Wednesday, 2 May 2018

A lot of the time I get asked if I think my blog is successful, and if I were to include every blog in the universe I'd probably have to say no - I'm sure Obama doesn't read Tea With Gi and people in Wakanda probably haven't heard of me either. I'm probably not going to win any awards anytime soon or be going full-time, but when I look back at the things and opportunities my blog has given me I can say I have had some success with it. As any good university essay would start, success is defined as 'the accomplishment of an aim or purpose' (Cambridge Dictionary 2018), so really, the only person that has a say as to whether you are successful in life or not, is you, and maybe Forbes. 

giana ootd

First for a little rant on the blogging industry...

If you have a blog, website or brand you will probably be familiar with the terms SEO, Domain Authority, reach, engagement and all that marketing jazz. Last month I was getting almost double the amount of views on my posts (perhaps thanks to Pinterest?) and I got a snazzy new layout that I spent an afternoon customising and formatting. I was having one of those 'pumped' weeks where I was motivated to take my blog to the 'next level' and commit to it 100% every day. Then along came my DA update, where I'd dropped from 22 to 18. For those of you who aren't aware of the term, DA is a tool made by MOZ which ranks how well your website appears on search engines in comparison to other websites, bearing in mind that when bigger sites improve yours might go down, as it's all relative. I wrote a post on things to do to improve your DA and SEO, but APPARENTLY this isn't enough and MOZ must hate me or might also require a human sacrifice to help me improve. For me personally, this wouldn't be an issue if every single brand out there wasn't now asking for a DA of 25 or above. I've been blogging for 3 years, have a pretty engaged and decent following and have travelled around thanks to my blog, so you could say I have achieved some success, but if we're going to just look at the numbers on a scale, you'd think I was far from a successful blogger. Which can get, a little infuriating and disheartening. 

So now that the initial rant about MOZ is over, there are a couple more things I wanted to touch upon on this post, blog and non-blog related. Last year I wrote a post about what blogging meant to me, and what it doesn't, and this is partly the frustration that I sometimes feel in the blogging industry. There are hundreds of people starting blogs everyday, and whilst there is room for everyone to express themselves on the internet, it becomes a harder ladder to climb to 'being successful' when people are cheating their way to the top or cutting corners. Maybe I feel like a stroppy teenager thinking 'IT'S NOT FAIR' when I see someone who has been blogging for 2 months winning awards , being picked for campaigns and going viral and then seeing people who have been posting constant good material for 2 years go unrecognised. Or when a brand specifies '20K followers on Instagram to be considered' without looking at anything else - what if 10K of those followers are pigeons? (who can use iPhones), or all of their posts are made up of Marilyn Monroe quotes? I understand more reach usually equals higher exposure, but nowadays numbers shouldn't be the defining factor, and I'm glad to see there's been an increase in the benefit of using micro bloggers who may not have as large a following but have more of an influence on a smaller group of people (or target market). With the Instagram algorithm and people following/unfollowing I sometimes wonder what's the point? but at the end of the day I need to remember why I and you started this in the first place (hopefully not for the freebies). You write because you want to write and share your thoughts and opinions, having people read my work is just a bonus. Sure it's good to have competitors in business, but when it's something as personal as this it does a whole world of good to support each other instead of tearing each other down. 

On another note....

I moved back home last June after finishing university and one of the only things I dislike about the place is that being from a tiny country means your life is put under a microscope. Everyone wants to know what you're doing for work, whether you have your own house, your own car, a boyfriend/girlfriend and will be silently judging you for your answers. I know this happens everywhere but the chances are you explain yourself once and don't have to bump into them again for another 3 weeks. I feel like there's a lot of pressure for my generation about what you should be doing after university or in your twenties, and if you haven't done X Y Z by the time you're 30 you're considered a failure. I'm 23 and still haven't learnt how to drive, and to be honest the only reason I'm starting lessons next month is so people will STOP ASKING ME. I plan to drive eventually, but I haven't had the need for it yet and there are higher things up on my priority list than spending £4000 on a second hand car (like trips, we all have our vices). 

