My little section of cyber space turns two today, woo! In my two years of blogging I have learned so much; about the technology and terminology used, the community and even myself. The blog has moved to WordPress and had a redesign, I’ve been to conferences and I’ve found confidence in my writing style. I’m not a ‘pro blogger’, in many respects I’m still a very small fish in a very huge ocean, however this last year has seen some huge changes for Budding Smiles and I’m really proud of it.
5 Things I’ve Learned In The Past Year
- I’m not sure I ever want to be a pro blogger. Not because I don’t love that I do, because I do love what I do! My blog is my sanctuary and although I’m not spectacularly popular, I’ve realised that my posts about things that are important to me have really helped others. Now obviously the top bloggers can do that too, but I found that when I started taking on loads of sponsored work, I was slipping from writing the stuff that was true to me and the simple fact is that with a toddler who still rarely sleeps through, I absolutely will not stay up until midnight in order to blog and that’s what I’d need to do in order to balance the workload of sponsored and non sponsored posts.
- I love working with brands on reviews and events. Sounds like a no brainer, but I’m a shy person by nature so the fact that I will merrily trot to events such as BritMums, Blogfest and product launches even when I haven’t always had someone familiar to meet up with, is a big step. Likewise, in this last year I’ve built some lovely relationships with PRs who are a testament to their job role and have been an absolute pleasure to work with. I look forward to keeping those relationships going in the coming year, as well as finding out about amazing products and meeting fab people.
- True friends can be made online. I did know that already, however the friendships that have grown and strengthened in the last 12 months aren’t necessarily the ones I thought were forming prior to that and yet I couldn’t be happier! I’ve met up with one of the most inspiring women I know – Leigh – several times both at events and for lunch and a walk away from blog stuff. I finally met Chelle, Susanne and Jenny, who I not only have the pleasure of working with but are also always on the end of a group messenger chat whether for celebrations or commiserations. I’m getting to know a lovely group of bloggers better thanks to the collaborative Meet The Parents Podcast that I’m a part of. Set up by Tim, who I’ve enjoyed meeting at a couple of events, it’s a really fun project to be a part of.
- I love Canva. My photography leaves a lot to be desired but I’ve been utilising the brilliant tool that is Canva, to jazz up my header images and it’s made a difference! Pinterest or Instagram sensation I am not, but since I’ve been making less awful headers, my traffic from Pinterest has (very, very slightly) grown and more importantly to me, my blog looks nicer. You only get one chance to make a first impression after all!
- When the chips are down… This pregnancy, alongside a challenging toddler, has tested me. When I’ve written about the bad days people have rallied around me and lifted me up. When I’ve asked for guest bloggers to cover me for a bit over Baby Girl’s birth I’ve been inundated with offers. It’s so wonderful to know that when I’m struggling, or when I need some advice you amazing bunch are right there. Whether you’re a ‘real life’ friend, a social media one or we’ve never even spoken before, your comments and support have been amazing and I don’t need through-the-roof stats to feel like I, this blog, my readers, all matter. Thank you.
I haven’t got any specific sort of plan, mainly because I’m about to have a baby so let’s see how the whole two under two thing goes!
I do desperately want to improve my photography and that will be a two pronged attack. First, I’m on the lookout for a really good point and click camera to keep in my bag. My phone camera I’d rubbish and I can’t lug an SLR and lenses around everywhere but I love capturing the everyday, unstaged moments in life. Secondly, I need to educate myself so that irrespective of which camera I’m using, I understand how to use them to their best. I am a kinesthetic learner, which means I learn best by doing things and articles about photography just don’t stick in my head. I need to go on a course of some description so that’s a key goal for me.
I’ve recently been doing a much better job of scheduling post promotion as well as scheduling posts themselves. By keeping on top of those things, I have the freedom to write when I’m inspired to so that alongside my reviews and regular features, I can pop out a post almost on a whim. On a similar vein, I need to be better organised for reading other blogs because I’m always thrilled when I receive comments and shares so I want to ensure I’m sharing the love!
I’m looking forward to another year and am excited to see what the next twelve months will bring! How has your last year been? Any camera/photography tips for me? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.