Blog FAQ

[image via Zoe Report]
Happy Monday! I started this little bloggy thing with Kristin almost a year ago, and in that time my most common e-mail isn’t related to clothes or shoes or what my favorite spray tan is.
My most common question?
“Hi, I want to start a blog. How do I make it successful?”
My first thought, “Umm…I have NO CLUE what I’m doing! I’m going to give the worst advice ever.”
My second thought, “Well…I kinda got a degree in this….maybe I could send them some of my old papers?”
My third thought, “Katey, that is weird. Don’t do that.”
My fourth thought, “Blogging is the strangest industry. I want Mi Cocina.” 
So I don’t think anyone has ever gotten a really clear cut answer from me, and I thought that even though I think I have no advice to offer, I can at least share what keeps me going! 
I asked what you all wanted to know on Instagram and I found 5 of the most common questions, so I thought I would answer those and then share my tips to cover other questions! 
[disclaimer: I have reread this post 5,000 times. I’ve thought my tips were good and I’ve thought they were the worst things in the world. I contemplated posting this SO MUCH, but at the end of the day this post isn’t for me, it is to hopefully help a few of you! If you disagree with any advice and want to let me know, please keep in mind that I seriously don’t know what I’m doing. We all use different methods and I just wanted to share mine in case someone wants to know. :)]
Most Common Questions:

1. How did you start blogging? 
If you have read Chronicles of Frivolity from back when I was in school you might notice a little brunette bombshell is missing from the posts. I started blogging with my best friend Kristin while we were still in school and working at PR firms. We both were getting PR degrees and wanted to grow our knowledge of how the industry worked. [Blogging is a PR tactic. When I was at A PR firm I was running blogs for specific accounts, now I just run mine. I just might work with PR firms on campaigns with other bloggers, too!] We never even started a blog with the thoughts that people would read it, we just had degrees that taught us how to blog for companies. We wanted to transcend that into a blog that would represent helping girls and doing what we did best, spending money on frivolous things: clothes. The blog took Kristin to a really amazing job at a PR firm and she is basically running all of social media for a massive company [but that’s a secret ;)] and the blog became my full time job. 
2. How do you gain a following?

I’m going to sound like a PR nazi when I say this, but fostering relationships leads to a following. You have to meet someone’s need before you tell them what you want to say. Why are people on social media sites? They want interaction with other humans. Make friends! Collaborate with other bloggers! Reach out to girls! I genuinely want to get to know girls on social media and through blogs, and feel like I’m best friends with them. You have no idea how many times I’m mortified talking to Paul and saying something along the lines of, “So today Britney got engaged and her fiancΓ© did it in the cutest way.” After I’ve described Britney’s engagement for 2.5 hours and he asks how I know Britney I’m like, “Cough…um like you know back in the day on Instagram…cough.” Pour yourself into people and they will pour themselves into you.  
3. How do you make a website?

