10 Things (+1) I’ve Learned from My First Year of Blogging

Happy Birthday to Lord of the Sequin/Chic Secrets/ What Jo Craves!

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve started this thing! If you’ve been with me from the beginning –

1. Thank you!

2. Sorry that you’ve seen it change at least a dozen times!

To celebrate my blog’s 1st Birthday (in addition to the cupcake I plan on eating) – I put together this list. I’m sure the title is pretty self-explanatory. I hope it helps any new bloggers who want a bit of insight into what to expect, and everyone can get a glimpse of what we bloggers do but love.

I never thought blogging was going to be easy but it’s definitely a bit more work than I had anticipated. Even before I posted my first piece I was already brainstorming ideas, researching other blogs, writing, editing, re-writing and constantly thinking about my blog. I continue to put a lot of thought into my blog every single day – What can I do to make it better? Do people like what I’m writing? What is my next idea? Does it look visually appealing? Every little detail on my blog, from posts to the layout to the icons and wording have been carefully created and altered to meet my expectations. All of this takes a lot of time, dedication and creativity. Writing good, original content that others find enjoyable can be difficult but it’s a good challenge. I’m so glad that I finally decided to start this, as it’s taught me so much about myself, what I’m capable of doing and what I can bring to the blogger community.

This has been such a hard lesson for me to try and learn (and to be completely honest, I don’t think I’ve completely learned how not to do this). I constantly see blogs that are huge and popular – 100s of comments, 1000s of viewers, fans, hits, etc. and here I am thinking—What’s wrong with mine? Am I doing something wrong? Are my outfits not cute enough? Do people not like what I’m saying? Every time I start thinking this way, it makes me wonder what the point of all this is.

But I keep writing.

I need a place to talk and release some creative energy. I also have to remember that a lot of these blogs have been around for a few years now and mine is still a baby. Even though, I’m not as popular as I’d like to be, I do have loyal fans, friends who consistently talk about my blog and I receive great feedback.  I believe that if I keep doing what I love and reach out to others through my writing, eventually I’ll get to the place I want to be.

When other bloggers say “If you’re in this for money, comments, fans, or hits then you’re not in this for the right reason.” – I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to somewhat disagree with this. If we didn’t want people to see what we’re writing and come back week after week, and gain more readers each day then we’d still be writing in our Dear Diary… journals. Bloggers have blogs so they can share their perspective with others – we want people to see what we’re saying, wearing, doing, thinking and most of us have hopes to turn it into something bigger.

After I realized that this is something I truly enjoy then I wanted more readers and hits for my blog. I’m sure most bloggers have felt this way at some point. Comments, hits, sponsors, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc. – all matter to a blogger; this is how we know people like what we’re saying and we can see if we have a following.

Granted all of this takes time (look at me—I’m still in those super early stages of blogging) but I do love reading comments and responding. I think I’ve been very lucky with the comments that you guys have left me because they’re actually substantial – with a question or depth (instead of generic like “Nice Outfit!”). So yes, I do believe that comments and hits matter but it does take time to build a following and it’s not something that should be expected right off the bat.

By the way, I also love commenting on other blogs. You guys put a lot of work into your blog so why wouldn’t I support you as well. Plus it’s helped me gain some more readers which also makes happy!

This past year, I realized that building viewership takes A LOT of work and strategy. Word of mouth, Facebook fans, and other social media platforms can only take you so far.

I’m lucky that I was able to get readers like Haute Muslimah and Tanvi who introduced me to a HUGE South Asian fashion community and to Indian Fashion Bloggers. They’re blogs and IFB have been a great inspiration and platform for me to stand on. Plus, I check out other blogs and comment – which has helped a lot. I’m also excited about attending Texas Style Council in March to meet tons of other bloggers and learn from them. I’ll definitely continue commenting on other blogs, trying to reach out to other bloggers, guest post, join other blogging communities and of course, continue to write fun (and very useful) posts.

I have to get out there if I want to make my blog somewhat successful and I still have a long way to go.

The days and times posts are uploaded matter when it comes to viewership. When I first started out, I’d post whenever I finished the piece (day, afternoon or night) and paid no attention to the day of the week. Overtime, I started noticing trends on my WordPress data that allowed me to see what days I’d get the most hits, regardless of whether I posted or not. Based on this, I started experimenting with different days and times.

Turns out, if I posted early in the morning (before 10:00 a.m.) then I wouldn’t get as many views that day but the next day I would. So I started posting around 10:00 a.m. which seems to be the best time as it doesn’t get lost in early morning Facebook News Feeds, Tweets, e-mails and people are finally awake at this time.

