ShinyThoughts

7 Things I’ve learnt about Blogging in 7 Years

Blogging for 7 years what I've learned the truth about blogging

Earlier this year, little old ShinyThoughts turned 7! HOORAY!

With every Bloggiversary, I become a an even prouder parent. Despite there being plenty of brilliant blogs out there who have been around far longer than I have, I pat myself on the back for sticking it out this long (it’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had)!

Start a blog today and with a bit of strategy planning, sweat and hard graft, you can go far. However there is something to be said for the wisdom acquired from long-term blogging. I’m finally starting to realise that I know a few things. Longevity is one of my selling points and seeing the blogging trends come and go throughout the last 7 years has taught me some little lessons. 7 in fact. Let me know if you agree with them!

mustard yellow sweatshirt and stripe trousers

1 – I must remember to blog for me.

I, like many other long-termers, started Blogging as a creative outlet (cutting out clippings from magazines had had its day). We created content on our own and on our own terms without a flicker of a thought for commercialisation. Nowadays, we’re having to act like a business because we’re monetising our blogs. It’s an amazing feat to have gone from bedroom to boardroom (doing talks or pitches in boardrooms I mean, we all still rely on the bedroom part!) but we still have to remember to check in with number 1 to ensure we’re still in love with it as ever.

Questions I force myself to regularly answer are ‘Am I enjoying this right now?’ or ‘Would I rather be doing something else?’

A lot of you will understand the feeling of being chained to your laptop or beating yourself up for not posting for weeks. I’ve learned to let go and be ok with it. When doing this on the side of a full time job, it’s important that IRL relaxation takes priority over facing yet another screen, (she says, writing this at 10pm).

Many of us are getting enough pressure from the 9-5 that Blogging has to remain a joy, a treat almost, in order to keep us from feeling bogged down.

I’ve always reminded myself that no-one’s sitting there refreshing my page worrying where I’ve gone. It’s much better to give myself a break and come back strong with great content than to push something half-hearted out on the www.

Read Kristabel’s interview with me about juggling a full-time job and blogging

Lucy Shiny Thoughts taking photos blogging camera canon blogging tips

2 – If I want my blog to be good, I have to invest the time.

I’ve learned that if I want to be held in high regard then I have to keep producing quality content. Bye bye time! I’ve probably spent a full year of my life bent over my laptop at home while my friends are out living actual lives. But then I am thrilled to think about the friends and opportunities created as a result of my dedication, not to mention honing my creative skills and increasing my potential to get a job (I’m pleased to say both my jobs can be attributed directly to blogging)!

Time saving. The big ‘how?!’ I’ve frequently wondered how I can change my habits to improve efficiency.

“Can I edit my photos faster?” In came Lightroom.

“Can I write more efficiently?” I started note-taking on commute/lunchtime/loo…

“Should I not write anything at all or upload phone photos?” It might save time but I can’t quite get myself to do it.

I’ve learned to accept blogging takes time but I look to cut corners where I can.

opening and closing laptop gif

3 – I’ve got to think like a business.

If you’re intending on blogging being your career, or even a part of your career, you need to act and think like a business at all times. I still catch myself thinking like a student or an individual where I’m afraid to stand my ground or make decisions based on silly ideas.

Always think ‘If I was a company, how would I approach this?’ and then try to do the same.

I’ve applied this thinking to my time investment, worth, expertise, contacts and pay. If I take myself out of the equation and add in ‘the business’, I’m more likely to make balanced decisions as my emotions are out of the equation.

Shoreditch grafitti walls nike trainers and grey mac

4- I have to be proud to be unique

A lot of Bloggers lately have discussed comparing themselves to others and struggling with their confidence. Today’s blogging scene is a sea of beautiful girls falling over each other to sport the latest trend piece and to look just so. But ‘so‘ has become the new norm. Admirers aspire and imitate and in the end everyone starts to look the same.

I try to remember that the dominant aesthetic isn’t necessarily what’s right for me. I have to stand my ground and be myself.

Look back at the grass roots of blogging and everyone was different. 7 years ago, it was those who were the pioneers of a particular style who got all the attention. Some of them might have felt like outsiders IRL but found that blogging brought them new friends (online) who understood them.

I set myself a mission statement to be known as a happy, colourful lifestyle blogger who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Over the years I’ve tried to stay on that track even though my tastes have changed. I wear less colour now but I’ll still aim to feature the outfits that are most ‘on-brand’ for ShinyThoughts.

