I’ve been writing for Kale & Compass for over a year now and I’ve learned a lot about myself and about what blogging involves. And how involved it is.
We’d made some updates recently, (and by “we,” I mean my master web developer, second visionary mind behind Kale & Compass and officially husband: Nick) which required me to fix a bunch of H-tags in all of my posts. The template we’d been using didn’t have the article title set to pull in as an H1 tag. FYI H1s are important for telling Google’s search engine crawlers exactly what the page on your site is about. H1 tags are useful for including keyword-rich content that help improve your rankings in organic search. Include the most relevant information in your H1 tags so Google can find you, and as a result, PEOPLE can find you. Got it?
*FACE-PALM for us not realizing this for over a year*
Once we set the article titles to H1s, I had to manually move all our subheads to H2s. Sometimes I love a good tedious project where I can let my mind wander as I go through the motions. I didn’t have too many posts so it didn’t take more than an hour or so.
Know your SEO; it’ll help your blog
You should absolutely put in the work to ensure your site is set up according to latest digital marketing best practices. I should know this, I’ve been working as a technical SEO consultant at my company for the last 6 months. I’ve learned a ton. This means (hopefully!) big and wonderful things for Kale & Compass’ organic search performance in the next year.
It was interesting and humbling to go back through my oldest posts, to the very beginning. It was timely to do so as well. I’d wanted to write a reflective post about my thoughts on the blog after a year of keeping it up.
What I’ve learned from blogging over the last year
My voice has changed a lot. I think this is natural and I’m generally happy with how it’s evolving. The more you write, the more you unveil your true point of view. The more your unique voice starts to shine through. I’ve also been reading a lot more lately – books by amazing writers with so much talent that I want to scoop up their every sentence and carry it with me as I work through my own stuff – which has helped. Books that make you reflect on your own experiences and look inward are the really impactful ones. I’m planning to create a resource center that highlights my recent and favorite books and why I love them so much.
My goals have changed. This I’ve already written about but I’ll reiterate here. Early on, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with this blog. All I knew was that I wanted to challenge myself to create my own recipes and share them with you all because it was the number one topic I was passionate enough to consistently write about on a regular basis. Now, I want to continue to do that, to hone my cooking craft and recipe creation. But, I also want to teach others the tools and skills and building blocks I’ve learned along the way that help me cook delicious meals that also usually don’t require a strict step-by-step recipe to follow. I want to show people how easy and accessible cooking is and make my case for why we should be cooking more meals at home. I also want to dial into my surroundings and provide valuable travel guides for the places Nick and I visit in the Pacific Northwest (and beyond).
Keep working at the things you love
My photography has improved. Some of the earliest photos on the blog (please don’t go look) are so grainy and poorly-exposed and the white balance is so off that I cringe a little bit just to look at them. But I was rusty back then, and recently, I’ve noticed definitive improvements in this part of my work. These improvements are a result of consistently picking up the camera again and again each week. And experimenting and trying new things and keeping the techniques that work and leaving behind those that don’t.
My confidence in my own writing has increased. That’s another part that seems to evolve the more I do it. Kinda? The older I get, the less I give a crap about what people think of me. I write what I want because that’s what I want to do. And thank goodness for WordPress and the internet and Google docs and the CLOUD for allowing me to have generally easy-to-use platforms to spout my stream of consciousness into the aether. But also, I’m embracing the power of word, whether it’s my own or someone I’ve read, and realizing how important that notion is to me and my creative/life goals.
I’m glad I have this blog. With it, I have a home to hang my thoughts and house my creative endeavors – whether it’s through recipes photographed and shared or new places we’ve explored in the Pacific Northwest. And thank YOU for sticking around here with me.