Tags: before the paparazzi

Before the Paparazzi – Kristy from Hyphen Interiors

Today’s post will conclude the series, “Before the Paparazzi.” It will feature yours truly.  I hope you don’t mind and that doesn’t sound like I’m full of myself. I know I’m still a newbie blogger, so I don’t have a ton of blogging wisdom to share, but I’ve learned a few things so far.  No doubt a constant learning process, from the technical to the etiquette.
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How did you get started?
As I became more and more interested in design, friends began encouraging me to charge for my work and that is how my business was born. Several months later, I also succumbed to their pressure encouragement to write about design via a blog.  They were interested in tips and projects.  I’m sure, though, that many of those people just thought it may mean that I blab less about fabric and spray paint to them!  After only a few months of becoming an avid blog reader myself, I decided to give it a shot.   I’ve been blogging for 3.5 months now.
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What was your biggest fear?
I was afraid of three main things – that I wouldn’t be very good at it, that no one would want to read it and that I would not keep up with it.
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Perhaps the last one haunts me most.  On most weeks it’s easy to keep up with and something I look forward to doing.  But, there are still weeks that are super busy with clients, personal projects and life and it gets hard to post as often. Being hard on myself, I usually feel guilty for not being able to do it all, but then I remind myself that no one is standing over me making me blog daily. And, I remind myself that I am allowed to take breaks or skip days. This helps me get my head back on straight.
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Not allowing yourself breaks is the fastest way to blog burnout. And, allowing guilt from feeling behind squelches creativity. Elsa, author of Casa Greer and a participant in this series, is taking most of the summer off. I admire that she knew when to take a break and gave herself that freedom.
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What surprised you most about blogging?
I was shocked that others wanted to read what I wrote. And, even more shocked when I painted a chair as a last resort and suddenly so many became interested in that process. I was asked to guest post through that about three weeks into blogging and I didn’t even know what guest posting meant yet! What I learned is that any silly project, especially one with tons of risk involved, could really take off.  You just never know.  I think I’m like a one hit wonder now, as people always think of that one project when they hear Hyphen Interiors.
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Though I love blogging, I’m also surprised at how much time blogging does can take. I should specify, design blogging.  I think other types of blogs may not be as time consuming.
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If you try to keep up with 40-100 blogs, like many do, that can easily take a couple of hours a day. Then, if you are also doing projects that you will talk about on the blog, that can take multiple hours, days or weeks, depending on the project. In addition, you respond to comments, visit some of the blogs of those who comment and actually write posts. Perhaps you also take the time to join link parties and answer emails from readers. And, perhaps you get asked to guest blog for others on occasion. Then, there is the technical stuff that you spend time learning. Later, you can add to that advertisers and promotion.
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For the first time, I realized how blogging could actually be a full-time job! I had no idea! None. At first, I allowed it to take up quite a bit of time, but I’ve been trying to limit blogging to 1-3 hours a day when possible.  Only incorporate projects that you’d do anyway.
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Lesson to be learned is – know why you blog (for me, for a business and even more so for fun) and give yourself a break!  Don’t put pressure on yourself to post daily, read every blog in your reader, and so on.  Relax and enjoy… unless you are trying to become a full-time blogger, perhaps. But, even then, don’t let it get overwhelming. (I’m reminding myself as much as all of you.)
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What advice would you give to newbies?
I loved all of the advice from those who participated in this series. Here is what I came up with.-
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1. Be aware that Blogger can delete your blog.
When I chose which blog platform to use, I just used what I had heard of and what was most popular – Blogger/ Blogspot. A couple of months into it, I woke up one morning to find that my entire blog (every post, template, stat, and so on) had been deleted. No explanation. Of course, I didn’t have a backup.  My bad.  I had not been aware that Blogger can falsely detect spam or have a false report and shut it down. Technically, they own the material. I was in shock. Thank God, four hours later, my blog was reinstated.
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In the process, I found that there is no one at Blogger to contact. You are completely helpless when this happens.  Many never get their blogs back.  For fear that it could happen again, I quickly began the process of moving to a self-hosted WordPress blog. It did cost me both monetarily and with my time, as it was pretty complicated.
