I cannot believe that the blog turned two years old today!! I feel like time has flown by. There have definitely been a lot of ups and downs. I’ve picked up a lot along the way, but I still have so much to learn. In honor of my blogiversary, I thought I would share my blogging story with you : )
I discovered blogs at the end of my college career, and I thought they were sooooo cool. The idea of starting my own blog did not occur to me until I was out in the real world working and missing my creative outlet. The main obstacles were picking out a name and figuring out how to start one. At first, I picked out the name Sweet Tea and Mason Jars and held the name in Google’s Blogger. But I did not get around to buying the domain name until about a month later, and when I went to do it—the name which had previously been available had now been bought by someone! Grrr!! (I really think that there are people that follow to see who starts a blog on Blogger and buys up the domain name to sell it for more). Discouraged by my name being taken, it was probably a few more months until I finally came up with Sweet Tea in the South. Lesson learned=Always go ahead and buy the domain name, just in case.
I originally started Sweet Tea in the South in Blogger. I have read many posts that suggest you should immediately start your blog on WordPress, but I had no idea where to even start with hosting my own site and what not. Blogger was simple to learn and to actually get the blog up and running. Plus, it was FREE! So if I did not end up sticking with blogging, there was not money lost.
My next issue was what exactly to blog about. All of the research I’ve found said that successful blogs focus on a niche subject. A lot of the blogs I follow talk about a little bit of everything, which I thoroughly enjoy. There are also some blogs that I follow that focus specifically on food, crafting, etc. I’ve decided to write about whatever happens to be going on in my life at the moment and what makes me happy. It has been nice to use the blog to keep family and friends in the loop as to what is going on in my life. I refer to Sweet Tea in the South as a Lifestyle Blog so I can blog about anything I want. My first few posts were about my friend Melissa and I’s big trip to Europe. The blog ended up being an awesome way to document my travels, house happenings, and share pictures with family and friends.
Then with only about twenty blog posts under my belt, I published a post called “The T-shirt Rag Quilt (the Non-Quilter’s Quilt)” and everything exploded. My normal 50ish views from friends and family on a normal post went to about 800 views in a couple of hours, just from people re-sharing on Facebook. I started receiving comments on the post from people I did not know. This had never happened to me! It was so encouraging to hear how people were going to use my tutorial to hang onto special shirts. I was so happy that my post had gone viral, but the blog itself was not ready. I did not even have “Follow Me” buttons anywhere on the site. My next weekend was spent googling coding, trying to update my site, and coming up with a logo.
Soon after, I hired a designer to redesign my site to look more professional and streamlined. I loved the new setup and knew it was time to take my blogging more seriously. My next big series were my Stitch Fix posts. These were big for me because I do not like being in front of a camera (at all).
I’m definitely not the most consistent blogger (nor will I ever claim to be). I took it to the next step around April and had someone transfer my blog to WordPress. I use A Small Orange (affiliate link) as my host, and they have been great so far. Plus, they don’t laugh at me when I tell them “I think I hit my bandwidth limit? I don’t even know what that means.” haha ; ) I am still learning my way around in WordPress–it has been a big learning curve for me.
Back in July I attended my first blogging conference, Haven, which is a design and DIY blogging conference. Not knowing anyone and being a “baby blog” was definitely a challenge for me. I learned so much, and realized I will never learn everything. I need to figure out what works best for me and my blog.
I broke down at the end of August and created an editorial calendar (i.e. I put sticky posts on my normal calendar to plan out my posts) which has really helped me create a schedule. In the past, I would just post on the fly when the mood struck me. Things like a crashed computer have not helped. Life always knows how to throw you a curveball right? 😉
If you are thinking about starting a blog, I would say go for it. It is awesome being able to share what you are doing in your own voice.
Thanks for stopping by!