Monday, 20 June 2016

Things I've Learnt in My First 6 Months as a Beauty Blogger

Things I've learnt In My First 6 Months As A Beauty Blogger

Hi, everyone!

I can't quite believe it's been 6 months since I published my very first post, which you can read here and have a good giggle at the dodgy photos, haha! As I've only been blogging for 6 months, I thought I'd do a light-hearted post about some of the things I've learnt so far, including all the little niggles and frustrations I've endured but also sharing some of the exciting moments as well. I'm sure they'll be many of you that will be able to relate to some of these trials and tribulations during those early day's in the blogging world too! 

The niggles: 

Am I too old to do a Beauty Blog?
Bearing in mind, most successful beauty bloggers are either at university age or are in their mid-20's to early 30's, it often crossed my mind whether I was too old to be trampling on this territory. I know I don't have that desirable image of the trendy girl, standing beside those perfectly painted back railings outside of her beautifully designed apartment. I'm just plain ole me. A mum, a wife with 2 kids in tow that screams out "Mum!" just at that crucial moment when you're applying your mascara! .

I honestly didn't think younger people would want to know my views on products, as my skin is well... a bit more weathered than theirs. But then again, if a product works well on my skin then it's going to look even better on someone younger! Of course, I totally get that it's not just about the wrinkles, my skin type can be a big factor too. Beauty is ageless and is meant to be for everyone, isn't it? So I also thought, as there aren't many 40+ beauty bloggers out there that I know of, I thought I'd give it a go! 

I was also inspired by successful journalist and British Beauty Blogger, Jane Cunningham, who I hope won't mind me saying, she is also more my age.

Thinking up a name for your blog.
One of the most difficult and agonising things to achieve when your imagination isn't your greatest forte. And when you do - it's taken! "What the hell am I going to call it now?"

Finding you hate your chosen name after a while.
Yep! I think we've all done that one. I decided to change the name after installing a new template and re-launched. I wish I could change it again as I'm not keen on it. Too late now!

HTML codes.
Don't even go there! I've never seen so much jumble in all my life!

When Bloglovin can't find your blog.
Feedreader issues - urgh! Luckily, that seemed to sort itself out once the new template was installed. Phew!

Thinking every other blogger is more tech savvy than you.
And they're most probably are. After all, they've been doing this blogging malarkey a lot longer than me. Although, that doesn't stop you wondering if they started off fully equipped with some tech master's degree in their back pocket, haha!

Wi-fi and Blogger issues.
I lack a lot of patience when it comes to technology - a lot!!! The amount of times I've screamed blue murder at this screen (just as well the kids are at school) due to Blogger jumping whilst typing, telling me "An error occurred while trying to save or publish your post" when I hadn't actually saved it yet! Does anyone know why this happens? Plus, it can sometimes take forever to load up pictures on the blogging app too!

And as the Wi-Fi. Argh! Don't get me on the Wi-Fi! How is it possible that your neighbour a few doors down can get fibre optic but you can't! So you're having to work with a Wi-Fi from the dinosaur age that's as slow as dial-up (who remembers those days?)

The numbers game.
It must be lovely to have a huge following and of course, everyone would love a slice of that success. But I've learned it's not the be all and end all. After all, I would much rather have a gradual steady flow that'll stay and can engage with, than have thousands one minute, then be gone the next.

Gaining followers takes a lot time and work to build, so one has to learn to be patient. You often forget that some of these bloggers have been blogging for many years and write amazing content that I could only ever dream of. But then again, there's always that annoying few that you just can't help but wonder, how on earth they've managed to gain about billion followers after only publishing a dozen posts? Hmm!!!

Don't over proofread your post!
I've proofread so much that I've still managed to miss out on the mistakes! Your eyes just end up skimming over the words in the end. I've tried reading backwards but that didn't work. If you're fortunate enough to have a friend near by, ask them to read it. I daren't get hubby to read them as he'll just take the mick, haha! Luckily, good ole Word soon let's me know where I've gone wrong.

Going through the motions.
During the early days, once I left my cocooned surroundings of the blogging world and slipped back into reality, I would arrive at work thinking "what the hell am I doing? If anyone finds out they're going to think I'm crazy!" Up until recently, I'd still hadn't told many people near by, despite receiving positive comments from the ones that did know. Often saying, "Wow that's amazing! What's it called? I'll follow you!". I've only just plucked up the courage to create a Facebook page for the blog. Now everyone knows. Yikes!

Blogging is bad for your bank balance.
You're not kidding! However, it shouldn't be and hasn't got to be. Although you do feel pressured to be reviewing that latest Becca Moonstone highlighter or whatever it is...

Poor lighting.
You've made plans to do a whole load of photos on a particular day and when that day comes - it's chucking it down! The British weather! Enough said! 

Blogging can take up a lot of your time
Yeah, and you know what? I wouldn't change it for the world. I absolutely love what I do. There's so much creativity involved, chatting to new people and sharing our knowledge, our loves, and our gripes. Then there's the planning, the scheduling, the social media activity, photos and of course, the writing itself, can eat away a lot of your time. 

