{Pinned by our lovely Sarah}

I’m totally getting into that period of the year where I find myself reflecting on everything that’s happened in the past 12 months in all areas of my life. One of those areas is of course this blog, which really was a game changer for me in 2012. Since Channeling Contessa turns two on New Year’s day, I’m eager to look back and share all that I’ve learned in this second year and over time with this blog. But today, instead of getting into the nitty gritty of how to grow your following, build your blog brand, and so on, I want to talk about two overarching lessons that have really become clear in my second year of running this blog. The nitty gritty stuff? Get ready for guidance around all of that and more in 2013- I have new series and content brewing in that department! But for today, let’s talk big picture:

1. There is a lifecycle to blogging. If you were to come to my site, and look at my archives, you’d think this blog was started just about two years ago. But the truth is it started six months prior to that- hopping around multiple blogging platforms. I wrote a substantial number of posts during those first six months, with photographs of food and everything! Where are those recipes now? Lost in blog land I suppose, but the point is those six months were necessary. They were part of the process- just as much as the first year and second year of my “actual” blog were part of the process. I needed time to develop my voice and curate content that was really true to me- true to my brand (which I’m now just starting to hone in on). But when you’re in the  thick of that process, and you see everyone flying by and charging ahead around you it can be so debilitating. And so easy to just say ok- forget it- I’m too late for this. But you’re not. I firmly believe the first 6-12 or 18 months of any blog are not only the hardest, but the period you simply have to work through for you. Look back at any successful blogger and notice how far back those archives go, what they’re posts used to look like- I guarantee you’ll see a huge evolution. There’s no turnkey solution to an overnight success story- growing a blog audience and brand takes patience and hard work. But take solace in the fact that the initial period of getting yourself out there is all part of the process- and if you can truly stick with it, I assure you great things will come.

2. At the end of the day, you have to do it for you- that’s the only way you’ll get to a place where the blog starts doing things for you. You have to blog about what you’re actually passionate about, you have to take the time to turn that passion into original content, you have to work at developing your own blog voice- and you have to spend a substantial amount of time doing it. I often have people say to me “Where do you find the time?? I just don’t have time to do that!” The truth is, a lot of this blog happens on the weekends! Or on the weeknights or early in the morning before I start work. The point is, there are some significant sacrifices, and if you don’t have that grounding purpose to carry you through, it will be very hard to work through the uphill battle every new blogger faces.

Those are my two cents (for today). Now two things I’d like you to share:

  1. Any major life lessons you’ve garnered from blogging this year?
  2. And two, getting into the nitty gritty of blogging tips- any particular areas you’d like me to cover in the new year? I’ve got lots of post topics in mind, but would love to hear from you guys!

So get to it in the comments, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out the CC Holiday playlist I put together for you guys. Have a wonderful weekend!

Photo of Magdalena Frack by Zuza Bartek

  1. Yeah, Thanks for your posts about blogging. Starting a business or anything new for that matter can be very scary, and I definitely know how hard it can be. I too started a blog about a year ago. My question for you to cover would be, what really helped the most to make your blog grow in views and daily audience? Good job on creating a brand too. I am definitely in the process of that. Eventually I might hire someone to redesign my blog for me. I do really enjoy blogging and just realized it this year after joining Pinterest. It really inspired me to start a blog! I know I am not doing it for the money, but I am also curious, about how much income does your blog bring in? You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to ;) Happy Blogging and Holidays!

  2. Clara, as a ‘seasoned’ blogger, I can attest that Channeling Contessa has all the perfect blog ingredients. You have a ‘niche and a knack’ for engaging your readers with your strong niche and playful (and at times serious) writing style. Bravo!!

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!

    (PS, I knew my blog was making an impact when my mother’s friends were commenting and forwarding posts to their friends! xo)

    • Clara

      Thanks, Ronnie! Perhaps I’ll see you over the holiday break :). xx

  3. Clara,

    Thank you for this! After having my personal blog for about two years, I’ve only this fall really started digging in to what it means for me and what I want it to be. It’s been exciting and thought-provoking, and I can feel it growing with me as I evolve personally. I am so excited to hear about your 2013 “blog brand” series. I’ll be eagerly waiting and appreciate your voice and approach so much.

    Lauren @ Flee to the Cleve

  4. Yelle

    I completely agree with your second point - I always try to keep this in mind when I write my blog posts. I started a blog for myself, i should continue that, whether or not I gain followers. After all, what would I like to look back on in my blog? I think this is one of the most important things to keep in mind.

  5. #2 is so true. One blogging tip I’ve learned recently is how important it is to use a DSLR camera! The composition makes photos much more professional.

  6. So neat to hear about your blogging evolution! My friend Jennifer and I started http://www.the-glitter-life.com in July, and it has definitely evolved as well. At the same time, so has our friendship-we have fallen into an easy routine of working on daily (yep, DAILY) posts together. It’s made our friendship stronger, and I think we have learned a lot about each other along the way! We both love your blog-please keep up the good work!

    We mentioned your recipe for Honeycrisp Gorgonzola on our Friday Five today-check it out if you have time! Merry Christmas!


    • Clara

      Thanks so much for the mention, Lauren! I love that little appetizer. And glad you’re enjoying CC. I love how you and a friend are doing the blog together!

  7. Love these bits of blog wisdom, Clara. I myself worry that I started mine too late (March of this year), much past the “golden years” of blogging but then what you say in no. 2 kicks in. I think that doing it for yourself is first and foremost and hopefully good things will follow. :)

  8. Cynthia

    I don’t blog . . . I leave that to the experts like YOU Clara! Much more relaxing and entertaining reading a great blog like ‘ChannelingContessa’ than it would be to be in a constant state of panic over managing my own blog!

  9. Love posts like this-gives bloggers like me (who are still working on figuring out my voice and direction that I want to take my own blog in) reassurance and confidence to press on!
    I really look forward to your “nitty-gritty” blog posts in 2013-would love to hear how you found your personal style/voice and used that to create fresh, unique content.

    Thank you :)

  10. Pingback: Starred this… Month

  11. Love this. There’s totally a lifecycle to blogging. Coming to terms with that helps accept how we write as bloggers.

  12. Pingback: Blog Notes: "Finding" Time to Blog | Channeling Contessa

  13. I love this post and I love your blog!!! I launched my blog in August 2012 and in even that short amount of time, I see the evolution of my “style”. At first, I was a little afraid to share too much of myself on the blog because I thought it would be smart to keep the blog separate from my professional brand and career. However, what I learned is that my readers enjoy my posts more when I am more personal. It has taken time but, I have learned to let my “true voice” shine through on the blog :-)

  14. Love reading your posts about blogging- very informative and inspirational. I have been blogging for a while now and the biggest lesson I have learnt is that you need to be consistent. There were times when I also thought ‘I’m too late to this game, there is no point,’ but if you keep at it you will gain. Hope to take your advice and make things work for me this year!!

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