3 Things You Have to STOP Doing to be a Blogging Success

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One of the things I love most about the fashion blogging world is how positive it is. Generally speaking, people are upbeat, friendly, and have a ‘can-do' attitude. Sometimes, however, all that positivity can get in the way of good advice and honest criticism. No one likes to hear about places they can improve, but often, that's the only path to improvement (after all, how can you fix a problem you don't even know exists?). There's a lot of platitudes out there about how to be a successful blogger and even more about how to be a successful small business owner, but this blog post isn't about upbeat catchphrases and feel-good messaging. Today, we're getting honest. Here are three things you have to stop doing to be successful at your blog.

Trying to make everybody happy all of the time.

Why? Two reasons. One, it's impossible. The larger your site grows, the more likely it is you'll encounter at least one person who dislikes you on general principle. It can be a bit jarring when it happens, especially the first few times, but it is a natural outcome of having a larger audience. Two, trying to appease everyone is a great way to make your blog completely forgettable. Blogs that try to talk to everyone end up talking to no one at all. When the focus is on being as inoffensive as possible, there's nothing memorable about your blog; the content just isn't “sticky.” And why would people share a bland site? Instead, spend your limited resources on developing a clearly defined mission and a tightly-focused point of view. Will it be a great fit for everyone? No. But it will attract the readers that are the best fit for you.

Prioritizing the “cheap” over the “good.”

At some point, most every blogger runs into a situation where they may need to spend a little money. Whether it's investing in a site theme, a photoshoot, an app, or even a team member, it's important to remember that the budget is only a small part of the equation. The bigger part – the most important part – is finding the product or service that's best for your site. I know, I know…we've just finished a recession, spending is down everywhere, and the economy is still in the process of bouncing back. Believe me when I say I understand the very real restrictions a limited budget demands. However, my point here isn't about buying the most expensive thing. Instead, I'm encouraging you to make a habit of purchasing the very best you can afford for your site. A few extra dollars on a custom theme, for example, can make all the difference when it comes to metrics like site visitors, bounce rates, and page views…and those differences can literally make you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the years.

Comparing yourself to others.

This can be the hardest thing in the world because most of us have a natural tendency to compare themselves to others. While a little competition is a good thing, constant comparisons can turn into an endless downward spiral and an unceasing drain on your time and energy. The honest truth is that you don't always know what goes into another blogger's success…and there may be some elements to their success story that you'll just never be able to replicate. Many famous bloggers started early, for example (and time travel is still impossible). Some bloggers had deep professional networks and industry contacts (particularly if they came from a publishing, PR, or fashion background). Others just had the right fashion “look.” The honest truth is that it's not just about hard work, especially in this space. Knowing the “right” people, looking the “right” way, living in the “right” city…it all influences who rises to the top. And I'm not saying that to be a downer; many of us on the IFB team are full-time bloggers even without these things. But it is important to keep these “invisible” factors in mind before you compare yourself to others and really get discouraged.

What roadblocks to blogging success have you encountered? Any suggestions you'd make to your fellow IFB-ers? Please share them in the comments!

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24 Responses

  1. Allison

    Thank you SO much for the honesty in the piece. Refreshing indeed! And so well put. Comparison will eat your lunch! Here’s to finding our own fabulous tribes to serve and learn from.

    Allison

    Reply
  2. Noemi

    As I posted weeks ago on my blog… comparison is the thief of joy.
    http://www.webelieveinstyle.net/2014/05/pearls-of-wisdom.html

    But, let’s be honest.. I started my blog 2 years ago and I didn’t know anything about blogging, SEO, etc. but I felt that I needed to “talk” with somebody about fashion, since all my friends are not interested at all. Now I really like blogging and I really wish to become a pro blogger, but there’re millions of blogs out there, being successful is becoming more and more difficult, the competition is huge.

    Reply
  3. The HOTJEM Fashion Blog

    Thanks for this article! You were straight to the point. Yes you are right in that we shouldn’t constantly compare ourselves to other bloggers as it will lead to disappointments. It’s hard when you’ve spent a lot of time and energy to deliver good stuff to your readers but then you go to other bloggers fashion blogs and all they have to do is to post a picture with barely anything written and they get tons of readers. But it’s all good!
    http://www.thehotjem.com

    Reply
  4. CynthiaCM

    #3 is big for me. However, when you’ve been blogging for a very long time, yet feel that you aren’t getting the opportunities and recognition that other people who have been online half of your blogging life, things get frustrating. It’s to the point that over the weekend, I wrote this on Twitter:

    One thing I DON’T like about the #blogging world. I’m a veteran blogger (6+ yrs) but ppl don’t consider me one of THEM. WTF? #justsaying

    Reply
    • Nadya Helena

      I completely understand what you’re saying. You really can’t help but feel like extraterrestrial crap when you see others doing way better than you in less time and seemingly less effort. I haven’t been blogging for as long as you have, but that feeling lingers inside me as well. And at the end, I really could just do what I loved doing without thinking about the x, y, and z factors because honestly, overthinking (and overcomparing) will just take the joy of blogging away.

