A Very Important Date…! BLOGiversary & 5 things I wish I knew about blogging before I started!

blogger Shannon Silver & Iron Horse Ocean Reserve sparkling wine!

Who cares if it is 9:00am #onawednesday but it’s time to pop the champagne because this little blog of mine is 1!!!

Now, those who know me personally know that this blog was a long time in the making. (tbh the actual birthday was last Wednesday 9/8 but I was still recovering from Labor Day)

I wrote about the moment that really was the seed to plant this blog… in 2009.

Now to be blunt, I consider 2010-2014 the “Dark Ages” of my life. I fell into a deep, dark rabbit hole completely taking me away from things I am passionate about.

In 2014, as I got my shit back together, I realized that blogging was the way for me. I spent a LOT of time in 2012-2013 on Pinterest / Instagram / other blogs and I loved the value they gave me and wanted to do the same.

I talked a bit on my timing and such here, so I won’t be pedantic. Instead, I figured I’d write about the things I WISH I knew about blogging when I started.

It would of saved me a LOT (a lot a lot a lot) of time, money, and emotional stress!

{ Shannon Silver talking prioritizing & committing to your goals // Champagne at Shannon's }

I will admit, it gets a little discouraging to get online and read articles after articles about how blogging is dead.

However, I must respectfully disagree.

I think blogging has just begun & more and more people are launching blogs (aka their voice) online. More on this another day (& industry dependent), but I truly believe the resume is on the way out & your work online is on the way in.

That said, as a blogger, you truly find advice from… other bloggers!

I can’t remember where I read it, but someone called blogging the wild, wild west. It’s something that is still rather new with no really defined path. That SOUNDS easy, but it’s the opposite.

If anything, I hope the lessons I learn can help aspiring bloggers save their sanity!

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⚜ 1. } Start small, but keep the big picture in mind.

Sorry in advance, this will be my longest point because I think it is the most important.

Now, this is actually a major personality flaw of mine though it sounds like a good trait. When I first decided to launch C@S in 2014, I wanted to DO IT ALL.

What is it all, might you ask? Literally everything.

I wanted to do the layout, I wanted to do the design, I wanted to do the coding, I wanted to do the writing, I wanted to do the photography, I wanted to do the social media, I wanted PR, I wanted to create literally every single possible thing that was on this blog. One problem? I don’t know how the hell to do any of it!

Out of the above, all I had were social media accounts (that were NOT curated to an aesthetic), content ideas, and basic html knowledge.

I found myself spending so much time just reading on how to start a blog or how to do design with no actual action.

It’s great to have an insatiable thirst of knowledge – seriously, it keeps me inspired on the daily, but it also slowed me down. Majorly. And I was not focusing on anything.

At the end of the day, there are people who know coding, design, and many other things like the back of their hand. Finally, I realized all I was doing was wasting time. Rather than trying to create my own layout, I purchased a template from Bluchic and did all the customizations (FWIW – I used the Beverly theme).

I remember this day vividly: I was actually on a plane with Erik, we were talking the blog before he fell asleep (by talking, I mean he was like “either do it or fucking don’t, but get it together & I’m sick of hearing about it if you’re not going to do it” #micdropZZZZ). By the time he woke up, I had the layout purchased, and I told him, very matter of fact, that I am launching in two weeks.

Now, a year later (in 2016 too, keep in mind – a solid year was wasted from trying to do it all), I feel like I finally got it down.

As a blogger, the most important thing you can do is create valuable content. It’s a marathon, not a race, and the marathon never ends so just take one stride at a time. It’s very easy to get caught up with wanting to do more, and more, and more, but before you know it, you are piling up your plate too high.

More things will come, just focus at the task at hand, and chip slowly. Before you know it, the marble slab will turn into a masterpiece with all the little details.

Social media matters, yes, I am not denying that.

However, if your goal is to be a blogger, before you focus on marketing, PR, social media promotion, be sure to have solid valuable content. Who wants to follow a pinterest link to a lame blog? That’s a super easy way to LOSE readers who will not bother coming back.

Okay, I lied & will be pedantic, but foundation is what truly matters. Focus on your foundation, and as soon as that is solid, then focus on another small task one thing at a time.

Patience & Perseverance. Do not rush it. Great things take time. Lots of it.

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⚜ 2. } Quality not Quantity… but stay consistent!

You don’t have to post 5-7x a week, but be sure to post at, the very least, once a week. And keep it consistent.

I am pretty transparent about this, but I work full-time as well as blogging full-time. It’s doable, yes, but it is very time consuming.

When I first started, I was doing 5 posts a week… and I will admit, the quality was meh. All that mattered to me (at the time), was to make sure I had a variety of posts.

And it burned me out really fucking fast.

Now, I’ve kept it to a post on Monday / Wednesday / Friday & I work a lot over the weekends to get photography in and edit my pictures for the week.

