February 20, 2014

30 tips that will help you succeed as a new blogger

In a couple of months from now, Chronically Vintage will hit its fifth birthday. In that time, I've written more than a thousand posts of my own and can only begin to estimate how many diverse, fascinating, inspiring, and wonderfully enjoyable posts I've read on other peoples' sites (I'd guess somewhere in the range of 100,000+, but it could easily be more).

Though Chronically Vintage was not my first foray into blogging or running a website, it is the one that I've devoted the greatest amount of my time to over the years and which holds the absolute dearest spot in my heart. I honestly doubt if a single day has passed over the last few years in which I didn't think about my blog in some capacity.

Whether brainstorming ideas, doing research, finding images, taking outfit photos, writing posts, visiting other peoples' sites, or spending time in the social media sphere, my blog is on my mind day in and day out, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


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I adore writing and running this site, getting a chance to grow as a person through my experiences as both a vintage lover and a blogger, connecting with lovely likeminded souls around the world, and watching as creativity rather fantastically begets creativity and keeps my blogging mojo going strong far more often than not.

At this point, I feel like a pretty seasoned veteran on the vintage blogging front. There are certainly blogs in our sphere which have been around for longer than mine, but I think that (nearly) five years is a solid chunk of time and one that qualifies me to share some of the most important points I’ve learned over that span with those who just starting their own vintage blog (or who have  recently done so).


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1. Much like Rome, a great blog (vintage or otherwise) is not built in a day. It takes hard work, dedication, a true love of what you're writing about, and sometimes even a wee bit of luck. You will have pitfalls and successes, grow, change, and develop as time goes on and the more that you remain true to yourself and your own unique blogging voice in the process, the greater degree of success your site stands to achieve.

2. Know what you hope to write about before you begin: Yes, of course you can cover a broad range of topics on your site - and I highly encourage you to do so, but generally speaking, you will want to hone in on one, or a small number of, themes and ensure that plenty of your posts relate to, or directly discuss, that topic. It could be mid-century vintage, vintage sewing, vintage decor, vintage recipes, the daily life of a vintage loving mom to young kids, whatever you like, just so long as when someone asks you what you blog about, you can answer then confidently without missing a beat.

3. You don't need, and shouldn’t waste your time trying, to keep up with the blogging Joneses: So what if your photos don't look like they could pass for professional, you don't have hundreds of dollars to splash out on your wardrobe each month, you're young/old/hate your arms/think your life is sometimes boring/are from a country where there isn't much of a blogging community or anything else that you see as potentially setting you apart from the crowd. Roll with, rock it, and embrace who you and what sets you and your blog apart. You can always improve your photography skills, pad your wardrobe with thrift store finds, make peace with those things that you aren't crazy about, and grow as an individual. At the risk of sounding like I should be ghostwriting for Dr. Seuss, you are you and that's awesome unto itself.

4. It takes time to build up an audience - and hard work to keep it: You’ve hopped on the blogging bandwagon, maybe you have started (or were already) commenting on other peoples' sites, you're super passionate and you enjoy writing, but unless you already have already an established, well known online presence or degree of fame offline, chances are that the whole world is not going to flock to your door overnight.

While some bloggers do seem to attract large numbers of followers with relative ease, many of us had to work hard at building up our followings, and continually enjoy expanding them to this day.

Let other bloggers know you're out there with heartfelt, lovely comments on their sites and across the social media spectrum, but please make sure that you don't veer into spam territory. We've all seen those dime a dozen, "Great blog! I'll follow you if you follow me back!" comments and they're not fooling anyone. That's not the way to build up an audience of people who will eagerly return to your site again and again, it's simply a means by which to try and bolster the number, in the most fleeting of moments, of followers you have.

5. Speak from the heart: While you may not want to use your blog as a surrogate psychiatrist's couch, it can be beneficial both you and your audience if you share certain elements about your life, your past, your dreams, and your feelings throughout some of your posts. By opening up to your readers, you create a sense of trust and a level of honesty that many people will respond positively and feel like they can relate to.

6. Tell a story: I don't mean write fiction or take on the roll of a journalist (unless you want to), what I mean is that you want your posts to have a natural sense of fluidity to them. Just as we were taught in school, remember the importance of having a clear beginning, middle, and end to your posts. Keep the who, what, when, where, and why of what you’re sharing in mind as well. Speak informatively, politely, and with an upbeat spirit. Bone up on your writing skills, if need be, and try to carve out a distinct blogging voice all your own (which will help readers identify with you anytime they see your writing).

7. If you're a vintage fashion blogger, develop your own standout style: Right now, think about five of our favourite vintage fashion bloggers. Picture each of them in your mind. Why do these people stand out to you? How similar or different is your own person style from theirs? Do you aspire to emulate their kind of looks? Chances are that these memorable folks have carved out their own distinct sartorial voice and that’s why they sprang into your head right away.

They know what does, and doesn't, look good on them. They have several go-to garments and accessories that they love and feel comfortable wearing. Risks rarely scare them, and they're keen to try new things out, while still holding true to their original fashion sense. By building a wardrobe that you love, which fits you well, and that can be spun into lots of different outfits, you can easily develop a standout style of your own, too (remember, hair and makeup can also play an important role in your overall appearance, so don't let them fall to the wayside while you're focusing on your vintage wardrobe).

8. Set up a blogging schedule that works for you. This is a topic I discussed at length in this post last year, and which I truly cannot stress enough. By scheduling time to write, what kinds of posts you may want to focus on in the upcoming future, and when you'd like said entries to go live, you can effectively and very productively help streamline your blogging process.

