Lessons Learned from a 3 Year Blogger

Lessons learned from someone who's been blogging for three years

My first post on Nose Graze was published over three years ago now (April 11th, 2012).

I’ve had this post scheduled for weeks now, but until yesterday it was a blank slate. Three years blogging and I couldn’t think of anything to say. I don’t suddenly have some huge, epic thing I want to share with you all, like my first blogoversary when I announced my blog name change. Then my second blogoversary came and went and I never even posted about it.

I didn’t want to not post anything like last year, but I had the hardest time deciding what I should say. WHY WAS THIS SO HARD?!?!

Finally, I decided to compile some lessons I’ve learned over my three years of blogging. I’ve created posts about most of these points individually, but I think it’s helpful to see them all in one place. 🙂 Then, at the end, I’ll do some fun stats comparisons so we can see how Nose Graze has grown.

Create content that you want to read.

Tara from The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh! created an awesome post about blog changes and rediscovering her blogspiration. In it, she talked about how she realized she wasn’t creating posts that she wanted to read. When other people posted content like that, she skipped over it.

This is also something that I’ve learned in my three years of blogging. My posts have changed a lot over the years.

  • I stopped interviewing authors when I realized that I NEVER read author interviews on other blogs. I’m just not that into them.
  • I stopped posting Waiting on Wednesday posts when I realized that I got sick of seeing/reading them on other peoples’ blogs.
  • I started limiting the book reviews I post when I realized that I was skipping book reviews on other peoples’ blogs.
  • I started posting more of the content that I love to read.

If you turn your blog into a place that YOU would love to read, then you’re also turning it into a place that other people would love to read. But most importantly, you’ll be increasing your own passion for your blog. You’re going to love blogging so much more if you’re proud of your content and think it’s truly something special.

Your readers can recognize filler content.

I guess this is an extension of the previous point. But if you have “filler” posts, your readers will know. Comments like these make me sad:

“I’m really busy and don’t have a lot of time for blogging, which is why I love {type of post}. They’re so quick and easy to write, so they help me get content up more regularly!”

If you publish a certain type of post (this is particularly true of memes) because it’s “quick and easy” then your readers will see that content for what it is: filler content. It’s content that you didn’t put much time/effort into, because you didn’t need to. But you got it up there so you could post more often.

Filler content is the content I skip. And if I feel that way, I’m sure there are plenty of other people who feel that way.

Since I’m skipping that content anyway, I’d actually prefer it if you didn’t post it. The overall quality of your blog would go up so much if you ONLY posted things that you put a lot of time and effort into you. If you posted 1-3 times a week but always published amazing, high quality posts that took a lot of effort, I’d follow you. If you posted 7 times a week but 4-5 of those were “fillers”, I wouldn’t even stick around for the good stuff.

If you actually ENJOY those posts, then feel free to ignore me and post them anyway. After all, this blog is about you and you should post what you want. But if you’re literally only doing them because they’re quick and easy and you only have to throw up a book cover, title, synopsis, and one sentence, then maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe it’s lowering the quality of your whole blog and actually hurting you.

Giveaways aren’t the way to get lasting followers.

I’m not saying you should never host giveaways. If you want to do them—do them. But it makes me sad when I see people say things like:

“I’ll never get a lot of followers because I can’t afford to host a lot of giveaways.”

I’ve posted before on why giveaways wown’t give you more followers. Yes, giveaways will give you a spike in traffic, but that kind of traffic doesn’t LAST and most of those people who enter your giveaways won’t stick around in the long term.

Page view graph comparing normal days to days when you host a giveaway

You want to know why only 32% of the emails I sent out to my subscribers get opened? Because I used to host giveaways and one of the optional entries was to subscribe via email. That resulted in TONS of people signing up with throwaway email addresses that they only used when entering giveaways. They’re not real inboxes that people check every day.

As a result, my NUMBER of followers went up but not the amount of people who actually read my posts. When I bribed people to follow me, that number became a totally arbitrary number. It didn’t truly represent how many followers I had or how many people actually read those emails. It was just how many people clicked a button. And that number was meaningless.

