It’s My Two Year Blogoversary!

Happy New Year! How is it 2019 already!? I can hardly believe it. Today, January 1, 2019, is the start of a new year. But it’s not only the start of a new year. It’s my two year blogoversary! To celebrate, I’m going to be looking back at some of my blog’s stats from 2018.

Notebooks and Novels Stats From 2018…

Followers

Combined from Blogger and WordPress, I have 157 followers. I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you amazing human beings who have given me a follow. Y’all are rock stars!

Page Views

Notebooks and Novels got 18, 625 page views in 2018! That is over five thousand more page views than 2017. All I can say is WOW.

Comments

Notebooks and Novels received 303 comments this year. I’ve loved seeing and responding to all of your comments and hope that they keep on coming!

Total Posts

I published 49 blog posts in 2018. I’m looking forward to sharing many more with you all in 2019!

Most Popular Post

Flash Fiction Dash 2018: The Day We Say Goodbye was the most popular post! I am so pleased to see that my most popular post was one that featured some of my fiction! It was so fun participating in the Flash Fiction Dash, and I loved seeing what everyone had to say about this bittersweet story.

My Favorite Post

My favorite post is actually a series of posts that I wrote, starting with “I’m Tired of ‘Strong’ Female Characters Part One.” I loved sharing my thoughts on the subject with you all, but most of all, I loved seeing the conversations about strong women in fiction and real life that the series sparked.

Other Fun Stuff

  • I GOT PUBLISHED. My short story “Dear Jamie, Love Rory” won One Teen Story‘s teen writing contest and was published this past summer. It’s so crazy to hold my short story, to see it in print, and to hear that other people love reading it. Honestly, this is one of my top highlights of 2018. I feel so blessed. ❤
  • I moved from Blogger to WordPress (visit this post to learn more about why I made the switch).
  • There were some fun guest posts on the blog this year by Lisa Elis, Jeanette van As, and author Tessa Emily Hall, as well as an interview with teen author Taylor Bennet!
  • I became a PURSUE magazine columnist. My column is Relationships, and I absolutely love sharing some advice about relationships with my fellow teen girls!

Looking Forward to the Future…

WOW, a lot has happened on here in this past year! Thank you all for sticking around and making it an amazing year of blogging. I hope that you’ll continue to stick around for all of the exciting things that I have planned for 2019!

In the meantime, would you mind taking a quick, ten question survey to help make Notebooks and Novels even better in 2019? In return, I’d love to send you a short story written by me (more details can be found here). Click the link below to take the survey. Your feedback is so helpful. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

May we all look upon 2018 fondly and to 2019 with hope. Here’s to an amazing year, my friends!

Resources That Helped Me Make the Switch From Blogger to WordPress

Before I made the switch from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress, I was terrified by the mere thought. The process seemed to complicated and hard! I spent a lot of time doing research on the process. Emphasis on a lot of time. I’m so glad that I discovered many helpful resources during my research. With these resources, I was able to make the switch easily. Here are some of the resources that helped me make the switch from Blogger to WordPress.

Transferring a Custom Domain From Google to Bluehost.

This help article from Bluehost and this help article from GoogleOne of the things that I was most nervous about was transferring my domain. It seemed so intimidating. Luckily, I was able to transfer my domain with the help of the two articles listed above. I would like to note that you might have to switch out your primary domain on Bluehost after you purchase hosting. If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask me, and this not-so-tech-savvy girl will try to answer them. 😉

Switching From Blogger to WordPress.

This tutorial from Chasing Foxes and this tutorial from Making Sense of CentsI honestly don’t think that I would have been able to start this blog without the help of these two tutorials. Both are super informative and helpful. If you’re starting a blog or moving it, I ‘d definitely suggest these.

This article from Angie MakesI used this article when I imported my blog’s content from my Blogger blog to WordPress. It was very helpful. And speaking of Angie Makes…

Making Your Blog Beautiful.

Angie MakesAngie Makes is the design company that I purchased my current theme from. They sell pretty and feminine WordPress themes, as well as graphics, fonts, and logos. I couldn’t be happier with how my blog looks. The support that I received from Angie Makes was fantastic. Angie answered my questions and helped me customize my theme. If you’re looking to make your WordPress blog beautiful, you should definitely look into Angie Makes.

Restored 316This is another design company that offers pretty and feminine WordPress themes. However, unlike the Angie Makes themes, these WordPress themes require the Genesis framework, which will cost a little more money.

Do you have a blog? Have you considered making the switch?

4 Reasons Why I Made the Switch From Blogger to WordPress

Blogging is one of my favorite things. I love sharing my thoughts on stories and faith with the world through my blog, as well as making connections with other writers through the blogosphere. In my blogging journey, I’ve blogged on three different platforms. These platforms include Blogger, WordPress.com, and self-hosted WordPress (which I shall refer to as WordPress in this post). My most recent (and last!) move was from Blogger to WordPress. And y’all, I AM SO GLAD THAT I SWITCHED. But why DID I switch platforms? Here are four reasons why I made the switch from Blogger to WordPress. 