9. Never stop looking for blog post inspiration: There is truly an unlimited number of places, sites, and people from which to garner inspiration for your posts out. Every time you read a magazine, book, newspaper, or blog post, watch a movie or TV show, travel, receive a gift, remember a meaningful memory, acquire a new item, create something you love, move houses, start a new job, have a baby, find that killer red lipstick you'd always searched for, or a billion other things, there is the potential seeds of inspiration already nurtured in that experience to turn it into a blog post.

10. Include at least one image (or video clip) in every post: Baring emergency posts (and if you blog long enough, you may run into the odd one) that need to be written as quickly as possible, you want to always, without fail, include at least one image in every post. We as humans are a very visually oriented bunch and we love to see pretty/engaging/interesting/relevant images. It can be a photo you took or one of you, a scan, a video clip, a vintage photograph or illustration, pretty much anything you like, just make sure you include a visual - and that, ideally, it's one that pertains to the topic that you're writing about in that post.

11. Blog by the Golden Rule: While this does of course mean that you'll want to do unto other as you'd have other do unto you, it also means sharing your time, knowledge and experience with your readers. Solicit questions from your audience and answer them informatively. Post how-tos, tutorials, reviews, and important life lessons that you feel others may benefit from. And by the same token, if someone asks you a question in the comment section of your post, via email, on Facebook or anywhere else, try your best to answer or at least acknowledge it.

There's nothing wrong with admitting you don't know the answer, if such is the case, but try make sure you try to get to as many questions from your readers as possible either way. Doing so is a great means by which to form longstanding relationships with your blogging audience members.

Also, if someone takes the time to visit you and leave a comment, try, whenever possible, to return the lovely gesture by visiting and commenting on their site, if they happen to have one. This is something that is immensely important to me and which I strive to do as often as circumstances will permit. It's just common courtesy in my books.

12. Source blog post ideas and inspiration from those around you. For more on this very topic, see last September's post all about it.

13. Know that blogging takes time, energy, and focus: How much of each you're willing and able to devote to your site is up to you, but in general, you'll want to set aside at least a few hours each week to blogging. This time will include everything from writing posts to sourcing ideas for future pieces you want to put down on virtual paper to visiting and commenting on other peoples' sites.

Unless you're aim is to make blogging your full time job or a significant source of income, you don't have to devote a whole working day to your personal blog. There is however, much to be said for putting in the effort to post on a regular basis about a diverse array of topics and for keeping your writing feeling fresh and exciting for your readers. You’ll have times when don't feel like, can't or just aren't in the mood to write or even hang out online, and that's totally okay, but overall, you will need to put in the hours if you want to see your site flourish.

14. Try to maintain a degree of consistency: You don't have to post every day by any means, but you will want to try and hit on a blogging schedule that works well for you and which you can generally maintain with at least relative ease. This could be anything from a multiple posts per day to once a week or once every couple of weeks, but whatever you settle on (and yes, you can change the frequency of your posts over time, if need be), try to stick to it.

I personally aim to post three to five times a week, and am a big fan of blogging every other day (for example, I might most on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in a given week), as this gives me a day in between new posts (going live) to approve and reply to blog comments that I've received lately, work on future posts, spend time visiting other peoples' sites, and also - and this is hugely important - doing things offline, too. Blogging is the bee's knees and then some, but you don't want to get sucked into the habit of spending darn near every waking hour glued to the computer.

15. Comments aren't the only way to judge the success of your blog: While they can be a good indicator of which posts and topics are more popular with your audience than others, commenting is just one way to know how you're blog is doing. Two other key things you'll want to stay up-to-date on are your Google Analytics stats and the number of RSS/feed reader/Bloglovin' followers that you have (the number of social media fans/followers that you’ve acquired can also, sometimes, be an indicating factor as to your site’s popularity).

16. Not every thing you post will be a hit: I've been there, believe me, and I know how frustrating - even disheartening at times - it can be to work your buns off on a post, only to see it fizzle with your readers in the moment. Tough as that is, keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily mean that your post won't prove popular from a SEO standpoint nor that it won't generate further comments over time. I speak from experience when I say that you will be surprised at times by which posts prove wildly popular and which turn into near instant ghost towns.

Pay attention to these things and consider reviewing your most, and least, popular posts to see if you can determine why they succeeded or failed to bring in the audience you'd hoped for. Keep these points in mind for future posts, while also readily accepting that sometimes there's very little rhyme or reason to such things (remember, too, that if one of your posts gets mentioned on a well known site, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc, this is likely to cause a spike in traffic to your site and a greater number of comments on that post).

17. Posting every single day isn't necessarily a good thing: Tempting as it may be, blogging every single day can actually be detrimental to your popularity. Now, this isn't always the case, but it can hurt you at times because your readers may feel like all they see in their feed is new posts from you. Some folks will love this, but others may grow weary of seeing your site's name so often and be inclined to not read, or not comment on, some or eventually even all of your posts. Just as you wouldn't want someone to call you on the phone every hour, no matter how much you loved them, so does a wee bit of absence - even just a day or two between posts - help the reader's heart grow fonder.

18. Remember that not all of your readers will comment: Chances are, just as there are certain sites that you've long enjoyed reading but have never commented on, so too will you quickly amass a following that includes a fair number of folks who simply prefer to read without commenting. This is totally okay and very normal in the blogging sphere. You are writing as much for those who comment as for those who do not - as well as for yourself. Sometimes - and I always love it when this happens - someone will un-lurk and share with you that their comment is the first they've ever left for you. When this happens, be sure to acknowledge that person and thank them for being a longtime reader.

