8 Things I Learned in 8 Years of Blogging

August 8, 2017

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8 Things I Learned in 8 Years of Blogging- M Loves M @marmar

You guys want to hear something crazy?! Yesterday I celebrated 8 years blogging. Eight!! I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long. One of my frequently asked questions is what advice I have for people just starting a blog. While I feel like I have learned a ton over the years- good and bad, I thought I’d break down 8 things I learned in 8 years of blogging. Whether you’re just starting out on your blogging journey or you’ve been doing it for awhile, hopefully, this post will inspire you!

soaking up this cold-shoulder trend - M Loves M @marmar still one of my favorite bags I own - M Loves M @marmar loving this cold shouldered dress from Nordstrom - M Loves M @marmar

But first, let’s talk about this dress! Mustard, cold shoulder and flowy pleats! GORGEOUS! This was a last second buy when I was actually checking out. I saw it and had to have it! The style is so pretty and would look great at a summer party!

enjoying this sunshine in this pleated dress - M Loves M @marmar this is the perfect color for August - M Loves M @marmar twirling in this lovely mustard pleated dress - M Loves M @marmar

SHOP THIS POST
dressheels {only $33 and other colors too!} . necklace . sunglasses {also in black!} . bangle bracelet . cuff braceletbag {on sale!} . lipstick in Nude .

Speaking of OG blogging days, this pair of sunnies has been my favorite pair for years now. I wore them in almost every blog post for the longest time, until the screw came out. I finally got around to fixing it and this pair hasn’t left my face. You know when you find your dream sunglass pair and just wear it non-stop? That’s this pair. I LOVE them and I think I always will!

 

8 THINGS I LEARNED IN 8 YEARS OF BLOGGING

  1. Be Yourself. It sounds cheesy I know! I can’t even tell you how many conferences I went to and they would say “be yourself. be yourself.” It can be so frustrating to hear that as a new blogger because you’re like, “Hello I am being myself!” But it’s such a good reminder. Even when I’ve known I should “be myself” there have been times where I’ve strayed and done things because I thought I should. The thing is, when you’re yourself, there’s nothing to hide. You can be real and be open and if people don’t like that, they can go elsewhere. But you’ll attract more readers, and gain their trust, by being yourself. You have to remind yourself that by being yourself you’re focusing on the long game. It’s not a fast track to a higher following or bigger brand collaborations. But I promise you, if you ask yourself with every situation, “Does this feel natural and authentic to me?,” and it does, then you’re on your way to success. Promise!
  2. We’re Stronger Together. I’ve seen many bloggers feel this need to hold their cards close, not share, and not support one another. It’s sad because, in the end, they’re hurting themselves and also the industry. I LOVE seeing some of my closest blogger friends be successful. My friend Rachel started a clothing line,  Kat launched a leather goods collection with Gigi New York Elsie and Emma launched an app, Lauryn wrote a book and started a podcast, and Jeanine {although I’ve never met her} wrote one of my favorite cookbooks. When bloggers are successful, the blogging industry is successful. Also, just because someone follows one person doesn’t mean they can’t follow another person. I follow over 1000 people on Instagram and I love finding new inspiring accounts! Leave a comment with one of your favorite accounts to follow, or send to me on Instagram!
  3. Sometimes You Have to Say No– This one took me awhile to learn. When I started blogging there weren’t any blogging projects or campaigns, so when I started to get approached by companies I’d say, “Sure that sounds like fun!” And I said yes to almost everything. This was bad for multiple reasons. 1. I wasn’t always authentic to myself and my readers, and 2. I said sometimes said yes when saying no would have been a stronger move. If I said yes to everything I wouldn’t be able to write the content that I really care about and want to bring to my readers. Saying no can allow you to free up your time to do the things that mean more to you in the long run. This also applies to going to events. In the beginning, I said yes to them all. While blogger events can be great for networking, often times they’d take me away from writing my posts or prepping for the following week. I had to start treating my blog like a business and know what I could and could not take on.
  4. Ask for Help When You Need It- Asking for help is always hard for me, especially when it concerns my blog. Blogging has been something I’ve done by myself for so long, so sometimes it can be hard to understand where my limitations are. The financial side of blogging has been something new for me, and while I’m grateful that I’m able to make some money here and there to help my family, numbers have never been my strong suit. I’ve asked Matthew to help me create different Excel sheets to help with the finances. And when it comes to content, I’ve been able to get some great guest posts over the years, like Sabrina‘s recipe for Mini Key Lime Tarts!
  5. Don’t Succumb to the Pressure– While I do love the blogging community {see number #2}, it can be too easy to compare yourself to others. After having Augustine, I’ve felt like I’ve faced a lot of limitations. I don’t have the flexibility to just get up and do something. I have these ideas but I literally don’t have the bandwidth to complete them, or even attempt them! I see people on social media and think that they’re doing everything right, while I’m doing everything wrong, but that’s really only half the story. I know that what I see is not all that there is. Everyone deals with their own struggles and pressures and the most important thing is that I keep doing me. If I can focus on my path, and not get too hung up on others, I’ll be much more successful and happy!
  6. Social Media Consistency- Focus on the accounts you enjoy! While I do love Instagram, lately I’ve been much more active on their Stories platform. I just feel like it’s a more real space and I can be myself on there. While I love a beautifully curated Instagram feed, right now my life isn’t so filtered. It’s raw, real, and slightly messy, especially where the baby is concerned! I’ve also been having a lot of fun rediscovering my love for Twitter! Do you remember the days where you couldn’t go to bed without reading up on your whole Twitter feed??
  7. Plan an Editorial Calendar– During the past few years, I’ve used an editorial calendar where I’ll plan which posts I’m going to share when. I’m usually always moving posts around because I get inspired by something else, but I do think it helps to put ideas to a date. It gives a little bit of structure. As a new mom now, I definitely rely on my editorial calendar much more than I did before. It helps me know what I’m planning on posting which days so that I can prep beforehand!
  8. Passion Gets You Through– There’s no way I would have made it through 8 years of blogging without a whole lot of passion. This has been my main hobby over the years and while some days I definitely feel an “obligation” to do things, more often than not I want to. I love connecting with readers all over the world, and I love having this outlet to just be myself and share what I love. I feel incredibly lucky!

