The 10 Most Important Blogging Lessons I’ve Learned From IFB

I don't want to sound like a total sap, but every now and then I have to take stock of my life. I like to reflect back on what's happened, things I've learned, where I've been. I recently surpassed the year-and-a-half mark with Independent Fashion Bloggers, so I thought I'd share some little nuggets of experience and perspective (food for thought) that I've collected along the way.


1. Pitching yourself really works.

After a year and a half at IFB and almost four years writing my own blog, I have seen both sides of these deals and transactions (many times). I've talked with brands big and small, bloggers on at all levels of success – and I can say with confidence that pitching a good idea to the right brand or partner can really work. (Read more about pitching yourself here and here.)

2. Success and celebrity are not the same thing.

I hate to admit that when I first got into blogging, I thought that “making it” was having people (on the Internet) know who you were. I've come to see that treating your blog like a business can bring another kind of success, too: income through advertising and affiliate programs, amazing personal connections with peers and clients, and something you've built that makes you proud.

3. Photography really matters.

Better photos, better blog. Invest in your equipment, practice your craft and you will see your content flourish. I promise. (Find the best of IFB's photography tips here.)

4. You will get out of this exactly what you put in.

I hear a lot from bloggers that they've been working and working at their blog, trying to make it grow – but to no avail. I'm not saying it will happen fast. Hard work is hard, and the fast track isn't always the right one. Even if it feels like no one else can see all the good that you are doing — be patient, stay inspired and stay positive. Focus on  and aim for what you want, not what you think you deserve.

5. Mistakes, however disastrous, will teach you everything.

I've learned exactly zero from all the good things that have happened to me. Sure, successes and happiness make me feel blessed, but it's the mistakes that have actually produced growth. If you slip up, let yourself feel that jilt of failure – because like they say – it's only failure if you don't get back up again. Accept that you made a choice and it's outcome wasn't what you wanted. Don't push off the blame. Dust off that keyboard, that ego, that Twitter account, whatever it is – and soldier on.

6. “Don't dumb down for your readers, raise them up with you.”

This was something that Leandra Medine said at the most recent IFB conference. On this team, we've spent a lot of time going back and forth about finding a balance between what we want and what our readers want. If you want to write more than you want to post pictures – do it. If you want to talk about how the price of cotton is impacting the fashion industry – do it. Make a point, share something unique, contribute something new. Ultimately, if you're not proud of what you're doing and if it's not the best you can do – why do it at all?

7. You can do it alone.

I have gained such an intense admiration for independent bloggers. Do you even realize all that we do? We are the creative directors, the photographers, the digital editors, the staff writers and editors, graphic designers, community managers, social media coordinators and brand ambassadors for our blogs. And we do it all stylishly. That's pretty amazing if you ask me.

8. You can't do it alone.

From working as part of an amazing team at IFB to ingraining myself in this fashion blogging community personally, I've realized that the most important thing I've gained is friends: real people who can really relate to what it is to be a part of this big little niche. If/when the blogging ends, these relationships will remain.

9. Editing is everything.

Your audience, however big or small, is expecting great things from you. Don't ever tell yourself that what you're doing doesn't really matter, and so the little things like grammar, spelling and sentence structure aren't important, because they are important. Producing hundreds of posts for IFB has shown me that I need to learn the difference between it's and its, and if I don't, you guys will call me on it and demand better. Thank you for that!

10. Humility, humor and happiness.

These are the things that matter most to me in blogging (and in life, it seems). For myself, for others, for the content I read – I want these three qualities of humility, humor and happiness. Everything else is superfluous. Stay humble. Relax. Laugh a lot. (This is fashion blogging, after all.) Enjoy yourself and enjoy what you're creating everyday. If it doesn't make you happy? Do something to change it or do something else.

What has blogging taught you?

