Top 10 Tips For First Year Bloggers


I had my new column all ready to go for today, but I just realized I never wished myself a HAPPY 1ST BLOG-O-VERSARY! This past Monday marked my first year for starting Shop Sweet Things, and sometimes I still wonder if I’ve started blogging a tad too late. I’ve came across many successful bloggers who started a few years ago, and it makes me wonder, geez, am I going to catch up? Is there still a chance for me?

The truth is, there is. But it’s HARD work! And it was when I was doing a guest post on my “Greatest 2011 Accomplishment & 2012 Aspiration”  that made me reflect on what worked for me this past year. So today, I wanted to take a detour and share with you my Top 10 Tips as a first year blogger (sit back, it’s going to be a long post):

1. BE CONSISTENT WITH CREATING CONTENT. I post daily from Monday to Friday. Even on the days when I don’t have anything to say, I would find an image that speaks to me and write a sentence or two about it. Getting myself disciplined to posting regularly was really the key that got myself serious about blogging. And when you are serious, people will take you seriously too.

2. TAKE TIME TO STUDY, NOT COPY. In the beginning, I took a lot of time to study many blogs and websites to see how people created original content. I did not have any editorial/journalism background, so this was an important step for me. I took notes on why certain posts/articles grabbed my attention, while others did not. And I would try to imitate those styles by putting my own spin on it. And after a while, I felt like I was finally getting into the rhythm of generating good content.

3. TAKE A BLOGGING CLASS. Taking Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way e-course was the best decision I made for blogging. The course greatly reduced my learning curve, and it had put me on a fast track on creating a blog that worked for me. I’m sure there are other amazing courses out there, but this one, I truly recommend! Holly has another course coming up in April, and I am going to sign up again. Trust me, after you take this course, you will think Holly is a saint – especially if you’re new to blogging or looking for ways to improve your blog.

4. HAVE A GOOD BLOG DESIGN. If you’re serious about building your blog, invest in a good design. I looked at over 30 templates before choosing mine, and I’m still constantly making tweaks to get it to the way I like it. I’ve gotten many compliments on my blog design, and even though my content probably sucked in the beginning, it grabbed people’s attention. So, just like everything else, first impression matters!

5. GET PHYSICAL. By that, I mean get your butt out and network! Ultimately, you are your own brand, so get out there and represent yourself. I started by going to blogger meet-ups, fashion events, store openings, store anniversary parties, art shows, book signings, private shopping events, holiday parties…I mean, anything I got invited to, I was there. And it wasn’t because I was a social butterfly, in fact, I find myself socially awkward with a bunch of people I don’t know. But I made it a point to get out of my comfort zone and network. I know it’s not the most comfortable thing to do, but if you want to grow and get  people to like you, this is how it’s done. Here are some good reads on How to Schmooze and A Broke-Ass Guide to Doing Your Own PR.

6. GET TO KNOW PR PEOPLE & EDITORS. These are the people who can really get you connected with brands and companies, get you on the list for exclusive events, and even land you on a TV spot! But first and foremost, get to know them, be genuine, and treat them as how you would treat a friend. There are some great people I met in that industry and I kept in touch with them even outside of events.

7. GET SOCIAL. I have to say in my last year’s experience, Twitter has helped me grow my audience a lot more than Facebook. While both tools were effective in growing my readership, Twitter has helped me so much more in terms of developing relationships with readers, peers, and brands. Aside from Twitter and Facebook, I am also on all of these social platforms and I try to stay active as much as I can.

8. DO NOT SUBSCRIBE EVERYTHING TO YOUR GOOGLE READER! This one is pretty straight forward. I made the mistake of subscribing to every blog I liked on my Google reader and all I ended up with was 1000+ posts to read. The result, I ended up not reading any. So, be picky and only subscribes to those you really admire. And plus, when I read too many blogs, I start to compare, I lose focus, and I become unoriginal.

9. GET OBSESSED WITH YOUR STATS. I know, I know, you probably heard other bloggers telling you not to get obsessed with your numbers, and don’t check it every day. But, I think this is easy for bloggers who have been blogging for a while to say. As a beginning blogger, I checked my stats everyday. I was on top of it and it was how I found out instantly if a particular post worked for me? If it sucked? Where my traffic was coming from? What key words worked? It also helped me understand what my readers were looking for and thus defining the direction of my blog – quicker.

10. SUPPORT, NOT COMPETE. As a new blogger, it was hard to understand why I would want to support other bloggers. We’re human, we’re selfish, and we want to keep every readers we have to ourselves. So why send them away to other blogs? I didn’t understand this concept until other bloggers started supporting me and introducing me to their audience. It’s really a technique to help each other grow and to show that you’re embracing this community. So yes, link your love away and introduce your favorite blogger friends to your readers. Trust me, the more you support each other, the more fun you will have!