Thinking forward to my blogging future, I wanted to share some other things that have been on my mind:

  • I want to give you content that matters. When I started my site so many years ago it really was just a personal online diary space. I shared what I did and how I felt. In recent years though I’ve felt a strong desire to give you content that you’ll appreciate, from giving you styling ideas {like how to style a dress with sneakers}, or sharing 3 products to fight environmental aging, or my favorite 15 minute dinner idea, I want to give you content that you’ll enjoy and be inspired by.
  • Authentic vs Inauthentic- It drives me insane seeing bloggers buy their following and pay for likes/clicks/comments. When I learned that people did that I couldn’t believe it! While I think these people look to the bought followers as a quick fix, it really doesn’t help your engagement overall, and if anything it tarnishes the reputation of bloggers as a whole. If a brand decides to work with Blogger A who has bought half their following, and doesn’t get any return on investment, that brand is going to not be as interested in working with Blogger B who maybe has a smaller following but actually has a loyal, real following.
  • It’s not as easy for me to post daily like I used to. It’s getting harder and harder as Augustine is getting bigger and busier. Some nights he goes to sleep easily, and others take more time. When I sit down to work after putting him to sleep and eating my dinner, I want it to be because I want to. I don’t want to feel this need to post if it’s not something I feel passionate about in that moment. I owe you guys more than that, right??  While I’ll always shoot for Monday-Friday posts, know that if I miss a post one day it’s probably because we had a rough night the night before! Or maybe I just needed to get to bed early!
  • I want to hear from you all! Blogging is an amazing creative tool and while I have so many things I want to share I absolutely love providing posts that you all have been asking for. For example, my summer diaper bag essentials was a request from a reader. As was my everyday makeup routine. Posts that are currently in the works due to readers emails/comments, are my everyday skincare routine and how I curl my hair. If any of you have any tips/advice/suggestions for me, please please email me, leave a comment, or Tweet me! I absolutely love hearing from you!!

