Blogging About… Everything

Happy start to the week! Back again after traveling solo with the wee little ones this past weekend – they were champs. Pictures of our beautiful Northern California adventure to come.

Today I wanted to tackle question 2 from the set of ‘Wondering What’s On Your Mind’ thoughts from back here. (You can see the list of four broad topics and catch up on Q1 right over here.)

2 | Where does your blogging inspiration come from? You cover such a wide range of topics, how do decide what to post about?

This next question came in the form of comments on inspiration, ever changing blog topics and how this is not quite a lifestyle or design or entertaining or remodel or mommy blog…

This is a neat topic to tackle because I do really enjoy sharing on so many areas of life here on this site. I think that a lot of bloggers feel obligated to stick to one channel of writing and that sometimes that can feel restrictive or challenging. Without a defined niche I feel a bit freer to fill an editorial calendar with posts that might include a home remodel project, a new outdoor craft, a summer inspiration board, a party roundup, a reflection on an honest part of motherhood, a style board, a recipe….

PDB Topic Transitions | PepperDesignBlog.com
Four major areas of growth and topics that have added themselves along the way

On the flip side, I know that choosing a less defined theme will discourage readers and makes attracting certain types of sponsors more challenging. I’ve watched the blog work through its successes and challenges as the blog has shifted with time. From the outside looking in, this blog has taken so many twisting turns along its five year story sharing path, and has slowly morphed into the a-little-bit-of-everything site that it now is.

To share a little bit of my journey with you (and to give you the roots on which this blog was formed), I started writing as a creative outlet when I was traveling nonstop for a consulting company that focused on large software implementation projects. It meant nights alone in hotels (7 months straight – Kevin was actually deployed to Japan at the time as he was still in the military) and a day job that allowed for so little creativity that a blog at night felt refreshing and fun – plus, it kept me company.

My first introduction to the blogging world was a semi-addiction to party blogs :). After planning my own wedding I was suddenly really into all of the fun details of planning events and sites such as Pinterest didn’t really exist at the time. This blog launched with the intention of sharing inspiration for entertaining plus a fun mix of home, crafts and organizing as well. I took my college knowledge of programming and spent nine months playing with a design that I thought fit me well. It was purely a space to share fun, entertaining ideas – and pre-Pinterest it was very normal to feature and highlight other parties and projects in detail from around the web. That was how we all circulated great inspiration with each other (though in some ways it feels like such a no-no now). I built up an awesome audience and really enjoyed everything writing, styling, editing and interacting.

Old Blog Layout

Our aesthetic sure does change with time – but back when I LOVED the colors and design!

About a month before Kevin came back to San Diego I moved us into our first apartment. A year or so later Kevin and I bought our first home and little by little my primarily party blog transitioned into a home remodeling blog. I began reading the blogs of couples that were on the same journey and my own blogging voice and focus changed. It was challenging because I knew that I was losing my core party readers and I watched my Google Analytics fluctuate over the months as the ‘theme’ of PDB shifted.

demo_1000

We spent so much of our time focused on tearing down walls and picking out paint colors that it felt very natural to transition into the day-by-day story of the transformation of our 1930s fixer upper.

Up until this point I really hadn’t share much on the personal front. I remember traveling to Australia with my family and posting a vacation picture and being so surprised when readers requested more! It made me want to have a more personal voice and to build my blog to tell my story as well. I was a little trepid on giving away the details of our personal life, I actually wasn’t super interested in blogs that delved into the personal and devoured up blogs that stuck to 100% diy content. But then all of a sudden that shifted! I began to read and connect with blogger stories that felt as though they were going through similar life experiences and I loved it.

Australia Adventures 2009 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Australia Adventures 2009 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Two years later we welcomed our first daughter and again my writing focus shifted to reflect life as a new mother. Now I was getting really personal. I was suddenly balancing party and home and baby blogging posts and I was nervous that I was too all over the board. No focus! Just whatever was going on in my life at that moment. I watched readers shift and fluctuate again, but because I enjoyed so much what I wrote about I didn’t spend too much time worrying about it.

Pregnancy Photo Series | Liv | PepperDesignBlog.com

I realized that if this blog is anything special to me it would make so much sense to embrace everything that is special to me. I’m so incredibly grateful for those readers that have hung with me on this journey.

Eventually the blog began to encompass style boards, cocktail recipes, ‘random thoughts‘, ‘weekend fun‘, ‘everyday stuff‘, ‘tech tips‘. Some series have fizzled away, others have grown and grown.

Weekend Fun | August, 2013 - Florida | PepperDesignBlog.com

Media Kit Images | PepperDesignBlog.com

Often bloggers are asked to identify their niche and their target audience. I understand why experts suggest that a focused writing style will help a blog thrive and to find its voice amongst the myriad of wonderful sites out there. My best suggestion is to find your own voice though. That might be a certain vertical, or it could be a collage of favorites that resembles one large story.

I am grately appreciative of this blog because it allows me to explore my creative side and journal our life in (what I hope feels like) a very natural way. I don’t always blog about all of the guck that happens in our day-to-day (that would sure make it feel a bit more real) but I do really enjoy capturing the happy and creative moments because in many ways this is my gratitude journal. My opportunity to reflect back on what makes our lives special, what makes our family unique, what makes us smile and laugh and sometimes pound our heads against the wall.

To sum it up? What inspires this blog… everything :). And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Comments

  1. says

    This post feels so on point for me — I’m in the middle of redesigning my site and figuring out what needs to change to make this work long-term for me, and while a friend suggested that I narrow my focus, I don’t know how enjoyable that would be — and, like Rebecca says, your blog never feels stale! All of the posts are consistent with what we love about your voice, but I never feel tempted to skip “another reno post” etc, because I never know what the post will contain.
    (I have wondered though, if there is a way to let subscribers only follow certain labels/feeds if they only want to get a certain type of post…)

    • says

      That is such a good question! I’ve wondered that as well. I think that Reichel over at Copy Cat Chic has done something like that to help seperate her personal from ‘copy cat’ posts. I will have to research more!

  2. says

    aHH I remember those photos of your when you were pregnant and I remember that once your wrote about how this wasn’t going to turn into some mommy blog. :) I love a the variety that you write about because in the end it’s all about a life well lived and that is inspiring. I write the same way. I’ve tried other blogs that were hyper focused and it always felt like such a chore to stay on topic and not true to me as a whole person.

    • says

      Oh that’s too funny, did I really?? I love it! And that’s one if my favorite things to write about today!

  3. Rebecca says

    I have been following your blog for several years and love that you write an “everything” blog. It keeps me interested! I follow a lot of blogs but yours is one I actually read (instead of just skimming or looking at photos). I really enjoy your voice and your content.

  4. says

    Not many people can be successful having an “everything” blog, but you do it so well! I still remember finding your blog while looking for party inspiration, and then being fascinated while you renovated and decorated, and so excited through both your pregnancies. A lot of the ultra-niche blogs (I’m mostly thinking party & DIY here) have a pretty transient following. But I think that incorpoating a more personal tone makes it feel very inviting. You’ve done a great job with this space, Morgan!

    • says

      Leslie, you are so sweet, thank you for your comment. I completely agree on the ultra niche blogs – love those for what they are and enjoy heading to those blogs for ‘party’ or ‘home’. They are always awesome resources!

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