It has been over a month since my last blog post and I’m so happy about this! I took some time away from blogging and dramatically reduced the time I spend on social media. I suppose you can call it a ‘digital detox’ and I feel so good for it! I found myself getting stressed with deadlines and schedules and creatively I started to get a bit of ‘writers block’.
So, what have I being doing with my time you ask? I have used this time to destress and practice self-care and as a result I feel so much happier and aware of how to be in the now and not let blogging become too much for my mental health. During this time I have been jotting down ideas for blog posts, recipes and I even written some self-care and mindfulness posts on the ways I have found self-acceptance and become more mindful in my daily life.
However, for my first blog post back I really wanted to share with you all everything I have learnt and some of my experiences in my 5 years of blogging on Beauty Baking Bella. As my blog turned 5 in June, what better time to share these thoughts with you all. So here they are..What I’ve Learnt in 5 Years of Blogging.
Whether you blog as a hobby or as a business, it doesn’t matter that you put your love, attention and money into writing a blog, blogging is hard work! Even when you do have blog post ideas flowing from your eye balls, putting the work in can be tiring and stressful and the time spent on each individual post can be hours or days, from writing good quality content to creating eye-catching images, blogging isn’t easy! Even after 5 years, I still need to take a break from time to time or update content and I am constantly improving and bettering myself what I am sharing here on my blog. When I tell people that I am a blogger, I seem to get mixed reactions and those negative reactions still sometimes upset me as a lot of people think of blogging as an easy ‘hobby’ and getting lots of free stuff! This really isn’t the case. However, If you are interested in taking your blog to the next stage then check out my post on How to Achieve a Successful Blogger Outreach and to start earning money on your blog.
Following on from the conversation of ‘free stuff’, it’s quite upsetting to see that new bloggers are only in it for the potential free stuff! I personally didn’t start receiving any PR products until Year 3 of blogging as I didn’t start blogging for this reason. I started blogging as a way to share my love for beauty products and delicious home cooked food recipes and I am proud of my content. Since 2013, when I first started Beauty Baking Bella, I have seen so many bloggers come and go and one of the reasons is because they thought it was all about the free stuff and that it was easy money. I have found that working hard to produce and share great content has resulted in me being very fortunate to now have a long list of amazing brands I have worked with on my media kit. If you are reading this and you have started blogging to get free products then you might as well quit now as blogging is so much more than that! It can be disheartening when you see others getting great blogging opportunity but I always tell myself to keep working hard for me and the rest will come when its the right time.
The struggle to grow a following on social media and to get 100’s of page views a day can be stressful and cause so much anxiety and self-doubt when being a blogger. I may not have tens of thousands of followers but I have followers that engage with me and my blog, to me this is an achievement in itself. Yes, to be a ‘successful’ blogger and to even be considered for certain opportunities you need to have specific numbers to meet brand and PR requirements but worrying over your numbers won’t change this. What I have learnt is that by continuing to create content and putting myself out there, I have still been able to work on some amazing campaigns with some amazing brands, even with my current statistics. So my advice to you is not to be disheartened if you are struggling to grow your following and blog stats and keep working hard as it will pay off either way.
Over the years I have made some lovely ‘blogging friends’ and only recently actually met up with the lovely Isa from Isa Wonders (check her out she is so funny!), which was so nice. Unfortunately, not everyone in the blogging community is as friendly or supportive and social media can become very stressful and demotivating when there is any ‘drama’ going on. From bloggers stealing other blogger’s content and photos, another blogger buying fake followers to upset another or even when someone wants to express a feeling or emotion, especially in regards to mental health and blogging, its just so negative and upsetting to see! I, myself, haven’t been involved in any drama but as a shy and anxious person these situations keep me reserved from being too open and overly friendly on social media. I like to share positivity when I spend time on social media, I like to retweet other bloggers/vloggers posts and links, join in chats and always like and comment on as many Instagram photos as I can, just to show other bloggers support. To me this is what the Blogging Community should be about.
