Friday, 12 August 2016

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

Today is really special to me as it marks the 6th anniversary since I started blogging.  It is quite mind blowing to think that six years ago, I started WhatLauraLoves and my little corner of the internet has grown more than I could ever imagine.

It definitely hasn't been easy.  In fact, I think its the hardest job I've ever had and certainly the one that I've put the most effort into.  I've focused and dedicated more time to my blog than I ever did at university and I think thats a really good indication that I'm doing the thing that I love in life right now.

I've learned a heck of a lot over the years and to mark the occasion, I though I've share with you six things that I've learned by blogging for six years.

1. Blogging is not forever; TAKE A BREAK!

While at the moment, I certainly can't see myself doing anything else for the foreseeable future, it is so important to remember that nothing is forever, blogging included.  You never know what you're going to be doing in the future so while I think that its commendable to live and breathe your work or hobby, it is also important to remember to live outside of the online world too.

Don't live your life through an instagram filter.  Look up from your phone and take in the world around you.  Yes, there are blog or photo worthy moments that are great to capture but remember to live and enjoy the experience at the same time.  Make memories that you can treasure forever, outside of the blogging bubble and social media world.

When blogging becomes your job it can very quickly consume your life.  It can do this even when you blog as a hobby but as soon as you become self employed and you're hit with more deadlines, its very easy to feel as though you're working 247.  Social media never switches off but its important to remember that you can.

Taking a break is something that I have struggled with massively over the years and its only been this year that I've learnt that I need to take a break once in a while and have some me time away from the computer and my phone.  Blogging is hard work; so many people don't realise just how much time and effort goes into it and when you're doing something you love, its easy to be consumed by it.

I went away to a spa for the night with my hubby recently and left my phone at home.  It was single handedly the most stress free, chilled out 24 hours I've had in years.  I came home feeling so relaxed and refreshed that it had a really positive impact on my performance once I got back to work because I'd given myself that time to just be.

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

2. Just do it.

If you've got a great idea for a post, stop procrastinating, don't make any excuses, just sit down and write it.

Over the years, I've wasted so much time mulling things over, wishing I could post a particular piece but feeling bogged down by all of the other pieces I feel as though I have to write, especially if a brand has gifted me a product and they're waiting on coverage.

Write your blog for you, get as creative with your content as you like and your readers will thank you for it.  When you're happy with your content, it shows!  So cut the faffing on and get that post you've been dreaming about written.  You'll feel so great once you hit publish.

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

3. Finding YOU is more important than finding your niche.

I've always believed that finding your niche when writing a blog is whats most important because people will know what type of content to expect from your blog.  However this is really restrictive and while it is still important, especially when marketing your content, there is one thing that I think is more important; and that's finding YOU.

When I first started blogging, people wrote a beauty blog or a fashion blog or a lifestyle blog, you get the picture, but if theres one thing I've learned over the last few years its that the vast majority of people who set out writing about one topic only will more often than not, end up writing about different topics after they've been doing it for a while.  Your blog content grows with you and develops as you get older and change as a person.  To me, that's what makes a blog or blogger so interesting.

Blogs and their writers have become very aspirational for a lot of people and readers don't just want to know where you got your dress from but where you're wearing it to and other aspects of your life.

To me, its more important to find out who you are as a person and find your voice; thats your niche.  YOU ARE YOUR NICHE.

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

4.  Find the power in saying No and the joy in saying Yes.

In the early days, I said yes to everything that I could.  I didn't have my business head on when it came to accepting event invites and I wasted plenty of money in the process with getting very little benefit in return.

I remember when emails from brands started coming in asking me to review their product and I felt so lucky to be in that position that I said yes almost every time.  That resulted in having far more products than I could ever fully use up and because I would always road test something thoroughly, I would end up with this HUGE back log of products to review and that stressed me out and clouded my creativity.

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

Now I am very selective with what I say yes and no to and decline far more samples and opportunities than I accept.  For me, its all about consciously creating my reality and what will make me happy with my work.

Theres so much joy to be found in saying yes to opportunities.  Whether it be a product that I've always wanted to try, a brand I've longed to work with, a campaign that I've been excited about or a place I've always wanted to go to, saying yes can fulfil dreams, create and smash goals and give your a great sense of achievement and pride in your work.

However the happiness that comes with saying yes is stronger if you've been selective and said no to opportunities that you don't really want to complete.  That way you can focus on what you really want to do and that passion comes across in your posts and photos.

I feel so confident about the content that I put out on my blog and I'm so proud of it, I could shout it from the rooftops!

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

5. Look out for the ones who don't clap when you win.

Just like in the real world, not everyone is your friend online.  Haters are everywhere and you need to have a thick skin when opening up your life online.  Thankfully I haven't experienced too much negativity but when the odd comment comes up it can really knock the wind out of your sails.

Haters can be anyone.  Just because some people are bloggers does not mean that you're all going to group together and be supportive blogging buddies until the end of time, agreeing on everything and always having each others back.

