June 28th was officially my one year blogiversary! Click here to see my first official blog post. I’ve come a long way in one year, so I’ve been trying to think of a blogiversary post that would be thoughtful and sincere, with a hint of comedy. I got the post idea after I had attended a Houston Fashion Bloggers event at Macy’s a few weeks ago. I met a fellow blogger who was just starting out and she asked me for my advice for blogging and what I’ve learned along the way. Since I’ve started my blog, I’ve always felt like a newbie just fumbling through the blog world and struggling to find my own voice. It wasn’t until someone asked me my advice on blogging that I realized that I do, in fact, know what I’m doing (for the most part!). So thank you to Sara for inspiring my one year blogiversary post! Here are some of my favorite tips that I’ve learned over the past year, as well as some of my favorite outtakes:
1. Blogging is like taking on a part-time job without getting paid for it. Ya’ll, blogging consumes all my free time. Sure, all you see is pretty pictures on the internet. But what you don’t see is hours and hours of work I put behind each post. You have to plan outfits, take photos, edit photos, write posts, update social media, visit other blogs, reply to emails, design your site, search for sponsorships, keep up on trends, go to events, the list goes on. It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. I do make some money off my blog, but everything that I earn I invest back into my blog through advertising or design help. I’m not complaining, because I love having this creative outlet, but it’s so much more time consuming than I could’ve ever imagined. This is why I only post 2-3 times a week. I honestly don’t know how other bloggers post every day. Mad props to them!
2. Readers love an honest blogger. You know how sometimes you love a certain blogger not necessarily because of their outfits, but because they’re honest and genuine? There are several bloggers that I feel that way about. Sure, their outfits are cute, but mostly I just want to be their friend. I’m not sure why it took so long for me to realize that maybe that’s what readers were looking for in my blog too. Over the past few months I’ve tried to open up a little more and keep it real on here. The response has been so overwhelmingly positive, and I’ve been making much more authentic connections with other bloggers lately. Everybody wins!
3. It’s OK to be a little cynical. Obviously, you should always be thinking about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to your blog. However – it’s also OK to think that about other blogs. Is there something another blogger does that really irritates you? Have you ever seen another blogger get nasty comments on their posts? Take that, and learn from it. I will absolutely admit that I love to read the GOMI forums. I don’t condone the “mean girl” mentality by any means, but seeing people’s honest, anonymous feelings about other bloggers can really make you have a come to Jesus moment with yourself. I can’t tell you how many lessons I have learned from reading that site. The main takeaway lessons seem to be: 1) don’t bitch out your readers 2) always disclose c/o items 3) don’t wear terrible outfits 4) don’t copy other bloggers and 5) use spell check.
4. Taking blog photos is not very glamorous. Sometimes I just flat out don’t want to do it (see photo above!). Other times I am super pumped about an outfit, but the elements are working against me (dang wind!). The worst time was when I was horribly sick with a cold and an ear infection on my birthday, but I forced myself to take pics anyway (see photo below). I was caught sneezing in every 10 or so shots, not to mention the look on my face that day screamed pure misery. Sometimes us bloggers are just not up for pictures, but we do it anyway. If we don’t keep churning out the posts, there are thousands of other bloggers who will. We have to stay on top of our game at all times.
5. Your readers won’t pay your bills. The blog world is so consumed by “Buy this! Buy that! Buy all the things!” but I don’t personally have the budget to keep up with everyone else. It is very frustrating to see popular bloggers wearing outfits that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking “If only I had a more expensive wardrobe, people would like my blog better.” Even if that is true, it doesn’t matter. My readers don’t pay my bills. It is up to me to set a budget that works for my income and to not get tempted by what’s going on around me.
6. Know your brand and stick with it. Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you start to realize your strengths. You should definitely be asking yourself “What is the purpose of my blog?” and “What do I want readers to gain by coming here?”. Throughout the past year I’ve realized that I have a few labels that have stuck – I’m a budgeting blogger, a career woman, and an average body size. I’m great at helping people find affordable pieces, showing what to wear to work, and how to dress for a curvier shape. Some things I’m not so good at: keeping up with high end labels, being a fashion expert, etc. I know my brand, and my readers expect to find that kind of content on my blog. If I suddenly started posting my (non-existent) work out routines, I don’t think I would have a great response to that.
7. Be patient, you will get better! I’m constantly asking myself how I can make my blog better because I want to make sure that it’s always growing. Starting a blog can be frustrating when you’re trying to figure out why the heck your pictures aren’t as pretty as Kendi’s. I still wish my pictures were as pretty as hers, but I know that my photos are a lot better than they were last year! It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m getting there.
8. Doing what you love is an incredible gift. I recently ran into an old coworker who had found my blog and she said to me “Now I know what your true passion really is.” That’s not to say that I don’t love research (my day job), but blogging has given me the creative outlet that I have been missing in adulthood. This blog is a place where I can truly be myself and meet other fabulous like-minded people. I love being able to escape into the blog world at the end of my work day and just think about clothes…my favorite thing in the world (besides kittens).