5 Things I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging

5 Things I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging | Kayla Lynn

New Year's Day marked the one year anniversary of my self-named blog, Kayla Lynn, and during this period of (more-or-less) continuous blogging I learned a fair amount about the blogging community as a whole as well as about how my own blog fit into it. I celebrated the new year and my 1-year "blogiversary" (lol) with a complete transformation of my blog's layout and aesthetic, reflecting a much more intentional and composed identity that in many ways was the culminaiton of the things I learned during this period of time.

While I am not quite at the point of taking certain steps forward with my blog right now, such as making the move towards becoming self-hosted, adding affiliate links, or managing an email list, I am incredibly satisfied with the progress that I have managed to make and am very optimistic that some of these changes may be coming for me in the future! With that being said, I'd love to share with you all, bloggers and non-bloggers alike, 5 of the biggest things I have learned and realized about blogging over the past year.

1. You Don't Need To Have Everything Figured Out Before You Start

There are dozens and dozens of articles out there listing all of the things that it is crucial for you to do before you publish your blog, namely creating a social media strategy, creating your logos, defining your "brand," etc. In essence, if you are serious about blogging then you are told that you should go through this "self discovery" phase before you ever actually publish you first blog post. Which is honestly not a bad thing, especially if you know from the beginning that you want to monetize your blog and build your own brand or business, but for the newbie blogger just looking for a creative outlet is this pre-introspection absolutely necessary? 

My answer is no.

Defining my blog and my voice is something that I am only just now coming into, and will continue to work on in the year to come. One of my favorite things about reading other people's blogs, especially those I've been following for years, is to see how they grow and change over time. Most creative blogs are a reflection of the people behind them, and their content changes as trends, interests, and even lives change. So why not just take the time to simply create content and let the self-discovery and refinement come more organically as you discover what content you do and don't like creating? For example, while I knew I wanted to cover general creative lifestyle content I've discovered that I liked writing about interior design and home goods a lot more than I do about fashion. This year I'm also hoping to experiment with creating more beauty posts (I've resolved to make 2018 the year I begin to take better care of my skin).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you shouldn't take a little time to consider what things you want to blog about and create an attractive blog page, I'm just saying it doesn't need to come in a polished little wrapper that includes affiliate links, a Mail Chimp account, and paid professional content on day one. Unless you're really looking ahead on the biz side, in which case I bow down to you because I'm terrified of the thought of even creating (and managing) an email list. 

2. Don't Let The Fear Of Perfection Keep You From Creating

Striving for and falling short of perfection is crippling to creativity, especially when social media allows us to see others' success everywhere all the time. But everyone starts from somewhere, and while it's okay to look up to bloggers and influencers whom you admire you should never compare where you are right now in your journey to where they are in theirs. In most cases, the people you look up to have years of experience under their belts, and you had better believe that they have also had their fair share of mistakes, trials, and errors. Back in October, a fashion and beauty blogger I really admire published screenshots on Twitter from her blog when she first started 5 years ago as well some of the visual changes over time and it was EVERYTHING (see the tweet here). It was a great example of the difference practice and experience makes.

And this thinking doesn't just apply to blogging; comparison to others and the need to appear perfect is difficult to fight in any arena-- starting a new exercise regimen, getting into a new hobby, a new career, you name it. The most important thing is just to start, no matter where you're starting from. And once you start, keep on going. It's the only way to grow and develop.

5 Things I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging | Kayla Lynn

3. Find Ways To Make The Blogosphere Smaller

Yes, "blogosphere" is an actual word on Dictionary.com. 

Just like being on a large university campus, the blogging world is very crowded and at times overwhelming in its size and scope. This makes being the new kid hard at first, which is why it's very, very important to find ways to make it smaller. In the same way you would join clubs, sports, and study groups at school to meet people and make friends, it's important to find your niche amongst other bloggers. There are many different types of blogs out there; fashion, DIY, parenthood, personal reflection, interior design, politics, cooking, the outdoors. There are even hundreds of blogs out there dedicated to blogging about blogging. You name it, there's a community for it, so try to find these people on social media and comment on their feeds, share their blog posts, even DM them if you feel comfortable with that. 

In addition to connecting with other bloggers, it's also important to try and build your own community of followers on your social channels which nowadays can be really damn hard. I am still working to grow my follower counts organically (i.e. without paying for sponsored posts or likes), and while this process is much slower than other strategies, the engagement is far more valuable. 

