Outfit Post: How do you define blogging success?

So I just passed my seven-month blogging anniversary. Truthfully, I had no clue I've been blogging for this long, and had to go searching through my archives to learn exactly when I published my first blog post. (If you'd like a laugh, go check out some of my earliest posts. They're HIGH-larious.) I'll confess that I'm not an especially sentimental person. I never partook of the whole SQUEE it's-the-four-monthiversary-of-the-first-time-I-was-kissed/ate sushi/had sex/bought towels with my boyfriend at Bed Bath and Beyond-HEARTS AND RAINBOWS-and-LURVE *TWEE.* It's just not for me. Mostly because I'd rather buy someone (or myself) a present whenever I feel like it and don't like to save cake for special occasions.

However, the realization I'd been blogging for seven months straight gave me a bit of pause. I never thought I'd make it this long. I never expected to have quite so many followers, and have my writing featured on other sites. And I certainly didn't think my content would be so far evolved beyond daily outfit posts. I could not have predicted that my blogging would be a success.

Success is a strange concept to define. We've all heard the cliche that success is a journey, not a destination. There's often more fun in the chasing than the catching. I deeply enjoy researching and writing my posts; I like putting together outfits to be photographed; and I get a thrill every time I see a new follower or have a post featured. But the fun is in the pursuit. I love the excitement of producing fresh content, the what-ifs of how my posts will be received, and the hopes that come with them.

I believe success is about how I see myself and how I'm able to enjoy my life. It's simple to wrap success up in tangible rewards - things that success grants us, such as acquiring great wealth, holding a high position in a career, or winning a game. And it's true that success is largely about achieving something you have set out to do. But limiting yourself to those attributes doesn't factor in the role of happiness, personal fulfillment and peace of mind.

Here's what I've learned: Blogging success is not about the numbers - whether that includes the number of followers, number of comments or the amount of money pulled in from sponsors. Blogging success is about the loyalty of your readers, whether they continue to come back, and if they establish a relationship with you through regular, thoughtful comments. You can have 20 followers, or 4000, but your success is defined by the relationship they have with your blog. I am fortunate to have an incredibly loyal readership, and their support and regular comments are what make me feel like a success.

Furthermore, if your blog makes you stressed, anxious and pressured, your 4000 readers are meaningless. If you are not receiving personal satisfaction from your blog, you have failed. If your blog doesn't inspire you to produce interesting, engaging content that energizes you, you have failed. And if you're blogging merely to please your readership, you might also consider your blog unsuccessful. 

Although the only true way to define success is to create and meet your own goals, I would argue that tangible goals (such as follower count) only get you so far. A raise at work combined with miserable conditions wouldn't make you happy. So why permit your blogging "numbers" to define your success? Does your blog make you happy? Do it energize you? Does it inspire you? Are your readers loyal and engaged? If you can answer yes to these questions, you are a success.

Now it's your turn: How do you define blogging success? Do you struggle with being too focused on the numbers? Be sure to share what you feel is successful about your blog - we'd love to hear!

Vintage thrifted silk top; vintage thrifted skirt; vintage clutch from Vintage Martini;  Old Navy belt; Miz Mooz wedges; Forever 21 necklace and bracelet; Marc Jacobs watch


  1. Great post! I've toyed with this idea of what is successful for me. I had to take my followers off my blog page because it affected me and how I viewed what I was doing. I went through a period of trying too hard. And during that period, I really hated blogging. Now, I forget about the follower numbers. They are what they are. And the bottom line, I want someone to visit my blog because they WANT to be there, not because we made a deal to "follow" each other. I don't like what I see in myself when I get too focused on, "Is my blog successful". It's doesn't bring out the best in me and causes me to compare too much. And how foolish is that?!?!?! ~Serene

  2. Congrats! I thought your blog was successful back at the two-month mark, though! And that outfit is also a hit!

  3. I think that you are dead on with all your reasons of what makes a blog successful. It's more about the relationship than the numbers, and every time I see a thoughtful comment, or have someone tell me that I have inspired them in some way, I know that I am successful.
    Alternatively, when I get comments simply asking me to follow, I feel disappointed. I want to follow people because I like them, not because I want to boost my numbers.

    and I also adore you color combo here - I definitely need to do this one!

  4. That outfit is AMAZING! Look at you in all that color blocking. Don't come to Arizona I might kill you for that bag. Happy 7 months!

  5. Well first of all your outfit is pretty awesome!

    My daughter and I just started blogging sometime in May so we are still pretty green at it. We feel that to be a successful blogger you should feel a connection between your readers and yourself, which we have so far. It's been a great experience. We never thought people would want to see what we wear or what we talk about when we started out! Also, if we can inspire someone to try something new or give someone an idea, we did our job! Plus, how awesome is it to be able to do something you love with your teenage daughter? That's the best experience I've had with blogging so far really!

  6. I adore these brights on you, Elissa!

    I think a blog is a success if it makes the blogger feel fulfilled and understood, and the audience feel similarly. The stats and accolades are great, and definitely indicate other types of achievement, but what really matters is whether or not the endeavor feels rewarding.

  7. i completely agree that blogging success is really about the relationships you build with your readers as well as it just being a creative outlet for you. i try not to focus on the numbers either as i think it can be too unmotivating. thanks for a great post!

  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE the color combo in this outfit. To me a successful blog is one where the owner/blogger gets a chance to express his/herself and, hopefully, gets to connect with others who share his/her point of view. My blog is pretty random but it has connected me to other people in a way that would never happen in real life.

    md / stufffast.blogspot.com

  9. ahh that clutch is adorable! I believe a successful blog is when the readers and the blogger have a connection and can all share bits of advice with each other. numbers can be such a drag to get caught up in when it comes to followers!