If you WANT to host giveaways, that’s cool. Do it! But do not do it just to get more followers. You’ll get more bogus ones than ones that truly matter.

Don’t be afraid to make big changes.

I changed my blog name, I dropped the book blog label, and I deleted my categories.

Those were all big, scary changes. But I did them. I knew they were the right move for me. And heck, I’m still going through changes. I recently redesigned Nose Graze and I feel my blog’s focus shifting slightly. I’ve been shifting a lot over the last 1-2 years, but I think it’s still happening. I may have dropped that book blog label a year ago, but I think it’s even more noticeable today. I rarely post book reviews, and almost all of my posts are about blogging and freelancing.

It’s important to constantly re-evaluate your blog as your habits, interests, and life change. If you find yourself reading less but don’t change your blog to reflect that, you’ll find yourself in a blogging slump. There’s not much to blog about if you only want to post about books but you’re not reading!

It’s okay to blog about something else. It’s okay to go through changes. These changes might be scary, but they’re necessary if blogging is important to you want you want to keep up with it.

You should absorb advice, but you don’t have to follow it all.

I think all advice is helpful, but not all of it is applicable. Yes, that even includes this post!!

I like to read blogging tips. I seek out awesome new blogs that offer tips because I love to read them so much. I like to see what kind of advice is out there and what works for other people. But that doesn’t mean I have to listen to that advice or apply it to my own blog. It’s my job to sift through that advice, figure out if it applies to me, and either file it away or implement it.

I believe in having all the knowledge and using it to make informed decisions. That may mean NOT taking a piece of advice, but at least I knew it was there and I may have my own reason for not taking it. But at least I read it, became aware of it, and decided what to do with it.

You might reject a piece of advice if:

  • It doesn’t apply to you.
  • It doesn’t quite feel right.
  • It’s wrong (it happens).
  • It doesn’t align with your goals, values, or preferences.

There may even be an objectively correct way of doing something, and you still ignore that because you don’t like it or just can’t be bothered. That may result in less traffic on your blog, but maybe you don’t care about that. If this is your personal blog, there’s nothing wrong with breaking the rules and getting less traffic as long as it’s what you want to do. THAT’S OKAY! Just be aware of the consequences or outcome and accept that.

I think we’re all in positions to give advice, and we’re all in positions to take or reject that advice. Reading it and getting all the facts is always good, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it.

So feel free to ignore absolutely everything in this post if you don’t think it will work for you!

How Nose Graze has grown after three years

Okay well the below comparison isn’t after three years. It’s a comparison between my one year milestone and today, so that’s actually a two year difference. But hey, if you compare the numbers on the right to all zeros, that’s the three year growth. 😉

2013 (after 1 year)

  • 392 blog posts
  • 160 book reviews
  • 398 e-mail subscribers
  • 235 RSS readers
  • 164,157+ total page views

2015 (after 3 years)

  • 1,077 blog posts + 175%
  • 368 book reviews + 130%
  • 24,129 comments + 308%
  • 734 e-mail subscribers + 84%
  • 1,269 Bloglovin’ readers + 440%
  • 814,559+ total page views + 396%

It’s been a slow but steady climb these three years. I think the one area where I haven’t shown a ton of progress is email subscribers. I sort of explained this earlier, but to reiterate, in my first year of blogging I hosted a ton of giveaways and had optional entries for subscribing via email. This resulted in a quick growth of my email list, but 90% of them were bogus. So I haven’t added a ton of subscribers in that two year difference, but most of the ones I have added are actually real emails, which is an improvement. 😉

Growing my email list is definitely something I’m hoping to do in 2015 and 2016!

How long have you been blogging?

Are there any words of wisdom you would like to share?

