one week to inbox zero

clean up that mess & (finally) get ontop of things!

PS: This week long email course is 100% free!



I'm so glad you are here. I'm Elizabeth and this is the blog. This is the space I tend to. The place I share my heart and our stories. I pack these pages full of tips, stories, adventures, travels, outfits, and recipes. It's a little bit of everything and a whole lot of me. My hope is that these words & photos would encourage & inspire you. That being here will brighten things at least a little bit. Please stick around & explore. There is something here for everyone! Click through the categories below for more! 

Create Quality Content

Create Quality Content for your blog! Love these simple tips! Great blog content is so key in growing your blog and obtaining a readership. It makes sense really, if there is nothing good to read, no one will read it! This post will not tell you what to write about (because there are all types of blogs out there that connect with all types of people that cover all types of topics), but it will talk about three key components to a great blog post: Pictures, Passion, and Questions.

ALWAYS ADD A PICTURE

I know, this is (mostly) a grown up world here but you blog should not be a chapter book (all words, no images!) We need pictures, colors, guidance. the picture is the first thing that catches the eye. It lets your readers know if something is worth or not worth reading. Think of it as a book cover – I know they say you cannot judge a book by its cover – but if nothing draws you to pick up the book and read the synopsis, you may never read the book!

Also, a great way to connect your blog to new readers is through Pinterest! When you have a picture in your posts, your readers can pin it on their Pinterest boards to help remember to come back to it later or to share the post with other readers! I pin all the time to so that I can remember to come back to the post! I also love pinning post that encourage or inspire me so that others may be encouraged and inspired!

YOUR OWN PICTURE…
Yes, pictures are so important in a blog post and I think it is best to use your own picture(s) for a couple reasons.

  1. Because we want to get to know you! It is fun to see how you view the world, the coffee shops you go to, the things you where, the family you have. while there are times and places to use other pictures, make sure majority of them are yours! Pictures are not reserved for only professional photographers! Do you have a cell phone, an instagram, or a digital camera? Get snapping! You might find that you enjoy it and start seeing “picturesque moments.”
  2. You have to be so careful about copyright and using other pictures without permission. Even if you are linking back to Pinterest or the source, you can still find yourself sued if the picture owner is not happy. You can read more about all those details here on Natalie’s blog (Thoughts by Natalie). I really think it is better to be safe than sorry and respectful than non-respectful. When you find yourself in need of that perfect picture you cannot create on your own, there are plenty of pictures that are free and available for use! Death to the Stalk Photo is a great site filled with beautiful pictures that are available for free use.

WRITE WITH PASSION

Here is where all the content goes. You have your beautiful/ meaningful/ attention grabbing picture pulling readers in and now you share with them! This part is the easy part because you just need to write about what you want to write about! It is obvious when a blogger is trying to write about a topic they are not necessarily passionate about or write with a tone that is not their own. Not everyone needs to be serious, witty, sarcastic, detailed, or dramatic (but some people should!) It always just ends up awkward when you see that disconnect in the writing and the writer.

Write in a way that you are passionate about and write about what you are passionate about. I love clothes and the GAP. I was so afraid of doing an outfit post because I never shopped at any high fashioned boutiques and I usually just copy the mannequins that I see in the store. Once I realized that I could do an outfit post with just me and the clothes I wear, it was freeing! (and they received a much better response!) It is evident when you enjoy and own how you write and what you write about. That honestly and authenticity will be attractive to the type of readers you want to draw in!

END WITH A QUESTION

If you want to engage with your readers you need to engage them! If you are doing an outfit post, ask them what their go to winter item is. If you are doing a weekend post, ask them what their favorite part of the weekend was. Continue dialogue by inviting your readers to talk to you! Some might not feel like “great post” is a comment worth typing but they might be inspired to leave a comment saying “My current favorite artist is Of Monsters and Men! – Great post! I always love your writing!” when you ask them what their current favorite music is these days. Blog community is a lot like real life community – you cannot always be the talker, you need to ask questions, and you need to read (and respond) to the answers!

