Yesterday marked my blog turning two years old, which is totally insane to think about. I seriously can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for two years now, I definitely feel like I’ve come a long way from where I started out.
Over the past couple of years I’ve learnt quite a lot, especially in the past year, and there are a lot of things that I’ve had to learn over time that I wish I’d known sooner. I’m hoping this will be a super helpful post for any newbie bloggers out there, but also for bloggers like me who are still learning the ropes and could do with a little advice.
Companies will try to con you.
Yep, I’m going straight in there. Now this definitely doesn’t apply to all companies – in my experience it’s typically smaller, less well-known brands that do this – but there are brands that will offer you a ‘special deal’ on their products that you would then review.
To a new blogger this can sound like an awesome deal, your first collaboration is exciting and you want to get your foot in the industry, but never fall for this. You essentially are paying to advertise somebody else’s products, which is exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. I don’t necessarily believe payment is a requirement for every post I write, if I’ve been gifted something then sometimes I think that’s enough, but what isn’t okay is being told you have to pay for their products to review something that you probably wouldn’t even buy in the first place.
Sometimes they will tell you that you need to do this to earn their trust, and eventually you will receive their products for free – this is just an awful way for a company to make a lot of money from newbies because they know they can use them. Unfortunately I had to learn this lesson the hard way – I stupidly got involved in a conversation I felt I couldn’t say no to and ended up spending way too much money on what was essentially trash. Luckily I did learn my lesson, and now when I get these offers (typically about five times a week) I just totally ignore them.
It’s gonna get expensive.
When I first started my blog I paid for my domain name and that was it, because I didn’t want to invest in something too early on. However, I eventually wanted to improve my blog by going self-hosted and buying a pipdig theme. Add to that the lighting I’ve purchased (soft boxes are the best investment you can make as a blogger and I would 100% recommend them), the products I’ve bought to review and various other essential pieces (blog props, tripods, cameras etc.) it all really starts to add up.
I’ve been lucky enough to start getting paid for some of my posts and actually managed to make a profit last year (not including the products I’ve bought because I would have bought those whether I had a blog or not), but if you aren’t prepared to invest in your blog then you might have to rethink. At the end of the day, if you want to blog for fun and don’t really care whether or not it goes anywhere then you could practically do it for free, but if you want to turn your blog into something bigger – possibly even into a career if you’re lucky and work super hard – then you need to be prepared to spend.
It will take over your life.
Blogging is so much more than just writing a post every so often. You have to always be taking photos, editing, thinking up ideas and keeping a constant social media presence. Although it’s an insanely awesome thing and I love doing it, I would be lying if I said it was easy.
Writing, editing and photography are definitely the easy parts for me, it’s social media that I find tricky. It really doesn’t come naturally to me to share my thoughts online – which is actually why I like Instagram the most, all I need to do is post a photo. With things like Twitter you constantly need to engage with others whilst also trying to think of tweets that make you look funny, interesting and relatable – it’s exhausting.
I’m constantly aware that I need to be tweeting something, or taking some photos so that I have a bunch stored up for Instagram. For some people this comes really naturally and they enjoy social media, I’m just not that person. My advice would be to take breaks whenever you feel like you can’t deal with social media anymore, and just be prepared to constantly be scheduling tweets.
You will sometimes wonder what the point is.
I’m sure every blogger has thought this at some point in time (I have to hope it isn’t just me), but when you see other bloggers getting incredible opportunities and you haven’t had any in a while it does make you wonder why you’re doing it. A lot of the times you’ll feel like you put a lot of effort into your photography and blog posts for what feels like only a handful of people to read it, and that sucks.
I’ve thought this a lot, and it always leaves me wondering what I’m doing wrong. The truth is that blogging is absolutely not about getting free stuff – although that is one of the perks, if you’re starting a blog for just that then it’s definitely more effort than it’s worth – it can be really disappointing to put so much into your blog and get very little out of it.
But the major thing I’ve learnt is that when you really get to that point, something great is usually just around the corner. It can feel like it’s been months since anything has come from your blog and then all of a sudden you’re the one getting the amazing opportunities and reading the loveliest comments on your posts.
The most important piece of advice I could give is to just be patient, believe in yourself and keep working hard – someone will notice.
You will meet some of the most amazing people.
I’m a little worried I’m sounding too negative in this post, so let me end on the best note.
When I first started blogging I was absolutely terrified about interacting with other bloggers, but I’m so glad I finally did. I have met some totally awesome people (who I really need to meet in real life) who are so lovely and supportive, and also completely understand everything that comes with being a blogger because they’re one too!
Although I’ve never met these girls in real life, I know so much about them and feel like whenever we do meet we’ll click instantly. It’s crazy to think I wouldn’t know any of these guys if I hadn’t started blogging, I actually think it’d be super weird to not have them in my life anymore – I just wish I’d started talking to them sooner!
If you’re thinking about starting a blog then you absolutely should, whilst there are some tough moments it’s easily the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come over the past two years, and I can’t wait to see what will happen with my blog in the years to come.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it at least a little helpful! Let me know in the comments what you wish you had known when you started blogging. See you next time,