Happy 4th Blogiversary to The Gold Project! I really want to pinch myself to see if it is real. I can’t believe four years ago on May 31st I wrote my first blog post that was nothing special at all. If you would have asked me on that day if I thought I would still be blogging 4 years later, I probably would have laughed because I had no idea what a blog was, what I was supposed to be writing about, or how it could grow. I just knew I needed an outlet to explore my creative side and share my thoughts. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would be continuously growing and now branching out into YouTube. So, thank you to everyone that has helped me along this path. I will be having a HUGE and amazing appreciation giveaway this weekend. So, please stay tuned!!!
Every year on my blogiversary I try to give you some tips that I have learned through this journey. If you would like to look back on my previous tips, click a link below:
All of the tips in my blogiversary posts are still true today! I just try to get a little more indepth with each one.
So, here is what I have learned throughout these 4 years…
1. I’m running a business.
Let me be completely honest with you guys. I never considered this blog a business until it was pointed out to me at the beginning of 2015 when a longtime friend sent me a sweet message. She wanted to tell me that she was impressed with my blog and the business I have turned it into. It was one of those hold up, wait a minute, what was that? type of moments.
I had never considered this blog a business until that moment. And, here is the ironic thing… I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Why I didn’t figure out I was running a business before that moment, I will never know. I knew I loved working on my blog, I considered it my #1 hobby, and I felt it was my baby, but I never considered it a business.
Now, that view has changed.
Do I get an income from my blog?
Not at the moment, but I would love to turn it into that eventually. I work so hard on this space because I love it. So, the work actually isn’t work to me. So, if I could turn this thing I love into some form of income, that would be a huge bonus in my book.
2. It doesn’t get less time consuming.
One might think that once you get the hang of the blogging world, it gets easier, but the opposite is true. Or, it is for me. Now that I understand the basics (editorial calendars, how to work WordPress, etc.), I now try to tweak everything. Perfecting the craft of blogging never ends. There is always research that needs to be done, pictures that could get better, and topics that could be improved.
Blogging involves technology and technology is always advancing. So, I have to continuously attempt to stay up-to-date with it.
3. The finish line keeps moving.
This pretty much relates to #2. My finish line continuously moves. There isn’t an end to the blogging world, or if you are wanting to do it right. There is no such thing as perfection, so there is always something that could be better.
I want my blog to get better and better for you guys, so my finish line is moving continously.
4. Lighting is critical to your stock.
My advice for the day… Buy the lighting kit!
I wanted a lighting kit for a long time, but didn’t want to spend the extra cash to purchase one. Then, I finally just broke down and did it last fall. Man, I wish I would’ve done it sooner. My photos have gotten so much better because of it. And, I didn’t purchase the best quality lighting system either. I wanted to test this one out first before investing even more money.
Honestly, lighting is everything in the blogging world. If your photos aren’t top notch, then readers may not want to come back time and time again. I tried everything possible to avoid purchasing lights, but nothing met my expectations.
Buying the lighting kit was the best step I have taken in my blogging journey.
5. Reader surveys help your path.
In January, I decided to give y’all a survey to see what you thought about my blog, suggestions you might have to make it better, and topics you would like to see me cover. It helped me so much.
I wrote down every topic that y’all mentioned and I have been trying to tackle them all. Plus, it opened my eyes to how I could keep growing this blog. I always said I wasn’t going to start a YouTube channel because I would classify myself as an introvert and I don’t like to be in front of a camera. I really don’t like attention on me. Attention on my projects is great, but seeing my face, not so much.
Then, I got a ton of readers that wanted to see me do a YouTube channel. So, I thought about it for about a month and decided why not. If it doesn’t do well, then at least I gave it a shot. So, this chick had to put her big girl panties on, sit in front of a camera, and take the journey.
And, here is a little funny…
It took me 20 minutes on my Introduction video to say, “Hi, I’m Kristin from The Gold Project and welcome to my YouTube channel.” I kept recording it over and over again and I just couldn’t do it. So, I had my husband come and sit behind the camera and stare at me. It helped because I got it done in one shot, but it wasn’t without laughing. So, if you were wondering if I was laughing, the answer would be, “yes.”