When I'm in the zone I need to be left alone! 
I love my kids dearly! But when I'm writing, I love nothing more than to have the house to myself. So it's best to leave it till when the kids are at school, to enjoy the silence, with just the radio on in the next room. Me, my keyboard, and a mug of tea - bliss!

The highs: 

When you receive your first true follower.
Other than the first few friends you've managed to pluck up the courage to tell, when you discover a complete stranger enjoys your blog so much that it's worthy of a follow, that is truly an amazing feeling.  

When you discover some of your favourite bloggers are following you.
Excitement, like you would not believe. Amazing!!!

When you install a new template. 
Pipdig are amazing aren't they? They have such a beautiful range to choose from, designed for both Blogger and Wordpress themes. With regards to my old template, Blogger only supplies the basics. Which is good if you are new to this blogging thing but felt I'd taken it as far as I could possibly go in terms of the design without too much involvement on the technical stuff! I wasn't crazy on the look either as I noticed so many other blogs looked way more professional than mine.

 It was whilst reading another blog I discovered the Pipdig website. So, not only did I find myself drooling over makeup, I was now drooling over blogger templates too! (oh my life, woman!) I didn't want the hassle of installing it myself as I had enough headache with the old one. The customer service I received from Phil at Pipdig was superb and so helpful, I cannot recommend him enough. 

When you receive your first comment.
Again, amazing! And when they come back and leave a comment again, that's when you begin to really bond with your readers. You know who you are! Although, despite yet having Disqus installed, I still reply to my comments even though there's no way of informing them that I've actually replied because I still have the basic blogger comment section. I really want to try and install Disqus but fear I may bugger up the blog altogether! Bear with me guys. I'll get there! 

When a brand shares your photo on Instagram.
When drugstore makeup brush brand, Real Techniques, shared my pic on Instagram I nearly fell off the sofa. I honestly couldn't believe it, and found it hilarious watching the number of likes (over 10,000) increase at a speed I'd probably would never experience again. Real Techniques have since been in-touch again for permission to show more. Wouldn't it be awesome if it happened again!

You meet like minded people.
Which is one of the main reasons for writing my beauty blog in the first place. I'm sure if you're anything like me, you don't want to bore the pants off friends or family members on the latest amazing metallic sheen formula of an eyeshadow, do you?! A blog gives you that outlet to write whatever you want along as it's not nasty of course, and if people wish to stop by and read, then all the better! There are other bloggers out there trying to achieve exactly the same as you, and it's nice when you find and can engage with people who share the same interests as you.

I've learnt so much in such a short space of time.
Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks! This is probably my biggest achievement in regards to this whole blogging thing. I've learnt so much on how to put a basic blog together, a little on the tech side even though I'm a right technophobe! Although, I still need to get to grips with the SEO thing as I'm still struggling with that one. With regards to photos, there's still an awful lot to learn but at least I know a little more about the settings. Believe it or not, I just use my iPhone to take my pictures before transferring them onto the iPad to brighten them up a little. 

When it comes to writing though, I know I'd never make a great wordsmith, it was never my strongest ability at school and I hated it with a passion. But for the past 6 months, I've probably done more writing than I'd care to imagine, and that's all down to my passion about beauty. Funny old world isn't it?

What did you discover during your first 6 months of blogging? If you're not a blogger are you thinking of starting one?

                                                                  Toni. xoxo



  1. I've been a blogger for a good few years now and I still feel like I'm learning all the time! This was super fun to read, blogging really is the best! :) xxx

    Sarah / <a href=">Sarah Smiles</a>

    1. Haha! It certainly is! I'm glad it's not just me. Glad you enjoyed the post. :)xx

  2. I started blogging at about the same time as you. And let me tell you, the saying is true "you learn new things everyday!" Nice post!

  3. Blogging is sort of new to me and I'm yet to experience the highs you have been talking about, but I am excited to do so! It's nice to hear little tips like this, i'm still only learning

    1. Welcome to the blogging world, Lily. I'm glad you found this post helpful. :) xx

  4. I found myself nodding along in agreement with everything you said! I actually love reading blogs from over 30 women because you look for different results, in skincare especially, once you pass 30. Reading the opinion of someone in their late teens or early 20s on anti-ageing skincare is just ridiculous because they won't see results with their young skin! xx

    Beautylymin| Bobbi Brown Define & Glow Palette Gift Set Giveaway

    1. Haha! Excellent! I couldn't agree more. :) xx

  5. I can definitely relate to a lot of this - I changed my blog name about a year ago and SO glad I did! With proofreading, I never do it right after I've written the post - I go back to it a day or 2 later so I don't skim over mistakes. It's always such a buzz when I brand shares your images :) I once woke up, checked my phone as usual and saw I'd gained hundreds of new followers. I was like wtf then I realised that Nars had shared one of my images whilst I'd been asleep!

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  6. I've learnt so much over my time blogging and I can relate to almost all of this. It's amazing how blogging changes your life for the better! Also, good on you for deciding to blog regardless of your age - it doesn't matter one bit!
    Rebecca | Notes From September


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