Just sign up at a blogging site! You have different options like WordPress or Tumblr. 
4. Any don’ts? 
I think do’s and don’ts of blogging are all personal preference, but I think my biggest don’t is this: Don’t promote your brand on someone else’s. Nordstrom doesn’t comment on Neiman’s website in the review section saying, “Head to our page and see how we have clothes, too!” I don’t think a lot of people do that, but when I see it I get so confused. 
5. Where can I learn more?
Most bloggers have a background in something related to blogging and I think a lot of their success is due to that. 99% of bloggers I am friends with and admire their growth have a background in: PR, writing, marketing, graphic design or the fashion industry. If you have never worked or studied those industries they have workshops for you! Check out blogger organizations in your area and they are constantly having little weekend trainings to help you learn these tips and tricks. Have a date night with google and you could be booked the next few weekends out just learning all about the process of building a website to promotion. I don’t know many organizations in other areas but Dallas has Dallas Blogger Collective and they are always having workshops! 
1. I know, I know, I know. Who says don’t focus on growth? That is honestly my most common question. But let me be really honest: the market is over saturated. Seriously. Everyone wants to blog and everyone has a blog, so growth takes time. On average,  it can take about 2-3 years for your blog base to build. Sometimes it happens more quickly for others and sometimes it is longer. We aren’t all meant to grow at the same rate and that is what makes this community really inspirational. We gain different things from different types of blogs! It is normal to think you aren’t impacting as many people as you want, but it is so much more important to genuinely impact a few people than fall on deaf ears to thousands. Focus on what makes your blog unique, not numbers, and growth will come. 
2. Have a foundation of the process, not the end result. Don’t blog because you want to be a blogger. Don’t blog because you like bloggers. And especially don’t blog just because you like clothes. That almost sounds blasphemous. The blog world can look shiny and pretty and like you always have fresh flowers and packages delivered to your house. It is supposed to look like that. Bloggers work really hard to make it look like that. Seriously. ^^ Blogging is the strangest industry! Blog because you love helping people, blog because you love writing, blog because you love photography, blog because you love having a creative outlet. Make your blog foundation something you love, not something you aspire to be, and you will get to the level you want to be because you have fallen in love with the process, not the end result.  
3. There might be one little trick to growth: consistency. Being consistent can clash with something creative and new like starting a blog, but it allows your readers to know what to expect. The first six months can be a trial where you figure out what you like, but once you hit that mark become consistent. I’m consistent with my camera, I’m consistent with my graphics, and I’m consistent with my posting schedule. Don’t mix those up too much, because you want people to be able to look at your blog without seeing the title and say, “That is Chronicles of Frivolity.” To answer a few questions, I use a Nikon D800. If I edit my photos I’ll use Adobe Elements. If you’re blogging, plan out your posts! Make a commitment and stick to it. I think 2-3 posts a week are great if you are starting out! It is so much better to be able to plan your posts out with creative ideas than run out of ideas and post each day just to post! If you can’t code, don’t worry! I barely can! Find other graphic designers or web designers that are trying to break into the industry just like you, and work out some sort of trade. This industry grows when other women help each other out! Building consistency is what will bring amazing opportunities your way, because brands want to know your taste and what to expect.
4. The most important thing I learned in schools was to be transparent, with companies and with life. Sometimes I will have a post planned to talk about a sale or an outfit idea, but if something is weighing on my heart I just talk about it. That may be a turnoff for some people, but the reason blogging is so valuable is because it is a representation of a person, as opposed to just a product. People fall in love with people, not just brands. If you look at major bloggers you may think they are only posting products, but they started out as people on a blog once, so their reader base already knows them. Be sure to let your readers know who you are. If you go through a breakup, great, share! So have other girls! I’m not saying to use your blog as a means of therapy [but girl, go for it!] but use it to allow your readers to peek into your life. I love seeing dogs and date nights and personal moments on my Instagram feed, show yours!
5. Don’t compare yourself to strangers on the internet. I could make a list of 5,000 things that I don’t do well enough blogging and an even longer list of bloggers who are a lot more inspiring than I could ever hope to be, but that takes time. It takes time away from doing what I truly want to do: help girls. If you start to stress that no one is reading your posts or you aren’t receiving the feedback you want, shut the computer off. You are fearfully and wonderfully made [Psalm 139:14], God created a masterpiece with you and your blog is just an extension of yourself! 

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27 Comments

  1. Tasha wrote:

    Very good post. There are so many tools for people starting out.

    Design Love Fest does blogger workshops
    AltFest does workshops, conferences & twitter chats.
    Skillshare teaches people how to do a multitude of things in online classes.
    IFB has conferences & a whole blog dedicated to the community! Also reaching out to people. Blogging has gotten so big that most bloggers don’t respond but there are some that will answer questions. It’s about digging deeper if people really want to do this.

    Published 20 Oct 14Reply
  2. Jordan wrote:

    thank you so much for this post! I just started a blog a couple months ago, after finding yours, and I’m excited for the new journey!

    Much love xoxo
    Jordan
    thefashioninsomniac.blogspot.com

    Published 20 Oct 14Reply
  3. This is one of the best posts I’ve read about blogging! I’m not an expert but I’m not a newbie and I loved reading all your tips!

    Published 20 Oct 14Reply
  4. One thing I love about reading your blog is how real you are with us! It makes me feel like I know ya girlfriend and I LOVE that! Thanks so much for all of these tips. My blog is only 6 months old so I’m definitely a newbie and this post is so helpful!

    Morgan Paige
    http://www.mygorgeouschaos.com

    Published 20 Oct 14Reply
  5. So goooood. Love this Katey. Love your tips, your desire to help girls, and hearing the heart behind what you do! <3

    Published 20 Oct 14Reply
  6. This has honestly been the best thing I have read all day. I appreciate your honesty and open feedback so much. Sometimes these things are easy to forget. I love reading your blog and your insta feed is fabulous! LOVE IT! I would love to work on a collaboration sometime if you would ever be up for it!

    XO Jana

    http://www.janastyleblog.com

    Published 20 Oct 14Reply
  7. Hey Katey!
    My name is Michelle and I am a college student and blogger! I’m just starting out with my blog and this post has been so helpful! I really appreciate the advice and your honesty!
    I just started following you Instagram about 3 weeks ago and I read your blog for the first time yesterday. I wanted you to know that I really enjoy your posts and really respect who you are. It’s really refreshing to see such a refined, classy, insightful, faithful and intelligent girl. You’re really setting a great example for girls like me. I’d just like to thank you for being you and being firm in what you stand for! So just keeping doing YOU! haha
    have a great day!

