building your blog

building your blog

I have always been somebody who loves to jump into my hobbies and take on tasks head on.  Blogging is no exception to this.  If I get an idea, I run with it.  This is awesome because it feels like there are no limits, but it’s also definitely been a trial and error process.  Over the course of the past few weeks I’ve learned a few valuable lessons when it comes to building your blog that I wanted to share with you today.

If you’ve ever googled “how to grow your blog” – you probably already know all of the answers to this.  Guest posts, interviews, link-ups, link your posts to each other, use social media to promote your posts, etc, etc.  Well, what I want to share with you today is a few things that I had to learn the hard way from all of these adventures.

Guest Posts

When you have somebody guest post for you, commit to the date that the post is going to go out.  This might sound simple, but if you’re just at the beginning of starting yourl editorial calendar, it might not occur to you.  Once you confirm the date, write it down in a place you will remember it (or 1,000 other places that you might see it) so that the post definitely goes out on that day.  Secondly, make sure to include or ask for the following information:

  • The format you want the information in (word, HTML, etc)
  • The sources of where the pictures came from for citing purposes
  • How wide your content width column is so the images will fill the space
  • A short biography including words, links, and a picture to drive some traffic to their page
  • The date you need all of the information by
  • The date the post will be published

Interviews

Interviews are a great way to bring additional traffic to your page, especially if the person you are interviewing promotes the link within their own social networking worlds.  There are a few things that you need to make sure you do to get all of the information you need:

  • Always start with the question “tell me about yourself” so that if nothing else you’ve got the basiscs
  • Ask what links and social networking sites they want to promote – is it a store, gallery, blog, youtube channel
  • Ask for a photo – maybe of the person doing something related to what you’re interviewing about
  • Tell the person if you will be using their answers verbatum (they’ll be more grammar careful)
  • The date you need all the information by
  • The date the post will be published

Features & Link Ups

If you are trying to coordinate a link up with a group of people there are a few things you need to decide beforehand.  Are you going to publish all the content and just link back to their blogs or is it going to be more of a blog hop?

If you are going to post all of the content on your blog, make sure to get all of the basic information from them (links, pictures, etc).  Then tell them exactly what day the post will be on, and give them the URL as soon as possible.

Bare Bones Casual Sample Letter:

Hi,

I’m doing a post on my page about XXX and I thought that you would be a great person to provide some [advice/answers/stories] about the topic.  If you’re interested, I would love to feature you in my post.  I plan on publishing the post on XXX XX, 20XX, so I would need the information by XXX XX, 20XX.  Please let me know if you’re interested.

Best,
Chrystina

If you are going to be coordinating a blog hop, make sure everyone knows that they are going to have to post something on their page.  Not only that, but agree on a publishing date and time far in advance.  Once that is agreed on, make sure you decide by when final URLs need to be sent out.

Bare Bones Casual Sample Letter:

Hi,

I’m interested in hosting a blog hop and was wondering if you would be interested in joining?  It is about XXX.  The format of the post would be XXX and each person would post on their own site and we would link between all of them.  The date for the post would be XXX XX, 20XX, but I would need everybody’s links by XXX XX, 20XX please let me know if you’re interested and/or able to find time to participate.

Thanks,
Chrystina

- – - – - – - – - – -

This blogging journey has been wonderful, and it has been great to learn more along the way.  It’s amazing how some days I feel like I 100% know what I’m doing, and somedays I feel like I’ve just started again.  Do you have any tips that you’ve learned along the way?  Run into any mishaps?  Worked with any bloggers that you wished that things had turned out differently?  I’d love to hear about it.

the beginning of a schedule

Snow in Philadelphia

In case you don’t live in the Northeast, this is what it has looked like up here for weeks.
At least it’s pretty, right?

Well hello everyone, happy Friday!  I interupt this 25th birthday party saga to let you in on a fun announcement.  I wanted to let you all know that I’ve decided that I’m going to try my gosh dang hardest to start consistently blogging three times a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Monday and Wednesday will relate to hostessing in some capacity and Friday will be a free-for-all.  Doesn’t that sound exciting?

So I got all ready to write you something really awesome.  I tried to come up with a confessions list like I read on Kat’s blog this week, but I couldn’t come up with anything good.  I considered doing a “what’s in my bag” prompt like Elsie did this week, but my bag is far too much of a hot mess.  I thought about sending you directly over to Superfruit’s show featuring Tyler Oakley from a few weeks ago, it even had a snippit of a song I sang in college as a part of it.  I considered making a list of things I want for Valentine’s Day, but that seemed silly (and I’m saving that for next Friday).  I also thought about going gaga over these 90s cartoon characters all grown up list I found on Buzz Feed, but nobody wants to hear that.  Oh, and I thought about telling you that my little old blog got referenced on Buzz Feed last month (Number 24!), but that was only one sentence.  Or I could tell you about the awesome Instragram photo book that I ordered from Artifact Uprising with all of my photos from 2013, but you could really just scroll through my Instagram account if you wanted to see that.  Or I could tell you how I finally came up with an excuse to order a few cards from this girl’s Etsy shop.

Instead, I’m going to say thank you.  To all of you who read this blog, you make my day.

