Today is a huge day for me! Two years ago today the name Style Miss Molly was created on Instagram, combining my love for style and inspiring others. I can’t quite officially call it my “blogiversary” yet because that wasn’t started until a month later (we’ll be celebrating that soon with some very special things planned for you). April 18th, 2015 is truly where it all began. On the couch in my living room, as I opened a pair of white pointed-toe pumps in the mail and felt inspired to share my passion. I made a lofty goal of reaching 50,000 followers on Instagram in two years. I reached that goal with merely six days to spare. Talk about cutting in close! As I reflect back on my journey I realize how far I’ve come. I’m excited to share 50 little-known ways to improve your blog, and if you don’t blog read on just to see how much I’ve learned!
Community over competition
When I first started on Instagram, I immediately fell in love with the community. It was bigger than I imagined and full of like-minded women seeking to lift up and support each other.
Stop comparing yourself to others
This is easy to do with a vast amount of fashion bloggers and extremely creative and talented women. And I’ll be honest, sometimes I still struggle with it, but ultimately letting this mentality go is the most freeing thing you can do for yourself and your blog.
Authenticity is essential
If you’re not authentic on Instagram or your blog, people will see right through it. I knew with such a large community I needed to stand apart, and the only way I knew how to do that was by truly being myself. My post How to Keep Your Authenticity as a Blogger will give you some tips on how to do that often.
Quality over quantity
Don’t restrict yourself to feeling like you have to post multiple times a day and instead work on creating amazing quality content. If you’re not posting quality content that people want to keep coming back for, they simply won’t come back.
It’s not all about the numbers
Large social media numbers can be great, but they really aren’t everything. Authenticity and engagement speak so much louder. Check out my post What If Social Media Numbers Didn’t Exist for a fresh perspective on social media numbers.
Stick to what you’re good at
You will flourish when you stick with what you know. I learned this pretty quickly — I’m not good at flat lays. Instead of trying to emulate others and do them often in my Instagram feed, I just decided to stop. I’m sure my followers have thanked me for it. 😉
Keep up with the changes
If you want to stay on top of your game, then you have to keep up with the ever-growing changes in the blogging world — including Instagram updates. Learn what’s working, what’s fresh and new, and do what you can do embrace the change.
Never stop learning
I am a much better blogger than I was two years ago, but I am still learning. To be professional in my industry I stay reading, researching, taking courses, and challenging myself to always leave room for growth.
Grow with your brand
Stick to your brand
If you took off your brand name, would people still recognize the content as yours? Across all networks, you want to be known for you. Your aesthetics, images, captions and content all matter for a unified brand voice.
Be open with your audience
I made it a goal from the very beginning to always be open and honest with my audience. This has helped me create a bond with them and I feel like they are that much more connected to me because of my vulnerability.
Let your creativity flow
In the world of blogging creating new and fresh content is a must. By letting your creativity flow and thinking outside the box you have the chance to wow your readers with content they’ve never seen before.
Take time for yourself
Remember my Social Media Break of 2017? If not, read it here What I Learned After Taking a Social Media Break. I learned how important it was to take time for yourself. You can’t give if you’re left feeling burnt out.
Be kind to yourself
Bloggers are multi-talented people and have a lot going for them. I’ve also observed that many can be so self-critical, including me! I suppose it’s part of that perfectionist thing. It’s a good thing to lift yourself up when you fail, reward your accomplishments, and remind yourself of your talents!
In the world of blogging, you are bound to make mistakes. You are only human, after all. Let the mistakes happen and appreciate that they are all part of the growth and the learning process.
I wouldn’t have near as many followers as I do, or a great community of people who engage with me, if I wasn’t social on social media. People are looking to connect with you, so be social and connect back with them!
Being social doesn’t mean spam liking or commenting just to boost your engagement. Engaging authentically means taking the time to invest in the people who are invested in you. Take the time to read the captions and reply accordingly is vital!
Treat everyone like your BFF
This goes hand in hand with engaging authentically but is an entirely different strategy in itself. When you reply to a comment, treat that person like they are your best friend. You will immediately feel the sense of connection and community.
Blogging isn’t easy, as we wear so many different hats as bloggers. If you want examples, read my post 21 Things Fashion Bloggers Really Do. Bring your passion into the picture and let it motivate you to work harder than ever before! That’s the hustle!
Create what makes you happy
If you aren’t creating what you love or what you’re passionate about, chances are your readers won’t either. Write about what makes you happy and create content that you are excited to share and talk about.
It’s OK to say no
Many opportunities will come your way as you excel as a blogger. Remember, it’s OK to turn down collaborations that don’t fit your brand, and in fact, I absolutely recommend it! Look for content that authentically aligns with your brand at all times.
