This post does contain 2 affiliate links for products I am so pleased with and used in creating my own blog/website. I receive a small commission if you purchase through my link which is at no extra cost to you, and helps support my blog. I truly do love these 2 products or I wouldn’t recommend them!
Happy 1 Year Blogiversary to me!
Yes, it really has been 1 year. (I keep reminding myself!) One year as a published blog, and 13 months from the time I actually started my website as a complete and utter novice. I’m still a novice, but thankfully, I have learned a few things!
In my first year, I have set many goals for my Faith-based blog, Shadowing Enoch. I have reached many of my goals, surpassed a few of my goals, and have had to re-evaluate some of my goals. Some goals I have completely not reached… yet… or maybe ever. I chalk this up to misunderstanding what it would take to reach those goals, how long it would take, or deciding I didn’t really want that goal as much as I thought I did at first. You may be laughing at that… but guess what? It’s my blog, and I can change my goals if I want to, haha!
Seriously, I have come to a much greater peace that I don’t have to do things the way conventional wisdom says I do… unless I want to.
As a newbie blogger a year ago, I worried that I needed to do things “as I was told” on all the Pinterest posts I was seeing, and as the people on the Facebook group boards said you “had” to do it. (You can read my updates on my blogging journey here, and watch me grow from the scared newbie to the not-so-scared-but-still-learning year old blogger I am currently, circa August 2018.)
If you are a newer blogger starting out, these How-To articles can be helpful, but they are not cemented in stone. You CAN make your own way. You can stand out from the crowd if you feel strongly about not following some certain “rule” they tell you is the “only” way in blog-world. You can follow the ones you want to follow, and discard the ones you don’t think are for you. It’s OK!
I think that’s one of the main things I have learned in my first year blogging… that I can change things that aren’t working, or that I decide I don’t like, or just simply because I want to change them… on my blog. It’s MY blog! Lol, and whatever I want to do, I can do. I admire so many other blogs of all types, niche’s and skill levels. Some elements I see on other blogs, I just fall in love with, and would love to incorporate something similar in some shape or fashion if I could, but others are just not for me. They are not wrong or bad… just not my style. It’s what makes us all unique. Like fingerprints!
Figuring out your personal style, even if it goes against the grain, is key. I’m still figuring out some things, and probably will be for the duration! But that’s OK too!
I like bold color, so my blog is not white or pastel. It has a burst of color & nature as it’s background. A picture I took along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. My post images are usually colorful too. Every one different and usually very bright and/or bold. I try to take my own pictures whenever possible, but I also use many free stock images, mostly from Unsplash. I use a great theme called Extra, which I still haven’t discovered all the sweet nuances of, but is highly adaptable and recommended for bloggers. (Affiliate links in next paragraph! 🙂 )
I use two services/products that I highly recommend to anyone just starting a blog, or not satisfied with their current choices. The companies I recommend are Siteground as a webhost, and Elegant Themes as a complete, multi-choice themes package for your website. I use these and have had a wonderful experience with them, no issues (aside from my “learning curve” as a complete and utter novice, as stated above!), lots of tutorials, and great security and customer service to boot. Since I loved them and was so satisfied, and would completely recommend them to anyone, I became an affiliate of both of these companies. That means, if you click through my referral link, I receive a small commission for referring you, which I would do whether I was an affiliate or not! This is at no additional cost to you! Siteground gets the best reviews for security, speed and customer service! Why wouldn’t you choose the best! Elegant Themes is a wonderful site where for one low price of $89/year, or $249/Lifetime you get 87 themes to choose from (including the top rated Divi and Extra themes!) for as many websites as you own, or for as many website clients as you have! Plus lots of great plugins and extras, including great video tutorials for all their products! THAT’s an AMAZING value!
On Pinterest, which in my opinion is the best way I’ve found to promote my blog, I by nature am drawn to “bright” pins. So, I personally am more likely to save bright pins on my boards. (I also save square… Oh the horror!…a conventional wisdom no-no!) So my own Pinterest pins are generally image oriented, and bright or bold. Some may be more subtle, but they are not generally “text” oriented, but image oriented with text below or above the image, but the image is still usually the most visible part. I want the image to draw the eye of the scroller. That’s what usually hooks me when I pin on Pinterest, so I want my chosen images to hook others as they scroll. I also do not stick to one color palette, as some conventional wisdom says you should. I just can’t. It’s not in me. I LIKE color! I want to use them all!
