My Blogging Journey

My Blogging Journey

Where do I begin? I really can’t remember a time when blogging wasn’t a huge part of my life. I know there was a time when I didn’t blog, but I really can’t remember what it was like. If you’re a blogger you’ll know what I mean when I say that I can’t imagine what I did with my time before I started blogging. Blogging takes so much of my time and energy that it’s hard to imagine ever having time to sit down and do nothing, or just to browse around online just for the sake of browsing. Today blogging is in the back of my mind all the time, no matter what I’m doing – and I love it.

My Blogging Journey

To be honest I can’t really remember when it was exactly that I started blogging. My wordpress account says I’ve been a member since February 25, 2011 so I guess that’s probably around the time when I started. I’ve had a number of blogs and names over the years – Restless Rambles, Fancy Frugaler, Tales of the Till (a blog I started for a blogging course in school about my job as a grocery store cashier) – but, for the most part those blogs were all poorly thought out and short lived.

Then, I took the time to think really long and hard about what I wanted to blog about, and narrow down a niche that I thought was unique and interesting. That’s when I started The Crafty Frugaler. Again, the date escapes me, but I think it was in 2012 that I started blogging on a regular basis. It was WordPress.com’s ‘postday’ campaign that motivated me, and though I didn’t write about their prompts, I did try really hard to post once a day.

The niche I narrowed in on was DIY and being frugal. I’ve always been a very money saavy person – not in the sense that I’m good at investing, but in the sense that I save a lot of my money and spend very wisely. I’ve never shopped at expensive clothing stores, I rarely drink at bars, and I’m not ashamed to say that I pick coins up off the ground when I see them. I’m not cheap – I still go out and have fun – but I spend very carefully. I’ve always been very crafty as well. I love making my own versions of things rather than buying them, I’ve always given handmade greeting cards, and a few summers ago I finally learned to sew. So, combining my two passions felt like the perfect niche for me, and at the time it really was. So, I settled on ‘The Crafty Frugaler’ and started blogging.

In June of 2013 (I only know the date because I looked in my domain registrar’s history) I made the move from WordPress.com account to self hosted WordPress.org account. I bought www.thecraftyfrugaler.com and designed my own site. I starting learning web design in second year of university and by the time I bought my own domain I had more than enough knowledge to design a site I loved.

I kept blogging every day as I had before, but tried to take more time to write great posts. I’d written one post a day for a few years now, but I really couldn’t say that I was happy with every post that I published. Sometimes I thought of ideas before hand and planned what I was going to write about, but most of the time I was just scrambling to squeeze a post in close to midnight to stick to my ‘once a day’ deadline.

Up until this point blogging was just a thing that I did on the side and something that occupied my spare time. But after getting my degree in communications – with a heavy focus on design and professional writing – I finally started to take blogging more seriously after graduation in 2014. After a trip around Europe, I returned and made my first blogging plan. I bought a calendar and started planning my posts for every day. I started trying to get my posts written ahead of time and include good pictures in all of them.

At this point I also started social media accounts for my blogs. Before then it was just my friends who knew about my blog because I had it linked to my personal Facebook account. But now I started social media accounts on every platform, and switched the names of the accounts I already had to The Crafty Frugaler. I actually started to gain a few followers that I didn’t know personally, and it was really exciting.

After scheduling my posts for a little while, I finally decided to stop writing so often. It was a hard decision to make, especially after sticking to such a rigid deadline for so long, but I knew it was something I had to do, since writing every day was not producing the kind of high quality posts I wanted. I narrowed my posts down to Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the occasional Sunday. I started writing all three of the week’s posts the weekend before, so I never had to struggle or scramble during the week. This way, I was able to use my time during the week to plan new posts, promote my posts over social media, and actually interact with other bloggers.

By this time I had made myself business cards with The Crafty Frugaler on them, put my portfolio on my site so that I could direct people there, and had started doing freelance design work under The Crafty Frugaler name. I got my first sponsored posts for companies that I actually liked, and made my first dollar from blogging in February of 2015. It was a really exciting time and I started to consider that maybe blogging was something I could do as part of my living.

However, it was also around this time that I started to wonder whether my niche really applied anymore. I had established a blogging system and plan that really worked, but I found myself with less desire to write about crafts and frugal things. Instead I wanted to share my love of design and blogging with people – especially since that was how I was making my money and I was learning new things every day. I often found myself sitting in front of my computer straining to come up with a frugal tip to share, or having to force myself to do a craft so that I could write about it, when it was really design and blogging that was running through my brain. I started writing a few design posts here and there and trying to work them into my niche somehow, though I never really felt they fit.

