6 Year Blog Anniversary!

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

It’s time to reflect and celebrate! YAHOO!

Six years ago I started something kind of random at the suggestion of a friend (whom I know am indebted to for life haha). It was called a BLOG. Ever heard of one of those? Ha! I hadn’t. I’ll admit, he practically had to beg me to start one. But he insisted it was something I should do, so finally I gave in. I had no idea what I was doing, but I opened up my free wordpress template at theinspiredroom.wordpress and posted something.

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

Back then the blog looked like this. How many of you were reading back then and remember it? Anyone?

When I first started blogging I had no expectations at all. I had not even read a blog (seriously!) so I was really just diving into it blind and unprepared.

Today when people start blogs I’m guessing many of them  might have their expectations up pretty high knowing how blogs have grown in readership and become such amazing career launchers and awesome income producers.

But back in the day? I had no clue what I was going to experience. I just blogged about what I was passionate about. For free. For a few readers.  And that might have been the magic of many of the blogs that started in the mid-2000s…there were no expectations or social media distractions. You just had to engage and interest visitors when they visited you (without the help of Pinterest to get readers there).  Once we had that figured out, we had more to learn as the internet and blogging and social media grew. Now it must feel like you have to learn it all at once.

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

You want to see what a “reveal” post looked like back in the dark ages?

A month or so into blogging, I finally showed my kitchen (from the original house I lived in as a blogger.) Complete with tiny awful unedited or staged pictures. And NO PINNABLE GRAPHIC! GASP! How did I survive as a blogger? So awkward to even show. (And don’t you dare pin pictures from that post now, haha!). But somehow, it was enough. It was just my real life kitchen. That was all we expected of a blogger.

We didn’t rely on our awesome staging, photography or pinnable graphics or boosts from social media, that is for sure. Trying to do a room or project now, stage it, photograph it, edit photos, create graphics and promote ourselves online now is a full time job if you want to keep up with it. Ugh, so much to do now — I just want to decorate and post about it like we did in the old days. #grandmablogger #wheniwasababyblogger

I had started a decorating business prior to the blog, also called The Inspired Room. That is another story in itself, for another day.

I had plans to write a book and develop my business more, but no real strategy with blogging or how that would fit in. I started the blog thinking somehow it might fit with my decorating business. I planned to write about decorating principles and homemaking philosophy, as well as share snippets of my own life and home — and I haven’t veered from that part at all.

As it turned out, blogging turned everything I was planning to do outside of blogging upside down and it became the core of what I do. It was more than I ever imagined — and in time it became my career, my livelihood and a passion all its own.

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

In the past six years, my kids have grown, my girls went through four years of college and both graduated, and my son went from age 7 to 13, we’ve lost one pup and gained two more pups. We lost a job and were without income for a year, we agonized over selling our house, moved to a new state, started a new church called Voyage, struggled to earn a living, traveled and attended conferences, had several medical emergencies, wrote for numerous other sites, and still managed to decorate, paint and remodel and keep up the blog.

I’m tired just thinking about it! Haha! Six years. I’ve shared so much of life right here on the blog over the past six years. All the while the blog continued to grow and now fully supports our family. It has been such a blessing! There is nothing else I’d rather do. If you are ever tempted to think bloggers have it made or earlier bloggers were just “lucky” to start when they did, you might be right to a point. But the reality is blogging has been a lot of work for those of us who started back then, paving new paths and facing so many learning curves, combined with many blessings. I wouldn’t trade any of that experience to start over again. I’m so happy to be where I am now and know I persevered through it all!

I asked on Facebook what people might want me to write about today in honor of the six year anniversary. I think I covered some of the answers above but I’ll answer a few more questions…

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

Remember the window banner? LOVED it! Miss it. But it was time to move on.

What are my 3 biggest failures and successes in blogging?

