What’s your blog looking like for 2012?

Nikki Parkinson Life 88 Comments

A year ago things were much, much different around here.

Blogging was something I just did on the side. Of my other stuff.

I’ve learned a lot about blogging, About the blogging community and its myriad of niches.

While in my my clearly delusional dreams I’d love to call myself a fashion blogger but the harsh reality is that I’m far from sweet, young and model-like (check out Mandy at Oracle Fox, or Alicia at Sea of Ghosts, now they’re rockin’ model-like fashion bloggers).

And I’m not a beauty blogger in the strictest terms of the niche. I don’t do swatches (for the non-beauty bloggers out there, that’s when you put makeup colours on your inside wrist, much like when you were a little girl and your mum would have done the same with her next lippy colour at the Revlon counter at Myer). I don’t even paint my own nails. I’m a beauty blogging fraud.

I’m me. Me is what you get.

I’m obsessed by fashion and beauty but only so much in what it translates to to the real world, for everyday people with budgets and mortages, with or without kids or fur-babies. And only so much in how most of us want some short cuts to how to look and feel better about ourselves.

So this year, I’ve accepted that that’s who I am and that’s what this blog’s about.

In 2012, you’ll get more of the “real” stuff. And more about me.

Oh, and I’m going to be tweaking Styling You’s look. It’s been two years and that’s a long time between frock changes, isn’t it?

This year I plan to go to every Australian blogging conference plus BlogHer in the US. I got SO much out of last year’s conferences. If you’re umming and ahhing about attending a blogging conference, stop and just do it.

I’ll also be hanging out more on Facebook. I was a bit take it or leave it last year but I’ve learned that it’s where millions of non-bloggers hang out. So if you want to build your blog’s readership, spend time over there talking to your likers.

As far as new social media goes, my money (if I were a more-than-Melbourne Cup-betting-kind-of-girl) is on Instagram.

instagram cookies

Click on the image for a link to how to make these and then send them to me please!

Just this month, Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim started the January Photo a Day challenge on Instagram. Today there would be almost 1 million photos submitted for the the challenge. And jeans giant Levi’s is using Instagram to crowdsource for people for its next campaign. Plus, celebs like Zooey Deschanel (girl crush candidate … big time) are using the iPhone app as an instant image insight into their world – it’s not uncommon for Zooey to get up to 10,000 likes on a photo within an hour.

Finally, I’m going to sound a little wanky but last year I worked solidly on building my readership, engagement and blog profile. This is not an easy thing – particularly when you don’t live in Sydney or Melbourne – but it is possible. And the big reason I think I made it possible? I think I’m finally doing something (career wise) that I REALLY love.

Already that has translated into a part-time income and I’m very keen this year to build on that.

Thanks for helping me along the way.

If you blog, what hopes do you have for 2012?

  • We got a late start but it’s looking good!

    Nice post.

  • Hi Nikki
    Thanks for sharing your tips on style and blogging. I’m looking forward to seeing your keeping it real tips (as well as the gorgeously styled tips of course) And I do love seeing your photos on Instagram too.
    Cheers Sandra

    • Thanks so much, Sandra … there will be more Keeping it Real this week!

  • Great post! I’m hoping to increase my readership this year as well, and hopefully get a few sponsored posts. Congrats on the great progress you’ve made!

    • Good luck Julia … great to get those aims out there, I say!

  • That’s so great you love blogging. I am hoping by next year I can make my blog into a part time career.

    It can be difficult starting your fan base, but it is all worth it in the end. Engaging with your readers is so important.

    • Go for it … good to have such a goal and see how that pans out this year.

  • Love your blog Nikki. I am on the revamp track too like yourself and some of the other in the comments. I love especially how freely you share your blogging knowledge – always a sign of a great blogger!

    • Thanks Nic … right back at you. I do love that you can evolve as a blogger and it’s relatively easy to change the feel and look and content of your blog as you evolve.

  • Great article, thanks.
    The Rant clothing blog has had loads more traffic since moving from blogspot last year, so look forward to this continuing. Also aiming to add a multimedia element with short videos on how to put our garments together via YouTube. Had some help starting out with Twitter last year and seems a great way of linking blog, our main corporate website as well as our Tumblr page. Look forward to starting out with Instagram later in the year too!

