When I started blogging over six years ago, everything seemed shiny and new. I approached anything blog-related so fresh and doe-eyed; absorbing all that I could; attending every event I was invited to; poring over every last detail of my blog; trying the latest camera/trend/app and meeting as many bloggers as I could possibly fit into my schedule. Whether it’s a labor of love or a professional transition, blogging has always been just one of many other obligations in life. The time that’s dedicated to a full-time job, raising kids, going to school, being married, committing to sports or groups and just having a life starts to compete with the fun but sometimes overwhelming time it takes to be a blogger.
There’s a lot of incredible projects and opportunities I’ve had the honor of being part of thanks to my blog, but none of this has come without lots of trial, error, triumph and tears. Blogging has evolved as quickly as social media and other digital industries, and staying on top of the game means consistently learning and growing. Truly successful bloggers are able to hone in on what works for them; where their strengths and opportunities lie; and most importantly, how to adapt and try new things to keep their communities coming back for more.
That said, there are a lot of blogging ‘rules’ I used to abide by, and whether it was becoming aware of my own naiveté or changing the way I did things, I no longer hold these rules to be true.
A ton of comments on every post
I blog a lot about things to do and see in Seattle in addition to information on local boutiques, indie designers and more. I just don’t get a lot of comments in my posts; I never have. Half of the ones I do are spam or don’t provide much context (i.e. “Cute!”) However, I get a lot of comments and feedback on social media (Twitter mostly, then Instagram and Facebook.) I work in social media, so cultivating my blog communities on these sites rather than my blog has worked for me. When brands want to work together (or vice versa), they are always interested in my follower numbers on my social media sites and never ask how many average blog comments I get.
Trying every blogging app & tool out there
For a long time, if I encountered an app or tool that can connect to my blog, I tried it. These are often pitched to bloggers with the promise of “growing visibility and readership” – 99% of the time, that’s an empty promise from a startup that’s just getting off the ground! They’re likely to get more out of you and your readers than the other way around. I’m not saying never work with these tools and apps. Just make sure you vet them out, do your research & ask plenty of questions before going all in on using their product.
Being everywhere at once
I mean this in the “be on every social media site” as well as the “be at every event” sense. If you’re saying yes to everything, you’ll never know what’s truly worth your time and most likely, you’ll burn out from keeping up your social media channels and your always jam-packed events calendar. Be protective of your time and where you spend it. I’m not perfect at saying no to time on Pinterest or attending an event, but I'm a lot better than I used to be at really thinking through whether something is worth my time. I say no to a lot of things so that I can stay home to write posts, read and spend time offline with my dog & boyfriend!
Post as much as possible
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to create an editorial calendar and set a cadence of when I post. Consistency is more important than quantity; if you find that you can only manage 1-2 blog posts a week, make them a couple of really great ones and post them every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00a.m. That way, your readers can expect to see new content at specific times in the week. They’re more likely to subscribe or revisit your blog again!
Write only about fashion
I have always insisted on categorizing myself a lifestyle blogger (versus a fashion blogger), so I could write about the things I am truly passionate about. That goes against the very popular belief that you should stick to one niche in order to build a solid readership. At times, I used to feel like the term ‘lifestyle’ was too broad and working against me. Nowadays, I’m seeing a lot of bloggers who only wrote about fashion posting more about other aspects of their life; home decor, travel, food, health & fitness, parenting. I love seeing the natural evolution of other bloggers, because I feel like I’m getting a truer sense of who they are every day; not just when they’re perfectly ready for an outfit post.
What works for me might not work for you, and that’s okay. I’d love to hear your comments below on things you learned that you no longer believe in about blogging!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]