One year blogging: Highs, lows & everything in between

Man, time flies… This little is dude getting crazy big and I can’t believe I’m already marking one year of blogging! AnchoredInElegance made its debut last January, after many hours of planning, writing and technical frustration. At the time, I was missing TV news desperately and feeling a bit lost in my role as a new parent. I had anticipated leaping from career-driven journalist to family-focused mom easily, but discovered part of my creative identity was missing.

Enter the blog. It offered the perfect solution, a place to continue writing and an opportunity to share my unvoiced passions for fashion and design. More importantly, it served as a place to connect with all of you! I truly enjoy sharing my insights and any helpful, educational or entertaining information I come across.

I’m not particularly computer savvy, so it was quite a thrill to hit “publish” for the first time. The blog launched with a look at our son’s nursery decor. I never imagined I could build a website. There is something truly wonderful about tackling a challenge that pushes you way out your comfort zone. In fact, blogging has helped me feel more confident with technology and gear in general.

It pushed me to learn about graphic design, photography, photo editing, SEO, new social media platforms… and the list seems to grow with each month. I’ve described blogging to some of my friends as a black hole of knowledge. Once you enter, it sucks you deeper in deeper. There is always more to learn. Call me crazy, but I love that!

In honor of one year of blogging, I thought it would be fun to answer a few FAQs and give you a quick synopsis of my early experience in this industry. I’ll start with the FAQs, as they will help explain the rest.

one year of blogging

How much time do you spend blogging?

The short answer, too much! I knew going into this that blogging would be time consuming. But I really had no idea how much effort it would take. Sure, you can blog and spend a couple hours a week writing and posting. However, I’m not one to do anything halfway. I want AnchoredInElegance.com to be beneficial to readers… and I want it to be a business someday. That means I’m investing money and plenty of time into this project.

Since the blog launched, I’ve posted once a week. Each post takes me between 1-3 hours to write and optimize for SEO. That doesn’t take into account the photography and photo editing that happens before I sit down to write. Then there’s the post promotion on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Instagram alone can suck up about an hour per day. I try to post there 5 times a week. By Sunday, I usually have spent 10+ hrs on the blog.

However, don’t think I’m complaining… I enjoy blogging. At this point, it’s a hobby. One day it might truly be a business venture. Who knows!

How do bloggers make money?

Successful bloggers earn income from a variety of sources. Usually, it’s a mix of affiliate links (links to recommended products where the blogger earns a small commission at no additional charge to the reader), sponsored content, ad placement and perhaps selling an online course/services. Since I detest online ads, you will never see them on my website. They’re so annoying!

Who takes your photos?

If I’m in the photo, my very patient husband does most of the heavy lifting. He really has a gift for this kind of thing. On other occasions, it’s my mom. She has an artistic eye and is a trained interior designer. I also just started working with a local Lafayette photographer for a few shoots, Velvet Lotus Photography. Professional photography really makes a difference! I take all of the decor shots myself.

What camera/editing programs/gear do you use?

I expected to invest in a quality DSLR camera when I started blogging, but I found my phone (Google Pixel2) is easier and takes better pictures! I primarily use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos, but will occasionally use apps like Snapseed or Facetune. Since I take a lot of my own pictures, I also use a tripod. I bought one that was awful (one of the legs snapped right off), but have been quite impressed with this model that doubles as a selfie stick.

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One year of blogging: The highs


  • Positive reaction from close friends, family & co-workers:  By far, the best part of my first year as a blogger was the overwhelming support and positive reaction from those close to me. Part of me had worried they would think this was a frivolous waste of time or find my posts boring. Sharing your personal thoughts can be deeply vulnerable. It’s quite a departure from reporting. In journalism, you’re telling someone else’s story, not your own.
  • Growing my Instagram from 300-13.5K:  To be taken seriously in the blogging world, you need to have a powerful Instagram account. Why? Instagram blows Facebook out of the water in terms of user engagement and is the preferred method for most businesses/brands. However, growing your Instagram account is not easy and takes a LOT of time. For instance, a typical “influencer” will post daily, research hashtags, upload a captivating story, and spend at least an hour engaging with others on the platform. Images must be high quality, captions should be inspiring/engaging/helpful, and hashtags must be relevant. I’ve been focusing intently on my Instagram account this year and am rather proud of the progress. I consider it an extension of the blog and feature content that might not make it here.
  • Improving my photography:  I know a lot about videography, I knew squat about photography. At least when I was first starting out. My images were okay, but didn’t have the same richness, light quality and drama I spotted on my favorite blogs. Consequently, I set out to learn Adobe Lightroom (a program most professional photographers use). It has made a huge difference!
  • Landing my first brand collaborations:  Toward the middle of 2018, I began landing my first collaborations with brands. These sponsored posts are important because they help cover the expense of running this blog (it definitely adds up) and allow me to make a small profit. However, I’m pretty selective about who I work with. Lately, I’ve been saying “no” a lot more often than “yes.” It’s amazing how many companies want to work with bloggers/influencers to market their items. You guys are important to me, so I will never recommend a brand/product I don’t personally use and love. That said, I have a collaboration coming up soon with Chicwish I am super excited about. I shop there a lot because it offers quality pieces,  petite-friendly styles and some of the most unique designs I’ve ever seen. I’ll also be working with a big name in women’s work wear, one of my favorite national brands. So eager to share it with you!