I've met some of the most supportive, encouraging and kind people through blogging but I've also seen lots of jealousy, bullying and nasty, bitter traits too, just like in the real world.

Keeping your eyes open, knowing your own mind and standing up for what you believe in helps to keep you on the right track.  Not everyone will want you to win in life but stick by the ones who do.  Me and my close blogging friends support one another, help to build each other up and look for ways to help each other.  Its all equal and there's not one person doing it for personal gain.

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

6. Don't lose your integrity for a freebie by lying about a product.

Everyone has an opinion either way on each product they try but its really important as a blogger to not lie about a product, especially if it has been sent to review.  It is vital to remember that the person reading your blog trusts your voice and takes time out of their day to read your posts and it is something to respect.

Over the years, I've bought many products that I've seen hyped up online and when I've come to use them myself they've not lived up to the claims.  Often I'll do a bit of research and find that so many other people have tried the same product and had similar bad results.

Its ok as a blogger if you've used a product and you whole heartedly agree with everything in the press release but if you don't, please don't regurgitate that information on your blog to make out that something is all singing, all dancing when its not, just to keep in with a PR practitioner or to work with a brand in the future.

For every blogger that has been gifted an item for free, there are hundreds of none bloggers who have spent their hard earned cash on it and if its rubbish, theres no covering that up.  Don't lose your integrity for a freebie.

6 Things I've Learned By Blogging For 6 Years

There we have it; six things I've learned by blogging for six fantastic years.  There's so much more that I could write, more things I've seen and experiences I've had but these are certainly the lessons I've learned that have really stood out to me over the years.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last six years and for those who haven't, thank you for the lessons, they've made me stronger.

Here's to another great year ahead! Cheers!

If you're a blogger, I'd love to know what you've learned by blogging?  If you're not, what has your career or hobby taught you?
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22 comments

  1. Congratulations Laura, you're such an inspiration xx

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  2. I can definitely say I've learnt near enough the same things from blogging

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  3. I've learned only to blog about what I care about - otherwise the passion just doesn't show through.

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  4. Congratulations on the 6 years blogging! That is an awesome achievement!
    Great advice x

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  5. I consider myself a relatively new blogger so I still struggles with various aspects! Very informative post! Thanks for sharing your expierience xx

    www.theplussizeoflife.com

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  6. Happy six year anniversary. I'm no where near your level as I have only been blogging about 18 months but you learn a lot in that time x

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  7. Happy 6th Birthday! I 100% agree with all of your points and honestly don't think there's anything to add xx

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  8. I completely agree with your first point. For me taking a break really helps boost my motivation and inspiration, once or twice a year I take two weeks out ( I only blog two or three times a week currently) but those two weeks really help me plan out what I want to do next and where I want to go with the site. I've been blogging for five years but I had a full six months out back in 2013 to reevaluate where I wanted to be in life. It really helped me.

    Congrats on your 6th year!

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  9. There are some fantastic tips here, thank you! I needed to read some of them, especially the one about taking a break. I feel like I'm working 24/7 here and getting no where! Happy blogaversary too, here's to the next six years!

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  10. Happy six years lovely, you deserve all the success you can get and you are a true inspiration to new bloggers like myself. My one year anniversary is coming up soon and its true I find it hard to say no. I am only starting to say no now because I am overwhelmed with the amount of opportunities that come my way.

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  11. There will always be jealousy and the better you do, the more of it there is. It's sad that we can't all lift each other up. I'm glad you're also taking the time to get away from this blogging thing sometimes!

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  12. Woohooo well done on your 6 year anniversary of blogging! I can't believe how quickly the years are flying by. Love the tips - it is amazing how it can feel like you need to be blogging all the time. x

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  13. Wow well done on the 6 years lovely and you have made so many good points and yes definitely taking a break helps x

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  14. You make some really good points in this post, its really flattering when brands offer you products but learing to say no and picking products you really want to accept and review is much harder.

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  15. The fact that blogging might not be forever is a scary concept to me. It's my full-time job and I love it.

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  16. Oh wow 6 whole years? That's incredible Laura, I thought 3 was big enough but nope. Lol
    I am so with you on all these points especially 5, such is life. Staying true to oneself is super important

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  17. I'm with you on number 2 - I procrastinate so much when it comes to blogging some times x

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  18. Happy 6th anniversary Laura :) great tips for others!

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  19. We blog as a hobby and really enjoying it, as soon as it becomes a chore then it's time to stop xx love reading other blogs too xx

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  20. It's hard to take a break sometimes but can really do you some good as I discovered earlier his year. Well done on reaching 6 years xx

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  21. Some great tips and taking a break is definitely a good idea from time to time.

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  22. Just found this after reading about it on Sally Akins blog, I can see why she loved it. Such great advice and so important to try and stay true to yourself. I've been blogging for four years and regularly have a good break, it's good for refreshing your ideas. Congratulations on six years!!

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