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I'm a 30-something California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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  1. Great post! I’ve been blogging since last August, and I think the thing I agree with most is to write content you like to read. It’s the best way to feel good about your posts and passionate about your blog. A good way to do that is not to feel like you have to do exactly what everyone else is doing, because then you’re free to experiment and figure out what works for YOU. The other thing I learned (which isn’t going to apply to everyone): be social, read other blogs and comment on them. Personally, I find blogging much more fun when people actually read what I write (and I get to read other fun blogs), so networking makes all the difference to me. I guess my blog is still a book blog, but that doesn’t always feel accurate because I blog about lots of other stuff, like TV shows or what I’ve been up to recently. I’m looking forward to see how it changes and evolves!

    1. Being social is a good one!

      Getting comments and interaction is a huge part of blogging. Otherwise it would feel more like journalling (talking to yourself) than blogging (talking with others).

  2. Oh boy. I’ve only been at my current blog since last July, and I’ve found that I just love it! I’ve been experimenting with things lately, such as when I post my reviews, how people can comment, and the kinds of blog tours I do (I usually stick to ones that allow me to write a review), and it’s been fun just to see how it all pans out. I don’t expect to be a huge blogger or anything, but I love posting for me and being able to share my thoughts with some great people.

    Congratulations on three years, Ashley! That’s an amazing feat, and I hope that one day I can be there. 🙂

    Erin @ The Hardcover Lover recently posted: Bookish Bingo: Spring 2015
    1. I’m so glad you’re loving it, Erin! And experimenting is great. 🙂 You don’t have to stick to one system, you can keep branching out until you find what works for you. And even then, you can keep trying new things because what worked for you once may not work for you forever.

  3. Aw congrats on 3 years! Such a huge milestone.

    I always enjoy reading your post about tips and tricks! You’re advice is always welcome in my book. 🙂

    I have also been thinking about branching out to do things I enjoy reading on other blogs. i change things on my blog all the time that I use to fear looking inconsistent. But I got over that! I’m glad you do what feels good for you. <3

    Again, congrats! Also, I thought you have been blogging longer haha

    1. Thank you! 🙂

      Some people really push for consistency, but I’m a bigger advocate of experimentation. If you’re too fixated on being consistent, you might not move forward with your blog, which isn’t a good thing. I’d rather try new things and let my blog change/adapt/grow than be too consistent and stay in the same place forever, you know?

      1. Yes, exactly. I feel like if you form yourself to what other people “like” and stick to the same things over and over, you are stagnant and will never grow. I’ve actually thought about changing my blog name too – just because I will be posting more personal things and non book related things. But I haven’t made a decision yet!

        1. Ohh name changes are exciting! (and scary) I suggest you play around with a few ideas and keep a working list of ones you like. Write them down on a piece of paper and keep it on your desk or something. Then check in on that list like once a day or even once a week.

          Over time, I think you’ll grow out of at least some of the names on your list, and others will grow on you!

          It’s really helpful for me to use that list idea because it’s a good way of encouraging yourself to not jump into a new name quickly without thinking about it. You give yourself a chance to get tired of the name(s) before you actually use it. Make sure you still love any name ideas 1 month or 2 months from now before you actually decide to use it.

  4. Happy blogoversary! I feel like you’ve been around much longer than 3 years! But maybe that’s because I’ve been following you for most of that time! 😀

    I love this advice! I think it’s easy to lose track of why you’re blogging in the first place, and feeling pressure to stay in whatever box you started in. Your blog has changed a ton, and I think it’s for the better! I’m just now (also been blogging for 3 years) even starting to plan on branching out. There’s other things I’ve been wanting to post about, but I was always afraid to since I’m running a book blog, but it’s my blog! I can post whatever I want!

    I can’t wait for another three years of posts for you! 😀

    1. Thanks a lot Angie. 🙂 I feel like I’ve been here more than 3 years too! Haha! I did have two other blogs before I had this one, so maybe that’s part of it.

