“Celebrating” My 3 Month Blogging Anniversary
So, today, 22nd August, 2014, marks three months since I published the first post on my Blog. I decided from the beginning that I would write a “reflections post” at the 3 month mark to take stock of how I feel about blogging so far as well as offer some “advice” in the way blogging tips (based on my limited experience). Why three months? Well, right when I started blogging, as I’m sure many of you who blog can relate, I was on Google all of the time researching “How to Start a Blog”. In that research, I happened upon an article that stated that most bloggers give up after three months. I’m sorry I cannot find the exact article now. I did try to search for it but several articles were returned in the search and I was not confident as to which one it was. Should have book marked it.
Anyway, that 3 month statistic really struck me and I wondered how I would feel about blogging at that point. Well, now that point is here. Rather than write an essay-style post (those of you who visit me regularly know how long-winded I can be), I decided to structure this post as a Q&A – questions I am asking myself, lol. Perhaps my answers will be interesting or useful to some. It’s also easier to read the post this way. Those of you who are only interested in a particular question/topic can scroll through accordingly. Fair warning, this post is “text” heavy.
Part One – Personal Background
I’ve included a few questions of a more “personal” nature as my About page is not very extensive. I’ve not talked much about myself on this blog, why I started blogging and other such things. So here goes, in case any one is curious.
1) Why did I start a Blog?
The answer is quite simple. Like many, I am a beauty product junkie and I enjoy writing. I’m just a normal girl (women?) who has enjoyed skincare for as long as I can remember and who is a more recent (5 years) make-up lover. I was a creative writing enthusiast in secondary schooll/college but gave it up when I entered the “real” world. Blogging, in addition to expressing my passion for beauty, is also a way to start writing again.
2) Why aren’t they any pictures of me on my blog?
This is a bit of an “elephant in the room” type of question, but I thought I’d try to address it as best I could. First of all, I do not really think I blog anonymously, so I did not frame the question as such. I am Kimmy and I am from The Bahamas. I do limit photographs of myself on my blog not because I am embarrassed or afraid (though, of course, putting yourself out there is a difficult and scary decision for most), but quite simply, because of my job. Perhaps my circumstances will change at some point in the future, but for now, this my situation. That’s really all I have to say on the matter and hope you guys understand. 🙂
3) What do people who know me think of my blog?
Not that many people know, to be honest. A small handful of family members. None of my friends. I often wonder what they would think if they did. One of the first “blogger reflections” type posts that I read was by Laurie Leopold, the voice of 312 Beauty, in her article entitled, “#realbloggerbeauty is here“. The post was inspired by the campaign #RealBloggerBeauty which celebrates the real people behind the blog. Basically, there is more to a blogger (who is a person) than the one or two subjects he or she writes about. Anyway, there is a line in her post which struck me at my core. And I quote “It weighs on me sometimes that I’m not changing the world with my words or encouraging frivolity”. This particular thought mirrors my own at times. Back in the day, I was the non-profit, good cause, awareness-raising, fundraising, NGO warrior. Now I have my day job and I am beauty blogger.
I commented on Laurie’s post, and the essence of that comment still applies “….I often wonder myself if I am being silly and frivolous, if people who knew me knew about my blog, what would they think – how would they reconcile it with the person they think they know…” Only time will tell, I guess. But this speaks to the complexity of each of us. As a beauty blogger, I am more than my favorite lipstick.
4) Do I blog full time?
No, I have my (full-time) day job. 🙂
Part Two – Blogging Experiences and the Blogosphere
Three months is not a huge chunk of time. So bear that in mind. It’s enough time to generally know how I feel about blogging but perhaps not enough time to offer any sort of in depth analysis.
6) Is Blogging everything I thought it would be?
Yes and no. I thought I’d like it, which turns out to be true – so far, anyway. I knew it would take work, but I don’t think I anticipated how much work. Trying to produce quality content is not as easy as it may appear to those who do not blog. It’s not a simple matter of taking a couple of pictures and typing some thoughts. There is much that goes on behind the scenes, editing, for example, is like a full time occupation.
7) What do I hope to get out of blogging?
I’m still not 100% sure, to be frank. Right now, I’m testing the waters. As I said, blogging about beauty is a way to share/interact on a subject that I am passionate about but also a way to begin writing again. For me, that is all it is right now. Do I want people to read it? Sure, I do. That’s me being honest. But I don’t have the expectation that it will be some sort of overnight, huge sensation nor do I necessarily want that at this point, anyway.
8) What do I think of the (beauty, fashion, lifestyle) blogging community?
Honestly, the blogging community has been fantastic Everything you’ve heard about how friendly and open people are has proven to be true. This has been my experience, anyway. I’ve been fortunate enough to interact with some truly wonderful people who really get my beauty obsession.
9) What do I think about making money with blogging and brand affiliations?
The question of monetary gain when it comes to blogging is a hot topic and not one in which I wish to address in any great detail in this particular post. Not everyone likes to talk about it. I’ll be real with you all, I use a few affiliate links and banners on my blog and am completely open about it. I joined a few affiliate programmes and have chosen to become affiliated with a handful of companies/brands I personally purchase and use. These links are probably used in less than 20% of my posts. Have I made a fortune doing this? No. Did I go into this wanting to make a fortune? No. In the three months of blogging, I think maybe I’ve made enough commission to buy a lipstick. Also, this statement is largely theoretically as I actually haven’t received any money.
