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Fishing For Ideas

Monday, February 12, 2018

MY TWO-YEAR BLOGIVERSARY // Blog Remodel, Giveaway, and a Test of Your #NinjaSkills

By On February 12, 2018

GUESS WHOSE BLOG IS TURNING TWO TODAY? MINE. Since I missed my first blogiversary (whoops), I figure I owe you guys twice as much fun this time around. So before you go on, you should probably brace yourself for ALL CAPS EXCITEMENT. Otherwise you may end up a little intimidated by the amount of excited yelling in this post. Just saying.

If I was a good blogger, I'd let you guys ask me questions, then I'd answer those questions in a vlog. But, seeing as vlogging is a fairly complicated process, and seeing as school continues to deplete my free time, I had to come up with a less time-consuming idea. 
So instead of a vlog you guys are getting 1) FREE STUFF and 2) a test of your ninja stalking skills. Since you probably weren't interested in awkward footage of me monologuing, THIS HOPEFULLY SOUNDS SUPER FUN. (It is. Trust me.) But before we can get to the fun stuff, we're going to take some time to reminisce. THEN we're going to talk about my remodel! 

(BE PATIENT. This won't take long.) 

THROWBACK TO FEBRUARY 2016. I was 16 at the time. I had just posted a post entitled "Why Every Writer Needs a Blog" and I was bouncing with excitement. MY FIRST POST!! SO COOL. (No, I'm not linking to it.) My header was gray notebook paper with an anchor plastered on top. My graphic was simple font stuck on top of a grainy notebook image. 

BUT THIS WAS MY [humble] BEGINNING. Numerous design changes and MANY lessons later, I had a fairly well-established blog with a decent knowledge of how blogging works. That's where I'm at now. Still blogging, yes, but more importantly--still learning. Just when I think I have blogging figured out, I learn something new. 

I'm so glad I decided to go out on a limb two years ago and start Fishing For Ideas. It's been an INCREDIBLE adventure, and I'm thankful for everyone who's been a part of it. If the Lord wills, I won't be stopping this blog for a while. So I guess you guys are stuck with me. SORRY. (But not really.) 


See? That wasn't that long. ON TO OUR NEXT ORDER OF BUSINESS. 



In case you haven't noticed, I REMODELED FISHING FOR IDEAS. And when I say "I" remodeled Fishing For Ideas, what I REALLY mean is that Sarah remodeled Fishing For Ideas. I'm not very techy, but Sarah is a LITERAL HTML GENIUS, so maybe that means we're a good team? 

Either way, if you like the design, don't thank me--thank Sarah. She did AT LEAST 80% of the work while I basically just a) stubbornly refused to spend money on a legit template, b) bossed her around, and c) nitpicked everything I didn't like. (What can I say? I'm a perfectionist.) But she was awesome and she did a FANTASTIC job. Not only did she customize the template, but she also designed my banner. Doesn't it look super professional? 

The only downside to the new design is that I'm changing my primary blog font for both the graphics and the post body; meaning that all my previous posts will have different fonts than the posts from here on out. (MINOR DETAILS, I KNOW.) But my new fonts are MUCH more professional, so I think it's worth it. What do you guys think? 


TOLD YOU WE'D GET TO THE FUN STUFF. Today is doubly exciting because it's my first blogiversary party AND my first giveaway. WOOT WOOT.

It took me forever to decide what to use in the giveaway. TOO MANY CHOICES. To be completely honest, I really wanted to include a five-pound bag of sour patch. The only problem is that shipping a five-pound item doesn't fit into my budget. (Plus I'd probably eat it all before it came time to mail it. SINCE WE'RE BEING HONEST HERE.)