3 Blogging Business Blunders

1. Stepping out in new territory and facing opposition.

I think my first experience with a semi-failure as when I decided to evolve from a hobby blogger to having ads on my blog a year and a half or so after I started the blog. It caused a big of an uproar in our corner of blogland because at the time monetizing your blog was frowned upon. So, whatever. Those ads didn’t take off.  But I couldn’t justify blogging as a hobby any more, so earning a living doing what I loved was more attractive. So I didn’t give up even though my first attempt wasn’t a huge success.

And now thank goodness I have a growing and thriving business as a writer and blogger, so sometimes you have to take that first step towards your goals and dreams, even if it isn’t easy or all that popular. Soon after even the naysayers had ads on their blogs so I guess it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. If you feel something is right for your business, GO FOR IT. Let the naysayers nay.

2. Confusing Google.

Another blunder was in my eagerness to create pretty posts I inadvertently used heading fonts that apparently confused Google about what my blog was about, so my search traffic was negatively affected for most of the first years of my blog and I didn’t even know it. Nice. No biggie when it was a hobby blog but if you have a business blog you start to realize these things do matter just as much as that pretty post. And it is a pain to have to go through millions of posts later to fix things. Lesson? Make Google happy the first time around.

3. Whoops! I did it again. More Google confusion.

Then another big oops on the business  side of blogging was I had all of my images stored in Flickr for the first four years or so. And then when Pinterest came along it caused havoc for my blog because no one could pin anything since the images weren’t pinnable. Once I got that figured out, when people did pin I realized ALL of my images were named IMG_3434 or 23094uwreiorsoieruewoer.jpg or something awesome like that. Which meant I was confusing Google again by what I had on my blog and lost out on image search traffic because NO ONE searches Google for IMG_3234. Ever. FAIL.

And that failure also means I’m STILL trying to reload images with real names google might recognize in order to make my blog more useful to the world. And I’ve used a TON of images so it’s been a big job. If your images are named anything like IMG_3234  now might be a good time to rename them something more useful. Lesson? Google doesn’t care about your pretty pictures with wonky names. There is more to successful blogging than just taking pretty pictures.

There were plenty of other things I did or tried along the way that weren’t all that successful,  but it is all a part of learning new things, figuring out who you are, what you are good at, what you love and what makes sense.  You just have to start and try things and failures will always be a part of that learning curve.

I just did the best I could every step of the way and learned what I needed to know to take the next step.

And isn’t that all we can do sometimes? Put one foot in front of the other. 

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

What is one of my favorite posts of all time?

Maybe this one, the one with the dead giraffe and undies on my son’s head.

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

Three significant opportunities I’m grateful for through blogging:

1) I run a successful home based business!

I get to work with amazing people and brands I never would have dreamed possible without this blog. My blog not only provides for our family but allows my husband and our family to all volunteer at our small church without receiving any salary from the church. Having a blog that has succeeded like this is a MIRACLE and a blessing I don’t take for granted. I have no idea what we would have done without it! I also employ my two daughters part time which helps them too! BONUS — we LOVE working together. It is a dream job for me, but like I said, it is a lot of hard work and it isn’t as glamorous as some people think (although there are quite a few perks, I’ll admit).

2) I’m writing a real live book!

That book I talked about writing in my very first post? I never pursued it because I loved blogging so much and felt no need to write a book (other than my ebook!). Until now. I am writing a real live book I’m dying to talk about but won’t just yet … it is the book I’d want to read. I hope to share more about it soon! While I could’ve pursued this book six years ago, I’m grateful that my experience over the past six years will make this a much better book — so I’m grateful for all these extra years of learning and writing and growing to be better prepared for this daunting task. Not to mention having a much larger audience now, minor detail — haha.

3) My kitchen remodel is going to be in Better Homes & Gardens!