Is there anything you’d like to see more of on the blog? I try to post Motherhood type posts Mondays, outfits Tuesdays and Thursdays, lifestyle/beauty/recipe post on Wednesday, and a collage on Friday. Do you have any favorite types of posts? It would mean so much to hear from you, especially those of you who come here regularly. If you have any feedback (what you like/don’t like), I’m all ears! Even constructive criticism is appreciated.

Thank you all for being a part of my journey these past 8 years! I really and truly wouldn’t be here without you all. I’m so appreciative of all the support you’ve shown me over the years and I can’t wait to take you on the journey for what’s ahead!

xox

 

SHOP SIMILAR DRESSES

  • You look gorgeous in that dress and your blogging tips are spot on. Thank you.

    xo
    Pinksole

    • thank you Rachelle!! So glad you enjoyed this post!

  • Rach

    I totally agree with everything you said! Thank you Mara for sharing this! I really enjoy checking out your post and I look forward to more! Happy Blogiversary!!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    • aw thanks so much Rach!! Really appreciate that!!

  • Good tips, thank you! I’ve been blogging for a few years now but on a hobby level and would like to earn some income from it. I love discovering inspiring blogs like yours. 🙂 I found your blog earlier this year and my favourite type of posts are the lifestyle/beauty/recipe ones and the motherhood ones. Hope that helps! 🙂

    http://livingseasonal.blogspot.co.uk

    • aw thank you so so much! Yes very helpful!! Thanks for sharing with me 🙂

  • Michelle Joseph

    I love this dress. It is such a gorgeous colour. Excellent choice. And great tips. Blogging will always be a hubby for me. I started mine when I was unemployed and lonely, because my hubby was working while I was still looking for a job. I don’t want to turn it into anything full time. I’m just having fun and doing my own thing.
    I love to follow @lydiaemillen on Instagram, YouTube and I read her blog. She gets a lot of stick for being herself because she loves to laugh and waffle and she’s completely natural. Yet, people still find a reason to complain which is very sad.

    Mich x

    • Blogging is such an amazing hobby! Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days where no one read it, and I could just share for me. But I’m hoping to get back to that a little bit with a few changes. I’ll need to email you for some advice because you have been such a wonderful and supportive reader! Also thank you for sharing Lydia with me! I watched SEVERAL of her videos the other day. She is so beautiful and fun and I loooove her closet!!

  • Allegra Liu

    Congratulations on 8 years Mara! Yours is one of my favorite blogs not only because of the great content but also how genuine and engaged you are. It makes a big difference.

    • aw thanks Allegra!! I really try! So hard with the little guy now but I try to do the best that I can!

  • Sandra Manley

    Congrats on 8 years of blogging!!! You are one of my favorite bloggers, and I love how you take the time to always be authentic 🙂 This is an amazing journey, and I am humbled to bear witness to it 🙂 xoxoxo

    • aw thank you so much Sandra!! Appreciate you and your sweet comment so much!

  • Congratulation on 8 years of blogging! Your blog is beautiful and you are truly inspiring. Thank you for all the tips as a new blogger these tips are so helpful. I to still wear my Karen Walker Number One sunnies every day. They are my favorite pair of all time. Thank you for sharing!
    http://www.forthewonderer.com

    • Thank you so so much Sharon!! I’m so glad to have you here! And love that you’re a fan of the Number Ones too!! They really are the best!!

  • Tiffany Barnes

    I would love to see a post on how you are decorating your new home. I also always love to see posts on mom/breastfeeding friendly outfits 🙂

    • Thanks so much Tiffany!! I will definitely be including more home decor posts. I can’t wait to be officially out of boxes! And I need to share more bf friendly outfits!! I have one coming up Tuesday 😉

  • htebazileidoj

    Congrats on 8 years!!! So exciting! i can’t wait to see how you’re planning to decorate or renovate your new home! Also, I’m about to have my first baby so I love all your motherhood content – keep it up! I’d love to see posts of how Augustine is learning/growing or how you and Matthew have adjusted to your new parental roles/relationship dynamic post baby.

