Warning: this post will be long winded and will more than likely ramble on.
I am now well past the six month mark in blogging (although some months may be unanswered for due to lack of motivation… oops), and ‘Humble Hollywood’ is not what I thought it would be. I wasn’t one of those people that got into this expecting free stuff, fame and fortune from what is essentially, nowadays, a glorified hobby- however I expected a sense of fulfillment from it at least. This site has grown a lot over the past few months, but I feel like my opinions on the blogging community have grown far more. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve came to understand what it takes to have a ‘successful’ blog, in my own opinion over anyone else.
One: Finding Your Niche
For me, ‘niche’ was always a biological term, one that was dropped from my mind as soon as I stepped out of the exam hall (science was never really my strong point). I never would have thought to use this word to describe anything else except and organisms role in its community (literally praying that that is right), but obviously in the blogging world it has a far greater significance. I don’t know if anyone reading this will be a fellow fan of Helen Anderson‘s YouTube channel, but she recently published a Q&A video all about the world of YouTube, in which she stated- “Don’t go into it like, ‘I want to be a YouTuber, what can I YouTube?'”. I’m not interested in starting a YouTube channel, my accent isn’t nearly comprehensible enough, however I feel like YouTube and blogging can be very similar in terms of content and so this statement really applies to both- beauty bloggers vs. beauty bloggers, etc.
I feel like when I started my blog it was very true to myself, but it’s not hard to get caught up in the hype of ‘popular’ blogs. Your mind gets warped and you suddenly want to recreate all these ‘popular’ posts in an attempt to build your own following. I’m guilty of it, I’ll say it straight. I’ve went off on a bit of a tangent here, so I’ll get to my point- I love writing, I always have loved writing. You may be surprised, or not, to know that this isn’t my first blog. Years ago I created one (influenced just slightly by Hilary Duff in The Perfect Man) for the simple reason that I wanted to share what I’d written- not to share what I had in my bag.
You may also be surprised to notice that some of my posts are now missing. I wasn’t proud of them and they really didn’t reflect who I was as a person. I realise you don’t actually know a lot about me, or anything if this is your first time reading a post of mine, but I intend to change that with the content I choose to publish in the future.
Two: Blogging Should Be Enjoyable
In building a blog, you should be aiming to build a space in which you can return to at any time to clear your mind and get a little peace and quiet. Upon hearing your blogs name you should not be overwhelmed with feelings of dread, stress and disappointment. Like I said before- this is a hobby. If in your case it is not just a hobby but in fact a full time job, please know that I do not envy you. Enjoy what you’re doing, and if it starts to become a chore, stop and do something about it.
Three: Blogging Vs. Vlogging
Like I said, I’m not interested in starting a YouTube channel. My views on this subject may well be quite controversial, but I’m going to run with it anyway. People are lazy. In my opinion we are in the wake of a very lazy generation. I am, of course, not referring to everyone when I say this but you cannot deny we live in a time where the majority of people would much rather watch a video than read a blog post regarding the exact same contents. Often I’ve shared my blog link and been asked for my channel link instead, I find that- outwith the blogging community- people assume that if you have a blog you are simply only using it to advertise your YouTube videos. I’ve also come to find that most readers are bloggers themselves. And while this does strengthen the feel of community, the downside is that it limits the attention your posts will receive.
Four: Compare and Despair
I am no award winning photographer, I don’t use soft boxes or a DSLR. I have an iPhone 6 and a couple of editing apps. My Instagram is not themed, and my Twitter is not laden with mentions and retweets. I am no Zoella, or anyone of the equivalent. I am very well aware of this, and therefore comparing myself and my blog to what they have is not going to do anything but put myself down. I am a full time student, with a part time job and an even more part time hobby and so what I have is enough for me right now.
Five: Social Media is Key
Last but certainly not least, you have to give social media credit where it’s due. While my Instagram and Twitter both sit at under one hundred followers each, they are the key to free advertising. My blog would have nowhere near the amount of views it has today without #linkinbio, blogger retweet accounts and Twitter chats. If you want your posts read, then you have to get your name out there. But keep in mind, while it is important to stay active, avoid clogging up peoples feeds- that definitely has the opposite effect.
That rounds up my top five lessons, some being more obvious than others. But if I were to sum this post up with one overall rule for blogging, it would be blog for yourself. If you are not proud of what you publish then it is going to have a detrimental effect on how you build your portfolio of posts in the future.