In 2016 I was asking you all to save the date (8-8-16) in preparation for my blog launch. I cannot believe that the earth has done a complete rotation, that a whole 365 days have passed, that my little space on the interwebs is one year old. It’s my blogaversary!! *cues Tony, Toni, Tone*
It probably sounds like I’m talking about a baby, but that’s basically what it is! Last year I gave birth to it and now 12 months later it’s been crawling better and thinking about daring to walk. I spent the
days weeks month just before launch running around like a chicken with its neck cut off and badgering my web/graphic designer to make sure everything was perfect. I’ve agonized weekly about what I could post next, post it, sigh with relief, only to repeat that tortuous cycle of emotions week after week for the last 12 months. I know my fellow bloggers feel what I’m saying. Keep in mind all of this took place while working and go to link going to school full-time.
I’m not even sure what my first post was because when I was preparing to launch the blog my intention was to launch it with several posts published. So I started drafts for many of those posts actually in 2015 and those are the dates WordPress goes by, not the dates they were actually published.
Let’s get this http://californiacereal.com/category/uncategorized one-year where do i buy antabuse blogaversary reflection started, shall we?
Lessons Learned & Real Talk
Blogging is HARD[er] than I thought it would be. This sounds strange to me being that it isn’t my first-time blogging, but this time it’s all mine. EVERYTHING is my responsibility and that’s not only a lot of pressure, but a lot to keep up with. I’m a one woman show! Building a successful blog involves a lot of moving parts, some you know how to deal with and others you just stumble your way through.
Blogging is a full-time job that never ends. There is always something to be done whether it’s writing posts, taking pictures, pitching to companies, or publicizing yourself.
I’ve had to talk myself out of shutting it down and calling it quits more than once. It’s so discouraging when you spend hours putting together one post, followed by hours publicizing, only to realize nobody is reading it. I still struggle with this weekly and it’s one of the main reasons I stopped posting on Youtube. It’s such a vicious cycle though; you stop posting because nobody is reading or watching but people don’t read or watch because you’re not posting. I’m not really sure what I said to convince myself to keep going but here I am, 1 year in and kickin’ it.
I never thought blogging was easy but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought I’d be further along than I am now. I didn’t think it’d be this difficult to get support and exposure. On the other hand, I really didn’t do much publicizing for the first 6 months or so and year to date I’ve managed to earn almost ten thousand page views, average one post per week (my goal), and publish over 35 posts despite my hectic schedule. Of course, there’s always the possibility that my blog just isn’t that interesting but who wants to think that?!
Blogging has really forced me to take a hard look at how efficiently I manage my time…or not. I’m constantly asking myself how I can do better with my time, whether it’s by scheduling posts or planning out a content calendar.
I’ve learned so much about the business of blogging. I had no idea it was so complex. Looking back I don’t think I started my blog with a specific end goal in mind, but after seeing some of the major opportunities available I know now the sky is the limit.
Branding is one area I think I can say with confidence I started out really strong in, at least visually. My branding is consistent across my social media and definitely works within the clean and crisp vision I had in mind. One thing I’ve been working on especially in the last few months is stepping up the quality of my images. I think it’s made a huge difference not only in how my accounts look, but also how you all respond to them.
I’ve always known that I’m a slight perfectionist (by nature and nurture) but this blogging venture has only highlighted it further. Real Talk: I think I originally intended to start my blog in January 2016. I launched at the beginning of August 2016. I thought I could figure out how to build my own site and get it done while working and going to school full-time. June came and I had to be real with myself. So I hired someone to design my site because with my limited time I knew I’d keep talking about it but it would never happen. The lesson is really that I don’t need to feel like I have to start and complete something in one sitting. Shoutout to the 50+ draft posts on my dashboard.
Sometimes you just have to set a hard deadline, do the best you can, and go for it. I don’t think I was truly ready to launch on August 8th, 2016, but if not then, when? I would never truly feel everything was perfect enough to launch.
Since I went over my lessons learned over the last 12 months, it’s only right to share the accomplishments and highlights of the last 12 months as well:
Launched the blog! – I suppose this part is important right?!
Took over the Black & Abroad Snapchat for Cropover 2016
Hosted my first event/collab with Darker Berrie
Hit 3k followers on Instagram
Named among 10 Up & Coming Natural Hair Bloggers by Curls Understood
Organized a group trip abroad to Martinique with strangers
Been sent PR packages by companies to review product
Had pictures and reviews reposted by major brands on Twitter and Instagram
Launched #traveltuesday mailing list for weekly travel tips <<–Sign up! (tell a friend)
Named Beauty of the Week by Curls Understood
Modeled on live TV for the Curls Understood E-book
My 10 Favorite Posts:
As I mentioned before, I don’t think I started the blog with any specific goals in mind except getting it going. As far as new goals go, I think I’ve outlined new more defined goals for the next 12 months:
- Move from one post per week to two
- Monetize the blog
- Have a featured post on a major publication
- Average 10,000 page views a month
- Get back on Youtube – I want to be invited to Youtube Black. This is normally something I probably wouldn’t share but some things you have to speak publicly into existence so people can hold you accountable. I’m charging you, my audience, with this! I think I heard you need 10 thousand subbies to go. I’m a long way away from that but it can happen! I’ve seen several channels I follow literally grow overnight. To be able to get together with other Black creatives would be the jam. What’s funny is that I never stopped recording, I just stopped editing and therefore stopped posting. But I’m going to do better. Make sure you go subscribe! #KTroadto10k
This isn’t an exhaustive list of my new goals but they’re definitely the main ones I want to focus on. Now that I’m finished with grad school I have a lot more free time to put into getting more posts out and to do a better job of advertising them. As many hours as I put into this blog on a weekly basis, it should be generating some coins on the side. Currently, I’m averaging far less than that in monthly page views, but I think I’m heading in the right direction now that I know more about how to market myself and am growing an email list. It’s an aggressive list of goals but that’s how I like it, it makes you grind harder.
Ya’ll better watch out and be ready for everything coming your way.
One Last Thing
Before I get out of here I want to give a major thanks to all of you! To every person who has read a post, commented ON posts/pictures whether here on the site or on IG, FB, Twitter, or Youtube, for each one of you who has subscribed to a mailing list, shared a post on your timeline or with a friend in need–THANK YOU. To know that people actually value your opinion or look to you for advice on any given subject is truly special. I never really thought I’d have a squad of ‘riders’ but I like it. I have no idea where we’re riding to in year two but I’m excited to find out!
I’m still in disbelief that 12 months have passed by so quickly. August 8, 2016 I unleashed my “baby” to the world and my heart was beating so fast up until 12 pm when I hit “publish.” So many of you left me comments saying how much you loved the look and feel of the site, and although that was what I was hoping for, I was surprised at how well received it was. I only hope you’ll continue to rock with me and enjoy the content that I deliver. Thank you for joining me on this walk down memory lane and for celebrating my one year anniversary with me. Eat a cupcake or something.
Cheers to one year! See you back here next year, same date, same place, k?
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