Blogging 101: The best 8 sites, and why you need to pay attention!

When I started blogging three years ago I had no idea what I was doing. Why did I do it? I was confined to my bed after traveling home from a photo shoot in Las Vegas, burdened with a severe cold, bored out of my mind, miserable, and I couldn’t stand the thought of watching any more TV. I needed more stimulation to take my mind off of my affliction, and concentrate on something better.

How I managed to even start the thing is beyond me. I could barely spell blog, let alone start one. Along with my new found intelligence I also managed to start a twitter account. My GOD I thought, I am brilliant when I am ill! Not really. I tend to have the A.D.D, and all the illness did was slow me down long enough to focus on ONE thing at a time, instead of fifty. My coach likes to call it bright, shiny object syndrome!

In the beginning I did not take this whole blogging thing seriously. I struggled to find my voice, and wondered if I could even stick with it. Was I capable of putting up a post every week or so? Was I aware that one post a week was blog suicide?(Um, no.) And worst of all I have the attention span of a nat and keeping me focused longer than a week, (on anything) would give anyone in my family pause. But I did it anyway…I mean really, what was the worst thing that could happen?


Now I’ll be honest, despite getting hooked on blogging, I still did not know what I was doing with blogging. I fished for other blogs, I reached out to them and tried to learn “the scene,” but I made many mistakes a long the way. While I felt like I had the whole blogging thing down, and I was coming to grips with my new found celebrity, I could not have been further from the truth. Here are three mistakes I made:

1) Not enough rich content and advice
2) Too much goofing off, and living to write about it
3) Not realizing that people were actually reading it other than my mom, and friends

In spite of many wonderful bloggers leaving comments on my blog, and developing relationships with me, few were reaching out to me with a life preserver.





Then Maria stepped in. You know the one from that little blog Colour Me Happy. We had been working with the same business coach in New York in early 2010 and I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend with her at the Empire Hotel. Her take on my killer blog:


1) Not enough rich content and advice
2) Too much goofing off, and living to write about it
3) Um, “you do know that people are reading it, right?”


Empire Hotel Room

Unlike most people who hate criticism, I thrive on it. I want to know what I am doing wrong, how I can fix it, and determine how I am going to make it better. And it doesn’t matter who it comes from. If I respect you, and you are obviously doing something right, I am going to listen. Too often people let their egos and pride get in the way of their success. I ditched that attitude in my twenties, and so should you.
I also recommend if you are serious about blogging you subscribe to the best blogging sites on copy, advice, and coaching. ( My top 8 are listed below) Blogging is serious business. Maria got it right the first time around. (God I hate smart people!) Unaware of what blogging even was, I continued to make mistake after mistake for over a year. It has only been in the past two years that I started to come close to getting it right, (thanks to bloggers like Maria) and I am still working on it!

A blog is a way to show your talents and abilities to those that would otherwise not see it. It is also a way for people to get to know you, and in turn gets them to trust in your abilities. (a-hem…this equals dollars!) Despite making mistake after mistake, and focusing on them, Maria made me realize that few people my age have accomplished as much as I have and in such a short time. It was then and only then that I realized I had something worth offering of serious value beyond my brick and mortar design studio.

Here are my top 8 sites that you cannot miss if you are a serious blogger:

1) Copyblogger by Brian Clarke, is bar none THE BEST blogging advice site on the planet. It will give you the best content and advice to make your blog a superstar! Rich in how-to advice, the common mistakes bloggers make, and training on how to be a better blogger. Some of my favorite posts to get you started:
10 Steps to become a better writer
5 grammatical errors that make you look dumb

2) Zen Habits was started by Leo Babauta. Why is he special? Well let’s see, he has six kids, a full time job and managed to write over twenty posts a week for other bloggers, plus several for his own site. Within six months he quit his full time job to focus on his blog that now makes a six figure income. His blog is about passion, simplicity and the finer points of life; the zen of life.

3) Johnny B Truant One of THE funniest and most real business bloggers on the planet. His approach is witty, smart and different. He doesn’t claim to save the world, (he’d rather be playing guitar hero) but he does promise to save your blog, and add a little humor a long the way. One of my favorite post’s by Johnny:

How to get into a GURU’S pants
Johnny with his way cool “do” from the nineties.

4) Dave Navarro is author and CEO of The launch coach. His blog is about making you a better business owner and entrepreneur. How to double your sales, up-sell and putting together a strategy that works for you.

5) Jonathan Fields once upon a time was a hedge-fund/securities lawyer (yup you heard that right) for a mega firm in Manhattan. After leaving that life and several business success’ later he wrote the Career Renegade. He is an amazing career consultant and blogger full of amazing life changing ideas and strategies that work, all while making his family top priority!

6) Chris Brogan This man is talented beyond words. Not only does he have his hand in some of the most important software like Scribe with Brian Clarke of Copyblogger, but he was also one of the masterminds and contributors of Third Tribe Marketing, also with Brian Clarke and Sonia Simone of Copyblogger. His company New Marketing Labs is chalked full of business solution content and services. He is a marketing expert and his article “How to Write effective Blog posts” will help you understand blog writing affectively.

7) Penelope Trunk I have Maria to thank for this introduction. Penelope is an absolute trailblazer for the female entrprenuer. She is smart, witty, refreshingly open and most importantly she is real. If you are in business for yourself add her to your subscription list. She has a ton of articles full of rich content and several on “blogging how to’s” but here is a good one to get you started:

8) Itty Biz by Naomi Dunford is also one of my top reads. She offers marketing solutions without the greasy sales pitch. Her site is full of free content, and the real side of business. No glamour or glitz. What it’s really like to be an entrepreneur, what it’s really like to be scared shitless, and what it is like to feel like a raging failure. AMEN!

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About Amanda Gates
Amanda Gates started AB HOME Interiors in the fall of 2004. With over 12 years of experience in the field of interiors, and a passion for all things art and design, Amanda has become an expert on building interiors for an active lifestyle. After six years of working for some of the best design firms on the west coast, Amanda opened AB HOME Interiors after moving to Nashville. Amanda believes that a home should reflect your personality and and encompass your style. An advocate for living a true lifestyle, her firm focuses on bringing you beautiful interiors, that are deceptively functional, and as a result her clients get an amazing space without all the fuss.

Comments

  1. I’ve been blogging for over three years, and I still haven’t gotten anywhere with it. I NEED to read these blogs you’ve recommended and figure out what I’m doing wrong. Thanks for sharing the knowledge!

  2. Maria Killam says:

    Thanks for the lovely post Amanda!! I will share this next! xo Maria

  3. Great post! There are a few sites you mentioned that I haven’t heard of and will check them out.

  4. Nour Enayeh says:

    Thank you for that awesome post, I just started my own blog and I will admit I am not really sure I am doing things right. Will read the blogs you posted about, thanks again!

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