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One year of blogging: The lows


  • Crashing my website:  If you’re new to WordPress, here’s a piece of free advice… Don’t get Plugin happy! In an attempt to speed up my website load time, I added a bunch of new Plugins and nearly gave myself a heart attack when my website crashed. I didn’t realize it until 2 a.m. when I got an email notification and immediately panicked thinking I had lost everything. Not fun, but a learning experience.
  • Overthinking, self doubt & comparison: I am a classic perfectionist. This has helped me in some facets of blogging, but hindered me in others. I am very quick to find flaws in my work and love to assess it by comparing my content to what other bloggers are doing. This is good for research, but not necessarily for personal morale. I need to learn to trust my own creative voice and process!
  • Follow/Unfollow:  One of the most disheartening things in blogging so far is making what appears to be a real connection with people on Instagram (chatting back and forth over each other’s posts), only to realize they were using me! For those unfamiliar with Instagram, “follow/unfollow” is actually a growth tactic, albeit a shady one. Basically, you follow a bunch of accounts, interact with them for a few days and talk about how much you enjoy their content, so they follow you back. Days later, you quietly unfollow them and vanish. Although I know what’s going on now, it’s difficult to see fluctuations in your Instagram numbers without wondering if you did something wrong. Was I boring? Posting too much? Not providing valuable info? Did I offend someone?
  • “We love your content, DM me”: There are a number of online companies that see aspiring bloggers as an easy sale and essentially scam them into working for free. They’ll send you an invitation to be a “brand ambassador” offering a slight discount on significantly overpriced merchandise. In return, they ask you to promote the company and provide your images for use on their website/social accounts. This arrangement would be fine if the merchandise was a fair price, but it’s not. I didn’t fall for this tactic. But I see far too many new bloggers getting caught up in this clever marketing scheme!

YOUR favorite posts of the year:


Shop like a news anchor: How we save big on clothing

Shein Review: Is it safe to buy from? 

What I want my son to know about #MeToo

How to dress for a TV appearance

Dining Room Reveal: Creating a bold, beautiful space

 

 

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. Victoria Martin | 23rd Jan 19

    It’s always fascinating reading what you post! Love what you do❤

    • laveremis | 23rd Jan 19

      It means so much to have your support! Thank you for your encouragement.

  2. Sudipa | 23rd Jan 19

    I love this post so much because I can relate to it so much. Blogging is a serious task. It takes too much blood and sweats to run a successful blog. People sometimes underestimate us.You are doing a great job.More power to you

    • laveremis | 26th Jan 19

      Hi Sudipa! Thanks for your support and you are SO right. This is not a game for the faint of heart, especially if you hope to take it from hobby to business. Glad to have connected through our shared ventures.

  3. Karen Varin | 24th Jan 19

    Lindsay, so happy I read your blog! As I am working on content for my own, you gave me a glimpse of what has worked for you. I look forward to your posts and will now look forward to your blogs as well 🙂

    • laveremis | 26th Jan 19

      Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by! It really is amazing how mutually supportive the blogging world is. The saying “community over competition” really seems to ring true. By sharing our collective knowledge, we will all progress more. Good luck on your content!

  4. Kat | 25th Jan 19

    Love your blog babe.. and so proud of you. I know it a tough field to get it . But I think we did OK.
    Cheer,
    Kat

    • laveremis | 26th Jan 19

      Hey Kat! This means so much coming from you, as I respect your work a great deal. Yes, we did OK and we have great things coming too!

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