19. Don't be afraid to change: In all likelihood the blog that you kick off today isn't going to be the same site you have in a year, two years, five years and beyond. The name may be the same, but you'll likely tweak (or even completely overhaul) your template, change the sidebar, create static pages, post more or less frequently, include a smaller or larger number of images in your posts, invite guest bloggers to write for you, perhaps take on sponsors, and myriad other things. While you don't want to be the site that changes templates each week, it's a good idea to keep things fresh, relevant to your life as it in the moment, and presenting a face to the world that you're happy with.

20. Make sure the comment button/link on your posts is easy to see and find: This might sound obvious, but I've seen dozens of blogs over the years where finding said comment button was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Ideally, you want it to  appear clearly at the top or bottom (the latter being my personal preference) of your post, where everyone and their dog can see it as plain as day.

21. Try to use the same name across all social media sites. If your blog is called "Jane Smith, Vintage Girl", then you'll want to try to be "Jane Smith, Vintage Girl" (or as close to that name as possible) on each social media site where you plan to discuss and promote your blog. This creates a sense of brand unity and helps people to find and connect with you more easily outside of your blog.

22. Ensure that readers can quickly and easy connect with you across social media: Put buttons for each of the social media sites (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, and Pinterest) that you're on somewhere - most likely the sidebar - on your site and/or create a "connect with me elsewhere" type of static page through which folks can easily click straight through to your profiles and start following you.

23. Talk about your blog on social media, but also remember to discuss other things there as well: Unless you really do run a company or have a thriving product line, chances are no one wants to feel like everything they see from you is a commercial for your blog. It's a-okay to talk about your site and topics pertaining to it, of course, but remember to inject other subjects into the conversation as well, including mentioning posts from other bloggers that you've enjoyed/found interesting, helpful or otherwise noteworthy.

24. If you need help, ask for it: Even the pros don't know everything, so if you're curious about something, need help or advice, or just want to know if others out their have been in the same same shoes you're in (spoiler alert, at least a few people will almost certainly have been), just ask. Write a blog post with your question or shoot it out into cyberspace through social media, and when answers come in, even if they don't solve your dilemma, make sure to genuinely thank those who took the time to share their thoughts on the matter with you.

25. Variety is the spice of life - and your blog: It's great, as discussed above, to have a central theme or thread that runs through your posts, but that doesn't mean you want each of your new entries to be a near carbon copy of the last. Blog with the seasons, blog when something good (or bad) happens, blog about your favourite things, your loves, your dreams, what's inspiring, people whose sites you adore, your beliefs, helpful how-tos, you name it! This is your site and you're free to post whatever your heart desires, so why limit yourself to just one or two topics or types of posts? Different folks (who come calling at your blog) will enjoy, and find you in the first place, via an array of diverse posts, so make sure you're putting content out there that's bound to appeal lots of different people.

26. List posts are great, but they shouldn't be the only type that you write: Most months I post at least one list style post (such as this one!), and I love both writing them and reading lists on other peoples' sites, but it's important not to fall into the all-too-easy trap of just, or primarily, posting lists. Monotony will settle in rather quickly if you do.

27. Keep a running list of post ideas and things that have inspired you and/or which you've experienced and may want to write about (see this post for more on my own such list): You might think that after close to five years of blogging, my idea list would be on the skimpy side, but nothing could be further from the truth. It's never been bigger and rarely does a day go by that I don't add at least one new idea to it. I don't, ultimately, use every idea I put down of course, but it's fantastic to have such a list available at all times, so that I don't have to stress or worry about coming up with new posts on the fly constantly. Whether you turn to your own list daily or just once in a blue moon, I highly encourage all bloggers - new and old alike - to keep, and use, one.

28. Give credit where credit is due: If you use someone else's image, take direct inspiration from another blogger (or source in general), or otherwise involve another person's work in your own in just about any degree, ensure that you link back to their site. Imitation may be greatest form of flattery, but not not giving credit where credit is due is just poor blogging manners.

29. Create a visually pleasing site: What's beautiful to one person may be glaringly garish to another, but generally speaking, it's not hard to see the difference between an attractive site and one that needs a lot of work, to put it mildly.

Don't overcrowd your sidebar(s), keep your header to a reasonable size, keep the number of posts that show up on your homepage at any given time to a moderate number (three-seven is a good range), don't have an obscene number of blog awards, sponsor ads, banners, buttons, or unnecessary images cluttering up your sidebar, footer and/or even header (I've seen it happen, believe me); use a theme, colours, fonts and font sizes that are lovely and easy on the eyes, and make sure that images in your posts don't exceed the size of your post column and spill over into the sidebar.

Feel free to refine and improve your blog's appearance over time, and if possible and so desired, even employee the help of a professional designer.

30. Be community minded: Yes, you and your blog are most likely going to be your biggest online focus, but don't forget that you're part of a larger community and that it pays - in spades - to connect with, be friendly and helpful to, and enjoy spending time as a part of this awesome online social scene. Don't get so caught up in your own drive to be popular, have high follower counts, and promote your blog that you forget to take time to say hello and connect with your fellow bloggers.

And by the same token, if and when your blog does gain notoriety, please, I implore you, do not neglect your readers, commenters, and those who helped you get to where you are today. Sadly, I've seen this happen time and time again, and it always breaks my heart. I love my readers and am so grateful to everyone who has helped Chronically Vintage become the site it is today. No matter what, I will always strive to express my gratitude and pay attention to those who share their time and thoughts here with me, and you should strive to do the same.


♥ ♥ ♥



This is not a complete list of tips for new vintage bloggers of course, and what applies to me and my circumstances, may not ring true for you and yours. When I look back though, these are some of the most important points that have helped guide me, as well as some I wish I'd done differently/more of, as well as a couple that are just plain common sense, but which it never hurts to be reminded of.

