Starting a Blog?

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Within the past few months, several people have come to me with questions about blogging, so I thought it might be beneficial to share my insight for all new/existing bloggers out there. I have been blogging for several years now, so I am very happy to share my personal tips and advice… Whether you are considering your own site, just starting off, or have had lots of experience, I hope this post is helpful!

1: It’s what you want it to be.

Embrace your unique style of writing because your blog is whatever you want it to be. Don’t feel like you have to follow strict guidelines because there is no right or wrong way to do it. Your blog is very personal, so be creative, have fun, and enjoy writing about anything and everything you want!

2: Be aware of your audience.

The entire world has access to your site at any given moment, so the publicity of a blog (without privacy settings) is pretty immense. Therefore, it is very important that you are aware of the information that you post and pay close attention to photos to ensure that your location isn’t outwardly revealed unless you want it to be. Blogging is one of my biggest hobbies, but safety is always taken into consideration before I hit the “publish” button. I don’t mean to discourage you; I just want you to be aware of your audience and make smart decisions when you post.

3: It takes time to grow.

One of the most common concerns that you may have when you first begin a blog is the lack of readers because it takes a while to become recognized in the community. Don’t become discouraged, but use this time to improve your site and become familiar with certain blogging techniques. I recommend that you engage with other bloggers by following, liking, and commenting on their sites, and it also helps to promote your blog on existing social media platforms. With time, you will gain more followers and your status/traffic will continue to grow!

4: Quality over quantity.

I think one of the worst mistakes that you can make as a blogger is forgetting that the quality of posts always overrules quantity. Don’t rush the writing process just to post something because this will lead to poor quality posts that will bore both you and your readers, so write when you are inspired. Your posts do not have deadline, so you can take as long as you need (days, weeks, or even months.) Whatever you do, you must always maintain quality over quantity.

5: Respond to readers.

When people take time to comment on your posts, it is always good to like and respond to them even if it is a simple ‘thank you.’ They made the effort to reach out to you and express their thoughts and appreciation for your writing, so don’t let that go unrecognized.

6: Research writing prompts.

There are going to be times when you really want to write something, but you just don’t know what. Whenever this happens, I honestly Google writing prompts to get my creativity flowing again. That is my little blogging secret…

7: Why not?

Blogging has really given me the opportunity to express myself, share my passion of writing with the world, meet hundreds of inspiring people, and document memorable moments of my life that can be revisited in the future. If blogging has ever crossed your mind, I really encourage you to at least try it because why not? You can always delete your site if you hate it, but you will never know unless you try. My blog has really impacted my life, and I don’t have a single regret. I am so thankful for all of my readers, and I hope to continue posting for many years to come.


Please feel free to drop any individual questions in the comments section because I am happy to help you begin/continue your blogging journey! A few months ago, I released a post that provided a small overview of my experience on WordPress so far, so be sure to go check that out if you are interested. Thank you so much for reading, and good luck blogging!

What are your thoughts on this post? Do you have any tips or advice? Are there any questions that you still have? Ask away!

Control

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“If you try to control everything, and then worry about the things you can’t control, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of frustration and misery.”

~Unknown

Photographer: Jason N.

Trip of a Lifetime

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This big summer trip has officially ended, and it is very bittersweet to be back home. I missed my room. I missed my bed. I missed my birds. I missed dance! However, my family and I have made so many great memories together for the past month. We saw parts of the country that we may never get to see again. I saw landmarks that I never imagined I would ever see. This was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so blessed to have experienced such beautiful places. I recall:

being on the edge of my seat at that rodeo in Cody

taking a ride through Bear Country and seeing those wild animals stand inches away from our car in Rapid City

eating the best steak I have ever had at the Big Texan in Amarillo

a giant crow smacking into our car on the interstate in New Mexico

traveling through all of the Fly Over States (love this song!)

almost getting lost as we tried to find our way to Devils Kitchen in Wyoming

driving through Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs as pea sized snow hits our car in June


We are now back to reality. We are home! Thank you all for joining me on this fun adventure, and I really hope you enjoyed this series of posts. Which place are YOU most interested in traveling to after reading?

