I hope you’ve had a great Christmas and are now preparing to send off 2017 with a bang at New Year’s.
I’m not going to go into too much detail in this post, but as a lot of you will know something terrible happened to our family 3 days before Christmas and we’re still waiting for our pup to come home, but I would like to do a whole separate post on this as you guys have been incredible. So yeah, my Christmas break hasn’t been the best, for obvious reasons, but we made it the best we could.
Anyway, a year ago today, I properly set up my blog. I used WordPress to host it and if I’m honest, I got stuck in pretty much straight away. I sat down in between Christmas and New Year and figured out how to write and publish a blog post. It was all new to me, I had no Idea how these bloggers did all this but I managed to figure it out. I’m not going to lie, it was stressful at times. I wanted my blog to look like the likes of Lydia Millens, and all the top notch bloggers, but later I realised that actually, they invested a lot of money and time into getting their blogs looking the way they do.
I remember writing my first ever post: ‘Still obsessing over those nudes‘ I remember thinking this is a catchy title, and hopefully loads of people will read this because of that. But Ohhhh how wrong I was! If you are just starting out, you need to know getting page views, comments and any type of engagement comes from hard graft and perseverance.
After my first post didn’t quite go as well as I thought, I then remember literally googling ‘How can I get more views on my blog’ and a whole host of bloggers posts came up which I read and read until I got some ideas and understanding!
Firstly, I set up my separate Instagram account, thinking surely that’s going to drive loads of traffic on it’s own. But later I realised that I really really needed Twitter as well. I used these two platforms alone to drive traffic to my posts, build up a following, but most importantly make friends! I have made so many friends over the past year, and that’s all thanks to blogging. Some people, I know, are genuinely there for me, when times are tough, when I need a bit of extra support and just generally care. Especially over the past week, this platform has confirmed to me the kindness and generosity of people out there, and I couldn’t be more grateful!
So in the past year, my Instagram following went from 0-over 1,800 and my Twitter, well just went crazy, 0-4,645 in just 12 months! It goes to show, for me Twitter was a must and I’m so glad I invested the time in this channel. The Twitter chats I used to join were really good at gaining you new friends and followers, and are actually really enjoyable *reminds me to join in more often*!
Instagram, well, I don’t want to dampen the mood because we all know how bloody difficult it is at the moment to even gain 1 follower and try so hard not to loose 10 in one day. There are so many fake accounts, bots and ‘cheaters’ on this platform that makes our lives so hard. However, I’m a grafter, and I am no way letting Instagram get the better of me and I will continue to use it until I see a change! who’s with me?
So with my blog, I started out wanting to post twice a week, and I set myself specific days to do this. Let me tell you, this didn’t work for me. I got stressed and overwhelmed that I ended up giving up sometimes because I just couldn’t keep up with a schedule. I work full time as well, so now, I blog when I can. I blog when my mind is in the right place and I have ideas in my head. Sometimes, the times just not right and you don’t have the ideas, and do you know what – that’s perfectly okay. I blog because I want to, and I own my blog, as much as I want to get content out there, I still have to think about me first.
I also wanted to own my own domain and play around with the theme, so I invested around £120 to have Bexfaye.com. It was the best thing I did. Although my engagement, page views and comments all dropped dramatically because I was no longer getting traffic from the WordPress reader, but I was happy with the way my blog looked. I could manipulate it and play around with it, and I haven’t really changed it much since I went self hosted!
Lets talk about photos. I started off using my phone and trying to get the best photos and flatlays I could. At the time, I genuinely thought they were amazing and was so proud, but now looking back, I’ve realised how far I’ve come. I learned how to edit by reading lots and lots of photography tips posts and I started to get the hang of it. I only took photos when It was super bright and made sure the photos were always bright and interesting. I took a lot of flatlays over the year, until I bought my Olympus Pen. I craved for that blurred background effect and I wanted to create the prettiest of pictures so I took the plunge and bought one. My Instagram feed completely changed and I experimented with different types of angles and shots. I mean, it’s not necessary to have a camera by any means, and I know some bloggers who take amazing photos without a fancy camera, but for me, I’m enjoying learning about photography so I’m so glad I bought it, and I have got so much use out of it!
Up until recently, I have also started to include some lifestyle shots involving me in the picture. I never thought I would, but I enjoy blogging about fashion as well, so I thought why not. Also, I’m really loving the look and feel of Instagram accounts like WishWishWish, I love the tone on all her photographs, and the different images she captures is really inspiring me! You can see below how much my photos have changed!
To tell you the truth, this year has been pretty amazing, and my blog has opened up so many opportunities, from working with brands and receiving products to try, to being paid for sponsored posts, it’s all still mind-blowing! I never EVER anticipated I would be physically paid to write a blog post, and all that came to light in under 1 year of blogging.
There are definitely times when I think ‘Can I really do this?’ or ‘Do I have time for this?’ but then I look around at others’ inspiring content and the passion snaps right back. It’s hard work, it really is, but I still enjoy it. I still enjoy reading peoples comments and engaging with people, and working with some great brands!
In 2018, I am going to invest more time into my blog and really try and plan ahead. I want to have ideas written down on paper in advance so I’m not constantly chasing my tail. But thank you to everyone who reads and supports my blog! I wouldn’t have got this far without you, and I hope we can continue to support one another (Mwah)