It takes ambitions, guts, determination, and passion to launch your own blog (be it vintage related or otherwise), and there will be stumbling blocks, stress, hiccups, and occasionally even heartache along the way, but the potential rewards that you stand gain far outweigh these (typically minor) concerns. Blogging isn't a quick sprint, it's a long distance marathon and one that, ideally, you should enjoy taking part in every day of your site's life.






From friendship to fashion inspiration, historical knowledge to great (new to you) links for products, services and sites you might otherwise never have encountered, as well as the invaluable support of having a community behind you, blogging is a gift that just keeps on giving, and which I believe anyone can take a stab at.

Remember to cut yourself some slack - no one is perfect, and despite what gorgeous image filled sites might have you believe, neither is anyone's blog. We're all human, we all make mistakes and forget things from time to time. Don't fret when this happens, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new blog post.

83 comments:

  1. Such a well written and informative post Jessica, thank you. I'm trying to find my blogging mojo again and this has certainly given me some tips x

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  2. Brillliant advice from someone who knows what she's talking about. Your blog is worthy of an award! *wink* Here, you cure newbies of the worst mistakes starting out. I wish I'd read this four years ago.

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    1. Thank you very much, Ally!!! Hmmm, whoever will bestow on one me? ;) Fun jokes aside, I'm sincerely happy to know that you enjoyed this post. There's no time like the present, as they say, and I hope that you can still avail of some of the advice here even as a seasoned blogger.

      ♥ Jessica

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  3. Great post Jessica, thank you! I am still working really hard on making my blog what I want it to be, and this list tells me I'm heading in the right direction. The biggest thing I need to work on, I think, is point number 3 - I'm guilty of worrying about how my blog shapes up against others that have been running for years and have built up a very loyal follower base. When it comes down to it, I'm still fairly new when it comes to blogging, so I am trying to focus more on creating something that I can be proud of.

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  4. Lovely post Jessica, thanks for sharing your blogging tips. I will definitely be referring back to this post! x

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Sarah! I seem to be in the mood to write reference posts lately (re: last weekend's roundup of online non-etsy and eBay shops), and am so happy to know that this one will of use to you.

      Big hugs & many thanks for all of your lovely comments,
      ♥ Jessica

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  5. Wonderful ideas and suggestions. I do have a personal blog, but sadly I have neglected it over time, mainly because I really do not know what attracts readers or if anyone even cares about what I have to say. I have really treated it as a personal online (very public) diary of sorts that just had posts about my life in general. This post gives me some focus for my blog-if I choose to continue it- that I think will help tremendously. Thank you.

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    1. You are sincerely welcome, sweet Ladye. Blogging, at least on a frequent basis with posts that are more than a few lines or images, takes a substantial amount of time and is all to easy to unintentionally neglect over time. Please don't beat yourself up for a moment. If you do return to blogging more often this year (or anytime), I wholeheartedly look forward to reading your posts.

      Tons of hugs & understanding encouragement,
      ♥ Jessica

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  6. thank you jessica!
    with only one year on my back i would call me a new blogger, learning every day. and your are a great example how to do it right!
    xoxo

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  7. What a great resource Jessica.

    For the first year I thought blogging was a sprint. Now I've discovered as you wrote that in fact it is a marathon. Long, and mentally challenging. Some days I feel like throwing in the towel.

    I found it very interesting that you suggest posting less often, as I'd always read before that it was important to post daily. I found what you wrote to be true. You can appreciate the posts better if you are left wanting more…rather than left wanting less.

    Thanks for all the great tips and passing them on.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  8. Hello Jessica!
    Thanks a lot for sharing your tips! Really inspiring.
    We just started our vintage-themed blog last year, and we love it so much to keep it running and growing and to let out our creative side. It really takes a lot of heart, energy and commitment !

    It's wonderful how many people we've already met 'out there', sharing the same passion for the vintage lifestyle and we're thankful that there are vintage blogs growing all over the web.

    Your blog is awesome and you write your words in a very beautiful way! We just keep coming back! It's very amazing that you've been blogging for almost 5 years. We hope to read many many more great posts from you in the future! :)

    All the best!
    Elaine Valerie & Isabelle Gloria

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  9. Wow, I certainly need this as my little blog is kinda pointless right now (or is it ME that's floundering? *lol*) This isn't my first bog, I admit, but it's certainly something I need to dedicate more time and effort into - especially more pics! *lol* Thank you SO much for posting this, I plan on perusing it when I have more time - and not when I'm at work...bad employee! But there's quite a bit of very ahndy information in here that I plan on trying to make use of in my own special way.
    Keep on keeping on and being you - you're terrific!

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  10. This is a really great list of tips, Jessica! I wish I would have read something like this when I first started my blog, to be honest. I will admit that I have lost a bit of steam for keeping up with regular posts (both reading and writing) lately, but I am hoping to get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later! :)

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    1. Thank you very much, honey. I titled and somewhat aimed this post with newcomers in mind, but objectively it useful for bloggers of all degrees of expertise. Even just writing it myself reminded me of a few things I should do more/differently sometimes.

      Don't beat yourself up, my dear. We all have ups and downs on the blogging front, and I know you've been dealing with some health issues, so that can certainly shift one's focus away from their site for a while (I speak from experience, believe me). Your blog posts are always a sincere pleasure and I look forward to each and every one, no matter how much time may pass between them. I especially enjoy how much you share about your daily (vintage related) going ons and the abundance of fun photos many are filled with.

