An Uncomplicated Life Blog: What 4 Years Of Blogging Has Taught Me

Thursday, April 12, 2018

What 4 Years Of Blogging Has Taught Me

Despite only blogging for four years, the profession (or hobby) has changed dramatically. Here are my biggest and best takeaways.

When I think back to my very first month blogging, which is exactly four years ago now, I laugh. I started this blog from the breakfast bar of the crappy rental house we had for a year. It was literally the only space we had in that 1600 sq foot home. A dang breakfast bar! I had no editorial calendar (didn't even know what one was!), I was clueless about SEO (I thought funny or clever titles would draw readers in better!), and I could barely aim my iPhone 5 camera straight for the one or two photos I'd include in my post (and I never edited them!) Wow, things have come a long way here. Some hard lessons have been learned to boot. In honor of my 4 year bloggerversary, I thought I'd share some of the things blogging has taught me over the years.

1) There are ALWAYS going to be bloggers who are bigger and better than you
Eat your humble pie right now girlfriend, because the second you start to think you're the best in your niche, you've gotten too big for your britches. When you're starting out, it's easy to think, "Man, if I could just get a thousand followers on Facebook or if I could just get my Instagram to that proverbial 10k mark, I'll have made it!" The thing is, if you're of a growth mindset, by the time you've hit those goals, you're already thinking about the next milestone you want to hit. If you're going to blog seriously, you're never satisfied with one number, but focusing on continuous growth. 

The same goes for the qualitative stuff too - your blog post ideas. I'm always thinking of ways to be entertaining, of ways to tell stories. Reading other blog and thinking about how creative that person is, or looking at her Instagram and thinking about what a great photographer she is. It's not just a numbers game, it's an ideas game too, and you've got to constantly be reaching for new ways to engage with people and deliver content. 

This also means that, yes, there will always be other bloggers who are bigger and better than you. It's ok! Get inspired by them.

2) Let go of the fake relationships
One of the coolest parts of blogging is the community of people you "meet" via the internet. SO many people are really, truly awesome. But there are also some duds out there. One of my first blogging friends and I started about the same time. She grew rapidly! I thought it was so great, because I could learn from her. Once we got to the point of texting each other, I noticed she was always negative about every other blogger. Seriously, had something bad to say about everyone -which of course meant that she had something bad to say about me to all the other bloggers she talked with, right? 

She'd text me snarky comments about brands she was working with too, and say, "Oh well, at least I'm getting paid for this!" She was just such a killjoy. We had a falling out about a year ago, and (thankfully) lost touch. I still read her blog occasionally just to see what she's up to and low and behold, she's up to the same fake crap. She had a post about why she'd never be a "full time blogger" and it was all about how working provides her to be selective with what brands she partners with because she doesn't "need to blog for money." I legit LOL'd at that, and had to hold myself back from publishing screenshots of her texts about how crappy a brand was, but it was buying her a new designer bag that month so she didn't care.

The people who spend all their time talking about how authentic they are are usually the LEAST authentic people. Don't be scared to let go of the fake ones. You'll be glad you did!

3) Trends & Fads come and go... Quickly
When I started, Instagram wasn't even a blogging thing. Within a year, it was critical to have one and to have your aesthetic figured out with a content calendar strategy. Now people are already sick of styled and perfect photos, and InstaStories is essential to bloggers. Trends and fads come up quickly, so you've got to adopt to them! Remember when Periscope was a thing? It was supposed to revolutionize blogging... But didn't. Embrace the changes but don't throw all your eggs into one basket. Being well rounded and not focusing too much on one facet of blogging is essential to success. If you don't, you'll never know what will come into fashion next (that you won't be ready for) or what trend you currently excel at that will dissipate (and you'll be left trying to figure out your next, crisis-mode steps).

I mean, remember when blog buttons and "sponsoring" other blogs was a thing?!

4) Comparison is truly the thief of joy and more importantly, SUCCESS
I run in a few blogging groups where we bounce ideas off each other and whatnot, and I feel like we have this conversation every three months or so. It's painful. It annoys me to no end. I want to take a tattoo pen (don't know what those are actually called because I have zero tattoos...) and permanently write this on their minds and hearts: Stop comparing yourself to other bloggers! Stop looking at what they "have" and comparing it to what you "don't have." That could be number of followers, a sweet to site design, the cutest baby who always cooperates for photos, the perfect home, whatever. Just stop it. If you can't stop comparing yourself to her, unfollow and MAKE yourself stop.

The obvious answer to this is that you'll make yourself unhappy by doing this. And that's absolutely true! What a miserable way to live. But the thing you probably haven't thought about is that it hurts YOUR blog/brand. When you're wrapped up in everyone else, you can't be yourself. When you're wrapped up in what other people have, you can't properly pitch/"sell" yourself well to brands because you're focusing so much on the negatives. Focus on your strengths, on what you do well and what you love, and you'll be successful. You don't need 50k Instagram followers to be a great business woman and make full time income blogging, so let go of your stupid follower count. What you do need is confidence, a strong sense of self, and a great pitch.

Who cares what others are doing! Do you. The second you stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and thinking and start concentrating on your strengths and what you add to the blogosphere is the second you're far more happy and in turn, far more successful. And in case you're wondering about how my first point works with this last one, yes. You can still acknowledge that others are bigger and have some better ideas than you without it having a negative impact on you and your blog.

It's been a crazy ride, starting this blog for "something to do" outside of being home with kids all day, blogging from a too-small breakfast bar on my husband's old laptop to now having my own desk, official "work" laptop, an editorial calendar, and frankly - a friggin clue. Well some days I'm still pretty clueless, and that's ok. It's all a constant learning process because technology is constantly changing. Enjoy the ride!


  1. Oh buttons and sponsorshis! I kinda miss those days... This is all so true and so applicable to more than blogging but to life in general. I think for me I started to really love blogging when I stopped caring so much and just started blogging again about what I like and do. And I still do not have an editorial calendar. lol Still need that carrot cake recipe. :)

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  2. Four years wow, I am just entering my second and I hope to finish it. Honestly comparing oneself to others always ends up discouraging oneself and just hurts you at the end of it all.

  3. I wonder every time I write a blog post if I’m good enough and if there is a point. I know there are always going to be bigger and better bloggers but at times I just wonder if I’ll ever get anywhere with it. I know I need to do just do my own thing and own it! I love to write and blog so my worries won’t stop me.

  4. I've found in order to not burn out (and I burned out and stopped writing for a few years but am not starting to write again, and this is after being pretty successful in the food space) and to maintain sanity in joy, you have to separate yourself, the best you can, from the distraction of comparing yourself to anyone else. Now that I'm starting to write again I'm finding more joy because my focus is on me and the journey I'm on instead of trying to keep up with everyone else.

  5. Those are 4 good points!! I think being true to yourself and your readers is so important! Cheers!

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