As I get into my second year of blogging, I still need to hone onto the skills I developed the first year, while trying to learn new ones. My goals this year are to collaborate more with brands/companies, create stronger content, and to connect more with my readers. Your trust and loyalty are what I valued the most this past year, and I hope to continue this wonderful relationship by sharing with you what I love! Thank you all SO MUCH for tuning in to “my longest post” ever! And I promise the next one will be 50 words or less. :)

Hope you enjoyed this post and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! xo Jeanne

(Image via)

  • vicky

    my friend sent me a link to your blog as inspiration to start blogging and wouldn’t you know it, you had an entry with tips on first year blogging!  how great is that?  thank you for your tips and advice!  i hope to start blogging as soon as the end of the month if things go well. 

    • Jeanne

      That is so great, Vicky! I’m so glad this is helpful to you. Good luck with starting the blog and please let me know when you’re blog is up and running! xo 

  • Fabulous post Jeanne! Have a great weekend! Play date next Thursday – DM? 

    • Jeanne

      Thanks Melissa!! Yes, it’s way over due! DM me when you have a chance! XO

  • Igor Josifovic

    A very happy belated first blog-o-versary!! Jeanne, your blog rocks and I thought it must be way older! Thank you for your great tips. I second these as I am a first-year blogger and I am currently going through all of these! I also took Holly’s e-course and it was really helpful. Have a great weekend!! Igor xoxo

    • Igor I’m hoping I can take it soon as well. Glad to hear you also found it helpful!

    • Jeanne

      Igor, you are so good with your blog… and I’m sure you already know all of this already. I’m still so thankful to have met you through the stripe party you did with Holly and I thought it was the most genius idea!! You totally rock my world too! :) 

  • This a great post Jeanne! I just started blogging consistently in December, so it’s only been a few months and I’ve thought the same things you touched on. Hmm maybe it’s too late to start, but it’s starting to get easier and it’s so fun to get to be creative! I did fall off the wagon and let work get the best of me and didn’t post today or yesterday, so reading your 10 tips got me to focus again – eye on the prize! I really want to try and take that class you recommended! Also, is your design custom. I’m looking to get a design for my blog and wanted to see if you had any recommendations. Thanks Jeanne, I love you blog! I read it every day and wouldn’t have known it was only a year old and that you ever felt like you were too late in the game :) 

    • Jeanne

      Hi Bettina! I’m happy to be able to encourage you that it’s not too late to start blogging. I know how a busy life schedule can really suck the life out of us and that making your blog as a priority is almost impossible. If anything, just keep the post light and just keep posting on a regular schedule (whether it’s daily or 3 times a week) – again, it’s really about getting yourself into a habit, and then create more meaningful posts as your time allows. Hope this makes sense, and thanks so much for your support! 

      Btw, my blog design is a tumblr template but I did do a lot customization with colors, fonts, etc. Email me if you need recommendations for ppl who can help you with blog design. :) 

      • Thanks for the advice Jeane! I’m going to try doing that for a little bit, going to 3 times a week maybe tues, wed, thurs to build up the consistency. I think it’s so sweet that you reply to everyones comments! I’m going to email you about blog design recommendations!

  • Jeanne,
    As soon as I saw your first tweet, I was waiting for this post all afternoon. ;) What a great post! Happy one year! Thanks for sharing so much valuable information. I love each and every point, especially number 10. I have found the blogging community so supportive and positive.
    I took Holly’s BYW e-course this past fall and, like you, found it absolutely amazing. It was actually your testimonial and Odessa May Society’s testimonial that encouraged me to finally pull the trigger. Best gift I’ve given myself in awhile. Looking forward to BYW 2.0 in April!
    Congratulations on all your success. It is well deserved.

    • Jeanne

      That’s so wonderful you took the course too! And I’m so happy that my testimonial had anything to do with it. Hope to connect in BYW 2.0 too and talk soon! xo 

  • Uncle Beefy

    Great tips, Jeanne! And, CONGRATULATIONS! There is a lot to learn about blogging but you’ve done a bang up job in just a year. Color me jealous! ;) Keep it up!

    Have a great weekend! :)

    • Jeanne

      My Uncle Beefy B, always so happy to hear from you! I love reading your blog and am learning so much from you! Have a great weekend too and hope you pass some tips on the Blogshop you’re taking, lucky duck! 