Here is a big “against the grain” decision I made: I decided not to allow comments on my posts. That is not my style or nature, so I just let it go. I’m sure some out there would say “Bad decision!” or “That goes against all that is sacred in blog-world” … but it isn’t right for me. I have had some people give me wonderful encouragement through my contact page on my blog, or through my Shadowing Enoch Facebook page, and that means the world to me. They may not have felt comfortable enough to tell me how a post touched them, or send a prayer request under a comment section that stays up forever. But they may under a private “contact me” page. My style, my choice. Against conventional wisdom? Maybe, but it’s ok!
I am still in the process of making some decisions. Probably always will be. On many blogging mechanics issues, I find myself deciding quite often whether I really think some “rule” everyone goes by is one to fall on my ‘blog-sword’ about, or not. I and my blog are still works in progress even after 1 year. I may go against the grain, or I may go with the grain, or I may change up mid stream. Its all up to me. It’s all OK.
My intention here is to encourage your freedom to do your own thing… try your own way… find your own style in this blog world. If something doesn’t work… you can change it. If you decide to change something “just because”… you can change it. If you want to be different… you can be. If you want to conform to the norm… you are free to do that. If you want a mix of all-of-the-above, that is totally your choice too. If you are considering starting a blog, or you have already begun your blog, you don’t want to blow the most important thing you are bringing to blog-world… your own personal style!
Your style you bring to your blog is the framework for your own content, which is of course, what its all about. Your own thoughts and passions. Your own God-given purpose. God made us all unique. Blogs can and should be unique too. No matter what we do, we won’t be everyone’s cup-o-tea. But we will be someone’s. Most of all, we should be our own.
As happens quite often to me, this wasn’t really where I planned to go when I started this post, but maybe this is something someone needed. Someone who is frustrated about the mechanics of blogging… and they can be VERY frustrating. Trust me when I say, I have shed many tears over the technical side of blogging. The mechanics. I didn’t know any of that side of things when I started, and I can’t afford to pay someone to help me… but I also WANTED to learn it, and I’m a definite hands-on-learner. So, I did struggle and learn. I still am learning. I probably will be continuing the learning process till Kingdom comes!
I think the blogging world is still growing in leaps and bounds. As a Faith-based blogger, I personally think we need many many many more Faith-based blogs. It’s one of the greatest witnessing tools of our time, and there cannot be too many of us. Especially since it’s an opportunity to reach the world for Christ, and we all can have a voice in that through blogging. At one year, my blog is still at it’s early stages, and yet, I have had readers from all over the world… even places where the Gospel is prohibited. That is my favorite thing about blogging! That is what I pray over the most. That God will reach the lost through my blog, and that believers, young and old, will be encouraged to walk closer to Jesus every day.
Have I reached all my goals set out at the beginning? You can read my Top 10 reasons for Writing my Christian Blog here, which was one of my early posts. Some yes, and some no; they too are a work in progress. But, every month I am growing and improving and seeing more and more progress towards the goals. I am reaching more people around the world which amazes me!
Here is the big question everyone asks… am I making money with my blog? No, haha, I haven’t quite gotten the nuances of that down, so I can’t quit my day job anytime soon. That is one of my goals for year two. To start promoting my own products and selling them at a nominal cost. One that benefits me as the creator, and you as the purchaser. I’m not trying to get rich… just support my blogging ministry, and provide something useful for others’ in their Christian walks and ministries. That is what I hope to focus on for year two… along with hopefully still writing encouraging content from my experiences on this Faith walk with Jesus.
If you are still considering blogging… which is why I’ve written these blogging posts under the My Blogging Journey category of my blog… for any coming behind me starting out, or those along side me or even ahead of me who need encouragement, I would still tell you to go for it! It is hard, but sooooo worth it. It stretches you, and causes you to walk stronger in your Faith, depending on Jesus for so much, as you absolutely can’t do this by yourself.
Only Heaven will reveal the results of our loving & faithful efforts to Glorify our Savior. Only Jesus makes sure His words don’t return void as we prayerfully dole them out on our blog posts. Our eternal reach as Christian bloggers is totally in His hands, which should give us great confidence. In Him, and His purpose in us.
God bless you as you consider starting a blog, or if you have a renewed spark of purpose on a blog you have already started. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with! An army of witnesses for our Savior. That is no small thing! God will bring the increase as we cast our bread out on the waters. So, go ahead and cast! And keep on casting! Till Kingdom come!
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