I can’t believe that yesterday was my blog’s first birthday! I started Nines to 5 last year after 2 years of pure craziness. In the 2 years prior to starting the blog, my husband and I moved into together, got engaged, bought a new house, moved, got married, and went to Europe. So, I really didn’t have much time for anything else. But, after all that was said and done, I wanted to use my newly found free time to devote it to my corner of the internet here. I’ve learned so much in the past year and formed so many relationships (both business and personal) and I can’t wait to see where this thing takes me in the future. Below I’m going to share some tips/tricks I’ve learned in the last year. I am, by no means, an expert, but these are just some things I wish I would’ve known from the start! I’m not out here to change the world of blogging, or become famous, or anything like that, but I come back here each day to create content that both you and I will love. So, thank you SO much for coming back here from time to time and supporting this little venture of mine.
1.) Social Media is your friend. It sounds simple, but I instantly saw my following grow across Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest once the name was the same across all the platforms. Also, make a Facebook for your blog! I wish I would’ve done that from the start. It’s a great way to get people to connect with your content if they don’t tweet or instagram. Finally, make a BlogLovin’ page! It’s truly the best way to ensure people are up to date on all your latest posts. I wish I would’ve known about BlogLovin’ and the Facebook page importance from the get-go. Across the 5 platforms, you can reach so many more readers than just by utilizing 1 or 2. Make sure you’re using these outlets as an extension of your blog, and sharing both blog and personal snaps.
2.) Do it because you love it. It is so easy to get caught up in how many followers you have or how many page views you’re getting. With the scorecarding so easily accessible, it takes no time to fall down the rabbit hole. Remember: comparison is the thief of joy. Blog because it makes you happy, not because your competitive side enjoys getting that 1 additional follower.
3.) Comment on other blogs. I thought that since I already had a small following on instagram, my blog would be automatically followed by thousands. WRONG. I’ve found the best way to get traffic to your blog is to visit other blogs! Sounds easy, right? It is! I’ve fostered so many relationships just by leaving comments on other blogs. It’s a win-win, really, because they’re more likely to visit your blog once you’ve paid them a visit, plus it puts your blog name out there to all the other people commenting! I’ve learned the blogging world is as big as you allow it to be, so “meet” as many bloggers as you can! Also, get involved in linkups. I usually join up with Style Me Weekly and Trend Spin Linkup. It’s the best way to expose your blog to a new audience and also find new blogs for yourself to love! I also am a member of InstaStyle Society on Facebook, which is a great resource.
4.) Invest in a good camera. I knew from the start that I should do this, but I waited almost a year before stepping up my camera game. I’m so much happier with my content when the photos are crisp and bright. I started with a basic point and shoot but I recently acquired a Canon ESO Rebel XSi with the 50mm lens and I love it! I know some bigger bloggers swear by the Nikon D3000 and Canon EOS6D, if you have a bigger budget!
5.) Sign up with a affiliate program. While I personally don’t think you should start blogging just to make money, if you are hoping to make money by blogging, I would recommend signing up with an affiliate program. ShopStyle is open to everyone and you can make a few cents per click you get. I use rewardStyle, which is an invite-only, commission-based program.
6.) Sign up with an advertising program. Again, if you’re wanting to make money from blogging, sign up with a service that will pay you to advertise. I use LinkShare, which allows you to advertise brands like Nordstrom, Kate Spade, and Hunter. Baublebar and Zappos also have programs.
7.) Join a group. One of the best things I’ve done when it comes to blogging is co-founding Thread Cincinnati. These girls have become friends and colleagues and we’ve done some really cool things together. Our brand partnerships are only continuing to grow, which is so exciting! Thread really has given this blog purpose. The Blog Societies is another blogger space where bloggers come together to learn, network, and grow.
8.) Create unique content. It’s really easy to start letting your blog look like someone else’s if you let it. It’s hard because as bloggers, a lot of us are styling similar items and working with similar brands. Remain true to yourself. Don’t copy someone else’s look, and always give credit where credit is due. Getting inspiration is one thing, but blatantly copying is not cool. Let’s keep the internet a place where we can feel safe and proud of what we’re putting out there.
9.) Find your niche. As a follow up to the last point, maybe it’s just me, but I always notice when a traditionally fashion-focused blog randomly posts about something different than their normal content just because they see other people doing it. I acknowledge that my blog is fashion-focused, but I will also post about things I love, like travel and decor. If you’re amazing at styling clothes, but aren’t so good at cooking or doing your makeup, don’t post about those things! Only post about the things you feel good about and that you know you can inspire people with. Make sure your audience knows that they can reliably find consistent (and cohesive) content on your blog.
10.) Be kind. I have seen the prettiest people say the ugliest things on the internet. We (bloggers) are out here putting out content because it makes us feel good, and there’s nothing worse than seeing people tear it/you down. Remember the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Let’s go with that. This should be a fun and inspiring place, not a critical and judgement-filled space. I can promise you won’t gain any followers by tearing down other bloggers. Behind every blogger is a person. With feelings. Don’t forget that.
Again, thank you SO much, from the bottom of my heart, for inspiring me and driving me to post on this blog every day. You are so loved.