What I Should Have Known As A New Blogger // Part II

I asked, you answered, and now, here it is… Part II of my “Things I Should Have Known” series!

A few months ago, I made a post about things I wish I had known when I started blogging. I asked if y’all wanted another post about those kinds of things, and some of you said “yes”! I’m so glad that at least one person was inspired by that post, and I hope that you all can get something out of this one, as well.

Also… today, September 16th, is my birthday! *confetti and balloons fall from the sky* 🎉🎉🎉🤗✨ Happy birthday to myself! I’m glad to share a bit of today with you all. 😊

Without further ado, on to the post!


It’s okay to change your style, if you feel the need.

When I first started this blog, I was so scared of not having a “perfect” blog theme. Every blog I saw was so clean and had a great ~aesthetic~. I felt like I couldn’t compete with those blogs, but I kind of had to… and this worry resulted in me spending way too much time on a blog design I never even kept. 

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been blogging for quite a while, I don’t think you should afraid to change your blog a little bit. Your blog is your little home on the internet – you deserve to make it yours! 

📚 related: 8 Things I Should Have Known When I Started Blogging

Of course, when you first start your blog, you might want to try different WordPress themes and graphic styles, and this is totally okay, and perfectly normal! Don’t be afraid to try out what you like for your personal blog, but also don’t try too hard to be like someone else. Make your blog uniquely you, and if it’s not perfect right now, that’s okay too! The great thing a blogs is that we can constantly make them better and change whatever we want, at our own paces. 

And just for reference, this is was my blog looked like in December 2018: 

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This is the first time I’m seeing it since January, and… yikes. 🙈 

Never give up! You always have time to improve/experiment with your blog! And don’t be afraid to change your blog name if you really want to, either, because… obviously I already survived that move. 😅

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How to make graphics and headers.

Okay, I will admit that this is not exactly something I am the best at, or anything. Actually, Kat @ Novels and Waffles is one of the best graphics bloggers I know, and if you would like to see how she creates images for her blog, here is a list of blog design posts from her!

But if you would like to know how I made everything on my blog as of now, I will show you!

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Almost every single image on my blog comes from Canva.com! My blog header, post headers, post dividers, blog background image, and name image were made using the graphic designs from Canva, which is a popular free option for designs!

I’ve been using Canva for a few years now, for several different things. I found out about it while I was working at my high school library, and we used Canva for everything back then. It’s very easy to learn and use, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a free design option (and you don’t have to attribute anything!).

Other common options include PicMonkey and Vecteezy, but for those, you either have to include an attribute or get a paid version in order to have access to the good graphics. (You can have a free trial on PicMonkey, and you can actually get pretty far with the Vecteezy free version.)

I’ve heard a lot of great things about these websites, and I encourage you to check them out for yourself! (I haven’t tried either of them, but that’s just because I’m a) very comfortable with Canva’s format, b) scared of trying other websites, and c) cheap about everything!)

I’ve always used Canva for my blog graphics, but as you can tell from my “The Book Blog Battle” screenshot, making great blog designs takes practice and time! I’ve personally spent hours and hours just messing around with different graphics and images. I suggest you should try multiple graphic image websites, and try out different images and themes. If something doesn’t work right away, you can always try again and do something new! (That’s what I did, and I turned out just fine! 😉 )

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Not everyone will agree, and that’s okay.

Part of what makes blogging scary, and blog posts about opinions and discussions in particular, is the fact that you may sometimes talk about something not everyone agrees with. But you’ll soon just have to accept this as a fact.

For example, when I started doing Book Tags, I once got a question along the lines of “What’s a book that everyone likes, but you don’t?” And I basically answered, “Well… I didn’t love Eleanor & Park. 🙂 It just wasn’t for me! 🙂 I don’t know why, but maybe I’ll try it again!” 

But, now I have the courage to say, “You know what? I hated it. I should have DNFed when I read it all those years ago. It’s not that great, and I just knew there were some problems in the first place. HA!”

I’m not afraid to share my own opinions anymore, and it’s not just because a lot of people also feel the same way.

If you share your opinions, there will most likely always be someone else who agrees with you! Your viewers are reading your blog for you and your content, and they will probably respect whatever you have to say about your bookish opinions. (As long as it’s not too crazy, I mean.)

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Consistancy can be key, but don’t be too hard on yourself.

As a new blogger, I had no idea how much I would be able to blog during the week. I was also very confused about weekly “blogging schedules”, like… how could anyone ever be so consistent? 

Blogging schedules can be anything between “I post reviews every Monday, and tags every Tuesday and Thursday, and on Saturdays I post…” and “I post on Mondays and Fridays”. I’ve never been one to have a complete schedule, just because that’s simply not who I am. But, I do make goals for myself, and that’s my consistency. I typically post 2-3 posts per week, and to me, it doesn’t really matter when it is. 

