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3 Mistakes I Made When I Started My Blog

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3 Mistakes I Made When I Started My Blog | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guid
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1. I did not start off with a custom domain URL. I went into my blog as a self-professed commitment-phobe. I wasn’t sure it was going to work, didn’t know if I could keep up with content or regularly posting, and quite frankly, wasn’t sure anyone was going to read it. WORST. MISTAKE. EVER. Blog domains are super cheap. Spending $10 would have been well worth it even if the blog never got off the ground. But I didn’t. Instead, when I was pleasantly surprised, humbled and overwhelmed by the amazing response and support the blog received, I belatedly decided “Sure! I’ll take the leap for a real website domain!” and I traded my .blogspot.com address for a real www.yourdomain.com addy. AND subsequently lost every comment and +1 on every post that had run pre-new website name. After weeks of effort sharing blog posts, making connections, driving traffic, and great discussion (some posts had over 100 comments!)…and they were gone. Ground zero. I was heartbroken and more than a little deflated.

Lesson learned: Suck it up and buy the custom domain URL at the beginning. Commit to doing things right from the start. The best way to claim your blog’s future success is to treat it like it’s already successful.

3 Mistakes I Made When I Started My Blog - No custom URL on Blogger
See all of those sad little zeros where lots of comments used to be???? And how my post with over 600 hits has 0 likes and no comments at all? Insert cry fest HERE.

2. I did not create an organized business Pinterest account. This is another extension of my close-mindedness when I first started out and my mistake in not claiming (at least to myself!) that my blog was going to do well. When I began my blog, I went in to my personal Pinterest account and just added a happy little Chaos & Kiddos board and then added a Small Business board as an afterthought. Almost immediately, I was able to add some key contributors to each of those boards, which resulted in some pretty awesome content and some great activity. Both boards took off and my followers started to grow exponentially. The problem with this was that it became very clear to me very quickly that the boards were getting a bit overwhelming and difficult to navigate. It’s hard to find just the right post among 400 other posts and if you’re a Pinterest user, you know the pictures all start to fuzz together after too much scrolling. It became inefficient and dysfunctional.

Lesson learned: If you plan to store content on a variety of topics and methods, organize your boards accordingly on the front end instead of being forced to reinvent the wheel, repopulate and shift content from one board to others later on. Think about how you would want to find information. Make it easy and clear. A straight shot path straight to you. Chaos means followers click away.

3 Mistakes I Made When I Started My Blog - Organized Pinterest Boards
I’m still working to rebuild and reorganize the mess I created for myself! Slowly, but surely, the separate boards are coming together into a more manageable resource for my followers.

3. I did not organize my social media followers. Did you know that you can build private lists in Twitter that can help you sort the people you following according to interest, level of interaction and other parameters that are important to you and only you? Yeah, neither did I. I sure do now! Various social media platforms – Bloglovin’, Facebook, and of course the front runner being Google Plus – give you the tools to organize the people you follow so that you can approach their content and your own in a manner that makes sense to your needs. Guess when I did this little piece of organization? Right when I started out? Nope.

Lesson learned: Make sure you take the time to explore the social media platforms (and any other programs) that you use. Most are capable of so much more than we see at first glance and many are equipped with the tools needed to keep up with a large following. Categorize the people who follow you and whom you follow based on their genres, level of interaction, or any other qualifying feature that helps you view the information you need most, first.

3 Mistakes I Made When I Started My Blog - Private Lists in Twitter
Woot! Woot! See that happy little “Lists” option under Settings?

Ultimately, these three lessons could be applied to any small business marketing and process workflow and are not just for “bloggers.” And I’m still a little tiny peanut in comparison to most bloggers who have been doing this for years and years and have massive followings. I guess that right there is the most important piece of information in this whole post. Sure, I’m small potatoes now, but who knows what the future may bring? I certainly don’t want to make more work for myself later by taking shortcuts and not doing things right now. 

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Amanda S

    July 29, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing your lessons. I am currently making all of these mistake, oh no!