I might not be getting all the attention but I hope that anyone who’s looking for something a bit different will be happy to see me.

The lack of attention can be disheartening, I might rarely get comments on posts or feedback on social media but out of the blue I might meet someone who tells me they LOVE what I do. Similarly a brand who I’m perfect for might come along and pitch a brilliant project that only I am made for because there’s a unique point of view that only we both share.

How can you be proud to be unique? Actively seek out how you can be different. Work with a designer to create a bespoke website that makes sense for what you talk about or edit one yourself, be creative!

It’s fine to use other influencers as inspiration but think outside the box. What can you do that sets you apart whether that be in the topic of a post, a layout, an Instagram photo?

I’m hardly a pioneer, but I do try and add something new where I can.

See my unique style ›

What I've learned after Blogging for 7 years. Tips to become a long term blogger

5 – Blog by the 80% no, 20% yes rule

Opportunities. They’re wonderful things and I’m thankful for them but I don’t have time to do them all. Instead of jumping at everything offered my way, I tell myself that something better will always come along.

The idea of  “Unless it makes you say HELL YES then it’s hell no” *  is one I try to remember as I toss up the idea of replying ‘Yes’ to yet another email.

If you find yourself stretched for time and cancelling events at the last minute, it might be time to say no more. Put time into the key projects that really excite you and you won’t dilute your brand nor wear yourself out by taking it all on. I’ve gotten pretty good at this now as I strive to find more ‘me’ time but I’ll always put time in for the special projects. Over the years I’ve built great relationships with a handful of brands: Etsy, Boden, Lazy Oaf to name a couple.

Find the brands that understand you, your audience love and are great to work with. Then continue the relationship to build a strong partnership that has meaning and save that spare evening for yourself.

If you say yes to every offer coming your way, your readers may switch off. I can’t be the only one with #ad fatigue but if the partnership is perfect, it makes sense and I don’t mind seeing it.

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6 – I’ll always have competition

I might think I’ve been blogging for years and know my shit but there are new kids on the block doing it better. It can sting a little to realise that younger bloggers are getting all the gigs but that’s the nature of the business. I try to stay true to my brand and use my longevity as a USP.

In the same position as me? Show your followers and brands that you’ve got heritage whether that be in ‘looking back’ posts (like these) or an explanation in the line of a pitch. Make sure that you show that having been around for longer means you’re a better punt for a project due to the quality of your content and your maturity.

It’s a very fast paced world, that of influencers. Keep an eye on trends, stay ahead of them, constantly question whether what you’re doing is the best way of doing it.

If you started again today, what would you change? If a platform isn’t working for you, consider ditching it and focusing efforts elsewhere. Your blog name not doing anything for you? Consider rebranding.

I personally haven’t been particularly pro-active on this point but it’s advice I give to others so if you’re in this position, this one’s for you!

working at a desk in the asos office

7 – I’ve learned to understand the industry as a whole.

Going back to point 2, I’ve been lucky enough to use blogging as a tool to getting a job. Because my career is so closely linked to blogging (I’ve always worked within marketing and in roles that involve influencers), I’ve been able to see many sides of the industry and this has been really beneficial to me as a blogger. I’m going to save what I’ve learned for another post so stay tuned!

There you are, my musings on being an old dog in the blogging world. Are you a ‘mature’ blogger and think the blogging world has changed or are you a newbie looking for longevity? Let me know your thoughts!

*Lisa CongdonBlogtacular

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  • Laura October 26, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    Such an interesting post! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and I’ve always loved your colourful style and the amazing eye you have for photography and the abiility of always finding the quirkiest, most colourful places wherever you go! Congratulations on this milestone and I’m sure there’ll be a lot more (or at least, as a reader, I hope so!) :) x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    • Lulu November 7, 2016 at 4:06 PM

      Hey Laura,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for all your previous comments over the years, I remember you from aaaages ago! Glad you like the post :)

      Lucy x

  • Mariana October 25, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    Beautiful post!
    Love the energy and positivity of your personal style and blog!

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:08 PM

      Thanks so much Mariana! Glad to hear it, thanks for commenting!

  • Liyana Aris October 25, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    First of all, congratulations on the seven-year anniversary, how exciting! I have yet to see a blogger like you out there, Lucy, and that’s really saying something, because there are like a gazillion blogs out there; I truly adore how you’ve stayed true to yourself.