      You’re totally right about feeling pressure to stay in a box. Especially when you’re in a community where it seems like everyone is doing the same thing or following the same set of “rules”. I think that’s particularly huge in the book blogging community. People think there’s a certain path they have to follow, which is something like:

      1. Start blogging about books
      2. Sign up for tours
      3. Start making author/publisher connections
      4. Host giveaways to get more followers
      5. Start requesting eARCs
      6. “Graduate” to requesting physical ARCs
      7. Stick to a schedule

      It’s like there’s a book blogging roadmap that people think they have to follow. But that’s not true at all! In fact, I think a lot of those things are responsible for book blogger burnout. You can be a book blogger without requesting ARCs, or even without posting reviews.

      Even if most people tend to gravitate towards one thing (like ARCs) that doesn’t mean you HAVE to follow them in order to fit in or be part of the community. I think we could all use a big dose of “do whatever the hell you want”.

      1. Ugh. I’ve totally fallen into book blogging roadmap and I’m not sure if I should feel ashamed or not. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE requesting and reading ARCs and connecting with the publishers and authors, but I don’t think my site ever really benefits from book tours.

        How can you be a book blogger without posting reviews? I’ve been trying to write more about books on the site, I feel like a wrote a pretty good one about being an obsessive book nerd, but now I just don’t know what compelling content to write about.

        1. You shouldn’t be ashamed! I think going with the roadmap is fine if it’s what you WANT to do. That’s all that matters. I was mostly mentioning that because a lot of bloggers think that they’re SUPPOSED to be doing that, even if they don’t really want to.

          Blogging is all about doing what you want to do.

          And you’re a book blogger as long as you post about books. 🙂 That can be book reviews or not. Other kinds of posts would be:

          1. Discussions about books. Here are some of mine.
          2. Listing your favourite books (this can be many different categories, like favourite books in x genre, what to read if you read and loved {book}, etc.
          3. Highlighting upcoming or newly released books.

          Book reviews are just one topic, and there are many. 🙂

    1. I always think that if posts can appeal to one person (like you!) then they can appeal to many more. 🙂

  5. I’ve been blogging seriously since about 2009 or 2010, focusing mostly on two sites. The one I started in college has been the best and most important decision I’ve ever made. The career opportunities, the blogger friends made, and just the outlet it provided has been amazing.

    The biggest thing I’ve learned is that while it’s important not to box yourself too far into a niche, blogging is easier (for me, at least) when there’s some kind of focus. I don’t need to be a blog about topic x, but the ideas and words come easier when I know I’m a blog that covers topics x and y and a little of z.

    Re: your email subscribers…do you ever scrub your list? A few times a year, I clear out subscribers that haven’t opened any emails in the past 90 days. It helps with deliverability and open rate A LOT and has kept me out of the paid tiers for services priced on the number of subscribers. 🙂

    1. You’re right about having a niche. It’s definitely good to find a balance between posting about whatever you want and having a focus.

      I think my focus is really “blogging tips”. Every now and then I post something unrelated (book reviews personal posts, etc.) but the bulk of my content is about blogging in some way.

      I don’t scrub my email list. That’s a good idea, but I don’t really have a way of doing that right now. I’ll have to look into it and see if there’s something I can do.

  6. Congratulations on such a milestone! I now want to trim all my categories, although I can’t think of any category to trim them down to. But I’ve got my long summer, I’ll figure out my plans and what to do with the blog. Hopefully, I’ll be able to grow my readership! Giveaways are definitely not the way to go to do that; I did one in Christmas, and all I experienced was a small hit in page views, and that was it. No lasting, engaging new readers.

    I’m in awe how you even have 1000 blog posts. It’s just after my first year, and I just passed 200. That is a lot of posts. *stares*

    Shannelle recently posted: Movie Review: Divergent
    1. Yes, summer is a great time to work through this kind of stuff!

      I would suggest that you spend some time analysing the posts you publish. Then, ignoring all your current categories, find vague ways to label those posts. The goal is to not be so vague that you only have one or two categories, but be specific enough that you can think of at least 3-4 and ideally no more than 7-10.

      When I did this with my own categories, I realized that I had SO MANY categories dedicated to books, but books were only one of the things I talked about (also blogging tips, coding, business, personal life, etc.). I didn’t need 5-10 different categories for books when I was talking about so many other things too. So I wrapped all the book stuff under “Books”.

