Defining Success for Your Blog

style icons, forever 21 style icons, super fashion bloggers

When I write posts for IFB, they're often inspired by conversations I'm having with community members or my own personal thoughts. One that has come up a LOT lately is success– our desire for success, our resentment towards our own “lack” of success (or towards the success of others), and our desires for fame & infamy within our niche.

 

Many bloggers create a blog, wanting success from it.  What they don't know, or sometimes even think about, is what that success is for them.  Sometimes they overlook the planning and work that needs to go into it.  Success as a blogger is equal parts luck and working your ass off.   Before we lament about our lack of success, we need to KNOW what success is for us and what we need to do in order to become successful.  Many bloggers see traffic as a means of and the path to success, but fail to recognize their own successes along the way.

 

What IS success to you?

  • Is quitting your loathsome full-time job to write full-time?  (Or even quitting your awesome full-time job to write full-time?)
  • Or do you want to sell a few banner ads each month to support your shopping habit?
  • You may be wanting to work with major brands to promote their products.
  • It could be launching your modeling career, your design career, or your styling career (or insert career path of choice).  Or even gaining a great internship with a company you like.
  • You may want to pick up freelancing work to supplement your income.
  • Is it owning multiple blogs and creating a media company?
  • Or is it as simple as building a great, interactive following of readers?

 

If your definition of success is one of the above, there's a great chance that with a ton of hard work, great connections, and confidence, you can make it happen.  If your idea of success is making tons of money, being the face of a brand, and becoming the next Fashion Toast/Cherry Blossom Girl/Sea of Shoes/Glamourai, chances are you're going to be let down.  I believe that there is plenty of room for successful women in fashion blogging, but you're only going to be great by being yourself and building a business that is true to your values– not by emulating super bloggers.

 

A few great ladies shared with me their own personal goals and definitions of success on their blogs (via Twitter):

@shoedaydreams: All I want is some friends to talk to about shoes and clothes and fun stuff. No one here is really into it.

@myheartblogged: My definition is building an engaged community & creating discussion. I don't have an end goal of living off my blog.  I do think my blog will evolve over time. So it's good for me not to put in a box, and say it's just one thing.

@mrsbossa: Personally? To become bloody good [at writing]. In a wider sense? To have helped people to think differently.

@madetotravel: Every click on a link I recommend is a success for me. I feature ethical brands & a goal for me is to get them more love.

@mmarzipan: Lots of inspired chatter. I'm all about the conversation starting. Then, I feel like I'm doing a good job.

@slowsouthstyle: Tough question because my goals change as I grow. Right now its achieving success as a (paid) freelance writer. The blog has helped me gain exposure & serves as a quasi online portfolio. Eventually I'd like to have sponsors in a full time capacity, but I don't want to sacrifice the integrity of the site with running just any old ad.

 

Christy of Slow Southern Style and My Heart Blogged both make a great point about how your goals and definition of success should change as your blog grows.  As your site evolves, and as you meet your previous ideas of success, you should reevaluate what success now means and how to reach those new goals.  When I first began my site, my pie in the sky dream was that maybe one day I'd get a free pair of shoes.  I worked hard at trying to write regularly and meet other bloggers.  Four years later, while I've gotten a free pair of shoes, my goals have become vastly different– to now include things like developing relationships with companies, picking up freelance writing work, and continuing to grow my blog network.

 

 

What is your own definition of success for your blog? What are your short-term goals to becoming successful and your long term goals?

 

 

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44 Responses

  1. Camille

    When I started, I just wanted my blog to be about what inspires me and how creativity is everywhere. Now I think of it as a mirror of my style. I used to think that doing it for myself is okay. Now nothing makes me happier than hearing from my readers.

    Reply
    • Ashe Mischief

      I love that you mentioned doing it for yourself vs. hearing from your readers and how that’s changed! I know that definitely has for me as well.

      Reply
  2. Bella Q

    As always I can count on you Ashe to write thoughtful and helpful posts here on IFB. I’ve been thinking about where I’m heading lately, and where I want my blog to go/grow. You’ve reminded me to update my vision and be clear of where I want to go. I agree with Vanessa of My Heart Blogged, community is such a huge part of what I consider success.

    Reply
  3. the clothing menu

    This is a great topic! And interesting to hear other people’s goals. I definitely change my goals all of the time. At first it was to just have fun and learn more about social media to help my full-time job. That worked because I got a new position working on social media full-time! So now I’m figuring out what my next goal is. For now it’s just for fun and to keep up with what’s going on in fashion.

