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Starting a blog can be very overwhelming. Picking a name. Deciding what to focus on. Finding your voice. Creating a look. Knowing how to promote this new blog.
It can all be so much to handle that it would be easier to just not start a blog.
Then you start this new blog; self doubt lays her seed and the comparison game begins. “Why don’t I have a logo? Are my pictures pretty enough? Why don’t I have 10,000 followers after one blog post? Do they like me? Really, really like me?”
And, again, things can feel overwhelming, frustrating, and, start looking rather gloomy like the gray, drizzly, Portland sky.
Well, queue the Portland Bloggers and the fabulous Goal-Setting Workshop they put on to kick off 2014!
I attended the event knowing my blog was in the very infancy of its life. I was nervous, and, somewhat embarrassed. My blog didn’t have a logo, I did not have cards for it, and, I don’t own a fancy camera. I sheepishly found my way to the conference room at the McBru offices and was greeted by some of the nicest ladies! And, the most delicious cookies! There were approximately 30-bloggers in attendance. Some, were well established and successful bloggers. Others, had been at it for a while and needed that extra boost. A large portion were baby bloggers, just like me.
After introductions, we started off working with the super helpful templates for blog planning with our respective tables. Everyone at my table was new to blogging with very different areas of interest. Lifestyle. Travel. Fashion. Cooking. Health. Even though we were all across the board I quickly realized we were all having the same “I have a long, long way to go” feelings about our blogs. Some needed to work on making an editorial calendar and others in the group were able to share their tips. Some of the ladies had already designed the most beautiful, clean, visually appealing online space, and some of us were still using the generic, flowery background provided by the host. We were able to follow the guidelines from the templates and discuss the roadblocks we had faced, share our successes, and bounce ideas and concepts off one another.
After we worked through the goal setting templates, we were able to break off in small groups with different areas of focus. I elected to join Macey and discuss the visual aspects of blogging. Though the list of tips and knowledge I acquired was more than two-pages long, I have already implemented three nuggets of wisdom from Macey over at Martha Chartreuse!
1. Watermark Those Monets: Before the workshop, none of my original photos had a watermark on them. Meaning, anyone on the internet could steal my photos!! By taking one extra step, my photos now have my website on them, ensuring traffic will come back to me and my photos will not be hijacked.
2. Photo Editing: One of the biggest concerns I had before talking with the group is the fact that I do not own a fancy camera. I have a point-and-shoot, and, a my trusty iPhone. Macey assured me that my iPhone could more than handle it. She recommended using PicMonkey to edit my photos. It is a free service, with an optional upgraded membership, and a great introduction for novice photographers, like myself!
3. This Beautiful Blog: Designing websites is in no way in my wheelhouse. Since hiring a designer is not in the budget at this point in time, I was very worried my blog’s look was destined to be “cheesy and generic” instead of the desired “clean and inviting” feel I love. Macey recommended looking into online tutorials, including ones from A Beautiful Mess and good ole’ Google!
Outside of all the wonderful tips and tools I acquired at the Portland Bloggers 2014 Goal Setting Workshop, I made some really fantastic contacts. I was introduced to some new-to-me blogs, have gone on several delightful coffee dates, and, feel more involved and integrated into the community.
I am already looking forward to the Speed Networking Event on March 8th! More information and tickets to go on sale later this week!
Meredith pens one of Portland’s newest blogs, Martha Chartreuse. Originally from Montana, she pairs her Rocky Mountain Roots with her love of entertaining. Her goal is to make projects and recipes that are inspiring, attainable, and still make guests say “WOW”!