    • Sounds like you’re on to it! Love the look of your site/blog. Looks fantastic … good luck with embracing more.

  • I have a huge change coming. I’m getting rid of Hear Mum Roar and starting a new, more personal blog.

    Can’t wait to see how this year pans out for you Nikki, I love your blog!

    • Wow! Go Sharon … can’t wait to see how that all works for you. Exciting!

  • I enjoy how real and personal your posts are Nikki. That’s what makes me come back! I also love how generous you are in sharing with others what you’ve learnt and tips for blogging – you’re too kind.
    Can’t wait to see the new look and wishing Styling You a fantastic 2012!

    • Oh, thanks Serena … that’s really lovely of you to say. I’m excited about 2012.

  • I love your practical, ‘personal touch’ posts – whether they are about blogs or fashion or beauty, that’s your real strength. In 2012 I’m going to be putting my energy into my business blog (www.ishbarn.blogspot.com) and the facebook page too and finding my groove. Hope to get along to a blogger conference too if there is one on or near the Sunshine Coast.

  • Hi Nikki,

    What a great post! I love how relevant and practical your posts are and your great sense of humour. I look forward to following your blog conference adventures this year as it’s tricky for me to get leave from work in order to make them all. However I do still hope to make a few and look forward to seeing you again!

    This year I’m putting in place two of the things I learnt from you: (1) putting more of myself on BusiChic via the Black Dress challenge that I’ve set myself where I’ll style one black dress in 52 different ways to work every week for a year…and (2) I got an iPad! This is to help me get on top commenting on blogs and engaging in the conversation outside of Twitter. My own readers have told me they’re content to lurk so I’m also hoping to find more guest-posting opportunities. See what happens!

    All the best for a bigger and brighter 2012! Cx

    • Oh, wow Cheryl … I love your plans for 2012. And how fun is owning an ipad?!! Happy for you to guest post here any time too x

  • Hi Nikki – like so many of your other commenters, I find myself at a place where my blog needs a shot of adrenaline. I’ve put hours of my precious Sunday afternoons into writing the posts, but haven’t built up my followers. I’ve had a few moments of feeling really discouraged, but I’ve recommitted to making it work. I am beginning to understand how much work is involved in building a solid readership and developing engagement, as you say, and that is where my energies are now directed. It’s been a fascinating process of discovery, and the lonely frustrated moments are just as valid as the powerful excited ones. You’re a true inspiration. Take a bow!

    We met at Problogger training day, in the ladies before the drinkies. I was all excited about Tim Ferriss. Next time I look forward to having more of a chat with you.

    And, of course, I’ll be following you avidly in the meantime!


    • LOL Jill … I hadn’t even had a drink yet but was a little bit “HIGH” on the adrenaline. It is really what you say … a fascinating process of discovery. And what I’ve discovered is that it feels like coming home (carreer and hobby wise). I love the connections and I love writing – blogging brings both together. Keep it up x

  • Hi Nikki,

    being yourself is best, even so it can be a bit scary to put yourself totally out there for everyone to see. I like your style and am looking forward to seeing how your 2012 develops 🙂

    • Thanks Renee … yes, it’s a bit scary but mostly it’s fun.

  • Love your Style Nikki. You are very humble. You have taught so many of us what you’ve learned and I really apreciate it. Love your Saturday morning posts.
    Sue xx

    • Thanks Sue. When I LOVE something I can’t help but share!

  • Hi Nikki,
    I’ve just moved into my new blog(s) and getting a feel for what I want to do there. I see my blogs, past and present, like my internet home (cyber girl cave) lol, if that makes sense. I just want to play with make-up and girly stuff and then talk about it and take pretty pictures of cute packaging (cos I’m a sucker for cute packaging). Thant’s my very “organised” plan. A conference would be fun too. How do I find out about those?
    I think you’re spot on about instagram…I’m hanging for an iphone and then I’ll be adding that to my social media addiction.
    Have a great weekend
    x Marnie

  • Lipgloss Mumma

    Fashion & beauty for the real world. Perfect Nikki! That’s why I’m here, and your pretty spesh too.x

  • Penny

    Have loved this world I’ve stepped into. It has expanded my world and my eyes. You could write about sacks of potatoes and I would still read it!