1. Blogger was acting up for me.

For some reason, Blogger had been acting up for me… A LOT. For example, I was not able to comment on my Blogger blog or other people’s Blogger blogs for a long time. I resorted to using my phone to comment. That is, until I couldn’t comment on my phone either. I contacted Google about the issue but never heard back. I also stopped getting emails about new comments on my blog rather randomly and could not resolve that.

I haven’t had problems like these with WordPress, and I am happy to say that I don’t really have any reason to anticipate them. WordPress is running like a dream and I couldn’t be happier.

2. Blogger’s security was sorely lacking.

I got SO MUCH SPAM on my Blogger blog. I honestly was at my wit’s end deleting spammy comments that told my readers to visit certain websites and blabbed nonsense. I hated the fact that, if I randomly combed through my posts, I would find these spammy comments. And the worst part? Blogger was doing nothing about it. I had to find and delete these manually. What a headache!

With WordPress, I feel much safer from spam and other security issues. I use Sitelock, Wordfence, and Jetpack for my blog’s security. These plug-ins and services help keep my blog safe and secure. And guess what? Spammy comments have already been intercepted and I was able to get rid of them! Meanwhile, my blog gets scanned for things such as malware by Sitelock and Wordfence. These services can get pricey, but I think that the security provided is worth it.

3. Blogger can delete your blog at any time.

I learned this only AFTER I got my Blogger blog. One blog that I really enjoy reading is Chasing Foxes. In one of their posts about blogging, the authors of Chasing Foxes, Silas and Grace, talk about a fellow blogger, Michelle of Making Sense of Cents (her blog is great too!), who started blogging on Blogger. Michelle’s blog was deleted by Blogger… For no reason whatsoever. Ummm…. What?

I didn’t think that my Blogger blog was going to get deleted any time soon, but I preferred the idea of a self-hosted website much better than a website that can get deleted at any time. I use Bluehost to host my blog. I am so pleased to say that the support and service provided by Bluehost has been great. I would definitely recommend Bluehost to all of my blogging friends.

4. I wanted my blog to look more professional.

Take a look at my Blogger blog:

Yes, there are blogs using the Blogger platform that look AMAZING. But honestly, I found it easier to make my WordPress blog look better (many thanks to Angie Makes for all of the support!). Now I know you’re looking at it, but for the sake of comparison, take a look at my new blog…

There’s a noticeable difference, right? And it’s not just in the design. There are differences in the “little things” as well. Take, for example, my contact page’s URLs…

Blogger: http://www.notebooksandnovels.com/p/loading.html

Self-Hosted WordPress: http://www.notebooksandnovels.com/contact/

My new contact page’s URL looks so much cleaner than the one I had with Blogger, even though I bought a custom Google domain for my blog. And this is just one example of the “little things” differences between the two platforms. It’s the little differences that help make a website and brand look even more professional.

So there you have it! Four reasons I made the big switch. I hope that you’ll stop by next week as I share three resources that helped me make the switch from Blogger to WordPress.

Are you a blogger? If so, what platform do you use for your blog?

Four Things I Wish I Knew When I Was A New Blogger

All of these blogoversary celebrations (enter the bookmark giveaway and writing contest here, and take part in a fun quiz here) can’t help but bring back memories of my old blogs, Ramblings of a Writer and A Little Bit of Everything. I can’t believe how far I’ve come! But looking back, I wish that, as a new blogger, I knew more about blogging. Here are four things I wish I knew as a new blogger:
You Don’t Have To Post Something All. The. Time.
When I first started blogging, I thought it was requirement set in stone to publish something, anything once every couple days. The more posts, the better, right? 
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting super often, for me as a new blogger, it wasn’t a good habit to have. Instead of focusing on the quality of my blog’s content I was focusing on quantity. When I first started out as a blogger, I wish that someone had told me that I needn’t need to post all the time. Then, I think that I might have grown in the quality of the content I was putting out sooner. 
You CAN Do It.
When I first started out, blogging was a little intimidating. There was so much to figure out! Schedules, design, posts, pages… At times, I wondered if I would ever get the hang of it! How am I going to make my blog look the way I want it to without spending tons of money? How am I going to come up with something worth reading? How am I even going to find readers if I only know three other bloggers?

But now that I’ve been blogging for awhile, I’ve learned that I CAN do this thing. When I first started blogging, I wish that I was more confident that I could totally rock the whole blogging thing. If you’re a new blogger, remember: YOU CAN DO THIS.

It Isn’t Easy, But It’s Worth It.
But blogging isn’t easy.  No, blogging is hard. It’s hard coming up with new ideas. It’s hard disciplining yourself to write posts. It’s hard figuring out design. But it is so worth EVERYTHING. I absolutely love blogging, and the blogging friends I’ve made are the best!
Blog About What You Love. 

My number one tip for new bloggers: Blog about what you love and keep being you. Try not to get caught up in what other bloggers are doing and keep your voice your own. That’s what will truly make your blog stand out. I wish that someone had reminded me of this when I was a newbie blogger!

So there you have it, everyone! Four things I wish I knew as a new blogger. How about you? If you’ve been blogging for a while, what are some things you wish you knew when you first started? If you’re a new blogger, what are your thoughts on blogging so far? For all bloggers, what is the hardest part about blogging? The best part? Let’s get together in the comments and chat, y’all! =D