Hi everyone! Friday was actually my first blogiversary, which means I have officially been blogging for a year – mind blowing, right?! It feels like only yesterday I was setting everything up for my big launch, and now I’m here with 157 followers! It’s honestly insane, and I’m so, so grateful to every single one of you reading.
I really wanted to do something nice to celebrate, so I thought it would be fun to do a Q and A. I headed over to Twitter to ask for some questions and you guys didn’t disappoint! There are so many thoughtful questions here, so I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to this post. I’d really recommend checking their blogs out; some of my favourite bloggers are on here, which is amazing to see!
Anyone who’s had a blog for a considerable amount of time will tell you that it’s a learning process; I always find myself learning new things doing my blog, which is why I want to quickly clarify that I don’t know everything, and this is simply my advice based on what has worked for me. Now, without further ado, let’s get on to the questions!
Starting My Blog
What made you want to start blogging? (from A Little Cup Of Us)
It was actually a combination of different things! A large part of it actually came down to one of my then new friends at sixth form, who had a book blog (Hannah Cauldron’s Book Reviews – go check it out) and I very nearly ended up launching my own site in January but I put it off because I was too nervous.
Fast forward a few months, though, I was planning out my personal statement for my university application, and I knew that starting a blog was bound to make me stand out – and it gave me the perfect excuse to just do it, without having the pressure of lots of followers, simply doing what I loved. So, on an impulse, I chose a theme, wrote one review, and launched my site that night (it would be another day before I actually posted said review, but it counts!).
Reflecting over the past year, is the reason you’re blogging today the same as when you started it? Or, has your purpose evolved over time? (from Let’s Grow Mom)
It’s definitely changed! I originally started my blog to shed some light on some lesser-known YA gems (which hasn’t changed) but it was largely because of my personal statement, and, at the time, I didn’t think I’d still be here in a year. It’s really weird to look back on now!
My purpose now is definitely still to highlight those books you may not have heard of or picked up previously, but also just to share what I love with you all. I’m genuinely really proud of where my blog is now, and I’m super excited to see what the future may bring!
What are the things you didn’t think about/took for granted before starting your blog? (from Prosecco Mum)
Honestly, I never realised how much work actually goes into running a blog. In addition to actually writing content, I have to regularly schedule myself to make sure that I’m reading enough to actually have reviews to write, and of course there’s the whole social media/marketing issue. Sometimes it feels like I’m spending more time promoting my posts than actually writing them, which I didn’t consider before starting. It’s definitely made me appreciate all the hard work bloggers and other content creators do, that’s for sure!
My Blogging Journey
What has been the most rewarding part of your blogging journey? (from Her Digital Coffee)
It would definitely be interacting with my readers. I get so much joy from replying to people’s comments and they can genuinely make my day… The fact that someone takes the time out of their day to read my post and then leave a comment is such a gratifying thought, and one that I’ve never taken for granted. It makes all the hard work worth it!
How has blogging helped you in your life? (from What Did She Type)
I would say it’s definitely helped me with organisation, as, to run a blog, you have to be pretty on top of things. Since starting my blog I’ve become a lot better at maximizing my time and making sure I finish everything… I’ve actually got A Levels coming up this month which I have to revise for so balancing school and blogging takes a lot of organisation, that’s for sure!
Blogging has definitely improved my writing too. Not going to lie, rereading some of my first posts genuinely makes me cringe (it’s definitely time for some updates, but that’ll have to wait until the summer) and I’d like to think that I’ve came a long way since then! I’m be starting a Creative Writing degree this September, so I think it’s put me in a really good position for that.
It’s also helped me a lot with my confidence! Blogging comes with all these amazing (but scary) opportunities and I’ve found myself doing things I never thought I’d have enough confidence to do. I recently did an interview over zoom to be posted on Youtube, for example, and anyone who knows me personally will tell you how outside of my comfort zone that is… But I still did it!
Where do you see your blog going/any goals you have in the future? (from Mind. Beauty. Simplicity)
In terms of goals, something I’d really like to achieve before the year is up is hit 250 followers and 20, 000 views, which I’m hoping is doable! I also really want to sign up for the amazon affiliate program in the next few weeks, I think it’s about time I began monetizing my blog.
On a more broader scope, I wouldn’t be surprised if my blog ended up transitioning to a lifestyle blog – there are so many other things I’d like to cover, for example travel is a huge passion of mine and I’d love to talk about that more. Sustainability is also something I’d like to incorporate, and, as I’m heading to uni this September, I’d love to write some posts about university life too!
How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running? (from That Grateful Soul)
Honestly, I’m extremely lucky in that I’m pretty much always motivated to do my blog… It takes up pretty much all of my spare time, so I have to love what I’m doing! Just the process of creating new content and sharing it with my readers is enough.
On the odd occasion that I do find myself low on motivation, though, I often find that just stepping away and having a break from it really helps. If you’re struggling with motivation one idea I really like is the idea of a reward system, where you can give yourself a reward for completing some tasks you might not be as keen on completing, and it’s always a mood boaster reflecting on how far you’ve already come!
What kept you going for a year? (from Jihyun’s Journey)
Honestly, the thing which has kept me going is definitely my passion. Even if blogging can be incredibly hard work (because, let’s face it, anyone who has a blog knows that) I genuinely love what I’m doing so much and without that I would’ve given up at the first hurdle and I know I wouldn’t be here today.