But in the end, I FINALLY settled on a few different things. HERE THEY ARE:

First Place Prize: A journal. When was the last time you saw a giveaway that didn't include a journal, right? However, this journal is special because it's NAUTICALLY THEMED. Unfortunately, it's unlined, so it's more of an art journal than a writing journal, but STILL. NAUTICALLY THEMED. IT WAS TOO PERFECT. (Also, I know some of you can do awesome art--so lined or unlined probably doesn't make a difference to you.) 
Second Place Prize: A pack of 6 chisel highlighters. If you're a writer and you have enough highlighters, then you clearly haven't done much editing. XD I bought myself a set of these highlighters, so I can testify to the fact that they are AWESOME. 
Third Place Prize: A pack of 3 ballpoint pens. Just what you need to engage in your 2018 writing endeavors. Again, I bought myself a few of these pens, so again I can say that they are AWESOME. Currently they're my favorite pens. (And I have a lot of pens, so that's saying something.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The rules for entering: Unfortunately, the giveaway is not open for international entries. I REALLY WANTED IT TO BE because I know some of you aren't from the USA, but international shipping is really expensive. Like, who even has that much money to spend on shipping a one-pound item? NOT ME.

The only other requirement is that you have to be okay with emailing me your address. (In the event that you win.) I'll use it to mail you your prize. :D 

How long have you been following Fishing for Ideas? How well do you know me? TIME TO FIND OUT. In the following test, I'll present you with questions about me--it's your job to answer them correctly. 

BUT. HERE'S THE FUN PART. Even if you haven't been following me for a long time, and even if you don't know me that well, you can find the answers to most of the questions. So if you're not sure what the answer to a question is, TRY AND FIND IT. My presence on social media is fairly limited, but I DO have a few social media accounts which might prove helpful. (Not the least of which is blogger, HINT HINT.) 

The other fun thing about this is that if you get a certain number of questions right, you get BONUS ENTRIES in the giveaway. The test has ten multiple choice questions; if you get 8-10 right, you get FIVE BONUS ENTRIES. If you get 5-7 right, you get three bonus entries. If you get less than five right, you still get a bonus entry! (Because I'm nice like that. XD)

Let's go over a few rules before we get this started: rule #1 is that you can only take the test ONCE. Otherwise you'll know all of the answers on the second time through. 

Rule #2 is you have to give me your actual name. You don't have to give me your last name, but please give me your REAL first name. That way I have at least a general idea of who you are and I don't have to spend any time trying to figure out who "smileyface1560" is.

And that's pretty much it for the rules! One last hint before I let you loose: if you take the time to browse around my blog a little, you'll notice that I updated some of my pages. (For example, my about page. COUGH.) Just so you know. GOOD LUCK.

[TAKE THE TEST HERE.]


Here's to another year of blogging! But I'm dying to know: HOW DID YOU DO ON THE TEST? (Some questions were easier than others, right?) Did you enter the giveaway? What are your thoughts on the design? And since this is a blogiversary, tell me how long YOU'VE been blogging for!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Four Healthy Reading Habits to Develop in 2018

By On January 26, 2018


Today I'm here to talk a little bit about READING. Typically when I discuss this subject it's in the context of a book review or a list of book recommendations, but this post is different. TIME TO MIX THINGS UP. Instead of discussing any specific books, we're discussing reading in general. 

Most dedicate little time to reading because our society is image-driven. Our culture likes to SEE things. Evidencing this, YouTube, Netlifx, Pinterest, and other image-based sites grow in their increasingly massive popularity. A simple Google search informed me that many adult Americans don't even read a single book a year.


These aspects of our culture spring a trap for unsuspecting bookworms. The trap shifts our focus from what we read to the fact that we're still reading. Kudos to us! After all, somebody has to keep the publishing industry alive, right? It becomes easy to lose focus of the actual books we're reading. It becomes easy to fall prey to the idea that what we read doesn't matter--just so long as we read.


But what we read does matter. The books we select shape our thinking by putting ideas into our heads. This effect can yield positive or negative results, depending on what you read. The right books can lodge truth inside your mind; the wrong ones can lodge error. So it's clear we shouldn't base our reading selection solely off appealing covers and intriguing synopses. How do we figure out which books are worth our time, and which ones aren't?


It's not a black-and-white issue. All of us have different standards, different tastes, different opinions. The point of this post isn't to tell you what you can and cannot read. Instead, it's to share a few healthy reading habits I've learned. Hopefully, by developing these habits, each of us will be less likely to waste our time on a book.