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I am not saying not to use Blogger, but to be aware. I wish I had known. I’d hate to lose years’ worth of work. So, if you are new and contemplating platforms, it may be worth considering. I am not being paid to say this.
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Be sure to backup your blog, especially if you use Blogger.
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2. Keep your blog clutter free.
Don’t put a ton of ads and widgets/ gadgets if possible.  Make it simple to use and simple for the reader to find what they need.  Add pages if needed rather than clutter on the sides.
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3. Avoid huge header graphics.
You want your readers to get to the content as quickly as possible.  Avoid header graphics that take up most of the screen forcing the reader to scroll down before seeing the bulk of the first post.
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4. Followers vs Subscribers.
This may be too simple for some, but I just figured this out recently.
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The concept of “followers” was created by Google and relates just to an internal Google product called Google Friend Connect (GFC).   See my GFC on the right under “Follow Via Google.”  It’s essentially a reader program that collects new posts from all blogs that you “follow” in one spot so you don’t have to visit each one separately.  The idea behind this particular Google reader is for easy reciprocal linking (you like my blog, I like yours) and so you can see who is “following.”  However, not everyone has a Google account and “follows” that way.  Some just subscribe.  When I say subscribe, I mean that they use a reader other than GFC.  The difference is that these other readers do not offer the “followers” aspect.  That means you cannot see who is following through them.
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To see the difference in numbers, see “Subscribe Via Any Reader” on the right of my blog.  Click the link to see how it looks if you are curious.  I also added the chance to “Subscribe By Email.”  You can see there are definitely additional people following those ways.
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So, be sure to give your readers alternative ways to subscribe, according to what works best for them.  Not everyone wants to use GFC.  When I personally subscribe, I prefer an old fashioned RSS feed that I set up to show up in Outlook.
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How can I give them other subscribing options, you ask.   I started using Feedburner for that.  Feedburner is easy to set up and will give you the code you need.
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The ultimate conclusion, though, is that the number of readers that you have is not linked very tightly with the number of “followers” that you have.  So relax!
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5. Watch your word count.
I’m totally breaking this rule in this post, but generally, people will not read lengthy posts.  Thank you if you are still reading this one. This especially applies to design blogs.  If the post is long, they will just scan it for images. So, use the word count feature on Word, WordPress, Live Writer or whatever you write your posts in. Keep your posts less than 500 words when possible. We are all usually in a hurry when reading posts. This helps respect that time.
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Instead of lots of words, use lots of images.
6. As Cassie said, don’t get discouraged if your blog doesn’t grow at what you determined to be a fast pace.
It’s vastly different for everyone. As long as you stay true to why you blog, you can remain content. Some blogs get lucky breaks, others have just the right eyes noticing them and still others may have more time to devote to DIY projects which seem to be a great catalyst. It’s not about the number of followers. And, less followers does not mean you are not appreciated or loved. Don’t compare, just keep moving forward.
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7. Be thoughtful when responding.
Always be friendly, but also be thoughtful about how you respond.  When people ask a question, don’t only be sure to answer it, but answer it in a way that the answer will make it back to the reader.  What I mean is don’t respond under your own comments and expect the reader to remember where they asked the question and check back daily until you happen to respond.  Only respond that way if you are using something like the replyme plugin in WordPress.  That plugin actually sends an email to the person you responded to on your blog comments, alerting them to your response.  Otherwise, just email them or reply directly to the comment alert you got in email, assuming they aren’t a no-reply commenter.  Another way to respond is to go to the commenter’s blog, if they have one, and write your answer on it.  Make it easy for them to get your response.
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8. Schedule posts.
Don’t force yourself to write posts on the fly.  Instead, write a few at a time and schedule them to post on the days you want them to appear. This helps on those extra busy days.
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9. Fix your no reply comments.
Be sure that your profile does not hide your email address. This applies mainly to Blogger users and Google commenters. If it is hidden, when you comment and the blogger gets your comment via email, that comment will say “no reply.” That means they cannot just write you back and thank you for the comment or answer a question. Turn that on. It helps promote community.