If you're just starting out growing your audience and your network with fellow bloggers, I highly recommend picking only 1-2 social channels to really focus on and have a consistent presence. This way you can spend more time practicing community engagement (posting regularly, responding to comments, and commenting on/sharing other people's posts, etc.), seeking out people in your blogging niche, and even searching for the places where your ideal target audience hangs out online. If we don't count Pinterest as a "social" site, then the two channels that I focus on the most are definitely Instagram and Twitter. Picking only two channels tops keeps you from being stretched too thin trying to manage tons of different social channels, and once you get a good handle on those you can gradually add other media to your social arsenal, such as a Facebook page.

4. Pinterest Is Power

All hail the mighty search engine/social feed (that isn't actually all that social) known as Pinterest. Hands down the majority of my traffic comes from Pinterest, and my top two posts of the year (Tour 5 Perfectly Designed Seattle Homes and These Photos Will Make You Reconsider Wallpaper) are posts whose images were repined hundreds and in one case, thousands of times (wow). I had my first "viral pin" moment where I realized that one of the images was repined over 1.4k times (and counting), which was an amazing little victory for me. Outside of Pinterest, I have a little bit of traffic trickling in from other social media including, of all things, Google Plus (which is definitely not a great platform but is still one that I totally feel is underutilized).

I spend what is probably an incredibly ridiculous time on Pinterest or browsing other blogs and using in integrated "Pin It" buttons to save images. Whether it's during my commute, while I'm watching TV, during all my breaks at work, or before bed (which I shouldn't do, I know), you can count that I will spend all my free moments on Pinterest. This has been a big factor in getting my pins to rank well and getting my boards put in front of other users, and since I love using Pinterest so much I have been reluctant to join the automated Pinterest platform that almost every blogger out there credits their success to, Tailwind. I don't really feel the need to schedule my pins, however there are other perks such as accurate pin analytics and something called "Tailwind Tribes" that might make me interested in trying out their free trial soon. 

A big factor for me is that it will require a little bit of investment on my part as Tailwind is not a free service. So if any of you have used or are currently using the Tailwind app, let me know in the comments below what you think about it!

5. Sometimes You Will Feel Burned Out And Uninspired

Even if you absolutely love your blog so much you'd climb a mountain and shout it from the summit, you're still inevitably going to have times when you feel a little tired and uninspired. Even if you have blog post ideas, you might struggle with writers block and sit down for an hour to craft your post only to end with only a so-so paragraph or two and a mountain of frustration. It's going to happen, and you are going to get through it. 

During the times you do feel like you're brimming with creative energy, it can be a good idea to sit down and craft multiple blog posts in one or several days and schedule them to publish at a later date. This way if you do hit a wall you'll have a bit of a buffer instead of going dark for a month or two without a word (which I totally am guilty of doing). If you're feeling motivated a productive, use it. If you're not, don't force it. The worst thing you can do is force yourself to write a post your heart isn't really in just for the sake of publishing something, and it's the quickest way to make your blog feel like a chore or that job that you hate going in to. 

If you need help, there are plenty of different things you can try doing to escape the creative rut such as taking a short break or mixing up your daily routine. See 6 Ways to Get Over Your Creative Slump by the Everygirl and 5 Ways to Boost Your Creativity by the Glitter Guide for more ideas. At the end of the day, your blog should be a hobby (or maybe even a career) that you actually enjoy and find fulfilling.

5 Things I Learned In My First Year Of Blogging | Kayla Lynn

So there you have it folks, some of my top takeaways from 2017! It's definitely a lot of work, and whether you are seeking to turn your blog into a profitable business or just keep things personal, I firmly believe that investing your time into creating and building up a blog is one of the best things you can do to practice skills that will make yourself highly marketable to future employers. Through this blog I have learned to do research, have been able to practice my writing, taught myself how to edit photos and create graphics in Photoshop and on Canva, am building my social media skills, and so much more. And that's barely scratching the surface of some of the things I hope to learn and accomplish in 2018! 

Here's to a new year waiting to be lived, new lessons ready to be learned, and (hopefully) new friends waiting to be made! 


  1. Really inspiring thank you for this post!

  2. Interesting post, I agree on most things!!


    1. These are definitely some of my takeaways from my first year, but every blogger follows their own path and not everyone's experience is going to be exactly the same. Thanks for stopping by and giving it a read! <3