I may not know how to drive, earn a six figure salary, have a boyfriend, own a house, be able to squat 80kg, ever received a trophy, won in bingo or own any designer belts (gosh this list is getting long I better stop for my own self-esteem) but I do have a job I don't hate, can walk at super speed, sleep peacefully knowing nobody is cheating on me, saving £500 in rent and have people that approach me saying they've related to one or some of my blog posts. Which for me is always a great achievement if I feel I've at least made one person nod their head in agreement, laugh or share a post on their Whatsapp group to laugh at my oversharing (cause hey more views for me). This is not a post to brag about my achievements or what I haven't accomplished, I just wanted to post a little reminder for everyone who feels like they're not where they're meant to be in life, that your time will come and you are the driver of your own success. 

Chances are, you're doing better in life than you think you are. Success is relative and who cares what everyone else is doing around you, what matters is that you set your own goals and create your own achievements, as they're probably going to be different to mine or your best friends. I think that's all I have for now, apologies if it felt like a bit of a mind blurb, I started writing this at 2am when I couldn't sleep, but as always I feel like when my writing is the most honest and non sugar coated.



  1. G I loved this post ever so much! I think we always doubt ourselves but we really don't have to; we're definitely doing better than we think we are! xx

  2. I love this post so much G! I understand what you mean when you say everyone back home is just silently judging you, because it's the same with me whenever I go back. People just love to see you fail! But yes, we're in our twenties, it doesn't mean we'll become successful overnight (if only). Even though right now I feel like my life is a mess, I'm sure I will sort it out soon. In the meantime I plan to travel as much as I can because that feels more like success to me. xx

  3. This post is oh so relatable, Gi! A lot of people from outside of the blogging world seemed to judge a successful blog as one that attracts a lot of brand sponsorship, sends you on press trips, and makes you a lot of money! When my non-blogging friends and family ask about how my blog is going, they always ask whether I've got any "freebies" lately or how much money I'm making, which to some people may be a criteria of success, but I don't think it should be the be all and end all! I feel like a post has been successful if it's got some nice responses in the comments, if I am personally proud of the photography, or if I have simply really enjoyed writing it! What you've written about success being relative is absolutely spot on, for some people being a full-time blogger may be the dream and the ultimate criterion of success, but for me, I have no real interest in taking my blog full-time, I enjoy it as a hobby and that's that, and I don't think that makes me any less "successful" as a blogger!

    I also completely understand about your frustrations with domain authority! I don't understand how it works in the slightest, on months when I seem to do everything right, using the alt text image descriptions, making sure that my number of internal links is high etc. etc., my domain authority will go down, and other months when I'm posting less and have less time to optimise my posts for SEO, it will go up! Often seems to be no rhyme nor reason to it whatsoever!

    Thanks very much for sharing this, it was really thought-provoking! Sorry for the essay...

    Abbey xx

  4. I feel like blogger success is totally up to the blogger. I'm in the same boat as you, I don't want to blog full time and make it my full time job, I just like doing it when I can!

  5. I absolutely loved reading this Gi, it is an incredibly relatable post and I think we doubt ourselves all too often. Domain authority can be so frustrating too, mine seems to be finally moving again but this just makes me expect for it to drop once more, yet I'm not doing anything differently SEO wise. I think as long as you enjoy blogging that should be successful enough, but I do realise it isn't as easy as that. xx

    Kristy |

  6. Such a fab post, I think sometimes it's so easy to get caught up with what you haven't achieved (especially when so many people around you have) that you don't sit back and reflect on everything you have done! You should be so proud of your blog and the content that you create because you are fab! DA scores are the bane of my life, I'm constantly checking to see if it's updated and pray for a miracle that it will jump up again soon haha!

    Sarah | xx

  7. Gi, I literally cannot tell you how much I love this post, I think we're all so caught up on what is expected of us and what we aspire to (sometimes against all odds) that we're not grateful enough for what we HAVE or proud of what we've achieved- x


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