Hey everyone! Today, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the top 10 things I learned my first year as a blogger. I can’t believe a whole year has already flown by and how much I’ve been able to accomplish. When I first started, I was really worried if I could keep up with my full-time job plus the blog. I know how much time and work goes into doing something like this. Oh…and trust me! There have been PLENTY of times where I’ve broken down and wanted to quit. Just ask my boyfriend.
Well, here I am today still standing and I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learned. Hopefully, this not only helps other bloggers out there but also motivates anyone to keep on trying. Also, if you have any questions, I would love to help answer them. Or if you have any tips for me, I would welcome them as well. Feel free to leave them in the comments below. I truly believe it’s all about helping each other out and being a better than you were the day before.
1. INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS
Oh man! There are days that I love Instagram and others where I want to swear it off forever. I feel like I spend more time on Instagram versus working on my blog and I get frustrated with that. After a year, I’ve gained about roughly 4,000 followers and even though it’s not a lot in comparison with other bloggers, I’m still super proud of that. It is seriously a lot of hard work posting, commenting, liking, building relationships, socializing, etc. When I decided to start on this endeavor, I thought it would be so easy to get followers. I even had a goal to try and get 1,000 followers a month. HA! After the first month, I knew this was not going to be easy. If you really want quality followers, you have to put out quality content. Not only that, you have to be consistently active on Instagram too. Hashtags are not enough. I’m sure you’ve heard that Instagram has an algorithm. Essentially, the more active you are and the more engagement you get, the higher your posts will rank. Also, I’ve heard that posting IG stories and using IGTV will also rank you higher.
2. HOW TO POSE
This one I’m definitely still learning, but I’ve learned a few tricks so far that I do almost every post. 1) Turn your body at a 45 degree angle instead of straight on towards the camera. This will make you look slimmer. 2) Relax your mouth. I used to try and close my mouth but it just makes me look angry like I’m pursing my lips. 3) Smile vs. Serious. Everyone’s natural tendency is to a smile at the camera because that’s what you are most comfortable with. In real life, you’re actually not smiling all the time. Your face is relaxed at its most natural state so take pictures of you being you.
3. ONLINE ENGAGEMENT
I can’t stress how important it is for you to engage on the internet. Start by commenting on your favorite bloggers’ posts. Not only would you be supporting them, but it creates a gateway for you to promote your blog as well. Make sure on your signature panel you add the link to your blog too.
4. PLAN OUTFITS AHEAD OF TIME
This is a big one for me and I’m still trying to work on it. I always imagine what an outfit will be like and it’s great in my head, but when we finally decide to shoot it and I try it, it’s a complete disaster. There have been a handful of times where I’ve wasted valuable daylight because I was scrambling to find something else that would work. With that being said, don’t shoot a “whatever” outfit or something you’re not comfortable with either. It will definitely show in your picture if you love your outfit or not. Also, if you can shoot multiple outfits in one day, that’s even better. For me, if I’m doing my hair and putting a full face on, I might as well get the most mileage out of it right?!
5. PICK A TIME TO SHOOT
I have found that the early mornings are the best. Sadly, I am not a morning person, but I know that’s when I’ll have the best lighting. So, I’ll begrudgingly wake myself up as early as I can and start to get ready. Another good thing about mornings is if you are shy about posing in public (like me), there are definitely less people out in the morning vs. the afternoons. I usually avoid shooting from 11-3 because the light is just too harsh and it’s directly over your head. If you have no choice though, I suggest shooting where there are tall buildings blocking the sunlight or in covered areas where the sun is not directly on you.
Another type of lighting I’m loving a lot more is overcast lighting. I used to be so sad when we would shoot and the sun isn’t out. Over time, I’ve learned that the overcast produces a beautiful even light so everything in the picture ends up being lit properly. It kind of acts like a light diffuser.
6. BLOG NAME
I can’t really say if the name of your blog will really matter in the end, but all I can say is that the name you choose can ultimately affect how searchable you are on Google. In the beginning, I probably spent a month agonizing over what my blog name should be. Should it include my name? Should it include a word that’s related to “fashion” or being “petite?” I went over names like Masion de May, Mode de May, and Petite in Paradise. In the end, I chose The Moderness. I came up with the name because of my love of all things modern. I also like it because the name feels like a feminine twist on the word “modernist.” At first, I was unsure if I was going to keep it or even still like it. But, after a few months, I noticed that I started appearing on Google searches. I was so excited that I was Google-able! I noticed it has a lot to do with the fact that my blog name doesn’t have anything else to compete with. So, when you Google “The Moderness”, I am at the very top of the Google search.
There are a lot of affiliate programs out there, but I chose to use Shopstyle for the ease and the amount of items I can find in one place. It’s a pay-per-click program. I feel like this is the easiest way to start earning money right away. This year, I’m thinking of trying LIKEtoKNOW.it /rewardStyle which is commission based, but you have to be invited. So we’ll see if I can make it in this year!
I can’t even tell you how excited I was when I first got approached by a brand to be part of their campaign. It was on Instagram and was from something like “Miamishade something something.” I soon figured out that there were a lot of fake brands out there and they are all going to ask you to be part of their program. It usually starts out by you having to pay them something first and then they give you a discount on one of their products. My advice is before you sign up with a brand, make sure you do your research to make sure they are who they say they are. I’ve gotten to work with some great brands this year and I hope to build more relationships like that this year.
9. RESEARCH PLACES AHEAD OF TIME
This is another time-consuming task, but it’s super important if you don’t want to waste daylight. I like traveling and taking pictures of different places so it’s important that I do the research way ahead. I’ll research on Instagram, use Google street view, read other blogs, etc. If the location does not matter to you as much and you just want to focus on the clothes, then I recommend picking 2-3 places that you just always shoot at. That way your blog or Instagram feed is always consistent.
10. POST-PROCESSING PICTURES
You’ve probably heard that you should always shoot in RAW format (vs JPEG), but I don’t think that’s always necessary especially if you don’t have the hard drive space for RAW files. A RAW file can be anywhere up to 80 MB when the recommended size for IG is only 1.6MB. If you have any decent camera phone, I think you are well equipped to take good photos. Some of my most liked photos on Instagram was from my iPhone 7+. With that being said, my boyfriend does always shoot in RAW. With RAW files, you will need Adobe Lightroom to edit your photos. My workflow usually consist of editing in Lightroom first and then taking it into Photoshop. If you are shooting JPEG only, then you only need Adobe Photoshop.
Well, that completes my list of the top 10 things I learned my first year as a blogger. This post turned out to be longer than expected! I actually had a couple more items I wanted to add onto the list, but maybe I’ll save it for next time. Remember, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them down below. I read and respond to every single one!