THE #1 MOST IMPORTANT THING TO GET FROM THIS POST: READ MORE OF THE BIBLE. Why is this so important? I already touched on that in the introduction. Books help to shape us--so doesn't it make sense that we should consistently read God's Word? The more we read it, the more it shapes us, and the more godly we become.


The Bible should hold more importance in your life than any other book. PERIOD. If you grab hold of this devotion to God's Word, SO MANY other things in your life will fall into place.


God doesn't tell us to read the Bible because He needs us to. As fallen human beings, we're the ones that desperately need the truth of God's Word. God tells us to read it because He knows what it can do for us. He knows it has the power to convict us of sin, illuminate truth, sanctify us, and ultimately change our lives.


The best reading habit (possibly the best LIFE habit) is adding more of the Bible into your reading diet. Resolve to read it. Resolve to study it. Resolve to apply it. 

If you're a student of any sort, you're probably used to school-assigned reading. To you, this point might seem PAINFULLY OBVIOUS. Yet it's still worth reiterating.


Developing this habit relates not only to school reading, but to ANY kind of reading. The idea isn't that you learn from reading when you're required to; it's that you strive to learn from EVERY BOOK YOU READ. When you're reading a book, no matter what genre, think: What can I get out of this? If you can't come up with any answers to that question, it might be wise to consider if the book is worth your time.


Reading isn't only about entertainment. Both fiction and nonfiction hold myriads of facts, tips, life hacks, ideas, warnings, lessons, and insights. Try and catch some of those! How does that story portray WW2 industry? Is the technology in that sci-fi novel feasible according to current scientific knowledge? When that essay expounds on the health value of coconut oil, what specific evidence does it site? Is its argument convincing?


Developing this habit doesn't necessarily mean you never, ever read for entertainment. Instead, it's a tool that helps you filter out books which aren't worth your time. So if you're going to read, APPLY YOURSELF. Focus on what you're reading. And think: What can I get out of this?

Again, maybe this seems like an obvious point to you. Still, due to its importance, it definitely deserves some screen time in a post about healthy reading habits. The choice to develop this habit hinges on the assumption that every author has a message. The medium by which he spreads his message is his writing. This isn't limited to any one genre--it spans across every written work. Even when writing in a very casual style and mode (kinda like me right now), it's safe to assume that a writer has a purpose in writing.


So that leaves us (as readers and as Christians) with some work to do! It's our job to carefully analyze what we read according to the standard of God's Word. We need to compare the messages in the media we digest with the truth of the Bible. In order to do that, we need to fully engage our brains while we read, and we need to consistently study God's Word so we know what it teaches.


The easy part about exercising discernment is that it's a lot like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. But this truth doesn't mean you habitually and intentionally expose yourself to unbiblical ideology in an attempt to "strengthen your discernment." Instead, it means that when you are exposed to unbiblical ideology through media (and you will be), you're better prepared to identify why said ideology is unbiblical. This gives you a better grasp on your own beliefs and on biblical truth.

Each of us have our "pet genres"--the ones we really, really like. It might be historical fiction. It might be nonfiction. It might be Young Adult. These "pet genres" are where we turn when we're looking for a good book. Nothing wrong with that! Naturally, we're more confident we'll find a book we love in a genre we've tried and tested.


BUT. A problem rises when we let our favorite genres define our reading limits. A fantasy book every now and then is okay. An occasional romance novel is okay. (Although why would anyone want to put themselves through a romance novel...? JUST SAYIN.) However, if you read EXCLUSIVELY fantasy you might get too caught up in things that aren't real. If you read EXCLUSIVELY romance, you might end up with the wrong perception of what a biblical relationship looks like.


A healthy reading diet consists of a variety of genres. Stay balanced, and be adventurous! Don't let a "pet genre" of sci-fi keep you from venturing into the realm of nonfiction. Even if you don't necessarily LOVE every single book you read, part of growing into a disciplined adult is reading things you don't always enjoy.


When considering these habits (and others like these), it's crucial to understand that habits are developed. They don't happen overnight. Time, energy, motivation, and discipline must be added to the equation before they can be made reality.


So if you don't always have good habits, don't stress about changing them in the next three days. It took you time to form those bad habits--it takes time to form the good ones. Focus on small steps, small changes, small mental shifts, and by the end of 2018, you might just have some new habits!


