Happy Birthday, Pretty OpinionatedPretty Opinionated is officially one! Well, technically, my first intro post went up on January 13th, 2011, but I added the first review on January 14th. It was a transplant from my personal blog, Pretty Nameless (I haven’t posted on there for a while, so I’m not even going to bother linking to it). I think I’ve come a long way since then, although I’m always trying to improve and go even further. To celebrate, I’ll be holding¬† few giveaways over the next two weeks. Yes, I know, that’s nothing new really, but hey, I’m calling them Blogoversary giveaways, so that’s different! I wanted to go all out for my first Blogoversary, but I kind of slacked last month when I was working outside the home and preparing for the holidays, so I dropped the ball a bit.

In honor my first Blogoversary, I thought I’d make a pretty little list of what I learned during my first year of blogging. Maybe it will help out someone just starting their own blog. Plus, it’s in bullet-list format. We all know how much I love lists (if you don’t already know, it borders on a compulsion).

What I Learned During My First Year of Blogging

  • Be Yourself! This was a major one for me, because I started out Pretty Opinionated all serious and stiff, thinking I had to write a certain way to appeal to the masses. Then I realized, hey, that’s not really fun, and no one really wants to read a post completely lacking in personality anyway, do they? I sure don’t! Most of my issue stemmed from the fact that, while I think I’m amusing, I was afraid that no one else would find me so. I didn’t want to come across as a dork. Now, I don’t really care if I come across dorky, because hey, that’s who I am! You’ll either like me or you won’t, and while I’d love for you all to like me, I’ll survive if someone out there thinks “wow, she’s really annoying!”
  • Make Friends. This was another hard one for me because I’m actually really shy. I was so nervous about commenting on other blogs or just getting out there and talking to people online because, again, I was afraid I’d come across wrong. Once I started forcing myself to interact more, though, I discovered so many other wonderful bloggers who taught me so much, supported me when I needed it, and became more than just other names on a screen. Can you be a successful blogger without other bloggers? Well, I suppose it can be done, but I wouldn’t want to do it alone! It’s nice to have someone to vent to when things go wonky, or turn to when you need to know what plug-in to use for something, or cry with when you’re taking down you GFC widget after busting your butt to grow your followers (thanks a lot for that, Google! GRRR).
  • Diversify your social networks. The whole GFC thing (for those who don’t know, Google is discontinuing it for non-Blogger blogs, and eventually for Blogger blogs in general) taught me that it’s important to gather followers on more than one platform. Luckily, I had already been focusing on Twitter and Facebook, so I still have those numbers to share with PR reps and what not. But now I’m working on building my Google+ following (hint, hint- the button is right over there on my left side bar) and I feel like I’m starting over again. I’m also going to start working on getting email and RSS followers. I want my readers to have as many options as possible for connecting with me.

I could add more, but I think I’m starting to get a little long-winded. I think those three things pretty much cover the most important points. Basically, just be yourself, get out there and connect with others, and diversify as much as possible (while still being yourself, of course). I think those three things are what helped me turn Pretty Opinionated into a relatively successful blog. Thank you to everyone who helped me get this far!! I appreciate all of you more than I can say.