Sunday was my fun 10 Year Blogging Anniversary post, today is that mushy post I promised (well slightly mushy).
I started my blog as a creative outlet while I was switching jobs at 22 and never did I ever think I’d still be doing it ten years later. The industry itself has COMPLETELY changed (in 2010 there was no Instagram or Pinterest) and honestly so have I, which has led to my interests and niches shifting! I feel like we all “grew up” together (my readers and myself) so it was only natural that my blog grew up too! In 2010 we all were interested in the latest beauty trends and what to wear out with friends, and now while we’re still interested in those things we’re also interested in home decor inspiration, travel itineraries and skincare concerns.
I’ll be forever grateful for the people I’ve met along the way and the opportunities that have presented themselves over these years. So whether you’ve been a reader for years or just found me recently I want to say THANK YOU!!
After 10 years of blogging, I’ve made mistakes, learned from them, grew a lot, learned a lot and much much more. There are so many things that I want to share with you, but I broke it down into 8 things I WISH I knew when I started blogging. I often get asked “how do you start a blog” and while there’s no simple answer to that question, these 8 bullet points should offer some insight into the blogging world!
8 Things I wish I knew when I started blogging:
PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION
THIS! I am SUCH a perfectionist, so much so that I was afraid to ever show my progress. I would wait and wait and wait to post certain things because they weren’t perfect or “right” or done, and then once they were, not only did I lose interest, but I’m sure my audience did too.
If you take one thing away from this post have it be to not wait until things are “perfect” to post them. Progress is real life, perfection is NOT. Your followers and readers are invested in what you’re posting, they want to see the steps as well as the end result!
START SHARING HOME CONTENT EARLIER
This touches on the progression over perfection bullet from above! When I lived in my first apartment I never shared home content (despite people always commenting on it) because my apartment never felt “done” and because I felt like I needed to stay in this perfect little Fashion & Beauty niche for some reason. That was SOOO stupid!
And then when I bought my apartment and started renovating I shared on Instagram stories, but didn’t actually start creating content until almost 8 months after buying my home! 8 MONTHS!!! What is wrong with me?? I never felt like the space was completely decorated and I didn’t want to share until I was done, but NEWSFLASH my apartment will never be “done” and people want to see the progress! I know I love seeing progress photos of other people’s renovations and home decor so I’m not sure what stopped me from sharing my own.
STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK
10 years ago most people had no idea what a blog was (honestly some people still don’t), and when I tried to explain what I was doing they were very confused to say the least. Most people thought (and still do think) that all I do is take pictures of myself all day. While taking photos is surely a PART of the job, it’s definitely not the only thing I do.
It’s funny to think about now because a lot of people that silently and not so silently judged me and were confused by this whole blogging thing I was doing are now the people that ask me questions about social media, websites, photography, etc.
I definitely stopped caring about what other people thought about my blogging career a long time ago, but in the beginning it was really hard to brush it off. Try your hardest to not let the little things get you down at first, it definitely gets easier over time.
TRY NEW THINGS
I touched on this above, but for so long I tried to stay in this perfect little “Fashion & Beauty” niche and even though I had other interests outside of that I didn’t really stray on my blog. Now that I’ve completely transitioned to more of a Lifestyle blog that covers more than just fashion and beauty I’m truly happier and wish I would’ve done it sooner. I think now with multiple social media platforms at our disposal it’s easier to diversify content and niches so if you feel like your followers are responding well to something on a certain platform I’d definitely consider adding it into rotation. For example, before I started creating travel guides on my blog I would share snippets from trips on my Instagram stories. When followers started responding well to them, I started adding travel photo diaries to my blog which then developed into travel guides and packing guides AND working with hotels and visitors bureaus.
Also I’m a firm believer in giving things a chance. If you try something new, whether it be a new type of post, a new lipstick shade or a new product, if it doesn’t work, you MOVE ON and try something else. No harm, no foul. You might have stumbled upon a great new idea or that new type of content you tried might just be what sets you apart from others!
MAKE BLOGGER FRIENDS & BUILD A LOCAL COMMUNITY
I swear for the first 2 or so years of blogging I barely spoke to another blogger, remember back then it wasn’t as easy to connect as it is today. I read a lot of other blogs and sometimes left comments, but I didn’t really make blogging friends for a few years and I didn’t even think about building a local community until recently.
Once I became more active on social media I made internet friends with girls all over the country, but it wasn’t until I started going to events to network that I really made actual friends. And let me tell you forming a connection and becoming REAL FRIENDS with people in the blogging community made a WORLD OF A DIFFERENCE in my career. We completely transparent with each other and actual HELP each other! I’ve learned SO much just from having actual conversations with other bloggers. This whole world is new so there’s really no guidelines for a lot of stuff we do and having someone to bounce ideas off of, make sure pricing is right and opportunities are fair is invaluable.
As for building a local community, 10 years ago there wasn’t one in Westchester so when I first started I identifying myself as a NYC blogger or a NY blogger because there was a community there. I’m very glad I did because I met a TON of amazing friends by doing that, but the NYC market is oversaturated (even 7 years ago), so when more bloggers started popping up in Westchester I was SO happy! Plus this area is kind of an untapped market, so we’re really the first of our kind here.
CREATING CONTENT ISN’T GOING TO GET YOU ANYWHERE IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET PEOPLE TO SEE IT
I used to crank out content 5 days a week because I thought “that’s what bloggers did” but it doesn’t matter how much content you create if people aren’t reading it. I wish I spent half the amount of time I used to spend creating content, promoting it and getting people to read it. Back in my early years there weren’t as many social media outlets for promotion as there are now, BUT there were plenty of other websites to submit content to and I never fully took advantage of all of them!
I also wish I learned SEO optimization early on! It’s so so so important and I really only started learning it when I redesigned my blog in 2016. If you’re a new blogger that is reading this post, INVEST IN SEO TRAINING! It is THE MOST important part of blogging.
VIDEO VIDEO VIDEO
I wish wish wish I would’ve just silenced that voice inside me that made me second guess my ability to create videos in the beginning. I hated the sound of my voice (I still do) and the thought of tackling the Youtube world scared me so I stayed away and it’s one of my biggest regrets. First off, VIDEO IS KING, and over the past few years I’ve really enjoyed creating video content (even if it’s just on Instagram stories) because it really gives people a chance to get to know you (more on that later). And now that I’ve dived into the world of IGTV and editing videos I realized not only is it so fun, but it really gives my followers a chance to get to know me.
And let’s be serious people may love the pretty photos of your blog posts or Instagram, but less than 10% of people are actually reading what you write. Videos have a way better chance of being informative and being watched!
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING YOU SHARE SHOWS YOUR PERSONALITY
I’m not going to lie, before 2018 I rarely let my personality shine through my content, which was a HUGE mistake! Ever since I started writing in a more conversational voice it has made a world of a difference in my connection to my audience. I’m not afraid to be funny and a little sarcastic and curse sometimes, because guess what…that’s what I’m like in real life.
My photos and content have become “less serious” and it has made a HUGE DIFFERENCE. I feel so much more comfortable creating, but also I’m finding it comes more naturally. Over the past year my content has become much more “real” and I absolutely love it!