OK NOW TALK TO ME. :D Which of these are already habits for you? Any of them you'd like to try and work on in 2018?



Friday, January 12, 2018

Currently with Jonathan

By On January 12, 2018
HEY, DID YOU MISS ME? (Don't answer unless you did.) Last month, I ended up taking a sporadic, month-long hiatus. Honestly I think that's the way most of my hiatuses work. They go something like this:

ME: Look at my post on how to be a professional blogger. Very nice.

YOU GUYS:
WOW SO HELPFUL.


ME:
IKR THANKS.


ME A WEEK LATER:
But also excuse me while I completely abandon all blogging responsibilities for A MONTH without warning anyone beforehand. AHEM.


YOU GUYS:
UM WHAT.


YOU GUYS:
Sooo what exactly happened to that professionalism you were talking about in your last post?? Hm??


I do have a really, really good excuse for this, but my blog still got angry with me for neglecting it. NOT EVEN KIDDING. Right now the font color keeps changing to red or green or blue every time I hit enter? And the spacing has gone completely haywire? In my head I keep hearing that one line from Tangled where the mother says: "This is why you never should have left!"


ANYWAYS. All tangents about my blogging hiatus aside, I'm here to update you guys on what's gone on with me lately. Because despite the fact that I completely missed my end-of-the-year recap post, and despite the fact that I have no intentions of writing that post, I'M NOT OUT OF THE BLOGGING GAME YET.


I'm still here, still very much alive and kicking, and I still have some blog posts up my sleeve! (Just when you thought you'd finally gotten rid of me, right?) And since I've been gone for a little while, it only makes sense to discuss what I've been doing with all that time that hasn't gone towards blogging. Sound good?


(HUSH. That's rhetorical.)






+ My new laptop!! Alright, here we go. Here's the honest to goodness reason for why I took a sporadic hiatus: my laptop broke. It had been on it's last leg for a while, but it finally reached the point of being completely unusable in December. (SEE? GOOD EXCUSE, RIGHT?)

The good news is that I now have a new laptop! My Dad helped me find one for a decent price, and we've got it all set up now. IT'S AWESOME. It's an HP (like my old one), but it's much heavier duty and hence much faster. I can get done so much more in less time because I don't have to wait on my computer; and higher productivity in less time makes me happy. So needless to say, I APPROVE. 

+ Stress-free reading. Last year, I participated in the Goodreads reading challenge with a goal of 100 books in 2017. (AMBITIOUS FOR ME.) I did manage to read 100 books, but I ended up getting a little stressed out as I skimmed and selected the shortest books available, yet STILL got behind at times.

The challenge was a fun experience, don't get me wrong! The problem was that instead of expanding my reading by making me read more books, it actually limited my reading by dictating what types of books I could read. (short ones) This year, I still set a goal, but this goal is SUPER CHILL and easy attainable; meaning that in 2018, I'll have more freedom in my reading choices.

+ Early mornings. Personally I'm not a fan of the phrases "night owl" and "early bird." (Simply because they imply that the tendencies to stay up late or get up early are inherent, when in reality those tendencies are learned.) BUT. So far between the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, I've been getting up earlier, and I'M LOVING IT. It gives me time to read my Bible and pray, go to the gym if I want to, and still start my daily tasks on time!#winwinwin


+ My Bible. OBVIOUSLY. This year, I'm hoping to get through it AT LEAST 1.5 times. We'll see how it goes? Last year I read all of it from April-December so I feel fairly confident. Ideally, I'll read it twice in 2018.

+ Just finished--Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age by Maggie Jackson. THIS BOOK WAS SO DENSE. WHOA. But it was definitely well-researched, and it hit on some great points. While I didn't agree with everything in it, I'd still recommend it to discerning readers because I think it addresses a really important topic.

+ In progress--Stewarding Life by Paul Chappel. This book is excellent and very relevant to my own life; I'm reading it as a part of my daily devotions. I wanted to have the time to digest it, so I'm taking it slow. It's already going on my recommended list, and I haven't even finished it! 