      Tons of hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  11. SUCH a great post, Jessica! I'm obviously still a new-ish blogger, and these are such great points to keep in mind as I start into my second year of blogging. I've always felt like you take so much time and effort to connect with your readers -- it's almost as if you have a "small blog feel" but with tons of followers, and I think that's so important. I think one thing I see in terms of complaints the most about blogs is when bloggers get a big head or forget their readers as their blogs start to grow, and I would never want that to happen with my blog. This makes me more motivated than ever to keep my blog interesting and grounded. Thanks for this!!

    xox Sammi
    www.thesoubrettebrunette.blogspot.com

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  12. Thanks for sharing these tips, Jessica. I think they're all really helpful. I've been blogging a bit over a year now and still have plenty to learn, but it's such a wonderful addition to my life and I'm willing to keep working at it.

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  13. Jessica, this is very sage and timely advice! My blog is 4 years old today (where has time gone?!) and while my blog is still quite small and humble compared to one as wonderful as yours, it's really only in the last year that I've really expanded my number of followers, and I think that's been down to adapting. I've changed some of the focus, delved into social media and looked for tips wherever I can. I have learnt more in the last few months than in the previous years of blogging before that. And you know what? Now is when I'm enjoying it the most! I can only echo your sentiments. I was actually talking to my sister today, who's a fashion lover (not really vintage though) and she is a mum to 3 and she likes the idea of starting her own fashion blog. I will certainly point her in the direction of this post as she takes her first steps! P x

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    1. Happiest 4th blog birthday wishes, dear Porcelina! Oh, I know, time really does fly! That's very sweet, I'd love to follow your sister's blog if she does launch one. It's wonderful when siblings can share in the joys of blogging together.

      Thank you for your fantastic comment,
      ♥ Jessica

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  14. Jessica,
    Absolutely, spot-on, true to the very last word!
    I loved reading every single one of those numbers on your list, and I have to (no, no: I want to; I do) agree with you. Spending countless hours getting all pretty for a "perfect" shot so that you can post a "perfect" picture online - not my biggest prize. If I get some great pictures - amazing, if I do't - there's no reason to fall into a vintage-depression.
    Also, getting a new outfit just for the sake of blog-bragging (is there such a term in this language? there should be) - gives your blog no amazing greatness.. nor is it an instant magnet for the masses.
    And: why are so many folks out there mass-obsessed? On times, it looks like there's a lot of ladies and gents out there blogging for the sole reason of getting the biggest number of people "checking out" their blog.. So: you don't have a large audience - but the ones you do REALLY read what you wrote. That beats numbers any day... in my world.
    Blogging is supposed to be FUN.
    Primary and ultimately - a fun thing to do, a place to go and feel happy, fulfilled.. it's a safe-heaven. And the one doing the blogging should feel at ease dong so; and at the end: meet and greet some amazing like-minded people, no?

    I must write this again (it needs emphasis): this IS what a lot of bloggers should be reminded of from time to time; it should be printed out, posted on a refrigerator (or some other similar place of constant visit) :)
    Thank you for one heck of a post.

    Two thumbs up.
    Marija

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  15. As of yesterday, I'm only a two year “veteran” at blogging. Congrats to you for posting as often as you do and making it interesting every single time - I know I couldn't keep up with that (to me) frantic pace! :o)

    I have a problem with people who don't answer comments. I look at all those lonely comments that people have taken the time to leave with no responses, and it makes me sad. How long can a person continue commenting without an answer before they just give up. That's the most enjoyable part of blogging for me; getting to “know” the people who comment regularly, and having our little conversations at the end of the post. :o)

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  16. What a tremendous post, and I can't thank you enough for writing it! While I've blogged for a while (I maintained a popular-ish blog about independent paranormal literature for a few years), I'm only taking my first steps into vintage fashion blogging. It's so different from the lit blog because I have to come up with so much more original material! On a literature blog so many of your posts are interviews with other authors, book promos, contests; you rely just as heavily on your fellow authors for content as you do on your own creativity. That's not the case as much with a fashion blog; it's exciting to do something new!

    So, I really must thank you for sharing the bits of wisdom you've gained in your blogging experiences! You've already got me really thinking about the direction of my blog, and that's a good thing! :)

    Cheers,
    Jenny

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  17. Great List! I don't have time or energy to start a blog, so I read others that write well, Like You!

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    1. I really admire you for saying that, Jantiki, thank you. I think that there would be a lot less "ghost town" blogs on the web if people had stopped to access their lives, schedules and time restraints before they started something that they just didn't have the time to actively keep up (or maintain point blank). Of course these factors can change once one has already launched a blog, but I've seen plenty of super busy folks rush into blogging, only to abandon it nearly as quickly.

      I really appreciate your readership, my dear, thank you!

      ♥ Jessica

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  18. Great advice -and not only for new bloggers, but for all of us.

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  19. What a thoroughly enjoyable post, and so many great tips for us 'green' bloggers!
    I have learned so much reading your blog, and other of those who have been at it for a while. It is true that a blog mature and change as time passes, and I find it very interesting and personally developing to keep a blog. Although it is hard work, it is very rewarding, and keeps me moving. It makes me feel less lonely, sharing things with like-minded people who I otherwise wouldn't have met. Thanks for this post!

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  20. Really great list, Jessica. For me, #17 is so great--I work a 10-to-6 job in addition to blogging, and sometimes have trouble putting up just two posts a week, which I really want to consider a bare minimum for my site. It can be disheartening to compare my output with someone who manages to get 4-5 up a week, so your take on frequency is super helpful, and a good way for me to mentally reframe what I'm currently able to do. Thanks for the post!