Albuquerque & Santa Fe

New Mexico is unlike any other state I have ever visited. The unique architecture and culture made me feel as though I was in another country! I loved how the modern towns expanded upon the pueblos of the Native Americans and preserved the building style that initially shaped the state.

Downtown Santa Fe is very historic, and it is the home of the “oldest church structure in the U.S.A. The original adobe walls and altar were built by the Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico under the direction of Franciscan Padres ca.1610”. I am so fortunate to have been able to see The San Miguel Church still standing tall after all of these years.

I also really enjoyed walking around Old Town Albuquerque and looking at all of the beautifully hand crafted jewelry in the little shops. We spent most of the day visiting the Albuquerque Biological Park and exploring the botanical gardens and aquarium. This fun adventure ended with a peaceful sunset over the Rocky Mountains…

Colorado Heights

Standing on the top of Pikes Peak 14,115 ft in the sky was definitely an experience that I will be sharing for a long time! Unfortunately, my family and I somehow managed to reach the top in the middle of a thunder-snow storm. We decided to stand on that mountain anyway and enjoy the impressive, hazy state of Colorado below. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pinch on my foot! My family thought I was crazy at first, but it all made sense when my hair stood straight up seconds later. Guys, I experienced an electrical discharge in a thundercloud over 14,000 feet in the sky… I know that this sounds unreal, and I know you may be thinking I have lost my mind. Whether you decide to believe me or not, I definitely didn’t want to leave this bizarre lightning encounter out of this post.

In addition, the Royal Gorge was definitely a grand landmark. I can now say that I have walked across the highest suspension bridge in the entire country! The Arkansas River raged below as I peered down down through the small spaces between the wood flooring. My mother suggested that I take a photo from this viewpoint, and I actually really like how it turned out! What do YOU think? Across the horizon, the river sliced a path through the rocks and cut through the landscape, creating a powerful moment in time…

#Colorado Heights

Yellowstone Reflection

Yellowstone is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my entire life… Neither pictures nor words can describe how spectacular it is, and it is something that you must witness yourself to truly grasp the wonders of Wyoming. I was able to gain a better understanding of how powerful the forces of nature are and how insignificant I am when compared to the ‘big picture’. GOD has created such diverse, beautiful world, and I am so thankful to have gotten a better glimpse of it. I will never forget that special place where stars lit up the sky… snow capped mountains smiled in the distance… crystal clear lakes shimmered… wild buffalo grazed in the distance… and moose, elk, deer, bear, and mountain goats all welcomed us with warm hearts. I was very sad to depart, and I am already missing the magical state of Wyoming.

South Dakota

*An ocean of lush, green grassland extended farther than eyes could possibly see. The hills were rolling waves, and the grasses rippled as they swayed in the wind.

*Rock mountains towered above us as we gazed up in awe. I couldn’t help but wonder if my imagination was getting the best of me.

*Fertile farmlands blossomed with corn and wheat for miles as the endless land surrounded us from left to right…

Scenery ranged significantly in the breathtaking state of South Dakota. Experiencing Mount Rushmore outside of a history textbook is something that I will never forget. It is a massive monument that is absolutely flawless! The balance of each detail is unbelievable, and I am still astounded that the creation of the masterpiece was even possible! On that note, we also visited the Crazy Horse monument. While we were there, we went into a Native American museum and viewed the historic jewelry, dolls, chief headdresses, clothing, and pottery of the Indians that use to call the area their homeland. Not too long after, we visited a retired gold mine and learned about how the miners use to search for the precious material! It was very interesting, and I learned lots of neat facts. Our busy day ended with a walk through Rapid City and the mouth watering taste of homemade truffles from a chocolate shop. What an amazing journey through South Dakota!