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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

How To Start A Blog: Blogging Tips and Tricks

Hey everyone! So today I've written a blog post that I never thought I would write, well not for a while anyway. The main reason being, that i'm still learning more about this crazy blogging thing everyday myself. The reason for this post is because recently I’ve been receiving a lot of emails asking me for general blogging tips and tricks so I’d love to share some of my ideas with you. Now before I continue, please bear in mind that I don’t consider myself to be an expert on the subject, but hope that I have been in the blogging game long enough to help you iron out many potential teething problems and mistakes that you may run into faster than I did. Whether you've just started a blog, had a blog for a year or you want to start a blog in the future, this post will hopefully help you towards achieving your goals in some way.

I started my blog just under a year and a half ago, it was initially called 'adayinthelifeofems' until I bought the domain 'emtalks'. I was never happy with the name 'adayinthelifeofems' but 'adayinthelifeofem' was already taken. I started my blog as a hobby to put onto my personal statement when applying at University and I've continued it from there. Adayinthelifeofems was simply me, talking about what I did on a day to day basis. Pretty boring huh? I then ventured into discussing more beauty related topics and that's when I decided that I needed to re-brand myself and get rid of the horrific blog name. This takes me onto blogging tip number 1:

- Make sure you're happy with your blog name. The beauty of the online world is that even if you detest it as much as I detested mine, you can always just pay about £8.00 for your own custom domain. I bought emtalks.co.uk from a website called GoDaddy.



- There are many websites that you can use to easily set up a blog. A question which I'm usually asked is, what website do I use to write a blog with? I blog using blogspot.com, better known as blogger. Blogger is really easy to use and it gives you all the templates etc that you need to start a blog, I just used the 'simple theme' and then edited my background etc using HTML/CSS codes (you can find most of the codes that you need from a simple Google search). Most of these codes are similar to the ones that you learnt back in the Myspace days (I know I did anyway) and you input them onto your blog and it makes fancy things happen, the beauty with most blogging websites nowadays is that you don't really need to worry about HTML, you can easily click a button to make something Bold, Italic or Underlined and you don't have to insert a code like you did with Myspace. As you can see below, blogger is pretty easy to use.




Wordpress is another great site to set up a blog with, I use this at Uni and personally don't like it as much as blogspot, but a lot of people swear by it. Do a little bit of research online and I'm sure you can find out which one works best for you. You can always play around with both of them until you decide which you like best. If you set up your blog using blogspot, your blog will end in .blogspot.com so for example, my blog adayinthelifeofems was www.adayinthelifeofems.blogspot.com and once I bought a domain, it now ends in .co.uk - I still use blogspot.com to edit my blog but adayinthelifeofems now redirects users to emtalks.co.uk. Tada. Sorry if that's all a bit technical for you. Basically, choose a nice name that you love and set it up quickly and easily with either blogspot or wordpress.



- Once you have a nice little blog set up, it's time to let people know that you exist. I highly recommend following other blogs via Google Friend Connect (if you're using blogger) that's the little thing usually on the right hand side that says 'join this site'. Generally only other bloggers or people with Google accounts can sign up via this so it isn't a real reflection of who reads your blog but it's still quite good to have. If you've already got a blog I'm sure you'll have heard numerous people exclaiming that GFC is getting shut down, it hasn't been shut down and still exists but if you are worried, you can use Bloglovin to follow people too


I was quite late with getting Bloglovin but it's another great way to get an instant feed of what all your favourite bloggers are posting about (you can follow me on bloglovin here). Another great way of getting your blog known is to comment on other peoples blogs too, leave your link and have a chat with them but make sure you don't spam, it's quite frustrating when you spend a lot of time writing an article for people to simply write: 'great post, enter my giveaway'. If you genuinely like what you've read, prove that you were engaged with the content and leave a meaningful comment and a link to your blog, most of the time that person will want to check out your blog too.

Me with the lovely Gracie Francesca, Lucy Rance and Nic Whitehead.

