One of the most commonly asked questions I receive in my inbox is “Do you have any tips for growing my blog?”. I thought I would create a page to answer some of these questions! I am by no means an expert, and most of what I’ve learned is through a lot of trial and error. In fact, I started blogging about graphic design and parties seven years ago, and somehow became a full-time home & decor blogger instead!
The following page contains affiliate links, but I am only recommending products I actually use and find to be the best in their category. I’ve purchased many more products beyond this that weren’t helpful, so hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes!
My Blogging Story in a Nutshell
I began my company Enchanting Details in 2010 as a wedding & event planning company. By the end of 2011 I figured out that people were more into a DIY approach (Pinterest was in its early days) and instead began designing and selling printables and blogging occasionally. In 2012 we purchased our home, a 1980s fixer-upper, and I started a category on the Enchanting Details blog called “Everyday Enchanting” to chronicle our renovations. It quickly became by far the most popular part of the blog, so I purchased a separate domain name and transitioned my home-related posts here! In early 2016 I rebranded to just my name, Nina Hendrick, and it’s the best move I’ve ever made!
Hosting, Domain Name, & Platform
I’ve made many many many mistakes along the way, but the one thing I did do right was to start out on WordPress.org. When you purchase a domain name and hosting, most will have easy installs for you these days. My websites run on the Genesis Framework from StudioPress.com. I chose Genesis because it has a great support network in the format of tutorials, forums, and direct tech support. I also love that it uses child themes, which means that if you make changes to the theme they will be saved after an update.
My Child Themes
I will admit, I change child themes quite often (I actually have a bit of an addiction). However, I always purchase from Restored 316 Designs. The themes are feminine, lovely, and save me so much time by having coveted features straight out-of-the-box. There are detailed setup instructions, but Lauren (the owner) also moderates a support Facebook group for those who have purchased. It’s so convenient that you can get a quick answer from her, her staff, or the community if you are stuck on something at a strange hour!
Email & Newsletter
I made the switch to ConvertKit last fall, and I truly couldn’t be more pleased. It took a little while to understand the interface, but once I began testing it out, I was off and rolling! My email list has grown exponentially, and more importantly, my engagement and open rate has increased as well. Convertkit has so many options for handling opt-ins, segmenting, and autoresponders- and I’ve only just started to use it to its full capacity. I feel like it is truly the next piece of solving the puzzle of bringing my blog to the next level! It is one of the more expensive email options, but I’m confident that it will more than pay for itself with continued use.
I have had by far my best success when I stick to a plan, and to organize my plans I use my printable version of The Everyday Planner™! I even created a version specifically for bloggers, and it includes 20+ blogging specific worksheets and an Editorial Email Series that includes inspiration for using each page of the planner.
Editorial Planning & Social Media Scheduling
In this section, I used to rattle off 5 or 6 different social media schedulers. I used a different one for just about every platform. However, due to their commitment to listening to feedback and covering all of the bases, CoSchedule has rendered all of those unnecessary. It is now my one-stop-shop for planning my editorial calendar, keeping tasks and deadlines organized, auto-filling my social media schedule with evergreen content, and scheduling all of my social media across all platforms (including the recent addition of Instagram!). It has truly streamlined the way that I blog, and I can’t say enough positive things about this tool. You can sign up for a free trial here!
I use Leadpages to create my landing pages and opt-in incentive boxes. They have pre-made templates that can be tweaked easily, or you can create your own completely from scratch! I love that it integrates with WordPress and Convertkit.
I am a huge fan of ShootFlyShoot online photography courses! I signed up right when they opened up shop and I often find myself going back to watch the videos again for a refresher. I have realized a few times by revisiting the classes that I was doing something incorrectly with a setting, and this helped me to improve my photography.
Here is what’s in my camera bag currently:
(Photography is a passion for me that extends past the blog and interiors, I also love to photograph travel, nature landscapes, and lifestyle portraits. For blog photography, I started with a Nikon D7000, now replaced by the Nikon D7100, and 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens, which was a more affordable beginner setup and served me well for a long time. I have upgraded to a full-frame camera and new lenses over the course of time.)
I design some of my own design elements from scratch, but I also have been known to purchase from Creative Market in the past. They have a little bit of everything design-related that you can imagine!
My friend Abby Lawson is an expert in all things blogging! She and her husband now make a six-figure income through her blog and digital product sales. She created this thorough guide to starting a blog and mastering the basics- If I had to recommend one single resource for getting started, this is what I would pick! You can learn more about Building a Framework here.