How to Blog: Random Musings

So I've read a lot of posts recently from some of my favorite bloggers on how to have a decent blog. I decided to kind of compile my thoughts and findings on the topic in my post today. But don't worry, I'll include some pretty pictures in my post so as not to bore you too much while I ponder this deep and important topic...


This post was sparked while reading Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist. She has a lot of strong opinions about blogging. This one kind of stopped me in my tracks:

Blogs without topics are a waste of time. 

Hmmm...what is my topic? My blog started out as Fickle Chick, mainly because I have trouble making decisions and sticking to them. I change my mind a lot and I'm kind of all over the place. I mean, I was too fickle to even keep my blog name. So I'm worried - does my lack of focus mean I'm wasting my time?

On a related note, a lot of bloggers talk about branding. Their blogs have a certain look or feel to them. Usually the same look and feel that they themselves have. For example, Bryn Dunn from Bryn Alexandra has chosen green burlap, navy blue, and light blue for her 'branding'. Everything relating to her business has this look:



She was originally in advertising, so she knows about things like this. I, on the other hand, have never really thought about branding in my life. Bryn has decided to try her hand at interior design, so of course her blog is about interior design. I like interior design, but I like a lot of other things too. Like my baby. And my cats. So I don't want to be limited to writing about interior design. But Penelope thinks that is all wrong. Well shucks.

On the other hand, Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely writes about a variety of topics from fashion to her home to her baby, and her blog is successful. She is pretty good at branding though too (at least so it seems to me - again I'm not an expert on the topic). Nicole kind of goes for this retro, pink, librarian vibe. And it really works for her. She went onto this blog and could tell that she was A Literary Mrs:

I, on the other hand, went to this same blog. And though I was in love with many of the looks, I couldn't tell you which one is 'me'. Maybe someone else could tell me, but I honestly have no clue. (Please let me know if you know). I'm not sure that I have a look - blogwise or in real life.

Alright, so I think I may have failed at Penelope's first point - note to self: must find focus. Let's move on. Here are a few other things she thinks are important:

Post regularly without messing anything up. 
I like this one better. Because I pretty much do this. Sometimes I might mess up. But I try to fix my mistakes as soon as the hubster my brother-in-law my sister I discover them. 

Create traffic.
Okay, so I guess I'm lazy, but this one is honestly too much work for me. If I like a blogger's post, I comment. If I think a blog post of mine would be helpful to someone, I tell them about it. But I'm not about to lock myself in a room and advertise myself all over the internet to get my traffic up. I'll just pretend that this one will happen on its own. I really prefer to put my time and energy into my content.

Make money.
Again, not a strong point for me. I don't think I've made any money from my blog. I guess I could look for advertisers or something. I don't know how you go about that. I think of my blog more as a hobby than as a business. Okay so I did just recently start charging for my idea boards (only $10) mainly because I was getting a ridiculous number of requests every week and started feeling overwhelmed. And it stopped being fun which I hated. So now I'm getting less requests and I'm happier. I'm not sure if that counts as making money from my blog or not, but I'll go with kind of yes. To read the rest of Penelope's posts about blogging, click here.

So it looks like Penelope wouldn't be a big fan of my blog. The focus thing seems pretty important to her. Luckily, Maria Killam of Colour Me Happy makes me feel a little better with her tips:

Have a White Background
Yes! Here's one I got right. Maria says that she will leave a blog immediately if it has a dark or black screen, mainly because they are harder to read. I must admit that I do the same thing. I also hate when a blog has a really busy background. I find it distracting from the content.

Get a professional looking header
Check! I'm lucky that my sister is a graphic designer and kindly designed me a very pretty header. Thanks sis! She just started a blog too, mainly about her new life as an Aussie.

Make your blog look bigger
Yes! I've done this one too. I like larger photos and having a larger blog allowed me to fit more fun things into my template without having it look too overwhelming and cluttered. To read more of Maria's fabulous tips, click here

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And lastly, another helpful post on successful blogging from Jessica Schroeder of What I Wore. Here are a few of Jessica's tips:

Create your own content.
I feel like I have a good balance here of my own content and sharing fun things I find elsewhere on the web. For me, some of my favorite blogs are just photos that people have found on the web, in magazines, etc. So while I think this is a great tip, I think you can be flexible with it. Just make sure you credit your sources!

If your blog is visual - USE GOOD PHOTOS
I definitely agree with this one. So often I come across a blog that seems to have great content, but the photos are super tiny, dark, or blurry. This is a huge turn off for me (I am a very visual person). In fact, there are very few blogs that I read that don't have photos. If you don't have pretty pictures on your blog, you'd better have some great content and amazing writing skills.

