Thursday, 12 February 2015
Happy Birthday LouLouLand - Reflecting On 8 Years Of Blogging
On the 12th February 2007, I clicked publish and uploaded my very first post on this blog. It was just an introduction to my blog but if you'd asked me then if I'd still be here 8 years later and I'd have experienced so much because of blogging, I'd never have believed you.
Less than an a year earlier I'd been diagnosed with ME / CFS and my life had turned upside down, I had to give up my job, and although I didn't know it at the time my social life was pretty much over. In the years before I got ill I'd posted on the handbag.com forums and over the years I'd got to know some of my fellow posters quite well, changes to the chat boards and the site meant that a few of us started to look for different outlets and as a result my blog was born.
It became a place where I could escape, rant and explore some of my passions and some of my irritations. For the first two years I posted sporadically but in 2009 I started to take my blog more seriously and made it a bigger part of my life.
Over the years it's became more and more important to me, long term illness can be a very lonely existence, and I've lost a lot of real life friends over the years but through my blog I have made so many online and "real friends" Bloggers have come and gone over the years but I'm lucky that so many of those handbag.com ladies are still around too, including Yinka from Vex In The City, Frankie from Love Audrey, Emma from They Grow So Quick and Sadie from Butterfly Wings and many others.
It isn't just cyber friends though, I've also been lucky enough to meet quite a number of my fellow North East bloggers some of whom I now consider as friends. It's pretty scary walking into a room when you don't know anyone but when you can leave that room with your self confidence sky high, that yes I did it feeling! and with the knowledge that you've met some lovely people, you've come a long way.
It hasn't always been a bed of roses though, personal issues have often got in the way, haters gonna hate, and with some of the ways that blogging has changed over the years. I would be lying if I said I hadn't felt like giving it up at times.
When I first started blogging people blogged for themselves, if people read your blog it was a bonus, There was no GFC, there was no Bloglovin, there was the favourite or the bookmark button and that was it! Followers didn't matter then but if you want to push your blog on in 2015 followers no matter what anyone says ARE important. Over the years I've gotten frustrated that my blog doesn't have as many followers as some, it's hard not to when you've been around this long, but it's something I'm learning to live with and I'm grateful to all of my followers though and it still surprises me at times that anyone reads what I write. My blog is my baby though and I want it to be successful. Success takes time though and that's something that's important to remember when you first start blogging, the majority of blogs need to time to grow and maybe mine is a just a slow burner :)
I really cant complain though, over the years my blog has grown steadily and I've been lucky enough to work with some fantastic brands and some lovely people. Sometimes I've had to pinch myself in disbelief at how lucky I've been but I don't think it's down to luck it's down to hard work! I wouldn't like to think how many hours I've spent working on this blog over the years, from writing, to photography, editing and research, it all takes time, and when your permanently exhausted and woolly headed even putting up the simplest post can make you feel like you've climbed Everest.
So given my 8 years of experience what advice would I give new bloggers? Well, do it for the right reasons - there is so much talk now about people starting blogs purely to get freebies! If you going to do that, erm here's some advice. Don't! Admittedly times have changed but it probably took 3 or 4 years at least before I was sent anything. It doesn't, and shouldn't happen over night, it's very easy to blog without getting freebies blog about a product you own and like, or talk about something that your passionate about - you need to build your blog, post consistantly, and build an audience and then fingers crossed brands will start to notice you - it takes time and effort on your part, and you need to work hard and be patient.
Another thing I would say is please, please try and blog for yourself. It's tempting to write what other people want you, and design your blog based on what people say in a bloggers chat but please try not too. There is nothing wrong with being an individual and going your own way. It your blog and it's your rules, and that's something I've always tried to stick to, yes you want people to read what you write so there is always a bit of compromise but be yourself and enjoy what you do x
So where now? Well a bit more of the same I think and maybe something a bit different, I'm feeling re-energised after a couple of meh years and I'm ready to take LouLouLand on the next leg of it's journey. I love and appreciate every single one of you and especially those of you who've been with me since the early days x Thanks for being there and here's to 8 more years x