So at the end of all of this, what I’m realizing is that this was not my best day to make this announcement, because next week is Valentine’s Day week.  Which means that I have 90s character Valentine’s lined up for Monday to Thursday, made with the help of Tory again.  So get excited.  And have a wonderful weekend :)

top 10 posts of blog year number 2

I cannot believe that I have been blogging here at ChrystinaNoel for two years now!  This is post three-hundred and nineteen, crazy right?

In honor of my blog turning two I asked my mother to find a few pictures of me from when I was two (thanks, mom!) – I wonder if this girl knew she’d be an architectural engineer some day.

two year old Chrystina Noel

If you’re new around these parts, welcome!  I’m glad to have you along for this crazy right.  It started off mainly as a hostess and greeting card blog, and then I moved into a place where I couldn’t really host parties anymore, so the parties kind of stopped.  BUT – I’m vowing right now to bring them back.  I went through the posts from the past year and I realized they were only 5-10% party posts.  That will be changing.

Anyway.  I’m Chrystina.  I like arts and crafts, making personalized cards for people, eating buffalo chicken, eating in general, baking things for people (I’d bake for just myself but baking for others is useful because things usually come in dozens and I can’t eat them all before they go bad and have an aversion to freezing baked goods because half the time they end up tasting like freezer), singing the lowest part anybody will give to me, and meeting new people… I really love people.  I dislike the thought of doing karaoke alone on a stage in a crowd full of talented people, the pressure of New York City salad bars, any movie that is remotely scary, doing shots (too much liquid in one place), and most surprises.

After doing last year’s recap post I wanted to do another top 10 posts/series from the year post – so that if you recently came across me you can see all the fun things you were missing or if you’ve been here all along you can catch up on some of your favorites.  Here they are.  In alphabetical order.

1 7 varieties of attractive - women 7 Varieties of Attractive: While I did just post this recently, it really was MONTHS in the works of talking to different people about my theories and coming up with examples and creating the graphics.  I love when I have a crazy idea and am able to get my thoughts down on paper.
2  Kajal's New Jersey Birthday Card 9 Greeting Card Designs: These are probably nine of my favorite greeting cards that I’ve ever made.  Especially the bow tie.
3  2013-01-19, how do you eat your m&ms How Do You Eat Your M&Ms?: This is another one of those Chrystina has a crazy idea and needs to make graphics to explain it post.  All inspired by Bossman.
4  salad bar idea #3 copy Ideas for New York City Salad Bars: I really wasn’t kidding when I said salad bars stress me out, so I went to my co-workers and asked them what they put in their salads and then I made little graphics so I couldn’t forget.
5  2013-03-01, Singers It’s Official, I Need Help with Karaoke Songs: I also wasn’t kidding about being afraid of karaoke.  Lucky for me being a singer (don’t ask) I know a lot of other singers so I was able to ask what they sing for karaoke – by voice part even!
6  favorite things My Favorite Things, Illustrated: This year I did a My Favorite Things post, but later in the year I illustrated it.  I love little drawings.
7  homemade shot glass party favors for wine and cheese party with puff paint Parties Page & Cards Page: This was one of my biggest accomplishments of the year, but I don’t think that many people have clicked them.  The links can be found on the right-hand side of this site – they’re compilations of all of the parties and all of the card posts that I’ve done.
8  ChrystinaNoel Birthday Party Ideas 05 go iceskating Planning My 25th Birthday Party: This is one of the biggest search hits on my blog these days.  I loved doing the drawings and using myself as a paper doll to illustrate all of the options that I have for this part.  Please note I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do yet, so there could definitely be a follow-up post to this one.
9  2012-01-23, full house valentines dj tanner Valentines Series: Full House, Boy Meets World, Saved By The Bell, and Family Matters.  Tory and I worked SUPER hard on these and not gonna lie, we think they’re wonderful.
10  Tria Wine Flavors Wine and Cheese Week: This was the series that I was most proud of.  I paired with restaurants around Philadelphia and more to bring together some wine and cheese knowledge for those who were interested.  Check out posts with help from Zavino, Tria, Talula’s Garden, and Wine Enthusiast.

things bloggers do

Close Up from Charlotte

Picture taken by Krissie

I read a LOT of blogs.  I don’t really know how I keep up with all of it.  Most days I don’t actually and then I find I’m frantically trying to get through posts.  The reason I do it though is because I love it – I love connecting with people – I love catching up with people – I love seeing how people’s lives are going.  So I read a LOT of blogs.  Probably +100, thank goodness all of those people don’t post every day.  Going through this I’ve realized a few things about me and blogging.  Check it out.

ALSO.  Please note that all of these things are generalizations/observations and not every blogger falls into every one of these categories.  It’s all in good fun.

Things Bloggers Do that I Do:

I try to carry my camera everywhere.
I finally bought a maxi skirt.  I absolutely love it.
I want to own almost everything from Anthropologie.
I am addicted to social media.
I love to share stories.
I take a lot of pictures of food.
I love making lists.

Things Bloggers Do that I Don’t:

I don’t own a bunch of mason jars.
I cannot figure out how people afford articles of clothing +$50 each.
I don’t have lots of photos laying around to use in every post; I’m working on it.
I’m not usually home in daylight hours to take pictures with natural light.
I actually find choosing outfits to be super stressful.
I’m not all that great at hashtagging or naming posts.
People find SO many links to share on Fridays.  How?
(By far my favorite link lists are Desert Dandelion and Sometimes Sweet)

Anybody have anything else to add to the list?