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  21. Great tips! thanks for sharing. I'll bookmark this to my computer for future reference and information and send it to a friend who is getting started in blogging.
    I know stuff like this takes a while to write, and for that, i thank you for the time and energy and resources you put into this post. :)

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  22. That is such a cool post.
    Really well written, and clear !
    I love the images you use as a race, it is here, on the social networks...

    Good advice.
    Enjoy. Your end of the week Jessica !
    Xoxo,
    Lorna

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  23. Fantastic advice and I really like the idea of having a schedule. You've inspired me to become more organized, I just started a new semester at school and really need to work on time management. Instead of keeping a word file with ideas I have a notebook specifically for blogging ideas and goals.

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  24. Excellent post, Jessica! There is some really wonderful advice in this post. Thanks so much for taking the time to put this together <3
    xo.
    Danielle

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  25. Thankyou so much for this. I am going to bookmark it and refer back regularly. I am a very new blogger, and still trying to find my feet so to speak

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  26. Very nice post, I have really been struggling with my two blogs. It is easy to compare yourself to other without really knowing what it took for them to get where they are. I was wondering if you might consider giving me a critique? I would value your opinion...I am just not sure where to go next if you know what I mean. If so you can e-mail me at jenamacisaac@gmail.com If that is not something you you want to do that is fine, no worries. Thanks.

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  27. Great tips and advice, Jessica! I've been thinking seriously about starting a new blog soon, as my current one lacks focus. I've been dissatisfied with it for a while now and thinking about what new direction I'd like to take. I love Chronically Vintage, it's one of my favorites! <3

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  28. It's very generous of you to share all your years of experience here. I think my blog will always remain small as I couldn't manage a blogging schedule or use any other social media, but I'm ok with that. I blog for fun when I can and just treasure every single comment I get even if sometimes it's one or two! I really appreciate it when you leave a comment, even more so as our blogs are about different things (but with points of connection) and I feel I've made some really lovely friends, of whom you are one, online. Maybe in future years I will be able to devote more time to my blog, who knows. If that's ever the case, I will be looking up this article!

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  29. Thanks for these great tips, I'm still starting out and can use all the advice I can get.

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  30. Well said dear Jessica! This is certainly a book mark post. You know it actually belongs in a magazine too! So many excellent words of advice. I think the main thing is to not consider a blog a chore. When you do, it's time to take a break. The best thing about blogging is the inspiration and learning you can gain from others and to know there are like minded people who actually have an interest in what you are saying. I love the resourcefulness of your blog and above all I love how true your blog is to who you are. I think this is why people flock to you because of your sincerity, kindness, way with words, and of course wonderfully delightful visual appeal. There are so many hidden depths and angles to your blog that keep us all coming back for more and wondering what you'll do next:) Love your blog dear Jessica:))

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    1. Your beautiful, insightful and very sweet comment touched my soul to its core, dear Joanna, thank you very much. I especially adore that you described my blog as having hidden depth and angles. It's awesome to know that you see it as such, as I do strive to consistently keep things fresh, fun, and interesting here.

      So many hugs & an unending number of thank yous,
      ♥ Jessica

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  31. Informative and interesting! I have only been blogging for a little over a year and I love it but have to admit find some aspects of the process baffling. Google analytics? Social media? I'm sure I will get it in time, but look forward most to meeting new kindred spirits in the bloggy world and discovering where my blogging journey may take me.

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Brooke. I adore your blog and think you're off to a smashing start with it. You're a witty, engaging, lovely writer and an immensely stylish dresser, two things that will help your site flourish year after year as your blogging journey continues.

      ♥ Jessica

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  32. Thank you for all these tips!
    I've had my blog for just under a year, and it can hard to maintain a schedule, not to mention inspiration. Speaking from a relative newbie's point of view, it's always a treat to have pros like you showing us the ropes and sharing your experiences!

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  33. This is such a great post, and so "you"! One of the many things that attracted me to your blog, and has kept me interested, is the generous spirit in which you encourage others in your world-wide vintage loving community. It's been fun to watch your blog evolve over time as well as to learn how you think about it. Well done!

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    1. What a splendidly nice (and very touching) comment, sweet Ann, thank you deeply.

      ♥ Jessica

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  34. Thank you - this is all super useful and just what I needed to hear. In fact I love this post so much I thought I'd un-lurk!

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  35. Hear Hear....my dear! Can't have said it better myself. I love coming back to your blog because you simply write beautifully and your blog always has much more to say than just look at what I'm wearing...it has been a journey of learning and I applaud you for your dedication. I know myself how hard it can be. Have a fabulous weekend my dear!
    Lots of blogging love,
    May xx
    www.walkinginmay.com

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  36. After ten years of blogging, I still find this post helpful-I can always learn something new.

    I've never been concerned by a lack of comments-I can look at the stats and know what people are coming to the blog for (mostly, "Things to do with mincemeat" if I trust Google stats). Sometimes, there just isn't anything to say!

    I'm still amazed at the friends I have made through blogging. I started it as a record of interesting things I'd cooked from my insanely large cookbook collection. Over time, it morphed into other areas of interest. My only goal was to have something my son could look at some day, and maybe know a bit about his mother he didn't already know. I know I would have loved a bit more insight into my parents' lives.

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  37. Hi Jessica!
    I've been a longtime lurker of the site, but never posted a comment because I didn't want to unintentionally come across as fake or trying to advertise my blog, which I've seen before and really didn't like. This post was a really good thing for you to write; I think many of us new bloggers look to the more experienced ones to see how their blogs have lasted and what we can do to have the same longevity. I took a hiatus from my site last year due to not knowing many of the things you just covered. Even though my hiatus later showed me what you just posted about giving things time and fighting monotony, it's still really good to hear that I'm on the right track. This would be a wonderful post for individuals considering creating a blog, so that they can start off on the right foot. Thank you for posting this!

