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!

Screenshot 2019-09-13 16.30.17

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:

Screenshot 2019-09-11 22.14.28.png

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


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

  1. These are all such wonderful tips, and all things I wish I knew when I started out! Canva truly is the best for graphics 😄 And audiobooks are lifesavers when you don’t have much time for physical reading!!! I love everything you said about reaching out to the community as well – it can be intimidating but so worth it! Also, happy late birthday! ❤️💃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay I’m so glad you did another one of these posts as I think your advice is so great and you write them so well!!!
    I think it important to feel like you can change your blog when you want to as a lot of people talk about brand but sometimes it can leave you getting stuck in a box but really it is yours to experiment with and to get the most enjoyment out of it. I’ve changed by blog design quite a few times now and I’m glad I did it every time.
    I’m glad to have someone else who loves Canva because I definitely do and I use it all the time– I find it so easy to use and my graphics are simple but they are what I want. I have definitely improved over time so advise everyone to give it a go.
    I used to be scared about sharing an opinion that might be unpopular but spending more time in the community made me realise how people appreciate and respect other opinions and you shouldn’t feel like you have to hide how you really feel and something I hope everyone knows!!
    I agree that consistency does help with blogging but your schedule doesn’t need to be unbreakable but it can move around to suit you.
    When I started I used to be scared about reaching out to other bloggers but then I started talking to everyone I realised I didn’t need to be scared and when people do it to me it means so much so I definitely advise people to reach out if they have something nice to say.

    I love reading these posts and I hope you do more please 🙂 Thank you for writing this!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you so much! I’m glad you find my posts helpful! 😀 I do agree that you should be able to change your blog when you want/need to, because everyone changes and grows every now and then! Your blog is your blog, and you should be able to do what you want with it. 🙂

      I used to be scared of reaching out to other bloggers, because I was afraid they wouldn’t understand what I was saying or they wouldn’t respond, but I’ve learned to just try it, and most people are very nice! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a great, insightful post! 🥰 I struggled with redesigning my blog graphics, because I feared that it wouldn’t look consistent with my older posts, but going for an updated design was a good choice – I love my design a lot more now! I … also didn’t know that you could bold your comments, so you just revolutionized my world 😱 Trying it out now … oh this is amazing 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a helpful post! I haven’t been blogging very long and am still figuring things out, so it’s super nice to know that people who have incredible blogs went through the same struggles! All your tips are incredibly useful and I will definitely be saving this post to reference later!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Another wonderful post, Xandra!! And happy birthday! Oh my gosh, I hope you had the most amazing day, love! ❤ I honestly didn't know about adding HTML to comments until a few months ago. I was shocked when I started seeing it on a few WordPress blogs! Oh, how I've been so deprived. Audiobooks saved my life too, once my school load became way too much to handle, and I agree that personally reaching out to people is the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Xandra! Sorry I’m so late but, happy belated birthday to you! ♡

    Even after blogging for 2 years, I still enjoyed this post & remembering what it was like in the beginning. I never knew you could change your font in comments. Super cool! Thanks for sharing!

    Def would love to see a Part 3. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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