I can’t believe that Courtney Fashionista is officially 3! I don’t think the excitement of celebrating another year blogging will ever fade. There’s nothing that I love more than creating content for CF and feel so grateful when I can keep it going for another 365 days!
In my previous Blogiversary posts (read here and here), I’ve talked about how blogging has helped me grow personally, but since this year I focused more on the blog’s growth, I think it’s more appropriate to share what I’ve learned and implemented to do just that. Coincidentally, the most important lessons that I’ve learned as a blogger can apply to other aspects of life, so a win-win in the growth department!
The most important lessons I’ve learned as a blogger, (so far)!
Don’t compare yourself to others
This has been my #1 rule since I started blogging. There are so many fabulous bloggers out there, that it’s hard to not admire their beauty, style, image quality or following. It’s inevitable to find plenty of girls who are better dressed, prettier or have a million more Instagram followers than myself (oh, the joys of social media). Of course, I want to be successful in my craft, but it’s so important to not get discouraged by the company I keep, but rather allow it to motivate and empower my work. I never go without appreciating each and every comment, follower and e-mail inquiry. Overall, I think it’s an amazing time to be a woman, with multiple creative outlets to showcase our talents, whether they be writing, cooking, hand lettering or journaling. We’re a pretty fabulous group and I’m beyond lucky to be part of this community!
This one goes hand in hand with my first rule. The only way I truly know to stand out within a group is to simply be myself. I’ve never been a very confident person, but with blogging I had to learn to accept myself in order to produce original content that I felt proud of. Just as my parents taught me in junior high, not everyone will like me or what I have to say, but those fabulous people who do are the ones I write for. Once I decided to have this blog be a genuine reflection of who I am, I was able to start creating content that gave me the most self satisfaction.
Blog for happiness
Not for the free goods or to get paid (although that can be nice!), but the love of blogging is what has always kept me writing. It can be tempting, (I am human after all), but if I’m not in love with a shop’s assortment or have any idea if a beauty product actually works, then I don’t accept those items to feature on Courtney Fashionista. This lesson I learned the hard way. When I first started, I would get so excited when a brand wanted to send me free stuff, that I’d accept and later realize, maybe it wasn’t something I’d originally buy. These typically led to outfits that I didn’t really love and made me feel like a phony (and go against my “be yourself” rule). I’ve learned to be picky with selecting the brands that I do collaborate with. People always say how lucky I am for these opportunities and I promise, I’m grateful for each of them, but if I only blogged for the freebies, I wouldn’t have made it past the 6 month mark. So when someone starting a blog asks me for advice, I always urge them to blog for happiness.
Creating a genuine audience takes time
I’ll never forget this blog’s first page view, or it’s first comment. When I began blogging, it was for myself, so the fact that anyone else paid attention to it blew my mind! This year, I wanted to focus on growing my readership. I’d love to say that once I began studying how to do so, my blog exploded, but honestly, creating a genuine audience takes time. It’s something that I’ve learned to have great patience with and have to believe that perseverance always prevails. For those who are curious, below are a some items that I focused on and implemented in order to expand my audience. I’d be happy to write a more in-depth post on this topic if you’re interested (just leave me a comment below!).
Ways to grow your blog’s audience:
- Participate in Blogger Link-ups
- Learn SEO and implement it in every post
- Utilize your social medias and give your audience a reason to visit your site
- Network and collaborate with other bloggers
- Be consistent with your posts
- Be creative and challenge yourself!
It’s Okay to Rest Your Brain
Once I set a goal to grow this blog and really delved into learning how, it basically became my second full-time job. That in addition to styling outfits, brainstorming new topics, taking pictures, editing and writing tends to give me major blogger brain. It’s not uncommon for me to make a list of outfit ideas instead of taking notes in a morning meeting or ramble on about how stressed I am for an upcoming photo shoot when you ask how my day is. I obviously love to blog and it’s important to keep the momentum going, but one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that it’s okay to give my brain a rest. Of course, I hate to take time off, but the downtime often leads my best blogging ideas.
I can’t wait for the outfits, knowledge and happiness year four brings! A huge thanks to those of you who read my posts and support me on this little journey. I’m thinking this year will be the best year yet!
Pictures by Tammy Torres Photography