+ In progress--Things Which Become Sound Doctrine by J. Dwight
Pentecost. I'm reading this one as part of a class I'm in, so... IT'S SLOW GOING. I think we've been working through it since September? Part of the class involves outlining each chapter, so I'm getting a lot out of the book. 


+ In progress--The Steps of a Good Man by Eldon Martens. Men's bible study @ my house! Again, it's slow going--we only do one chapter a week--but it's a good pace. It gives me time to reflect on the reading for each week. I love how each chapter has "action steps" at the end. They help when it comes to actually applying the information instead of just understanding it. 



+ 2018!! I am READY for 2018. I know the direction I need to take this year, and I know what my priorities need to be in order for me to get there. Still, 2018 is going to be full of exploration for me as I seek God's will and look towards my future. I say: BRING IT ON. 

+ My new laptop. I know I already mentioned this, but I have NO REGRETS about bringing it up again. Besides, it fits in this section, because I am definitely exploring this laptop.


First, I'm exploring how I can best use it to glorify God. Second, I'm exploring how I can use it in a productive manner and waste as little time as possible on it. And finally, I'm exploring WHAT ON EARTH I SHOULD NAME IT. Because yes, I absolutely name my laptops. My last one was named Blue (guess what color it was), but I'm probably going to name this one something literary. Anyone have a good suggestion?


+ Bullet journaling. Or maybe I should call it "bullet journaling." Because we're not exactly talking about a formal bullet journal here. This is more like a "bullet journal concept adapted to fit Jonathan" type of thing; its main purpose is tracking my school goals and progress. (BORING, I KNOW.)
Journaling like this is SUPER MOTIVATING because I'm very, very goal-driven, and since all my schoolwork for the day is listed out for me, I get to CHECK THINGS OFF AS I DO THEM. Plus, if I have extra time, I can get ahead by getting started on tomorrow's list of tasks. 

But even though it's primarily for school, I do track a few other things, such as what I read during the day. I'm still playing around with it and figuring out what I should include--any ideas? 

+ New school schedule. I'm graduating this year, and 2018 came with a new school schedule (for a variety of complicated reasons). I have A LOT of school to manage. I'm using my bullet journal to keep myself motivated, on track, and READY TO RUMBLE.


While I think I have it mostly figured out, I'm still smoothing out a few kinks in my schedule and adapting it to my day-by-day experience. So all that is to say: if you don't see posts from as often as you'd like to, then you can safely guess that SCHOOL IS TO BLAME. 


+ Nonfiction. I LOVE nonfiction, yet 2017 didn't allow me much time to read it. (because of what I mentioned about my 2017 reading challenge) But I'm determined to make up for that lost time by reading LOTS of nonfiction in 2018--as you can probably tell by what I'm currently reading. So if anyone has any good nonfiction recommendations, drop me a comment!  



... actually, nothing! SURPRISE, SURPRISE. Since the cause of my blogging hiatus was a broken laptop, I ended up taking a break from both blogging and writing. But don't worry; I definitely have plans for this year. I've been praying over my writing for 2018 over the last few months, so I'm excited to get started on at least one new project. I'd tell you more, but it's top secret for now. MWAHAHA. 

(And to those of you who want to tell me I should be editing: SHHH. DON'T BURST MY BUBBLE.) 




ALRIGHT YOUR TURN. Update me on what you've been up to! How's your 2018 looking so far? 


Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Make Your Blog More Professional with Three Easy Concepts

By On December 04, 2017
I haven't even started my introduction yet, and I can already feel you questioning me. DO NOT QUESTION ME OK. If you honestly CANNOT believe that I know something about this topic then.... well, I don't blame you.

BUT. Even if you're questioning my knowledge on this subject, HUMOR ME. Maybe I'll surprise you? (But in all honesty, maybe I won't. You'll have to keep reading to find out. MWAHAHA.)  

How your blog looks is SUPER IMPORTANT, because the appearance of your blog is what's going to attract readers. If I stumble across a blog and it's not visually appealing, I'm not inclined to stick around. 

So with that in mind, there's a few easy ways to use graphics to give your blog a more professional feel. 



