Photography: Madeline Harper Photography
Y’ALL IT’S SHE’S TAYLORED’S BIRTHDAY!
*insert ALLLLLL the birthday emojis*
I’ve been doing this thing for a full 12 months and WOW what a year. I’ve learned such an incredible amount about this industry from all things social media, WordPress, and SEO. I’ve also learned what it looks like for a hobby to transition into a passion and the blood, sweat, and tears it takes. I thank God for this blog and I know that sounds bizarre, but can say that because I know it’s the exact place I’m supposed to be using my passions and spiritual gifts. Until God gives me a hard stop – She’s Taylored is gonna keep on truckin’.
I still have an insane amount of stuff to learn and I hope my blog is ever-evolving and growing, but I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve learned along the way. Here are:
10 Things I Learned in My First Year of Blogging
1. Blogging is hard, Y’ALL. The first year is rough. Everything is so new and confusing and unseen haha. Comparison and discouragement are the real deal in the virtual world. Nothing about blogging or creating a community happens quickly, BUT the first year of blogging is such a gift. This time last year I was so on fire for writing and encouraging women – granted I had NO IDEA what that looked like or how to do it, but nothing was going to stop me from trying. Fast forward to today and I still have that passion, but it’s passion combined with some lessons learned, some wisdom, and a new focus. The sooner you come to terms with the sometimes slow-pace of progress, the better! Create realistic and healthy expectations and you will have so much fun.
2. Social media only has the amount of power you give it. There’s been a lot of talk lately about how social media is only full of fake people with fake photos and fake lives. People have even gone as far to say that bloggers discourage women to be content and be happy with themselves. While, yes, there are a lot of cringy profiles out there and A LOT of people seeking social media fame through disingenuous content or buying followers, there are so many incredible women out there sharing their passions and gifts with the purpose of encouraging. Sometimes that passion is home decor, sometimes it’s beauty, and sometimes it’s just sharing bits and pieces of their lives. It’s up to us to choose what kind of input goes into our minds. It’s up to us to decide where we’re going to find inspiration. If you get easily discouraged through Instagram or Pinterest – girlfriend get off of it then. Make a conscious effort to choose platforms that fill you up, not empty you. Follow people who make you laugh, encourage you, or inspire you. You might have to purge a little, but it’s up to us to develop a healthy relationship with social media.
3. Finding your focus is key. Oh my gosh thinking about this makes me laugh. Going into blogging I was convinced that I should do EVERYTHING: fashion, home decor, cooking and recipes, faith-based content, organization content, YOUTUBE lol, weekly devotionals. Oh my GOODNESS I wore myself out, y’all. I remember one day Ryan asked me, “Are you writing about a recipe because you see other people doing that?” Naturally I thought to myself, “Uh no I love cooking” which is SO funny because I don’t at all. I had convinced myself that in order to be a well-rounded blogger that I had to feature recipes every month. LOLZ. So my advice to you is that you don’t have to do everything! Only create content that excites you. People want to read that stuff! If you try to dabble in all areas blogging, I promise you will lose yourself in it and you’ll confuse your audience and your brand. Stay authentic + be yourself – cheesy but just so dang true.
4. Consistency is literally everything. Are you tired of reading this one on people’s list? WELL STOP because creating consistent content will never not be important. There are parts of blogging that are extremely overcomplicated. Yes, social media algorithms are crazy, there are hundreds of thousands of other blogs out there, but it’s simple: focus on creating quality, consistent content and your blog will grow. Consistency may look different for everyone, but the concept is the same. Your audience should receive something valuable from you and should know when they can receive it. That’s it. Maybe you want to post 2 times a day and have 5 original blog posts a week – GREAT. If not, chill out, tone down the pressure and do what works for you. People will begin to view you as a constant source of whatever it is you create and that is a wonderful thing.
5. Engagement > numbers. Focusing and pining over numbers is unhealthy and lame, okay? You will NEVER be satisfied and you will ruin blogging for yourself. Comparison is nasty and satan loves to eat that up so promise yourself that you’ll focus more on engaging with your audience. Focus on creating a community instead of racking up your follower count. You will get so much out of engaging and supporting people through social media and your blog- truly. If you find yourself super concerned with numbers then you need to go back to why you started your blog in the first place and remind yourself every day until it begins to fuel you again.
6. Trust the analytics. Google Analytics is the best tool ever. The numbers don’t lie and can be such a powerful tool to help you figure out what people are loving. Use GA as a support – not something to get you upset and disappointed. In your first year, it takes time to figure out what you love writing, what people love reading, and what is truly valuable for your brand – GA is so clutch for that. It helped me figure out how much people LOVED guest posts and posts that featured lists. I would have never known that otherwise! So often in blogging, you feel really blind to the results of your hours spent on posts and using GA can help you out remendously.
7. You won’t survive without dream defenders. I talk about this SO MUCH so I won’t spent too long on it, but y’all – you need people in your corner. You need people to bounce ideas off of, take photos for you, encourage and critique you. You need it. Blogging can be pretty lonely because it’s virtual and something people typically do on their own – at least at first, so finding people who love and support you through it all is 100% necessary. I can’t stress that enough!
8. The best bloggers support other bloggers. Oh y’all. Be a blogger that genuinely loves to lift up other bloggers – not for engagement or publicity, but for the sake of encouragement. There is nothing more motivating and encouraging than hearing kind words from someone who’s going through the same process as you. Social media and blogging can be so powerful with the right people behind it. I feel so much passion for creating something positive on the internet and loads of other women do too – join that movement and support each other. Magic is going to come from it and you cannot convince me otherwise.
9. Your blog should never be your source of contentment. I want you to really take this to heart, please. It’s so easy to lose yourself in all of this – in the visuals, the numbers, the attention. Blogging and social media as a hobby or job can tap into our selfishness with such ease to where we don’t even realize it’s happening. There’s such a fine line between passion and obsession, you have to constantly make sure you’re getting filled up from the right places. True contentment comes from the Lord and the Lord alone. It does not come from Instagram, affiliate programs, or online recognition. Remember that as you’re choosing what to share and what to say. Remember that as you’re deciding how much time and energy you put into all of this. And please remember that as you’re sharing your identity with the world – remember who you are and Whose you are. (A quote I’ll never forget from my father-in-law.) Blogging is so much stinkin’ fun and such a great source of encouragement, passion, community, and sometimes a living for people, but should never be more.
10. She’s Taylored is…
a lifestyle blog geared towards women who are looking for something honest + real in a world full of overexposed photos and #goals. It’s a place where you can come for some easy tips + tricks on how to put your best foot forward and live a life that helps you soak in all the sweet things and appreciate the hard things. In the end, my prayer is that She’s Taylored is a source of biblically-based encouragement and where in the end, Jesus shines.
It took me a full year to develop She’s Taylored in to the brand it is. I’ve learned a lot about what ST is and isn’t (a la a fashion blog, food blog, or home decor blog – even though I love all of those things). Now it’s time to build that brand and stay on mission. BRING IT ON YEAR TWO.
If you’ve all the words I’ve written, some, or just this post – just know how much I genuinely appreciate it. Thank you so much.
See y’all tomorrow for February’s new monthly theme! *Hint: I mentioned the word several times in this post.”
Praying for you always,