    {Michelle Guevara}

    http://www.thetenderrose.weebly.com

    Published 20 Oct 14Reply
  8. This was really, really helpful! I love learning about other bloggers, hearing their stories, and listening to their advice. I really admire you and your blog so this was a fantastic post! Thank you πŸ™‚

    Briana
    RoyallyPink.blogspot.com

    Published 20 Oct 14Reply
  9. Melody Eve wrote:

    Definitely shared some great tips. I always love reading ‘blog tips’ posts as they are always so insightful and really share the kind of person the blogger is.
    Awesome πŸ™‚

    Melody
    http://www.hernameiseve.com

    Published 21 Oct 14Reply
  10. Great post! I just came across your blog today and will definitely be coming back to read more!

    Katie.
    http://www.katieelwood.com

    Published 24 Oct 14Reply
  11. Fine post. Interesting to read
    Buy SoundCloud Plays

    Published 27 Feb 15Reply
  12. Natalie wrote:

    I love your blog! I was wondering what font your logo is?

    Published 12 May 15Reply
  13. Alissa wrote:

    I just found this post and absolutely love it! You are such an inspiration. I started a blog a few months ago and the last part of this post really hit home for me.

    Thanks for sharing all this information! πŸ™‚ You are definitely one of my favorite bloggers out there!!! Keep up the amazing work! You said your goal is to help others and you most definitely are.

    xoxo Alissa
    http://www.LipglossandLabels.com

    Published 16 Jun 15Reply
    • Cynthia wrote:

      Hey Alissa! Just went to your blog, it’s super cute! I tried to comment but don’t see a comment section. πŸ™

      Anyway, keep up the great work!

      Xx,
      Cynthia

      http://Www.thesirenconfidential.com

      Published 27 Feb 16Reply
  14. Taylor wrote:

    Hi gorgeous girl! Let me just tell you I absolutely love your snaps everyday! I also love this post– it is truly inspirational. Thanks for reminding us not to compare ourselves to everyone on the internet!

    Xx
    Taylor
    http://www.tayandco.com

    Published 30 Aug 15Reply
  15. Hi beautiful! A year later and I am checking out this post again as I just created my own blog.. You are so inspirational and one of the reasons I have been debating about starting a blog. I love how open you are with your readers. I finally have decided to start blogging as a way to share the things I love, whether people see my posts or not. Its such a relaxing method for me and gives me something to look forward to. Thank you for always being honest with your readers and for staying true to you! And thank you for being such an inspiration to me.
    Xo, S

    Published 09 Oct 15Reply
  16. Raven Ayer wrote:

    This is great!!! SO helpful!!!

    Published 20 Oct 15Reply
  17. DEIDRA wrote:

    Katey,
    Thank you SO much for such an inspirational and helpful post! I am a new blogger and I found all of your tips really useful. I especially love the reminder that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made by God, and our blogs are simply extensions of ourselves. Thank you , Thank you , Thank you for this post!!! You have really helped me more than you’ll ever know! . Truly an answered prayer! Keep up the great work!
    -Deidra
    http://www.ourhomehisheart.com

    Published 31 Oct 15Reply
  18. Jazzmine wrote:

    Hi Katey,

    I am a cooking blogger with just under a year since my site launch but I found this post to be very relevant and helpful. The Psalm at the end made me smile. I appreciate and admire how you share your faith on COF and Instagram. πŸ™‚

    Published 17 Nov 15Reply
  19. Sydney wrote:

    Hey Katey!

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and recently started my own. I really appreciate your authenticity in this post. I feel like you addressed a lot of what has been weighing on my heart lately.

    Thank you!!

    Published 19 Jan 16Reply
  20. Victoria wrote:

    Great advice, it means a lot. Will definitely take note of it, as this is my first year doing this!

    Published 14 Feb 16Reply
  21. Cynthia wrote:

    Love this post and your writing style! I am brand new (6 months), and it is a lot of work and dedication, so definite have to agree that you are doing it for the love of it, as it seems to take up a lot of time to grow. Great blog posts! You have a captivating talent!

    Xx,
    Cynthia

    http://Www.thesirenconfidential.com

    Published 27 Feb 16Reply
  22. Gretchen wrote:

    Thanks for all of the tips! I love following you on Snap and IG and now your blog!

    Published 28 Feb 16Reply
  23. I know this is going to sound so lame but that almost made me cry. I mean, I am like 7 week postpartum lol… but it was encouraging to me for reasons I wish I could explain right now but can’t.

    I think it’s because you sound human. You sound how I feel like I sound in my own head. Seeing you as a normal person helps me feel like I can be successful in blogging. This post helped remind me why I am blogging and gave me a bit to think about. So I probably sound like a hormonal mess…. but, I wanted to just say thank you for writing this.

    Published 19 Jun 17Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Tiffany! That doesn’t sound lame at all- you are so incredibly sweet and this is what blogging means to me! I want to help people and let them know they can be successful in anything from decorating their home to starting a blog! And girl I cried all the time postpartum! You are totally normal. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for reading!! xo

      Published 20 Jun 17Reply