Six years ago one of my most popular topics was on the “disease” I have called Magazine Cover-itis. Basically it means I see everything in my home or in life with a magazine cover lens. My eyes like to see things that jump out at me as being magazine cover material. Weird, yes. Not because I had any real desire to be on a magazine cover (I’m just happy to look at my house in real life), but it is just how my creative brain works. And probably because I love looking at magazines and tweaking my home until my eyes are happy. That can be a bit of a problem! But my success is that six years after I posted about my magazine cover-itis and shared my first kitchen remodel on the blog, my NEW kitchen remodel will be photographed in just a few weeks to be featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine! That is pretty exciting — and nerve wracking, too.

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

So how do I stay enthusiastic about blogging after six years?

That is an easy question.

My blog is about so much of what I love — I pour so much of myself into it.

I live my life and am able share what I’m passionate about. If I had to be anything else but myself online or talk about things I didn’t really want to talk about, I would start to loathe blogging like anyone would loathe a daily task they didn’t truly enjoy. If I spent too much time in social media or promoting myself or working on projects I don’t enjoy, I’d exhaust myself and lose my focus. I have to keep living life off the internet and growing as a person so I have things to share.  I keep my focus on what I love and that is what keeps me excited about blogging!

But you know what else keeps me inspired?

YOU. You are kindred spirits and when you leave a comment that makes me laugh or reassures me or encourages me? It is like having coffee with a girlfriend every morning. You are kind and thoughtful and supportive and have become my friends. You make this all so much more fun!

Thanks so much to all of you who come here and read and leave comments and support me in so many ways! I’m forever grateful.

So what is next?

Besides the book and magazine, there are a few more exciting things that will be happening around The Inspired Room in the coming year! But you’ll have to stick around to find out what they are!

Onward to the next six years! 

6 Year Blog Anniversary!

Comments

  1. What an amazing trip down memory lane. Your blog is beautiful! I am on the other end of the spectrum than you. A brand new blogger. Trying to add a layer of knowledge every day…because there are so many layers. Trying to make decisions that won’t look poor to experienced bloggers or blog readers. I have read and read about blog etiquette…but there is always still a part of me that wonders if something I am doing would be frowned upon. I have taken the resignation that what I am doing is coming from a pure and good place. A passion for something fun and exciting. Thanks for this post. It is inspiring for sure! Shawna

  2. Congratulations, Melissa! I knew you when and have cheered you on. I remember being one who was quite shocked by the naked frannies above your header that greeted me one day. Then you said you had no control over the advertising and further that if you had a franny like that, you might prance it, too. Well THAT made me laugh! You certainly deserve your success. Many blessings to you and your wonderful blog!

  3. It kind of makes me sad how much of a “business” blogging has turned into. I mean I want my blog to make money, but I hate treating it like a business. I like the authenticity of the old days. Congrats on six years–I am just stumbling into year 2 :).

  4. Congratulations! Reading your blog is so refreshing as you talk about real life and making a home. Thanks for all of the inspiration!

  5. Very inspiring, thank you!!! I blog as much as I can but sometimes feel that I have nothing to offer or talk about. Your post today makes me feel like “you can do it!”. I well keep trucking along, write about what I know and makes me happy. Again thank you! xo

  6. Congratulations and keep up the great work! I look forward to many more years of your inspiration!

  7. Congratulations on 6 years! I love your blog! I can’t wait to see what the next 6 entail for you!

  8. So happy for you! I remember that first blog layout! What a journey of awesomeness you’ve been on.
    Thanks for being such an inspiration to so many, and for being such a cool person.
    (Thanks also for letting me guest post. What fun that was!)
    Keep doing what you love… you’ll always be good at it, and be an original.

    Happy Anniversary! Mwah!

  9. Thanks so much for this post! As a new blogger, I found it so encouraging to hear your blogging story (and I totally have default picture names – off to change them :). I’ve been reading here for a couple years and love what you do and so very excited to hear about your book. Congratulations on 6 years!

    • Thanks Shannon! YES, go change those image names. Hahah. Thanks for following along and being such a great support. It means so much. Congrats on your blog and it is great to have so many awesome people traveling together on this blogging journey!