I could go on, but I think this is already long enough.  God bless you for reading it!
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Hope that was helpful!  This officially concludes the series. If you missed any posts, be sure to click the “Before the Paparazzi” tag below to see them all.
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Before the Paparazzi – Cassie from Hi Sugarplum

This week’s guest for the series, “Before the Paparazzi,” is Cassie from one of my favorite blogs, Hi Sugarplum. I love Cassie’s down to earth approach. She has some great no-sew projects on her blog, which are such a saving grace for those who don’t have a machine or do not know how to sew. You’ll definitely want to read her tips below! Take it away Cassie

Hi all! I’m Cassie from Hi Sugarplum, and I’m thrilled to take part in this fun series! I wish Kristy had run it a year ago when I started blogging…I can use all the help I can get! I feel like I barely have my own blogger sea-legs, but I’ll share what I’ve learned thus far!

How’d you get started?
I started out reading Fashion blogs, which eventually led to Design blogs….and I fell down that rabbit hole fast and hard! They were so addicting, and full of the best ideas! I kept thinking it’d be fun to start one, but just couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to read what I had to say. Then I unexpectedly lost my grandfather, the most influential man in my life, and threw myself into home projects to avoid the grief. I picked up a paintbrush, started Hi Sugarplum (what my grandfather called me) and never looked back! Having this creative outlet has been a huge release for me, and bonding with new friends in the process was an added bonus.


My First Room Makeover, the Kitchen

What was your biggest fear?
I felt (and still do sometimes!) like such a narcissist! Having a blog just seemed so smug, like I expected people to want to read my thoughts and ideas. I didn’t even tell my closest friends and family for the first month or two! Then I came to terms with why I started Hi Sugarplum in the first place….a much needed creative outlet, a way of connecting with people of similar interests, and documenting what was happening in our home and lives. Most people are afraid no one will read their blog, I was afraid people would think I expected they would!


Turns out others want to knock-off Ballard Designs too!

What surprised you most about blogging?
Like many, I was shocked at the number of people who shared my interest in glue guns and creating a beautiful home on a budget! My audience grew slowly and became interactive (comments people, leave them!!). Then many of them became my friends, good friends! Friends I rely on for blog help and advice, and life’s trials. Mr. Sugarplum loves it because I chatter less about fabric and the merits of spray paint to him now, too!

I’m also surprised at how much I love the process of blogging. I have a background in journalism/publication, and hadn’t realized how much I’d missed writing. Brainstorming ideas, photographing them and putting it all together in written form is so much fun for me. It’s the hobby my life lacked, but one that doesn’t take me away from my family! Bonus!


One of my favorite posts I’ve written
 

Do you think it’s important to post everyday?
I think it’s important to post if you have something to say, or something great to show off. I know I eventually back off reading blogs that post nothing but fluff and repurposed material. 


Before & After Guest Bathroom
 

What advice would you give to newbies?
Okay, just how long is this post supposed to be? Here’s what I’ve got, my soapbox is tall: 

1) Figure out why you blog. Is it to promote your business or skill, a creative outlet, online journal, etc? That will dictate the voice, tone and purpose of your writing. Sometimes you don’t know right away, but it will evolve the longer you blog. I blog for myself, so I’m able to truly be myself. Find your reason and niche, and stick to it!

2) Infuse as much of yourself into your writing as you’re comfortable doing. This is how readers get to ‘know’ you. I don’t mean reveal your blood type and what you had for breakfast, but write as if you’re talking to a friend, in your conversation voice. As soon as you start trying to please people, or imitate other’s voices, you lose the connection people had with you.

3) Make your blog a place people want to come back to! You know when you walk in to a jacked-up TJ Maxx, and stuff is everywhere and the lighting is bad? You instantly turn around and never come back…you just know there’s nothing worth looking at in there. Same for blogs. You don’t have to spend a bunch of money to have a clean, organized and fun-looking blog! Your design should reflect your personality too, so readers feel like they get a real peek at you.