    • Katy Blevins

      July 30, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Ha! Well, the good news Amanda…is that so was I at one time and I survived! So, there’s always time to turn things around. It’s a painful short term transition, but an awesome long term payout!

  2. Cathy - Life's Hidden Treasures

    August 12, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    I went back and forth on both #1 & #2….Thankfully, I finally talked myself into buying a custom domain URL (so glad I did!!). Creating a new business Pinterest was a tough idea because I have so many awesome boards and PINS on my personal Pinterest, but I finally made the plunge and have done a lot of rePinning since then (also glad I did this!!)

    I have not, however, done #3….it sounds like a great idea though 🙂 I’ll have to get started on that

    Great Post!! Thanks for Sharing 🙂

    • Katy Blevins

      August 13, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Business Pinterest is worth it now more than ever just with the possibility of rich pins! So glad I made the leap to that platform when it started. I also hear there will be more control over feeds and quality content, which worries me a bit. I’m guessing that those who are businesses will have to be spot on, but will also get priority.

  3. Melissa Matters

    September 22, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I don’t have a domain name yet so I guess I had better switch over soon!

    • Katy Blevins

      September 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      You’ll be so glad that you did, Melissa!!! Best investment ever!

  4. Tarynn Playle

    September 22, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    I made the same mistakes. Luckily I got my own domain only a few months in, and I’m still working on organizing my lists. Great tips!

    • Katy Blevins

      September 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks Tarynn! I’m still learning new tips and tricks every day! The wonder never ceases. Congrats on your own domain and so glad you found the post helpful!

  5. Nicki Lewis

    October 8, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    I have been blogging for about a year now. Actually working on trying to fix some of my social media accounts, and how to best use them. Was hoping doing that will help my blog grow. Wish I would have known some of these sooner.

  6. peppylady (Dora)

    November 21, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Living here in North Idaho one thing is techlogy. As things move slow. We had dial up longer then most people in rest of the country.
    I don’t think anyone got over 7mg now. I’m paying $60 a month for 1 mag.
    It seem we’re always playing catch up with the rest of the world.

    Found your blog though IBA blog share.

    Coffee is on

    • Katy Blevins

      November 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

      Oh man, you are a trooper! That sounds brutal! I sure hope the speed of the interwebz makes it way to you very soon!

  7. Momma Machi

    May 26, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Thank you very much for this post! I am like you in the beginning! I have done none of these! OMG I have a lot o work to do!

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Blogging Resources

Social Media Scheduling 101: The Basics

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Social Media Scheduling | The Very Basics
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Why is social media scheduling important? 

Today’s culture, both personally and professionally, is driven by real time transparency. There are any of a million ways that we can interact with the world and share our life journeys, which has been the doorway to maintaining friendships, keeping family from afar close and celebrating life with like-minded individuals. But on the other hand, every time that phone blips that a new message has popped up, we’re driven by madness to look. It’s exhausting!!!! And ultimately incredibly time consuming. As a small business owner, the drive to build a following can be intoxicating and the pressure to be available to your clients 24/7 is crippling. How do you actually “do” your business if you’re always distracted by social media? Social media scheduling is the very best way to continue to curate and share content with your audience, while allowing yourself to focus on higher priorities in your personal and professional life.

If I schedule social media am I lying to my followers by “pretending” to be online when I’m not?

Any way that you can automate your workflow to save time and develop a routine, you are being true to yourself, your clients and most importantly, your family. The key is to appear to be accessible during high traffic times, but not actually be sitting there glued to your phone or computer hanging on every word uttered to the social media gods. Social media scheduling allows us to cater to multiple audiences at their individual peek times, gives us the opportunity to stay active and engaged while on the go and makes sure we have time to focus on what really counts.

Social Media Scheduling | The Very Basics

Where do I start?

I have two go-to programs that can work for even the most basic new learners (and have lots of advanced features for those in the know). And bonus…they’re FREE! What we’re moving towards is organized strategy. Social media scheduling allows you to develop a marketing strategy for your business and then execute it. You simple couldn’t do that properly on the fly and would get lost in the weeds. These next two tools can help put you on the path to a social media presence that translates to growth and long-term sustainability.

