This post is sponsored by Squarespace
It’s hard for me to believe I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade. That’s 10 years of my life devoted to this space and sharing my life with you guys. So much has changed since my first few posts! I was one of the pioneer healthy living bloggers, and when I started blogging I had no idea what it would become. I’ve been wanting to write down a bit of my history, as so many of you are new and probably didn’t know Kath Eats when I had a blurry photo of raspberries as my header : )
(KERF Version 1.0)
I started my blog as a free site on Blogger, then moved to a free site at WordPress.com, and now I am self hosted on server #5 (I think?). KERF’s database is huge because in the early days I didn’t know how to resize my photos, so each move takes for.ev.er. I hope to never move again, but I am sure I will! Squarespace is now on my radar for possible moves in the future.
(KERF 2.0. – I guess I really liked close up photos of fruit in the early days!)
I’ve gone through four cameras (many more if you count all my cell phones throughout the years), and I am still tweaking my workflow to get from camera to internet. Originally, I didn’t edit my photos one bit, and then used Picasa, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and then Lightroom throughout the years. Each one has been better than the last! I used to spend hours trying to make a logo or icon in Photoshop, but these days sites like Picmonkey and Canva make basic graphic design so simple. Similarly, marketplaces like Etsy and Fiverr make getting a set of graphics, social media icons, or even a jingle for a podcast or video so much easier. If I could bottle all of the hours I’ve spent Googling things like “how to make a favicon” and fiddling with programs I didn’t fully understand, I would be rich with time. And I used to spend days troubleshooting Windows Live Writer….ack!
Not only have the technology and tools for blogging changed so much, but the entire internet has changed. In 2007, Twitter was still a baby bird, Pinterest had yet to be imagined, and Facebook was still a place for college kids to post photos of parties. I taught myself how to do things step by step, from learning to use a DSLR (still working on that one!) to figuring out how to put social media icons on my sidebar using HTML code to asking friends to help me move from one host to another when my site had outgrown its servers.
Squarespace makes it easy for anyone to build a beautiful home online without touching a line of code. As an all-in-one platform, you can choose from any one of their 45+ fresh and modern design templates. Each template has elements like social media icons built in, so there’s no need to try to create your own. As the internet changes and new social platforms come out, Squarespace continuously updates its themes to reflect those changes for you. Even if you pay a team to design a template theme for you, it will eventually become out of date. Things like security patches need updating over time, so it’s smart to use either a theme that keeps up with these with updates (which you still need to figure out how to install on your own once a year or so…) or a site like Squarespace that does this behind the scenes for you.
Advertising has changed a lot too. When I first put ads on KERF (about six months after I began blogging) that was the only stream of income I had. For a long time, CPM rates were high and sidebar ads were king. During 2012, CPM rates began to drop as companies realized the creative potential that sponsored posts unlocked. These days advertising rates are back up (thank you AdThrive!) and sponsored posts are a great way for bloggers to create content and introduce interesting brands (like Squarespace! Ba-da-boom.) We’ve settled into the best of both worlds.
(Speaking of worlds…remember that time I was on the cover of Woman’s World – eekk!)
Those of you who start blogs and websites today are lucky. The tools available are lightyears better than they were when I started, and therefore you are able to hit the ground running. Take Squarespace, for example, which is this post’s sponsor. Squarespace is an all-in-one service for bloggers where you can build a beautiful blog or website without spending a fortune hiring a team to design the site for you. You can buy a domain, host your content, design your site, and create posts all in one spot. If I were starting a blog from scratch today, I would head straight to Squarespace.
Squarespace gave me access to the design tools behind the scenes, and the theme choices are beautiful. There are tons of options that you can tweak to your liking. Folks from artists to bloggers to entrepreneurs use the platform to share their stories.
You can learn all about blogging with Squarespace on their extensive tutorial page. I love how simple everything is. They took something as complicated as internet coding and made it as beautiful behind the curtain as it is out front.
Other perks of Squarespace include:
- 24/7 customer care via email and chat (a huge plus!)
- Domain purchasing in house (I have to maintain mine through a separate site, which is a pain)
- The ability to create an online store (so key in today’s online marketplace!)
- Clear and honest pricing
- None of the headaches of installing software or applying security patches (this is where I get lost..)
If you’ve been wanting to start your own blog or online business, the first 50 readers who use offer code “KATHEATS” will receive 10% off their first website or domain purchase. Sign up here.
But I am glad I started my blog exactly when I did, because I was in the right place at the right time. KERF is what it is today because so many of you followed along when blogs were just emerging as the next big thing. All the learning curves and frustrations along the way made me a more resilient person and a good problem solver. And it’s cool to have so many years of my life digitally archived, even if all the photos were tiny and blurry : )
As bloggers and blog readers, I’m curious to know your thoughts on how blogging has changed over the past 10 years. What do you love? What do you miss? What do you hope will last forever?
Thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this post and teaching me that website design and creation doesn’t have to be stressful or DIY 🙂