Hi everyone! Before I do another beauty review, empties post or general ramble, I had to acknowledge that it’s been one year since I started BeautyLifeMom. I didn’t know exactly what to expect after a year or what I thought I’d accomplish in that time, but here we are! Now that I have a year under my belt, I can talk a little more extensively about what I’ve learned, some things I’ve experienced, and areas where I’d like to grow.
I started this blog because I really enjoyed reading other blogs, I needed an outlet to talk about my love of beauty or anything really, and have a beauty journal of sorts to reference later and share with others. Of course this didn’t come without hesitations. I wasn’t sure if it was something I could keep up with and I wasn’t sure if I wanted people who knew me “in real life” to know I had a blog. I didn’t think anyone would get it. And maybe some still don’t, I don’t know, but overall the support has been great. Though it felt a little risky and strange at first, something about it made sense and I decided to go forward with it. It seemed like something beyond myself led to me to start. So after a year into this blogging journey, here’s what I learned!
I’ve found my personal rhythm when it comes to the publishing process. After about my third or fourth post, I had my basic drill down- take pictures, write, edit over and over (and over), publish, and promote. That sounds pretty simple, but as we bloggers know these steps can take soo much time and thought depending on the post!
I’ve learned to play a little with html. I’m not getting a computer science degree any time soon, but I’ve dabbled a tad in using html to get a certain visual. I still hesitate to try different codes, but I’m happy to have tried a few!
I discovered programs like Canva and Pixlr and learned how to get the effects I wanted with my pics, like text stuff. So that was a learning curve but worth it!
General troubleshooting. There were times when pictures didn’t upload correctly or something didn’t look right or needed to be fixed. Definitely some curse words thrown around in the process of figuring out whatever I needed to, but I worked through it. I don’t think troubleshooting ever stops either but it’s a nice feeling when you’ve conquered something and just know what to do when there’s an issue!
…And Other Stuff
It doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. Your blog is whatever you want it to be and aside from the initial cost of buying the domain, I haven’t bought much. I bought a few props for photos (most are things I already had) but I still don’t have a fancy camera, computer, or fancy anything. If I decide to become a serious blogger I would definitely invest more, but so far it’s been fine. I also hadn’t felt the need to buy a bunch of beauty products just so I could talk about it on my blog. If I bought anything, it was going to happen blog or not. Having a blog certainly motivates me to buy and try more, but not to the extent where I’m feeling pressure and going broke.
You have to enjoy writing to some extent. At least if that’s what your content demands. Makes sense that blogging won’t really work if you don’t like the process of it, cause you won’t want to keep doing it. It can absolutely get frustrating when something takes forever to finish, but even with the frustrations I still enjoy writing overall which makes it easier to stick with.
There will be periods where I just don’t feel like blogging. And for no good reason. I may very well have the free time (I guess, when I’m not doing mom stuff), but many times I’d rather lay on the couch and play on my phone when I need a break from life. Or sometimes life is just genuinely that busy and can’t get to it. Either way, sometimes it’s what happens and it’s not the end of the world.
Sometimes it helps to blog, even I don’t feel like it. Yes I’m a lazy bum, but if I truly want to get out of a blogging rut I just have to get on and start typing. I may start up a bunch of different blog posts just to get some juices flowing and get thoughts out and from there see what ends up sticking, but you don’t know unless you show up. I tell myself this if I get super lazy and question everything- just get on with it. Once you get started, it all comes back!
There are times you will love your blog and times not so much. I’m proud of my blog and content, but sometimes it’s starts to feel like the same thing over and over. Like how I write, even the name of my blog I question….It’s like with anything. There are cycles. I still have days where I second guess the whole thing. But maybe by year two I’ll know what’s up lol. Even if I’m going through a hater phase, I know around the corner I’ll like it again.
Stats. Stats and numbers have a place when it comes to engagement and learning what content people seem more interested in, and of course if you’re a professional or have certain goals for your blog it makes a difference. In the beginning I got a little impatient when a post didn’t get as much love as I wanted. Sure, I still check stats here and there and it always feels good when people leave comments or if I see clicks. But some days are slower, some days there aren’t as many readers or clicks, but it isn’t really a big deal to me. It’s just life sometimes. While stats can provide insight, they shouldn’t be the end-all be-all of your worth or always an indicator of you as a writer, more so if blogging is not paying bills, so no need to torture myself (though comments and support are always lovely and make me happy considering no one’s attacked me yet!). I will always check stats out of curiousity and it’s nice to see people are stopping by. Stats can be fun. But I don’t think you should torture yourself much over them.
Views and readers will come over time. I’ve read many times that you can’t write something and just expect people to come, and that is kinda true. But I’ve also found that the more content you have up and the longer your blog is around, more readers tend to find it. I still promote, but many times I don’t and people still find my blog even if the posts are older, and sometimes posts I didn’t think would get much attention actually do. Being active in social media and using key words play a huge part, but I’m not always constantly plugging my posts every day to get reads like I had to in the earlier days. Now if I made it a point to promote my posts more often I’m sure that number would be better, but compared to before I definitely don’t have to promote as much to get people to read my blog which is kinda neat!