Be realistic with your goals.
I really like this part of Jessica's post. It's kind of the flip side of what Penelope talks about. Basically she's saying, decide what your blogging goal is - is it to make money? For me, that one is a definite no. Is it a creative outlet? Yes! This is definitely where I would place myself. I do find it interesting that two bloggers posting on the same topic can have such opposite ideas (if you read Penelope's and Jessica's posts, you'll know what I mean here). To read the rest of Jessica's post, click here.
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I really enjoy blogging, and while I love readers and comments, I mainly do it for me. I find it's actually a great way to motivate myself to do the things I love anyway. I'm a bit of a procrastinator, and have trouble getting started on things. My blog gives me a good kick in the butt. For example, if I decide on Thursday that I'm going to write about a DIY project I'm planning to do, instead of putting my project off (or, even worse, starting it and not finishing - I have this issue too), having a deadline helps me to get started AND finished with my project. And it's also fun to look back and see all of the things I've accomplished.

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So I apologize if this post was a little rambling and random. Mainly I was wondering if I'm on the right track with my blog, and I guess I've kind of answered my own question. My blog is a creative outlet for me, and while I love readers and comments, in the end I write this because I enjoy it. 

Hopefully this has helped a couple of people out there, but if not, it's certainly provided some worthwhile introspection for me! So who do you agree with - Penelope? Maria? Jessica? All three? Or maybe none of them. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic in general.

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And in case there weren't enough tips for you in this post, here are a few more blogging how-to's I came across while writing this:

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I'll leave you with this quote, found on another incredible blog - Make Under My Life:

I think for me this is what blogging is all about! Thanks to all of the amazing ladies (and gentlemen) on my blogroll for the daily inspiration.


  1. You sort of answered your own question in the post! If every blogger only wrote about one topic they would be limiting their readers (which is totally fine too) to people that like just those things. Didn't blogs start off as the online version of a journal? Don't people write anything and everything that is on their minds in their journal?

    Your blog doesn't seem like it's meant to be just about one thing and it's just right! I'm the same way- I could never write about the same thing/idea again and again. I write what I want and what I'm feeling.

    I'm missing a nice header. I can't come up with anything good!

  2. Just a quick note- Nicole writes Making it Lovely.. Eleanor is her baby! :)

    I did like this post and am definitely going to take some of it to heart (ahem.. busy background?) Thanks!

  3. Haha thanks Samantha! There's one of those 'mistakes' I was talking about :)

  4. Great post with lots of helpful information and as soon as I have a minute to ponder - I will! I enjoyed the different thoughts and great points! Thanks for sharing it all and I LOVE your blog. I love your creativity, your inspiration and your stories. :)

  5. Some of these are good, and some I don't agree with so much. I think it all depends on your purposes for blogging. For people who are hoping to turn blogging into a career, then I think it does help to pay a lot of attention to branding, advertising, and a specific focus (like Young House Love, for example). But then again, one of the most popular blogs out there,, has a bunch of varied topics... cattle ranching, cooking, photography. And her blog started out looking way less pretty than it is now. So who knows. But anyway I blog because it really does bring me joy. It's like a diary, a timepiece, and also a way to share and interact with others. And above all, rules are meant to be broken, right? :)

  6. Hey thanks for the mention, and for the well-researched post! Your header is great and your blog looks nice and white. Love it!

  7. Kristi - I agree. Some of the bloggers I follow are very focused - money, interior design, baby stuff. Others I would call more 'lifestyle' bloggers. They blog about their lives and interests. Both seem to be equally successful. PW is a great example.

  8. Thanks Maria! I have also started using your trick of placing pretty pictures in some of my wordier posts - I love how you do that. Thanks for the continued inspiration :)

  9. Thanks for sharing. I will have to go back latter and read the articles in details. As far as your blog goes. I love it! I came across it a few weeks ago and I really enjoy how you cover different things. It keeps it interesting I think.

  10. I like your blog too :) It gives me something to read almost every day and it's always interesting. I think as long as it's something that makes you happy - that's all that matters!

  11. So many good tips - I definitely need to put more of these into practice!

    I was hunting around for your old fickle chic blog recently and was so disappointed that I couldn't find it because I loved it! I'm so glad I found your new blog. I'm going to add you to my reader, and I hope you'll stop by my blog sometime too.

  12. I'm right there with ya!

    I don't think I like Penelope's views. Not all blogs are to be super professional and make money. Some of them are for fun, creative outlook, or even just chronicaling (is that a word) daily life.

  13. Thanks for these great tips! I took a blogging break a week or so ago and used some of this time to regain focus of what I want my blog to be. Thanks again for the great reminders! :)

  14. when I start reading this post,first thing crossed my mind is Donald Tramp's quote: you should do only what you're passionate about! that's the only way to succeed.
    but then,reading through post,I've seen you made that conclusion yourself.
    I've read Maria's posts on Color me happy,and Penelope's too. Thank you for other links. I started changing my blog a few days ago,and already noticing improvement.

  15. I love this post! Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge - Love a blog that blogs about blogging :)

  16. when I start reading this post,first thing crossed my mind is Donald Tramp's quote: you should do only what you're passionate about! that's the only way to succeed.
    but then,reading through post,I've seen you made that conclusion yourself.
    I've read Maria's posts on Color me happy,and Penelope's too. Thank you for other links. I started changing my blog a few days ago,and already noticing improvement.



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