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Blogger in the Spotlight: Karen, Well I Guess This Is Growing Up

Karen

Well I Guess This Is Growing Up is an award-winning Manchester-based Colour & Culture blog, with a focus on design and living life beautifully – written by journalist and SEO content strategist, Karen Clough.

‘Well I Guess This Is Growing Up’ was named the “Best Affordable DIY Blog” in the Bathrooms.com Blogger Awards 2015, Shortlisted for the “Best DIY Blog” in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2015 and Shortlisted for “Best Colour Inspiration” in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2017. As of 2018, the blog was named Top 50 Trending Interiors Blogs worldwide in the Feathr50 report, has been shortlisted as the “Best Interiors Blog” in the Northern Blog Awards. In late, 2018, this site WON the “Best Colour Inspiration” title in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2018 and has since been featured in The Times, London Evening Standard, HomeStyle Magazine and StyleAt Home, BBC Radio and featured in Channel 4’s DIY shows.

Follow Karen on social media: Pinterest, Instagram.

What inspired you to start a lifestyle blog?

I’d just bought my first house – an abandoned property in need of full renovation and I felt a blog would be the best way to not only document our work, but share the progress with friends and family. Over the years it’s developed into so much more than a documentation, but a creative outlet. A space that’s all mine to really indulge in design, travel and colour.

Karen

Has your content changed much since you started?

Absolutely! My blog was launched in 2011 and not only has the blogging landscape massively evolved in that time, so have I! I’m now onto our second property (another major renovation) but am now married with 2 children and on a tighter budget which has certainly affected the pace at which we document, but also the choices we make. Now when I write, it’s not just about the before and afters of each room but the process of this lifestyle choice. How do we incorporate our projects around a family schedule? What takeaways do we bring back from travel which influence our design taste? Decorating might be something that many people do once a room is run down but there is a community online of those who do this long-term and really relish the journey and not just the destination. I hope that my content contributes to this very community.

What social media platforms do you use most/find most successful?

I guess it depends how you define success but I find that SEO is a bigger driver of traffic than any other source for me. This is my daily profession so, luckily, I have the foundations to make my blog visible. Other than that, as I’m primarily blogging about design, colour and interiors, the visual platforms certainly lend best. Pinterest is a key driver of traffic for my tutorial-based content, and Instagram is most useful for finding like-minded people and forming a community.

Can you share the three most popular posts on your blog?

Sure! They all appear to be DIY-based which I’m really proud of. We learn as we go, so whilst we can’t always offer expert guidance exactly, we can certainly help others learn from our mistakes.

How do you balance blogging and real life?

Karen

Sometimes I feel that I don’t in all honesty! It’s certainly a challenge and one I’m constantly working on. Scheduling can certainly help alleviate that pressure. A calendar for blog content can be useful, and tools such as Later, Tailwind and Hootsuite can all help with social scheduling.

Can you share any tips for newer bloggers who would love to set up a lifestyle blog?

There are lots of technical tips I could give about hosting and domains but ultimately I’d say none of that matters unless you find something you are truly passionate about. Not all blog posts will be a hit-and-run for traffic, so you need to redefine what you consider to be a worthwhile investment of your time. In my view, if you have something that you are authentically interested in, this means you will never tire of writing about it, and it will always be more joyful. Many blogs struggle with longevity for this reason, and readers are now more attuned to voices which are disingenuous or just in it for a quick freebie. Be authentic.

If you could go back in time to when you first set up your blog would you do anything differently?

Loads! It was a completely different climate in 2011. I’d probably have been more defined in my categorisation and voice if I were starting again now. But that’s the beauty of blogging. We’re all learning together and rolling with the changes in real-time. For newbie bloggers, I’d say, just go for it. You will find your voice as you go.

Which blogs do you love to read for inspiration?

I still read a lot of blogs. Many will say they are dead but I couldn’t disagree more. If all social platforms shut their doors tomorrow, all that content would be lost, whereas you have total ownership of your own websites.
Blogs which really inspire me include:

What are your blogging plans for the next 12 months?

I’m taking things easy currently as I’m on maternity leave, but the renovations are in full swing! So, my goal is to document it as much as I can around the kids. Long term, I’d like my blogging and DIY skills to contribute more to my income to encourage a flexible working life around my children.

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