Year One Down: 8 Things I Learned in My First Year of Blogging

January 31, 2018

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what I learned in my first year of blogging

A year ago at this time, I was sitting nervously/anxiously/excitedly at my computer, ready to hit “launch” on this brand spankin’ new blog I had been working on for months, and dreaming about for a heck of a lot longer than that. It’s been wild to see what I’ve learned in my first year of blogging. It was exhilarating. And scary. And oh-so worth it.

There’s a few things I’ve learned along the way. So if you’re teetering on the edge of launching a blog of your own, or a creative project you can’t stop thinking about, I hope this helps encourage you to take a leap of faith. I promise you, it’s worth it. But, first things first…

It’s A. Lot. Of. Work.

Okay, okay. So I knew this coming into this endeavor. Sort of. I did know it would be a lot of work, but the thing I didn’t realize? Just how much work it is. I have so much respect for my community of bloggers that are creating killer content on the regular. I’ve learned that bloggers are so much more than the term “blogger.” When it’s something you truly care about, you become a content creator, the accounting department, the graphic design department, the web department and so on. And you truly do create all of that content, from start to finish, and that content goes so far beyond posting beautiful photos on the ‘gram.

From building and designing a website, to scheduling and shooting photos (shoutout to my unpaid intern i.e. my husband for being the best sport/photographer out there!), to actually editing said photos, to creating content calendars, to creating and producing the content itself in addition to producing a well researched and informative post, and then actually sharing the content once it’s created–you’re really running a full content creation house, just by yourself. It’s a crazy amount of love, sweat, and late nights that go into making a blog successful.

And turns out? Successful blogs are legitimate multi-million dollar businesses. Yeah, it’s a lot of work. But is it worth it? You bet your cute little behind it is! It’s been so fulfilling in so many ways, and I’m so grateful to live in a day when it’s possible to do this.

what I learned in my first year of blogging

It’s A Balancing Act

Some bloggers blog full time, and that’s such a wonderful thing for them! Talk about #goals. However, I (along with many bloggers I know) work full time, in addition to having a blog, and I’ve learned that balancing your life is something that takes practice. And patience. Lots of patience. Did I mention patience? There are times throughout the year that are incredibly busy at work for me, and I found that in those months the content on this site took a back seat. I’d end up feeling very guilty about this, which doesn’t benefit anyone, including myself.

I’ve become more practiced in giving myself the grace to know that it’s okay that I didn’t get that post published today, and tomorrow is a new day. If you’re balancing a blog in addition to a full time gig (and if you are, GET. IT. GIRL.) remember to give yourself the grace and patience to keep your work life/blog life/and actual life balanced. If all else fails, hop in the bubble bath with a good book and relax. I swear this is the best medicine in the world.

SHOP THE POST

what I learned in my first year of blogging

Content is King (Or Queen)

If there is one piece I’ve taken away from this year, it’s this: content is everything. Some of my favorite blogs are my go-to resources on a plethora of subjects because they’re informative, helpful, and have killer aesthetics. If you have valuable content, you are golden, and become a resource for anyone visiting your site. It sets you up to build a solid foundation. I find myself going back to certain bloggers sites because they have SUCH valuable information, and have become a trusted source of mine.

They make me feel like I learned something, gained a better understanding of something I was previously unfamiliar with. It takes time, but the more informative, accurate, and helpful your content is overall, the better you will do, and the more you will find you have continued visitors to your site. On the flip side, if you don’t dedicate time to creating quality content you’re proud of, your audience will not be nearly as engaged.

The plus side of this? It’s such an incredible outlet, and it lets those creative juices flow. Feeling overwhelmed by this? Remember what we talked about before. Patience my sweet, patience. And bubble baths. Always bubble baths.

what I learned in my first year of blogging

It’s Somewhat Terrifying…But Incredibly Rewarding

I’m gonna be real with you guys, I still have moments of “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Putting yourself out there opens you up to certain types of scrutiny, and that can be kind of (read: incredibly) terrifying. But if you’re like me, and you’ve had an urge to start a blog, a website, whatever it may be…and a voice you just can’t silence telling you to do it: just go for it. If it makes you happy, that’s truly the biggest benefit. I created this site because I was itching for a creative outlet. I love to write, I actually graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism, and I so missed having the opportunity to write whenever I wanted.

Turns out, this urge led to the creation of The Curated Collective. In the year since this labor of love of mine was launched, I’ve experienced ups and downs, but the ups far outweigh the downs and keep me going. Sure, it might be scary. Sure, you may have days when you feel like giving up. Sure, some days might be tougher than others. But the best things in life sometimes come from taking chances. Even if it ends up being a big fat failure, you will have inevitably learned something from the experience. In that case, is it really a failure? I don’t think so.

