Sandy Toes & Salty Hair is officially 2 years old! Holy smokes, time flies when you’re having fun! Who would have thought that my little hobby would turn into a side business and huge passion of mine. I started my blog have no clue what I was doing and thought my only readers would be my mom and boyfriend at the time for the entire existence of my blog. Everything you see on my blog is completely designed and created by me (except my logo, theme and a couple of coding details). Everything else was designed by me and I honestly had no idea what I was doing when I created it all. I watched countless YouTube videos, researched on Google, and learned from other bloggers so I am very proud of myself for creating a website on my own.
Even though blogging is a huge passion of mine, it hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns every day. I’m not going to lie to you, I thought about quitting numerous times, but I am so happy that I stuck it out during the difficult times. With changing Instagram algorithms and brands demanding numbers, I have felt frustrated and defeated many days. I had to teach myself that I’m not blogging for likes and I’m not even blogging for an income, I simply blog because I love doing it. And yes, it is nice getting paid and I am so thankful for all of the collaborations I have had the past two years, but just like any other job, you can’t only focus on the numbers and the money. If you genuinely don’t enjoy doing something (including blogging), it won’t be sustainable or enjoyable. Blogging takes a lot of time, energy, creativity, and perseverance. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone home on my lunch break to jump on a conference call with a brand, shoot looks, and post on my stories to ensure I am posting on time and pursuing new collaborations.
Since I constantly get asked and I love all of your questions, I thought I would share some blogging tips for those of you who are thinking about starting a blog, just started a blog, or have been blogging for a while. I try to be as transparent as possible with all of you and I know I greatly appreciate when other bloggers share tips and advice with me. I’m all about community over competition and if I can help just one person feel confident in the blogging world, then I will feel more fulfilled.
1. Be you and be authentic
I know it’s so cliche and everyone says it, but be authentic. There’s only one you so don’t be afraid to share your personality. You might be struggling with something that someone else is also struggling with and you might be the one thing to help them through their struggles. If you try to be like every other blogger out there, you’re going to miss so many opportunities. Plus, it’s exhausting trying to be like everyone else.
2. Numbers aren’t everything, don’t stress
Even though every collaboration I have done has relied on numbers, don’t get caught in the trap. If you only base your worth on the number of likes, comments, and followers you have, you’ll constantly feel defeated. I used to obsess over my numbers, but now I know that if a brand truly wants to work with me, they will see how hard I work and how engaged my community is. I also know that I work full time, am going to grad school, planning a wedding, and have a social life with my friends and family. I don’t beat myself up for not having hundreds of thousands of followers. I am thankful for the community I have and wouldn’t have it any other way.
3. Work with brands and companies that align with your brand
This is a huge lesson I learned when I first started blogging. I used to say yes to everything because I thought that is how I would grow. I was very wrong. I felt exhausted doing this and said yes to collaborations that I knew didn’t align with my brand, but I thought that was what I was supposed to do. This past year, I got really picky with collaborations and only chose to collaborate with brands that align with my brand, the mission of my blog, and my values as a person. Save yourself the exhaustion and just say no if it doesn’t align with you, no matter how much the brand is willing to pay.
4. Create a cohesive feed
You don’t need to go buy a $500+ camera to have a cohesive feed. I used to only use a DSLR and realized how impractical it was. First of all, you have to lug it around, learn how to use all of the settings, and transfer the photos to your computer. I still use my DSLR for some campaigns, but 95% of my pictures are taken on an iPhone now. My followers have told me that I feel more relatable when I share iPhone pictures and it is easier to recreate my looks. I’m definitely not saying don’t use a DSLR, do what is most comfortable for you and what aligns with your brand the most. I also recommend using a preset, it makes editing so much easier and helps your feed look more cohesive. I use the @dreamypresets Millennial Pink and absolutely love how easy it is to use!
5. Find your niche
I know it’s really hard to find just one thing to blog about and I am living proof of that because I call myself a fashion, lifestyle, and travel blogger. Even though I try to mainly focus on three categories, I sometimes blog about beauty products and fitness. Even though I blog about numerous things, I have a very specific style and try to use my style as my niche. If you are wanting to mainly focus on beauty or fitness, you will have a very specific niche with specific content. This means you will have a community full of members wanting to know more about that specific topic and will help you grow more. I’m honestly still trying to narrow down my niche, but I feel like I’m getting there. Like I tell myself, be consistent and stick with it.
I hope you all enjoyed my blogging tips and found value in this post. Cheers to two years of Sandy Toes & Salty Hair and here’s to many more!