  10. Congrats on the 6 yr anniv and keep up the good work!

  11. Hey Melissa ~

    Just way too fun to see your blog way back when! Congrats … and I love that your work gets to support the ministry that’s so dear to your hearts … and His. A win/win, a huge blessing all the way around!

    • Thanks Linda, it is quite humbling to know that it isn’t all about ME and MY HOUSE…there are greater things going on as a result. I’m blessed to have you and others who are such an encouragement to me! Thank you!

  12. Well done Melissa! My own blog is just personal jottings and book reviews mostly, but I do put upcycled stuff on and if I do over a room it goes on there. I found you not long after you’d moved into the house you are in now, and have watched all your makeovers with glee! And I love that console table on wheels – loved it from the minute I spotted it, and it’s not available in the UK, so I just drool over yours! Onwards and upwards, and I look forward to many more posts from you. Thank you.

  13. YAY! congrats! i have followed you for most of those years and have loved it! your style is always wonderful even if evolving (as we all are constantly!), and you are very “real”. so keep on keeping on!

  14. I love reading your blog and have learned so much from your posts. I wish you every blessing as you continue. I loved your kitchen remodel and can’t wait to see the BHG write up!!

  15. Wow, I am such a baby blogger! I really started this on a whim and had no idea what I was doing. It is so much fun though and really inspires me every day. Thanks for sharing your story!

  16. Congratulations on great success. Your blog is beautiful and such fun to read! As a blogger making many of the mistakes you discuss, I can so relate to what you are saying. Thanks for reminding me how important it is to name those photos.

  17. Centsational Girl says:

    Congrats my friend, I loved reliving your journey! How amazing your kitchen will be in BH&G and I’m wishing you not six but several dozen more years of amazing success!! xoxo
    Kate

  18. This is wonderful! I’ve just started my personal blog (and will be creating my home decor blog sometime in September) so I’m very glad I came across this! It seems like there are about as many ways to start and become successful as there are colors. Yours seemed the most attainable. One common denominator: it takes time. That’s what I’m going to have to work on the most: patience. Hey, maybe I’ll write an ebook about it someday! Thanks for your dedication. Love your style.

  19. Congratulations on 6 years … I’ve been around for three of them. :)

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  20. Congratulations on your blog anniversary, Melissa! Especially a lot of new inspiration for writing new articles that we still have what to read …. :-) like going back a letter and I am delighted that this blog exists! thanks!

  21. I’m rejoicing with you my friend! And I love that I get to call you friend because of this fabulously wonderful thing called a blog. Melissa, yours was the first blog I connected to and the one that I always, always, read. And you and your blog inspired me to start mine. (But of course you know that. *wink*) It was a blessing to be one of your advertisers for that brief moment of time all those 3 years ago.
    I praise God for the success he has given you in spite of {ugh} Google. And with the release of the BH&G story and your new book…..you are going to reach even new heights. Yay!!!
    May you be blessed with 6 x 6 Extraordinary years!
    You ARE Extraordinary!!
    [hugs]
    Diane

  22. Happy Anniversary!!
    I´m a “new” reader. I did some steps back in time on your blog, and loved it always!
    I also feel like reading your blog is like talking to a friend about a subject that I really enjoy!

    Happy many more years to come!
    Cheers!
    Isis

  23. Happy Blogiversary, Melissa! I don’t know how long I’ve been reading your blog, but it was one of the first ones I started reading faithfully. I found you during one of Nester’s 30 Days of series. I could only read a few, and inspired Room and Beauty and Bedlam were two that I chose…and I’m still reading both all these years later. I don’t even remember your topic, but I’m sure it was something house-y.

    I am so glad God has blessed your efforts, and I look forward to reading you for years to come. And I can’t wait to read your book!

  24. Congratulations Melissa! I’ve been reading your blog for about a year. It is part of more morning ritual that I look forward to everyday. I love your style and look forward to reading your blogs for years to come!

