Today is a very special day, as April 30th marks another year of blogging for me, and my blog’s second anniversary. I wrote a post last year about my first anniversary(featuring the typical blogger numbered balloon and much shorter hair), but this year I wanted to write about some of the things I’ve learnt so far since starting my blog…
24 THINGS I’VE LEARNT ABOUT BLOGGING IN 24 MONTHS…
I have noticed such a huge change in my confidence since I started blogging two years ago, and I’m hoping that it will just keep growing. I feel like a completely different person to who I was when I first started, and I LOVE it! From being more confident with talking to new people at events, to feeling more confident in my own body, starting this blog has done wonders for my confidence, and I’m so happy I’ve actually stuck at it.
2. HEALTHIER STATE OF MIND
Along with the increase in confidence, I feel like my mental health is in a much healthier place now than it was before I started my blog. Blogging has given me a platform to be myself and meet lovely like-minded people. Surrounding myself with the positivity of others has really helped improve my mental state.
3. GETTING CHANGED IN THE STREET IS NOW A NORMALITY
Yes, you read that correctly, and I think I’ve masted the art of it – plan ahead and know what you’re wearing (in order)! Even now, some of my friends (who don’t have blogs) are surprised when they find out that I typically shoot more than one outfit in a day, and realise it means having to get changed somewhere in the middle of London…
4. TAKING A BREAK FROM THE ONLINE WORLD IS IMPORTANT
I cannot stress this one enough. Being a blogger means spending 95% of your life online in some form or another, and it’s too easy to get wrapped up into the world of social media, which can be seriously damaging if you don’t take a break every now and then to bring yourself back into the world of reality. You should also never feel the need to apologise if and when you do take breaks – it’s NORMAL, and extremely important for your mental health.
5. GETTING ‘THE SHOT’ IN ONE (OR 100) TAKES ISN’T ALWAYS POSSIBLE
Those ‘perfect’ photos you see on people’s blogs and Instagram feeds? Take it from me, I’d be very surprised if they managed to take those in one take. When I take photos for my blog and social media, it always takes a little while to make sure I’m happy with them. From people walking behind (or in front) of you, battling with traffic, and generally just being too picky on how I look, taking photos takes time, so don’t feel bad if it takes you a little while to get it right. (You should see my camera roll and camera memory card after a shoot…)
6. “DOING IT FOR THE ‘GRAM”
Hands up if you’ve ever been to a certain location or worn a certain outfit JUST for Instagram photos? Guilty. However, there is a massive difference in doing something you would do anyway, and taking inspiration from what you see on Instagram, to only doing those things because they’re a ‘trend’. Yes, I’ve got a list saved on my phone of pretty locations to shoot photos in, and cafes I want to visit because they look ‘Instagram worthy’ (cringe), but I would never go anywhere or do something if it wasn’t very ‘me’, in the name of posting a ‘gram photo. I’m all for living our best lives and keeping it real, but not about creating an online persona that’s different to me in real life.
7. IT TAKES TIME
In every aspect of the phrase. The actual work I put into my blog takes a lot more time than I think people realise – especially those who don’t have blogs themselves. Creating content and building an audience is a success in itself, but it is not instant. And that is okay. As long as you work hard and stay true to yourself, the rest will follow, you just have to give it time.
8. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
This is something I’ve noticed more of over the last year, compared to my first year. When I first started my blog, I was posting a couple of times per week, but the quality of the photos were not as good as what I’m producing now, and the posts themselves only had a few lines of text. I may not post as regularly now (and who knows, I may go back to posting a couple of times per week), but my content now (I think/hope) is so much better than it first was, and it’s as a result of spending more time on each post, and remembering that quality is better than quantity.
9. NUMBERS ARE NOT EVERYTHING
I know it’s something we’re all sick and tired of hearing about, and frankly quite silly when you think about the grand scheme of life, but the numbers on your social media do not define you. It does not make you a better person to have one thousand followers on Instagram compared to a couple of hundred. The numbers really are just numbers, and it’s engagement that is key, which I think a lot of people tend to forget about. Brands are starting to realise this, so as long as you have an engaged (and real) following, you’re doing great!
10. THE IMPORTANCE OF INSTAGRAM
I know I just said that numbers are not everything, which is still true, but it’s becoming increasingly popular for people to work with brands through Instagram, over the ‘traditional’ way of blogs. For a lot of people, both bloggers and brands, it’s a quicker and more direct way to collaborate, but you should never forget about your blog, and why you started it in the first place. As important as Instagram is in the current social media world, you never know if/when it might disappear, or is overshadowed by the next big thing. Your blog is YOURS, so keep at it.
11. WHEN YOU TELL PEOPLE YOU’RE A BLOGGER, EXPECT ALL THE QUESTIONS
It’s pretty much a given that when people ask you what you do, and you tell them you’re a blogger, you will get asked a LOT of different and sometimes oddly interesting questions. Although blogs have been around for a number of years, blogging as a career is still fairly new, and it’s only natural people don’t always understand and want to know more. Just be prepared. Only the other day someone said to me “aren’t blogs from like, 2006?” Sigh.
12. DON’T BUY INTO EVERYTHING YOU SEE
Literally. From people buying Instagram followers, to posting their ‘perfect’ lives online, it is NOT always what you think it is. I think it’s fair to say that most of us only post the ‘good’ or interesting parts of our lives for the world to see, but there is so much more to that. It’s not always an accurate representation of someone’s life, and it’s definitely not worth comparing yourself to. Also, yes, some people actually spend their own money on social media followers (remember how I said that numbers are not everything?), so don’t fall into that trap.