I don’t use a “real” blogging schedule because I don’t want to stress myself out over it. I’m still in college, and if my school work gets in the way of a post… I can always feel free to move it back a day or two! This way, I don’t feel obliged to post whenever people would expect me to. 

And secretly, as someone who follows 400+ blogs… I’ve never kept track of anyone’s blogging schedule. I honestly don’t pay attention enough to care when someone’s post is “supposed to be” up, and if I don’t notice inconsistencies in someone’s posting, then other will probably not notice either. 

If you choose to keep up with a blogging schedule, please know that it’s totally okay if you decide to change it or you miss a day! Your viewers know you’re busy, and honestly, they might not notice when you miss a day and have to move your post back. Please don’t stress too much over these things, because your blog is your comfort space, and you should be comfortable with whatever you can do with it! 

However… it would be best if you at least made a goal to post once a week, or something like that. If your viewers don’t see you posting for like, 5 months without notice, they might start to forget about your content… and you might eventually abandon your blog! Hiatuses and breaks are perfectly fine (and probably well-deserved!) as well, but if you’re trying to keep your blog up and running smoothly, it’s probably best that your viewers can kind of count on when you’re going to post.

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You can italicize, bold, and underline your comments!

I didn’t know this, but… did you know you could bold and underline your comments?? What kind of magic is this??

For months, I had been using variations of *this*, and /this/, and even whatever the heck ~this~ is to emphasize my words in the comment section. But no more! Enough is enough. 

If you’re familiar with the text formatting on Goodreads, the setup is basically the same thing.

Here are some screenshot examples:
(and yes, I actually commented on my own post to experiment. for science!)

Comment formating:

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Finished comment:

Screenshot 2019-09-11 22.14.44.png

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Audiobooks may just save your life.

I’ve talked about this before, but if you’ve never tried listening to an audiobook, I highly recommend it.

📚 related: How To Survive School AND Blogging // tips and tricks from a college book nerd
see this post for a some websites to find audiobooks!

I used to be an anti-audiobook person, because I could just never pay attention to anything, but one year ago, everything changed. I listened to several audiobooks in one month, and then I was hooked!

Audiobooks are a great way to get some of your TBR books out of the way. They can be fun, and some of them have multiple narrators, which makes things even more interesting!

Currently, I listen to books between classes and while walking around campus for my daily walks. I also listen while eating in my dorm room, or right before I go to sleep (i.e. whenever my eyes are too tired to read a physical book!). And perhaps most frequently, I listen to audiobooks while I write blog posts!

Audiobooks are also great because you can take them wherever you want! I mostly use Scribd and Overdrive/Libby for listening to audios, but you can also use many other options as well!

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Don’t be afraid to personally reach out to someone! 

When I first started blogging, I had absolutely no idea what to do. Everything I did within the first three months was purely based on my own observations of the Book Blogging world. 

I followed every blog I could find, and got inspiration from the bookish posts they were doing. If they posted discussions, I tried to post my own (and I kind of failed, by my standards today). I saw them doing tags, so I didn’t wait to be tagged and did them on my own. I saw people posting at certain times of the day, and I tried out different times to see what worked best for me. The only true thing I learned from others was how to find my blogging voice… (and I think I’ll make a post about that soon, with some ideas and sources I adore. 😉 ) And that’s even something you have to figure out on your own… there’s no right or wrong way to do many aspects of blogging.

But after I gained about 400+ followers, I noticed a few people asking me for help and advice for their new blogs. Me, you’re asking me for help? What can I even say to those kinds of questions? 

And most of these newbie blogger questions also included some kind of apology for bothering me or something. While I’m very grateful for your kindness and consideration, please feel free to ask me anything you want! Literally, ask me anything you want. Spam me with questions. Ask me about my favorite books, or characters, or ships, or random others. Bust down my DMs and ask me every question you have. I will respond with glee, I guarantee you! 

I love interacting with you all, and I especially love sharing my experiences and learning from others about their time here in the Blogging world!

Even if you don’t feel like contacting me in particular, you should also be open to contacting other bloggers, as well! This kind of interaction can be very helpful, and maybe you’ll keep a blogging relationship with the the other bloggers you contact! You never know. 

Just… go forth and ask questions to your trusted bloggers to share some knowledge and experience. They might have a lot to say, be it tips or tricks or general suggestions. You never know until you try! 

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All right, friends! That’s all I have for today! 😊

Would you be interested in a Part III? Let me know!

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Did you struggle with any of these things when you started?
Is there anything else you wish you had known as a newbie?
Would you… want a Part III?

