Charlotte, an ex-expat (Japan and Germany) the face behind CharlotteSteggz.com personal blog. She writes of all the things that inspire her – places she’s been, food she eats…
Sometimes you can catch her stage trying to be funny, in a Stand Up Comedy kind of way. Perhaps in the near future well be able to see her in action on YouTube videos too! Good luck Charlotte!
“Hey I’m Charlotte Steggz and I’ve been blogging ever since I was living in Japan. I don’t have a cool international life anymore, but I still like to write and connect in the blogging world! I love how blogging has opened up opportunities like being on podcasts and writing for magazines.”
Please tell us something about yourself. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
It’s just a hobby. I’m sure if I tried, I could make it a profession, but I like to keep my blog as a space where I can write whatever I like. It’s something I look forward to doing at the weekends and in the evenings.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you to be online?
When I was a student in Japan, I wanted to write up reports for everything I did – like getting a haircut or going to the doctors. I would write up how easy it was to do these things with a low level of Japanese, and then add advice for others needing to do similar things. I found that it became a huge success, and my love of blogging grew from there. It’s so important for me to be online because I have formed so many great friendships with other bloggers. I also really like helping people, and when I was in Frankfurt I would often get contacted by people asking for advice and help.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I have made it all myself. Usually I look at another blog and get an idea of a design tweak or something for my own blog, then I go on YouTube and find tutorials to help me do it. I’ve taught myself to use PhotoShop and SEO stuff from doing this. However, when I went from WordPress hosting to self hosting, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help from people at fiverr.com!
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
I used to be called Sherbet and Sparkles. It was fitting at the time – the name of my cat, and a cute word. But after a while I felt it wasn’t grownup enough. I decided to be true to me and called my blog Charlotte Steggz, and build a brand of myself. I do comedy and so on as well, so as I go forward with that I’ll use the name as my comedy name as well.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
I bought a theme for $25 and adjusted it myself until it fit what I wanted. One day I’ll get round to having one of those pretty, expensive ones (or better yet: teach myself how to make one!) but for the time being I’m happy with what I have. As for plugins, I’m a big fan of Yoast SEO. It really helps me understand whether my post will get picked up or not. A Pintrest plugin for your photos is another good way to get yourself out there.
What CMS (Content Management System) do you use on your blog? How hard is it to navigate within your CMS (making a new post, inserting images, moderating comments, etc.)?
I use WordPress, and for the comments I use CommentLuv. WordPress is simple to use and I have no complaints. I find with the comments system, you can’t please everyone. I used Disqus at the start because I enjoyed using it on other blogs, but a lot of my readers complained about it being difficult to use. CommentLuv is great because it uses the commenter’s most recent blog post as well, which gets the blogger more clicks!
How much time do you spend blogging?
This is a tricky one. For a restaurant writeup I’d spend maybe 40 minutes editing photos and writing. For a longer, better written post I will spend maybe 2 hours writing it and checking that everything is said that I want to be said. I check for grammar and spelling mistakes, too. On top of photos and writing, I spend at least a few hours a day reading other blogs and connecting with other bloggers. I think it’s really important to build yourself a blogging community and make links with similar bloggers.
Do you promote your blog and how? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
I use Passion Fruit from time to time. I have found that if you pay for someone to write about you (either in a blog post or in social media) this is a lot more successful than having your blog button on someone’s sidebar for a month. I once paid a quite high-up blogger to have my button on her blog and despite the fact that thousands of people saw it a day, it got maybe 3 clicks that month. Making comments on likeminded bloggers’ sites is a lot better way to promote yourself, in my opinion.
As for social media, I use Twitter a lot, and Instagram but that’s it. I really need to work on my social media and get Google+ and Pintrest up and running. But blogging takes so much time! There’s never enough hours in the day to do everything!
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
I think so… But that’s not something I do.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs and why?
Yes for sure. Because writing about things not only helps you connect with people who also love those things, but people who keep diaries or blogs tend to be a lot happier in themselves (or so I read in an article recently). Last month I wrote about an abusive relationship I was in a few years ago, and not only did it help me get everything off of my chest, but also it helped other people who were in that same situation. Sharing ideas and supporting one another is the great thing about the blogging world.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they make a blog of their own?
Building a blog takes time and effort. But just relax and write what makes you feel happy and make honest comments on other people’s blogs. Don’t be that person who spams people with “Hi! Nice post check out my blog!” Be true to yourself and people will come.
Photos ©: Charlotte Steggz