- Meet other bloggers. There are lots of lovely people in the blogging community and they're well worth talking to, you might even make some friends for life like I have through it (I went to Paris with fabulous blogger and now good friend of mine, Scarlett London). It's always scary going to events by yourself but I've met so many incredible girls through events and everyone is in the same boat. When I first started my blog, my friends really didn't get it so it was great to be able to join in with bbloggers chats on Twitter (Sundays 8PM-9PM), a topic is usually set or on Wednesdays there are general chats (8PM-9PM) where you can just use the hashtag #bbloggers to discuss any topic you want. I found I met so many like minded people through getting stuck in with those chats. The most prominent Twitter hashtags for all things bloggy are probably, fbbloggers (fashion bloggers), bbloggers (beauty bloggers) and lbloggers (lifestyle bloggers).


- Use instagram, like Twitter, there are so many bloggers who use instagram, you can usually find them by using the same hashtags as above. I was really late with getting instagram and had it for months without even realising that people followed you (oops). Social media is a great way of finding new blogs and there are so many bloggers who instagram so make sure you use it! Plus it's an addictive way of showing what you're eating, what you've just bought or taking a cheeky little selfie.



-       - Photography - In an age where people expect things ‘on demand,’ it’s not hard to recognise that our attention spans have shortened considerably and we have come to expect high quality, visually stimulating content at the click of a button. The amount of bloggers taking good images has increased and nothing is more off-putting than a blog with poorly composed images, they help tell your story. Think about it this way, how many magazines have you flicked through where a picture has grabbed your attention? Images are hooks which can increase the time spent on your site, people tend to make an initial judgement about a website within seconds and the images can make a huge difference. 

-      With a half decent camera, anyone can take a pretty good photo and photography is something that you learn along the way. When I first started my blog and in fact, for the first 6 months or so, all of my photos were taken on an iphone.  I forever find myself going back to blogs which take beautiful photos, personally, I love reading nice visual blogs. You don't necessarily need an expensive camera to take good photos, you may just be naturally good at photography but using a DSLR with a good lens can make a huge difference.




- Use Pinterest. Pinterest again is something that I only recently got stuck into, you can find me here if you want to see the kind of things that I pin. I find that Pinterest is so inspirational when it comes to creative ideas and for finding other new blogs, much like Instagram, there are so many bloggers who use Pinterest, plus it's full of beauty and style tips.
- Play around with it. All of this software, whether it's iPhoto to edit photos, iMovie to edit videos, your new swanky camera or the use of blogspot.com, takes a bit of getting used to. Play around with it all to begin with, everyone has to start somewhere and it does take a while to get to grips with it, it's like riding a bike, it's difficult at first but you'll quickly get the hang of it. 

- Write however you want to write. It's your blog. If I really wanted to I could write my blog like an English literature essay but I prefer to write it in a talkative and chatty style, you can write your blog however you want to. Write for you. Don't let anyone dictate what you write about, just write as if no one is reading, okay don't give away your deepest and darkest secrets, but when you start a blog you really are just writing for yourself as it may just be your family who know about it, so you really can just be yourself. Never let this change. 


- Timing. A lot of people ask me how to juggle being a full time student/working at the same time as writing a full time blog. The only answer I can come up with as I'm not really that good at time management, is to schedule blog posts, if you know you've got exams coming up for example, spend the weekend scheduling lots of blog posts. Another great tip is to take your photos in bulk, when I'm at Uni I can't really take blog photos as I don't have a pretty white background anywhere, instead, when I go home, I take about 500 photos in bulk so that they're done for me then when I get back to Uni. Blogging isn't even just about writing posts, you've got to make sure you put time aside to reply to emails, blog comments and more.



- You can blog anywhere. In bed, at the breakfast table, in the library, on the train. Wherever you want to blog. 

- Don't compare yourself to other people. It's easier said than done, we all do it but you are an individual person and everyone starts at a different time, everyone has a different life and therefore, everyone's blog is unique to that person. Don't beat yourself up over a number of followers or page views, after all, it really is just a number. 

Having the guts to start a blog is an achievement in itself, it's another huge achievement to keep it up because blogging really can be time consuming and even if one person reads your blog, that's a huge achievement too. Think of all the websites in the world and someone is taking time out of the day to read yours, pat yourself on the back. 
 