BONUS

  1. Make inspirations & Pinterest finds a treat. It may be easy to create a collection of things you want to buy on etsy or home pictures you love on Pinterest but we want more than your wish lists! Inspiration boards are inspirational when they come occasionally – we want to see you put those inspirations into reality! When your blog is just collection after collection, we wonder who you are and what you are passionate about. Content is so important. I know I skip on blogs that are packed with inspiration boards and giveaways because I feel like I have no idea who the blogger really is! You can rock the inspiration boards if that is your thing but we want more than that, we want your voice, your story, and your pictures too.
  2. Only endorses brands you love. This is so easy to fall into at first and such a turn off for me. It will not take long before all kinds of companies are emailing you asking you to review their products, post about their new collection, giveaway a gift card and coupon code to their shop, etc. These things are all great and exciting but you do not need to say yes to everything! Only say yes to the products that you like and you think your readers will like. Sounds simple enough but I know how hard it is to turn down free product or money! I had the opportunity to make a significant amount of money by posting about college text books but I ended up turning it down because I was not in that place of life anymore (I graduated college in 2010) and I felt like it would be unauthentic to write a post about how much I loved their company when I would never use it. It was not a bad company, just a bad fit for me. Be okay with saying no to companies that do not fit your style. Your blog content will suffer when you say yes to everything and your blog will become one big unauthentic ad. Advertising is great, just make sure you are sharing products you truly love and think your readers will benefit from knowing about!

Related: Create a Blogging Income

What about you? What do you think the most important things in a blog post are? What are you attracted to in a blog post – in the blogs you read?

xoxo, elizabeth
  • Pictures are so important! I have been trying to use a lot more. Also writing with passion is so key to doing anything.

    xo. Kailagh

  • Asking a question at the end is a great point. It definitely gets readers engaged and gives them something to leave you a comment about. In the area of blog planning, you are way more organized than me, though. That planner is cute!

  • Amy

    great- great- GREAT advice, and all 100% true! authenticity, images, and connecting makes a great blog to read!

  • Thanks for sharing! I am loving the blog planner sheets – I may have to get some myself. And I love your outfit posts since my wardrobe is similar, so I am glad that you found your passion in that!

  • This is great! I love posts with photos the very few times I've written a post without one (for whatever reason) it makes me feel all weird inside (maybe I'm a little strange that way). And I also love the idea of asking questions for readers to answer, it's a great way to get to know them better, this is something I've been trying to start doing over the last little while.
    Thanks for sharing all these tips!

  • Elizabeth, seriously, all your posts in this series have been pure gold! I would love to know how you went about rebranding your blog, changing the name, the hosting site, etc. It seems like such a daunting task!

  • You make some really, really great points!! I found myself nodding my head as I read this! I'm going to read it over once more! Thanks!
    ~Sara

  • Amanda!
    Thanks – I am currently working on putting them all in one place so that they can always be used as a resource! I will totally make a point to talk about that journey! Branding is so important! xoxo

    http://www.oakandoats.com

  • I think you hit the spot on all of these. I think being yourself is key. If not, then why blog? I do love that you plan your blog posts. I bought a big planner from Target and put all my monthly posts in there.

    OH something else I just thought of – I think it is good to limit the amount of times you post. Personally, I don't like when people post 4-6 (sometimes 7) times every single week. It can be hard to keep up with their blog.

  • These are great tips! I'm loving the "end with a question". I used to feel weird doing that, now I feel a bit more normal. Thank you for all the great tips for growing our blogs!

  • I think a lot of people make the mistake of not being themselves in their writing. I know it definitely took me awhile to find my 'voice' but the result is so much better!! Thanks for sharing these tips!

  • For me adding in pictures is a big must do to tell my story how I want it to. I also think just finding your own voice and to try and not let others blogs influence your own writing style.

  • Um, these posts are amazing. I love what you said about passion and content because I think that's huge and something that really changed my blog (for the better!). Once I started blogging about passions of mine and not just the fluffy stuff, I found that the responses and friendships and community were much fuller and real-er. Can't wait tof the next post in this series!