I plan to do an updated Introduction video that is a lot better than the first. I kinda cringe when I watch it because I had no idea what I was doing.
6. Social media is vital.
I feel like social media is becoming the way of the world. It seems like instead of using telephones or cellphones, people communicate using social media outlets online.
I may produce an awesome post, but my readers may not be aware of it if I choose not to post about it on social media. I do have email subscribers, meaning they get my blog posts sent to their email account, but how many emails does one person get in a day. I know if I go without checking my email for a couple of days, I have a gigantic folder full of junk mail. So, my post email may get lost in the shuffle.
So, I have to spend just as much if not more time on social media. My favorite social media outlet is Instagram because I am a picture lover. I can sit there for hours just scrolling through people’s photos. I love it!
Now, I will be honest… It has taken some time to understand how Instagram works. Hashtags are important and the photos you post are important. I have never been a twitter fan, so I didn’t understand hashtags. At the beginning, I was frustrated because I didn’t know why people weren’t seeing my photos. I didn’t have many followers and I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. Then, I noticed that everyone else was posting using hashtags. Lightblub moment for me!
Then, I had to get the hang of posting photos on Intagram. I read somewhere that you should only post photos on Instagram that are magazine-worthy. That has really stuck in my head and I try my best to think about it every time I post a photo. Now, granted, if you use your Instagram for family use and not business related posts, then ignore everything I have said.
I want y’all to get a glimpse of my life outside of my blog, but I don’t want to overrun y’all with photos of my family. I have a personal facebook account where all of that is shared.
7. Stay true to you & your brand.
I am starting to learn this statement. It seems when you start getting more and more readers, companies start contacting you. This could include companies wanting you to promote their products or companies swearing they can make your business better.
I know the vision for this blog and I am going to stay true to it. I will not promote products that I do not feel reflect the direction and vision of this blog. And, I will not promote products that I do not like and will not use for personal use. So, please know that when I mention a product, I truly whole-heartedly love it or I would not be talking about it (insert smile).
8. Nothing happens overnight.
You see bloggers/vloggers that have tons of followers, write awesome posts, and keep getting better and better, and you wonder what you are doing wrong. Ok, well at least that is what I wonder sometimes. Then, you realize that those bloggers have been doing it for years. They have the craft of blogging down and they know their direction. Then, things don’t seem so bad after all.
When I look back on those posts from the beginning half of this blog, I thought they were awesome at the time, and now, I don’t. Reaching readers and building a loyal group of readers takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Or, at least for most people it doesn’t happen that way.
Sometimes, it may look like a blogger has built a nice base overnight, but you don’t know the sacrifices that have been made or what their story has entailed. Every bloggers’ story is different.
9. When you feel like a failure, keep pushing forward.
There are many times that I have felt really good about a blog post, published it, and nothing. Then, there have been times when I really wasn’t feeling a post, but I made it anyway and readers connected with it. So, this blog has definitely seen it’s ups and downs.
I will go through periods wondering why I even blog because it seems like everyone else is getting farther and faster than me. Then, I shake it off, put my big girl panties on, and push harder.
I use the sense of failure to motivate me to do better. I will research more and brainstorm to determine what things I need to do to help my blog grow.
And, with me, I realized that I needed to listen to you guys and start the stinking YouTube channel. My blog had hit a brick wall and I had no idea what I needed to do to keep it moving forward until I asked y’all. Now, I feel like it has reached new heights and I have y’all to thank for that.
10. My love for this space continuously grows.
When I started this blog back in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing, so I really thought it wouldn’t last long. Then, I started to get the hang of blogging, started following many other bloggers, and started tweaking my vision. It became a place where all of my energy, efforts, and heart started to rest.
It is the place where I share all of my ideas, thoughts, and even personal struggles and triumphs (ex: the letters to my kids).
I am not a person that likes to do things halfway. So, once I decided I was serious about this space, I devoted all of my energy to it. Yes, blogging/vlogging is a lot of work, but it doesn’t feel like work to me because I love it. And, I love it now more than I did on Day 1.
Thank you to each and every person that has followed me on this journey. There are many of you that have been with me since Day 1 and I definitely know who you are (insert smile). I am so excited about the future of this space and I hope to share many more blogiversary posts with y’all.