After 2 months of research I made the big move from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress sight and 2 years later I’m so glad I did! While hosting my own site has it’s special set of challenges, it feels amazing to be able to focus on CONTENT and less on tweaking my site. I have to thank Blogger for all the coding I learned though, because it sparked my interest and led me to choose coding as my main course of study in Uni! I have learned SO much about running a blog in the last two years and have enjoyed growing, even through the tough moments! To celebrate this 2 year Blogaversary I’m sharing a few blog-related facts you may not know about me!
I’ve had 5 different blog names since 2009! (Bello Bene, Amphoria Bello, Glitter & Bow, My DIY Life, and now, RKC Southern!)
RKC Southern stands for my initials, Rachel Kennedy-Christian (my first, maiden and married names!) + an ode to my upbringing and my mother’s heritage as a dyed-in-the-wool Southern lady!
The 3 blog posts I spent the LEAST amount of time on were the ones to go viral (Example: If you search “Don’t Kill My Vibe” on Google my design is the FIRST image to show up! HERE. The image is all over Pinterest but my initial pin from the blog post where I first published the image has been RT’d 94k times and counting! I created that design on a whim in 5 minutes.)
Until about 2 months ago I shot ALL my photos with an Android smartphone camera and edited them online with PicMonkey!
I met my now best friend through an online blogging class and we both moved to Nashville within months of each other!
Because I lived in Germany for 5 of the 8 years I’ve been blogging my blog has been featured on more European sites and publications than American ones.
I’ve been asked my growth strategy for gaining a Pinterest following and my numbers are only where they are because I started using Pinterest when they were in Beta testing! There weren’t many pinners to follow when I was invited to join so everyone was just following the only accounts that existed!
I don’t plan non-sponsored content/posts out more than a month in advance. The truth is I just don’t get inspired until the last minute, so when I do, I run with it! For example I realized two days ago that it was my 2 year WP anniversary and decided to write about it this morning!
My blog revenue pays for my designer handbag and shoe addiction but I’ve NEVER paid retail for any of it. I wait for sales, save up, and buy 90% of my luxury collection second hand.
75% of my blog content and videos are shot between 6pm and Midnight! I get most inspired and fired up to work at night, which is why I’ve invested in some good lighting equipment!
I’m also sharing some of the blogging must-haves that I’ve discovered along the way with you today! I use most of these items every time I’m prepping a post:
Styled stock photos are one of those things that are so tricky to create and even harder to find! Any time I take photos for my blog posts I take a few extras to use as “stock” photos in the future when I don’t have time to re-shoot images for a similar topic. For example, the photos below were taken when I did a shoot for a new phone wallpaper download, so instead of taking 25 shots, and only using 1 -2 for the actual post, I decided to take tons and share some of my favorites with YOU!
Today’s post is a link up hosted by The B Bar asking the tough-to-answer question; What did you purchase in the past year that became invaluable to you?
This is the first link-up I’ve ever participated in and the reason I chose it is because of the amazing reach The B Bar has. I knew a lot of amazing bloggers would link up to this and that they would have great insight to share… Maybe their ‘something invaluable’ could become YOUR best purchase of 2015! To see the other blog posts linked up scroll to the end of this article.
Now for my Invaluable Purchase of 2014: La Petite Fashionista’s Social Media With Style, 4-week e-course. Lauren, the course instructor and content writer, is not paying me for this review, (she doesn’t know I’m writing about this today!) so please know it’s sincere and 100% my own opinion.
There is no exaggeration when I tell you Social Media With Style is the BEST decision I made for my blog in 2014. I was awash in a cyber sea of circles, not really knowing how to build the brand or social media reach I craved. It’s not that I want attention… But G&B was created for women like me… who know the REAL thrill of answering the question, “Where did you get that? It’s fabulous!” isn’t the answer, “It’s designer,” but, “I made it!” Anybody can swipe a credit card, but it takes a brave soul to make something amazing from seeming trash. That is why I wanted people to know about G&B. I wanted to share with them my DIY discoveries!
Lauren shows you how to get a realistic handle on your social media and making your blog a better place on the internet in general. Before SMWS I would only log onto my blog to write posts (maybe 1-2 times a week). Now I log into my blog at minimum once daily (and post a minimum of every other day) to enjoy the work I’ve created… It’s a place even I want to hang out! I’m getting amazing conversations started in the comment section, answering questions, bouncing ideas off readers and fellow bloggers. It’s what I always dreamed of.
If you’re a blogger who is ready to take a hobby into something that could possibly one day be a career Social Media With Style is the place to start. This e-course not only gives you the tools but the confidence to blog and know what you have to share is worth asking people to read, pin, re-tweet, share, comment on, and like.
The course is 4 weeks long with gorgeous .pdf work sheets and course materials e-mailed to you at the beginning of each week. You can work through the material at your own speed. However, if you follow along with the course and do the suggested tasks each day you will see the growth I did, and possibly more, by the time the course is over.
The best part about SMWS though will be your fellow classmates. I never met a more sincere, helpful, uplifting group of women in my life. We would discuss class work and tasks in a private Facebook group that Lauren sets up and adds you to when you sign up for the course. I am not lying when I tell you we all still chat on the group almost EVERY DAY. Can you imagine? Having a support system 24/7? It’s pretty awesome.
Okay, have I sold you on this yet? Seriously, sign up for the next class date. You will NOT regret it!
I had such a great response from my last blog post about DIY-ing an inexpensive home-office makeover (thank you for all the pins and shares!) and several of you asked on social media where I got my planner pages; specifically the editorial page. After a quick poll on Instagram to confirm interest I decided to share! Drum roll please… I made them! (big, surprise, I know).
I will be releasing the entire planner over the rest of this month in a series of blog posts, so make sure you check back frequently so as not to miss any of the downloads!
Today’s freebie pages will be the editorial blogging calendar and the blogging brainstorm page.
It’s crazy easy to use these pages in a personal, A5, filofax, or a full-sized binder.
To print for a full-sized binder (8.5″x11″) use the original .pdf download.
For smaller planners use the printing instructions below:
For the Editorial Calendar Page scale the image to 15% and print 2 copies per page.
For the Blog Brainstorming Page choose the ‘scale to fit’ option, ‘fill entire page’, and print 2 copies per page. Most standard, US desktop printers have these options (or similar ones), but bear in mind you may have to experiment with the settings to get two of the printables to fit one one page.
After printing simply cut down the center to separate the pages and punch holes to fit your binder.
I like to use cute tabs to keep track of tasks each day.
One of my favorite features of the editorial page is tracking my weekly stats and growth at a glance.
Did you enjoy this blog post? Spread the freebie love on Pinterest!
This has been the fastest growth year for this blog since I started blogging in 2009. I really took my blogging from a passive hobby to a serious hobby. This month, and into next year, I plan on continuing to take my blog to the professional level! I am so excited for the learning opportunities and collaborations I have lined up for the coming months!
Here’s a little look at the 5 biggest moments for Glitter&Bow in 2014.
A huge thank you goes to Lauren from LPF for being an amazing blogging coach and online friend, and to the ladies from the original Social Media With Style class for your continued support and inspiration!
I’d also like to thank all the amazing businesses who sponsored giveaways and purchased ad space on Glitter&Bow this year!
And last, but certainly not least, the biggest thank you and kisses to my amazing readers and subscribers! Without you this blog would be a lonely corner of the web filled with the ramblings of the over-active imagination of a talkative girl! You are what inspires me to dream up content and take the time and care to create informative, useful and pretty posts ^_^ Your feedback and comments are immeasurably helpful. Thank you for your continued support and love!