      But, if you ONLY talk about books, then having one “Books” category wouldn’t make any sense. You’d want those more specific book topics.

      So it totally depends on what your content is and how much you branch out.

  7. Amazing post! You’re on some awesome, kickass inspiration because you’re posting a lot and really great posts!:D
    I have been a blogger since2008, I tried all different plataforms: weebly, blogger, wordpress.com and finally wordpress.org.
    I changed the blog’s name 3 times!
    I made mistakes in the beginning. First was want I wanted and after what people want and what others are doing. I made interviews, I request too many books without having time to read them, I thought giveaways were what could give me followers, I made all social networks pages for the blog,… but thank god it is in the past.
    What’s the point of having thousands of followers if they are only there for giveaways, they don’t read anything else, they don’t interact…they are force to follow me only for giveaways…I stopped that! I need to do things I like and have people sticking around because they like the blog, giveaways are a bonus.
    The memes you referring is kind like in the Portuguese blogosphere people post all the new releases because that’s what publishers want…so I received emails from publishers with info, I posted and I saw more 20 blogs doing the same: same post, content…the publishers offers a book and everyone reads that book, so instead of discovering new books, old and news, having diversity, we don’t, is almost every blog the same. And there are the support this author meme, when the blogger did not even read or have a single review of the author in the blog, but apparently their work is awesome and we should read it…really? Support authors or books we never heard, read…? No, thanks!
    I got tired in 2013, I made a break from posting and I usually came back with that “sorry for being so long I don’t post this and that happen…” Why was I apologizing? And to who?
    Before moving to wordpress.org in the final of 2014, I decided I was going to make things differently, I was going to try to do the posts I like to write and read, I was not going to be a “copy and paste” for the publishers…it’s my space, that I’m paying for, because I enjoy and I started being more selective!
    My stats are different, because I’m starting from new. In blogger I had almost 1000 followers, in wordpress.org I don’t have any (so far XD), but I’m not worry, because mostly I’m doing it for myself and my love for blogging!

    1. Thank you Vera! 🙂

      It sounds like you’ve learned a lot over the years you’ve been blogging. It’s great that you’re continuously learning from what you’ve done in the past and making changes as you move forward.

      Loving your blog is the most important thing! Way more important than your number of followers. 🙂

  8. I’m so glad I found your blog, mainly because of your Beginning a Blog series and posts like this! I have been slowly forming a blog in my mind – it doesn’t exist physically yet – and I love to read about ways of doing things. I really appreciate what you wrote about changing the type of blog you write if you don’t feel passionate about it any more.

    1. Thank you Jemma. 🙂 I love what you’re doing with forming a blog in your mind. That’s the best way to go about it. Let it sit there and develop in your head before you dive in. 🙂 And when you finally do start it, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic!

    1. It is definitely scary, but I think you’ll love your blog so much more when you make those changes. 🙂

  9. Happy blogoversary, Ashley! I know I’m not a regular visitor of Nose Graze but your blog is among those that I look up to. I learned a lot from your tips and tutorials and they’ve been very helpful in my own blogging journey. No wonder your blog has grown so much these 3 years. Congratulations, Ashley and continuing rocking! Here’s to more awesome blogging years! Cheers! 🙂

    Julie @ Books and Insomnia recently posted: Weekend Rambling [#3]: Do You Also Read Non-Fiction?
    1. Thanks Julie! 😀 It’s so nice of you to stop by. I’m so glad my posts have been helpful to you.

  10. Happy 3 years of blogging to you!
    This August I’ll have been blogging 4 years, and I still don’t feel like I’ve found the perfect combination of posts for me, but I’ve been changing it over the years and I still enjoy what I do. I got rid of stuff I never really read and I don’t do tours anymore, and while I still mostly post reviews and do the WoW meme I actually take the time to do them and go around and comment, but I started up my discussion posts once in a while again. This summer I’m going to buy the domain name and maybe make some other changes! You’ve been giving me some good advice for a while now 🙂

    Kelsey recently posted: Review: Lying Season by Karina Halle
    1. Four years is fantastic, Kelsey!

