What I’ve Learnt From My Nine Years Of Blogging

…aside from the fact that maybe a logo bodged together in Paint probably isn’t the best idea.

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This month marks nine years since I started my blog. Back in March 2010 I set up a blogspot under the name ‘Vivianna Does Makeup’ and unknowingly began an online journey that would one day end up being my job. It’s nuts and I still can’t get my head around it. 20 year old Anna would have cried, wiped away the tear as soon as possible so it didn’t ruin her fake tan and then promptly fainted at the idea of receiving makeup samples to review. It’s pretty cool and I thank my lucky stars each time Monday rolls around and I’m excited to dig in to my to-do list and sit at my desk to do a job that I wholeheartedly adore.

So after nine years in the biz, what have I learnt? Well things have certainly changed a lot since then. I’m nearer 30, than I am 20. I’m no longer a university student with a penchant for box hair dye and body con dresses. And I now do this as a full-time job – something that just wasn’t even a possibility when I pressed publish on my first post. So here are nine lessons I’ve learnt in the nine years since that moment…

1. The best blog posts are ones that come from the heart. Cheesy, but true. I tend to keep things round here easily categorisable – beauty, style, travel, you know the drill – but occasionally I clamber up onto my soapbox and it’s those posts that feel the most cathartic to write and spark the most engagement and interesting debates in the comments. ‘Please Can We Stop Asking Women If They’re Pregnant?’ is a personal favourite of mine. Note to self: write from the heart more.

2. Haven’t we come so far?! My first ever blog header was made in Paint and used a t-shirt from H&M with some makeup products jauntily placed on top of it, with fluorescent pink font overlaid on top. These days I have a wonderful web designer that makes everything look pretty and is a great help when I need someone to bounce creative ideas off of. I’m so chuffed with how things look currently,  but let me tell you that the process takes much longer than just doing some nifty work with the lasso tool. Having ‘re-branded’ and redesigned the site almost three years ago now, it’s great that the design has stood the test of time. Jay you’re a genius – THANK YOU.

3. It might appear cool and calm on the surface, but running a blog full-time (along with all the other nuts and bolts that go with it), is a process, and one that I definitely couldn’t do on my own. Jay helps out with the design, my mate Nick sorts out the servers and security, my Dad is my only official employee and does my Bookkeeping for me, my Accountant is wonderful, Emma makes photo-taking dreamy and my wonderful Mangers keep the brand partnership side of things running smoothly. One of my biggest learns over the nine years is that you have to ask for help and pay for the services of those who know more about topics you know absolutely nought about.

4. When your source of income is something that feels so fun, it’s actually really hard to call it ‘work’. I find myself calling my days at home ‘laptop days’. I just can’t seem to get the ‘w’ word to come out of my mouth. I’ve tended bars, answered calls and inputted data, all of which all felt like work. But writing a blog post? Yeah, I just can’t bring myself to say it.

5. Because it really is so thoroughly enjoyable there’s a guilt that comes with it. There are still bad days in the office, but they are few and far between and when talking to friends about their shitty days or work troubles, there’s a certain uneasiness that sits in my belly. Ultimately I know that this whole thing could end tomorrow, so I should lap up the fact that I enjoy what I do – but it’s a work in progress, even all these years down the line.

6. Change is goooood. Back when blogging first came onto the scene they were outlets on the internet dedicated to very specific topics. Over the years bloggers have broken out of the mould and shifted them to be more well-rounded journals featuring a whole of topics and I’m so, so pleased that I followed suit and shifted to feature more lifestyle topics round these parts. It completely reinvigorated my love for my corner of the Internet and I’m encouraged by the flexibility that it brings. Some days I’m talking about beauty, other days I’m talking about the best cashmere jumper wash. Nothing but sexy topics round these parts, eh?

7. In a multi-platform world, a blog is the one place where the content creator owns everything – and that is something that is so, so important. You know when the Instagram algorithm is dicking around or YouTube is down? That is 100% out of the creators control. Even if we’re not posting on our blogs every single day, we should still water them and update them to be a hub of all the content we create. Give ’em some T.L.C!

8. For me, consistency is king when it comes to blogging and is the thing I always come back to when I think  of how I managed to grow an audience in those early days. At one point I was blogging 10 times a week – LOLZ. Of course the quality certainly wasn’t there and these days I try and go for an approach that hopefully ups that, but in order to attract eyes on a page you need stuff on the page in the first place. All the blogs that I refer back to often are ones that still post frequently and have become part of my daily routine. So if you’re just starting out, being consistent would be my biggest takeaway.

9. An FAQ that pops up often is whether I prefer writing posts, or making videos and quite honestly my answer changes daily. Sometimes my creative juices are flowing and I fancy nothing more than sitting down to record a video, but there are other days when I’d rather eat a coriander-stuffed wrap than film. Sitting down to write a blog post however, always feels relaxing. It’s a moment of quiet, where I can shutdown my inbox for an hour or two and go back to the act that started this whole thing off in the first place. It will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart.

Photos by Emma Croman

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