  • Hi Nikki, I only recently discovered your blog and it has been fantastic to go through the archives and see how Styling You has grown and blossomed. You have such a natural, fun writing style 🙂 I wish you all the best for the new year and I am looking forward to seeing what else you have to offer! xxx

  • What a difference a year makes! I think Styling You has become huge because you give your reader so much of yourself, Nikki, and your readers really like you! And we want to see what you’re up to… And we trust you’re telling us the truth when you say something will look good or feel good, or that it will work for us too. I think there’s something about blogging (good blogging anyway) that cuts through all the marketing BS to let people know what’s really awesome out there – whether we’re talking about stuff you can buy or not. And I also believe what you say about persistence and making that connection with readers (as well as high quality web design, writing, and images) do pay off… I got an ABN for The Spring today because brands are starting to want to advertise on my site and it’s got me thinking in a while new entrepreneurial way. Turning my blog into a business is a new world for me, but a year it I’m ready for the new challenge. I’m also ready to say no when a brand I don’t believe in or a product I don’t like wants a place on my blog. Because as you’ve so aptly demonstrated, blogging is all about telling the truth, nicely, and with humour! So even if you don’t see yourself as a fashion model, you must surely know you are a role model for all of us with less experience trying to figure out how to do this blogging thing right!

    x Catherine @ The Spring

    • Oh Carherine, just beautiful words. I love your blog and I know it’s a really a GOOD thing that you’ve got an ABN. X

  • I really want to go to some blog conferences this year. Do you know if there is a list somewhere of all the good conferences? Which ones will you attend in Australia and when are they? And which Blogher conference do you go to?

  • Loving that Instagram pic.
    So jealous of you going to NYC. Sigh.
    A year ago, Madam Bipolar did not exist. I was but a lowly work experience girl, who was soon to be promoted to intern. xx

    • YOU my friend have taken to blogging like the proverbial duck. X

  • lg

    Nikki I love your real girl sensibility. Oh and I am obsessed with instagram too!!! It’s such an uplifting place in social media land.

    lg (thearchitourist)

    • It is isn’t it? I think it’s because people post happy, fun photos x

  • Hi Nikki. One of the (many) reasons I love your blog is because you don’t need a fashion degree to feel inspired by your posts and part of your community.

    This year I’d like to get into it a bit more. As much as I enjoy blogging, I didn’t give my blog a lot of love last year and would really like to give it a bit of a polish and a bit more life. I’m tweaking the layout at the moment but, man, I have no idea what I am doing…

  • Thanks Nikki for a great year of blogging and related works. I really loved it especially giving me permission to let out my girly side. Thanks for bringing to us or sharing with this things like #JANphotoaday.  I hope 2012 is really great to you and your successes continue.   Love Fran xx

    • Oh thanks so much Fran – love seeing you embrace the wonderful fun that is the online world!

  • I’m working on a new look and some other changes too. Hoping 2012 will be a great year for all of us!

  • it’s the ‘real’ bit that keeps me reading Nikki.

  • Nina Downes

    I love reading your blog Nikki – keep up the great work. I love that it is all so “real”. I love both your beauty and fashion advice!!

  • Oh Nikki, I’m not into fashion (that much), but I have loved your blogs. Even more, I love the inspiration you have been to us. It’s so easy to look at your blogging success and say “it’s easy for her, she was a journalist” or whatever, but for me, it’s your personal style, heart, and inspiration that makes the grade. Here’s to another great year!!

    • Thanks Krishna … and I wholeheartedly believe you don’t have to be a journalist to become a blogger. It’s a very different style of writing but what I did learn as a journalist was to put your readers first … think about what they want to read and give it to them. That was invaluable.