    I hope you won’t mind me sharing this tidbit: I’m a blogger too, but I used to have reservations about photographing myself in glasses, right until I discovered your blog and see you looking beautiful and confident in your glasses!
    But of course, I started wanting different pairs of glasses at my disposal (I really want a gold-rimmed cat-eye, just like yours), just so that I could match different pairs with different outfits. Ah, the downside of being a style blogger, nothing is ever enough (it could be just me too, though!).

    I especially love point number 1: it’s something that I constantly tell myself, too, because how else would blogging make you happy otherwise?

    Looking forward to seeing more from you, Lucy XO (Especially your photos, because they’re always gorgeous!)

    Liyana | Affordorable

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:11 PM

      Oh Liyana, this is the sweetest comment thank you!
      I love that I could help inspire you to have the confidence to rock your glasses! Yours are great – I need to get another big pair like yours!
      It means a lot to me that you would tell me that I’m fairly unique and that you love what I do, it helps me believe in what I’m doing! I just wish I had more time to produce more posts for you to read 😉
      Thanks again Liyana, you’re a star!

      Lucy x

  • Josie October 24, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    Loveeee this! Such a thoughtful and helpful post. Your colourful branding is exactly why I started following and I take so much inspiration from it! I could only dream of achieving what you have in seven years!

    Congratulations on it all and I look forward to the next seven years!

    Josie x

    http://www.aprettypostit.blogspot.com

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:14 PM

      Hey Josie,
      Oh thank you SO much *blush* that’s incredibly sweet! So glad to hear that my header grabbed you, that’s great to get some feedback 😉
      Fingers crossed I’ll last another 7 years haha!
      Lucy x

  • Aine October 24, 2016 at 1:31 PM

    I loved this. Recently I’ve felt like I’ve been lacking direction and any kind of umph to make the changes I need to, just to bring the blog into line of what I want to be doing. I need to remember that my blog is for me and I need to make sure that it’s clear and just go for it. Love this post! Thank you x

    Honestly Aine

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:18 PM

      That’s the spirit Aine!
      You might be surprised to hear it but I honestly barely read any blogs and I don’t compare myself to others at all. If you feel like you’re starting too, look away!
      Best of luck with your direction! Lucy x

  • lilyLipstick October 23, 2016 at 7:44 PM

    Love this – my blog is about to turn 7 too – when I started I really thought I’d get bored of it after a month! x

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:19 PM

      CONGRATULATIONS!
      HOORAY that we’ve made it this far haaha
      I actually did get bored after a few months but luckily meeting other bloggers brought me back into it – thank goodness I stuck it out!

      Lucy x

  • Anne-Sophie October 22, 2016 at 11:35 AM

    Love this and will try and keep this all in mind for my own blog!
    So chuffed to see one of my Instagram pics in your gif :)

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:19 PM

      Oh my goodness, good spot Anne-Sophie! 😉 Thanks so much for commenting and letting me know!
      Lucy x

  • Ashley October 21, 2016 at 1:13 PM

    A big congratulations to you! I just had my first blogiversary a few weeks back and yes, I feel so proud about it! x

    http://www.ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:20 PM

      Hooray, congrats! Feels god huh? 😉
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Lucy x

  • Rachel October 21, 2016 at 11:04 AM

    Also love this – and the decals on your Macbook are stunning x

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:20 PM

      Thanks lady! <3 Oh I'm so in love with my laptop case!

  • carrie October 21, 2016 at 8:45 AM

    Love this post! :) xx

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:21 PM

      THANK YOU DEAR FRIEND <3

  • Anya October 21, 2016 at 4:17 AM

    I love these tips and I love your blog! congratulations on 7 years. I’ve had a blog for a few years but have only just started really taking it seriously and most of that was because I didn’t know where I wanted to take it and because of that horrible habit of comparing to others (I just wanted to be that good with out going through the learning curve) I’ve already learnt so much and I love reading these kinds of posts to keep me inspired and remind me I have to follow my own path!

    http://turnedintotreasure.blogspot.com.au

    • Lulu October 25, 2016 at 8:22 PM

      Hey Anya,

      Glad you like it and hopefully it’s helped you a little! NO comparing to others! It’s so easy to do but it’s best just not to look at others, or if you do, turning what they’re doing into constructive inspiration for yourself. It’s good to have a little kick up the bum once in a while!
      Best of luck with your blog lady!
      Lucy x