Helping our Blog Grow up!

We have nurtured our baby for 10 months now. Those 10 months have been hard work. We have learned on the job, made countless mistakes while devouring tips on development, social interaction, and good practice. Sleepless nights and an inability to think about anything else have become the norm!

Then suddenly something changed. Dissatisfaction started creeping in. I no long felt I was meeting the needs of my baby - it deserved more, and so the seeds were sown for our blog make-over!

A round-up of blog resources for defining and making over your blog

My greatest discovery in our blogging journey has been the blogging community. I am still constantly amazed by the friendship and support I have been offered during the last few months, and the generosity of others in sharing their knowledge and skill. So when my light-bulb moment came, and I realised I was ready to see my blog grow up, I also realised that I had all the tools and resources at my fingertips, thanks to my lovely blogging friends.

Everything I read influences me. Which is the power of blogging in a nutshell. And I am grateful to every blog I read for the knowledge and inspiration that they impart. But one blogger, in particular, has been so instrumental in both my development, and even more importantly, my growth in confidence, and that is the lovely Nikki, over at the View From in here.

All of Nikki's posts inspire me, and I couldn't begin to count the number of things I have learned from her, but if I was to pick the post that found the tipping point that led to our redesign it would be Who do you want your Blog to be when it grows up?

Knowing what you want is one thing, but making it happen is another. It was Regina's postΒ How to give your Blog a Makeover for the New Year over at You are a Daisy, that really moved me forward, and ultimately helped me choose our new theme.

We love our new look, but know that our baby still has a lot of growing to do. It still needs to develop its own personality, grow in new directions and learn what it wants to be. Angela, over at Daysinbed, recently published a fabulous post How to Find your Blogging Audience which really resonated with me - it was one of amazing moments when you read something at exactly the right time, and I plan to work through her thought provoking questions, as we work out what we want to grow into.

My final inspirational post, that I will be using to work on our own images is 13 Tips for better Food PhotographyΒ  by Charlotte over atΒ Charlotte's Lively Kitchen. Her recipes and photography are, in my mind, perfection, and she is another lovely blogger who so generously shares what she has learned on her own blogging journey.

These, of course, are just a handful of the posts that have inspired me over the last few months - there are many more, and I would just like to say thank you to everyone who has made me so welcome at their link-ups, on their blogs and in their social circles - I love and appreciate you all xxx

I have linked this post up at the following blog parties....
A Bit Of Everything
Brilliant blog posts on
Cuddle Fairy
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  • Reply Michelle- O Blog Off

    I am a new blogger and I deeply thank you! I am 20 days in and am pretty clueless thus far! Thanks to your list I will be focusing on research and becoming familiar at what the website has to offer. Thanks again! Happy blogging!

    April 17, 2016 at 10:44 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Welcome to the blogging community Michelle. Checked out your blog, and love your food for kids ideas. Join in with some link parties and you’ll soon get to know people x

      April 17, 2016 at 11:03 pm
  • Reply Agent Spitback

    Thank you so much for sharing your list! There is so much to learn and so much growing up to do for me too. I’m be hopping over to those you have listed and having a read. Thank YOU for being part of our #abitofeverything community too!
    Agent Spitback recently posted…How do you put the sex back into your marriage?My Profile

    March 3, 2016 at 11:11 am
  • Reply Candace

    I’ve just gone through something similar in that I’ve just moved house and my blog names were no longer suitable so have set up 2 complete new blogs. Its been fun but very hard work
    Candace recently posted…Things I Love (February 2016)My Profile

    March 2, 2016 at 4:40 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I imagine changing blog names must be pretty nerve-wracking – will pop over and check out your new blogs πŸ™‚

      March 2, 2016 at 2:23 pm
  • Reply Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    Love this post… There is always room for change and growth when comes to blogging. Great links . My next step is to go self-hosted. Is it complicated? #BloggerClubUK
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…Be an amazing blogger – sharing is caringMy Profile

    March 1, 2016 at 10:27 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      No self-hosted was pretty easy to set up – the guys I use are really helpful and approachable, and don’t seem to mind that I am fairly clueless – which helps a lot!