If you’re just digging into the social media behemoth, let’s put a simple tool to work for you while you get your bearings. Similar to how Instagram can cross post to Twitter and Facebook, Friends + Me can take your Google Plus posts and push them to several other platforms. I personally post to Google + and it carries over to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. One action = 4 social media networks.

I’ll admit, this tool can be visually tricky and take a little getting used to if you’re heavy handed with links and tags. Once you get comfortable with how your posts will appear in the different feeds, you’ll tailor your original content to work across the board. It’s a fantastic way to save time by not having to manually cross-pollinate your content to each and every platform individually. It’s a great way for new learners to “phone it in” while you up your social media knowledge and a stellar way for a seasoned social media vet to knock out a task list for simple content shares.

fplus

Hootsuite is the other tool I rely heavily on. In short, it’s a one-stop shop for me to manage all of my profiles on the various platforms that I use. In its most basic form, I schedule all Twitter activity (content sharing) in here or via their Hootlet (content curating).  I can tell you it’s really the Hootlet that is life changing. This little plugin is ridiculously awesome. It allows me to wrap up items of interest in a nice little box with a beautiful little bow instantly and schedule directly from my point of interest. I can open it up from any source and schedule a tweet/share from any of my accounts instantaneously without having to copy/paste links or images into Hootsuite itself. That save of a few clicks is amazing!!!

hootlet

Here’s a snap shot of my actual Hootsuite dashboard (Don’t freak out! I have a million accounts!):
hootsuite
I am able to jump in between accounts and platforms with the click of a tab, and I can schedule posts from the top bar to any of my accounts with just a few clicks. Admittedly, I pay for the Pro version because I work the account with my business partner and I am in love with the bulk tweet upload feature (I can schedule 350 tweets at once just by uploading a simple Excel file!). Instead of having 15 different internet tabs open for each of my feeds and profiles, I can have one program open that allows me to move among them without having to constantly sign in and out depending on which profile I want to use. Again, the goal is to save time by reducing clicks and hops all over the internet and to streamline your visibility to the information that matters most to you. Here are the profiles my business partner and I manage either completely or to some degree on Hootsuite:

 

– Twitter (8 different profiles)
– Google Plus (2 business profiles)
– Facebook (4 business pages and 1 personal profile)
– Facebook groups (2 community groups)
– Instagram (3 profiles)
– Stumble Upon (1 profile)
– LinkedIn (1 profile)

 

Can you imagine if I had to sign in and out of each of these accounts at various parts of my day in order to engage on all platforms?

 

So. How does this ultimately save time? Have I just traded time spent manually posting for time spent scheduling automation? The key here is to carve out time and stick to it. Don’t be scheduling all day! It defeats the purpose. Here are some quick rules to keep in mind:

  • Set a specific day each week (or even an hour each morning/night if that’s better for you) that is devoted to scheduling the next weeks’/days’ tweets/posts/etc. Make that a calendar time in your routine. Stick to it! I do all of my scheduling first thing in the morning. That way my social media profiles are working in the background while I am completing my normal business day and any activity can just be responsive.
  • Commit to a time each evening that the phone/computer gets put away. For example, clients at The Studio now know that our business booking hours are Monday – Friday from 8AM – 5PM. If they email us during that time, they expect a response. But if they email outside of that time, they know they’ll hear from us during the next business day. We’ve educated them and we’re training ourselves. Now, when that email dings with a new inquiry, I don’t look at it if it’s after hours. They know, and I know it will be there tomorrow.
  • Give yourself a break! Cut yourself some slack! It’s ok to take a break from time to time on social media. It’s ok to not post every meal, every night out, every stylish outfit. Let go of the pressure to perform. Focus on enjoying the interactions with people and sharing your heart. You’ll find it not only comes more naturally, but more purposefully. Be IN your life. 

