This is the follow up post to How I Started My Blog, since I left a lot of unanswered questions in the air. I just really found it important for you to understand where and why and how my blog was started before I began dishing out tips that may seem obvious or pointless. I honestly believe that ultimately the only way a blog will ever become successful is after a lot of time, dedication, creativity, and motivation. As you now know, I started my blog in 2011, which was 2 years after the original top tier influencers launched their blogs. Whatever happened in 2009–maybe there weren’t many fashion bloggers around yet or maybe it was just the magical year to start a blog–is still unknown to me, but all my faves seemed to have started that year. For anyone that came after, or just starting, there is a lot of content circulating out there that may hinder your perspective on blogging.
It has taken me nearly 5 years to really hone in on the aesthetic of my blog, the direction and topics I want to discuss, and most importantly, grow a community. To some those things might just come naturally, and if you’re one of those people, consider yourself very lucky. In the blogging world there are certain milestones you must reach–stats, followers, quality content, press, the list goes on–if you’re trying to grow it as a business that actually makes money. That may sound brash, but it’s the truth.
Below find my list of tips for the infancy phase of starting a blog. If you have further questions for me feel free to leave a comment below. I’m an open book!
TIPS FOR STARTING A BLOG
–Content is key. But more specifically, quality content. There are thousands of blogs out there, but what will differentiate you from the rest? Your content, whether it be imagery, graphics, or writing, needs to be a representation of what you stand for. After all, that is how your audience will get to know you. Create something that is unique to you, that no one can replicate. It will not only resonate with your readers, but also come across as genuine rather than forced.
–Be consistent. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m pretty awful about posting content consistently on the blog. But honestly, when I don’t have something I’m proud of to share I don’t. Most weeks I post 2-3 times, and even though I’m not posting 5-7 times per week, it still takes me hours. Even if you need to start off with a small amount of content each week, try not to leave your readers hanging for weeks at a time. And if you are traveling and can’t fathom dragging a computer along (like me), be sure to keep your audience engaged on other channels (ie: Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).
–Set high standards. Not to be repetitive, but if you aren’t completely happy with a post / image, don’t post it. Only showcase your best work, and with that said, always give 100%. It’s not worth your time or energy to post something as a “filler,” your audience will be able to tell.
–Invest in a good camera. Typically the first thing a reader sees is an image from your blog, then they fall in love you with your content / writing. Typically. Not always. Just like in relationships, people must first have a physical attraction to your blog. This does not mean YOU need to be in the photos, it just means that whatever imagery goes along with your posts needs to be quality. Learning to use my Canon t3i, which is what I use for anything I’m shooting, took me a few years. It’s totally intimidating, but once you get the hang of it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. I never took a photography class or anything, I just kept practicing until I was finally happy with my photography A-Z (shooting, lighting, quality, editing, etc.).
–Learn a graphic design program. Such as Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, etc. These programs will help when it comes time to designing your logo, newsletter, collages, photo editing, the works. I was lucky enough to learn how to use these programs in school (FIDM), but honestly everything I use them for today is self taught.
–Collaborate with brands & other influencers. To grow your following, it is imperative to collaborate with others. When I first started out I was working with brands that were less known. While some might say only collaborate with brands you’re 100% obsessed with, I beg to differ. I do think it’s important to only collaborate with a brand that are a good fit for your blog, but don’t shy away from working with a brand that’s not quite as popular as you’d like. You have to start somewhere and this will let other brands know that you are open to partnering. I feel super fortunate to be working with brands that I personally admire and have been following for years. BUT, it took a lot of time to get to this point and knowing that I’ve reached this goal is very fulfilling.
–Be proactive. This goes back to my point about collaborating. For the longest time I was only working with brands that reached out to me. Big mistake. A lot of brands don’t know I exist, so not sure what I was thinking. This year I made it a goal to reach out to brands that I love and the responses have been overwhelmingly positive. This has also contributed to the growth I’ve experienced so far this year, and who knows, if I didn’t start reaching out I could have just been at the same point I was last year.
-Create a beautiful website. It’s very easy to pick a template on WordPress (or whatever platform you choose) and plug in your logo and think you’re good to go. NO. You must, must, must make your website stand out. Think of it as your online home. You want to take pride in your [online] home. You want it to represent you, your style, your aesthetic. It took me years to be 80% happy with my site. I’ve worked with different developers and designers to customize my site, but there is always something I’ll want to change. Maybe that’s just the perfectionist in me speaking, but it is important to have a site that is visually pleasing and professional. After all, this is a business!
–Realize the commitment. As I previously mentioned, there are tons of blogs out there. I’d say a good amount start a blog and quickly realize the amount of work that goes into it and then change their mind. It’s no easy feat. Blogging can be a full-time job but realistically it starts out as a side project. That side project has the potential to become a profitable business, it just takes time, focus, and commitment. Most of my parents friends (even some family, to be honest) still don’t understand “what I do.” It definitely gets old but I’m confident and proud of what I’ve created, and once I explain to people how this works they no longer think I just take photos of myself for a living.
Photography by: Felicia Lasala