  • Oops, definitely meant *for*

  • This is a wonderful post! And oh my goodness, how did I NOT know about the printable planner website before?? I've needed that SO badly! Thanks for sharing.

  • for sure! I am excited that you are starting to use more pictures! i learned so much about myself when i started taking the pictures for my blog! now i LOVE doing it!

  • haha! I am trying to be so that I don't get overwhelmed! There are a lot of things I want to do with this blog and some other dreams (like writing a book?!?) that go along with it! I also work 40 hours a week at a local non-profit so if I still want a life I need to be organized! I will be showing off my new system soon!

  • thanks Amy! I love hearing what other people value in blogging (not just my thoughts!)

  • Yeah! Amy, that is so fun! And yes, you can just print those planner sheets off! I have the whole Emily Lay Binder! I'll be sharing some of my organization when I get home from Vacation but you should for sure take advantage of her free printables!

  • I am so glad this was helpful for you! If you think of any questions just send them my way! I might turn them into a post to share!

  • Girl! I have like less than 10 posts without pictures and they are from when I first started blogging. I could never do one these days! and yes, I love that part! it is fun to engage!

  • That is so true! But you also have to post enough so that people can read new content when they stop by 🙂

  • I am so glad that you love asking the questions now! It took me awhile to do it as well! lol

  • 🙂 girl. thank you for your sweet words. just be you and that you will shine!!

  • That's true and I didn't think about that aspect of it.

    I guess the key for me is balance. Some weeks I might post more and other weeks back off a bit.

  • I think that is SO KEY! you cannot force yourself to post/ stress yourself out. you need to find your balance and go with it. some people only blog on Mondays and there readers know that – others post every day – some larger blogs even post multiple times a day because their blog is more like a forum. but each blogger needs to chose what is reasonable for them!

    http://www.oakandoats.com

  • Davidsherry36

    Hey Elizabeth,

    Totally resonate with only endorsing brands you love. It's tough in the short term but you want to be in the same headspace as your idols! Looks like you've done a great job with the engagement piece, it's something I have a hard time with in my weekly emails!

    -David @deathtostock

  • you are so welcome Maliori! I actually just bought the whole planner because I want to be really intentional this year with organizing and planning. It is AWESOME! I will be showing it off when I get back form Vacation!

  • Linds 🙂 Thanks sweet lady! I was drinking out of your joy mug yesterday! It will make it to the blog soon! xoxo

    and you can print those for free off of Emily Lay. I bought the binder to go with it. She also has a planner. I love her heart and her purpose behind organizing!

  • Annie Montgomery

    I'm so glad to hear you side on more original photos. Sometimes I get lost in a blog where it's gorgeous but not their own work (I even get jealous that my photos don't look like that – stop it, Annie! 😉 ) My husband and I made a promise that this blog would be our story and our photos, with just the occasional guest photo that fits or blog. I'm so thankful he holds me to it, because otherwise, I'd have A.D.D. about ALL THE PRETTY THINGS! And then the whole copyright thing would be intimidating..

  • Liz

    Good point on the pictures! I never put in perspective that way. 😉

  • This is a very true post! And the reasons you listed are the reasons I only use my own pictures.

  • yes!!! I love pictures!

  • me too!!!!

  • I am so excited for you! and yes, I value authenticity here so I made a commitment to always use my own pics! I love it because it has stretched me to grow in my photography skills (things I am still learning every day!!)

  • I hate to sound cliche, but great post. I've been blogging for a couple of years, but I think this summer I will be regrouping and starting fresh with a new space. I will keep all these things in mind when I do that!

  • Lauren,
    I am so glad this post was helpful to you! that is wonderful! I am a big fan of blog updates 🙂 I do it here all the time!

  • Yes! They are the best! Ironically, I do freelance blog design… but I've never been super pleased with the direction of my own space. I'm hoping to take some quality time getting it right once finals are over.

  • Kiki! you are always so sweet and encouraging!

  • LOVELY post! thank you!

  • You are so welcome! I am glad you enjoyed it!