      March 2, 2016 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply justsayingmum

    Oh such great post and so timely as I am really looking at updating my blog – i just got a free wordpress one but am desperate to upgrade. I keep seeing the term self-hosting come up and i have no idea what it means along with many other things so am certainly going to take a look at all the blogs you mentioned for more ideas and tips – thank you for sharing #abitofeverything x

    March 1, 2016 at 2:03 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Self hosting just means you choose a hosting company to host your site on their servers rather than it being on the one. So I am self-hosted and therefore have a site, hosted by a company called TSOHOST (I just googled hosting companies and picked one I liked the look of). Think there’s meant to be a few advantages of self-hosting including owning your own url, being able to put ads on your site if you want to, and I have also found it a lot easier with things like embedding videos and other code.

      March 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm
  • Reply Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    Nikki & Angela both have wonderful blogging tips on their blogs. It’s wonderful that they have inspired you so much. Your blog is looking very polished indeed. What a lovely post to write! Thanks so much for sharing with blogger club uk x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…February 2016 at a GlanceMy Profile

    March 1, 2016 at 1:39 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Becky. Yes they do, I can’t believe how much I have learned from everyone over the last few months – it really is an amazing community to be part of! Thanks to you and the other hosts at blogger club UK for all your hard work and support too xx

      March 2, 2016 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply New Mummy Blog

    I know exactly what you mean about growing up. I’ve been feeling similar since Christmas and looking at new themes that represent me and my blog in a way that suits us. #abitofeverything
    New Mummy Blog recently posted…#TheBabyFormula Linky 2016 Week 9My Profile

    March 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Once you start thinking about it, it hard to stop I found – I’ll keep an eye out for changes over at yours soon x

      March 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    Sarah, this is such a great post, and I am honored to be included. I have really enjoyed getting to know you and I’ve learned so much from you too. I’m working right along with you to figure out who I want my blog to be when it grows up, life changes lead me to change direction a bit. I never set out to write about blogging topics, but I saw a lack of posts that explained why or how to truly do things, they pointed out what needed to be done, but I like to know why. To understand why something’s important, not to just be told that it is. So that part of the blog was born, and I’m really enjoying it. This led to meeting all of you, and beginning our tribe. What a ride it’s been! So, change occurs, when it does make sure that you are willing to open up and grow with it, I know you are! I know all the ladies mentioned except for Charlotte, I’m certainly going to check her out! Thanks again, you made my day!

    March 1, 2016 at 2:29 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You’ll love Charlotte’s blog Nikki – it’s food porn at its best! (and she is another lovely, helpful blogger) You know how grateful I am for all your wise words and support, I like to think that if I have taught you anything in return, its got to be how many different things you can infuse in Vodka lol xx

      March 2, 2016 at 2:44 pm
  • Reply Mary-the boondocks blog

    Sarah I too am grateful to Nikki and so many others for their support this past year in helping me to grow my blog. We are very lucky to have such a generous community around us.
    Mary-the boondocks blog recently posted…Easter Candle – Int’l Bloggers Club ChallengeMy Profile

    February 29, 2016 at 6:05 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Absolutely Mary, I don’t think any of us realised what good friends we’d be making when we started out on our blogging journeys x

      March 2, 2016 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Ickle Pickle

    A great post – thank you for sharing – I am pinning so I can have a good read later. Kaz x
    Ickle Pickle recently posted…Vision Direct Baby Sight ToolMy Profile

    February 27, 2016 at 8:23 pm
  • Reply Ana De- Jesus

    It is so wonderful to see what has inspired your blog and I love your theme! Are you on WordPress?
    Ana De- Jesus recently posted…Friday Lookbook: LFWMy Profile

    February 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Ana, yes I’m a self-hosted WordPress blog, so my theme before was just one I picked off their list when I set it up πŸ™‚

      February 27, 2016 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Charlotte Oates

    Ooh thanks for featuring my photography post, I’m so glad you found it useful. If you’ve ever got any questions then I’m always happy to try and help xx

    Right, off to read some of the other posts you recommended x
    Charlotte Oates recently posted…Butterscotch SauceMy Profile

    February 27, 2016 at 9:23 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You are very welcome Charlotte, you share so much knowledge on your site which I have found really helpful, and your photography is always stunning – I’m really going to work on my images this year, so I’ll be trying all of your tips x

      February 27, 2016 at 3:26 pm
  • Reply Karen

    Some great ideas here, just starting out and want to get better at everything. Working out where I want this to take me too will be good!
    Karen recently posted…Two tiny toothie pegsMy Profile

    February 26, 2016 at 10:22 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      There’s so much to learn it feels overwhelming at first – but I’ve found that the other bloggers have all been so supportive and helpful, and that has really made the difference πŸ™‚

