I have not made a new post over the last couple of Mondays due to the end of term rush of deadlines at uni, but I couldn’t wait until next Monday to do a blog post because today is the 16th of March! This date may not mean much to anyone else, but exactly a year ago today, I made my first blog post! I’m writing this post as a reflection of what I have done so far, what has changed, and perhaps what has stayed the same… But especially looking at the things I have learned. Probably best to go get yourself some snacks and a drink before you go on because BOY is this gonna be a long one. There will also be a lot of my negative opinions in here, especially on the blogging world, and to some other bloggers things may be difficult to read. You have been warned!
* All pictures used in this post are from old posts of mine. If you see a picture you like and you’re interested in the content, you can click the image and the blog post relating to that image will open in a new tab!
The first ever blog post I published was My MAC Lipstick Collection. I remember being so nervous about publishing this, and I read it through about 100 times and saved a draft of it over 20 times. It’s a very long post looking back, but I worked so hard on it. I went into so much detail describing the colours, textures, and wear of the lipsticks. For some I even gave backstories about their popularity or why I wanted to buy it! I did end up buying a few more MAC lipsticks after I wrote this blog post and before I went cruelty free. I don’t know how many I own now (they’re all scattered between my parent’s house and my flat at uni), but I don’t really use them as much as I used to. These days, I tend to lean more to liquid lipsticks because they last longer. Also in this blog post I said Ruby Woo was the best red lipstick I ever owned and I can’t tell you how far from the truth that is now! I must have liked it at the time, but now I just think it’s so incredibly dry and hard to apply. The colour is still beautiful, but when I wore it literally yesterday as of writing this post, I realised how naff it actually is. The retro-matte formula is not good.
My most popular post by FAR, with 716 views in total, is my How To Spot A Fake American Apparel Tennis Skirt post. This is probably my biggest blog achievement as it’s actually SECOND on Google when you search ‘fake american apparel tennis skirt’ after eBay!! The quality of the pictures in this post slightly annoy me because I don’t think they’re that good, but because I got rid of the bad white fake, I can’t retake the pictures in a way to illustrate my points. The most popular runners-up (which are miles away from the hits that my American Apparel post got!) are the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Review, with 292 views, and my Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Review with 286 views.
Some bloggers claim not to look at their stats but I strongly believe they’re lying. How are you supposed to know which posts do well vs the posts that are total flops? I have quite a few post flops, and I’m not afraid to admit it! The worst part is that they’re mostly posts that I have done recently; which I think are miles better in quality to my old posts. I do tend to promote my blog posts only once, except for on Twitter where I schedule 3 old posts to go up at random every day. I have a few ideas as to why my newer posts don’t do as well as some of my older posts, or my most popular posts, and these are the ideas:
- I used to promote my posts primarily on Facebook. When I first started, I think a lot of my Facebook friends were intrigued to see what my blog looked like and what I was doing, as opposed to being actually interested in the content (sad, because I work hard on everything I post), and as I became more consistent with my posts, people were used to seeing them and less people clicked on them because they felt they had seen it before! The first post I ever did about my MAC lipsticks is the 4th most popular post I have done, which backs up this theory, and also the most views I ever got in a month was in April 2016, a couple of weeks after I started blogging, and probably when I was at my most active.
- I haven’t made many blogger friends. Twitter chats are a great way to connect with other bloggers, but truthfully; I hate them! When I participated in them, I used to become an entirely different person – oozing sickeningly large amounts of positivity (and generally, I am not a positive person) and trying way too hard to fit in with the other bloggers. The truth is, I really don’t! I’m not at all similar to other bloggers, and not a lot of them want anything to do with me – and I don’t care! It feels great !!
- People on Instagram are just dying to get followers and will trawl through hashtags for hours just liking any random post for a like back or a possible follow – I know because I used to do it myself. I still use all the hashtags I can, because now especially with the stupid algorithm, how else is anyone going to see your posts? Though a lot of the time when I’m promoting a blog post, a lot of the people will just like the post and not read the caption where I’m saying ‘this is my blog post, and the link is in my bio!’ meaning that not many people get redirected to my blog from Instagram regardless of how many likes a post gets. That’s just life on Instagram!
Disclaimer; no tea, no shade, no pink lemonade! If there’s any other bloggers reading this post, take it with a pinch of salt. I want this post to be full of my honest opinions. If you’re offended by anything, then that’s on you. I’ve had no problems with other people myself, this is just what I have observed.
All the time, literally, all the time on Twitter I see people tweeting about ‘blogger drama’. I never witness this drama firsthand (probably because I end up unfollowing anyone that even hints at starting any drama – who can be bothered dealing with drama in a thing that’s supposed to be nothing more than a fun hobby!?), but I follow a lot of people who comment on it. Most of these comments are along the lines of ‘I hate drama! Why does there have to be drama among bloggers!?’ which I get. Seeing negative things affects people’s moods negatively (like this post for example) but there’s always some very quick, very easy solutions to these problems. Remove the dramatics from your social media; the unfollow button is there for a reason! Don’t ever be worried about unfollowing someone because they’re a “mutual”, if they are a negative influence on you what have you got to lose? A follower? Big deal!