  • kimair

    this is such a great post jeanne! it’s hard to believe you only started the blog a year ago…it’s so polished and you’ve had alot of accomplishments in a short period of time. i can’t wait to see how to continue to grow and evolve this for years to come! xoxox

    • Jeanne

      Thanks so much, Kim!! You’re an inspiration to me in the SF blogging community and so great to always see you out and about! Really happy to have met you early on! xo 

  • Congrats, Jeanne! You’re one of my favorite bloggers and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you personally. Can’t wait to see what you’re second year brings you! Keep up the amazing work.


    • Jeanne

      Thanks so much, Maria! You are like the hottest columbian style blogger I know!! Keep it up, those Samba classes are really paying off! xo

  • Trina

    Great post + congrats on your first year!  XO trina

    • Jeanne

      Thanks Trina! Happy we met at Alt and I can’t wait to share more inspirations with each other! xo 

  • Congrats on your first year! I can’t believe it was a whole year ago that we met in BYOW class!

    • Jeanne

      I know, right? Will you be doing the BYW 2.0? Would love to connect more again, Paula! Hope all is well and thanks for your support! 

  • LauraChallis

    You are probably one of my favorite bloggers, hands down; and not just because your ideas and your style are unique and beautiful. It’s incredibly inspiring to know that you’re a working mom and doing something that you love. I honestly wouldn’t have known you started your blog only one year ago (congrats!), for the way your content is simply laid out and written just always seems to grab my attention. I’ve found myself always anxiously waiting for a new post (especially your Sweet Things under $50 — I’ve started telling my friends about it too!)

    Anyway, don’t stop! You’re on a fabulous roll! 

    • Jeanne

      This is so flattering, Laura! I feel so grateful to have a supportive reader like you. Thanks for spreading the word to your friends, really appreciate it! xo 

  • Anya

    Thank you for the tips! My blog-o-versary was this week also, on Feb 2. I actually forgot about it until I read your post that made me think of when mine was. Yay, cheers the coming year!

    • Jeanne

      I know, time really does fly! It felt like I just started yesterday too and there are still so much to learn. Congrats to you too, Anya! 

  • joannariedl

    Wow – Jeanne. I am speechless. This is amazing, congrats on your first year and kudos on being so kind and sweet with these wonderful tips that any blogger should start applying immediately! Oh and thanks for the link back love. XO

    • Jeanne

      Thanks Joanna!!! I thought your article made total sense and I must share it! So glad to have met you this past year and thanks for always keeping me in the loop! XO 

  • What a fabulist post Jeanne!  Blogging, especially at the beginning, can be quite daunting.  I’ve been pretty busy and feel like I’ve neglected my blog. i’m definitely ready to revamp and focus on it this year!

    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

  • p.s. It was of course lovely to meet you this past year as well and I’m looking forward to more fun blogging times to come!

    xoxo,Chic ‘n Cheap Living

    • Jeanne

      So great to have met you too through blogging and am so happy that this is inspiring to you! Would love to connect more this year!! xo 

  • Fenny setiawan

    Lovely posts n tips. also happy blog anniversary :). Wish you all the best and also see you at byw again on April, yay!

    • Jeanne

      Yay, I can’t wait!!! :) 

  • These are really wonderful tips Jeanne and you should be so proud of what you’ve accomplished in just one year of blogging!  Happy Blogaversy to you! :D

    • Jeanne

      Thanks so much Nnenna! So happy we met through blogging and to know that you have a talent for knitting! :) 

  • this was so great to read thank you so much for taking the time to put this together! congrats on your first year!

    • Jeanne

      Thank you, Alex! Just saw your blog and it’s so lovely! Happy to know you enjoyed my tips. :) 

  • This is a super helpful post, and timely for me.  I’m definitely checking out Holly’s e-course.  Thanks for sharing!!

    • Jeanne

      Yes, of course! Hope you take the course so we can be classmates :) 

  • Jeanne, this is such an amazing post! And all sage advice. Love number 9 and 10. So so so so true!

    • Jeanne

      Thanks Victoria! Glad you agree with 9 + 10 too!  

  • Thanks for sharing… I’m 3 months in and loving each minute. Will def put some of your advice to good use.

    • Jeanne

      Yay, I’m so happy these are coming in at the right time for you! Feel free to email me if you ever want to connect on blog stuff! 