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25 Responses

  1. Kelly

    I just started blogging literally this week – I’ve flirted with the idea of starting a blog on and off for years now but I always feel I wouldn’t have enough content. I’ve always followed lots of other bloggers and so enjoyed reading their work. In 3 days of blogging, I’ve learned that it’s REALLY hard! Like you said I’ve gained a huge respect for those out there doing it on their own and making a great, creative place for themselves online. I’ve also learned that other bloggers out there are really nice! I’ve asked questions and gotten so much guidance, support and inspiration and that is just awesome in such a competitive world! Posts like this help me soo much, so thank you for that.

  2. Jillian

    “You’re pretty enough for this.”

    When I started my refashioning blog I had a shaved head, was in terrible shape, and really wondered why I was doing it. I have Goldenhar Syndrome and worried that my comment section would be a flood of, “What’s wrong with your face?” I kept seeing all the intensely gorgeous fashion bloggers out there and thought, “You don’t look like them. Why are you setting yourself up for embarrassment?” (my inner voice can be a real douche at times).

    It doesn’t matter what you look like. If you believe in what you’re doing, and if you can be yourself and have a voice in your writing that is unique and true, you’ll do well.

    Content and character are everything. Even in fashion blogging.

  3. Alexandria Adair

    Thanks for all this insight! I’ve just started blogging and it seems like the more I learn — the more I realize I still need to learn. I love that this process of self-growth is ongoing. Just a few months in, I’m still searching to find my voice, and definitely looking for friends in the community.

  4. Michaela d'Artois

    you are constantly inspiring and supporting so many of us bloggers as you go! You have done a great job creating content and advice that keeps many of us afloat!

    Thanks again for being awesome!

  5. Zelda

    I like these blogging lessons. When it’s hard and I’m wondering who is reading the blog, I remember what motivated me to start: fashion is a topic that I can talk about all day, being proud of a body of work that I (mostly alone) have produced, and having a set of beautiful photographs to look back on when I’m old. All these motivations are for me — the most important (and sometimes only) reader.

  6. Joy

    Thanks for summarizing everything down so well. Great reminder and check list even if you’ve been blogging for a while.

  7. Nadya Helena

    6,7,8 are the points I really can’t exaggerate more. Sometimes I do think that my readers want more images. I’m more of a writer girl, so when I write about something interesting, boy do I really WRITE a lot. I’ve had some of my readers (and friends) tell me to squeeze in more pics. I do what they suggest, but I still write a whole lot though.

    Doing it alone can be quite frustrating. You’re also your personal assistant who writes every schedule yourself, a personal motivator, and a personal comedian at times. Having real life blogging friends are definitely a golden peach

    eyeshadow illustrator

  8. Terra Robins

    Great lessons! I as well learned so much from this site, especially 2, 4, & 10


  9. Gabrielle teare

    Great lessons. Also join up with other people and learn together. Follow blogs you like, watch traffic in Try and work out why one post is mega popular and another is pants! The camera is so important I have just been to London Fashion week I have a great camera and this season my photos were not good devastated! I may take some lessons. The lighting is so bad .

  10. Christine-Desiree

    Just pretend no one is reading. Do it FOR YOU. Make it into some diary and a collection of amazing pictures. If people love it great, if not continue.

    bye xxx

  11. Kathleen Lisson

    I know you focus more on fashion bloggers than personal style blogger, but as a personal style blogger, I can say blogging has taught me a lot about my own wardrobe.

    LOOKING a photos of myself showed me the dresses that were and were NOT working for my figure. I looked at fashion with a more educated eye once I adopted the viewpoint that I might want to feature or not feature the new style on my blog. I have also looked more critically at my own closet and wardrobe organization has improved!

    My blog focuses on hats, so I also learned a lot about how other people view hat wearers and what my reader’s insecurities and dreams are when it comes to this accessory.


  12. Daniela Lazo

    My name is Daniela, I am living the life I have in Peru, I’m a designer and I love what I do, wannabe photographer and downhill skateboard racer, I am a writer in my own blog, but above it all I am a dreamer and I dream big.