      The Dilly Chic

      Reply
  5. Arianne

    I was a book blogger for a while then I stopped. Now I’ve restarted to only post those that interest me and that I find interesting. However, I also still keep my audience in mind. Even though I originally had followers, since I stopped for a while, I feel like I’m starting all over again. Ah well, I might as well keep going ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  6. CeCe Golden

    I began blogging only a couple of months ago and I have to admit that I have experienced #1, #2 and inadvertently #3.
    I’ve never been the type to compare myself to anyone physically nor mentally but when it comes to blogging, when there are hundreds of thousands of bloggers out there you can find yourself doing just that, comparing yourself to others. I found myself following several bloggers just to use as examples, so I thought. I was comparing my blog content to theirs. Trying to find answers through others. Although that’s not
    always a bad thing, it will definitely warrant a headache reliever, not good!! I had to quickly check myself, pull together and go back to the enjoyment of blogging and find my own niche. I am confident and open minded. Taking it day by day. Thanks Cora

    Reply
  7. Anastasia

    A little competition is a good, healthy thing, if you can use it in your favor, as “push”, motivation to improve at something. But at times it’s not easy to fall in this temptation to compare at least the blog to this or that….But I guess it’s also a past of personal development.

    xx

    Anastasia

    http://fashionpeekaboo.com

    Reply
  8. Serene S.

    This is just the article that I need to read. Sometimes being compared to just gets to me and it really isn’t a good feeling. But, I always remember this quote every time I think about it – “Personality begins where comparison ends”

    Reply
  9. Lynne Kayenne

    Great Post, I am new to Blogosphere but have noticed that I have been comparing my content to others which is cray cray. I just need to take each day as it comes, learn the art of blogging and eventually people will come to the site and hopefully relate to what I have to say.

    Best
    Lynne

    Reply
  10. Taylor D

    Lately I’ve been comparing my blog to other blogs and it always leaves me feeling pretty crappy about my blog. Instead of focusing on the positive aspects about my blog like the awesome companies I have collaborated with or the amount of readers I DO have, I start to critique my blog and wonder why it’s not as ‘good’ as some of the bigger bloggers. I have to remember that this is only my hobby and I am still a newbie.

    -xx Taylor
    http://when-im-older.com
    http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/3729106

    Reply
  11. Fujiko Toyohashi

    I am very much at the beginning as a blogger and I find it always helpful to get advice from those who have been around longer ๐Ÿ™‚
    Though I have to admit, amidst those three especially “not comapring” and “not trying to make everyone happy” is easier said than done. Especially if you just begun you inevitably check out other blogs (and might compare yourself just a little too much to them). But I will definitely work not only on my blog regarding theme and presentation, but also on my confidence to show my own personality (^_^)

    Reply
  12. Saffron Peacock

    I love this, I’m new to blogging and it’s so hard to get a good following. Blog culture has evolved massively and there is so much competition and already established bloggers. I love the part about not comparing yourself to other blogs. I found that when I started I was picking bits of design and elements I liked of other blogs because I felt like I had to do that in order to have a successful blog, but actually maybe doing something different and your own way is the way forward to stick out from the huge mass of other bloggers out there.

    http://www.fashionofapeacock.blogspot.co.uk xx

    Reply
  13. Tales of Two

    Definitely agree with most points made here! Its hard not to compare yourself to others. Our blog isn’t even a year old yet and its still not perfect but sometime i find blogs that do not have great content at all, neither pictures nor writing nor anything else yet they seem to get so many comments and doing well. In situations like these its hard not to compare but its such a subjective thing and I just tell myself that just because I don’t like that particular content doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have an audience. Just gotta keep going I suppose ๐Ÿ™‚

    http://www.talesoftwoblog.blogspot.com.au

    Reply
  14. Bike Pretty

    I knew this post was by Cora before I even read the byline. She really has the best advice and is a huge asset to the IFB community.

    Reply
  15. Hayfa

    “Prioritizing the โ€œcheapโ€ over the โ€œgood.โ€”. Exactly! Blogging is not cheap as is written in many articles. For a catchy blog, you have to pay money not necessarily a fortune but as you said the best you can.
    http://www.hayfaglam.com

    Reply
  16. Jack Elliot

    I tend to choose good over cheap but it’s causing me to overspend my budget. Does anyone have tips or links to find cheap add ons, site themes or most importantly a cheap web designer who can work remotely? I know html but there are some things that are too complex for me to fix myself.

    Reply
  17. Abbie

    Amazing, great piece it really is down to who you know not what you know! xx

    fashiontatt.blogspot.com

    Reply
  18. Luv Robinson

    After totally crashing my site today, I stumbled upon this community. Extremely helpful article for those of us just beginning. Thank you!

    Reply
  19. Wilmke

    I especially love your last point of view. It’s sometimes hard not to compare yourself with others.. Sometimes people get a lot of comments on their outfits, and others don’t. If I objectively look at the outfits sometimes the outfit with the most comments isn’t even the best or fashionable one. Those things I still don’t get..

    Some things I’m experiencing is that I still don’t know what my readers like to read. One day my stats are going uphill on outfit posts, the next day those posts don’t get a lot of traffic. Very hard to decide what to write about, especially because I love to read about all aspects of life, from fashion, outfits, food and a healthy lifestyle.

    http://winwonderland.wordpress.com

    Reply
  20. Nikkie

    I totally agree with #1 and #3! Since you can’t please everyone, you might as well please yourself!

    Reply
  21. Alexandra

    I do compare my blog to other blogs, but with the idea of taking what they do well and incooperating it in my own way on my blog if it suits me. It’s inspiration ๐Ÿ˜‰
    For example, I would look at the pictures, but I won’t say “oh look, she/he is so much more pretty etc”. Instead it is, “oh, she/he looks really nice here, let’s try this angle the next time we shoot”
    Alex – Funky Jungle

    Reply