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!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]