Six Months of Poppy alla Norma: Discoveries, Advice and Improvements

Six Months of Poppy alla Norma: Discoveries, Advice and Improvements

After religiously reading various blogs for years, in December 2014 I finally decided to take the plunge and begin writing my own. Six months of blogging has taught me a lot, and although I know I still have much to improve, I’m enjoying it more and more by the day!

I thought I’d take the opportunity to write about my attitudes towards blogging, and how they’ve changed over the past six months. I’m hoping to revisit this post in the future and use it to see my progress as a blogger.

I hope you enjoy the read!

Three things I’ve discovered about the Blogosphere

Blogging is so much harder than it looks – It’s true what they say, the professionals really do make it look effortless! Until you’ve done it yourself, you have no idea how long it takes to come up with an idea, write a post, take the photographs, edit the photographs, proof-read the text and promote the post once it’s up on your blog. It requires dedication, organisation and a lot of creativity – I am relishing the challenge but I honestly have no idea how some people find the time to post every day!

The blogging community is extremely friendly – Probably most evident on Twitter, I notice more and more that the blogging community is open and welcoming, diverse and full of lovely people. Although I wouldn’t say I’ve made any friends through blogging yet, I have thoroughly enjoyed talking to and learning from other bloggers on Twitter. The vast majority of bloggers I see and interact with on Twitter are very supportive of others, despite the blogging world apparently being super competitive. Although I get a hell of a lot more spam comments than real comments on Poppy alla Norma, I love reading the views of people who actually take the time to read my posts.

Blogs are spam magnets – I have had 190 spam blog comments in the last six months. The spam levels are crazy. Akismet is my hero!

Three pieces of advice for new bloggers

Work for your comments and views – In the six months I’ve been blogging, I have had a total of 28 comments. That’s it. In part I attribute this to WordPress and its insistence on making commenting extremely difficult for Blogger users, but it’s mostly because comments and views just aren’t that frequent at the beginning. I wasn’t expecting thousands of views straight away, but I was certainly expecting more than I’ve had. You have to work to get those views and comments, you can’t just sit back and wait for people to find you, you have to find your audience! Twitter is a great place to start, especially the blogger chats. Then, you need to get out there and comment on other blogs. Don’t be scared to tag your blog link on the end of your comments, it can be a great way to reach new readers, especially if you have a post relevant to the one you’re commenting on.

Consistency is KEY – Choose how frequently you want to post, and stick to it. Seriously. I’ve only been adhering to this rule for two weeks and I’ve already seen an explosion in my stats. The blogging world favours consistency! You don’t have to post every day, by any means. You could start with once a week at first, and build up as time goes on. It doesn’t matter how often you post, as long as you stick with your schedule you will be rewarded.

Don’t worry about finding a niche – This is something I struggled with at the start of my blogging, but you don’t have to worry about fitting your blog into a category. It’s your web-space and you can post whatever the hell you like. That’s exactly why I call myself a lifestyle blogger, as the category covers a myriad of different topics. I sometimes worry that my blog name sounds more like a name for a food blog, and I have to admit that when I first started blogging I pictured myself posting more recipes than I do, but I like it, so why should I change it? Post about whatever interests you, not what you think will be popular with others!

Three areas I want to improve

Photography – I say this pretty much every day on Twitter, but photography is the main area I wish to improve on my blog. Writing has always come pretty easily to me, and I don’t often struggle with written content on the blog. However, photography is a completely different beast. I’ve always loved taking photos on holiday, but taking the glossy magazine-style photos you find on the most popular blogs? I struggle every time. I own a decent camera (liberated from my dad after years of chronic neglect) but I have to be honest, I have no idea how to use it to its full potential. I tend to just put it on Auto Mode and let the camera do the work as I point and shoot. I’m thinking of taking a photography course in the future, but at the moment I’m trying to learn from the internet. If anyone has any links to good photography blogs for absolute beginners, I would be extremely grateful if you could leave them in a comment below! Merrick’s Art is my ultimate photography crush, every single photograph featured on the blog is beautiful – if I can get my photographs to be half as good as those one day, I’ll be a very happy woman.

Connect with more bloggers – Recently, I’ve started taking part in more blogger chats on Twitter and they are great ways to communicate with fellow bloggers. However, I’d like to go beyond that. I would love to start hosting guest bloggers or indeed guest post on the blogs of others, and hopefully build some friendships along the way. I’m quite shy, even on Twitter, and I do sometimes struggle to strike up conversations with other people, so I need to work on improving my communication skills on social media. I’d also love to go to a blogger meet-up and talk to fellow bloggers face to face – they sound like they’d be so much fun!

Posting consistently and blog organisation – Life can be a bitch sometimes, as we all know. As much as I love university life, the pressure of exams and deadlines can be the ultimate blogblock! Now that it’s the summer break I have a lot more time to dedicate to Poppy alla Norma, which has made me extremely happy. I am now taking my own advice and aiming to post three times a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with occasional special posts like this one. My posting frequency may increase or decrease in the future, but for now it should be manageable. I have found using a spreadsheet to plan my future posts extremely useful, as outlined by Hayley of Tea Party Beauty.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Also, are you loving my new header? I may have spent the entirety of yesterday designing it, but it was totally worth it! Please let me know in the comments what you think of it.

Make sure you follow Poppy alla Norma on Bloglovin’ so you never miss a post!

Poppy alla Norma

Until next time,

- Poppy -

  • I have had my blog for almost a year but found it very difficult to go through life changes and keep with the blog so I stopped. I kept wanting to come back for months but thought that I was too far gone. I loved blogging but it can get stressful. Now I’m back but easing myself into the world again. Consistent blogging is key. I know that I find inspiration and want to write four blog posts in a row but stop myself because I don’t want people to think I’ll be writing that frequently. I need to learn to start using the submit post later part of WordPress so that I have back up material. I really did enjoy reading this post. It’s nice to hear what other CF bloggers are thinking!

    • It’s never too late to start blogging again but you’re right, it can be pretty stressful, especially when life has a tendency to get in the way. Yes, scheduling posts is a great habit to get into, really great for those days where the inspiration just keeps on coming and coming! Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the read!

  • I blogged for about a month or so (probably even more) without a comment or many likes. I honestly wasn’t sure if anyone liked what I wrote or really even read it. Then I did the A to Z challenge in April and that changed everything. I got the hang of it and found a community of bloggers that don’t even travel and I am a travel blog. Go figure. It is strange how it works out in the end. Yes, it involves consistency and time and patience… but it is worth it in the end. Best of luck. Cheryl

    • It can be disheartening to receive no comments at the start, can’t it? I’ve just googled the A to Z Challenge, what a brilliant idea! I can see that it would be a wonderful introduction into the world of blogging. You’re right, the effort is definitely worth it. Thank you, and thanks for commenting!

      • You are most welcome. Have a great day!