You guys asked some really great blog-related questions! I am going to answer them the best that I can, BUT being that I haven't been at this all that long myself (you can see my first post here), I figured I would point you all to a post that I recently read that compiled blogging advice from lots of great bloggers who are way more experienced and run way bigger blogs than this little space right here. You can check out that post here.
What advice can you give on starting a blog?
Make sure you are doing it for YOU! Write about things you love in your own voice. Let people see your personality through your writing and get to know you through your posts. Don't feel pressure to post all the time or about certain topics. Our blog was really just an online journal in the beginning and kind of just evolved into more. If you make blogging a job or chore, it won't be fun anymore, and your readers will definitely feel that come through in your posts.
How did you grow your followers/readers?
Find other blogs like yours that you can communicate/collaborate with, and your blog will naturally start to grow. When I first started blogging, I participated in a lot of different blog hops (Google search "blog hops" and a long list should pop up). This allowed me to meet other bloggers, find other blogs that were similar to my style of writing, and make friends in the blogging community. It also grew my readers too! Also, most bloggers are more than happy to give advice or answer questions if you see something you really like about their blog that you would like to incorporate into your own, so don't be shy about emailing or commenting to ask questions.
Another way to grow your blog is to host giveaways. Find a product or company and that you would like to write about, reach out to that company to ask if they would be interested in sponsoring a giveaway in exchange for you featuring their products on your site, and then ask a more experienced blogger (or two or three or four!) if they would like to participate in the giveaway with you. Giveaways give exposure to your blog and are just fun to host! Who doesn't love winning prizes?! Once your blog grows, you'll eventually have companies and/or other bloggers contacting YOU about hosting giveaways and writing about their products.
One last thing I did early on was participate in "blog awards" where I answered questions about myself or Matt answered questions about himself and tagged other bloggers in the post (i.e. "passed on the award"). This was fun for me early on and gave me topics to write about while letting readers learn more about us.
You can search our blog in the sidebar for award posts I wrote and start the chain yourselves if you'd like. Here are a few posts that will show up:
How did you get other bloggers to feature you on their blogs as a guest writer or place your blog on their blog roll?
Do you follow your readers on Instagram or other social media sites?
Do you respond to all of your comments?
But while we're on the topic, Alison, a sweet blogger friend of mine, pointed out to me a couple of weeks ago that my email in my profile had changed to show up as email@example.com. When your profile is set to this, bloggers can't reply to your comments through email. So if you have left me or other bloggers comments with questions and haven't heard back, it's most likely because your profile isn't allowing people to respond to you. I'm fairly certain the new Google+ profiles are to blame, but regardless, here is how you fix it:
Alison sent me this great link that was easy to follow and took no time at all, and it shows you what to do for Blogger profiles and Google+ profiles: http://www.flusterbuster.com/
How do you manage mean or nasty comments?
Do you worry that your students or fellow teachers will read your content?
I know there are former students and teachers who read my blog and/or follow me on social media, but I don't worry about it because I don't ever post anything inappropriate (or at least I don't think I do! ... I guess appropriateness is a matter of opinion). ;)
Do you worry about others stealing your content?
I haven't ever thought of this actually, so no, I guess I don't! I feel like the blogging community is pretty good about giving credit to other bloggers if they share ideas or content that they've read elsewhere, so I'm not too worried about it.
How do you manage to not get discouraged or give up on blogging completely?
As I mentioned earlier, I started blogging as a sort of online journal. And then I started sharing recipes mainly because I wanted an online recipe book of things I had made and liked. And then my blog started to evolve into other areas naturally. But every "new" part of blogging (giveaways, blog features, awards, etc.) was something I would say "yes" to because it was something I would enjoy writing about or participating in. I feel like I've said it a million times, but if you blog for other people, you won't like blogging, so blog for you!
Hopefully that helped some! In Part 3 of the Q&A posts, I'll be answering questions about my routines: what my typical day looked like when I was working, where I shop, my skincare and makeup routines, and when I'm planning to go back to work.
And last but not least...