What I've learned from 6 Months of Blogging / by Katie Brightbill

So our first milestone has been reached. Six months together in a little online space I affectionately call StyleSmaller. I feel like it's important to write this post about the learning I've done in order to remind myself, as well as as inform anyone thinking of starting a little blog themselves... caution: I have a lot to say on the subject!! :)


Be Confident.

When you create a blog, you are putting yourself out there. It feels vulnerable. When I started this blog, I hesitated to share anything with anyone in case they'd see it and not like it. I am not the type to want to sell anything to anyone, but when you blog, you're essentially trying to get people to click on your site and comment on your posts, and it can be intimidating to maneuver this social media world where we live.

The reality of it is... what are you losing by putting yourself out there a bit? Some will like what you do, others won't, but you're not going to lose friends over it. Don't sweat it. My tip: the more confident you are in what you're writing and putting out there, the more others will believe you have something good enough to click. Don't post things you don't believe or love.

Be Bold.

Ahhh, I declare it's necessary but I'm not very bold at all. Erin is VERY good at putting herself out there and boldly contacting people, but I am so terrified to put myself out there! I don't like to hear no's. Without Erin, we'd never be writing on the Honest blog... we would probably be stuck at 20 twitter followers, and my family would be the only one ever visiting this little online space. :) She has taught me so much about putting myself out there, so it's becoming much more natural for me, finally. I've found that I love working with people when they do say yes, and I've enjoyed so much the friends I've made through this blog, so really... why not put yourself out there a bit?

Be Social. 

Some people naturally can tweet, facebook, instagram, pinterest, luv, keep, vine daily and not go insane. I cannot. I cannot even talk and text! It all takes time and adds up. I focus on three social medias: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and try to be consistent during the week. Once or twice a week, I'll visit other social networks and "keep" something or "vine" a video, but I don't allow myself to obsess over it. It's also really important to remember that the number of follows and likes in my life does not define me. Not even close. God made me who I am and I can share only who I am, not who I am not.

It's good to work with other bloggers and build friendships with people doing things similar to yourself. It's like having "friends at work." It's one of the reasons I am absolutely loving profiling other moms on Mondays also... I LOVE getting a glimpse at the girls behind their work and blogs, and insight into what they do and love in real life. I also have been guest-posting on other blogs (if you want to see where, check the "Also Seen" tab above-- I need to update it!), and that is great for community as well. ALSO, some of my favorite posts on my blog have been guest posts from friends, such as the Toms shoes makeover and the DIY Paint Chip art brilliance pictured below:


Be Organized.

Write every single idea that comes to your mind, and keep all the ideas in one place. I have my iphone yellow notebook, which is definitely not amazing, but at least I know where it can be found at all times. When you  have opportunity to do a post, you don't want to be using quality time to be trying to remember those ideas you had. Also, I like to be somewhat organized by days on my blog. Mondays are for profiles, Wednesdays for small style, and Fridays for life and links. I give myself flexibility on Tuesdays and Thursdays based on what's inspiring me to post, but I like knowing things will be totally consistent three days of the week.

Be Yourself.

I'm not a true DIYer. If I tried to make things every day to share, my blog would probably be amazing, but I would be totally miserable. It's important that you do the things you love and not things just because everyone else does them. When I started this blog, I tried not to say too much because kid's style was the focus, but it totally wasn't "me" to just post some pictures and a few words and leave it at that. I've realized that it's my own little space on the internet, and writing my thoughts is a big part of the way I operate, so now you get longwinded essays and it's more a blog about lifestyle than just style inspiration. :) What's funny is that the writing posts that often take me the least time to compile often are the most popular posts as well. People like us for who we are, not for who we try to become for others through a screen.

Be Observant.

Try your best not to obsess over your stats, and when people don't enjoy a post you've worked hard to create, BUT be sure you're noticing what your readers enjoy and do not enjoy! If your stats are reeeallly low on a post, figure out what is missing from it. Maybe you didn't put your heart into it and it shows, or worse: maybe you DID and no one likes it. Chin up, fellow bloggers. I've heard it happens to all of us. Always note the time you're writing your posts and when you're telling your social networks... some times have better responses than others, simply based on the convenience of the time you posted!

Be Present.

When you're in "blog/work mode," be focused. Don't get distracted by social media or what everyone else is doing. Do what you do as well as you can, and be done with "work." Personally, I have a window of opportunity to blog during nap time, which is about two hours start to finish. It is the best use of my time to confidently write a post. It is not the best use of my time to see what everyone on Twitter ate for lunch, or how many people liked or didn't like my post on Facebook. There's no better way to deflate the passion behind today's post by looking at past posts that were not as well-received. FIRST work on what you're doing, THEN check on your social medias and read blogs for inspiration and fun, not for competition!

On the other side of that coin, don't use your time with your family to be distractedly thinking about your blog or work. It's great to take pictures of good times, and fine to take a couple minutes here and there to tweet or something, but do what you can do to enjoy your personal time and try not be distracted.

Ohhh I could write on and on and on about this whole blogging world. It's so interesting to see how the internet has changed in just five or six short years! Truthfully, I love learning. I definitely recommend to anyone who has a desire or passion to start a blog, just go for it. Every single person has a different worldview that will resonate with different audiences. Some will get big and great fast, others will slowly and steadily gain readers.

Also! You don't need to buy all the expensive amazing programs to create a pretty post. I spent a few dollars on a moodboard app that gets the job done just fine. Is it perfect? No. Do I have a designed site? Nope, not yet. BUT, just focus on content and learning, and if you're really passionate about it consistently, then invest.

Happy six months and a big THANK YOU for reading and being a part of my little world.



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