My blog header

4) Comments. Make it easy for people to comment on your blog (it’s really not necessary to make people type Xr3y2K just to say hi!), so take off the word verification. Reply to your commenters occasionally, this is how friendships start.

Be a courteous blogger and check out the blogs of your loyal readers, this is how you find new blogs. Leave comments on other blogs, this is how they find you! 

5) Treat your posts as rough and final drafts…this means edit and spell check! For me, those typos are more noticeable than the makeover you worked so hard on!

6) Post large, pretty pictures…this means turn off the darn flash and use one of the many free photo editing sites to make them look their best.


This post was picture-palooza!
 

7) Pimp. Your blog and projects, that is. Link up to blog parties, share your projects with the bloggers who inspired you. They might just feature you!

8) Have fun! If you start to get overwhelmed, or have feelings of burden and obligation towards blogging, take a break! I already have a full-time job, I don’t want to feel like I’ve taken on a second one.

Most important, remember that all bloggers are just people. Everyone started out with 12 followers and feelings of insecurity. And even if that number grows, they’re still the same excited person who loves when comments come pouring in over a post. (Well, there are a few exceptions, but that’s a snarky another post!)

Also, don’t get discouraged if your blog doesn’t grow at the pace you hoped (or see others growing!). Remember why you started blogging in the first place, it probably wasn’t to see how many followers you could get!

Those were awesome tips! Thank you so much, Cassie! Be sure to also see what Type A’s guest has to say to other bloggers.

Before the Paparazzi – Danielle from Danielle Oakey Interiors

Be sure to enter the giveaway!  The drawing is tomorrow.
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This week’s guest for the series, “Before the Paparazzi,” is Danielle from Danielle Oakey Interiors.  She is so talented.  I’m so glad she is here to share some of what she has learned in the blogging world.  Take it away Danielle.
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Hi, I am Danielle from Danielle Oakey Interiors. I am thrilled to be at Hyphen Interiors today sharing a little bit about myself!
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How’d you get started?
I started a family blog shortly after having my first child and quickly got addicted. After entering the blogging world, I found myself spending hours reading design, cooking, personal, and fashion blogs. A few months later, I entered and won a blog design which was the perfect opportunity to start my design blog. A year later and I am still loving it! Blogging has provided me with a platform to express my love for interiors as well as start Danielle Oakey Interiors. I love it.
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Emory’s bedroom was one of the first projects I tackled when starting my blog a year ago.
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What advise would you give to newbies?
I feel like I am a newbie myself but I always tell new bloggers to post original material. Try and make your blog unique by posting your own ideas and work. DIY projects, tutorials, pictures of your home, and bits and pieces of your personal life are what people are looking for!
How much time per day do you spend on your blog?
After a year of blogging, I feel like I finally have a good system down. Blog at night, read blogs in the morning. I try to spend only 1-2 hours per day on my blog and blog posts but the majority of my time is spent on e-designs and designs for local clients.

This was the first e-design that I completed. Thanks to my blog, I am always busy with clients!


What do you wish you had known?
1. You can write your posts in advance and schedule them to post.
2. Schedule your posts to run early each morning.
3. Submit your projects to big blogs, they just might feature them!

Thanks so much for having me Kristy!

Thanks for sharing!  Be sure to check out Type A’s post from the same series, but different blogger.

