Hello lovely readers. Its got to that stage in my blogging ‘career’ that I thought its about time I start blogging about blogging. It feels odd to be asked for advice on running a successful blog, as I still feel like a total small fry in the industry, but it was really helpful for me to get my thoughts down on paper about my little blog’s strengths and weaknesses, so I can see what I’ve achieved and know how to move forward this year. I hope that fledgling bloggers out there may find it useful too, as I know that the main blog posts I read these days are articles packed with blog advice! Its fantastic to see so many talented people rise to success and when they share their tips and tricks, it helps to strengthen the community, which, lets face it, can be daunting and unfriendly at first. Anyway, here is a post about the past year, which for me has seen the rapid growth of my blog after the previous year of basically just blagging it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments… Photographs by Amelia Jacobsen
My Year in Blogging
An overview of 2016
I started to dip my toe into sustainable fashion with 5 Ways to Clear out your Closet. As you can see, the layout is scrappy and the content is very bare. Definitely still finding my feet, but starting to get a better response. I later realised that 300 words was nowhere near enough to grab the reader’s interest, despite my instinct that millenials have short attention spans like me!
A slow blog month due to lots of stress in my personal life (dropping out of uni, having a nightmare with finding a place to live, battling a relapse of bulimia, yada yada yada). A few posts here and there about London and Edinburgh Fashion Weeks, but again the content needed beefing out, and my SEO skills were laughable, so I was still disappointed with my readership levels.
Things started to get personal, and I realised that I got a much better response when I wore my heart and true personality on my sleeve. I told My Eating Disorder Story and got more confident talking about mental health, and more confident in general as I attended fashion, blogger and press events, networking my ass off.
April was when I really discovered the power of collaboration, exactly a year after launching the site. I finally started collaborating with brands I loved, like Gant, Lucky Cloud, Hunted Vintage and Revolution. I also started collaborating with other bloggers, like this Street Style Photoshoot with Louise Brown (that still features on my business cards!), organising meet-ups with other Edinburgh bloggers and hosting events like the SDX Fashion Blogger party.
I enjoyed a jam-packed summer (the final freedom before I started studying/working full time again!) visiting Blow, Naf and Bobbi Brown for a much needed new look, and travelling to Belfast for fashion and fun. I also had a rant about Bad Brand Relationships after a couple of really bad experiences (cough cough Coconut Lane).
In September I started my monthly series ‘Odes’ celebrating independent creative publications, and had a few brilliant trips to London, Manchester and Paisley. More confident than ever about my blogging abilities, I was thrilled to see 10,000+ views a month!
The most eventful month ever for Urbanity, with the Herald Fashion Awards and winning Blogger of The Year for Scotland (see what I wore here). To be honest, I’m still in total awe that I won, I have to touch the trophy every now and then to remind myself that its real. Finally, a winner at something in life!
Increase social media following (mainly Instagram and Twitter)
Learn more about the techie stuff (coding, SEO, analytics, html)
New logo, branding and theme (time for a fresh look I think)
Get into photography (severely lacking in this department)
Learning from my mistakes
Networking – I wasted a lot of time early on being too shy to introduce myself to new people at industry events, but now I’m usually one of the chattiest bloggers in the room. As my mental health improves, as does my self esteem, and thus my blog.
Time Management – I’m still awful at organising my time, what with a full time bachelor’s degree, part-time job, endless freelance work, social life and a pining for travel and adventure, sometimes blogging has to take a back seat. To-do lists, spreadsheets, social media scheduling and bullet journals are my new bibles.
Find you niche – Today the blogging world is more crowded and competitive than ever, so its vital to stand out. Having a niche doesn’t mean sticking strictly to one category, it just gives your blog a greater sense of direction and feels more cohesive.
Find your voice – I think something thats often overlooked in blogging is actual writing skill, which sounds silly, but theres a reason journalists train for years. Develop a style of writing that feels right for you and your followers, and remember that quality is usually better than quantity.
Stay true to yourself – Its exciting when you begin to get contacted by PR companies, but be sure to only accept if the brand’s values are in line with yours, and you know your readers will enjoy the content.
To finish, here are some really helpful blog posts for those that want further insight into the the blogosphere and need more support on how to start and maintain a successful blog.
Be sure to browse through these blogger’s archives too!