the decision, how long it took, if you have any regrets, etc). I am reading a book called "Mid-Life Crisis at 30"... and I am so surprised by how many women ages 27-35 are not happy in their current work situation (myself included), so I'm always curious about other people's stories. I would also love some "blogspot" specific blogging advice. It seems like there is so much out there for wordpress but not much about blogger and yours is one of the nicest "blogspot" blogs I know of. Sorry for the book and thanks for sharing!!!

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    1. Colette- I just started on blogspot 4 months ago. I've been pretty happy. I did pay a desigh fee with Smitten blog designs. And they were super helpful in helping me learn the tricks. Just an idea. www.camusrd.blogspot.com if I can be of any blogging help.

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  9. Megan, I love your blog and just started one of my own, so this is such a timely post for me! I think your blog has a great layout and content/ad ratio. My question would be--do you know of some kind of central site for blogging conferences? I am having a hard time finding these. Thanks!

    Visiting from lorimerliving.blogspot.com

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    1. Hmm, great question- I don't know of such a site but it would be helpful. I'd just have to google blog conferences and then try to narrow by category.

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  10. I love your blogs. I read a handful of blogs mainly because I have two small kids and work full-time outside the home. I only have a certain amount of me time so I have to be picky. I feel like I can relate to you. I've been reading for a while and really enjoy the mix of posts you have. I've enjoyed the fashion posts too because you tend to feature things I can wear to work.

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  11. I guess the one thing that was missing from the list of topics for the blogger class was original content. Overall, I read any blog because the content is original, I like what the blogger does in terms of their projects or I like who the blogger is (meaning their values). I think your house is pretty and that you do a nice job of styling things.

    What turns me off on all blogs are the same projects done by so many bloggers (wood wall, striped curtains/walls, home management binder, etc.)...it's like Pinterest rehashed. I don't like ad pop-ups and blogger conference reviews which seem to be nothing more than here my blogging friends and you can check out their blogs, blah, blah, blah. I understand it when bloggers monetize their blogs but sometimes reading about how great a Band-Aid is, is a waste of my time. I'd rather read fewer quality posts than posts every day if the content suffers. Also, I need to be able to relate on some level to a blogger-sometimes when I read blogs, I think, "Wow, that blogger has a ton of time on their hands!" I mean, it can be hard getting ten minutes to myself in a day and then I read about them complaining about unpacking a suitcase because they are exhausted from their vacation. Umm....hard to relate to that one, lol.

    What I like is original, creative content and posts where I learn something. I thought your blog tips about PicMonkey were excellent. That saves me time. I had a blog but I don't post much anymore because I don't have time and those tips were things I'd like to know but didn't have time to research. The one on blog topics not as much because that seems like it should be more intuitive. I liked the information you shared about behind the scenes of the bikini contest (the dieting, etc.); it was interesting and fun to follow along. I like your decorating/styling more when you do a craft type project (liked the chevron on the sides of the drawer and your box) or some of your Christmas styling. Don't care as much for styling when it feels like it's just stuff purchased a trendy retailer. Your house is pretty though so it's fun to see those pictures. I'd like to see more of the pictures you frame in your house. I think every house tells a story and that is what I think bloggers need to do-tell "their" story.

    Some blogs that I like (and why) are: A Country Farmhouse -they are redoing a Federal Home from the 1800's-I like the blog for several reasons-she is committed to using organic products/foods, she has a fabulous sense of style, I learn something and on some level I want what she's having and I like her values. I love the last farmhouse they did (loved those kitchen countertops) and I love the white pine floors they are putting in now. I like Miss Mustard Seed for her unique style and it's exciting to follow along as her business grows. I am enjoying seeing her new studio and the insides of how she runs her business and I like reading about her antique shows and seeing what she brings. I enjoy watching her "brand" grow and watching her market the brand. It's interesting. I like House Tweaking because I like their reason for downsizing-they ditched their dream home and downsized so they could like their dream life. Just a Girl is really funny and she has a really good sense of style and does some great craft projects. Her styling is really top notch. Each of these blogs has unique content and a unique voice. That's what I like about them. When a blogger monetizes however, the tide begins to turn and it can be a huge turn off when you get posts for duct tape, etc.

    So in summary, a good blog has original content, an original voice, stands for something I like and is relatable. The rest of the stuff....good photography, good styling is icing on the cake. Good luck, Megan. Hope this helps.

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  12. You were actually one of the first blogs that I ever followed! I've been a long time reader, I just love your home decor style and that you are also in Houston. You actually inspired me to start my own blog The Bajan Texan. Thanks for the inspiration, keep it coming :)

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I read every one! I try to answer questions in the comment section since many readers are "no reply" and so everyone can benefit from the response- so please check back. :)

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