PLAN YOUR GRAPHICS 

Basically the idea here is that you're not just throwing pictures up on your blog because they look good; instead, you're taking the time to figure out which pictures will look good together.

If my last post graphic was black-and-white, then I probably wouldn't want to use another black-and-white picture for my next post. Likewise, if my last post graphic was darker, I'll probably try and choose a lighter picture for my next post. 

So that being said, let's take a look at my last six post graphics: 



They're not necessarily PERFECT together, but none of them are clashing with each other. I try to make sure that my graphics fit together and that they're varied. By planning your graphics out, you can give your blog a fantastic visual touch that it wouldn't have otherwise. 

But just remember NOT TO STRESS ABOUT IT. Don't spend two hours trying to find the PERFECT picture; that's not a wise use of your time. Just make sure you're not posting two similar pictures or two pictures that clash in a row. And try to keep things varied! (unless your blog has a specific color scheme, in which case I applaud you) It's as easy as that. 


UNIFY YOUR FONTS 

THIS IS LITERALLY THE EASIEST THING EVER. You know how you make a main graphic for each post you write? Stop switching fonts between post graphics!! It's that simple. Consistency of font makes your blog unified, whereas using all sorts of different fonts can make your blog look disjointed. 

But does your blog have to be ALL THE SAME FONT? Nope! I have two fonts that I use. My main font is Amatic Small Caps, but I occasionally throw in Julius Sans One. By using Julius Sans One VERY sparingly, I can use it to achieve emphasis on certain words or to mix things up every so often. Or, on a graphic that contains only Amatic Small Caps font, I can vary the colors (NOT the font) to achieve emphasis or mix things up. 

Plus, you get bonus points if your blog header, blog button, and blog graphics are in the same font. (see how all of that is Amatic Small Caps for mine?)

Also, one last thought: See how I use Amatic small caps for my main points in each of my posts? That's also a SUPER good idea. Graphically designed headers for your main points = professional. Especially if your font is unified.


If you're a blogger, you've probably heard this phrase before. IT GETS TOSSED AROUND A LOT. But what does it actually mean

Basically, "reader friendly" means that your blog is easy for your readers to navigate, read, and interact on. It doesn't take new readers five minutes to find your latest post. It doesn't take them five minutes to find your about page. It doesn't take them five minutes to figure out how to follow you. (<< COMMON PROBLEM) It doesn't take them five minutes to find ANYTHING TBH.


NAVIGATION 

Making your blog easier to navigate (hence making it more reader friendly, hence making it MORE PROFESSIONAL) isn't as hard as it might sound. Off the top of my head, I can think of three SUPER easy ways to do this. 


Most importantly, readers should be able to find out about you VERY EASILY. The easiest and most common way to do this is with a picture of you on the top of your sidebar; this gives your blog a personal touch. Beneath your picture, you give a short summary of who you are and what you believe in; this gives readers a chance to instantly connect with you. Then, you link the picture to your about page. Ta-da! Now, your readers can figure out who you are in a glance by reading your short summary, or, they can read your in-depth bio on your about page.


Next up is figuring out where to put your "follow me on x!!" gadgets. Guess what? EASY SOLUTION = put them near the top of your sidebar. Period. It makes them easier to find. If I go onto a blog and I can't find where to follow said blog, the changes of me following are VERY SLIM INDEED. 


Lastly, a search box and floating navigation bar are nice touches. They're definitely "extra" elements, but they make navigating a blog SO MUCH EASIER. If you have a search box, your readers can find specific posts of yours by searching for them. (instead of having to wade through your archives) If you have a floating navigation bar, all your pages are one click away.



EASY-TO-READ

Making your blog easy-to-read might sound like it's based ENTIRELY on your style, but that's NOT THE CASE. Although having an easy-to-read blogging style is definitely a key idea here, there are a few other solid tricks that can make your blog easier to read. (hence making it more professional) 


For one, FONT IS IMPORTANT. (if you get nothing else from this post, you need to get this point ok) Your blog post font should be plain and clear and BIG. If it's fancy, it's hard to read. If it's tiny, it's hard to read. And how long do you think I'm going to stick around on a blog that has font this size or even this size? NOT LONG. MY EYES CAN'T HANDLE IT. Same goes for a font that's too fancy. 


