Monday, April 29, 2019

What I've Learned in My First Year of Blogging

I have been thinking about writing this post since the moment I started creating my blog, or maybe even a little sooner. As an avid blog reader, I've read so many bloggers do recaps throughout their blogging journey of the things they've learned, their mistakes, and their accomplishments, so my inspiration for this post definitely started there. 

To recap, I started creating my blog in March of 2018, and went live with my blog finally on June 24th of 2018. Since then, I have learned countless things from actually creating this space to what goes into creating a quality post and in today's post I'm sharing what has really stood out for me in this last year.

Grab a glass of wine because this one is a little lengthy but I hope it really gives some insight on blogging and my journey in general.

In one sentence though: What I've learned in my first year of blogging is simply that, blogging is hard work and bloggers don't get the amount of credit for what they do, especially those that have created a business and brand for themselves.


I'll be honest, I didn't fully understand what all goes into blogging when I started. Sure, I had read a few posts here and there talking about what bloggers do, but there's so much that goes into it that you may not realize. 

One of my favorite bloggers, Dana Mannarino, creator of The Champagne Edit, did an amazing piece on this specific topic alone and goes into great detail of what exactly a blogger does, so if you think bloggers just take pretty pictures and make easy money, think again and go read that post. I guarantee you will leave with a different outlook.

In summary though, bloggers have to constantly come up with new ideas and create quality content and with that comes writing, linking products, taking photos, editing photos, maintaining a schedule, working with other bloggers and creating collaborations or partnerships with different brands, handling and promoting on social media accounts, updating their website (and doing all the tech-savvy things that come with that) all while constantly trying to find a way to stand out in a sea of other bloggers or influencers.

Now I will say I certainly don't have nearly that much on my plate as a blogger - it's about half of that, but for most and those that are more successful, it's all of those things and then some. To say the least, it can be very time consuming and while many of those bloggers are full time, there are also plenty that have a full time job and this is their side hustle (Dana included) - so if that doesn't put it into perspective, I don't know what will.


I had no clue how huge the blogging community was, and it's only continuing to grow. Even when I first started following blogs I had followed a few here and there, but when I really started getting into it - I realized it has turned into a huge industry. Instagram has played a huge role in this as if you have a following there, it's likely you can grow your blog into a business, and in the last several years, this industry has grown immensely. This does make it more difficult like I said above to stand out in a sea of other bloggers, but the thing is this: everyone is different and everyone has their own voice. Meaning that there's plenty of room for you too if it's something you want to pursue. 


Do I eventually want to turn this blog into some sort of side business? Yes - I would be lying to you if I said I didn't - that would be awesome if that's what it led to. However, if I never make a dime off this blog, I'll still be happy because to put it simply, I'm passionate about it. One of the main things that successful bloggers preach is to not do it for the money, do it because you find joy in it. I know I sound like Mario Kondo now (hopefully you get the reference) but seriously - if blogging does not bring you joy, don't do it! And if you know that you'll be happy regardless, I say GO FOR IT!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: creating this space was one of the best things I've ever done for myself. Opening that door to have a creative outlet has not only brought me joy, but it's given me a sense of passion, purpose, and confidence that I didn't have before. 


Although blogging has given me more confidence, it's still difficult to put yourself out there because what you may find to be interesting may not interest others.

In the beginning, this was probably one of the scariest things for me going into this. It was the fear - the fear that no one would care, no one would read it, or people I went to high school with or whomever would judge me or make fun of what I was trying to do. But remember what Babe Ruth said, "Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game." Honestly, this quote is what played over and over in my head and convinced me that I had to just go for it.

Going further, even after getting over the fear of going public with my blog and finally revealing what I had been working on, you still have to put yourself out there, every day. In order to grow, you have to promote the heck out of yourself. Growing a genuine following is not easy, so that means you have to constantly share what's going on with your blog on multiple social media platforms. For me, that was intimidating and still is sometimes, but I have to remember why I'm doing this and if people don't want to follow along, let them go because they aren't who you want following you anyway. Do I want a larger following? Of course I do. However, I would much rather have a small genuine following than a larger one with few who actually care to read my content.

With this point, it goes on to say that blogging has taught me to care less about what people think and to just be me. It's something I've struggled with all throughout my teenage years well into my adult life, so it's another thing I'm thankful I learned from starting this blog.


This one is definitely one of the MOST valuable things I've heard, and I stand by it completely. If you are a blogger and you feel this way too, I think you're doing it right. Honestly, nothing irks me more than bloggers who just follow to unfollow you on Instagram in order to grow their following. I understand it's an easy way to grow your following and still keep the amount of people you follow low, I just don't really support it as I find it to be an annoying method and not very supportive of other bloggers.  

Moving on to engagement: If you like the content someone puts out there, let them know. Like, comment, message, share, etc. Feedback is so beneficial, and you commenting or messaging someone to share how much you enjoyed a post or whatever, means so much to that blogger. It goes back to the saying, "Treat others how you want to be treated." I know it feels like I'm going back to kindergarten here, but I stand by that when it comes to the blogging community. Be kind, supportive, and encouraging. 


Although I've learned so much this year, there is always more to learn and more ways to grow. Therefore you have to continuously challenge yourself to learn new things, and find ways to stand out. I am constantly researching new ways to spruce up my blog. Each day, I become more efficient in resources like Canva, Lightroom, Tailwind, and even Pinterest. With that said, DO YOUR RESEARCH. When I first started, I googled just about everything. I read so many posts on blogging tips from other bloggers, and watched countless YouTube tutorials on how to do things for my website, and you can still find me doing those things all the time.

And because I'm always learning more, you can bet you'll see more posts like this in the future. Just as I learn new things, I want to share more and spread that knowledge to you too. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and please let me know if you have any questions or topics you'd like me to discuss on the blog!

If you're a blogger, what's something you learned during your first year or even at all throughout your journey?! I'd love to hear from you!

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