Stand up for what you believe
Bloggers lives can sometimes be fully on the table, but that’s up to you if you want to share it. Establish boundaries with yourself and know that it’s OK to only share what you’re comfortable with sharing.
Relationships with other bloggers and relationships with brands are both vital to my blogging success. I’m not sure where I would be without my closest blogging friends and brands that continue to support me.
Never lose sight of “why” you started
I personally have to remind myself of why I started in the first place. One of the ways I do this is by re-reading the post The Real Reason Why I Blog. This helps keep me grounded and focused on my purpose.
Be present in life
I draw a lot of my inspiration from my person life, and when I am not present and too focused on “work” my blog suffers the consequences. The more present you are in life, the more fulfilled you will be as a person to write amazing content people want to read.
Planning ahead is necessary as a blogger. Creating that content calendar will not only help keep you on track from week to week but will also give you the peace of mind that you know what’s coming!
Be the person in email you are online
When I work with brands, I want them to be able to connect with me the way that I connect with my audience. In the long run, this helps grow my brand and build authentic relationships with other brands.
Don’t let anyone take you for granted
Bloggers get a lot of free stuff and it can be pretty fun a lot of time. But don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you have to spend hours creating content for a little free t-shirt. Your time is worth more than that.
Celebrate the little moments
Today I celebrate a little moment of starting my blog. Tomorrow it might be a new brand collaboration I’m excited about. Whatever it is for you, take the time to celebrate these precious moments.
We rise by lifting others
Always remember to support your friends in the blogging community. They should never be viewed as your competition, but rather someone to lift up and encourage along the way.
Be grateful for your followers
Engage with the community
Blogging is a great community, but giving before you get is a must. Take the time to see what other bloggers are up to and comment on their pages. Engagement shouldn’t be considered work; it’s all a part of the fun!
Never give up
Trust me, there will be times you feel like giving up. Don’t. Remember why you started and keep on going. You will be glad you did! For inspiration, read my post 6 Things to Try When You Feel Like Giving Up.
Be on time to events, reply to emails in a timely manner, and always be professional in your actions and words when working with brands.
Check in with yourself regularly
I find it critical to check in with myself regularly. Am I staying on track with my goals? Am I staying authentic to my brand? Am I engaging enough or too much? All of these things help keep me focused as a blogger.
Set goals that are attainable and actionable
Sometimes during your regular check-ins, you might find a goal that needs to be reworked, and that’s OK. As you gather more data you will be able to set clear and more attainable goals along the way.
Commit to brands that you love
If you don’t love it, if it doesn’t feel like you, don’t do it. It’s as simple as that!
Learn the art of follow up
I have received so many brand collaborations simply by sending a follow-up e-mail. Never take these types of e-mails or calls for granted!
When a new visitor comes to your page they can analyze it within seconds and decide if they want to follow you or not. A lot of that has to do with having brand consistency in your page aesthetics. They matter, so don’t take them for granted!
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
What if Instagram were to die today? Would you still have traffic to your blog? Find ways to grow your brand and don’t leave it all to one social media network.
Learn from your followers
I have learned so much from my followers by sending out reader surveys or asking simple questions on social media. After all, you are creating content for them, so be sure to include them in the process.
Perfectionism is overrated
If you’re a perfectionist it can help you a lot in life, but it also has a downside. I’m guilty of this and it held me back for the longest time in feeling satisfied with my journey. Ultimately, I just needed to stop being stuck on everything having to be perfect and one of the most freeing things I did was admit them here in my post How to Overcome Perfectionism and Accept Your Flaws.
Diversity income streams
Affiliate sales, brand sponsorships, your own clothing line, a course to sell, or an e-book you wrote, are just a few examples of ways you can expand your brand diversify your income streams. This is all a part of being a great entrepreneur.
Do what it takes to stand out and differentiate yourself from the world of blogging. This might take some internal reflections, but find what sets you apart from other bloggers and let it shine!
Balance your time
This is something I work towards daily and find it so vital so that I am both productive and not overworked. Read more about the Finding The Work Life Balance You Desire here.
You know how I told you that it’s OK to make mistakes. Well, now my advice to you is to make them! It’s how we learn and all apart of the growth process.
Join this amazing community of readers from around the world and you’ll discover that Style Miss Molly is much more than pretty pictures. I promise I’ll try my best to bring a smile to your face!
You can find me on Pinterest to see things that “pin-spire” me, Twitter to learn more about what makes me smile, and of course, Facebook because let’s face it, I’m on it too much, and Instagram, which is basically my favorite place to hang out with you all! “See” you there!
Cold-Shoulder Top: Maude
Photo Credit // Samantha Weissbach Photography