    Reply
  4. Jaime @ Denim Debutante

    You know, it’s part having my own outlet, part meeting new people (like Ashe – :D)…

    But mostly? It fulfills a need for me to have someplace where nobody yells at me about what I’m wearing, what I weigh (though I get that one quite frequently still) or what I *should* be writing about.

    I liken it to owning a house. It’s mine, I don’t have to share it or pay rent to someone. I can do what I want in it and hey, guess what? If someone doesn’t like it – they can leave. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Daniel Dunt

    When I began blogging my main aim was simply to have a handful of people who could communicate with me and show an interest in what I like and the type of things I follow. Now my blog is more of a confidence booster; yes, I may not be the most confident guy going yet coming home from school and having an email or comment from a reader telling me how much they liked the post and having a little input really makes my day (or week) and the contact with designers and other fantastic bloggers is simply a bonus. – Daniel Dunt

    Reply
  6. MJ

    This was a great post!! I’ve been thinking a lot about what I wanted to do and where I want to take my blog. A lot of times we get caught up in the successess of others, that we forget to take a step back and:

    1. Acknowledge our own blogging accomplishments

    2. What you want to achieve outside of everyone else.

    Great things to think about!

    Reply
  7. Sherri

    Thank you for this post. I needed to read that. It’s so easy to get caught up in how many followers you have and the stats etc. You can quickly forget why you started blogging the first place. I definitely started blogging for myself, as an outlet from the sometimes hum-drum of being a stay-at-home-mom. I love to blog and share what I’ve discovered and what I love with others. That’s why I started and that’s why I’ll continue to blog.
    Sherri

    Reply
  8. Kimi

    I agree with My Heart Blogged. The best part of blogging is interacting with and getting to know other people. I’ve gained friends through blogging I never would have met IRL! Though I do not blog with the intention of going pro, I certainly wouldn’t turn down free clothes or shoes if they aligned with my personal style.

    Reply
  9. lisa

    Interesting topic! For me “success” has always been defined in terms of how many new opportunities my current pursuits can create for me. If I’m doing writing for my blog, can my blog serve as a portfolio piece for other writing gigs for online magazines? If I’m writing for online magazines, can I somehow leverage that experience and pitch paid articles to editors at large mainstream print publications? I achieved the latter this year with a full-page article in the June 2011 issue of Flare magazine, which was a HUGE accomplishment. But if I’m to follow the definition of success I’ve followed all along (a pursuit that creates new opportunities), I shouldn’t see that as an end but rather the means to accomplish something else. 🙂

    Reply
  10. Slow Southern Style

    Hey now! Thanks for the mention.

    You know it is really funny because today I was doing something that most bloggers would love to do (photoshoot for a feature in the local newspaper!) and while I’m extremely excited and flattered they chose to feature me alongside a few other ladies I realized that sometimes I lose sight in celebrating what I’ve already accomplished. It is really easy to get into a self defeating mentality when comparing yourself to bloggers who have made the “big time”.

    We are such a goal driven society and I think bloggers are so self made, in either some or all aspects of their lives, that we often forget to revel in the good things we have done instead of just focusing on what’s next. Growing a blog from zero readers to even just a handful is rewarding. Sometimes I’m still amazed that people are interested in reading what I have to say and it has been almost two years since I started doing this!

    Reply
  11. Roan

    Success in blogging for me is simply having the courage to put yourself in the “public” while sharing thoughts and things you love but some people may not like or agree with. While some have monetary goals for their blog, mine’s personal (though I’d love to earn from it, I think my blog and I aren’t ready and equipped for it yet). Though my blog and I aren’t popular and the most stylish, just the blog’s existence is a success for me.

    Reply
  12. alyssa

    I would just love to be a successful blogger! Blogging has become apart of me and I know I’m young, but I have so many fashion/interior dreams and yeah. I hope that made sense haha.

    Reply
  13. Emi Love

    For me, looking at the numbers rise and seeing that people continuously return to see what I post on my blog is always a way of success for me. I have yet to reach a year on either of my blogs and yet I feel that I’ve grown so much and having that outlet has helped so much. Getting comments is even better because I do want to bring about conversation and take full advantage of this new medium that we have that allows us to tell stories as well as interact with their creators in the process in a way that would not have been possible a decade or so ago.