Social Media. Everyone has their own goal for their blog, mine was to share and connect with others on the beauty front or whatever topic I had on my mind. Creating an Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest account for my blog has definitely helped get it more exposure. I don’t believe in being spammy and I hope to never come across that way, but if I want people to see my stuff it was up to me to start spreading the word (I still haven’t brought it to Facebook though, personal choice), and sometimes friends help too. I kinda made this blog for myself in a sense, but not solely for myself so why not share what I’ve done with an audience that may be interested?
I have to be careful who I’ll write for. Don’t get me wrong, there aren’t tons of people knocking down my door asking me to write for them or anything, though it is starting to happen more often. And I’m not talking about collaborating with other bloggers or supporting bloggers. This is strictly about businesses or companies. I value my time, so I have to be picky when it comes to businesses I’d write for and if they’re willing to provide some sort of compensation for my time. I’m not saying it’s all about money and freebies. I would write unpaid if I truly loved/believed in something and want to spread the word. But writing for a business or company needs to be worth it-whether it’s for a cause I support, product I love, or something that makes sense for my blog etc. But if I’m truly not into what a company or business is asking of me, a company seems a little shady, aka their website looks a little unprofessional, they seem too dictorial (and for no pay?! What the what?!), things just don’t add up or they want me to do something I’m not in line with, I’m out. It really isn’t worth it if the integrity of my blog is at risk or if my heart isn’t really into it. I have a family- a son, and what I choose to spend my time on outside of that has to be something I’m either passionate about or worth it overall. Even if you don’t have kids, your time is your time! If I don’t want to do something I simply (but courteously) decline.
You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but interacting with other bloggers on a genuine level doesn’t hurt either. Some bloggers choose to keep to themselves and that’s their style. I personally enjoy connecting with other bloggers and giving one another support when possible. The blogging community can be great and I have made some awesome friends. There’s just a lot of inspiring, talented writers and it’s refreshing to read different blogs when I need a break from my own. I may not get around to commenting and reading them as much as I would like to, but I found that for me it’s just as much a part of blogging as anything else. It’s not always about what you can get out of it, but I do believe in karma. If you express genuine interest in other bloggers and their content, I believe it comes back to you somehow!
Privacy. I’m not too comfortable getting into my personal life too deeply on my blog quite yet, though I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I give a lot of credit and truly admire those who share more of themselves, but I definitely have limits as to what I want people to know about me right now. Could it help to open up a bit more? Possibly. But I’ve always been the cautious type. Though I know there is an audience for almost anything, time will tell if this is something I want to change. I’m open to it and it could be an area of growth.
Areas to Grow
Other Focal points in Posts. I like my empties and reviews in case you haven’t noticed, but want to vary content up more. An example would be to share more hauls. I don’t haul products often, but more than I’ve talked about on here. I just can’t bring myself to post about them all though I love reading everyone else’s (I’ve learned about so many products that way!). So while I’m always going to share empties and reviews which is kinda the main focus of my blog along with other stuff thrown in (yay lifestyle blogs!!) I’d like to shift the focus more and change it up (though it will always be mainly about beauty).
More consistency. The struggle is real. Like I said above, I take breaks and there are times when I’m just not feelin it. I used to try and stick to a schedule of posting at least once per week, and that was a good place to start. I definitely see the pros of keeping your blog consistent and bringing new content to the table, but I haven’t been putting a ton of pressure on myself to blog on a schedule these days. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking breaks but I know I enjoy writing and want to keep it up on some level! I think finding your own version of consistent is the main goal, whether that’s a certain number of posts per month, week, whatever! As long as that passion is there.
Even more engagement. I said this already but I like reading other blogs and showing support. I want to do more of this when I can, discover more bloggers, and connect.
Pay attention to the Overthinking. Too many things stop me from finishing some blog posts or writing about certain things. Some blog topics really take a lot of work to edit because I can’t get it to where I’m totally happy. Perhaps I feel I can’t get the wording to flow, it’s too wordy and gets off topic, not interesting enough, people won’t relate, this that or the other. I think it’s valuable to pay attention to why some posts take so long to finish, and do what I need to do to make it less stressful. Paying attention to those cues and creating a system for myself when those situations arise seems like a good idea!
There’s probably a lot more I could probably say, but I’ve definitely said enough for now. Blogging is a journey and I don’t quite know the destination (does there even need to be one?) but I know I enjoy it and sharing what I can with anyone who will read as well as reading content by other bloggers! Thanks to anyone who ever took the time to stop by, comment, show support or just be part of my blogging journey thus far! I don’t always know what I’m doing, but I can say I know more now than I did a year ago!
What have you learned in your journey, blogging or otherwise?