    • That is a GREAT idea!! Thank you for this feedback! I will definitely work on included both of these post ideas, especially as we approach Augustine’s 1st birthday (ah!) Oh and the home decor posts too!! Definitely want to include those!!

  • Congrats! I have so much respect for you being in this business so long, it really is hard work. (And I’ve only just begun!) Thanks for always being an encouragement, and, while motherhood is not on my horizon in the near future I really love the variety of content you produce. It gives me a little something different to look at from day to day. Though I won’t hate of stop following you if you cut down the number of posts to be with Augustine. In the end he will be your greatest treasure, and you need to be free to invest as much time in him as you need. <3 Thanks for always bringing such joy,

    Mary
    https://www.themarycurator.com/

    • thank you so much Mary!! I totally agree with you! He is definitely my number #1 priority. My blog used to be my baby and now I have a real one lol! I’m hoping to find some balance though and find the best way to make it work. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support!!

  • Natali

    This dress was made for you to wear it and it’s such a perfect occasion to present it on such an important blog anniversary day!
    Congratulations, 8 years is a long time and you’re one of my favourite bloggers which I’ve been following for over 3 years.

    https://lartoffashion.com/visit-croatia-d-resort-sibenik/

    • aw thank you soo much Natali!! You’re the best. I hope to meet you one day!!

  • Congrats on 8 years Mara! I’ve been following for your blog for the past 5 years and love the variety of your content and the authenticity of your posts! So many bloggers I find struggle with that balance and sacrifice authenticity for quantity and I think you’ve managed to strike a balance that keeps your content frequent yet unique and personal!

    I’ve been blogging for about 4 years now and know it can be a hard thing to post frequently with everything else going on (right now it’s just college and work for me). Thank you for all the effort you put into MLovesM, it’s definitely my favorite blog to follow. Your personality shines through each post!

    Also congrats on your new home!

    • oh my gosh thank you sooo much!! Your comment was so sweet. I really appreciate you following along and sharing this feedback with me. It’s hard because there is so much that I want to do with the blog but right now but struggle is finding a way to fit it in. There are really not enough hours in the day, but I’m trying to make the most of them. Thank you and congrats to you and your blog!! If you ever have any questions let me know. Thinking about doing some more blogging advice posts but I want to make sure they’re as helpful as possible!

  • Congratulations! Eight years of blogging consistently is such a huge accomplishment! I’m coming up on 2 years in November (with Krystal in the City blog), and it’s been so fun for me. My blog doesn’t have a lot of followers- but honestly I’m not doing it for that reason! It’s become a passion and hobby of mine as well. I absolutely love your blog. I’ve been a reader for years, as far back as your wedding! So I’ve seen so many changes/life milestones!
    I also love the advice you give to other fellow bloggers. It’s nice to see someone else wanting others to be successful! 🙂 Have a great day Mara!

    xo

    krystalinthecity.com

    • you’re the best Krystal!! I am so lucky to have had your support all these years. You’re so kind and encouraging and it means a lot to me 🙂 I’ve been thinking about doing more blogging advice tips but I’m not sure how many would enjoy it. Maybe I’ll do a few though!

  • Nancy

    Congratulations Mara on 8 years of blogging! I appreciate your positivity and realness whenever we chat on Instagram! Your kindness and passion truly shine through in all of your content that you share and it inspires me as a content creator in this crazy but fun social media world that we live in. Cheers to more years ahead for you! woohoo! And I love the content mix that you’re already sharing it’s such a great balance! Your motherhood posts make me excited for the future for when my husband and I decide to grow our family! 🙂

    -Nancy

    http://www.happilyevernancy.com

    • Thank you soo much Nancy!! I really really appreciate your sweet and kind comment. It meant so much to me!!

  • Tali

    I think your doing great Mara! And I enjoy all of blog posts from the recipes to the motherhood ones. Keep up the great job ♥

  • I’m at 4 years and I am just now learning to say no. Every campaign isn’t for me and I want to love what I show my readers.

    http://moosmusing.com

    • Mara

      that’s so incredibly smart!! Good for you Mariah!!

    • good for you Mariah!! SO great to learn that!!

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