13. MODELLING FOR MY BLOG HAS MADE ME HAPPIER THAN BEING A MODEL
Not many of you may know, but before I started my blog, I was a freelance model. I was signed to a hair modelling agency, but that was it. Being 5ft 5.5in, I was too short for most agencies (min 5ft 7in), and too tall for petite modelling (max 5ft 4in). This made finding work incredibly difficult, and often when I did a modelling job, I felt insecure, and almost as though I was being judged. I knew I wanted to keep modelling, because I do enjoy it, but now I have the beauty of styling myself, directing myself, and basically just having creative control over what I do and the images, because they’re for me – my blog and social media. I’m a lot happier modelling for myself (that sounds weird) than I ever was for other people, and I guess it’s because I put less pressure on myself now.
14. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER BLOGGERS AND THEIR SUCCESS
I’ve done it numerous times, and it’s made me feel nothing but negativity towards myself. It’s toxic. People learn and grow at different rates, and that’s normal in any walk of life, but I know how easy it is to fall into the cycle of comparing yourself to those around you, seemingly doing ‘better’ than you. As tough as it can be, try to snap out of that mindset, and use those people as inspiration to work harder and achieve the things you want in life. Everyone had to start at the bottom one day.
15. WRITE FOR YOU AND BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
This is so important, and so easy to get lost in if you find yourself writing to try and please others. Fact is, not everyone will agree with you, or have the same opinion as you, which is why you must always write for yourself, and a genuine audience will follow.
16. IGNORE THE DRAMA
Unfortunately, there is a lot of it in the blogging world, and it only seems to be getting worse. My best advice is to ignore the petty arguments and drama that is not worth your time, but there also seems to be a pressure to use your platform to speak up against certain topics. If your blog is something you take seriously, and your social media reflect that, then it’s best to always stay professional, speak your mind when you feel it’s right, and stay away from the pettiness. I tend to just unfollow and stay away.
17. APPRECIATE YOUR READERS
It sounds obvious, but showing appreciation when your readers or followers leave a comment on a post, or Instagram photo, it’s always polite to reply back, or at least acknowledge it. I admit, I’m not the quickest at replying to comments, but I do make sure to go back and show my appreciation. It’s just common courtesy.
18. INVESTING IN YOUR BLOG IS IMPORTANT
I don’t mean you have to go out and purchase the latest technology and spend hundreds of pounds on equipment, just because you’ve seen someone else do it, but if you want to make a career from your blog, then it is definitely worth investing in things like a domain name, and blog template. Investing also doesn’t just have to be about spending money, you should also invest in some time to reply to comments, etc, like I mentioned in the point above.
19. KNOW YOUR WORTH
This is not the easiest thing to understand, especially when you’re maybe just starting out and unsure on if you should charge for collaborations, or how much to charge. Even I still get confused about knowing my worth, but the main thing to remember is that your blog is something to be proud of, and content creation takes time, so don’t undersell yourself.
20. INSTAGRAM THEMES ARE NOT WORTH THE STRESS
Last year, I barely posted on Instagram for a good few months – towards the beginning/middle of the year – because I didn’t know what ‘theme’ I wanted, or how to achieve it. Crazy, right? I built it up in my mind to be something more than it was, because at the end of the day, people follow you because they like your content, and having a ‘theme’ may look great, but it’s not important if it means you don’t post any more, in case you think people won’t like it. I tend to stick to the same few filters, and use the same editing apps for my photos, but that’s about it, and it works for me.
21. DON’T FORCE IT
If you’re just not feeling like posting, don’t. Putting content out for the sake of it isn’t always the best thing to do – remember the quality over quantity point I made earlier. I haven’t posted much on my blog so far this year, and that’s purely because I’ve struggled with topics to write about. I feel like everything’s been done, and therefore my blog has suffered. As much as I enjoy taking blog photos, I’ve posted more on Instagram this year, but I will definitely not forget about my blog. Taking a break to discover new ideas is always a healthy and productive option, no matter how long it takes.
22. NOT LIKING THE PHOTOS YOU TOOK IS NORMAL
But it’s definitely not a reason to give up. Like I said about getting “the shot” in a few photos, it’s not always possible – especially when you’re in them. You tend to pick at your own flaws, no matter what anyone else says. I love taking photos, but when I have a creative vision in my head (this isn’t some sort of That’s So Raven reference), and I look back at them and don’t see how I’d envisioned it, it can be disappointing and frustrating. You will get there in the end, just keep going.
23. ATTENDING EVENTS CAN BE DAUNTING
No matter how many I’ve been to, my anxiety loves to make me a nervous wreck beforehand. I try and search the event hashtag online before, to see if anyone else is going, and it’s always a good idea to meet up with a few people before it starts, so you can all attend together. It can still be daunting, but it does help. If you DO end up going by yourself (I go to most events alone), it’s okay to be nervous, but try not to let it stop you from going. You’re all there for the same reason after all.
24. EXCITING EMAILS ARE NOT ALWAYS EXCITING
If I had a pound for every email offering me free sunglasses, thousands of “real” Instagram followers/likes, or being part of a mailing list I’d never subscribed to, I’d have enough money to build a sunglasses and fake follower empire. Thankfully, the ‘delete’ button helps with swiftly clearing those out, and other than the odd ‘exciting’ email, the rest of a bloggers inbox is pretty dull. It’s not always as exciting as it seems.
Some of the items I’m wearing in this post are no longer available online, so I have linked the closest products I could find. These are marked with an asterisk. (*)
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