  • Nikki, what can I say. You are not a fashion blogger, you are not a beauty blogger, you are right – you are in a niche of your own and you are you…you are a blogger who is always evolving and and trying new things and keeping us interested. You are also an award winning blogger that inspires many of us and for whom your site is a brilliant example of blogging done well. You deserve every reader and unique page view (and yes, I know what that is now…aren’t you proud?) that you have attracted to you. And I say attracted as you don’t sell, push, shout or broadcast..you provide awesome content that is like a magnet for all of us. There are very few pages, posts, instagram photos or tweets that I know will be worth opening, reading or viewing and yours is one of them. You deserve every success and I am so glad to have had you as a mentor and friend….and lastly..I just had to tell you that although I am a couple of blog posts behind, I am having an awesome time doing the 31 day blog challenge as well as Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day. See, I can blog regularly (both macro and micro…and I have started video blogging!..and believe it or not I am loving it! And….I am now following and watching my analytics grow…and I am finding huge shifts on facebook, twitter and youtube, even for a fledgling blog and business like mine. You were right. Are you proud of this little blogger that you pushed out of the nest? x

    • I’m very proud! And it’s just that consistency and mindfulness that will see you build your blog too. Thanks for your very, very kind words my friend x

  • Well Mrs Styling You,
    I am so proud of what you have achieved – you are the Blogging Queen! We are newbies to the scene, but am loving it so far. For our blog for 2012 we are really working out what works with our readers – so far the more open and honest we are the better (I even uncovered my hidden years as a bogan …).
    It is all a bit trial and error but we will be incorporating guest bloggers, video, Instagram (yes, like some others I have only done a few since downloading)and will be upping the design side of things (so far it is all done by me so time to call in the experts!).
    Thanks for all your tips to take Nikki and looking forward to seeing where the world takes you for 2012.
    Will join you at the next blogging conference too!
    Genine x

    • Genine … that’s the beauty of blogging, you can put all your thoughts/ideas out there and see what gets the most “traction” and interest with your readers. You can shape your content as you go. xx

  • To know that you have taken Styling You from an ‘on the side’ thing to what it is today is so inspirational. I love what you are doing.

    2012 for Yes, Dear will see me going onto my own URL … making my blog look like me to complete the content which is all just me …. a working Mum seeking out a dream.

    I am determined to step into a bloggers conference with my head held high this year but am nervous about my minor league self rubbing shoulders with the major leaguers.

    Thanks to Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim I discovered Instagram only in December and it is fair to say I love it more than I do Facebook (yip I said it, it is true). Beauty is in abundance in that forum.

    This year is going to be my year … because I am determined to make it so.

    • Hi Ange, it can be a scary thing coming to a blogging conference (or any industry conference) for the first time but it’s so worth jumping out of your comfort zone. Make sure you say hello to me!

  • I am on the revamping track as well. I am bringing lots of changes to my blog and have been working on the plans for this a lot this week. Trying to figure it out has been a little tough, but I am making progress.

    I definitely want to make mine more of a positive, inspiring place to be. I’m making podcasting a more regular thing and want to interview inspiring people. I’m nervous about it as I haven’t done anything like that before and not sure what I’ll say but 1..2..3.. jump

  • I agree with the rest; you definitely are a niche of your own, and whatever it is, keep doing it because you’re doing an amazing job!

    This year, I’d like to
    – Revamp the blog design. Don’t really know what yet, but like you said, it’s been wearing the same frock a little too long and needs something new!
    – Use Instagram more. I’ve sadly neglected it ever since I downloaded it early last year, used it once, and stopped for almost a year. Time to get it going again.
    – Attend more blogging conferences. I’ve only been to two – the Nuffnang Blogapolis and the Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend, and I had such a great time learning new things. You can teach an “old” blogger new tricks 😉

    • You can SO teach an old blogger new tricks. I’m constantly learning stuff. Obsessed by it even. Mostly I learn from reading other blogs and interacting with other bloggers. It’s an amazing community to be a part of.

  • Hi Nikki..good plan for 2012.
    I started my blog in 2009 with random postings and ramblings. I tried to fit into a genre of craftiness without the real drive and intention which it deserves. Followed MeetmeatMikes and Small Notebook for a while and commenting was a way to get my point across and help the wider community..Softies for Mirabel Foundation.
    Through this period I have found my voice and I like the sound of it.
    Like minded people sharing what they love. But I knew I needed something of my own, needed to develop my own voice and vibe. So I’m still learning from bloggers with experience and advice..that’s you my dear and will continue to fine tune my little blog space.
    I am a visual learner and instantly attracted to shiny, glittery things. I’m an avid reader and opshop lover.
    Where else can you involve yourself and loves?