      February 27, 2016 at 3:41 pm
  • Reply Cathy (MummyTravels)

    I’m right in the middle of a blog redesign myself now so I love the idea of thinking about how I’d like it to be when it grows up! I’m definitely going to check out some of the other posts you’ve linked to as well.
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…10% off the new Warwick Castle lodgesMy Profile

    February 26, 2016 at 6:28 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I’m so pleased that we changed ours, now it’s done, and I found all these posts really helpful while I was deciding how I wanted it to look – hope your design goes well for you x

      February 27, 2016 at 3:47 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth

    Such an inspiring post! Blogs are constantly evolving and growing, I believe, and it’s important to be open to that change. πŸ™‚
    Elizabeth recently posted…#ImpossibleExperiences with Into The BlueMy Profile

    February 26, 2016 at 11:57 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You are right, Elizabeth, I am so pleased with my changes, and feel much more confidant about growing it now πŸ™‚

      February 27, 2016 at 3:52 pm
  • Reply Dean of Little Steps

    Oh I’m like you… although not exactly a new blogger, but I’m definitely new, like a beginner! I’ve just recently joined the blogging community too and I’m absolutely amazed by everyone! And also wonder how everyone does it, commenting, joining. It does take a lot of time! But in spite that I’m loving it. It is like a different part of blogging, hard-work, but so worth it πŸ™‚
    Dean of Little Steps recently posted…Hopefully the Bright Days are Here To StayMy Profile

    February 26, 2016 at 10:35 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Getting to know people in the blogging community has been a real turning point for me, I have learned so much from other bloggers. And you are right, its amazing what some of them are achieving – I don’t seem to have enough hours in the day!

      February 26, 2016 at 11:10 am
  • Reply Laura @ dear bear and beany

    A great post and really useful for me. I am thinking about redesigning my blog and there is lots of lovely posts for me to read here. Thanks for sharing x

    February 26, 2016 at 10:21 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Glad you found it helpful Laura, these posts really helped me decide what direction I want to take ours in πŸ™‚

      February 26, 2016 at 11:12 am
  • Reply Lisa (Travel Loving Family)

    This is a great post with some really useful articles featured. I will have a good read with a large brew later!

    February 26, 2016 at 9:49 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Lisa, bet all the UK bloggers sit down with a mug of tea (or wine!) to do their blogging – wonder what the others drink?

      February 26, 2016 at 11:15 am
  • Reply Michelle Marttila - Happy Heart Made

    Thanks for sharing these tips from the other bloggers…good stuff…and thank you for sharing your part of the world with us!!!

    February 25, 2016 at 8:53 pm
  • Reply Kathryn

    Love this! I’ve read Nikki’s, of course, but will make a point to visit everyone else. I know of everyone except the food blogger. Thanks, Sarah!
    Kathryn recently posted…Whimsical 3D Pipe Cleaner and Pine Cone TreesMy Profile

    February 25, 2016 at 7:37 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You’ll love Charlotte’s site, Kathryn, it’s stunning – her food photography is amazing, and she’s another thoughtful, friendly blogger πŸ™‚

      February 26, 2016 at 11:24 am
  • Reply Eb Gargano

    Great post. I’ve read Charlotte’s post before but not the others so I’m going to bookmark this page to come back to. It’s so useful! My blog is almost the same age as yours and like you I have been working hard to improve the look and feel of the site. Still have a way to go, mind! I wrote a post about what I planned to do on New Years Day and I’m planning a follow up post to tell everyone how I got on when I’ve made a bit more progress! Your blog is looking gorgeous by the way! πŸ™‚ Eb x
    Eb Gargano recently posted…Sausage, Red Wine and Butter Bean CasseroleMy Profile

    February 25, 2016 at 6:11 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Eb, I had a good nose around your site and its stunning as well! We will definitely be trying out lots of your recipes x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:25 am
  • Reply Sarah James @ Tales From The Kitchen Shed

    What a great post Sarah, it really helps to be part of the blogging community as there is so much to learn. Like you, I find the support & friendship invaluable & it’s been lovely to meet you through #BloggerClubUK x
    Sarah James @ Tales From The Kitchen Shed recently posted…Follow my blog with BloglovinMy Profile

    February 25, 2016 at 2:58 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Sarah, it has been the nicest surprise about blogging – getting to know so many people, and there really is so much to learn x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:28 am
  • Reply Angela at Daysinbed

    Thanks for sharing my post here on your blog. πŸ™‚ Growing our blogs is a challenge but something we can do!