Before the Paparazzi – Denise from Pink Postcard

First, I want to give a heads up about the giveaway that is coming tomorrow – see the bottom of yesterday’s post!
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This week’s guest for the series, “Before the Paparazzi,” is Denise from the blog Pink Postcard.  I met Denise not long after starting my blog.  She was so kind and patient with all of my questions.  I’ll never forget how much she helped me feel like I had a handle on how blogs worked.   I’m excited to have her here today sharing with all of you.  Take it away Denise.
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Hi there! I want to say thank you so much, Kristy, for the privilege to guest post here today! I met Kristy earlier this year, and she is one of the nicest people I have encountered here in blogland. She is super talented, and is already an old pro at blogging! :)
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My name is Denise, and my blog is called PinkPostcard. I started blogging last July after many months of trying to figure out a way to connect with other creative souls who had the same interest in the things I loved. My sister in laws encouraged me to start a website, which seemed daunting. But then I discovered blogging as an easy way to start, and I was hooked fast! I didn’t even know this world of other decor mamas existed!
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My blog chronicles my home projects, furniture refinishing and vintage finds, and a few recipes and gardening tips thrown in.
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Tips and Tricks:
Your most valuable blog real estate is to the left and top of your blog. People read from left to right, top to bottom, so put whatever it is you want people to see first in those spots!

Don’t be afraid to ask people how they did something when it comes to blogging. A nd never say “it’s too hard, I’m too technically challenged….” I’ve found that the majority of bloggers are more than willing to direct you to a site to help with technical stuff, or tell you how they did it. It saves you a lot of time and grief instead of suffering in silence. ;)

Take good photos. Look at magazines, blogs you admire, and see how they are photographing their items. You will gain alot more interest this way. I don’t have a fancy, expensive camera, but I’ve learned to take lots of photos for one post and to use the best natural light at the best time of day.
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Taking photos of things from different angles is great too. Show your reader as if they were standing in your room looking at it from different angles. Want proof that you don’t need a high end camera to take great photos? Check out my friend Courtney from French Country Cottage.   All of her photos are taken on her iPhone!


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What advice would you give to newbies?
Try not to get discouraged. There are some bloggers who take off like the space shuttle Discovery, and others of us who really have to work at being noticed. I wrote a post on my own feelings about this earlier this year. Remember, there are MILLIONS of blogs out there! I’m grateful for each and every person who has discovered me in the vast blogosphere! It’s a miracle! Some of my blog friends who have grown steadily and gained a large following have really worked hard at it, and put a lot of time into it. They also post frequently (3-5 days a week) and put their best work on display. Sometimes it can be hard to balance regular life, projects, and networking, but don’t give up. Just do your best, and be you! Most weeks I only get 3 posts in, but I am aiming to do more in the future.
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What do you think readers most like to read about?
Hands down, before and after posts!   Everyone loves to see a makeover.   It can be the simplest of transformations, but everyone loves it.   The best bit of advice I got in the last few months was to do the before and after together.   Sounds silly, but I had a few posts in the beginning where I was so excited about an item or a new project, that I would post the before as the post for the day. *yawn* Not much interest there.   But when I posted the beginning and the end together, much more love came my way!   Nobody is too interested in seeing a crummy, messy room, or a dilapidated piece of furniture.   And then wait for X amount of time for you to finish it!
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I see lots of new bloggers who do this, and I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot (as I was!) Also, put the ‘after’ picture as your first photo in your post. It’s what shows up first in your dashboard reader- where everyone is signing in to see what they want to check out at a glance- your shiny new project draws them in.   Not the ‘not so great’ before shot!
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Thanks again, Kristy, for including me in your series! I’m so excited!

Thank you, Denise.  Be sure to visit her blog.  If you enjoyed this post and want to learn more from other bloggers, be sure to read other posts in the series or to go to Type A Decorating, as she is hosting the same series on her blog, but with different guests.
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Before the Paparazzi – Elsa from Casa Greer

Thank you to Lindsey at Better After for the feature today!   Her blog is so fun!
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Be sure to enter my giveaway if you love vintage skeleton keys!  The drawing is tomorrow.
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This week’s guest for the series, “Before the Paparazzi,” is Elsa from the blog Casa Greer.  I’ve been following Elsa’s blog since I started my own.  She’s super talented.  One of my favorite rooms in her house is her laundry room – love the stripes! I’m thrilled to have Elsa here today sharing a bit about what she has learned from blogging. Take it away Elsa.
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Thank you so much, Kristy, for letting me be a part of this fabulous series! Kristy is so creative and such a talented designer, I am amazed by some of her DIY and crafting skills!