On the subject of followers, why do the numbers matter so much!? I have small followings myself, less than 500 on every social media page I have and… I’m okay with it? I don’t set goals for myself? I will promote my posts and I will use tags to increase my chances of getting noticed, but one thing I will not do is beg for followers! I will never “follow for follow”, I will never buy followers or likes, I will never send out auto DMs (a sensitive subject) to people because it comes across as desperate; for popularity, attention, money? None of those things look good. A couple of months into blogging I decided that I want people to come to me, not the other way around. My blog may never grow, and that’s okay! Because at least the people who do read my blog and follow me will consider me to be authentic! And trustworthy! That’s all that matters to me.
It’s the reason why I stopped participating in Twitter chats, following people just because they had ‘blogger’ in their bio, spending hours scrolling though Instagram for basically nothing! It took the fun out of everything I was doing – and that’s the reason I started this whole thing; for fun.
I’ve also been blogging for a year and never received anything for free – why would anyone send me anything when I’m barely established? A year seems like a long time but it is nothing in terms of a career. I only blog part time, and fairly inconsistently at points. I don’t tweet for PR requests. I don’t search sites for hours looking for sponsorships (most of the time they’ll tell you what to say anyway and I would rather just be honest with people and talk about what I want). It both sickens and saddens me to see bloggers begging for people to send them something.
When I was new to blogging, I got an email from a company on Instagram telling me that if I wore their necklaces I could be their brand ambassador but I would have to “first buy one of our necklaces – though they are on sale, so don’t worry about that!”. Wrong. Do worry. I was overcome with excitement initially thinking ‘wow, this has really kicked off for me quickly! I must be doing something right!’, but when I told my cousin about it who has been blogging for quite a few years, she researched it and quickly came back with news that the company were complete scammers and their necklaces were nothing but cheap tat. Cheap tat that they had priced at $40 ON SALE. Except, when you went back to their main page of their website, instead of following the link they gave in the email, their necklaces were actually really cheap; cheaper than their necklaces ‘on sale’ for their ‘brand ambassadors’. It’s total manipulation and deception. I was embarrassed and crushed when I realised this. I felt like an idiot.
I’m going to leave links to some of my favourite and least favourite blog posts. I hate seeing the ones I consider to be terrible, but they are there, and I can’t just ignore them. It also goes to show how much I’ve grown as a blogger (I think), from where I have started, to where I am now…
- Favourite Post: Makeup Geek Single Eyeshadows Review – I was really proud of this when I posted it. I love my pictures – they’re so bright and colourful! – and the review is straight to the point but informative and honest. It was my most recent post, so some of you who read my blog often may already know what I’m talking about, but if not, feel free to follow the link!
- Least Favourite: Five Empty Products Review – The pictures in this are absolutely terrible. They’re dark, and unedited; it looks like I’ve put no thought into how I want them to look! The post (I feel) is generally boring, and looking back on it now, most of my opinions on these products have changed. I’ve considered deleting this post many times, and I probably will in the near future. It’s honestly the worst I have done!
- Most Popular: How To Spot A Fake American Apparel Tennis Skirt – I spoke about this in an earlier paragraph, so I won’t go too much into detail again – but it’s the most viewed post on my blog. 700+ views, way more than any of my other posts, 2nd on Google after eBay… A proud moment for me!
- Least Popular: FAVOURITE | Cruelty Free Concealers – Though this isn’t a bad post, I suppose it is short… And I forgot to promote it when I posted it… And I still haven’t got around to putting the pictures in. I realised after posting it that I had actually gotten rid of all my empty makeup, so at some point I’m probably going to have to pull pictures from other websites to use – which I hate doing! Huge fail on my part to be honest.
Overall, in this last year my blog has generated 4,4o5 views in total, which may not seem like a lot to other bloggers, but I think this is an excellent number, and I thank every single person who has ever taken a few minutes out of their day to read or view my work because like I previously mentioned, I do work hard on every single post! I spend hours going over what I’ve written, taking pictures, and editing them. It’s more time consuming than it looks, but I enjoy every second of it, it gives me a sense of purpose, and I feel like this is something that I can use in my favour later in life when I’m looking for jobs!
If you made it to the end of this post – thank you. Some of these thoughts have been brewing in my head for a really long time, and at some points it made blogging really unpleasant. I feel like I’ve overcome most of those unpleasant feelings now, even though I still believe what I’ve said, it doesn’t bother me anymore. I will continue to blog even if no one reads it, and I will never change myself to fit other people’s expectations of what a blogger is.
The next post should be up on Monday as normal. See you in the next one. ❤
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