Today marks the milestone of my first three months blogging, and boy has it come around fast. It feels like it’s only been a week from when I was sat on my sofa debating it with myself. I had so much creative passion that wasn’t being utilised due to the structured, logical nature of my university degree – this meant that I always felt somewhat unfulfilled. Looking back on it, I can safely say that I made the right decision – a whole new world of opportunities has been opened up to me.
It wasn’t all glitter and rainbows though, I’m sorry to say. At some points I considered quitting, I lacked motivation, and things were difficult. It’s only a natural experience when starting something new, but it’s the way that you face them, that really guide the outcome of those problems.
Here are a few things that I found out whilst blogging (both positive and negative) and I hope this can help anyone else who’s new on the blogging scene, or those who have just hit a little blogging wall!
JUST BE YOU
I read a lot of advice stating that you should “find your niche” or “find your blogging voice” – but I kind of completely disagree. I think that like in any other life situation, I strongly believe that you shouldn’t feel like you need to put yourself in a box and label it.
I am a beauty blogger.
I am a beauty, and fashion blogger.
I am a fashion, and beauty blogger who likes to post about food and lifestyle sometimes.
I am a blogger who likes to post about whatever I god damn want to.
Yes, it is good to have a general idea about the direction you want your blog to go in – that’s only logical. If I post about make up, its because I genuinely want to. If I decide to post something personal, it’s because I feel like it. It’s important to remember that this blog is about you, and your experiences, and what you do, and how you feel, and all of that matters.
In terms of blogging voice, mine does literally change with my mood. Of course I never post pieces that are rude or anything like that. For example, I’m feeling pretty sassy right now. Can you feel that? I think it’s so important to incorporate you in your work. If I’m feeling tired and grouchy, I just wont post. I know that it will look and feel rushed to the reader and they will know that I’m not on form.
Another point to make is that you don’t need to be overenthusiastic – the blogs that I love are the ones that are effortlessly readable, because they are genuine. It can sometimes almost feel like I’m talking to the person and I feel like commenting “come round for a cuppa & we’ll try out that new lippy ok”
One thing that I really want to put across here is that you don’t need to pay for things to make a great blog. I have not spent any money on creating my blog, at all. Apart from the products/items that I blog about and some photo props, oh and a tenner on buying the domain for a year (but this is optional).
Firstly choose a blogging platform, like Blogger or WordPress. I started to use WordPress but although I loved the layout, I found it hard to customise. Once I tried blogger, I knew that it was definitely the platform that I wanted to use for my blog.
After I chose my platform, I downloaded a completely free basic theme and taught myself how to write in HTML and re coded the parts I wanted to change. It look a good few weeks and many a youtube tutorial to reach a standard that I was happy with. This means that your blog becomes totally unique to you, and you know how to change it up easily when you feel like it.
Plus there are plenty of free widgets like Snapwidget (to get your Instagram photos on your blog) and so many people post their theme hints and tips with examples of code aswell. As logo’s go, you can get some drawn or made for your and it doesn’t cost that much money. However, being that broke ass student encouraged me to make my own using free sample images from the web and Adobe Photoshop (again student edition is free!) – sorted.
UTILISE YOUR SMART PHONE
Okay, so this is assuming that everyone that reads this will have a smart phone – but the likeliness is you all do. I get some amazing feedback about my blog photography (thank you!) and up until 2 weeks ago – all of my photos were taken on my iPhone 6. The only post that I’ve used my old Nikon SLR camera was this one for Elysium Lux. This is because the majority of my images are flatlays for review. The Nikon that I have takes amazing portrait shots but something about taking product photo’s with them just doesn’t sit well with me. My phone camera is to a decent quality, I can adjust the exposure as I’m going really easily, and my favourite photo editing apps are on my phone. Let me know in the comments if you would like me to do a “How I Edit My Blog Photographs” post or something.
In my opinion, there is absolutely no way to get anywhere with blogging if you can’t successfully organise yourself. I have a little journal planner, where I keep my blog timetables, PR contacts, and I write down post ideas in the blank pages in the back. I like to use a diary style planner because I take note of any blogger mail (on the day) and I estimate when I will end up posting about the items/products. This is also great for non-sponsored posts too, as it’s great to have an idea of what your goals are for each day of that week – which is great for time management…
MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY
As I’m currently a dual-action student and blogger right now, it’s so important to manage my time well. I have a university diary (yes I do love a good diary) and I always compare them to see if I have any scheduled posts/photoshoots overlapping with coursework or revision. Because I am paying such an extortionate amount a year to do my course, uni has to come first – even if I’m in the mood to concentrate on my blog. It’s important to know your limits, and plan realistically!
I actually didn’t realise this when I first starting blogging, but there is such a huge, friendly, blogging community online. I was literally so overwhelmed by the warmth and kindness that I received, especially as a newbie. There are numerous twitter blogger chats that you can join in on, and it’s a great way of meeting like-minded individuals. Don’t be shy – interact on twitter, comment on other people’s blogs and if you really like a blog/blogger show it and follow them on Bloglovin’.
HITTING THE WALL
Every blogger knows that dreaded feeling of hitting the wall. When you loose all sense of motivation, or creativity just isn’t flowing like it usually is. I tend to create about 20 empty draft posts, that just have titles that I know something about, or have a passion for – and I leave them there. So if I’m attempting to write a post that I have scheduled for a certain day, and it just isn’t working – I leave that behind. I go and take a look at the draft posts, and I pretty much always find something else to write about, and it just flows. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t force yourself to write about something if it isn’t happening naturally. The post wont nearly be as good, and your reader can tell when you haven’t got that passion for the subject.
I hope this has been helpful for some of the other new bloggers out there!What are the important things that you found out when you first started blogging?