Oh, this wonderful world of blogging… Where on earth do I even start?
Grab a cuppa, it’s going to be a long one…
I’ve been blogging on and off for over 6 years now, and during that time I’ve done some amazing things, met some incredible people and built a business that I pour my heart and soul into. I love my place on the internet, I really do, and once I am in the zone, there’s no stopping me. Blogging is such a huge part of my life and has been for such a long time that I really don’t know what I’d do without it.
To me, blogging isn’t just a hobby (or a ‘side hustle’ if we’re being millennial) it’s my escape. I’ve used this blog time and time again to process thoughts – both good and bad – and to help me get through some tough times. I’ve also used it as a diary of what I’ve been up to for the past two years with my Weekly Love posts, but also the holidays I’ve been on, what I’ve been loving that month, my wedding plans and restaurants that I enjoyed.
I started this blog as part of a university module, all those years ago, and used it as a place to document my life; but in the past few years, so much about my life has changed: I’ve bought a house, got new jobs, made new life-long friendships and I’m about to get married. All of these life changes have inevitably altered the content I create and the way in which I write it; it isn’t beauty must-haves, fashion favourites and list posts anymore – it’s about where I would recommend for a weekend break, a fabulous new menu I’ve just tried, home-ware inspiration or how to plan a wedding on a budget.
In all honesty, during the time of having this blog, I’ve grown up a lot, and my readers have to; some of you have been around since day 1, and some are new with every time I click publish. Like with anything on the internet, there is a shelf-life for how long you can continue to do one thing, and as bloggers, we must ride the roller-coaster and produce content that we, and our audience, love.
I’ve been analysing my posts for the past few weeks and asking on social media what you want to see more of. I want so much for this blog for 2019 – to be a place that you come to get travel tips, to see how to do wedding hair and what makeup to wear on your big day, to learn about a new restaurant that I’d recommend or where to get brunch in a different city – I want it to be as informative as possible and somewhere you come away from having learnt something new.
Although some of my content already falls into this remit, I feel as though there are other things I can do to make it more in line with everything I want to achieve: I’m not saying that I’ll never post another opinion piece, or favourites post again, and in all honesty, I haven’t planned too far into the next 12 months so I’m going to roll with the punches, but there are going to be a few tweaks here and there so I am 100% happy with everything I post. I read so much that I need to start treating this blog as a business if I want it to go somewhere, and although my aim isn’t to take this full-time, I do want it to be a place that people come back to again and again.
I want this blog to be somewhere that you learn more about me and my life, but also where I learn about you too. I love learning about why people come back here and what they love (and sometimes don’t love) about Eleanor Graceful, and I want to produce content for people with similar interests to me: The whole beauty of the blogging industry is the sense of community you get with it and I want to open mine up to include people from far and wide.
My content will be changing for the better because I will be writing things that I, myself, would want to read. From doing a little digging, my average reader is very similar to me in age, location and interests, and I want this to be my niche going forwards. I’m not a fashion blogger or beauty blogger and although I still have a huge interest in them both, I enjoy writing about travel, lifestyle, weddings and food so much, as these are the biggest areas of my life at the moment – but who knows, maybe with age will come new interests, and even new members of my family (not in 2019 mind, lol). With every month that passes though, I’m sure I will look back and make certain that what I’m writing is what you want to hear, but also not losing sight of the things that I would like to publish too.
People constantly say that blogging is a dying industry, but I couldn’t disagree more and I’ve only felt this crazy old world increase over the years I’ve been active in it. More and more bloggers are now becoming the whole package and taking their blog full-time; they take and edit their own photos, write their own recommendations, know how to code a website, promote themselves on social media and so much more, as well as being their own accountants, project managers and advertiser. To me, this industry isn’t going anywhere, and the puzzle is so big that every blogger is welcome to a piece of it.
Years ago, blogging full-time wasn’t a viable career, and if you even thought that it was you would be laughed at; but people build global brands in the comforts of their own homes, and have taken the world by storm. Brands now have influencer strategies, outreach budgets and in-house bloggers in order to stay current and at the forefront of the online world. Blogging is a huge and very profitable industry that has scared traditional media outlets because they can offer so much more than copying a press release and tweaking a few words.
As people whose whole lives are on the internet, we’re constantly criticised in the media, by journalists and other old-school news outlets, for taking all the free things we can get and not giving anything of use back into the universe, but the people who think that have no idea about blogging at all. It’s wrong to assume that bloggers only get into this space to exploit companies into giving them their products for nothing, and I know full well that most people in this industry turndown loads of opportunities for fear that it doesn’t fit right for their blog, myself included. Bloggers are now the main form of advertising for so many brands, and it’s exciting to be part of a movement that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
No one knows what the future is for blogging, and I find it really endearing that anything could be around the corner.
The last few months of this year have been really hard for me in terms of this blog: I set myself challenges to publish a certain number of posts per week, and if I missed one I felt guilty and that I was falling behind, when in reality I set the bar too high myself; I also wanted to grow my social following so it was in a place that I was proud of, which in hindsight is ridiculous because Instagram really isn’t the be all and end all. I put way too much pressure on myself to the place where I wasn’t loving what I was creating which is the last thing I have ever wanted.
The good thing about not being a full-time blogger also is that you never have to stick to a schedule and you make your own rules. One of the main reasons I’ve said from the start that I don’t want to be blogging to be my career is that it might take the fun out of writing posts and I always want my blog to be a passion, not a job.
For 2019, I want to publish as and when I feel inspired to share something with the internet and write much more enlightening and thought-provoking posts, instead of what I loved in the past week. I’m not saying I’ll never write a Weekly Love again, but towards the end, I wasn’t enjoying publishing them, and that’s the last thing I want for this blog or any of the content I create.
Following on from that also, I want 2019 to be the year that I really give YouTube a go (shameless plug alert, but you can subscribe here). I’ve really been enjoying filming when I go away and I want to emulate that when I’m at home so get you to know more about the girl behind Eleanor Graceful. I want to start documenting more about the last 3 months of our wedding planning and everything else I get up to next year – I’d also love to collaborate with other bloggers and YouTubers and see where that takes me. It’s a scary thought of opening my life up in video form, but it’s a challenge that I really want to undertake and see where I get with it.
I have also been discussing doing a podcast with one of my best friends where we talk about pop culture, being in your late 20’s, why we love the blogging world and everything else in between from food, travel, money and relationships. Podcasts are becoming so much bigger than they ever been before, and I’d love to discuss topics that I know may be on the minds of other like-minded individuals and hopefully spread a little love and laughter whilst doing so.
I hope this has made you excited for the future of Eleanor Graceful though, and that you’ll keep coming back for more, and if there is ever anything you want to see from me in particular, please never ever hesitate to contact me – doesn’t that feel better when it’s really genuine and not just on a work email!
If you’ve made it to the end of this post, I applaud you, and you deserve my undying gratification of listening to me waffle on for almost 2000 words. Here’s to 2019, and riding this crazy, emotional whirlwind even more.