Coming up with consistent content isn’t always the easiest thing, but having a regimented schedule  helps me stay disciplined.

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⚜ 3. } Quality & Engagement, not Quantity… in social media

Ahhhhh, followers, followers, followers.

Do not get caught up with this. Y’all already know my thoughts on the follow / unfollow game (aka 🌿👀🌿).

Stay focused on you. Curate phenomenal content. Follow people who inspire you, do not follow with the sole intention on them following you back. Do not focus on the numbers, it’s a waste of time.

What should you focus on though? ENGAGEMENT!

Engage with people who comment on your photos. Trust me, it’s much better to have 40 followers with great engagement than have thousands of followers with only a handful of likes.

Engagement is insanely important because it’s how you create online relationships, loyalty, and trust (aka the foundation to any relationship). I’ve made some rad friendships from just being social online!

….and it goes without saying, don’t buy followers. That’s just sad, dishonest, and money not well spent. Don’t be thirsty.

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⚜ 4. } Enjoy your time off-line. Not everything has to be documented!

So by now we are familiar with the “Instagram husband” epidemic.

If you aren’t familiar, pretty much it’s tagging your significant other along to document EVERYTHING.

Yeah, sure, it’s fun to joke about, but it’s also not so fun for the other party…. Especially during date nights or other special occasions, specifically travel.

When you are on vacation (I can do a whole post on this), be sure to enjoy the time disconnected. Sometimes, I carve out 30 minutes of the day strictly for photos, and then put the camera away for the remainder of the trip.

When I first started, it was like Erik was my personal paparrazi, constantly snapping photos. And why?

Our time here on Earth is so limited, that during special moments, I’d rather spend them privately, vs creating moments to put online.

Not to mention, some of my favourite, best travel photos were spur of the moment, organic photos.

My boyfriend is Champagne at Shannon’s biggest fan, so I never want him to resent it. Treating him (or anyone) like my photo-slave is a sure fire way to do so.

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⚜ 5. } Google Drive will be your best friend!

Now this was a discovery I made about 3 months ago, and quite frankly, has been a life saver as I work full time.

The drive is a wonderful tool for blogging. I am able to keep everything in one place without cluttering my desktop, but more importantly, I keep templates there.

For all my #WCW or Power Couple interviews, I have outlines of templates there to send out and customize as I go.

It is also great for collaborations and partnerships! You can create shared files and update them in real time, without cluttering inboxes.

This is a tool I wish I used from the beginning, because it has shaved hours off of blogging for me.

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{ Cabo, Mexico // Champagne at Shannon's }

Ahhhh, sorry, I can feel my self go on and on so I am going to cut myself off. I blame it on the extra bubbly today.

Anyways, time to indulge in an extra glass and maybe have a cupcake or two to celebrate 😉

Now how about you? What were some of the things you wish you knew about blogging before you started?

On another note, I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for reading or supporting Champagne at Shannon’s. I’ve said it once, and I will say it again, but the online world is so rad, and being able to connect, share stories, and make friendships is truly my favourite part of blogging.

If you are thinking of starting a blog, do it! Seriously! It is a lot of work, but insanely rewarding. Check out more blog advice here, here, here, and here (more instagram related but about aesthetic). For fun, check out my first post here lol!

Again, thank you so much for a great first year and looking forward to seeing what year 2 brings!!! I have something brewing…….

…….xx Shannon

{ Connecting the Dots // Champagne at Shannon's }

{ pic I, II, V via Ryan Johnson }

  • Chantel Nicole Green

    I love you so much and am so proud of you!

  • Jannine Pampu

    Congrats on your blogiversary! Great tips, especially quality over quantity, Google drive is also my best friend!
    If I had to add anything it would be that blogger groups are your friend, but all are not created equal. Search them out, weed them out, and you’ll find a fantastic group of like minded bloggers to support you in your blogging journey.
    Xo Jannine | http://www.happystylishfit.com

    • Thank you so much, Jannine! And absolutely LOVE your input. You are 100% right. Blogger groups are actually a new thing for me (thanks to @thelovelygirl:disqus!) & it is amazing the power of them. Love having such a supportive community to help support in ways they only understand. GREAT TIP! Hope your weekend is going so well! xx Shannon

      • Thank you Shan!! And I agree with Jannine. 🙂 I couldn’t find any good blogger groups when I started either!

  • Congrats girlie!! You are rocking it <3 I remember when I first came to your space how excited I was to see you grow and look at you now 😉 sending so much love xo C

    • Thank you SO much! I love your positivity & light. Your words mean so, so, much and I’m so proud of YOU too!! Sending the love right back! xx SS

  • Congrats Shan!! SO proud of you girl!! xo

    • Thank you, babe!! So glad to have you be a part of it & love everything you are doing! xx SS

  • Congratulations Shannon! That’s so exciting!

    • Thanks lady! It’s been fun to grow together with you. Cheers! xx Shannon