      I think it’s okay to be constantly re-evaluating your posts/focus. I like to think of my own blog as a constant work in progress.

  11. I thought you’ve been blogging for like 10 years…only 3? Incredible. I’ve been blogging for 5 (maybe 6?) years and all I can say is that it depends what you want your blog to be and what you want to get out of it. I RARELY take review requests, b/c I want to read what I want to read. People stare at me like I have 2 heads. But I’m just not interested…there are more than enough books out there. I also don’t need to be uber blogger extraordinaire, so if I’m in a slump I just go with it and don’t worry about having to get content posted.

    Awesome post!

    1. Haha well I have had two other blogs before, but I’ve only been on this blog for three years. 🙂 So I guess it depends on where you start counting!

      I totally agree with your point on review requests. I haven’t accepted them for like 1-2 years now. I do take ARCs now and then, but only ones that I’VE requested. I prefer to be the one doing the requesting for books that I want to read. I don’t want other people pitching to me.

      But most of the time I buy my books. I like to read whatever I want on my own time. 🙂

  12. Hi Ashley,
    I’ve been blogging for about two years, but I decided to make a dramatic change. I stopped updating my book blog and decided to start a new one – about cats, imagine 🙂
    I love books, but hated writing reviews and wanted to write a fun blog that I wouldn’t get tired of.
    Congratulations on your anniversary! I love your blogging tips and visit your blog regularly (even though I rarely comment).

    Rosa @ Cat Lady Confidential recently posted: Why do cats purr?
    1. It sounds like you’ve made a change that will work well for you. 🙂 Life is too short to do things that you don’t want to do. Spend time doing what you love. 🙂

  13. I really love this post! I completely agree about creating content you’d like to read. I still post a lot of reviews because I, unlike a lot of others, enjoy reading reviews! I may skip over some if they’re for books I’m not interested in, but usually I’ll read through one if it’s a book I want to read or have already read. I also post more discussions, because they’re more interesting to read, and generally avoid author interviews, release blasts, and other promo posts – I will skip over those posts so quickly in my reader!

    1. If you love reading reviews, then you should keep posting them! 🙂 I think a lot of bloggers complain that their reviews are their least-viewed posts, but if you love reading and writing them then that shouldn’t matter. Post them anyway! Screw the numbers. 🙂

      The most important part about blogging is loving what you’re doing.

  14. This post is awesome, Ashley, and way to go on celebrating three years as a blogger! That’s an amazing achievement!

    I’ve actually been blogging since 2009, and my six year blogging anniversary has recently just passed, in March, but I’ve only been blogging on The Book Geek since the beginning of the year. I’ve had a lot of fits and starts, a lot of now-defunct websites, and a lot of wondering just who the heck I am as a blogger.

    I used to do giveaways, too, and while it’s nice on the one hand to get that busy period where it looks like you’ve had lots of readers, you’re right, it doesn’t last. And most of them just want A FREE BOOK regardless of what it is you’re giving away (which makes me sad).

    I just want to share reviews with like-minded bloggers, and have actual discussions with them, I’m no longer interested in the whole popularity book blogging contest. Been there, done that, didn’t even like it one bit.

    I’m a far happier blogger these days.

    It’s hard to stand out in a very, very crowded blogosphere and I applaud you Ashley for doing so. I read all of your posts, I look forward to every bit of new content you add, and of course, I adore seeing your design work! Here’s to many, many more years! 🙂

    The Book Geek recently posted: Stealing Marilyn Monroe by Sophie Warren
    1. I totally understand your lack of focus and “who the heck am I?” feelings. I’ve been going through a little bit of that this year too.

      I think the best thing you can do for yourself is find a flexible space where you can post whatever you want. Don’t try to squeeze yourself into a label, don’t try to “go with the flow”, don’t try to post the “popular” content. Just post what matters to you.