    For long term goals, though, I hope that this will help me as a writer and journalist as well as serve as an archive to who I am for myself and others to see. I wish to continue sharing my own ideas and inspiring others. I hope to continue interacting with other bloggers and getting feedback from them as well as my non-blogging readers. I do hope that freelance opportunities will come through it, but that’s the extreme dream.

    Reply
  14. nrc

    My goal is to have an interactive community with other bloggers were we can talk share and support each other anything else is a plus.

    Reply
  15. Trivia Wonder

    Nice post 🙂
    My blog is very much me but without the shy side of the real me. I have goals but i don’t know exactly what i want by blogging. It’s great to know that people like my selections, so i think what makes me happier about my blog is that people have access to beautiful, useful and creative stuff. One of those topics (“You may want to pick up freelancing work to supplement your income.”) is also on my mind since i’m an artist and i love photography.
    Well, i’m happy that some people appreciate my posts and my way of expressing myself. Sure, i would also like some free shoes and trips but that’s a totally different story ;P

    Reply
  16. sharde

    I hope to one day have such a following that when I wear an outfit, or post a tutorial, I get emails or feedback saying that they actually did it- not that it was just inspiring. I love inspiring people.

    Reply
  17. Diane

    I wanted to blog because I love to write. Also,I love clothes,beauty and fashion. A friend kept telling me I needed to blog,that I was meant to do this. I get great satisfaction when someone reads my blog. It is also very gratifying when someone says they like my work. I have fun writing about the above topics and that is the ultimate feeling.

    Reply
  18. Alisha Ross

    I started blogging because one of my friends did and got very successful. She started earning lots of money and getting great fashion connections from it, such as working with huge brands. I wanted that too, so I set up my blog unaware of the blogging world.

    Since then I have realised that although the freebies and money would be great, I actually just want to make some sort of impact on peoples lives. When other bloggers say they love my blog, it makes me so happy. So my blogging ambitions have got smaller rather than larger. Such a good article as everyone needs to know what their ambition for their blog should be.

    Reply
  19. Helen

    My main reason for blogging is to keep the skills I learnt on my journalism degree even though I’ve decided to go into something else now! Also it’s fun to have a project, to get inspiration from others, to meet the sweetest people and to always push myself to wear stylish clothes and visit interesting places.

    Reply
  20. de la Pen

    Awesome post and something I’ve been struggling with since I started blogging three years ago, success. With my first blog, The Loudest Pen Ever all I wanted was for ppl to read my site and get massive comments. I gained a readership although I never did crazy traffic on that site. Then I started the blog I have now and I started it solely because I wanted a place to talk about fashion. Somehow it started doing pretty decent traffic and my name was officially “out there” although I’m no famous blogger by far.

    I love my new site de la Pen but recently I’ve stopped obsessing over traffic b/c my definition of success has again changed. I like having the site b/c I love fashion and I get to go to cool events and do all kinds of product reviews. But since I have a new business I don’t have as much time to blog anymore. I’m now doing PR amongst many other things so my focus has changed so I’m happy with the traffic my site does & that ppl RT me, etc. That to me is success.

    Reply
  21. the fashion turd

    ooohhhh a tricky one!!…urm, to continue enjoying it i guess, and for it never to become a chore!…to continue to make wicked outfit post, to engage with more and more lovely readers…and to get some more professional writing work along the way…all of which are happening so im super happy!

    Reply
  22. kd

    I started my blog as a way of flushing out my brands design idea’s and influences. Also, as a way of keeping my fans abreast of the direction of my brand. It has helped immensely in that area and for the people that follow I am extremely grateful.

    Reply
  23. Nakia Durant

    For me it’s being a one-stop shop for fashion lovers not able to reach out and touch such fashion in New York and Paris. I use my blog as a looking glass for people who are just looking for inspiration. That can be a bright-eyed design student with only a g-street and a book of designs, or a young girl in a rural area with no means to get her hands on a fashion magazine.

    I’m also tapping into the small fashion bubble in my area which is exciting to see and be a part of. I write my blog because it keeps fashion alive in me.

    Reply
  24. Eleanor

    My main priority is to be a great writer. I would like to be witty, heartwarming, articulate and well-read. More than that, I want to be prolific, writing about music, fashion and culture as well as producing documentaries and podcasts that people are excited about.

