Bringing growth to your blog

By Victoria Hudgins. Photography by Dearest Someday.

The road to building a successful blog is a long and enjoyable one – if you begin correctly. I found this great article, written by Ez, on the foundational basis of building a blog that is able to capture and maintain good traffic.

There are definitely things you can do to maximize your blog’s growth potential:

GET A CUSTOM DOMAIN NAME / URL

If you don’t already own/use a custom domain name/URL, drop everything. Do not pass Go…do not collect $200 dollars… until you have secured one.

Create the Best Graphic Logo

By guest contributor Tori Bowman.

Creating the perfect logo for your blog is a huge task. Here are a few tips to help you get the look, the content, and the feel of your blog – all in one neatly packaged graphic logo.

1) Keep it simple
Use basic shapes to create your logo. Ask yourself if you’ve gotten the graphic down to its most simple and still recognizable form. Don’t stop until you have!

2) Draw it by hand
Steer clear of the computer during the brainstorming process. A pencil and sketchpad will be more helpful than a mouse or tablet. And if it fits with the look of your blog, you might even want to keep that hand drawn look. It will give your logo a little personality.

3) Letter it by hand
Adding some handwriting to your blog, in one form or another, is a great way to make your readers feel closer to you. Using your own handwriting for the title of your blog can easily turn a bland looking title into a work of art.

Be the Perfect Partner, Find the Perfect Partner

By guest contributor Maddy Hauge. Photography by Jon Calleja.

The most important steps in starting any new collaborative venture is identifying what your role should be and which people need to be brought in to round out the team.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself:

What are my applicable strengths?
What unique talents do you bring to the table? This will help you understand what your role in the project should be. You may also need to pitch yourself to potential collaborators, if they’re not already familiar with your work. Knowing your unique talents in advance will help you sell yourself and your idea.

10 Qualities of Entrepreneurs

By Sara Urquhart. Photography of Chanel Paris week fall 2012.

Being a successful blogger means you also need the skills of a great entrepreneur. Here are ten skills to hone as your business grows.

1. Take risks. A willingness to try things—and fail—is at the heart of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are comfortable with uncertainty.

2. Manage pressure. When things get really intense, successful business people have the ability to stay sane, maintain family relationships, and sleep at night, even under serious pressure.

3. Have confidence. Believe that what you’re offering is what people want. It sounds simple, but it’s that kind of conviction that leads to success.

Collaborations: Ready, Set… Make It Happen!

By guest contributor Maddy Hague. Artwork by Nifty Swank.

I am a big proponent of collaboration in all forms. Collaborative projects are a huge creative outlet for me, as well as a great way of meeting new people and gaining new experiences. I have met some of my closest friends through all of the shoots and sites I’ve worked on. Through collaborations, I’ve been able to develop my reputation and have gained print and blog press.

At the start of any project, I run through the same process over and over again. I like to make sure whatever I throw myself into is not only worthwhile for myself, but for my collaborators and my audience as well.

Here’s how I do it:

Develop the big idea
Whether it is a website or a shoot, I usually write down an “elevator pitch” for the project. An elevator pitch is a summary of the idea explained in a short, concise way. It should be short enough to be delivered in the length of time it takes to ride an elevator. It helps prevent me from being verbose, and thus obscuring my big idea. This is especially helpful when most pitches occur over email.

Editing Photography in PicMonkey

By guest contributor by Lexy Ward. Photography by Saipua.

I can’t stress enough the importance of the photography on your site. Along with beautiful graphics, beautiful photos are what make your readers want to come back for more. These last few months I’ve become more aware of the need to not only have great content on your site, but also for that content to be aesthetically pleasing.

We’ve discussed Elements, and how any blogger can benefit from it’s photo editing tools. This post will discuss one of your best and easiest free options: PicMonkey! PicMonkey is a wonderful option simply because it is easy to navigate and has a variety of effects available.

Here are the tools that I use each time I edit.

Play with exposure
Bright photos are happy photos. If my photos seem a little dark when viewing them on my camera, they will definitely be dark when viewing on my computer. I usually tweak the exposure anywhere from 5-12 points brighter. You can also tone the exposure down by reducing it a few points. This is helpful if your image is a little too bright. Be careful – if you change the exposure too much, your photo will appear clouded and unclear.