  15. This is an inspiring post Ashley 🙂 I agree, at the time, I always wanted to gain more followers, I wanted to be able to post a lot of TT’s or WOW posts because they seem to be always there, but after a few months of doing it, it instantly felt boring and wrong.

    I haven’t been that successful in blogging because I’ve been focusing on studies lately, but honestly, I think blogging has helped my life a lot more. Because of this, it helped me realize that I wanted to work in the design/art field. It also let me gain the confidence I didn’t think I had. I started to realize that my blog isn’t something I started to gain followers, or books, or stats, but because I loved sharing my thoughts and talking to others about books.

    Reading your post reminded me that sometimes, milestones are different for everyone, but in the end, you need to be able to be happy for what you’ve become. 🙂

    1. I went through the same thing, Jules. When I first started out, I participated in a lot of memes. And I do think that memes have their place. They can help you get your foot in the door and meet a few people. But I grew out of them, and I think a lot of other bloggers do too. (And some people still love them after many years, and that’s okay too.)

      And I love what you said about milestones being different for everyone. That’s so true!!

  16. It’s always hard for me to answer the “how long have you been blogging?” question because I have many answers. I’ve been blogging since I was 11 and I was first introduced to Freewebs. I would start websites and blog on them and then forget about them. I really started blogging at 13, and I blogged on and off for years until I was 16. That year I started my book blog, and I’ve been blogging regularly for nearly two years. So I mean…how do you answer that question? Have I been blogging for 7 years or 2? 5? Oi. Awhile, I suppose. ;P

    This is such awesome advice. Recently I rebranded and moved my blog. Since then I’ve been more passionate about blogging and sharing content. I enjoy book blogs, but I think not having a “book label” on my blog gives me freedom. If in a year I no longer want to blog about books, I simply shed the reviews and blog about my life. My name is versatile. Depending on who’s visiting, the name means something different. I try and stagger life posts with book posts and discussions because it provides more content to more audiences, all of whom I want visiting because they bring new and different things to my blog.

    This was a ridiculously long comment but, I will end it by saying I think it’s great you’re moving Nose Graze in the direction you want it to go. I’ve always loved your book reviews, but I really love seeing more content that YOU enjoy posting and are passionate about sharing. Your blogging tips and freelancing information is so helpful, and I love the design tips too. I think they’re great. 😛 Keep on blogging for you, Ashley. You’re doing fantastic.

    1. Haha, I totally understand Sydney. I’ve had two other “real” blogs before this one, and that’s not counting all the Live Journal stuff that I went through. I kind of reset the clock when I started Nose Graze, because I feel like that’s when I actually formed a proper focus. But I guess you can count however you want. 😀

      I totally agree with you about not having that book label. I don’t want to feel boxed in. I want the freedom to change and grow in my space, without feeling like I’m betraying my blog name. So I think you made a good decision with your move/rebranding. 🙂

    1. I totally agree. That’s the single most important thing. Love what you’re doing. That’s the only way you’ll be able to stick with your blog, love it, and feel successful. Even if your page views aren’t through the roof, doing something that you love is success in itself.

  17. Happy blogoversary, Ashley – how exciting! 😀 I have to second your point about filler content – that’s something I’ve been learning lately. I used to be really strict about posting Mondays to Fridays, no exceptions, and then I’d feel terrible if I ever did miss a day (or, worse: come home tired and really not in the mood for blogging, post filler content… and then feel terrible the next day once I realised that it wasn’t what I wanted readers to see when they clicked on my blog).

    But I think it really all boils down to doing what’s most comfortable for you, in the end. All of us are working on figuring out our place in the blogosphere – it’s so wonderful that you’ve found a niche where you can really shine. 🙂

    Topaz recently posted: Me Me Me Monday (38)
    1. I totally understand the urge to post Monday through Friday. I think skipping a day now and then helps A LOT. For me, it usually goes like this:

      1. I skip a day.
      2. I feel bad/weird/nervous.
      3. My page views are low for that day (because there’s no new content, duh!) and I feel bad about that.
      4. I post the next day and everything returns to normal.
      5. I realize that it wasn’t a big deal after all. Nobody cared. Nobody left. Everything picks up where it left off.