  25. It’s been 5 1/2 years for me blogging and yours was one of the first “house blogs” I read (so I remember that first template!). At the time I felt like you’d been around forever and were a real pro, having done it for over 6 months when I was a newbie. Ha. But really, even 6 months in blog time can feel like years. You learn so much in a short amount of time.

    You’ve come a long way in 6 years, Baby! Loved this trip down Memory Lane. Congrats on the upcoming BH&G feature and book, too. Can’t wait to see them. Here’s to many more years of bloggy success at The Inspired Room! :)

  26. Such a great post!! I have only been blogging for about a year and have quickly realized how difficult it is to grow your blog – and we’re even in the age of social media, so you think it would be easier!! You are such an inspiration – Thanks for sharing and congrats on your 6 years, new book and magazine feature!! I can only hope I get there one day:):)

    xo
    amy

  27. Congrats Melissa on all of your accomplishments and thank-you for sharing with us.
    I have just recently come across your blog and I absolutely love everything about it.
    Your creativity , humor, and of course Jack and Lily are special additions.
    I look forward to seeing what you have to post each day.

    Regards,

    Penny

  28. Congratulations on your 6 years! I love reading your blog and gain much inspiration from it. I’m looking forward to many more years but I’m most excited about your book! Can’t wait to purchase it!!

  29. Kristan Huddle says:

    Congratulations, Melissa! I love your blog – it’s beautiful, informative, thoughtful and funny…..
    I have recently retired (7/1/13) after 40 years of going to an office everyday with only weekends and vacations to do what I want to do…….and now I am discovering how much fun I have with time to do and be as I wish…..One of my first priorities is rethinking our home…I love the space but right now have too much stuff and want to pare down and declutter so that living here is even more of a joy and less of hassle with cleaning, etc….So, your blog has been a bit of inspiration, my dear, and I do so love that! Keep up the good work….love your home, your pups, and your spirit!

  30. Paula J says:

    Congratulations on your blogging anniversary! Your blog was the very first blog I found: I immediately felt a connection with your love for creating a home that is family friendly & reflects the people that live in it. You are a wonderful writer, photographer, & a true inspiration when it comes to design & hospitality! Thank you so much for sharing your talents!!! :)

  31. Congratulations on 6 years! Your blog is beautiful and always filled with inspiration. I only wish I had been reading all 6 years…

  32. Congrats on your success! I feel like I have so much to learn as a new blogger… It can be overwhelming! Was there a certain resource you used to help you start earning income or learning blogging etiquette? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  33. Melissa, I wish continued success in all of your endeavors. Thanks for sharing the story of your blogging days. Since I co-own a brick and mortar flower shop, I don’t have the time to do as much as I’d like on my blog. But, I’m inspired by your blogging adventure and am so happy that you’ve been able to make it work in all areas of your life and that it brings you such joy. Congratulations!

  34. Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. I actually have dome many of the blunders you have too. Had wonky titles, hosted my photos in flickr until I just switched to WordPress last month and all of that. I’m still changing the photos!

    Here’s to another successful 6 years and many more. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and getting your home decor and life insight :-)

  35. Congratulations… I am so excited for you being in H&G magazine! That’s amazing!! I have to tell you, I am halfway through a kitchen remodel (which has led to a house remodel) and I have your kitchen on my phone/ipad bookmarked at all times. I am constantly showing each contractor so they get exactly what I want (this countertop edge, this type of material, etc)! I love love love the look and it’s been a huge source (okay the main source) of inspiration for me. I can’t wait to buy the magazine and show all of my friends and family!

  36. Vidya @ Whats Ur Home Story says:

    Congratulations Melissa! That was an awesome post. You truly deserve all the success you enjoy now.

  37. Carol H. Wright says:

    Melissa,

    I must tell you, I just recently came across your blog and I am a fan! I love that you shared some insight about blogging on your 6th anniversary – very helpful and I’ll take them all to heart. Congratulations btw! That is an amazing accomplishment. How amazing that you’ve been able to generate income while your family is starting a church… that is super cool and as I imagine a real blessing to your family… and your girls work with you… I LOVE that!