Yes, unfortunately the ‘follow and unfollow’ game has got worse over the years. In order for people to grow their following not only are some of them buying fake followers but they are playing a very selfish game trying to grow the number of followers on social media with this ‘game’. I hate people like this!! I lose around 200+ followers a month on Instagram alone because of people that follow to unfollow you once you follow back or even if you don’t follow back. I have noticed this is becoming more popular with the bigger bloggers. The bloggers that already have 100k+ followers but only follow 100! Yes, hun I know your game, I know my feed isn’t that amazing that I will be lucky enough for you to be a genuine follower of mine! Of course, if you have people that are mutual followers but over time you start to dislike their content or photos then that is fair enough because why would you want to have a feed full of people you don’t necessarily have an interest in, so I don’t feel guilty if I have a bit of clean up of who I’m following from time to time.
If you are a blogger or interested in blogging, you may read about how you should write blog posts that other people would want to read and in a way that is correct, but I have also learnt that I can only write a great post if I myself feel passionate enough about that topic. Over the years, I have always worked, and am constantly working to improve every aspect of my blog and this includes what topics I choose to share and write about. It’s important to love what you write because your blog represents YOU and helps your reader find that connection to you, to get to know what you are about. This is what keeps your readers coming back to your blog, they trust you and what your ‘brand’ is about. I like to think I have achieved this over my 5 years of blogging.
Forget all the negative things I’ve mentioned about social media for a minute and take a step back. Social media is actually a great way to get yourself and your blog out there. I have found that by scheduling blog posts to Twitter daily, new and old posts, encourages my followers to click my blog link and read my posts. Use social media to promote your posts, leave your blog URL everywhere you can, in your bio, tweets, and messages.
I personally love Twitter for this reason, as people like to engage with me on these posts, which in turn enables friendships to be created and you show support for one another. Instagram is another favouirte of mine as I am a very visual person and love looking at photos of food and travel as well as being a lover of pretty flat lays! I now use social media as a way of connecting with others and finding inspiration for myself, I’m always learning new things about blogging and the community all the time. For any other Instagram lovers out there who may be feeling a little lost with how Instagram works and finding themselves struggling with this platform, check out this post by the lovely Leah about what she learnt from Instagram themselves on how to use Instagram.
As I have been blogging for such a long time, I have had more than a few situations that have been less than positive. Sometimes you find your email inbox empty for weeks and suddenly you are bombarded with PR’s wanting to work with you. That’s great but when an email starts with your twitter handle instead of your name, even though it’s right there next to your handle or URL it can be upsetting, especially if they are offering you a great opportunity. As exciting as it is, I have learnt to politely turn these offers down. This is the same when a PR or brand offer to work with you but the product or campaign in question isn’t relevant to you or your blog. It can be hard to turn down an opportunity but staying true to yourself and your blog is the most important thing you can do. If you are a food blogger and you review a car gadget on your blog, it doesn’t look great and your readers may not trust your judgement and assume you are just doing it for the money. Staying true to myself as a blogger has resulted in me now having a blog that I am very proud of and love the content I am sharing because it is relevant to me and my lifestyle.
One thing I am proud of myself for is how I am always learning and improving, from my photography to my writing style, I always aim to be better than the last post. I like to challenge myself to do better. I wouldn’t dare say my blog is perfect, it’s probably no where near but at this moment in time, I am proud of what I have achieved and look forward to doing more. The last two years have been the most exciting for me with Beauty Baking Bella as I have become more confident in talking to PR’s and brands and putting myself out there to find opportunities for my blog. Being confidient is such a positive trait to have as a blogger, as you can achieve so much more with a positive mindset and outlook.
I personally love reading posts on how to improve your blogging skills and I love reading how I can improve certain aspects like photos or SEO writing etc. Reading about other peoples experiences when blogging can be helpful and a great guide to encourage your own journey. That is what I’m hoping to do by sharing this post, my own experience as a long-term blogger, I hope I can help motivate or encourage other bloggers in their blogging journey.
Remember, everyone is different and you shouldn’t compare yourself with others and their success. I know I will continue to grow Beauty Baking Bella at my own pace and for me blogging is a marathon and not a sprint and I am proud of myself for sticking to it for the past 5 years.. so here’s to the next 5!!
Let me know what your thoughts are on your blogging journey so far and if you have any advice or tips that you think I could benefit from.