So if you’re teetering on the edge of starting something you’ve been wanting to do forever, let me be that voice inside your head: JUST GO FOR IT. I promise, you won’t regret it.

what I learned in my first year of blogging

Success Does Not Come Overnight

Can I get an AMEN for this?! This is not only true in the world of blogging, but is really true in any endeavor you set your mind to. It’s so easy for any of us, in any stage of life, to play the comparison game. But turns out? The people who are kicking ass at what they’re doing have been doing it for a loooong time, and have worked very hard to get there. I’m a big fan of the saying “overnight success that was ten years in the making.”

It may seem like people are crushin’ it instantly, but most likely? They’ve been working their behinds off at this for a while. Remember why you started blogging (or whatever your endeavor of choice might be) to begin with. Does it bring you joy? Does it relieve stress? Focus on the positive things it brings you, and the “success” will come later. Don’t give up. You’ve got this.

what I learned in my first year of blogging

Community Over Competition is a Real Thing

This was one of the most pleasant surprises entering the blogging world. In what can seem like a dog-eat-dog place, there is a community of bloggers out there who truly support, encourage, and cheer one another on. I can’t describe how happy this makes my heart to see women supporting other women to chase after their dreams, whatever they may be.

One of the most rewarding experiences I had over the past year was attending Create & Cultivate, I wrote all about that here! It was an audience and crew of badass women, who were all coming together to not only support one another, but to give advice as to how to go out there and crush it. How incredible is that?! It was so encouraging hearing others stories, and knowing that EVERYONE starts at ground zero. Such an important thing to remember, I think.

Creating a community of like minded ladies can help in so many ways, and I’m pumped to be a part of this movement. And that leads me to my next point: invest in yourself. Furthering your education in any way (graphic design, photography, social media, web design, etc) is the BEST thing you can do for yourself. Learning is cool, man! Never stop learning, and always challenge yourself.

what I learned in my first year of blogging

Be Yourself

Goes without saying, no? It can be so easy to compare yourself to other people. That their look/vibe/style might give you envy. But you know what your most important asset is? The one that you can’t put a price on? Yourself. Because as cliché as that may sound, you are the only version of you. And how cool is that? Let that be the voice, and the personality that shines through. I’ve learned that trying to be my true self here is the best thing I can do. There’s no point trying to replicate someone else (plus, what a massive waste of energy!) 

Focus on the unique, incredible things you have to offer. That will take you further than anything else ever could. Embrace your weirdness. Your quirkiness. Your awkwardness. Whatever it is that makes you, YOU. Embrace all of that. 

what I learned in my first year of blogging

Your Blog is the Only Thing That’s Yours, Prioritize It 

This is something I’ve recently put a huge focus on, and perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned throughout the year. During my 9-5, I work on our social media team, and one thing that is consistent across ALL social platforms?

Algorithms change all. the. time. Meaning, you’re not in control of who sees your posts on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. You’re not in charge of whether a social platform could go away tomorrow (umm hey, remember MySpace? RIP.) My biggest piece of advice? Invest in the content of YOUR blog/website/etc. because it’s truly the only thing that you own, the rest can disappear tomorrow.

At the end of the day, this is your space to share your thoughts, your creativity, your “you-ness” with the world. Remember that, and the rest will fall into place.

what I learned in my first year of blogging

I can’t express enough how grateful I am to each and every one of you who has been a reader here and has supported me as I’ve launched this blog over the last year. Y’all are incredible. Let me know what kind of content you want to see here on The Curated Collective, or let me know over on Instagram!

YOU GUYS ARE JUST THE BEST. Thank you, immensely!

 

The comments +

  1. Laura Nightingale

    February 2nd, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    These are some great insights! I’m totally with you on the overnight success thing. I get so frustrated when I see posts like “How I got a bajillion pageviews in my first month blogging!” I feel like I’m finally starting to feel successful in my businesses and I’ve been at it for 4 years!

  2. Stephanie

    February 24th, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    RIGHT! I feel like those posts can be so spammy without any real value. At the end of the day, it takes ALOT of hard work and determination. Happy to hear your finding your groove in your business. Best of luck with it! No doubt you have the willpower to make it happen 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by Laura!

  3. Corretta

    February 2nd, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Congrats on making it a whole year and cheers to many more! Thanks for the tips and I love your outfit!

  4. Stephanie

    February 24th, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you so much Corretta, that means the world to me! Thank you so much for stopping by xo Steph

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