    I cannot see what financial success can be gained from my blog, but perhaps I cannot do something that is both creative and financially viable. Not yet, at least. Maybe that will come in time, with greater conviction in my taste and my ability to do produce work of high quality.

    Reply
  25. Plami

    Great article! Definitely got me thinking! I believe almost every fashion blogger dreams to be the next Fashion Toast… For me it would be good if I engage my readers and see that what I post is interesting to them and of course it would be great if my blogs helps my career in some way 🙂

    XoXO
    Plami

    http://fashion-thrill.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  26. Jane_LoveMakesTheGirl

    I loved reading this article. I’m always interested in tips about working towards a “successful” blog. Some of the most valuable bits of advice I’ve found, like mentioned in this article, is to be authentic and to blog about what you care about. It would wonderful to reap financial or social rewards from blogging, but the bloggers I admire the most are those who seem so happy to be doing something they genuinely love.

    Reply
  27. Elle

    Great post as usual Ashe- mine would simply be to create articles on topics I’m passionate about that I/others would want to read- and to foster community and discussion.

    Reply
  28. Rachel C.

    Excellent post. I was just reflecting on what blogging means to me last week when doing an FAQ post on my own blog, responding to questions regarding blogging. What started as an aside and a means to promote my business has turned into something that has enabled me to be part of a community and build real life friendships that inspire me on a daily basis. It’s such a treasure to have that in my life! A free pair of shoes would be pretty cool, too. 🙂

    Reply
  29. Konstantine

    Such a great article!
    For me success is to have some dear followers that actually REALLY like my style and way of life and not only read my blog because they want me to follow them back.
    I travel a lot and I want to share that with people all over the world. I love taking pictures and blogging is a great way to show them to more people (then just to my friends and family).
    Btw: I you find it hard to understand what I’m trying to say: I’m german 😀

    Reply
  30. Any Second Now

    My only goal when I re-started my blog was to give tips on where I shop for myself and my son, where I get my wardrobe, and show my creative side (through art, music & cooking) to my friends and family because I’m always being asked “where did you get THAT?” Now, like Bella, My Heart Blogged and others, I’m discovering this wonderful community of supportive fashion-minded people. I love interacting with this community.

    I’ve also re-discovered my love for writing. I recently did an interview with a local cafe owner, and it was fun! I’m a visual arts major, so this also allows me to re-discover my photographic eye.

    There are a few perks that come out of blogging, but that’s just the icing on the cake for me.

    Great artcle! Lots of food for thought.

    xoxo
    Cyrillynn

    Reply
  31. Fajr | Stylish Thought

    “I believe that there is plenty of room for successful women in fashion blogging, but you’re only going to be great by being yourself and building a business that is true to your values– not by emulating super bloggers”

    This Right Here!

    Reply
  32. Yessica

    wow! this is i called helpful post! i just started a blog, and after read your post, i feel inspired!

    Reply
  33. Sarah/Destrehan's Daughter

    I started my blog to meet new people, be more open and creative, and really see my physical self to build self-confidence. As I have learned to accept myself and find more people to connect with offline and online, I feel lots of success. Looking back after the first year really was a big deal especially after seeing how much weight I had lost and how much more concise my style was. I’ve honed in on what I like and what I can feel professional and creative in at work and outside of it.

    Reply
  34. Lou Jones

    I started my blog because I wanted to visually document what people were wearing in my hometown. I think it will be very interesting to look back on it in several years time.
    I would be honoured if anyone in the industry used the blog as inspiration – that’s a big compliment and I guess that would be the definition of success for me. 🙂

    Reply
  35. Paula

    I’ve started a fashion blog only just yesturday on blogspot, I don’t know alot about fashion but I enjoy watching what happens in the fashion industry. And my idea was to write about fashion and to be honest I didn’t know where to begin. After reading the post of bloggers and success, I know what I have…. want to do in other words. I’ll blog about styles that interest me and things within fashion that inspire me. Glad I read this post 🙂

    Reply
  36. Ana

    I went through the questions posed until this:
    “Or is it as simple as building a great, interactive following of readers?” – and it instantly rang as true.

    One of my favourite blogs has under 150 subscribers, but each post has 10 comments or more with new insight, curious stories or just witty responses.

    While I won’t say it’s “more” successful than the blog with a 1000 followers but only 5 comments that go along the lines of “Great post!”, its success is something that speaks to me more than the second one.

    Reply