I think most bloggers “monetize” (use affiliate links) just to make some extra cash on the side or to fund more products to review. That’s how I see it, anyway. So if I ever do make any money, it will be to buy that lipstick or eye shadow or moisturizer – to continue to invest in the blog, so to speak. Also, I have not received any products from brands or companies. Up until this point (22nd August, 2014), everything that I have featured on my blog has been purchased by me with my own money. And by my own money I mean the paycheck I get from my “real job”. A few items have been gifts given by friends or family members during common gift giving occasions such as birthdays and holidays. Am I open to receiving products for review? Yes. But it just hasn’t come up yet. Also, I am committed to never promising a positive review for any product I may receive in the future from a company.
Part Three – Blogging Tips
Again, at three months, I don’t feel that I am the most qualified to offer blogging tips and/or advice. And for those of you interested, there are so many resources out there – articles and how-to’s written by Bloggers who have been at this for far longer. I recently read a great post by Ashlynn of A Beauty Moment entitled, “How To: Product Reviews” which includes some great information on a number of subjects, including: formating, negative reviews and sponsored reviews. Jaq of Lazy Days Beauty does a Better Blogging Series and recently posted her “Better Blogging Roundup” which neatly organises all of those ‘how-to” posts in a manner that is sure to a great resource to many. Finally, my sweet friend Silk Laura wrote a very useful, “How to Combine Blogging with Busy Life”, which is also a great read for us busy bodies.
It must also be said that advice will depend on what you are looking for when it comes to blogging. If your blog is just your personal diary and you don’t care if anyone ever reads it, well, I suppose the advice you’d be looking for would be more of a technical nature (i.e. what is html?). But if you, like most, want at least some level of readership, for whatever reason, then “advice” & “tips”, takes on another meaning. In this vein, I thought I’d highlight a few “best practices” from my brief experiences.
- Interact – Whether it be with your readers or with fellow bloggers, connecting, to me, is the #1 one way in which one can truly experience blogging in positive way. This includes reading other blogs (there is a wealth of information out there) and engaging on Social Media (consider Twitter, Instagram or newer platforms etc. for your blog),
- SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”) – I’m not saying everyone should run out and buy books on SEO, enroll in classes or become some sort of expert. Heaven knows I am technically challenged. But dedicating a couple of hours to obtain at least some very basic information couldn’t hurt. Like, finding out what SEO actually is? Honestly, I don’t know a whole lot about it either, but just by taking to Google (or Yahoo or Bing) and reading a few articles I have learned certain things like the purpose of the focus keyword – and how using it too much in your post is actually a bad thing. Like if you choose “beauty” as your focus keyword and (unintentionally or intentionally) use it too many times in your post, that post could be seen by search engines as spam. Who knew? Not me, anyway.
- Be Realistic – Let’s be real, there are hundreds of millions of blogs out there. Yes, hundreds of millions. I think I once read that a new blog is created every half second. Think about that and then be realistic with your expectations for your blog. I’m not getting down on anyone and like I said, people want different things. So if you are looking for massive readership, I’m just saying be realistic and don’t stress yourself out. But if you are happy with no readers or just a small group of dedicated ones, then that’s cool too. 🙂 Figure out what you want and approach your blogging accordingly.
- Posting Schedule/Organization – Some people like to schedule posts/reviews/features far in advance, some people like to be more spontaneous. Your style is your style. But for me, I feel that some level of organisation is very helpful, especially when you are working full time. Also, my first month I posted everyday, just to build content, but now I do about 4 times a week which is manageable for me.
- Be Yourself – I think it is very important to not only be yourself on your blog but to be honest with yourself and with your readers on what your blog is about. Find your voice. This is something I’m still working on. You, your voice, your blog will evolve over time but make as many decisions as you can as soon as possible. For example, as I said, I use a handful of affiliate links. I made the decision early on that I would “monetize” at some level (does anyone else hate that word?). Anyway, like I said, not as a primary motivation but maybe to (eventually) buy some makeup/skincare to review. My first instinct was that my blog was way to new for such things. I didn’t have (and probably still don’t have) enough readership to warrant it. But then I thought – I don’t want to bait and switch. By this I mean…I don’t want to blog for a year, never “monetize” in any way and then, all of sudden introduce affiliate links after I’ve already built readership with readers who may be like, “well, where did this come from?”. I wanted to be upfront from the beginning, even if I never, ever make one penny.
Part Four – The Way Forward
10) Will I continue blogging? And what do I see for the future?
For the foreseeable future, yes, I will continue blogging. Going forward, I just hope for more of the same: positive experiences in my interactions with bloggers and non-bloggers alike as well as the wider beauty community. 🙂
This was a very long post. I hope that it is has given some of you insight into the person behind the blog and offered information of at least some interest. Bloggers – how long have you been blogging? How do you feel about it so far? Thinking of starting a blog?
All items featured in this post were purchased by the author unless otherwise noted. Any products or services provided as PR will be marked with an asterisk "*". This website uses Skimlinks and this post may contain affiliate links.