Chat with me about it!


You can also be my friend on Goodreads!

Happy reading, everyone! 😊Starry Sky Books-13

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47 thoughts on “What I Should Have Known As A New Blogger // Part II

  1. I would love more posts like this. It’s kind of…comforting(?) to hear about someone else’s experiences. I’ve been blogging for almost a year now but I still feel pretty new and like I haven’t got to grips with it all yet. Also I did not know that about the WordPress comments, so thanks for teaching me something new! 😂

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  2. Great advice! I agree with everything, though I do not quite understand this – “what makes blogging scary… is the fact that you may sometimes talk about something not everyone agrees with”. I thought the point of blogging was to express one’s opinions – both popular and unpopular. I personally set up my blog to express my unpopular opinions. If everyone sets up a blog to please everyone else – that will be one boring and conforming internet space 🙂

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  3. Happy Birthday (I really hope that works as, although I knew some of the codes, I didn’t realize you could use them in comments. Anyway I hope you’ve had a fantastic day (: and thank you for the wonderful post.

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  4. Awesome tips Sophie! I love Canva and I couldn’t create beautiful graphics on my blog without them. Truly a lifesaver. And agree on the consistency is a key point. It’s okay to take a break and not having a blog schedule. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you must too.

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  5. AHHHH I love this post so much – these are honestly my fave posts to read, not just for the advice but to remind myself that everyone had to start out from somewhere & at the beginning, everyone struggles a little 😅

    Thank you for sharing, Xandra!!

    💛 Ngoc

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  6. This series gives such great advice! I completely agree with you that audiobooks are a lifesaver! I listen to them while I’m driving to work and doing more repetitive tasks at work. I don’t listen to them while writing blog posts because I use that time to catch up with some YouTube videos or TV shows. That’s what you get for enjoying way too many forms of entertainment.

    I have to be honest though, reaching out to other bloggers is something that still scares me a bit. I find it a little hard to start friendships with people on the other side of a computer but I never had a bad experience with anyone in this community. I guess that counts for something.

    BTW, I love how, although you’re using WordPress free, your blog seems like a professional one. You’re doing a great job 💙

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  7. What a great post! Gosh, I was so jealous of other blogs and their pretty designs while I still hadn’t figured out formatting. The good thing is, that there is always something to improve or to change if you don’t like it. I’m still improving and I think I have that blog five years now. (It’s still fairly small, but who cares.) I find it’s important to say that (new) beginnings are scary but it’s very rewarding to try. Step boldly! 😀 I’m just now figuring out the english speaking bloggersphere. Can’t wait to get started. 😀

    Happy belated birthday btw! 💙💙💙

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  8. Xandra, you write the best advice post, and I just love your blog so much! I’ve always wondered about that comment thing, and this comment is officially the first comment wherein I have modified my comments!

    I agree with everything here so much! My marble theme when I first started out was HORRENDOUS, and then I completely changed my blog’s look after that to something really cute (at least in my opinion) and kind of childish (which was the look I was going for). Now, I think my blog looks more professional? I don’t know, but I’ve had so much fun modifying my blog to best reflect myself! Sadly, I’m one of the few humans in the world—or maybe the only–who doesn’t like Canva. It’s nothing against the site itself—I love that it’s completely free and has doesn’t watermark on any of the photos! There are just things that it does that I really don’t like :// Personally, my go to app to edit blog graphics is Phonto! I think Phonto is only available on mobile, but it’s a free app wherein you can place text on images, but you can do so much more with it! I have edited like, 99% of my blog’s graphics on it, and I just upload my work through the WordPress app on my phone, so that I can use them on the computer!

    Ahh, I definitely agree that not anyone will agree, and that’s okay. When I was first posting negative to critical reviews of hyped books, and I had things that I disliked about them, I’d make sure to frame my criticisms in an “I didn’t like this, but this book was still amazing” way, which was a lie because I really didn’t like the book, and it was okay for me to say that.

    Audiobooks have never been for me because I space out in 3 seconds, but seeing as they eventually worked for you, I’ll have to give them a try! I’m actually listening to my first one in about a month, and it’s making for an enjoyable experience! But I did try listening to it while blog hopping, and it did not go well at all 😂 You have to tell me how you listen to them while writing blog posts because if I knew how to do that, I’d be unstoppable! And I’m also so so glad that I didn’t bother you when I reached out to you all those months ago! Thank you for being such a light in the blogging community!

    I’m sincerely so sorry that this comment is so ungodly long. I just love this post so much—believe me, and I apologize for its length :”) HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I hope you have an amazing day that’s as amazing as you are and as amazing as this blog post is COMBINED 💕

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