I pushed any ideas of stopping The Crafty Frugaler out of my mind, and just decided that I might rebrand and add some new categories. It had been a part of my life for so long that I was terrified with the idea of letting it go. My friend group had even started using the hashtag frugal (in real in-person speech) and the idea of putting that behind me was heartbreaking.

I kept trying to write posts on blogging and design, and telling myself that they fit in with The Crafty Frugaler. Those posts started to get more readers and interest than posts in my other categories, and I was actually excited to write them. Finally in March of 2015 I couldn’t deny it any longer, and I knew that The Crafty Frugaler wasn’t who I wanted to be any more. I wanted a new name that I could blog under, solely about design, blogging and entrepreneurship, since that was my life now. I also wanted a professional name that could encompass my freelance business since I was considering working freelance full time. I knew that a blog in this new niche would fit in better with my freelance work, and would hopefully attract the kind of clients I wanted to work with.

It was a really sudden decision actually – the idea of starting over was in the back of my mind, but all in the span of two days, I made the decision, thought of a name, bought the new domain, and started my branding plan. I decided on The White Corner Creative. I knew that I wanted ‘creative’ at the end, and settled on the white corner because that is where my passion for blogging and design was found – in the corner of my white basement where I work on all my designs and posts. Starting over now with all the things I have learned in the past few years – both in school and by blogging for so long – is really exciting. I know the importance of creating a plan, of branding before I start, and of knowing exactly what I want before I even write my first post.

With The Crafty Frugaler I redesigned the site of number of times, I never had a set logo, I shifted my niches around, and I was never really happy with the cohesiveness of the blog as a whole. Rather than focusing on writing great posts, I was always trying to rethink how to make the blog work. Now I have taken care of all that before I even launched the new blog, so that I can focus on writing great content. The night that I decided to make the switch I actually couldn’t sleep because I was so excited. I swore that I would write down 100 post ideas before I launched, and I had the list within a few days. Writing about things I was actually passionate about was the most exciting thing I had encountered in a long time. I designed my site, transferred the recent and relevant posts to the new blog, and worked hard to make it something I was proud of.

The official launch date of The White Corner Creative is April 12th, 2015. I’ll write it down just so looking back I can remember where and when I started. Now I’ll be changing all my social accounts to my new name and working really hard to keep some of the traffic that I had before. I’m so excited to be starting this new blog, and sharing my passions with people who truly want to read about them. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope my blog can help you – whether it is with inspiration to follow your true passions, or tips on how to make your blog a success. Enjoy!

10 thoughts on “My Blogging Journey”

  1. Well done you! It really takes a while to find your place. I’m in that process as well. I’m a 40+ blogger but I don’t care. So many people think you have to dress age appropriately which I think is utter nonsense. I’m about to find my own niche but I still have to do a lot of thinking and work. Kirsten xx

    http://www.thelifbissue.com

    1. You can do whatever you want at whatever age you want to do it! And finding your niche now just means you’ll be that much better at it when you get there! Good for you. I only hope everyone can find their niche and true passions at some point in life. What niche’s are you considering? Maybe I can help you narrow it down.

  2. This was inspiring to read, Melissa. I’ve gone through some changes in the (incredibly short) one year I’ve been blogging, and I still find myself wondering if I’m headed the right way. I do love what you’ve done/ are doing with the White Corner Creative – love your site design and the colours. Looking forward to coming back here often!

    1. Thank you! It’s definitely tough – I used to question myself and my direction a lot but now I think I’ve finally settled on one I’m happy with! I look forward to having you as a reader!

  3. I started blogging five years ago and had a few blogs that I didn’t spend too much time on. I started out the same thing like you, which I blogged about personal finance and ways to save money. Then, I found it was hard for me to talk about money saving all the time. I started a design blog this summer, which to me it has become part of my life. I don’t know what to do if I don’t blog. In fact, there are tons to talk about when I focus on one niche. I love your post! It is very inspirational and love to hear what bloggers talk about their blogging journey.

    1. Thanks Sam! Great to hear about your journey as well, I think it takes most bloggers a few different blogs and niches to finally find what’s right for them. Happy to know that blogging is such an important part of your life as well! I feel the same way.

  4. thank you for sharing your blogging journey with us, what an inspiration. I loved hearing stories like yours. I am still on the process of learning. I just started my blogging journey for 5 months now, yes, I loved every minute of it.

    1. Thanks Mary Ann! Glad to share my story in the hopes of inspiring others! Blogging is so amazing! I’m happy to hear you’ve started it out yourself – you will never regret it!

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