Also, Monday – Thursdays are higher traffic days (compared to Friday – Sunday). Since Mondays are the day after the weekend, people’s e-mail boxes, Facebook and Twitter pages are full of things they need to get through. Tuesday is when they’ve gone through everything, are back in work-mode and ready to start the week. This attitude usually lasts till Thursday so Fridays are kind of “dead” days.

Using this data, I decided that Tuesday and Thursday were the best days for me to post. This way I give readers a break and it gives me time to draw and finalize the next set of posts. I doubt this method works for everyone and some blogs are so popular that people check them every day, but it’s still worth looking at your data to see when people view, what they like to view, and how often they check.

I can’t even begin to express how much research I’ve done since I first started blogging. I have built a fairly large list of blogs that I read on a daily basis. I’m constantly looking at various layouts, color combos, wording, fonts, photos, outfits, content, design, etc.

In addition to looking at other blogs – I really take into account the statistics that WordPress gives back to me. I mentioned above that I used its stats to determine when my higher traffic days and times were. I also use that information to see what people are more interested in – outfits, makeup, Do-It-Yourself projects, recipes, etc. I have a pretty good idea of what people like so I try to cater to that (i.e. putting at least one complete outfit post a week) but sometimes there are things that I never thought would be that popular are (i.e. Where to Find Nude Flats, How to Hem Pants or Red Lipstick).

All of this research has helped put a lot of different factors in perspective, there by continuously giving me the creativity that I need to evolve my blog.

I had to give my blog a makeover not once, not twice, but three times before I finally got it right. All of which included name, layout and content changes. This was okay with me. After viewing so many other blogs, I wanted to make mine better but at the same time, stay true to my personality and the reason why I started this blog. I think I’ve finally gotten to the point where I love my blog and the only thing I can do to improve it is to continue being creative and give good advice.

After some time, I noticed that I enjoyed looking at blogs where the picture quality was better. It added more appeal to the blog and made the overall site more inviting. I don’t have a top-of-the-line DSLR (mine is entry-level) but it is way better than the power shot I used to have and it makes a world of a difference. (If you want to know the kind of camera I use, check out the “Wondering?” page on the blog).

I never know when I’m going to get an idea, so carrying around a little journal helps me jot it down quickly. This way I don’t have to rummage through my brain to remember it, I can just reference my idea book.

….taking pictures in my backyard.

Sorry guys – I don’t have a super cool boyfriend, husband, etc. who can take pictures for me nor do I go to fun, fancy places. I’ve been lucky that my friend Ameeta has offered to take pictures but I can’t always go to her so my tripod suffices and my backyard is so close.

…buying designer/super-expensive items.

One thing I know I don’t get discouraged about is not being able to afford designer or expensive clothing. I’m sorry, but $200.00 gold, glittery strappy shoes on “SALE”, is not a deal. I’d weep if I ever put my credit card down for something like this. I think the one thing that I love about my blog is that it’s for the real person out there – the one who has to work with a budget and make do with what they have and can afford. Blogs that hawk around $300-$400 items do not discourage me from fashion, limit my personal style or make me feel like I need to spend my entire savings account. I will always be resourceful, budget savvy and creative – that is my motto.

Not necessarily outfit wise (we all make mistakes) but more engaging and relatable to my readers. I use past posts to see what I might have done wrong and what I could do to make it better. I want my blog to keep growing and evolving (staying stagnant and doing the same thing every time doesn’t help). This is why researching, networking and putting energy into each thing on your blog is so important. It shows your readers that you care about your blog, your content and them. I always try to put my best foot forward – you never know when someone might stumble upon your blog!

Thanks again to all my lovely readers! If you’re interested in learning more about me please check out my Wondering? page where you’ll get an in-depth look into my thoughts and what motivates me.

Find me on Facebook and Twitter!

6 thoughts on “10 Things (+1) I’ve Learned from My First Year of Blogging

  1. I’ve been reading since Day 1 and I think the blog is great. Also, I think the fact that you write about accessible, affordable fashion makes the blog that much better! Who do you know that can afford an outfit that costs over $1k? It’s nice to dream, but much more useful to see what you can do within your own means. Just my two cents!

  2. Hi there! I chanced upon your blog since you left a comment on mine and it’s great to see such honesty! You’re doing a good job! 🙂 (I love point no. 10)

  3. I just found your blog and really enjoy reading your posts as well as viewing your photos! Keep up the awesome work 😀

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