  • awomanlikeme

    This was a really really really good post.  I’m definitely a new blogger with roughly 3 months under my belt, and i’ve been searching up blogger help posts etc, and things to get my blog going.  So far this post has been immensely helpful, you broke everything down into something easy and readable and really hits the target.  I will most definitely take this into account, best advice ever! Haha i’m so happy i stumbled upon your blog (from Refinery29 funnily enough).  You’ve given me so much more to think about and actually get motivated (not that i wasn’t before, but extra motivation is always good).  Thank you so much for thinking of this and then writing it!!
    sorry massive essay to read here lol

    • Jeanne

      You have no idea how happy this makes me! Thanks for the great comment and really glad to know you found these tips helpful! xo 

  • Congrats, Jeanne! So proud of you as a mom and a blogger!! 

    • Jeanne

      Thanks Amie! Both of my babies (hayden & blog) take a lot of hard work to grow but they sure are fun. :) 

  • Yellowfinchdesigns

    this is a great post! i’m not a new blogger and i found it helpful ;) 


    Hi Amie,
    What a wonderful and useful post.  I am a brand new blogger.  Only 5 posts to my name at this point.  I really want to be successful and you have given me some great guidance.  Thank you.


    Hi Amie,
    What a wonderful and useful post. I am a brand new blogger. Only 5 posts to my name at this point. I really want to be successful and you have given me some great guidance. Thank you

  • Oh my, has it already been over a year? Happy blogaversary, Ms. Jeanne! I think we should do a feature on each other someday since I feel we started our blogs around the same time – kindred blog spirits. ;) xo!

    • I know, time flies! Yes, I would love to. Esp. now that I’ve started and “Oh-So-Delish” column, I might just to have to get you over here for a fun post! 

  • Jeanne, this post is amazing and so so helpful.  I’m in my first year right now and you addresses nearly everything I’ve wanted know/ask.  It’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling like I started things a bit late in the game…  I’m so glad to have found your site a few weeks ago as it’s already become one of my go-tos. A big congratulations on your milestone and can’t wait to keep checking in!

  • Alyson / TAGG

    Great post and you’re so right about consistency and not getting swallowed up in others people content. Have to create your own, find inspiration. Also agree with networking, which is mostly via twitter right now until I can get my tush to nyc to meet lots more fabulous women. Thanks for the insight!

    • Yes, there’s are hashtag parties on twitter you can participate too. So great for those who doesn’t live in big cities to attend events. My fave lately is #BlogBrunch. Check them out!

  • Britts38

    Thank you for the awesome tips! In a world where there are so many bloggers I’m glad we look to each other for support and help rather than competition. My sister and I just started our blog and we are happy to have people like you posting such helpful tips and encouraging words. THANK YOU!

    • Of course! Congrats on starting your blog with your sister! Blogging can get lonely sometimes and it’s great that you have each to bounce off ideas with. Have fun! 

  • I found your blog thanks to Victoria at vmac+cheese; I already like it! These tips are super useful for us newer bloggers, and I will definitely be bookmarking this page for reference. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • This is so wonderful, Jeanne! I’m always looking for stuff like this since I’m still pretty new to the blogging world. Thank you for your insight and advice. It’s so helpful!

  • Thank you thank you thank you! I just started blogging and this is SO helpful.  There is so much to learn, and I am really excited about making my blog better.

  • Stephanie {a dash of GLAM}

    This was such a helpful post! I’ve been blogging for 5 months and love it!

  • Great tips Jeannie!  I’m going to look into Holly’s course and I think I’m going to have to read A Broke-Ass Guide to Doing your own PR.  It was so nice meeting you at the ALT meet up in the city.  Hope to see you again soon.  Caryl @

  • This is a great post! I also took Holly’s class and it was so helpful when I was first starting out.

  • Adri

    Hi Jeanne. I started the BYW class because of you! I read about it on your blog. I haven’t had the tim e to spend in the class as much as I would have liked to, but it is so helpful. Thanks for the tip! Really appreciate it! Your blog is so cute and congrats on the new baby!!

    • Thanks so much, Adri! I’m in the BYW#2 too but I also have lots to catch up. I’m glad you enrolled and is finding it helpful! Thanks for stopping by. Please keep in touch! xo

  • Jessica

    GREAT Tips! I literally just started my blog less than a month ago & it’s great to come across encouraging words to help me along the way. Love this and congrats on the new baby!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! Really happy you found this helpful. Just be consistent in the beginning and everything else will fall into places. XO

  • Hello! I stumbled upon your blog through Twitter. These 10 tips are quite helpful. I cannot believe that your blog is relatively young! I started my blog just 6 months ago and am still figuring out how to gain more readership, what kind of topics I should stick to or expand on, etc. It is comforting to know that as a self proclaimed non-social butterfly, you still got your butt out there and marketed yourself (with quite success). I need to do the same!


  • Odub

    Thanks for being so giving with your experience!

  • SandyS

    Thanks for all your help and inspiration.