Wow how fast a year goes by. So fast in fact that I didn’t even realise that Bonfire night was the day I wrote my first ever blog post!
I’ve had so much fun over the past year, finding my blogging feet and shaping my blog into what it is today. It’s gone through so many changes as I experimented with different looks until I finally landed on how I wanted it to look.
I started out thinking that I would be writing mainly fashion related posts, in actuality I have realised my real passion is makeup, haha who knew?!
For me blogging is a great creative release and a way to help other people feel good about themselves. Another added bonus is the great friends I’ve made along the way.
I thought it’d be nice to include a few tips of what I’ve learnt this past year…
Setting up your blog
When you start setting your blog up it can be mind-blowing! There are so many platforms to choose from. I went for wordpress because I liked the way it was set up and I felt I could be more creative with the way it looked. WordPress has loads of free and paid themes that you adapt to look exactly how you like, without having to pay for a designer to build your site.
I have always gone with free themes. You can make logo’s yourself and place them in your header bar. Playing around with your colour scheme and layout is the only real way to discover how you want your blog to look. Trying to copy someone else’s style is only going to leave you frustrated because it’s not really ever going to be your style.
My blog has gone through so many changes. It used to be quite fussy, where as now I opt for a more minimalist and clean look. It took me ages to get it like this though so don’t worry if you’re not there yet, you will eventually nail your perfect look!
The first thing I would say is don’t ever post for the sake of posting! Only write about what you a) know about and b) what you feel passionately about. Write in a way that is comfortable to you. Again don’t try to copy what other people are writing about or the way they write. Just do you and let your personality shine through. People will feel more of a connection to you if you do, and it’s more likely they’ll come back to see what else you’re writing about.
When I’m looking for blogs to read the biggest invite for me is great images! You don’t need to buy an all singing and dancing camera. Just take your time to create nice shots in day light! I can’t stress how important day light is for images, especially makeup shots. This is a lesson I’ve learnt the hard way.
Daylight pictures look cleaner and brighter and show of the product or look you are trying to showcase perfectly. I tend to spend a couple of hours taking a lot of pictures of products or looks I’ll be reviewing that week. You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn every day, just be organised and have one session.
When posting your pics you can create all sorts of lovely collages and effects on loads of free apps such as collage makers, Picasa and the like. What I would say though is that if you’re showcasing makeup products never run them through a filter. You need to show them in natural light so people can see them as near their true form as possible.
Blogging for me has never been an excuse to score free products and invites. Don’t get me wrong it’s lovely when this happens, but really it’s not the be all and end all. Lots of people will get in contact to have you write about their sites or even to offer free products. What you have to remember is that people are reading your blog for advice. If you take every free product and rave about it because you want more free stuff then you are doing a disservice to your readers.
When people get in touch to offer freebies check the company out. Is it something you would choose to spend money on anyway? If not why? Do you think that it something you believe in or think is over-priced garbage? Alternatively does the product look good, interesting and something you think your readers would love?
If you do decide to work with companies you need to be 100% honest with them. Explaining that you will always be truthful in reviews. If you hate a product it’s always better to explain to the company that you did and why, give them the choice as to whether you post a review or not. I mean the product may be good but just didn’t work for you, it may be fab for other people, companies may be happy for you to post that kind of info. If however you are going to slate them it may be better not to post anything so you don’t offend people. To avoid being in this position in the first place you should always research the companies and products you are going to work with. Another massively important thing to do is to be 100% transparent with your readers. If you are doing a sponsored post or received the product as a *PR sample you should ensure that you tell them this. Also make sure you have a good disclaimer!
Now lots of us bloggers don’t fall into one category, fashion blogger, beauty blogger, etc. We all have our own passions and may have a few interests we love to write about. That’s why my tag line is Fashion, Beauty, Life, Inspiration. I like a blog that has menus with subjects clearly labelled. That way when I’m having a nose around I can find exactly what I’m interested in. I write about Beauty, but I also separate this into reviews, tutorials, skin care, dupes, news, etc. That way people can find easily exactly what they’re looking for.
Another idea is to have a regular posting schedule. No one’s saying you have to post every day, trust me I’ve tried it and it’s hard. Instead opt for regular posts, say Mon, Weds, Fri and/or Sat/Sun. Opt for what works for you, even if it’s only Tues/Thurs. Having some kind of consistency will keep people coming back.
Ignore the STATS!
This is a hard one. I used to be obsessed with my stats and follow count. These days not so much! Instead I love the interaction with my readers. People can click like on your posts without even reading it. Someone that takes the time to leave a comment however has actually read your post and hopefully enjoyed it. Take the time to reply and go and have a little nosey at what they have been up to.
Trust me if you stay true to yourself and write interesting content from your own unique perspective then you will engage your audience and the followers and stats will rise over time.
This is an area that a lot of people use in different ways. I’ve tried loads of methods, encouraging people to follow on these sites is fruitless though. You’re better getting involved with twitter chats and the like. Getting to know people and building friendships is the best way to get a proper following that will actually look at your blog from time to time. A like for a like or follow for a follow will get you no where, trust me I’ve tried it and it’s pointless!
These days I just let my twitter and facebook do their own thing. I don’t worry about numbers and just post my content, look for other great content to re-tweet and try to get involved in chats with other like-minded people!
I’ve done quite a few of these and let me tell you they are great! I’ve met some great blogging friends who love the same things as me. Every now and then we get together in a post showcasing different ways to pull off a different look or ways to eat healthy, etc. Not everyone has the same taste as me, so having other people involved giving different tips and ideas is a fun way to get more people involved.
So my lovelies that’s all for this post. If you have any tips or advice for me I’d love to hear it. Now I wish I could say I’m off to have a piece of cake to celebrate my blogs 1st birthday, but I have to squeeze into my ball dress in a week so I need to stitch my mouth up ;O)
PEACE & LOVE
Sonya D x