  10. I adore this outfit on you. One of my favorites.

  11. You look great!! Love the top and skirt colors together....awesome. And that clutch...its all working for you. Your hair is looking a tad darker too....and also fabulous. Success....in any book! Debbie

  12. Happy Blogoversary! And Happy brights!!!

  13. two-thumbs-up post, my (e-)friend. i found myself getting caught up in the numbers game a lot at first, until i realized that my self-worth was NOT tied to that little "GFC" number. some of my best days in real-life were days that 3 followers dropped out on me; and vice-versa. i eventually learned, over a few months, that there's more to blogging than trying to boost that little number.
    and, honestly? you're wearing quite possibly my fave.outfit.evAH on you. that clutch is perfection, and those colors look awesome on you. seriously. you win!

  14. I'm struggling with this a lot. I've been blogging for a long time--almost eight years. For the first several years, my blog was just for me. Recently, though, I really do want to build my audience and expand my scope, and I'm finding it really hard to do, and it is starting to feel like failure. I'm going to bookmark your post to come back and re-read on those bad days.

  15. This is such an amazing post!!! Wow. I can totally relate to wondering what 'success' really means in terms of my blog. A lot of times, I question whether I'm successful yet or when I will be. "Does your blog make you happy? Do it energize you? Does it inspire you? Are your readers loyal and engaged? If you can answer yes to these questions, you are a success." I love that... and I can safely answer YES!!!

  16. I love the necklace you're wearing! (And I love how simple and chic your blog header is!)

  17. Love that clutch and orange is a great color on you.

    I agree with everything you said, but I have to say that the debate about what makes a successful blog and success in general is exhausting me. I totally understand that numbers are not the true mark of a successful blog, but they certainly count for something. Maybe it's the marketer in me, but I think we all need concrete goals to define what success is. Maybe that goal is feeding 20 families every weekend or donating x clothes each year or getting engaging comments on your last post.

    I think we make success a really dirty word and when it's tied to doing deceitful things it can be, but ultimately every person has to decide what success is for them.

    Great post, really got my wheels churning.

  18. i love the color blocking! stunning :) and yay redhead fashion bloggers!

    sarah rose

  19. This is my favourite post of yours yet! Loving that outfit too :)


  20. Great post. There was a similar conversation on IFB recently. I find that as a new blogger, it's difficult not to let myself get sucked into the numbers game, especially when I look around and it seems as though everyone is getting featured somewhere or has sponsors. I have yet to reach those milestones. That said, my short term goal is getting regular readership and reaching a point where my readers come back whether I leave comments for them or not.


  21. I confess I'm something of a new reader, but I've been going back and working my way through your older posts, and I'm coming to love your blog more and more.

    Your fashion style isn't exactly my own (although I totally :love: short hair), but I love reading about a fellow thrift shop junkie, and that you take time to really talk about what you think. There are so many other fashion blogs I've started following these past 6 months that, while I love seeing their outfits, I can't help but feel like I'm being advertized at by the way they talk. I don't understand how someone could think it sounds normal to pepper their conversation with ad-men phrases. It's like they find it classy to sound like the editors of Cosmo, which is not what I'm looking for by reading blogs instead of fashion mags.

    :ahem: Excuse the rant. But I feel like you're one of the ones I can relate to personally as a non-conformist female, and I love your honest and thoughtful musings. I think that is definitely one of the things I would say I would focus on if I were to create a fashion blog. This blog has a soul, and I love it. :D

  22. This is a great post. Elissa. I really agree with the emphasis on quality over quantity when it comes to judging my blog's success. While I'm happy and flattered by the number of followers/commenters/etc that I have, I'm really much more moved and gratified by the relationships I've made and the way that I'm able to trade ideas and inspiration and especially encouragement with a lot of really fantastic women (and the occasional dude). I knew nothing about fashion/style blogs when I started mine, so I really had nothing to which to compare, and I'm glad of that. It has really allowed me to see what I'm doing as a part of myself (that's now connected to parts of all these other people) instead of something I had to model off another person's efforts.

    Also, I'm obsessed w this color combo. It's one of my favorites, so I love seeing another person rock it, especially a redhead!!!

  23. As long as I still want to blog when I feel like blogging, and as long as the stats tell me I'm getting a few hits a day, that's success for me.

    Much <3 from Frisco, TX.

  24. This is such a great post, most people blog for fun others do it for their loyal readers. I think a blog should focuse on what you feel or like at that moment not following others.


  25. A huge AMEN to this post! I often get emails from bloggers who have been at it for two weeks and are already asking me how to stay motivated because they don't have huge numbers. I tell them that there is no secret, but that they have to find whatever it is for THEIR soul that keeps them going because it's different for everyone. My blog "fuel" are the emails and notes I get from people telling me that my blog has changed their fashion life, made them see themselves differently, and given them confidence. I blog to help people.

    Success is also something I think about a lot - I had a little "moment" when I hit 10,000 fans on Facebook (my primary blogging platform) and I thought I would be happy, but I wasn't. Because just because you hit a certain # doesn't mean you ever get to sit back and relax. Success ultimately means more work and continuing to keep going and even more success and so on and so on. In other words, success is never an "end point." I used to think the whole "success is a journey" thing was cheesy but now I live and die by it. :-) I just sit back and try to enjoy the ride each day!

  26. Very insightful post. I agree wholeheartedly. I just wrote my own perspective on my troubles with blogging lately. By the way, love the pink/orange combo. You're gorgeous!

  27. I agree that success is created from within, not by how many followers and/or numbers you rake in! Success is what you make it.

    And girl you are working this 'fit. I love, love, love that vintage clutch.



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