How (not) to Blog . . . Works for Me Wednesday

{This post is not meant to create controversy or incite a riot. ;)}

Most of the questions in my inbox are about cookie decorating, but I get a good bit of questions about how to start a blog.

Well, let me tell ya, you might not want to ask me, because apparently I've gone about it all the wrong way.

Here's what you are SUPPOSED to do:
  1. Your blog should be hosted on WordPress.  Bake at 350 is hosted on Blogger.  And, you know what?  I'm happy here.  Blogger is like my favorite quilt, it may not have all of the bells and whistles of an electric blanket, but it's comforting and familiar.  So far, I think I'm staying.  But, from what I hear, all the *cool* kids are on WordPress and it is the bee's knees.
  2. Your blog should have its own domain.  Look up in the address bar.  That ""  That's baaaad.  Apparently, people don't think you take your blogging seriously when you're not a .com or .net.  You all think I take my blog seriously, right?!? ;) (How seriously must we take a blog about cookies, anyway?)
  3. You MUST have a $1,200 camera and a $800 lens to go with it.  Are you noticing a pattern here?  Yes, I blogged for almost 3 years with a point & shoot camera. *gasp*  All of those pictures in my header?  From the point and shoot.  And last year, when I *did* break down and buy a dSLR, a $1,200 camera was just not in our budget...especially for a camera to take pictures of cookies. So, I did a little research and bought this camera...from WalMart.  And it's great for my needs...I'll leave the real photography to the experts, like my sister and Angie.
  4. You should be very, very concerned with SEO.  (That's Search Engine Optimization to you and me...yes, I had to look it up after sitting in an hour long seminar 2 years ago, thinking, "what the heck is SEO?")  For example, your post titles should read something like, "Sugar Cookie Recipe plus Tutorial."  They should not be 25 words long, like this one.

So, as you can see, I've gone about it all wrong.  Maybe marching to the beat of my own drum has to do with growing up a curly-haired, pigeon-toed girl.  As much as I tried in junior high, my hair would never have "wings" or "feathers."  No matter how many ballet classes I took, these turned-in toes were never going into the fifth position.

Maybe being a bit of a rebel has been built-in.

My REAL blogging advice for you...
  • Find your voice.  I was so afraid to SAY anything when I first started (and maybe I say too much now).  Let your personality shine through.
  • Find a bloggy mentor.  Even if you never actually talk with that person, find a blog you like for inspiration.  See what they do that you like, but don't copy them, make your blog your own.
  • Join twitter (or Facebook or Google+).  It's a great way to make friends with other bloggers and twitter is my go-to place when I have a blogging question. Don't feel obligated to join them all.
  • Hire a blog designer to personalize your blog a bit.  It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg and there are plenty of wonderful designers out there.  Take a look at their portfolios (and prices!) and find one that suits your style. 
  • Do what feels right to you.  Love WordPress?  Awesome!  Don't let my post change your mind.  Want to post every day?  Do it!  More of a once-a-week-post type gal?  Sounds good, too. 
  • Have fun & believe in YOURSELF!  My friend Teresa posted a fabulous piece on comparing.  Do what YOU love, what YOU feel comfortable with, and you'll create a blog that you'll be proud to call your baby. 
Want to read more about starting a blog? Kristan from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen has great tips here

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