Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017
Happy Birthday! 3 Things I Learned from Starting a Style Blog
Happy Birthday! 3 Things I Learned from Starting a Style Blog
A year ago, I decided to start a style blog. It started out as a fleeting idea–I had taken a picture of my outfit for a happy hour, and I felt bad uploading yet another outfit picture to my instagram. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great if I could share this only with the people who were interested in seeing my outfits?”
That evening, I made an account on LookBook and posted my first outfit picture. Honestly, it wasn’t very good! I had no concept of backdrop, posing, depth, camera height, or pretty much anything that comes with turning a quick picture snap into a real photo. But I didn’t need any of that to get started. At that moment, all I needed was an idea and the desire to see it come to life.
A little over a year later, and here I am with an official name, a website, and over 200 photos worth of content. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been worth it! To celebrate Style of a Gemini‘s first birthday, I’m sharing with you the three biggest things I’ve learned from starting a style blog.
1. Don’t Wait Until It’s Perfect
I started my lookbook account on a whim, but I launched Style of a Gemini with a lot more thought put into it. Starting my own website required a lot of planning and research–into blogging platforms, domain hosts, responsive design, PHP (a server-side coding language I wasn’t familiar with), names, color schemes, and more. I spent about two months devoting the bulk of my free time into creating a website that I would be proud of. When I made my first post on the site, everything felt perfect. I’d executed my vision!
But that feeling of perfection was heavy. As I tried to follow up with more posts, I was getting frustrated with myself a lot easier. The pictures weren’t right, the outfit wasn’t right, the lighting wasn’t right, the location was disappointing–every post had a flaw, and I couldn’t get past it. For every one post that made it online when I first started my blog, there were two or three more that I’d given up on because they weren’t “perfect” enough.
Eventually, I realized that putting yourself out there is the hardest part. I was striving for perfection because I was so afraid of letting something “imperfect” be judged. If you let it, that fear will stop you from ever achieving anything! Not every post needed to be the best thing I’d ever seen. By allowing myself to put it all out there, I was able to find the intersection between what I enjoyed doing and what my readers liked to see.
2. Care about your content
Fashion is inherently visual. While you can make the argument that it’s also about an emotional connection and expression, the medium is a visual one. When I started my style blog, I looked around at a lot of existing blogs to see how it was done. I was surprised to find that a lot of bloggers had only two or three lines of text per post. But when I thought about it, it seemed to make sense. After all, people just want to see pretty outfit pictures, right?
I decided to follow their lead and kept my text brief and somewhat shallow. After all, these were established fashion blogs who obviously knew what they were doing, and their readers must have liked it. But I just couldn’t shake the oddity of it. What was the difference between their blog site and their instagram feed if it was all about the images? Why bother maintaining a website when IG is free?
As I continued posting, I slowly added more content to my posts. Less talk about the color of my skirt and more talk about what was on my mind. It had a twofold effect–more people were regularly viewing my new posts, and I felt prouder of them than ever of them. Content is king, but in style blogging it’s easy to focus on one aspect of content and ignore the rest. I learned not to underestimate my readers or myself–people want to know what you have to say.
3. Don’t Fall Victim to the comparison game
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes I made was falling victim to the comparison game. About four months or so after I launched my blog, I was starting to get frustrated with my lack of growth. Blogging had started out as a hobby, a fun way to share something I already loved, but as I delved deeper into the fashion blogging world I felt my priorities shift. I saw people who had started blogging a year ago gain 5,000 followers in their first year. I saw lavish photoshoots of bloggers jetsetting across Europe, casually showing off their latest look while eating the world’s most photo curated brunch–you know the type. Their filtered photos and outdoor candids looked so perfect! Why didn’t mine, and what was I doing wrong?
Suddenly, blogging felt a lot less like a hobby and more like a hustle. Instead of enjoying the people who were following me, I was consumed with maximizing them. Instead of taking inspiration from the bloggers I liked, I wanted to imitate them. The number of likes on a picture no longer indicated how many people enjoyed my content, it highlighted how many people didn’t. I was steadily sucking all of the fun out of blogging and replacing it with single-minded competition.
I was setting my New Years resolutions when I finally asked myself, “What do I enjoy about blogging?” That simple question helped me reorient my mind and remember that this was supposed to be fun! All of the other things were secondary–the most important question to keep asking myself was, “Am I enjoying this?” I set up some blog-related goals for the year that focused on creating content in a way that made me happy. As a result, I’m the happiest I’ve been since I first started blogging.
A milestone worth celebrating!
Style of a Gemini‘s first birthday was a great opportunity for me to think about why I was blogging and whether I still wanted to do it. Trust me, when you get that domain service renewal bill, you think hard about these things! I’m happy to celebrate how far I’ve come. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to all of the friends and family who have read my posts, followed me on instagram, liked my pictures, opened any of my links, all of it! Your support has meant the world to me, and I notice it all. Thanks for celebrating with me!
Lots of love,