{This chair is the first project I started blogging about.}

How did you get started blogging?
I’ve been blogging on and off for about ten years now. However, I never really kept up with any of my blogs like I’ve tried to do with Casa Greer, which I started a little over a year ago. I started Casa Greer after I discovered tips on several different blogs on how to transform furniture pieces by painting them, etc. I wanted to keep a fun record of how I transformed my husband’s old bachelor pad into a home that was more like “us.” Shortly after that, I discovered just how passionate I was about interior design.

{Where you can usually find me blogging away.}

What would you have done differently?
If there’s one thing I wish I had done more of in the beginning is reaching out to other fellow bloggers. I read many interior design blogs for a long time without ever leaving comments because I believed that people didn’t actually read them or that no one really cared about what I had to say. I was SO wrong! I realized once I started to interact with others that they actually read what I had to say and would answer questions. More people started visiting my blog and a bit later I had made a ton of new online “friends” and I’ve even met some at a recent blogger meet up.

{My current blog design.}
How much should you invest in a good design?  Did you do your own design?
I’ve heard of designs costing anywhere between $50-200ish depending on the work you would like done. I knew I wanted a blog design that really captured “me” and my style. At first I told myself I would learn how to create my own design, but I quickly realized I simply didn’t have the time for it. I did some research and found a few places with great reviews and designs. I then found out that many of these places have special promotions throughout the year, so I waited very patiently until I came across a great promotion. If I remember correctly I spent about $60 and waited a few weeks before they actually started working on my design. I had the opportunity to work with a talented designer who listened to what I wanted and within a few days she had the design installed on my blog. It was a great experience and since then I’ve contacted her to help me with other small tweaks. I think it’s important to find a place with great reviews and a portfolio with designs that you truly like that are within your budget. I also kept a list of several different blogs who had designs I loved or something that I loved to give my designer an idea of what I wanted.

{My trusty planner! It definitely helps me manage my time.}
Do you think it’s important to post everyday?
I know many people have different thoughts on this question! Personally, I try to post everyday, but life happens sometimes so there are weeks where I’ll post 3-4 days only. If things are going to be rather quiet on my blog because I’ve got a busy week, I try to let my readers know. I’ve noticed most blogs I read post on average about 4 times a week, which I think is something that is very doable for most and if you can’t do that, don’t beat yourself up about it! Everyone has a life outside of the blogosphere, so everyone understands.

{The ladies & new friends from the Houston Blogger Meet Up!}
What advice would you give to newbies?
As cliché as this may sound…JUST BE YOURSELF! Really! I try to write about things I’m passionate about and write as if I’m just talking to another friend of mine. It makes things simple for me and I don’t feel like it is some sort of task, instead I enjoy taking the time to research and write a post or share a project. So, be you, write about what you enjoy and are most passionate about!
Thanks again for letting me share a few things I’ve learned about blogging!
Thanks, Elsa!  Be sure to check out her blog, Casa Greer.   Check out the same series at Type A Decorating for more blog tips!

Before the Paparazzi – Sadie and Stella

This week’s guests for the series, “Before the Paparazzi,” are Lindsay and Lindsay from the blog Sadie and Stella.  This is a blog written by two girls.  They are both super sweet and talented.  I’m amazed at how they work together and how seamless the blog feels.   Their blog has quickly become one of my favorites!    I’m thrilled to have them here today sharing a bit about themselves and things they have learned in the past six months. Take it away Lindsay and Lindsay.