- Be yourself, This is my main tip, if nothing else, be yourself. If you're wanting an example of someone who really has made it by being unique and been herself, please watch UglyFaceOfBeauty - the lovely Gracie Francesca, not that she's at all ugly but she's such an inspiration when it comes to really letting your own personality shine through whilst blogging and she's proven that it really is the key to success. When I first started blogging, I didn't really even know that the blogging community or other bloggers existed, I was told to start a blog by a boy at college who used to write about sports, I didn't really think people read blogs, I just thought it was like an online diary where you wrote for yourself, because of this, my blog has always been quite unique as I started off with a complete blank canvas and no inspiration from anyone else. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to win the Cosmopolitan Blog Award for the 'best newcomer' for my blog and I really was just myself and that's when I was happiest. When I was shortlisted this year as the 'Best New Beauty Blog' I was obviously over the moon (thank you to anyone who voted for me, it does mean the world to me) but I became quite unhappy with my blog in the run up to the awards ceremony and almost felt pressured to write about beauty, not by Cosmopolitan, but simply because I was in the beauty category. I felt that I could only write about beauty and as my blog has got older, I don't just write about beauty anymore, yes beauty takes up 80% of my blog, but here and there I really enjoy lifestyle, whether that's a new restaurant or telling you about my travels or me ranting about life.



My main point here is just be you, never feel pressured to write about anything. If you don't want to write about beauty, don't write about beauty. If you don't want to post for two days because you want to spend time away from the internet and actually socialise in real life, don't post. There really aren't any rules to blogging, a blog is your special little place on the internet, you don't even have to share it if you don't want. Never let anyone tell you what to do or dictate how your blog should be. Blogging is fun so do it because you love it, don't take it too seriously.
I hope this has helped some of you, do leave a comment below with your blog/pinterest/instagram links so that I can check you all out but also, if you have any of your own blogging tips please do leave them in a comment too or tweet me @emshelx or email me: emtalks@gmail.com it would be lovely to hear if you agree with these tips or if you have any more to add. Like I've said, these are just the things that I've discovered along the way but you can and SHOULD blog exactly how you want to blog! 
Lots of love, Em x

81 comments:

  1. I'll be honest, I've been forcing myself to take time out of my uni work to blog, but this just makes it feel a little like a chore... but reading these types of blog posts always inspire me!

    Lovely post :)

    Emily x - prettypleaseprettyplease.blogspot.com

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    1. I've felt like this before, thats why you should just post about what you want and when you want and then you'll get your passion back! Good luck!! xxx

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  2. Great inspiring post for newbies like me!

    www.infatuationrw.co.uk

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    1. Yay, really glad you found it helpful! welcome to the blogging world! xx

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    1. thanks babe, hopefully see you again very soon! xxx

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  4. This is so inspiring and has really helped me wanna carry on, oh Em I adore you!
    xox

    hannahmckeever.blogspot.com

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    1. aww this made me blush. thank you so much, continue you won't regret it! Going to pop over to your blog soon! xxx

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  5. Love this post Em!! It's seriously inspiring and full of great tips!

    Leanne xx
    MakeupBlast
    Bloglovin'

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    1. Thank you! really glad you like it!! xx

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  6. This is the best post about blogging I have read in a long time! Thanks for sharing your experience, it really inspires me to carry on with blogging!

    Greetings from London,

    chrissabella.blogspot.com

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    1. Wow, thanks, thats means so much to me! best of luck with your blog. Can't wait to go and have a read now!! xx

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  7. Great tips! I struggle with event invitations - I'm so lucky to be invited to the occasional blogger do or brand events but am far too shy and anxious to turn up on my own. It seems like everyone already knows one another so I regretfully politely decline and I feel like I miss out...it's a shame as I'd love to go for content to write for my blog.

    I need to pluck up the courage and just go one day! Jen xx
    http://kitsch-n-sync.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw thank you. Yeah it is sooo nervy, if we ever get invited to the same we will go together! I never have anynone to go with so always miss out too, dont worry i think everyone feels awkward xxx

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  8. So many fab tips here! Will most certainly be joining the blogger chat! Thank you!

    www.britishbeautyaddict.com

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    1. Yayyy look forward to seeing you join! xx

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  9. Such a great post, great tips....can I ask you what camera you use please? X

    alittlepopofcoral.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. hey it's a sony something i will find out! xx

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  10. Such a helpful post! Thank you for taking the time out to write this.