    February 24, 2016 at 9:53 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You are very welcome Angela, I love the questions you pose – its such a logical approach and I know they’ll really help me define who we are πŸ™‚

      February 24, 2016 at 10:34 pm
  • Reply Hannah G

    Fab post, really really helpful. It still very early days for me in the Blogging World but I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this over the coming months πŸ™‚ #BloggerClubUK
    Hannah G recently posted…Buying Secondhand Baby ItemsMy Profile

    February 24, 2016 at 9:44 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I’ve learned so much from other bloggers Hannah, and people are so generous with their knowledge in the blogging community – you’ll make loads of friends and learn so much from them πŸ™‚

      February 24, 2016 at 10:37 pm
      • Reply Hannah G

        Thank you Sarah, I’m getting to realise just how lovely, friendly and helpful everyone is in the blogging community. Everyones been so inviting and really want to see each other succeed in their goals which I think is wonderful, I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know new people πŸ™‚ x
        Hannah G recently posted…A Winters Day at Wembury BeachMy Profile

        February 24, 2016 at 10:52 pm
  • Reply Emma

    Great post and this is really useful as I feel I am learning so much right now! Can I ask if you are self-hosted as I have been reading lots about why blogs should be self-hosted etc. #bloggersclubuk

    February 24, 2016 at 7:45 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Emma, that’s how I feel too πŸ™‚ I am self-hosted. I use some guys called TSOHOST. I chose them simply because I liked their blurb on their website and they seemed really good value. When I set up with them, they emailed me and then followed up with a phone call to ask if I wanted any help with anything. When my site decided to break just before christmas (turns out you need to update stuff!) they gave me loads of help even though it turned out not to be a hosting issue. They also offered to do a reset from their backups of my site if I wanted (Which was really reassuring) πŸ™‚

      February 24, 2016 at 9:31 pm
  • Reply Leah Miller

    I had no idea that your blog had only been going for 10 months, I thought it already looked thoroughly well established! It is funny how even though someone can look at your blog and think it is perfect, you yourself don’t feel that it is right. I do the same (although no one has ever said that mine is perfect!) but I still don’t know exactly what I am looking for, I am going to use some of your links to see if they apply to me too, thank you xx
    Leah Miller recently posted…Weight Loss Mathematics 101…My Profile

    February 24, 2016 at 7:31 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You are so right about how everyone else looks like they know what they are doing – but I am thrilled that you thought we are well established, so thank you πŸ™‚ All the links are people that I’ve learned loads from, so I am sure you’ll find some tips in there if you are looking for a bit of inspiration πŸ™‚

      February 24, 2016 at 9:37 pm
  • Reply Midgie

    It is always good to have a redesign of website – I quite enjoy tinkering with The Bakery site and changing bits and pieces… I always think if I have got a bit fed up of a certain layout then perhaps our visitors have too!
    Midgie recently posted…The Peachick Invasions – Travelling to France by road & sea!My Profile

    February 24, 2016 at 6:44 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I was really nervous, but now I have changed it once I’ll be much more confident in making further changes, and I agree with visitors liking a change, I love it when I go onto a site and they have updated things πŸ™‚

      February 24, 2016 at 9:39 pm
  • Reply Carlee

    It is funny how the blog seems to become a living, evolving part of the family. I still have a long way to go to get where I want mine to be, but I am happy with how far it has come. If only a had an endless supply of time and money πŸ˜‰
    Carlee recently posted…Slow Cooker Barbacoa Style Venison (or Beef)My Profile

    February 24, 2016 at 6:17 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      I honestly had no idea how involved with the blog I would become, when I started out. It really is my 3rd child πŸ™‚

      February 24, 2016 at 9:41 pm
  • Reply Regina L. L. Wells

    Oh my gosh, Sarah! I am so honored! Thank you so much! I agree with you that Nikki has been a formative force in my blogging as well. It seems that you and I follow a lot of the same bloggers and find the same posts resonating with us. I love that. Thank you for sharing!
    Regina L. L. Wells recently posted…12 WordPress Plugins to a Smarter, Safer, Chicer BlogMy Profile

    February 24, 2016 at 3:24 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You deserve it Regina πŸ™‚ I think when I read a post it’s like a little bit of a puzzle falling into place, I don’t always manage to convey at the time how helpful I find something, or even realise myself, until I reflect back on it at a later date. And yes we do – we must have great taste! x

      February 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm

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