Monday, November 5, 2012

Blogging Advice from an Expert

While I was in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, I had the good fortune to meet briefly with Liz Stanley of Say Yes to Hoboken. Liz is a really successful blogger who teaches classes for Function and she will be a speaker this year at Alt Summit. Needless to say, she knows her stuff! So, it was invaluable to put some of the questions I've been asking myself to her, and hear her expert opinion. 

Question #1: Should I change the name of my blog? Folio Rose was named for Portland, Oregon, The City of Roses, with the idea that it would be my little folder of life in Portland. But then we moved to Switzerland, and suddenly the name meant even less than it had before. (Let's be real here, Folio Rose is a rather obscure name in any case! ;) 

Liz said to change it now! She had the same problem with her blog, which is very clearly connected to Hoboken, New Jersey, when they moved to San Francisco. At that point, her blog was already big enough that she couldn't really change the name. But Folio Rose isn't that big so I hope you'll all bear with me and be excited to have a new name coming soon. It will reflect life in Switzerland for an American couple with a baby and how much fun and how lovely that is. Much better, don't you think?! ;)

Question #2: Do I have to post everyday Monday through Friday in order to be successful at blogging? I've been trying to make the blog a Monday through Friday thing for months now, but I just don't think it's realistic. :(

Liz said no! "You don't have to post everyday." she said, shaking her head and smiling. "You don't." Phew!! She went on to say that two or three posts a week, that follow a predictable schedule, are enough to build a following and grow traffic. The most important thing, according to Liz, is high quality content. 

From now on I will post three times per week. I'll continue with Montessori Mondays because that is fun to write about and share with you and I love the comments and conversation it generates. Then I'll post on Wednesdays and Fridays. Liz said that once the blog can pay for childcare, then it's okay and good to post 5 days per week, but not to stress over it until then.  ;) Seriously! Isn't it so awesome I had the chance to pick her brain for a few minutes? 

Question #3: Is it a good idea to partner with friend's who have Etsy shops as beginning sponsorships?  I have a couple of friends who make awesome stuff that I'd love not only to have, but I'd love to share with all of you. Through trades, I'd get their awesome products and they would get exposure to you, my audience. This aspect of blogging is central if you want to turn your blog into your job, but it's also the part about blogging that makes me the most uncomfortable. I would never recommend or promote something I didn't truly love myself, but I would also never want my blog to read like an advertisement or make people feel pressured into buying more things, or inadequate or lacking. Flipping through a fashion magazine tends to make me feel all of those things at once! :(

Liz said definitely to pursue those relationships! She said it's good for me in that it's something original and tested and true that I can tell my readers about that they won't have heard of before (original content!) and, of course, it's good for my friends because I'm giving my honest endorsement of their handmade product to a group of people with interests and values similar to my own. When phrased in that way, it didn't make me uncomfortable at all. Just like I loved our experience with Jana Manja Photography here in Zurich, I'd love to share my friends gorgeous Etsy shops with you. So be looking out for that soon, and hopefully the blog may have a couple more sponsors very soon. :)

Question #4: How long did it take you to build your blog into a job with a full salary? I've been blogging as hobby for more than 6 years now, so obviously making money isn't why I do it. But if I could, I'd love to turn it into my job. Of course, I want to be realistic in the goals I set for myself.

Liz has been blogging for seven years now! And only in the past two or three years has her blog really  begun to generate a full salary. She said that it would go faster if she were to do it over again because she knows more looking back and that with all of the online resources and tools, it's bound to be faster for today's bloggers. It also requires a certain amount of luck! Nothing is guaranteed. But, if you love it, and you'd be doing it anyway, just keep at it was her advice. Sounds good to me!

So over the next few weeks, I'll be doing a redesign, brushing up on my bio, tightening the focus of the blog and giving it a new name. I'm really happy to have a clearer direction of where I'm going with blogging and what I want to accomplish with it. Thank you for your patience during my trip back to the States (when I was barely writing at all!) and in the upcoming transition to a new look and name. It means the world to me that you enjoy reading about our life here and watching our baby girl grow up with us!

Thank you for being a part of this with me. xoLindsey

(San Francisco neighborhood map from here)

12 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you got a chance to meet with her - i love that blog!!

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    1. She was so nice! I felt like a bit of an idiot because I was late, and flustered, and without even thinking about it, I went in and gave her a HUGE hug (with Coco in the Ergo) and apologized for having missed the bus twice because I was at a stop closed for construction. Oof! But she didn't seem to mind. LOVE HER! :) xo

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  2. I just found your blog and am sooo glad I did. LOVE Liz and this interview was so helpful!

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    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful, Melissa! xo

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  3. Awesome! So exciting! Really looking forward to seeing what you re-name the blog! :)

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    1. I've got my fingers crossed that it will be a name everyone likes! ;) xo

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  4. some great advice! i am in the midst of setting up a new blog (or tumblr account... can't decide which format I prefer) and this is just what i need to hear!
    I cant' wait to see your new blog name! I cannot for the life of me think of a name for my new blog...
    p.s. I was missing you! Glad to see you back :)

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    1. I'm so embarrassed to say that I don't even know how tumblr works...! Is it kind of like Pinterest? (Don't judge me! ;) I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with. And what you name it.
      Thanks for the sweet note! It means so much to me. xo

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  5. I am so glad you found it helpful....

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  6. You are making me envious again! I want to do this... ;)

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