Y’all! Today my baby turns one. I can’t believe I’ve been putting my time and effort into this project for 365 days now. I started Cait And Co Blog from scratch, and I am so proud of how much it has grown over the past year. To recap the last year I did a little interview with myself about what I have learned during my first year of blogging.
How did I come up with the name?
I spent a solid week brainstorming for my blog’s name. I vividly remember sitting on the couch in our Austin apartment bouncing name ideas off of Milton. He would throw some of his own ideas out every now and then. Most were super silly, but then he said “Cait and Co”. OMG that’s perfect! I knew I didn’t want a name with any specifics in it (like glitter, peonies, lattes, etc). I wanted a blog name that was timeless and that could grow with me. Cait and Co fit the bill perfectly. So I snagged the Instagram handle and domain name as fast as I could. I decided not to convert my personal Instagram account to my blog account because I wanted to give everyone the option to follow me rather than bombard my friends with blog content.
Why did I start a blog?
I originally started my blog with the idea of sharing mostly life hacks and wellness tips. My degree is in nutrition and I love talking about food and how to form healthier eating habits. I also love to organize and keep things clean and tidy. However, I’ve always been one to change clothes, a lot. When I was little my mom said I would go from a dance outfit, to a swimsuit, to a dress, and goodness knows what else. I would change clothes so much that nothing would get dirty. I still love clothes (what girl doesn’t) and I’m always down to search the racks for a good deal. Right out of college I became fascinated with fashion bloggers. My instagram feed was full of girls like Emily Ann Gemma from The Sweetest Thing and Caitlin from Southern Curls & Pearls. I was also fascinated with the concept of LIKEtoKNOW.it. You mean if I “like” this picture on insta I’ll get an email with all of the outfit details and shop-able links?! Sign me up! Once I got the hang of publishing content on my website and promoting it on social media I figured I’d apply to Reward Style just for shits and giggles. And what do you know, I got accepted. That’s probably been my most favorite accomplishment so far with Cait And Co Blog.
What social media platforms work best to promote my blog and blog posts?
I get most of my traffic from Facebook. I started a Facebook page for my blog a few months after my website went live. At first, I only invited close friends and family to like my page. I did not want to bombard people with page invites and posts too early into my blogging journey (I feel like that really turns people off). I slowly started inviting more and more friends to like my page. For each blog post my website automatically shares it on my Facebook page. I set that up with a widget, I think, but I don’t exactly remember how I did it. You’ll have to google that, lol.
I also post on Instagram approximately once a day. I only post twice a day if I’ve published something super exciting on the blog, or I notice that a recent purchase has gone on sale. Instagram brings me a good amount of traffic, but the ever-changing algorithm is exhausting and I cannot seem to master it. I post on Instagram any time between 8:00 am and noon most days. I’m not sure if this matters much though since it is no longer chronological.
Pinterest is also an awesome platform for blog promotion. I have recently started putting more emphasis and effort into my pinning. A lot of bloggers say they get most of their traffic from Pinterest, so I’m hoping to see that happen for Cait and Co Blog.
Do I shop as much as I talk about shopping?
No! I had this conversation with a friend the other day and thought it was very important to include this in today’s post. I would be broke as a joke if I was buying new clothes/shoes/jewelry every single day! A lot of the things I blog are pieces that have been in my closet for a long time. I do my best to link products that are as similar as possible to what I am wearing in photos if I cannot find the exact item. While I do not shop all of the time, I do browse online retailers and window shop a lot. I do this to see what the latest trends and to catch sales as soon as they go live.
Do I fall victim to the comparison game?
Unfortunately, yes, but I am only human. It is all too easy to get trapped in the comparison game, but I just have to remind myself to keep my nose down and keep going. I think each blogger has something different to offer, which is why lots of bloggers support bloggers. Most women that are blogging want to see their fellow bloggers succeed. Sometimes I catch myself looking at other photos on Instagram thinking, “I love her shoes. I should get more cute shoes,” or, “Her house is so cute. If I lived in a prettier home my blog would be that much better.” But that’s not what it is about. If I looked like every other blogger out there why would anyone follow me?
Most often I compare my amount of followers on Instagram to other accounts, and this is no good. Why? Because so many people have FAKE FOLLOWERS. This is my biggest pet peeve about the blogging industry. I have always vowed to grow my blog organically. It is a slow process to gain good, real followers, but I think it’s the best way to do it. I talk more about organic blog growth in this post.
Do I make money through my blog and how do I do it?
Yes, I make some (keyword, some) money through my blog. I have two main avenues of revenue on my blog: rewardStyle LIKEtoKNOW.it, and Google Adsense. Like I mentioned earlier, I have always been fascinated with the concept of LIKEtoKNOW.it. I want to take this opportunity to explain to you how it works in case you are not familiar. Before I post on Instagram I enable my photos through LIKEtoKNOW.it and add all relevant product details for the photo. If you have signed up with LIKEtoKNOW.it and associated it with your Instagram account, you can like my photo to receive all of the outfit and product details in an email within minutes. With the new app, you can take a screenshot of my photo, open the app, and find all of the outfit details there. If you click on a link from any of my photos and make a purchase I receive a commission. You do not have to purchase the exact item in order for me to receive this commission. This happens at zero cost to you. Retailers work with rewardStyle to set commission rates for their publishers. So if I post a pic and you just have to have my leopard booties, all you have to do it take a screenshot of my photo, open the app, and you can click on the exact pair of booties I am wearing. I personally think it is genius.
Google Adsense provides the ads that you see when clicking through my blog. Their payout is based on the amount of traffic my blog receives (the amount of exposure their ads get). Less traffic = less commission. This is a very slow payout process, but I don’t mind having it on my site. I don’t try to put ads on every available square inch of my site because I believe that would deter readers.
Who does my photography?
My husband, Milton, does most of my photography. We use a Nikon D3400 with the original lens. Eventually I would like to get another lens, but I’m saving my money for now. All of our photography is done by trial and error. When I got my camera I literally read the users manual to learn how to use it in “Manual” mode. Before shooting, I adjust the settings appropriately and take a few test shots. Once I have the lighting right I hand the camera to Milton and he goes to town. Sometimes when I am at home I’ll have my mom take my photos (she did the shoot for this post!). I take all of my flat shots. I have also collaborated with a local photographer recently, Patricia Coskey Photography. We found each other on Instagram and agreed to do a shoot to cross promote each other. I loved working with her and will likely collaborate with other photographers in the near future. You can see her work in these posts:
As far as photo editing goes, I don’t use anything fancy. I always adjust the lighting and crop my photos in iPhoto. I have yet to invest in a fancy photoshop program, but I’m okay with that.
Any questions that I missed?
Is there anything else you’d like to know about Cait and Co Blog? Leave your questions in the comment section below and I be sure to answer.
I am having a blast creating content for this blog. I hope that it can grow along with me and I can continue to share genuine and fun posts with y’all! Cannot wait to see what the future holds for this little hobby of mine.