    ROCK ON SISTA IN 2012!!

    • Oh Tracy … l love the words: I have found my voice and I like the sound of it.
      That’s just so positive and powerful. Here’s to you in 2012!

  • And don’t we just love you “just as you are”.

    I adore clothes and admire great style, but looking at endless super stylish model types is not for me, because it’s not going to immediately result in something new in my wardrobe.

    Whatever you want to call your niche I’m liking it a whole lot.

    • I’m not sure what I call my niche … I’m a bitzer … a bit of fashion, a bit of beauty, a bit of lifestyle, a bit of blogging, a bit of life x

      • I know what your niche is! Your niche is life *with* style! That’s what I think about when I read your blog. It’s not strictly fashion or beauty. It’s inspiration for me to live the life I have, but do it in style!

        I’ve loved discovering your blog (and you) this year. You inspire me to be a better blogger. Because of your inspiration my Alexa rating has improved by over one million points in the last 4 months! I hope to get it under 200,000 this year. Other than that goal, I want to start doing guest posts and get to know my Google Reader a bit better!

        • Wow Laney! That’s amazing. Go you! I know that you can do it x

  • I’ve just recently discovered you Nikki and I love your style (both fashion & writing). I can relate to you and love your authentic style. Your blog (and over at JustB) feels like catching up with a girlfriend.

    Much the same as you, I have big aspirations for my new little blog. Blogging has become a new obsession for me and I want to make it an authentic, fun and interesting place to be with a great group of readers. No easy task in this huge blogosphere, but I shall plug on.

    • Oh, that’s so, so lovely of you to say, Michelle. And for yourself, don’t think about how big the blogosphere is, just do what you love and create content that is you. x

  • More of you is more than welcome! x

  • Veronica @ Mixed Gems

    Thanks for the insight into your blogging world. It’s interesting to read what you think about your blog and the scene in general. Last year I started blogging with a “see what happens” mentality. This year I’d like to be a bit more deliberate with what I do and I’m still fine-tuning that so life has been a bit quiet on my blog. Instagram, however, is another matter. I love the medium and the chance to express myself creatively through pictures. I’ve found some amazing artists through it too which is very inspiring. Facebook is also an area I hope to build on this year.

    • I think it’s great with blogging that you can always fine tune and tweak (or completely change) the way you blog, the content you create and how you share it. And, Instagram has become just like that for me too. I’m a very visual person, which is why I love hanging out there.

  • Tam

    I’m so glad I discovered your blog this year; I love the way you blog. It feels very genuine and relevant to me.

    I’d like to grow my blog readership this year, be more ‘me’, and get involved in the bloggy community a bit more. At some stage I want to go self hosted too – eek!

    • Being you and getting involved in the blogging community (even if it’s just online) is a great way to boost your readership organically. Go Tam!

  • Great post Nikki – as a brand new blog on the block (not even a week old!) I certainly have a lot to learn so it’s great to hear your tips and insights. Keep them coming! And as for #janphotoaday, it’s just incredible how well it’s going. I’m really enjoying it and loving seeing how creative everyone is being with the prompts.
    Have a great weekend. x

    • Anna, I love how you’ve jumped in and wet your bloggie feet with a big splash. You never stop learning in this game and that’s probably what I like most (apart from the lovely people I’ve *met*).

  • Christina @ Hair Romance

    Great post Nikki, you’re always inspiring.
    I have some similar goals in 2012 and I hope to catch up with you at lots of conferences this year too (including BlogHer!)

    • Christina you are an inspiration – love what you have achieved with your blog – and yes, bring on those meet-ups!

  • Ps should have read “but authentic”, damn iPhone!

  • Nikki, you have a niche all of your own – I think that’s why you are so successful! You don’t try to be anything to authentic to yourself and readers love that.

    I’ve been on a blogging break for almost a month and just about to dive back in. I’m so glad I read this first as its reminded me I don’t need to pigeonhole myself. My blog can just be mine to tend to ad I so desire.

    Best of luck in 2012, you are a bloggy inspiration! Xx

    • Pigeonholes are for pigeons! The blogs I like reading most are the ones that give you the feeling that you know the person writing them.