      Going through that process a few times really helped me realize that IT DOESN’T MATTER if I don’t post. Everything will still be fine. Nobody will see me as a failure and everyone will still be there when I do decide to start posting again. Woohoo!

  18. I skip over filler content too. There was a time that I loved reading the WOW posts on other blogs and so I loved writing them. But after a while I wasn’t finding as many awesome new releases that I hadn’t heard of so I stopped posting my own as well. Awesome post!

  19. I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and I think I made a lot of these “newbie” mistakes, such as posting memes in order to provide regular content. But we made the active decision to post less, remove memes altogether, and therefore provide content that’s original and that we’re actually happy with. I’m not posting what I thought I should be posting anymore, and that’s an awesome feeling. And the wonderful comments make it clear that people still love what we do. <3

    Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted: Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
    1. Don’t feel bad about it, Inge. A lot of new bloggers make that mistake (myself included!). The important thing is that you learn from it, re-evaluate, and move forward. And it sounds like you’re doing just that! 🙂

      1. Oh, I agree that no one should feel bad about it! It’s how I learned, after all, because I was completely new to blogging when Karolina asked me to co-blog. She’s really busy with university all the time, so apart from bombarding her with questions about how things worked, I really had to explore everything on my own. But I’ve definitely found my way now. Trial and error!

        Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted: Review: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
  20. This is very helpful. I am a newbie book blogger and I immediately stopped doing memes and blitzes by the 3rd or 4th month because I myself sometimes don’t bother reading these filler posts on other blogs. Right now I am solely depending on my own content, read books and review them and then think of random bookish posts to do as fillers. This is reqlly great.

    Nickole Jean recently posted: Eadlyn's Selection [The Heir's Dream Cast)
  21. Man,this post is awesome!I love reading posts that contain blogging tips and advice ,and this is probably one of the best I’ve come across.I love the tips you have up there.
    I am only a three and a half month old blogger,but before starting my blog,I did tons off research.So when I started my blog last December,I came to the conclusion that I am not going to limit my blog to bookish posts,not going to post any promotional posts unless I personally want to promote a book I loved,and most of all,to build a steady relationship with fellow bloggers.
    And you’ve done a lot in three years!It’s incredible!

    Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales recently posted: Rewriting the fairytale || Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke
  22. Congrats on the three year anniversary. I love that you are going more towards posts in which you excel (and I love to read). I completely agree with your “write what you like to read” theory. I follow a lot of book blogs but only read a few of those blogs’ book reviews. Why? most people write too much of nothing or there is too much detail. I like to read shorter, honest, blunt (sometimes painfully blunt) reviews showing the blogger’s personality which is how I write mine.

    Keep on changing and growing! You’re an inspiration!

    Bree @The Things We Read recently posted: The Links We Read and other daily stuff
    1. Thank you Bree!! 🙂

      I tend to only like long reviews if it’s a book I was already thinking of reading and wanted to learn a lot about. But if it’s a new-to-me book then I’m just like you—I prefer short and to the point!

  23. First congrats on three years!!

    So much YES to this post. You’ve compiled a lot of good advice in one place. I’ve been blogging for five years and I still have trouble following some of this advice. It’s hard to not feel like shoving yourself into a mold. I AM learning though. (Apparently I am a slow learner.)

    I wholeheartedly agree with posting what you want. If you’re doing it just to throw those things up then no one is going to want to read it because your personality and eagerness always comes through in your writing.

    Loved this post and will probably be returning to it in the future!

    Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter recently posted: The Heir by Kiera Cass *Alexa’s Review*
  24. My two year blogoversary was last week. I posted a thank you post.

    When I started blogging I thought that two years down the line, i’d have so many devoted readers. Truth be told, it seems that only the bloggers whose blogs I read and comment on also read mine. It’s not much. I realized that I may not write the most brilliant posts ever but hey, the important thing is that I’m still having fun with it.

    I’m glad I found this post today 🙂

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