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    1. Hi Mandy, thank you very much for unlurking to leave your first comment here. It's terrific to connect with you and to know that this post hit a chord for you, my dear. I admire the fact that you took a blogging hiatus last year because that's what you felt your site needed at the time. IMO, that beats a constant string of "Gosh, sorry I haven't posted in ages" posts (bloggers never feel obliged apologize for not posting more often - it's your own blog and you can post however frequently, or not you desire) or "I don't know what to post, so I'll post about not knowing what to write" posts. Sure, we can all have a few of those here and there, if need truly be, but it's often better to say nothing and return with great content when possible, then to feel like we need to create dreary filler in the meantime.

      Thank you again - I look forward to connecting with you from here on out,
      ♥ Jessica

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  38. Thank you, this is so very thorough, and a lot of the same information that I'd pass on to others who are starting out in the blog world! Quality is sometimes too rare but a very desirable aspect to have in a blog!

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  39. This is such great advice for anyone no matter how long they've been blogging. I think I will be coming back to this post in the future when I feel a bit stuck. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this advice and wisdom!

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  40. Thank you Jessica for this very helpful advice, I am very new to the blogging world so am soaking up everything like a sponge.

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  41. Dear Jessica, these tips are precious! They are very good for whom is starting a blog but also for many that run blogs for a long time. You touched very important points that sometimes people neglect on their blogs. So this fantastic post reminds us (to all) that everybody should have the humility to analyse their path and make it better next time. That's alright isn't it! We are all growing and learning to be better individuals in this amazing world. And blogging is a massive world.

    I hope to find the time to start a blog :-)
    If I do, I have here plenty to think about! bookmarked... ;o)

    Well done dear friend, these were very good.

    Miss Beta xx

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  42. Dear Jessica,
    I think I will have to print these tips, so I can carry them around with me. :-)

    Thank you so much for taking the time to list all these little helpers that will aid anyone, who has just started a blog, plans to start one, and even those, who have been doing this for a while.
    It can be so intimidating to jump into the world of blogging, because everyone who does, is afraid of failure. I am sure that a good portion of patience is very important, because as you said yourself, success doesn't come over night and not to everyone quickly.

    Thank you again for your blogging advice. Much appreciated!

    Mo Carlson

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    1. You're sincerely welcome, Mo, many heartfelt thanks in turn for your terrific comment. I'm really happy to know that this post resonated with you to the point where you may print them off to keep with you as a handy-dandy reminder. If you'd ever like to discuss any of the topics here further (or others pertaining to blogging not touched on in this post), please don't hesitate to fire an email my way.

      Big hugs & tons of happy blogging wishes!
      ♥ Jessica

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  43. Love your last paragraph, darling ... you convey big feelings with your words, I always admire your ability to convey feelings!

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  44. What an amazing and trully helpful post, Jess!
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts as usual <3

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  45. such a great post! I agree with almost all points and I think some of these things have definitely worked for me in the past. I know that my sidebar is so crowded with book review archives, so I really need to find another way to post an archive where it can be referenced easily.

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  46. Thanks Jessica, for this long post full of useful tips! I love your blog , and your lovable kind words! I also like your unique style... five years of blogging is a good time, and you surely can help new born bloggers to improve!
    I have started blogging a year ago ( just in February! ) and I feel I still have a lot to learn!

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  47. This is all great advice, I definitely think I break rule number two a bit as I write about vintage and dogs and sometimes other things as well but its all fun. Your blog is the gold standard so its great you are giving advice

    retro rover

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    1. Thank you very much, dear Kate. By all means, write on a wide variety of topics - I do the same as well myself, I just make sure that the bulk of them relate back, at the end of the day, my blog's general theme which is, of course, vintage. I love that you share recipes, chat about and share of photos of your darling pups, whip up posts about your terrific 1930s ensembles, delight your readers with silent film clips, and all the other interesting things you fill your blog with. I know that vintage and dog are at its heart and enjoy that so many of your posts touch on one or both of those great topics.

      ♥ Jessica

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  48. I'd gotten a little (or a lot) behind on my blog reading and was SO excited to stumble upon this post. As Amelia and I have only been blogging for two months now, I was literally pouring over this. I will definitely be back to this post time and time again for wise words and inspiration! Also, happy 5 year, Jessica!

    Amanda
    Junebugs and Georgia Peaches

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  49. helpful post yes, but not only, "write with your heart" is one of the most important things you said !!! and the most I read you the most I think it's you, your heart, your generosity !!! thanks a lot to be Yourself !

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  50. such sound advice, thank you, ally, honey-pot-creations.co.uk, oh ps note the new web-site address, I will send my stuff over soon ready for next week xxx

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  51. I really loved your list of tips to help a newcomer blogger. However, I know I am a bad at blogging. As selfish as I know it is, I blog for myself only. I love writing posts about vintage, but I am a writer and that is my first love {okay and books}. And thanks to this google/blogger image url problem I cannot do any of my lovely pinsperation posts.

    I wish I were more like you in the fact that I wanted to do these in order to get a larger following, but I honestly don't care about that. You and so many others who faithfully read my posts are my friends and I'd rather have a bunch of loyal friends who actually care then a ton of people who just follow so I'll follow back.

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    1. You're not "bad" at blogging because you blog for yourself - I blog for myself as well and have long encouraged others to do precisely the same. What may differ from person to person is what kind of benefits you derive from blogging and why you set out to blog in the beginning, but it truly is important to blog for yourself first and foremost in whatever way suits your life best.