What has been the most difficult factor to accept as a blogger? (from The Grumpy Olive)
The promotion side of things. It sounds really naive but I genuinely didn’t realise how on top of social media you have to be – you really have to be on it. There’s all the twitter threads to go through and all the pins to create and then post and that barely scratches the surface of what goes on behind the scenes. I think accepting how much time you have to spend on people actually reading your posts was definitely really difficult for me to wrap my head around at the start!
What was the most trying moment in your blogging journey so far? (from My Wellness Me)
I’ve actually been fairly lucky in that my blogging journey has been pretty smooth sailing to date (touch wood!) I think the most difficult moments were definitely in those first couple of months though – my views were low, my organisation game was awful, and I barely knew anyone else in the community. I’m really proud that I managed to turn things around!
What is the most important thing you’ve learned in your blogging journey? (from Cheryls Casual Chatter)
That is a really tough question! I think the most important thing I’ve learned in terms of general lessons is not to give up. There’s no denying that blogging can be extremely difficult, but you just have to keep at it – it’s really rewarding seeing those end results and hitting those milestones!
In terms of my blog, though, the most important thing I’ve learned is definitely the importance of scheduling and organisation. It’s definitely been key to me maintaining my blog!
What advice would you give to anyone starting out blogging now/things that you wish you’d known when you were starting out? (from The Plain Simple Life)
The biggest piece of advice I could give to someone starting out would be to schedule, schedule, schedule. I wish I’d spent an extra week or so prewriting content to publish later on rather than diving in the deep end with just one post. It meant I was in the impossible position of writing reviews sometimes minutes before they posted in those first few weeks, which obviously wasn’t my best work and should always be avoided.
I also wish I’d known that people won’t just magically stumble across your blog (at least at first). It sounds incredibly naive, but I genuinely thought I’d get all my views just from search engines… Which obviously isn’t the case. To get views you need to get your work out there on social media – I personally use Twitter and Pinterest, although I know plenty of bloggers who also use Instagram and Facebook. It’s whatever works for you!
What steps did you take (that yielded results) to get more eyes on your blog? (from Amazing Baby)
Honestly, the main thing I’ve done is use Twitter. The blog comment threads on there were key to me building up my initial audience, as well as generally making connections and more blogger friends. I’ve also found some really amazing guest post opportunities on there, which are amazing for getting your content out to a completely new audience… And some potential new followers!
As a new blogger is it okay to deviate from your niche topic? Maybe incorporate several topics or is that a no? (from Not So Rosie)
Yes, it’s totally okay! It might sound cliche but as long as you blog about what makes you happy that’s all that really matters. You don’t need to tie yourself to a niche if you don’t want to!
That being said, I think if you were relying on your blog as a full time income content type does need to be more consistent, so I would deviate less from my niche if that was the case – but the decision is completely up to you!
How important do you think images are throughout a good blog post? (from Jacqueline Kent)
As a book blogger, I don’t really feel the need to include many images – I’ll include book covers but that’s about it. In the more general sense, though, I think images are incredibly important as they help break up text and add a new visual element, which always needs to be considered. But, having said that, you can totally have a good blog post without any images!
How do you keep yourself organised? Do you use any planners or organisers? (from Paul Chiddicks)
I don’t have any physical planners or organisers, but I’ve recently started using trello, which I effectively use as a digital organiser for all my content. I make a board for each new season and then add three columns – need to do, working on, and done, which I add to as and when I get ideas. It really helps with visualizing everything that still needs to be done, and the best part is you can move items between the columns!
What was your favourite book that you’ve reviewed on your blog so far and why? (from The Travel Vine)
A standout one for me was definitely The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue, by V. E. Schwab. It was up there with my favourite reads of 2021 and a book that really stayed with me. It’s a really magical book with some beautiful descriptions and I really enjoyed reviewing it!
Top 3 books that you recommend (from Lifestyle And Health)
- The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
- A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson
- You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
How do you decide on which books to review? (from Sassy Sister Stuff)
Honestly, most of it’s just what I’ve been reading recently… If I have enough to say about a book that I’ve read then I’ll sit down and write a review on it as soon as possible, but sometimes there just isn’t enough to say.
In terms of choosing books to read, though, I mostly just work through my physical backlist, which is well over a hundred books long! I’m usually quite a mood reader and I tend to blitz through several in one genre in one go, so then I can preschedule those reviews and try to read some different genres to put in between. I also find some great new reads through my upcoming releases posts!
Do you have a library in your house? How do you keep all the books you collect? (from Her Jeannie)
Unfortunately I don’t have a library just yet, although that’s definitely a dream of mine! The vast majority of my books are kept in my room, where I have five full cubes of books (which holds around 200). I also keep some which I don’t plan on reading but don’t want to get rid of (for example childhood favourites etc) in my spare room, to keep them safe and separate!
Would you consider giving out your old books to charity or an organisation you’re passionate about? (from Her Jeannie)
Oh absolutely! I actually regularly go through my books to check I still want to keep them all, and I always end up putting some to the side to give to charity. I know how much they appreciate my donations, and it feels so good to give a little something back and help!
And there you have it! Those are all the amazing questions that were sent in. If there’s anything else you’d like to know that hasn’t been covered just let me know in the comments and I’ll get back to you with an answer!
I hope you enjoyed this and took something useful from it!