Um, excuse me, apparently February 16th was my official two year blogging anniversary! A lot of people don’t know, but The Gold Sister originally started over on blogger in 2015. I kept it kind of hush-hush though, because the idea of sharing with the world made me so ridiculously nervous. I eventually realized I loved my blog name (I’m obsessed y’all), and the only person I was holding back was me by not diving in. So I bought my domain and started fresh on wordpress. You can see my very first post here.
I’ve definitely learned a whole lot on my journey thus far, and while I haven’t properly implemented everything I know, I’m totally in love with the process. In honor of even making it this far, I decided to share some of what I’ve learned with y’all.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
1. BLOGGERS WEAR A LOT OF HATS.
Oh, did you think all you had to do to succeed as a blogger is take photos and post them? Wrong. Not only will you act as a photographer while blogging, but you’re also a: creative director, stylist, writer, editor, educator, social media promoter, and friend (maybe not in that order).
Years ago you may have been able to get away with just dumping photos on the internet and calling it a day (definitely what I thought I’d do), but now, it’s necessary to go the extra mile. Influencers and bloggers have evolved into so much more than they used to be, and are now required to do a little more to stand out from the herd.
Frankly, the only person who gets to just post pictures of herself is Alexis Ren, and even she used to frame out her shots.
2. IT’S IMPORTANT TO GET PERSONAL.
The blogging market is so friggin saturated that the only way you’re going to get ahead and stand out is by adding your own flair to everything you share. You want your audience to become invested in knowing you, so they want to check in and read what you’re posting.
Who are you? What’s your journey? Why are you in the niche you’re in? Readers don’t need to know your deepest secrets, but give them something to connect and relate with. Losing formalities can help take you from another blogger, to capital-A blogger. Plus, being an “enigma” only works on instagram, not when you’re looking to grow readers.[clickToTweet tweet=”Losing formalities can help take you from ‘another’ blogger, to ‘a’ #blogger.” quote=”Losing formalities can help take you from ‘another’ blogger, to ‘a’ blogger.”]
3. CONSISTENCY IS KEY (AND SO IS QUALITY).
Oh my goodness, I’m seriously the worst about this, and fixing it is one of my major goals of 2018.
Being consistent is so important for bloggers, because once you finally get people invested, you want them to actually have posts to look at!! I’m not even saying you need to be posting a new blog entry on the daily (seriously, bloggers that do this: H O W), but I’d say you need to maintain at least some semblance of visibility to your audience on your social channels. Twice a week is probably ideal, but once a week (ahem) is fine!
I’m going to be blunt, and also say: please don’t bother wasting your time with half-ass blog posts. Your readers will totally be able to tell if your heart isn’t in what you’re doing, and you’re just going to tarnish your own image. Quality over quantity is no joke y’all.
(Related read: 4 Things To Do When Starting a Blog)
4. COMMUNITY IS IMPORTANT.
Without making friends in the blogging world, you’re not going to get very far. Not only will you grow (and learn) by interacting with other influencers, you’ll need people who understand what goal you’re working toward; people you can bounce ideas off, who can help you promote your work, and you can collaborate with. Heck, with the way Instagram‘s algorithm is running now, it’s more important than ever to promote your friends to see growth.
Blogging is all about community over competition. Yea, I get that there are a lot of bloggers and not a lot of opportunities, but it’s still important to support other people’s successes. You’ll find more chances to get paid! In the meantime: read other bloggers’ work, and get to know the people behind the screen.[clickToTweet tweet=”#Blogging is about community over competition. It’s important to support other people’s successes.” quote=”Blogging is about community over competition. It’s important to support other people’s successes.”]
5. BUT BE CAREFUL IN BLOGGING GROUPS.
There are all sorts of blog groups, particularly on Facebook. While they’re particularly beneficial for boosting your blog channels, promoting your posts, and building a community, I’ve found it’s also really friggin easy for people to copy posts in groups. I’m not sure if it’s because of the type of bloggers in the groups (generally with smaller followings) or people seeing titles and accidentally regurgitating what they’ve read, but I’ve had at least three posts plagiarized via Facebook.
There’s no shame in expanding on another blogger’s post, as long as you’re linking back, but blatantly copying word-for-word is a no.
Now, this won’t stop me from interacting and sharing, but I’m a lot more aware “of my surroundings”, as well as my own actions. And, at least I’ve learned how to file a DMCA.
6. YOU NEED TO LOVE WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
This is a slow and steady (if you’re consistent) process. While the idea of financial freedom and being your own boss is super seductive, it might be a while before you get there (if ever). Not everyone is going to become the next Melyssa Griffin or Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, and that’s okay!
It’s important that you just enjoy the process. Have fun creating work, for others and yourself, and have fun connecting with your audience. Laugh while you’re taking pictures, and build true friendships with others.
The learning curve can be killer, but you might find that the little corner of the internet that you flesh out for yourself lets you tap into your creative side in a way you haven’t in years. Or maybe that’s just me. 😉
(Related read: Coping With Burnout)
I find that every post I make ends up being my new favorite, but here are a few that I’ve shared on TGS that really stood out to me.
MY FAVE POSTS
Seriously, this might be my real absolute number one post. Just putting it together made me feel confident, and I had so many people reach out to me saying my advice helped! It was also the first time I’ve done a giveaway, and while it sucks to have learned that there are people who run social media accounts just to enter giveaways, but I know to modify my rules in the future!
Learning how to use a tripod, remote, and just get out there (and ignore people staring) is one of the best things I’ve done for my blog. This post gets the most attention on TGS, and I think it’s rad that I might potentially be helping other bloggers create content on their own schedule. No instagram boyfriend?? No problem.
This wasn’t a particularly interesting blog post, but oh my goodness, it was one of the FIRST posts I ever shot on my own. I was terrified of being out in front of people with my tripod and remote, but I did it! And I loved the dang shots!
My journey in the plant world has actually been fairly short-lived. It’s only within the last three years that I really started adding greenery to my place, but trial-and-error helped me find what worked (and what didn’t) as I shook off my black thumb. I actually wrote this because a lot of friends kept asking for suggestions on plants!
I love love love getting holistic about pretty much everything, but especially my skin. My bentonite clay mask post pretty much went viral on Pinterest, but this mask just feels amazing on your face.
Do you have a favorite post of mine I should’ve shared?!
What have you learned on your blog journey?