Over the weekend, Rhyme & Ribbons celebrated a big milestone: its second birthday (or blogiversary, if you will). I can easily say that blogging is the “hobby” of mine that has had the most longevity. Although, I’ve also never had a hobby that has taken up so much time, nor, to be honest, that I’ve poured so much love into.
(You can see Rhyme & Ribbons first birthday here)
I know that there are people out there who’ve been blogging much, much longer than I have. But I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and learned in this space, and I’ve also seen many brilliant bloggers come and go.
My advice to new bloggers:
1. Layouts are important. But spending tons of money on them isn’t. Simple and clean does the trick until the time that you want to invest on a designer later on. Make sure your blog background doesn’t take away from your photos, or your font is illegible.
2. Resize your photos. When I first started blogging my photos were tiny thumbnails. Then I fixed my erroneous ways and everything instantly looked better.
3. Blog about what you like. Feel like you need to do beauty haul posts because all the big bloggers do but you aren’t that into beauty? Skip it. I think readers can tell when a blogger has a genuine interest.
4. When all else fails, be personal. Maybe it’s because we are all so voyeuristic but people love getting to know the personal life of bloggers. Within reason. Some drama or personal spillage, I reckon, should be left private.
5. Investing in sponsorships helps, but isn’t key to growing your blog. (But check out my sponsorship options, she says with a knowing wink.) I didn’t invest any real money into Rhyme & Ribbons until I had at least 1,000 followers. My tips to growing your blog without breaking the bank? Participate in linkups galore and comment. But please (for me at least) don’t write in comments anything like the following, “Hi! I like your blog. Follow me back?”
6. This almost goes hand-in-hand with #3, but it also contradicts the advice a lot of bloggers give which is to find your niche. I think niches can lead to people getting stuck, writing becoming a chore and the dreaded blog burn-out. Don’t let your niche dictate what you write. For example, I know a lot of readers skip over my recipe posts. Fair enough. But I love doing them, so they will always be a feature here. If my traffic is lower that day, so be it. Also, I shied away from ever doing fashion posts because I didn’t think my “audience” would be interested (my audience at the time seemed to be mostly travel bloggers) but I always wanted to do ootd esque posts because I’ve always been strongly interested in fashion. And since I’ve started doing them it’s brought me a lot of joy even if I have had to sacrifice a few followers.
At the end of the day, blogging has provided countless opportunities that I never would have experienced otherwise: Becoming friends with fabulous people like Lindsay, Betsy and Emma. Getting to cook and eat with the incredible Ala twice (including once with Ping from MasterChef), and also constantly brainstorming how to make Ala my SE London bff. Getting the flabbergasting opportunity to go on press trips with VisitWales and AirFrance. Blogging was the reason why I got a tweet from Paul Hollywood approving my sticky toffee pudding. Blogging has motivated me to get out and experience life when before I might have been too lazy to tear myself away from a Netflix marathon.
Some readers might not know this, but in university I studied international relations (conflict resolution), but quickly realised that law school was not for me. I love creating. I love the creative process. I was most likely to be criticised when I was little for “living too much in books.” I was torn between an MA in Creative Writing and one in Drama, but my love for acting won out in the end and I did a Drama MA. Since graduating, I can say with all honesty that my acting career has been a spectacular failure. I have done a few jobs here and there. You can see my face with a magnifying glass in something once in a blue moon. Failure doesn’t pay the bills so I also have a regular day job. But blogging has filled some of the creative void that acting left and I will be forever grateful for that.
Whatever the future holds for Rhyme & Ribbons, I’m hoping the journey will be awesome. If it’s a hobby it’s a hobby. If, one day, I become one of those special unicorns who blogs for a living, that’d be great too. But at the core, Rhyme & Ribbons will always be about me eating cookies and trying on clothes from the dress up box in museums.
And here’s a huge “Thank you!” to those who’ve been reading along and to those who take the time to comment. It makes my day.
No matter how long you’ve been blogging, celebrate it!