    Lauren | What Lauren Says

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  11. Great tips Em, I'm sure this will inspire people to start up their own blog, it was posts like this that made me start mine! It's definitely important to be yourself as well! :) xx

    http://cathearts.blogspot.co.uk/

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  12. Amazing advice for a newbie like me - especially the advice about being true to your own style - thank you x

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  13. Amazing advice for a newbie like me - especially the advice about being true to your own style - thank you x

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  14. Very detailed advice. Thankyou :)

    http://lologlitter.blogspot.com

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  15. This is such a lovely post :)

    Davina, davina-tian.blogspot.ca

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  16. Lots of great advice - thanks! I'm finding it difficult to find the time to post on mine so reading your advice about scheduling is a one that I will take onboard as finding some time to do something other than work was the whole point of me starting my blog!

    www.fadeelah.co.uk

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    1. Aw not to worry! Yeah very true, yay x

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  17. Thank you so much for writing this. I'm a new blogger so I really appreciated your tips. I especially liked that you talked about not comparing yourself to others and to be true to who you are.

    katespitz.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw im glad that you like them :) good luck! x

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  18. Fab post Hun, I was thinking about getting my own domain but I worry people won't find my blog and also not sure to go for .com or .co.uk eep! Maybe it's something il do in the new year once I've researched it a bit more x

    Liza | Glambeautys | YouTube

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    1. Aw thank you! yes i worried about that but it was worth it:) xx

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  19. Amazing post Em! I've been blogging for a year and still havn't got the hang of all this stuff, pinterest still confuses me big time ha! Even when I schedule posts it doesn't seem to work, I just have to save written posts then go on to post them when I want them! Rather annoying! This post will help a lot of people out :) xx

    emilykebeauty.blogspot.com

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    1. Haha i loveee pinterest! well worth playing around with! yes i know what you mean, mine dont show up on bloglovin sometimes! xxx

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  20. Wow this is such an informative post Em, I rarely take anything away from posts like this but I've genuinely taken notes hehe It is so true about comparing yourself to others especially if they have more followers and better quality kit etc it really isn't about any of that it's about writing content that you like to talk about and want to share with others however you want xx Emmi

    My Blog: www.emmihearts.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Aw i reallllly hope that it helps you :) so glad you like it! xxx

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  21. What a great post Em, I've been writing my blog for just over a year and even now I can be incredibly naughty as I find myself comparing my blog to others *slaps own wrist*. I've recently just bought my own house and I'm finding it hard to post as often but like you say, it's your blog so do as you will.

    Hannah
    cagneyandlace.com

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    1. Thank you glad you like it! Haha yes dont do that! Yay :) good luck lovely x

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  22. Love this post. Have only just plucked up the courage to start writing a blog after reading them for quite some time. Am still yet to decide what direction to go in but love that there is a little space on the internet where i can just say what i wanna say, whether it gets read by others or not :)

    Thank you for all the tips, they will come in handy!

    J x

    http://justjohanna717.blogspot.co.uk/
    https://twitter.com/JohannaBenn
    http://instagram.com/jlbenn717/
    http://www.pinterest.com/johannabenn/

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  23. Great post!! awesome tips for a start up blogger, I think I'd say the same things :)

    Come visit me!
    www.styleinterplay.com

    .....

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  25. Really really inspiring stuff Em, I'm just starting out myself and I'm overwhelmed by how helpful other bloggers are - thanks for your tips! If you ever fancy a peep at a newbie MCR Lifestyle blogger...i'm at www.frankiesweekend.com :) xx

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  26. I really enjoyed this post! I've had my blog for about 5 months now and it's easy to overlook so many of the simple and wonderful tips you have in this post! Thanks for such well thought out advice, I definitely appreciate it! :)
    Amber
    Lovely Notions

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    1. aw glad you liked it! I completely agree, aw thank you x

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  27. This post could not have come at a better time for me! Thanks for covering so many different parts of blogging. Being yourself is the best piece of advice anyone can give. Loved this post so much I featured it in my series 'Post Love' this week :)

    Holly xx

    http://abranchofholly.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. anytime, just glad i could help! will look at that now thankyou so much x

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  28. My struggle is trying to find a name as it's hard to be unique!