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We are Sadie + Stella and we are so excited to be here at Hyphen Interiors! We have become fast blogging friends with Kristy, and we could not be more honored to be guest posting with you all! We first met Kristy through her AMAZING painted chair. We decided to be gutsy and go for it ourselves…it did not disappoint. {See the results here}
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How did you get started? What is your blog about?
Sadie + Stella is about us two girls, whom both happened to be named Lindsay and our dogs, (Sadie, Stella and now Billie) who are absolutely infatuated with design and styling. We met about a year ago from the men in our life, and hit it off immediately! From our frequent bargain shopping excursions and obsession with achieving unique styling to our undying love for cuisine, we knew we were destined to be life-long friends and business partners. We both had always wanted to start a blog but never seemed to get around to it, until last November. It has been absolute bliss ever since. We are lucky to be so similar, yet different in so many ways. Our strengths and weaknesses balance out perfectly with one another and our design business. 
{Stella, Sadie}
{Stella, Sadie, Billie}
We blog about things we love to read on other’s blogs. All things design, inspiration and food. We both love to host parties and entertain frequently. We enjoy all different styles of interiors and also any brave do it yourself projects. We both pride ourselves on being frugal and try to convey affordable options to our readers. Below is a taste of our style and what you’ll see over at S+S…
Stella’s Entryway
Sadie’s Living Room

A Sadie + Stella tablescape.

How much should you invest in good blog design? Did you do your own design?
When we first started we realized that we were either going to invest time or money to create a blog design that we loved. We noticed that blogs with a great layout, fun logo and style in their design always stood out to us. We wanted S+S to pop too!There are some fabulous graphic designers out there but we wanted the challenge of crafting our own logo and blog design. We had the vision and enough motivation to try our hand at it.  We took pictures of the girls to create custom silhouettes and did a great deal of research to find the perfect fonts to use. We used photoshop and after many hours of playing, tweaking and googling ‘how to’ videos, our efforts paid off. If we can make our own, you certainly can! You just have to choose the investment you’d like to make, time or money? Either are more than worth it.
                        
Do you have any tips on time management?
When we first started out, it was definitely difficult for us to both manage full time careers and also when and what to post. After a few meetings and constant collaboration, it worked best for us to designate our go to segments between our strengths. We always try to be at least a week ahead in what we are going to post, but that does not always happen. Life gets in the way sometimes. The beauty of our partnership is that when one of us is inundated with other things, the other one can pick up the slack for that week and vice versa. We are a team and we always make it work.
What tricks and tips can you give us?
Our biggest tip: Do what you love. If you have passion for design and have a strength in certain areas, it will always translate throughout your creations. Although we both have different styles and strengths, our combination of traits has an end result of what we believe to be greatness. No matter what the project, recipe or design, we always love what we do and hope that shows.
Thanks again, Kristy, for including us in this series!
Thank you, both!

Before the Paparazzi – Andrea from Oakridge Revival

My first guest to participate in the series, “Before the Paparazzi,” is Andrea from Oakridge Revival. Her blog is still fairly young and I discovered it pretty early on, but from the moment I laid eyes on it, I could tell it was stylish and well done. Andrea is a sweetheart and has great taste.  My favorite project of hers may be the stenciled bathroom.  I just love it. I’m so excited to have her participating with us today! Take it away Andrea.

I am so excited to be included in Kristy’s line-up of new bloggers.  One look at Kristy’s blue painted chair and I was hooked.  I admire her style and she is obviously a very ambitious and creative gal.  I can’t help but like her.

Why did you start blogging?
In 2009, my  husband and I bought a big giant fixer upper.  As soon as our offer was accepted, I started looking for inspiration on-line.  Not being very tech savvy, I would simply do google image searches.  Most of the time, these searches would lead me to a blog.  I didn’t even know what a blog was back then.  It took me about a month to get completely addicted.  I would have loved to have started blogging back then and been able to document the entire renovation, but renovating a house, trying to sell our current house and taking care of three children ages six and under was almost more than I could handle. Once our house sold and we moved into our new home, I felt like I was ready for a new challenge, blogging.  As a stay at home mom, I saw this as an opportunity to connect with other people that shared my passion of renovating and decorating.

What surprised you most about blogging?
What surprised me most are the friendships I have made with other bloggers and readers.  Like I said, I started blogging to connect with others that share my passion, but I didn’t expect to meet so many wonderful people in such a short amount of time.  I am a bit shy, unless I’ve had three two glasses of wine.  So making friends has always been a bit of challenge for me. Blogging has made me come out of my shell a bit.  If I come across a blog that I really love, I usually make an effort to reach out to that blogger and let them know how much I enjoy their blog.  Normally, it leads to a lovely e-mail conversation.

