As I've been blogging for almost three years now, I've come to realise that if I was to do it all again I would do things differently. However, this isn't any place for regrets, but rather the journey and I want to highlight the things that I've learnt along the way.
The importance of commenting, chatting and engaging.
I and many other bloggers have noticed this past year, that commenting is on the decline. Personally, I always try and comment as much as I can and set myself a target number of blogs to comment on each week, sometimes I lower it or increase it depending on how busy I am. I love getting comments on my posts and I love leaving comments. As long as they're genuine and not just 'nice post' then they do give me a little lift knowing that someone has enjoyed what I'm writing about. Therefore, I still try to comment as much as I can.
I will be speaking about the importance of social media, but my downfall at the beginning of setting up my twitter and Instagram accounts was that I was just posting my blog links and a few updates now and again and not engaging with other bloggers. It was only after a couple of months that I joined in a twitter chat, and although I can't make them as much as I'd like to, they're a really easy to start chatting to other people. It's can be daunting to start off with, talking to people you don't know, however, these chats make it so easy. So engage with people as soon as you possibly can.
Set up social media accounts straight away!
It took me a good few months before I set up my social media accounts. There was no reason for it. If there's one thing I learnt, it's set them up straight away and get using them! I hardly talked to anyone on twitter the first 6 months, however as soon as I started joining in twitter chats and talking to people, my followers really started to increase. Set up your Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter and get using them!
You don't need to buy a theme straight away
When reading various blogger tips posts online, a lot of them suggest investing in a theme straight away. Yes, they can make your blog look more attractive and appealing to your readers, however, it's not essential to spend a lot of money on a theme. When I first started blogging, I learnt a lot about themes myself. I had the standard blogger template and just played around with fonts, adding extensions and features until I was happy with it. It was easy to navigate, simple and presentable.
My current theme cost me around £4.50 from Etsy. There're so many themes available on there for your budget, various styles and sellers that will tweak the theme how you want it. You don't need to splash out £40, but rather just shop around. Obviously, if you want to spend money on a theme that is absolutely perfect for you, then go for it! But if you're on a tight budget or just starting off, then you don't need to!
You don't need to blog about what everyone else is blogging about.
Being a beauty blogger, still to this day this one is hard for me. Obviously, if there's a new beauty release that you've fallen in love and you want to let the world know, then that's perfectly fine. If you've think you need to blog about something because everyone else is blogging about it even if you don't rate it, then you don't! Your blog is your blog. People have different interests, likes and dislikes and it's okay to not like something that everyone else loves.
Whether you are a lifestyle, family, fashion or food blog, blog about things you genuinely love and enjoy and worry less about what other bloggers are doing. I learnt this lesson, time for some full on honesty here. When I first started blogging there were so many exciting products that I wanted to find out more about, Birchbox was pretty up and coming and I was excited about a little box of beauty treats popping through my door every week. However, even though I wrote a rave review at the time I can't help but say, I was kind of disappointed after a couple of boxes. I carried on for a while, reviewing them because lots of other people were also. Eventually, I stopped, but as I look back I can't help but ask the question, did I really spend money reviewing this because everyone else was?
And the answer was yes. You wouldn't even be able to keep track of the amount of blogs that are popping up on a daily basis, it's such a huge market now and with great potential. Writing about Birchbox because other people were, just made me blend in. I want to be original and creative, therefore now I always try and write about things that excite me, that I have a genuine passion for and try my very best not to be another face in the crowd. I know this can be hard in the current blogger hype, but I can only try my best!
You don't need to spend a lot of money
It can be hard when you've just started blogging to resist the temptation of buying lots of makeup products. Seeing various reviews on a daily basis and falling in love with them can be tough on your bank balance. However, you don't need to spend the money. I purchased so much makeup in the first few months, thinking it would be a great product to blog about. However, I could have written about makeup products I already love or so many other posts that wouldn't have cost me money.
Similarly, you don't need to spend a lot on other parts of blogging either. I was taking photos from my iPhone 5 up until a couple of months ago, that's three years worth of iPhone photos. It just takes practise when it comes to photos. Sure, my photo's were definitely bad when I first started blogging, but as time went I learnt so many things about editing, how to take good photos and backgrounds which took my photography to the next level, even with an iPhone. To be honest, I don't see that much difference in my photos even when I've invested in a fancier camera. But, that's just me.
Don't worry what everyone else is doing and focus on yourself.
I don't know about you, but when I started blogging I followed a lot of bloggers that had just started also. I genuinely enjoyed reading their blogs, but it felt like we needed to mutually support each other being small bloggers. But, as I tried to comment on and read their latest blog posts, I also felt myself comparing myself. Knowing they started te same time as me and their follower count was higher, I used to think 'what are they doing which I'm not?' Obviously, this is not healthy and I shook myself out of this pretty quickly. However, sometimes it's hard not to compare yourself and be jealous of other people's success especially those bloggers who have these extravagant lifestyles.
I eventually stopped worrying about what everyone else is doing and starting concentrating on myself. I put all the energy I put into worrying about what other people's blogs were like and put it on my own blog. From that, there's only going to be improvement going forward. I can easily say that every part of my blog has improved and I want to constantly improve it and I wouldn't have the chance to do that if I didn't stop obsessing over other people's blog.
It's easy to get swept away in the blogging world. I wanted nothing more to be completely honest when it comes to the pressures and the lessons that I've learnt along the way and because of that, this post is incredibly long and rambly! Obviously, there are lots more things I've learnt, but hopefully, this might be helpful for new bloggers or anyone who can relate!
What lessons have you learnt in blogging?