Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

September 5, 2019

7 Year Blogiversary: 25 Ways Blogging Has Changed in the Last 7 Years.

     SEVEN YEARS!!! Southern Belle in Training turns seven years old tomorrow, and I have so many feelings! I started this blog as a hobby on my 18th birthday my freshman year of college- I thought it would be fun to document the outfits that I wore to college classes and on weekends, and I also wanted a place to write and share about my experiences of moving far from home for school. If you had told me on September 6th, 2012 where my blog would be seven years later... I wouldn't have believed you! Honestly, I probably wouldn't have even believed that I'd still be blogging, haha!

     Some years I do a combined birthday and blogiversary post, and other years I keep them separate. That's what I'm doing this year! Tomorrow is my birthday, so I'll be sharing a more personal birthday blog post then, and keeping today's focused on celebrating all things Southern Belle in Training! 

    While there are new influencers that pop up on Instagram every single day, bloggers that have been running their websites for 5+ years seem to be getting more fewer and far between. I've seen a lot of changes in the seven years I've been apart of this crazy online world! I thought it would be fun to list out 25 ways that I think blogging has changed since I started. (25 in honor of my 25th birthday tomorrow. 😊) Making this list made me realize there are a lot of things about the "old days" of blogging that I do miss! But with that said, I'm also glad for some of the positive changes that have happened in the last several years.

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25 Ways Blogging Has Changed in 7 Years (2012-2019): 

1. Blogger > Influencer - I had never heard of the term "influencer" in 2012. What was that? The only term I used to describe myself was a blogger... I had a blog that I updated regularlyso therefore I was one!

2. No presets - Something else I'd never heard of! All blog and Instagram photos back then were preset-free. However...

3. Instagram filters - The days of heavy lightroom presets hadn't arrived yet, but the days of Instagram filters in full force were going strong. (Valencia anyone?)

4. Blogging was focus, not Instagram - Bloggers had Instagram accounts was the way of the times, not Instagram influencers having blogs. Sometimes I really miss that precedent!

5. Instagram Algorithm worked - I distinctly remember that it was 2015 when people started heavily complaining about Instagram algorithms, and it's only gotten worse since.

6. Blogger > Wordpress - I'm one of the few and proud who still use Blogger, but there used to be tons more of us! Nowadays it's Wordpress (and very expensive custom sites) that is most popular by far.

7. Link-ups were the thing - Doing link-ups with other bloggers was such a thing back in the day! Whether they were fashion link-ups or related more to lifestyle/getting to know you, everyone did them.

8. Liebster award - This might've been the most iconic link-up type thing of all. If you know this, you know! (Here's my Liebster award blog post from 2013... some of the answers to this are so embarrassing, but others were really fun to look back on!)

9. rewardStyle was more exclusive - I worked my butt off with improving my blog content for two and a half years before being accepted into rewardStyle in 2016. It used to be really exclusive and they would decline a lot of people! Now with the rise of LiketoKnow.It, it seems almost anyone with an Instagram account can get into rS.

10. Chevron and bubble necklaces - Were you even a blogger back in the day if you weren't rocking these on the regular?

11. Blog comments were essential - Blog post comments used to hold a lot more weight back in the day- they were as crucial to determining if someone was "successful" as Instagram likes are today!

12. What's the Nordstrom Sale? - Nordstrom was still having their famous annual sale back then, but bloggers didn't start heavily covering it until 2013 or 2014.

13. Preppy > VSCO girl aesthetic - Bloggers wanted to be prep queens and all the cool bloggers were super preppy! These days, the aesthetic seems to be hardcore "VSCO girl".

14. No loop giveaways - Literally these didn't exist yet! I did a few back when they first came out- I think I did my first one in 2014 or 2015. (FYI I stopped doing them for good in 2016!)

15. Focus on personal style, not selling clothes - Bloggers were sharing really fun and unique outfits that they'd make from shopping their own closets... not buying and returning clothes just so they always had something "new" and could make money off the affiliate links.

16. Travel posts were for memories - Travel posts were more like personal vacation diaries- travel blogging as a career wasn't a thing!

17. Mall fashion > online retailers - Most bloggers still shopped mainly at mall retailers! I hadn't even heard of popular online retailers like Baublebar and Shein yet.

18. Blog posts were like journals, not magazine articles - While in some ways I do respect the professionalism standards that most bloggers hold these days, there was something special and innocent about how most blog posts back in the day used to read like journal entries.

19. Hobby > business - Going off of my last point- everyone blogged as a hobby! Doing it full-time wasn't a thing yet.

20. Wasn't normal to make friends from it - This is something I'm glad has changed in recent years, as I've met some awesome women through blogging. Back in the day it was seen as dangerous and taboo to make a friend through the internet!

21. Value has increased for sponsored content - Another positive thing! Back in the day, brands really didn't understand the value of working with bloggers to promote things. You were lucky if you could get something gifted, and if you received any payment at all it was amazing! My very first sponsored blog post I think I made $25 and I was over the moon.

22. No LiketoKnow.It - It literally didn't exist yet! Crazy now to imagine Instagram without it.

23. Southern bloggers were everywhere - I was so proud to go to school down South because it made me an honorary Southerner! Now people everywhere have blogs, but back then it definitely seemed to be a higher percentage of Southern girls.

24. Flatlays everywhere - Such a popular photo style for Instagram as well as blog post! I never quite got the hang of taking these types of photos and was glad when that trend started to die.

25. Bokeh effects - Who else remembers when everyone was using different apps to put bokeh filters on their Instagram pictures? I was totally guilty of this in 2014 especially.

     And there you have it friends! If you've also been blogging for awhile or reading blogs for a long time, I'd love to hear if you have anymore things to add to my list! Also wanted to give a shout-out to a few bloggers I've been following since the very beginning who are still going strong today: McKenna, Caitlin and Rachel!

     Here's to seven more years of blogging... and hopefully even more then that?

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese



  1. I went back and looked at your Liebster Award post and about passed out when I saw your nominations... Taylor from The Pre-Vet Prep is me!!! 🤣I don't know how I forgot about that- I wish I could find my post, but it's been long gone along with that blog. (But I'm still around and occasionally write at!) All this to say that it's crazy I've been reading here for 7 years! Congratulations and you go girl!

    1. Oh my gosh TOO funny girl! Thank you for still following! <3

  2. Congrats on 7 years friend- that's amazing!!! It's so fun to see what's changed for the better in blogging- although I definitely miss the good old days sometimes ;) Cheers to our blog friendship :) XO

  3. Congratulations on the blog turning 7.
    Happy birthday and much more to come for happiness and joy.

  4. Ahh this dress is sooo gorgeous! I love these photos. OMG congrats on 7 years. You nailed all of these points. Although I’ve only been blogging around 3 years, I have always very closely followed bloggers for at least 7+ years. Things really have changed. I am so glad we connected.

  5. HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY Annaliese! 7 Years is a great accomplishment! I loved your list of things you have seen change. I think I'm only on year 5, but I have seen the same things happen! It really has evolved. I'm a Blogger girl too! I think Blogger is so easy to use and customize. Free is great too, haha.

  6. A little late, but congratulations on your 7th blogversary! Your blogs (and you) have grown so much over the past 7 years. When I found your blog and read it from the beginning, it had such an influence on me. The way you state things and handle your life (good things and bad things) helped direct me recovering from my stroke. Keep growing but do not change or sacrifice that things you believe in - you are special. I would modify #20 or add #26 to be you have met some great people through blogging. I can do many things but being a woman is not one of them. I feel lucky to have met you Annaliese!!


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