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    1. i know, it seems like there are no good names!x

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  29. Great post, it's so nice that your best piece of advice is to be yourself!

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    1. If nothing else, yes be yourself! x

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  30. Such a fab post Em!! I wish I'd seen this a year ago when I was starting out ahhh...

    Holly Mixtures
    xx

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  31. thanks for the advice! this was great, i will definitely take note and apply this to myself. i've only recently started blogging, i'm a newbie. xx

    http://shush-itsasecret.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Glad you liked it! x good luck and welcome:) x

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  32. I've just discovered your blog, it's love. x
    Really like your tips too, although it's so hard to complete 'meet the bloggers' tip! I live and study in Lancaster and it seems that there's no one here who cares about blogging. And I don't really know where to look for meet ups in other cities. Yeah, the problems of a blogger, but maybe you have some advice on that?
    Here's my link if you ever want to check it out anyway: http://fashionframebygema.blogspot.co.uk/

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  33. Love, love, love this post!

    As I've only just started up it's really encouraging to read something like this :)

    Hmm maybe...

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  34. Brilllll post Em, given me loads of oomph to keep going with mine that I've just started!

    Thank you :)

    http://amyxi.blogspot.co.uk

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  35. I really enjoyed this post! It's long but brilliant. I was just wondering if you have edited your layout yourself? with the top bar and such? (;

    x Sofie
    http://sofiescurlymess.blogspot.dk

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  37. Brillint post! I agree with all of what you have said!

    Hope see you soon in my blog:)
    http://mis360grados.blogspot.com.es/

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  38. Great post! I will definitely be taking your advice on board. Reading other blogs all day as part of my day job does make me compare my blog to other, but I try to keep the thoughts positive and I accept that I haven't been blogging long so it wont be the best. Thanks again for the tips
    Jenni xx
    The Thrifty Magpies Nest

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  39. Hi Em These are some really useful tips. I have only been blogging for 6 months so there is tons for me still to learn and posts like this are really helpful :)

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  40. This is a really useful post for me and i've been jotting down some tips! :)
    With buying the domain off godaddy did you pay for a certain amount of years? I've just been to have a look at buying one myself and a bit unsure..
    angie_cupcake_reviews@hotmail.com

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  41. I wondered if you've come across Blogosphere magazine - a useful resource for people getting into blogging or just looking for inspiration. I thought your readers might find it helpful: http://www.blogospheremagazine.com/

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  42. I love blogging!! I recently started and I am loving it, I found that there weren't a lot of vegan/animal rights blogs out there so i made one myself. http://tiedyedtofu.blogspot.com.au/

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  43. This is such a brilliant post one of the best blogging tips type post iv read! I have only just found your blog today but you have already inspired me to get back to my blog and not to get dishartened when you aren't getting the followers you want. Thank you so much. Ella xx

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  44. I have read this multiple times now and keep coming back to it because I always forget what you've suggested. With your help and inspiration I've just published my first beauty post on my blog! (Definitely a baby blog!)

    I'm still getting used to it but it would be amazing if you could offer me any further advice.

    www.emssays.wordpress.com

    Ems xo

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  45. Hi
    I'm an older blogger (mid forties although still think I'm in my twenties!!!!) and am still fairly new to the blogging world. I started it to document my busy life but now really love it and want to improve. I sometimes worry that I am a little too old and have kind of missed the boat, and because I don't blog about a specific topic, just lifestyle, no one will be interested. I am finding its hard to get followers/comments but hey, I will carry on regardless. I love your blog, your photography (I also need to improve on that!) and this post is great for all us new/ish bloggers. I see you have some great adventures coming up, you lucky girl, so well done to you. Enjoy every moment.
    Steph
    x
    www.pricelesslifeofmine.com

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  46. Thank you for this.Wish I had seen this before I emailed you! Really enjoy reading your blog.

    http://everythinglizzieloves.blogspot.co.uk/

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  47. This is a really useful post, so thanks for writing it! I started blogging earlier this year and it's literally saved my life! I'm finding it hard to get comments and regular readers though, so I think I need to get involved in the blogging community. If you fancy taking a look at my blog, it's harrietclifford.blogspot.co.uk :) xx

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