      ♥ Jessica

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  52. Wow, what a lot of blogging advice. I often think that I spread the topics too much in my blog, but I cannot stay true to just one theme. And I love the vintage blogging world, since there are absolutely no vintagers in Denmark, so reading vintage blogs makes me feel I'm not alone. ;) I wish I had more readers, and I got three more when you posted the spotlight post, so I really want to thank you for that. I love your writing and this collection of advice is just fantastic. Thanks again, dear. :)

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    1. Hi sweet Sanne, you're very welcome - I hope that number continues to climb for you because of that post and our collaboration in general. While I'm certainly not the only Canadian vintage blogger, I am the only around these parts in B.C., so I can definitely relate to the immense importance of being able to connect with fellow like minded folks from around the world. Were it not for the web, we would never have "met" in all likelihood - a thought I shudder to think about!

      ♥ Jessica

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  53. Great list of tips! I've always felt being part of the "blogging community" to be one of the most important parts of blogging. It can take a lot of time and effort to read/comment/etc but I find I get so much more out of blogging in general when I do.

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    1. Hi sweet Kate, you raise a great point: you get out of blogging what you put into it. I love being heavily immersed in the vintage blogging scene and usually start feeling out of sorts if I go for more than a few days without doing so, especially if the temporary hiatus was an unplanned one.

      ♥ Jessica

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  54. This is a great list. It can take a while to get into the swing of things, but once there it seems much easier to sort of settle in and just roll with it. My biggest issue is having a great idea—invariably while making dinner or doing something else that doesn't offer the opportunity to write it down—and thus forgetting it. I really need to work on that! The dog needs to learn to take dictation...he is a collie, after all.

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    1. Hi Jen, thank you very much! I get ideas for posts around the clock, too (I've actually been woken up while asleep in the middle of the night with an idea and been so propelled and inspired by it that I wrote a whole post right then and there). I keep a (long) running list of ideas that I may want to write about in a Word document on my desktop, and jot down ideas on my phone, a notebook, or even just a scrap of paper anytime they strike and I'm not at home (or on my computer). I've even emailed myself ideas from my phone while on the go. A great idea is too valuable to let slip through the cracks, as it so easily can, during the daily grind.

      Very cute mental image - I could see my cat taking dictation, too, and she's very methodical and would make for a good secretary (Annie, our dog, would try to eat the pencil and paper :D).

      ♥ Jessica

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  55. This is a great post! And a great reminder for those of us who have been blogging for a few years as well!

    Lisa.

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    1. Thank you very much, dear Lisa. Absolutely! While this post was written with budding bloggers in mind, there are points here which I hope can prove helpful for bloggers at all stages of their online journey. I know that there are a few that I even need to remind myself of or do more of every now and then, too, and hope that their always will be. It's awesome to keep growing and bettering oneself and their blog in as many ways as possible.

      ♥ Jessica

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  56. Thanks so much for your advice! I admire your blog and love that you always are looking out for the people who are just starting. :)

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    1. That's immensely touching to hear, thank you very much, sweet dear.

      ♥ Jessica

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  57. You have, as always, shared wonderful advice in such a gracious way! Thank you for this delightful and extremely helpful post!
    ~xoxo, CoriLynn

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    1. It's my heartfelt pleasure, honey. I have a second post chalked full of further handy blogger tips (coming at things from a different angle than this post for the most part) in the works for next month, which I hope you'll enjoy as well.

      Big hugs & tons of thanks for all of your great blog comments yesterday,
      ♥ Jessica

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  58. Wonderful post, love! I need to get back into a groove...I'll definitely be taking your tips to heart. :)

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet dear. I wish you much luck with finding a grove that jives well for your life at this point in time and am always here to "talk shop" if you have any specific blogging related topics you'd like to discuss beyond what was covered in the scope of this post.

      ♥ Jessica

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  59. Excellent tips, Jessica, and obviously written with some real thought and experience behind them. As others have said useful for bloggers at all stages, be they just starting out or several years in the game. Myself included! So many hints and suggestions that really resonate with me and come at just the right time, helping to remind me that blogging is not a popularity contest nor as you say a sprint race; that sometimes it's good to pull back and take a day or two's rest and not spread oneself too thin. The community spirit of [vintage] blogging is something always to be appreciated too, and you have always struck me as an integral member.

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    1. How tremendously kind and touching of you to say, Bruce, thank you very much. Indeed, sometimes I need to remind myself of a few of these points as well. Blogging is an art, not a precise science, though as in both, a sense of balance is always present and discovering one that works well for you and incorporates many (or even all) of these pointers into it is something that can go such a very long way towards finding and maintaining blogging bliss.

      ♥ Jessica

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  60. Great tips Jessica. I must admit to having read other bloggers' tips on a successful blog and they pretty much seemed very "copy+paste" from other blogs. I think yours are right on the spot and it takes someone with experience to accomplish that.

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    1. Thank you very much, dear Lorena. I didn't consult any other blog posts while I was penning this one. In fact, when the inspiration to write it struck, I sat down at my computer and didn't stop for a few hours until I was done. That said, of course, I have read other posts akin to this over the years and am sure they helped influence me a bit, but I really wanted to write straight from the heart based on my years of blogging and feel that's precisely what I did here, so it means a lot to me that you picked up on as much.

      ♥ Jessica

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  61. Thank you not only for the tips but for the honesty! Sometimes you can read as many blog tips as you want but when you read them from someone who clearly knows what they are talking about it can be some much needed inspiration!!

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Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts, questions, and opinions with me. I read and sincerely appreciate each comment I receive - they brighten my day like rays of sparkling sunshine.

♥ Jessica