Saturday, October 8, 2016

How to Become a Better Blogger by Following Bloggers

I Became a Better Blogger by Following Others

When I first started blogging, I was so focused on MY blog I did not see the "point" in reading other blogs to benefit MINE.  After all, if I was reading other peoples' blogs, I was not working on mine.

I was wrong!

I did not understand the blogging community like I do today.  The blogging community - and it IS a community - is full of people who blog and write about the same topics you do, the foods you love to eat, the places you want or have visited, and topics concerning being a parent, a child, or a sibling. 

I consistently read - almost daily - blog posts by others.  I read posts recommended by friends, family, other bloggers via Facebook groups, tweets on Twitter, bios on Instagram, or pins on Pinterest.

Five Pacific Northwest Bloggers I Follow and Why

I follow bloggers who live all over the world.  For this post, I chose to highlight the below five bloggers.  After listing them in my outline, I realized they all live in the Pacific Northwest like I do!

1.  Thrifty and Thriving is a blog owned by my friend, Christy.  I have known Christy for years.  She used to live just down the street from me.  Though we live further apart now, I read her blog each time I get an update in my email inbox.  Why?  Her blog posts alert me to new products, new Kindles, special deals at local stores I shop at, giveaways, as well as tidbits about her life (and the lives of the other bloggers who also blog on her site).  I refer people to her blog on a regular basis.  I have learned money saving tips and vacation planning suggestions from reading Christy's blog.  One of the favorite tools I learned about from Christy is the Pineapple Slicer and De-Corer.  I purchased this and we love it!  I have no problem buying pineapple now - this makes it so easy to have ready to eat in under five minutes!  

I have learned from Christy how having a variety of posts (recipes, product reviews, travel tips) adds value and reader retention to a blog.  I look forward to the next email from her.  (Do you readers say the same thing about your email updates for your blog?)

I miss seeing Christy on a weekly basis.  When we do see each other, it makes me smile!

Christina-Marie holding Adrienne's first book (co-authored by William Maltese), The Gluten-Free Way: My Way.

2.  Sexy Vegan Mama is run by my friend, Christina-Marie.  She and I have each co-authored and published a book with William Maltese.  When I need help answering a question (for myself or a friend) regarding which vegan products taste best, I ask her!  For some recipes, I have asked Christina-Marie for vegan substitutions to use.  She tells me her favorite products, where to purchase, and usually how the product will react in a recipe.  Her Macadamia Coconut Toffee is divine and naturally gluten free!    
I have learned from Christina-Marie to be myself - and use my own voice - on my blog.  It is okay to admit defeat with a recipe, voice struggles with a tough recipe, or ask for help regarding which ingredients to add to a potato salad.  I love seeing new recipes she has developed or 'converted' to vegan when her email update shows up in my inbox.

Christina-Marie encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, has done joint book signings with me, and is a sounding board for me.  I appreciate her friendship!

Ruth with Adrienne during a blogging pow wow session.

3.  That Retro Ruth is a fashion blog by my friend, Ruth.  I met Ruth when I wrote a profile article on baby sign classes she teaches for The Ranger.  During my interview with her, we realized we had much in common.  We began meeting on a regular basis, sharing writing woes, blogging concerns, and parenting successes.  We continue to meet and work on our blogs.  Our children share similar interests and we arrange play-dates when possible.      

Ruth has taught me to be myself on social media.  How?  She has shown me it is okay to don a hat, wear a scarf, or do a silly pose.  Being yourself on social media shows your followers and readers you are a real person - the person behind the blog.  Not every photo has to be perfect.  

Ruth and I took a local 'field trip' earlier this year.  We visited a store with a gluten free menu.  We checked out the food, browsed the British imported food, and spoke to the owner.  We also visited a cute clothing boutique, chatted with the owner, and I snapped pics of the owner and Ruth talking about all things fashion.

4.  Oh My Gosh Beck! is owned by Becky.  I have not met Becky in person, though I would love to meet her!  She lives in a nearby town (where I lived for five years).  It would be fun to meet up with Becky at one of my old hangouts!  

Becky has shown me how participating in multi-blogger giveaways benefit all of the bloggers involved.  To learn more, please visit her blogger opportunities for growing your blog.  I did see an increase of readers on my blog and followers on social media each time I joined one of her blogger giveaways.   

5.  Blogelina is run by Tanya.  I took Tanya's beginning blogging online course in October 2014.  While the basics of blogging I already knew, I did learn about monetizing a blog, creating a product to sell, starting and growing an email list, and blog design suggestions.

I would love to meet up with Tanya!  She lives a couple of hours from some of my family.    

When I have questions about blogging, I go to Tanya's blog and search for an answer.  When others have asked for blogging help, I point them to Tanya.  I read the email updates I receive from her as I know I will probably learn something to help me on my blog.  I appreciate Tanya answering my questions when I have emailed her with questions.  

How Have You Become a Better Blogger?

I would love to hear how you have become a better blogger!  Please share your experiences and tips below in the comments section.  As a fellow blogger in the blogger community, I learn from you, too!