Image courtesy of DIY Studio
June will see I Heart Fashion
reach its fifth birthday. I can’t quite believe I have been
blogging pretty much nearly every day for five years. With birthday
celebrations on my mind, I decided to take a look back at some of my earlier posts
from 2009. And my, my, my, haven’t I come a long way.
I started a blog because we were
told to at university. That’s pretty much it. I came across Coco’s Tea Party
when searching for what a blog actually entailed, and she kind of inspired me to
base mine around fashion. Although there have been some amazing opportunities presented to me,
I have also made some mistakes along the way. OK, scrap that last sentence, I
don’t want to think of them as mistakes. I’ve learnt some things along the way,
we’ll say that instead.
Let’s start at the very beginning
back in June 2009. One thing I wish I’d done is give my blog name more thought.
I wanted it to be a hub of fashion back then, but as I’ve grown older so has my
taste and likes. I now write more lifestyle posts and have branded I Heart
across beauty, interiors and wellbeing, but if I’d have thought more about the
name in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to do that now. If I could give you
a tip, go with your name. So many bloggers have changed their blog names to their
own, including Lily Melrose and Lily Pebbles, and it’s a great way to brand
yourself from the very beginning.
Blog design is a major thing to
consider and one thing that’s changed dramatically since I started is the amount
of help out there for you to be able to create a design you love. Since I
launched I Heart Fashion, I have had over 10 revamps, only last year finding
the design I finally loved enough to print on business cards. Even though I
have managed to teach myself so many tricks with HTML and CSS coding through Youtube and Google, I
actually went to Etsy and bought a template for under £20 to save me time and
stress. Cool websites to visit for help with Blogger include Pugly Pixel,
Blogger Hint and Tips and Fabulous Blogging. Even if you just type your problem/question
into Google, it’s pretty likely you’ll see someone else with an answer.
In the beginning (for those
readers of my era, this was the start of an amazing dance song called Happiness which I now can’t stop singing)
I wrote blog posts which I thought people wanted to read. Truth be told, I did whatever
Coco’s Tea Party did. If I had a blogging idol, she was it. I had about four people
reading it a week, and that included me and my mum. I didn’t have a Facebook
page, Twitter, Instagram etc, so it was difficult to spread the I Heart Fashion
word. And why would they read it, when it was basically just a regurgitated
story I’d seen on JustJared – my celebrity bible back then.
But as the years went on, I learnt
the more personal the posts, the more readers liked what I had to say. I stopped
writing what I thought I should and start writing what I wanted. One of my most
popular posts to date was A Letter to my Teenage Self. I received emails from
strangers that had read it saying how much they enjoyed it and wanted to do
something similar. Stuff like that is the reason I love blogging.
Looking back it seems I didn’t
like to do any of the following: spell check, credit pictures, resize pictures or care if they were pixelated
or not. Just as an aesthetics thing, try make all your pictures nice and big
and the same size. I can’t talk to you about photography as I’ve only just now
invested in a quality camera and lens (Nikon D3200 in case you were wondering)
and I still don’t know how to use it. But there so many blog posts out there
which explain all about photography, you don’t need my advice.
One piece of advice I will give you is
never write anything on your blog which you wouldn’t want someone to read. I made this mistake in a pretty huge way. Back in 2010 I wrote a post about Cheryl Cole being
Glamour magazine’s best dressed woman for the second year in a row and called
it ‘lazy journalism’. A couple of months later I tweeted Jo Elvin, editor of
Glamour, asking what she thought of my blog. She must have typed Glamour in,
subsequently seeing the lazy journalism comment, and emailed me back saying that
she was annoyed that I would call it that, when in fact, it was a readers poll.
I was completely shamed into apologising and for a girl who dreamt of working
at a glossy like Glamour, I felt like a complete dick – sorry Mum. Lesson
In terms of traffic, I still don’t
have a huge amount in comparison to some bloggers, yet one lesson I’ve learnt
is to never compare yourself to someone else. There will always be someone
prettier, someone more intelligent, someone funnier, but they’re not
you. And that’s where you win. Your blog is your space on the internet to
celebrate everything about YOU. I used to hate outfits posts because I was so self-conscious
about getting in front of the camera. But I’ve slowly started to push myself to
do more things as they seem to get a positive reaction.
Which brings me on to the topic
of gifting. Gifting in the blogging world is sometimes seen as a dirty word. It
can, and has, provoked jealousy in the blogging community. I know this because
I’ve seen this happen. There are bloggers out there who are amazing and get to
work with big designer brands such as Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors and why shouldn’t they?
It took a good three years before I started to get emails from brands
wanting me to review their product, or write a sponsored post for them and you
know what I did with every email I got through? I replied yes, of course. I
basically sold out. Getting paid to blog was an amazing thing and at that point
did I care if I was blogging about window vents or insurance? Nope. I was
getting money in the bank. But I did feel embarrassed with these posts going up
and never pushed them through Twitter and Facebook. So now, I’m much more
selective about what I want to go on I Heart Fashion, and if I have to turn
down a paid job, I’d rather do that than worry about what you, the readers,
think of my choice of blog post.
I have never really pushed I
Heart Fashion and this is one thing I’m starting to do now. I even went to a bloggers event last night which I have never done before. I’ve been happy
plodding along, writing pretty much daily and seeing now and again what the
Google Analytics would say. But I never really looked at it as anything other
than a hobby. I’m not sure I want to turn IHF into a full time job, and I’m not
actually sure I could right now, but I want to see what happens if I just let
more people know I’m actually here.
Here’s to the next five years and thanks to everyone for one, following me, and two, getting to the end of this post. That’s an achievement in itself.