Questions I often get asked are, “Why do you blog?”, “How did you start blogging?”or “What do you blog about?” I often explain to people how I started, how you actually can earn money from doing it and what I love about it, but I very rarely actually talk about it on here, with you.
This post has been rolling around in my head for a few weeks now since I realised its been just over five years since I decided to set up a blog. I didn’t even have a name for my blog. Steve actually came up with ‘Hello Cuppies’ and I loved it immediately. It made sense, and it kept a link between my cake life too.
I had no WordPress experience whatsoever and the basic templates I used were extremely limiting, but I carried on regardless. Googling and watching various videos on YouTube about the editing and SEO side helped. Plus, I thought it would be a cool way to show my family and friends back home in York what I was getting up to on the other side of the country.
Consequently my first ever post is cringe-worthy to say the least. Adopting a ‘winging it’ style attitude that wasn’t really getting me anywhere, I didn’t realise at the time that my blog was going to be such a big part of my life or be something that I would love so much. I’ve noticed that people often just don’t ‘get’ the whole blogging thing either. It’s difficult to understand unless you’re actually a blogger yourself I guess.
I can’t remember ever thinking that Hello Cuppies would be of an interest to anyone never mind that people would subscribe and engage with what I was doing. I began with just sharing recipes and cake related posts linked from my job as owner and chief baker (sounds posher than it really is) at Cuppies ‘n’ Cream and the feedback and sharing of what I was doing became addictive.
Quickly realising that what I found most rewarding from writing my blog was the feeling that people liked what I was doing. The people that read, engage, comment and send me lovely messages is what this is ultimately all about. Those are the reasons that help me to keep blogging and give me the desire to improve and get better at what I do.
I’ve always promised myself that I’ll be loyal to my readers as ultimately you’re the reason for my blog being successful. I do accept sponsored posts and I’ll always be upfront and honest about this. At one point I felt disheartened when I saw ‘bigger’ more successful bloggers not adding disclosures to their posts. I felt confused about why they didn’t? I still can’t answer this one but I have chosen to not focus on it and ignore their choices.
I’ve recently been speaking to a couple of fellow cakey friends who have started their own blogs and they both told me that I’d inspired them. That’s amazing! Even if it does make me blush a little. I’ve never been great at accepting compliments or hearing such positive feedback but my blog has taught me to be better at that. It’s encouraged me to be grateful, more confident and happy about it.
For a big chunk of my blogging journey I really didn’t embrace it like I should have done and at one point I completely neglected what I was meant to be doing and had a six-month break. 2017 has been my year for changing that and back in March I wrote ‘How I Fell Back in Love with Blogging‘ and I still feel exactly the same now.
Taking the step to introduce travel seemed obvious once I did it. I travel a lot, I’m pretty sure I must have that curious gene I keep reading about and I’ve been lucky enough to visit some amazing places along the way. From my perfect family holiday in Mexico, to my Mum and son break in Croatia, many many trips around Italy and a quick pit stop in Salou you’ve all got to see and read about my life. There are of course more holidays and weekend breaks planned and yes, I’ll be sharing those with you too.
Writing about travel has opened up some incredible opportunities for me and I’m feeling very excited, optimistic and if I’m honest…quite proud.
I also want to focus on other things I’m passionate about. Food, family, and exploring more of the UK and in particular where I live in Berkshire. I also love to read and would like to occasionally share some fab book discoveries. There’s been some corkers over the summer.
It’s rare that I share the real personal stuff but the more confident I’ve become the more I find I want to write about. Well aware of the fact that blogging can sometimes appear that life is perfect – we all know it’s not, I feel that a few more chatty personal posts, like this, would help keep the balance.
One big thing I keep reminding myself is – spend less time worrying about what others are doing, and stay focused on figuring out what works best for me. Everyone has their own story – tell it!
Don’t be afraid to open up and bare a little bit of your soul. What’s the worst that can happen?
And STOP checking stats all the time – easier said than done, I know.
Speaking of what works, I have managed to filter a few things out that I have learnt when it comes to blogging and whilst I’ll never truly understand the whole SEO world and what it really takes to get noticed, I do have some tips and handy hints I’d like to share. Here’s a small bit of insight.
A catchy headline is better than writing an SEO headline. The chances of ranking high in search terms on Google is pretty unlikely right now. Trust me, I’ve tried. My most successful posts, where I’ve had the most traffic and what stay ‘evergreen’, are the ones where I’ve really focused on my content. Ever heard the phrase ‘Content is King’? It’s totally relevant and key to writing a successful blog post.
Link back to previous posts. About six months ago I read that we should all be doing this. Why? Not gonna lie, I’m not 100% sure but I have noticed it keeps a reader on your blog for longer (bounce rate). Of course making sure the links are totally relevant to your post is key, it helps with navigation, and helps search engines crawl and index your site.
Make sure your content is readable. By this I’m mostly referring to the layout. Break up long paragraphs, use headings (I use Header 2 in WordPress) and STOP USING EXCLAMATION MARKS. I’m totally guilty of the last one. Once a post is drafted I nearly always have to go back and remove about a hundred of them. Your words should be strong enough and interesting enough to not need them.
Shorter paragraphs are easier to digest and your readers are less likely to skip sections.
Wrap it Up
My one giant piece of advice for any female entrepreneur is to stay true to who you are. If you do start to make money from your blog think carefully about the opportunities you accept. Only work with brands you truly relate to and always be honest when you do work with them. Unfortunately there are some PR’s out there that will try to bend the rules a little but stay true, and stand your ground.
I’m certainly not a great writer. With no formal training, my spelling and punctuation sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, but I do think I have my own kind of style and nothing beats experience. Keep going, keep writing, be you and remember, and I’ve said this before, nobody else can write like you can. You’re unique.
I hope you stick around and enjoy reading my blog. If you don’t want to miss any new posts subscribe using the pop-up you should have seen by now. Or use the box below (scroll to the bottom). The comment box is right below too… nudge, nudge 😉