    I just recently starting blogging as a totally personal creative outlet and come to find out that I so love it! It’s been a very cathartic process and an amazing outlet and a source of accountability…. however, I too feel a bit guilty taking up so much of my time during the day on a hobby. This is not a source of income – of course like any blogger I wouldn’t mind if it became that. I have indeed generated enough $$ to take my family out to dinner though ;)

    If you do get a chance to read this comment and have any other suggestions for a newbie blogger (i.e. books to read, blogs to read, or conferences to attend… or anything)… I’m listening.

    Again, congratulations!!! Really amazing. I’m happy for your success. Yippee!

    A Real “Inspired” Fan,
    Carol Wright

  38. Happy Anniversary!
    I think I’ve been following along for about 4 of those years.

    Soooo many blog questions…wish we could have coffee. :)
    I started blogging in Orlando bc I had moved away from my family and needed some sort of outlet..connection.
    Andy and I made a family rules sign for our home and I posted about it, and it turned into a business.
    Who knew? We couldn’t have planned it if we’d tried.
    I’m sure you feel much the same way about the path that blogging has taken you down and the provision the Lord has provided through it.
    BTW. Praise JESUS for his provision for your family! I am celebrating that with you!!!!

    Now, our business is at a place where I kind of need to figure out what it is I’m doing.
    I’ve never been to a blogging conference.
    I have NO idea what you’re talking about when you talk about confusing google, but I’m sure I must be. :)
    I don’t have a dot.com…just a simple little blogspot.
    I guess you could say I’m almost completely clueless.

    Which makes me extremely thankful for bloggers like YOU.
    You’re generous to tell us about your journey..what you’ve learned..failures and successes.

    CELEBRATING with you!

  39. Happy Anniversary! You have been an example to me from the beginning…Love you style and the way you help others in the blogging world. You have been so generous.
    Thanks for sharing your life and the things you love.
    Someday maybe we will meet =)

  40. Congratulations! Six years is a long time in blog-world! I’m just starting out, but I’m also just about to become homeowner (three more days!!!) so, I have all these ideas that I can’t wait to share! I mostly just want a place to track our progress, so we can look back and how far we’ve come :).

    Congratulations again!

  41. Congratulations! Your home is so magazine worthy! I look forward to your posts very much … you have such an easy, comfortable writing style that makes me feel at home, if that makes sense. Today, I was especially interested in reading about what you’ve learned as you’ve blogged. I’m on a teeter-totter of sorts about my blog. One day I feel up ~ and the next I go down. Last night, I was pretty convinced I should just let it go and this morning, I’m not so sure. I’m pretty sure I have no real readers (just spam bots,) and the whole technical aspect overwhelms me. I don’t want to spend any money to have someone set it all up for me – but feel like that’s almost necessary. So I go around and around. In the meantime, I so enjoy reading and reveling in your beautiful pictures, and I check in often. Good luck with the book! Can’t wait to hear more about it!

  42. Congratulations! I’m a big fan of your taste and your blog. As for BHG, I was disappointed that they put a person (Trisha Yearwood) on their magazine cover. It isn’t about her; I would just prefer seeing a room, food, flowers, or something else instead of a celebrity.

  43. Congratulations! I’ve enjoyed your blog for a year now, so it’s quite eye-opening to hear about your early days. You are quite inspiring to me as a new blogger. Thank you!

  44. Dear Melissa,
    Kudos to you on keeping your blog going for 6 years through all life’s twists and turns and challenges that are thrown at us. It is beautiful and inspiring and a blessing to all who visit. May it continue to be a blessing to you and each of us for many years to come. I am thrilled to read about your upcoming magazine article and book, and look forward to reading both.
    Many thanks for sharing all the loveliness,
    Paulette

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