Pin this to your Small Business Tips & Tricks Board or your Blogging Resources Board! Don’t have one? Follow me!

Did you like this post? Check out How to Create Hyper-Linked Email Signatures in Gmail!

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Blogging Resources

IBA Blog Conference – October 12-17, 2015

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IBA Blog Conference
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Mark your calendars!!! I have some very exciting news to share!!! The International Bloggers Association is hosting their very first IBA blog conference! The IBA Network-a-thon will be hosted online October 12th – 15th. Yup, that’s right! A virtual conference! You don’t have to worry about travel expenses, child care, vacation time or anything! Just you, me, the IBA, our computers and some amazingly awesome Google Plus Hangouts.

International Bloggers Association | Chaos & Kiddos: Mommy's Survival Guide

Want to hear the very best news? The IBA blog conference is SUPER affordable. Only $10 for your ticket! Even more exciting? Use the code KATY to receive a special Chaos & Kiddos discount! You’ll get $5 off. 50% off! At that price, there’s no reason to miss out on what will be a fun week of networking, learning and blog sharing. The IBA blog conference will be a great opportunity to discover your tribe of blog supporters, learn new tips and tricks, and dig into blogging professionally. Don’t miss out! $5 is less than a cup of Starbucks coffee! Woot! Click on the big IBA right below or click on “Buy this on Selz” to grab your 50% off discount ticket now! Don’t forget to use the code KATY! See you in October!

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IBA Blogging Conference | Discount Code

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Blogging Resources

Twitter Tools to Increase Your Sanity

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When it comes to Twitter, automation equals sanity. Simple as that!

We all know that every business must have a solid social media presence. However, scheduling, monitoring and reporting on your feeds eats up crucial time that can be can better used running your business. Have no fear, there are an endless number of Twitter tools available to help you manage your profiles; saving you precious time and money by working behind the scenes while you stay front and center in your marketplace.

TWITTERTOOLS to

Here are the strategic areas you want to concentrate on when engaging the Twittersphere:

Schedule it!

Keep those tweets coming without having to sit at your computer day and night. Tools such as HootSuite and Buffer are extremely popular. With multi-feed capacity, flexible layouts and a host of powerful features, these two behemoths will revolutionize how you approach social media across every platform, not just Twitter.

Keep it organized!

If you have multiple accounts, Twitter tools can help organize and implement your strategy.TweetDeck handles this perfectly. Get more involved with Sprout Social that includes CRM features, or SocialOomph to automate and keep corporate accounts clean and tidy. Nobody wants to click back and forth between a million tabs, or spend way too much time signing in and out of several profiles. Organize yourself with a “one-stop shop” approach!

Show off with pictures!

Grab them with graphics to go with your hot content. No time to source images or develop images of your own offline? Check out MavSocial to link to stock images and manage your digital assets as you compose your tweets.

What did they say?

In order to build engagement, you have to know what others are saying about you. Mentioncan monitor your Twitter mentions and even links through to other tools like Buffer. Twitter tools that are integration-friendly are always a win-win. Trends24 tracks the ever important hashtag and hot topics. Never miss an opportunity to keep an open dialogue with your customer base moving forward.

Flashback!

Remember that campaign from 2013? You need to be able to go back and search on what worked and what didn’t. Topsy lets you search all the way back to 2006 while TweetChat helps you keep up with your favorite hashtags and chat with others. Avoid making the same mistakes twice and repurpose successful campaigns for future growth.

Ready, Set, Grow!

Each time someone shares your content, your reach grows. Make it as easy for them as possible with links using Click to Tweet. Everybody loves the easy button!

Report it!

Being able to determine what works and what isn’t provides critical insight that translates to real growth and sustainability. SumAll and Twitonomy help break it down into specific actionable data that you can use to improve your reach in future campaigns.

There are plenty of options out there to help you manage Twitter and other social media platforms. It’s just a matter of finding the right one that works for you and letting them work for you. Which Twitter tools have been pivotal to maintaining your sanity and growing your business?

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