Also related to font: DO. NOT. CENTER. IT. I see this a lot, and I'm a little confused as to why...? Why would we center the font on our blogs when LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE WE READ (minus poetry) is aligned to the left?Centered font is just hard to read because we're not used to it. End of story. Align your font to the left. 


One last tip on how font can make your blog easier to read: Special formatting is underrated. Using bold and italics is a fantastic way to make your posts easier-to read. (Bold is probably more common, but italics are useful also.) It makes long posts seem less daunting. Plus, if someone doesn't have time to read your WHOLE POST, they can scan over it and read the bold parts. 



READER INTERACTION 

The biggest part of reader interaction is comments. Really the only thing I have to say about comments is that you should definitely reply to them. Even if you don't know what to say, a simple "Thanks for commenting!" can suffice. 

Most of us probably already know that. BUT. A less well-known tip is this: A really cool way to add some more reader interaction to your blog is by creating a "contact me" page. Readers can shoot you an email through the contact page if they have questions, longer feedback, or anything they'd like to say to you. LOOK AT YOU, SO PROFESSIONAL.


YOU KNEW I'D GET HERE EVENTUALLY. XD Content is also an important part of blogging (who knew, right?); and just like the last two points, your blog content plays a part in how professional your blog is. 

However, this might be a little harder than the last two points. Professional content is more of a "gray area" and it looks different for different people. The goods news is that there ARE a few basic principles that I think should apply across the board. Let's take a look at those. 



SO WHAT'S YOUR BLOG ABOUT?

An understanding of what your primary blog topics are is critical. Part of professional blogging is having clear-cut, defined content. Anyone who's been reading your blog for any decent amount of time should know what to expect from you.

SO. Let's use my blog as an example. First, what's my tagline? "Reading, writing, faith, ninjas." That's a great start! Anyone who stumbles across my blog is going to see that right away, and instantly they have an idea of what I blog about. But... TAGLINES ARE REALLY GENERAL. How else can you develop defined content other than just stating it in your tagline?

WELL. It's actually super easy! Blog about what you say you're going to blog about. If I have a cooking blog and I post something about how I'm training my pet chinchilla (both hypothetical situations, JUST SO YOU'RE AWARE), then that's not very professional. If I have a fashion blog and I post something about my favorite brand of vacuum cleaner, then that's not very professional. (AGAIN: HYPOTHETICAL.)

The point of having defined content is letting your readers know what to expect from you. This doesn't mean you can NEVER EVER stray from your normal blog topics. It just means that your readers have a general idea of what your posts are going to be like and what you're going to discuss on your blog. 



AUTHENTICITY

We're going to assume that your blog readers are SMART. They can tell when you're actually serious about what you're posting, and they can tell when you're just posting something because you have nothing better to say. 

Blogging is less about how well-written your posts are and more about how much your subject matters to you. I've seen people that have blogs FILLED TO THE BRIM with sketchy grammar, and yet they're still doing great. Why is that? 

It's because those blog authors know what matters to them, and they blog about it. They don't blog about what everyone else is talking about, or what they think is popular or "relevant." 

I'm by no means advocating that you forget grammar when you blog. Personally, I believe grammar and spelling are critical to becoming a good writer. But are they critical to becoming a good blogger? Not necessarily. 

The obvious question here is: how do I make my posts more authentic? For me, I write about what I've learned, what God's put on my heart, or what I've been going through. Posts about what I've been reading or writing can also work! So ask yourself: What matters to me? NOW GO WRITE ABOUT IT. 




SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Maybe you don't think blogging professionalism is as "easy" as the post title made it sound, but I definitely don't think it's as complicated as most make it sound. It's really not that mind-boggling, but at the same time, it's a process. It won't happen overnight. I don't even have a lot of this stuff down, and I'm the one who wrote the post. SO. I REST MY CASE. XD 


Anything you agree with? Disagree with? How's your blog going? Any blogging goals you still need to meet by the end of the year? (LESS THAN A MONTH TO GO WOW *MINDBLOWN*)



FAITH

FAITH
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READING

READING
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WRITING

WRITING
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