This post is a special one because it marks the 300th of Courtney Fashionista. I did have a cute outfit to share, but decided to switch it up a with some tips for beginning a blog. Every now and then, people will reach out for my advice and I thought this would be an appropriate post to share some knowledge for aspiring bloggers. After 300 posts, I’ve definitely learned a lot about blogging. And although it’s a hobby that requires continuous learning, I’m happy to share what I know now. Here are a few tips for beginning a blog.
This is always the first piece of advice that I give. With successful blogs containing professional content, it’s easy to want perfection right off the bat. This however, is definitely a process. I’m still evolving the look of my site, the content, images…everything. There are a lot of moving pieces to keep up with, so to start a blog you just need to start somewhere.
The first thing I did was figure out my genre, name and platform. Then, I just started writing. It took a while to find my voice and purpose. There are many posts that are like looking back on an embarrassing hair cut, but I have to remind myself that I was learning.
Also, I think it’s important to mention that blogging and social media are ever evolving. Therefore, its important to have a willingness to learn. It’s likely to always have something you’ll want to update or change. Get a handle on the basics and perfect the details as you go.
Be sure before investing
Full disclosure, blogging is probably the most expensive hobby I could have chosen. To have a fashion blog I need to keep up with my wardrobe, pay for photographers, website hosting, design, a lot. There have been many weeks that I’ve eaten spaghetti so that I can pay for pictures. And I’m still paying off the Canon I bought two years ago.
Blogging is a huge time and financial investment, with very little return for a very long time. Those who reach out to me asking only how they can make money or get free clothes are typically the people who stop after three months. This is why I recommend waiting before running out and buying a camera or pricy design template. You need to really love blogging to keep up with it. I had the free version of WordPress until my second year and it was around that time I bought my camera. Once I realized that my desire for blogging wasn’t stopping, it felt like the right time to invest.
Don’t Let Free Swag Ruin Your Authenticity
The first time I was sent free clothes was one of the wildest moments of my life. It felt like true validation. In the beginning, there were definitely times when I accepted an item and immediately regretted it. One in particular was when a local company asked to send me clothes in exchange for a post. I accepted without even knowing what was being sent. What I received was poorly made and something that I’d never wear, let alone buy. I was mortified, but still felt an obligation to post the products. Now, I always pick the product and only work with reputable brands.
I also never accept beauty products with a promise to promote. My reason being that I really have no clue how well they’ll work. I’ve worked on beauty campaigns with brands I’ve previously used and love or that I am truly curious about, but they know up front that I can’t guarantee a good review. No lip gloss or dress is worth me lying to my readers.
Being consistent is the most consistent piece of advice any and all bloggers give. And to be honest, it’s the one thing I really need to work on. It’s important to post on the same day and time each week so your readers know when to expect new content. This ultimately leads to more page views and site visits.
Sunday night is my one consistent post time, but I try to post one or two more times that week. Sometimes though, life gets super busy and I don’t have the time. Confirming my content calendar and photo shoots one month in advance definitely helps.
Also, the “be consistent” rule applies to social media posts! I use a few apps to help schedule my content throughout the week. Buffer is great for Twitter. I use Board Booster and Tailwind for Pinterest. Since a majority of my leads come from Facebook, I utilize my business page quite a bit. You can also schedule posts on business pages, as well as promote them to gain more traffic.
Getting your content out there
One of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t learn about SEO (search engine optimization) sooner. I probably didn’t implement writing for SEO until about a year ago. I use the Yoast plugin on WordPress to help. I could honestly write a whole post just on this topic, but I’m still learning a lot myself. There are, however, a ton of articles on writing for SEO out there.
Once your post is published, there’s still a lot more work to be done to promote it. Having a strong social media presence is extremely helpful. Again, I could write an entire post on how to grow your social media, but my tip for being consistent is definitely helpful. There’s also a lot of (free) references and guides online for Instagram and Pinterest. I love Danielle of Pineapples and Prosecco’s Pinterest Challenge, definitely check that out!
I’ve also found that reposting past articles is very helpful. Just because a post is three months old doesn’t mean it isn’t still relevant. I use my Buffer app to reschedule older posts to Twitter and started doing a Throw Back Thursday on Facebook. Of course, repinning via Pinterest is also extremely beneficial!
If you have more questions or would like me to write about more blogging topics, please feel free to comment below I’ll be sure to give as many more tips for beginning a blog as I can!