What have you learned as far as reaching new readers?
1.  Leaving comments: I know commenting on other blogs is very important and I try to do it as much as I can.  But posting on my own blog is a pretty time consuming task in itself and then I’ve got these three kids to care for and a household to run and grocery shopping and all that fun stuff.  I try to check my favorite blogs and leave comments first thing in the morning and at night after the kids are in bed.

2.  Being featured: obviously being featured on a blog with a ton of followers is always helpful.  I got a few lucky breaks when I first started blogging and I will always be grateful to those bloggers who helped get me started.

3.  Link parties:  When I first started blogging (way back in January) I had no idea how to join a link party.  I saw them on other blogs, but I had no idea I could link up too.  Now that I figured it out, I try to do it as often as possible.  It really is a great way to get your blog noticed.

Do you think it’s important to post everyday?
I know not everyone has the time or material to post everyday, but I think it’s especially important when you’re a new blogger to post everyday (as least during the week).  It keeps your readers interested and coming back daily.  If you take a few days or weeks off, it seems like readers tend to lose interest in stopping by your blog.

What do you think your readers most want to read about?

If any of my Oak Ridge Revival readers are reading this post, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think my readers like to see before and afters. I know I do, and I seem to get the most comments and feedback from those types of posts.  I still love to post about my family and other fun stuff that’s going on in our lives, but I try to focus mostly on renovations and decorating.  When I first started out, I scrutinized every word I wrote and wondered if people would respond positively or if they would think I was just simply crazy. The more posts I write, the more comfortable I am being me and hopefully that is coming across in my writing.

The kitchen Before the renovation.
The kitchen after the renovation.
Thanks so much, Kristy, for letting me be a part of your new series!
I appreciate you sharing with us, Andrea!  Be sure to check out her blog.  And, don’t forget to check out the same series, but with different guests, at Type A Decorating!

Introducing a Series!

As a newbie myself, I have often had questions about blogging.  There is so much to learn.  To me, the best people to ask are other bloggers at various experience levels.

So, I decided to gather some successful design bloggers here to share their insights on blogging.

Each Thursday for six weeks, beginning tomorrow, we will be highlighting guest bloggers in our “Before the Paparazzi” series.

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We?  Yes, Tammy from Type A Decorating and I have been collaborating on our first series!  We will both have a series of bloggers at various experience levels share with our readers what it was like to get started. Our guest bloggers will choose from a list of questions to answer and will write a Q&A style post.

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The guest bloggers at Hyphen Interiors will be:
May 5 – Andrea at Oakridge Revival
May 12 – Lindsay at Sadie and Stella
May 19 – Elsa at Casa Greer
May 26 – Denise at Pink Postcard
June 2 – Danielle at Danielle Oakey Interiors
June 8 – Cassie at Hi Sugarplum

I will link to Tammy’s posts each week.


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The guest bloggers at Type A will be:
May 5 – Mandy at Sugar Bee Craft Edition
May 12 – Summer at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
May 19 – Cassie at Primitive and Proper
May 26 – Denise at The Painted Home
June 2 – SJ at Homemaker on a Dime
June 8 – Sommer at Designer Garden

Questions that our guests will choose from include:
- What surprised you most about blogging?
- What was your biggest fear?
- What technical things have been the hardest for you?
- What have you learned when it comes to the mechanics of blogging that you didn’t know right away as a newbie?
- What have you learned as far as reaching new readers?
- What advice would you give to newbies?
- What would you have done differently?
- Who has influenced you most and been a resource to you?
- What tricks and tips can you give us?
- What do you think your readers most like to read about?

Join us for the next six Thursdays as we feature these bloggers in our “Before the Paparazzi” series.  Yes, there is a little sarcasm there.   We know there isn’t really paparazzi, but these bloggers are so good!  Be sure to join us on Thursdays!

kristysig