I can hardly believe it, but this month marks the one year anniversary of SisterLadyGirl.com! I’m so incredibly thankful to each and every one of you who has read what I’ve written, posted an encouraging comment or simply had something nice to say. Truly, it’s what keeps me going.

Over the course of these past 12 months, I’ve had lots of stops and starts. Some were self-imposed, but many were not. If I’m being honest, I started my blog on a complete whim and my vision for it didn’t extend much further beyond the initial launch.

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20, and I now know that if I had it to do all over again, I would have done a few things (well … a lot of things) much differently.

Where many bloggers mark this very special milestone with a cool giveaway to followers, I’m not one of those bloggers. I believe knowledge is far more valuable than “stuff” so, instead of offering merchandise, I’ve decided to share information in the form of some lessons I’ve learned about how to build a better, more engaging blog.

So pull up a chair as I spill the tea on my short list of things I “should have” done when I launched my blog:

  • I “should have” given more thought to the brand: The purpose of any blog is expression and being able to share your viewpoint. But, everyone has an opinion, so why should people care about what you have to say? This wasn’t a question that I fully considered when I first started, so my content was a little unfocused and believe me, some people were not exactly shy about telling me so. People who read blogs are looking for something. No matter if you’re blogging for fun or you’re hoping to make it a full-time career, if you want to hold their attention for the long haul, you’ve got to give them something they can’t get anywhere else. My vision for SisterLadyGirl became much clearer when I asked myself a few key questions like what was important to me, the objective for the blog, who I thought my ideal reader was, and what they’d be most interested in reading about. Once I did that, the light came on and I realized that I wanted SisterLadyGirl to be a resource for sensible style inspiration aimed at grown, classy and sassy women just like me.
  • I “should have” taken my time: Part of my blurred vision for SisterLadyGirl was as a result of my fondness for reading other blogs. For every one I read, I came away with two to three ideas I wanted to try on my blog. What I didn’t understand at the time was that I had started to compare my beginning to everyone else’s middle. Many of those blogs were much older than mine. They were established brands with loyal followers. They were everything SisterLadyGirl wasn’t. After a while, all that content and all those ideas got really hard to keep up with. There was so much information swirling around in my brain that it got confusing and the content I was posting was a direct reflection of that. It took a while, but SisterLadyGirl finally started coming into its own once I took the time to understand what content was most interesting to my readers. I did this by installing Google Analytics, which gave me the insight I needed to narrow my focus.
  • I “should have” only posted things that inspired me: Just because it’s pretty, cool, irreverent or edgy doesn’t mean it will work well for your blog. The best (and possibly worst) thing about social media is the instant feedback. If people don’t connect with something I’ve written or a photo I’ve posted, the numbers will tell me. Remember those Google Analytics I mentioned earlier? Seeing only a handful of people click on a post and even fewer comment can be sobering. Early on, it made me question why the heck I was even doing this because it didn’t seem that many people were interested in what I had to say. This wasn’t the case at all. SisterLadyGirls are women just like me. And, like me, they want to see content that’s reflective of being confident in their own skin. The moment I started consistently providing the type of content my readers wanted, I saw the blog’s numbers start to grow.
  • I “should have” reached out for advice sooner: Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. And, very few people achieve it without help from someone else. When I discovered a few bloggers who I really admired, I decided to reach out and ask questions. More often than not, they were happy to share their knowledge and point me in the direction of resources they thought would be helpful for a fledgling blogger like me.

Now that the first year is under my belt and I’ve learned a few things I didn’t know before, I’m excited about what the future holds for SisterLadyGirl. Going forward, you’ll see a lot more diverse content. But, never fear, I’ll always be committed to providing sensible style inspiration for the grown, classy and sassy woman.

Thanks again for hanging in there with me! Xoxo