The Five S’s of Blogging for Beginners

I’m no pro-blogger. I didn’t start it to make money, or get noticed, or collaborate with brands. If all that happened one day, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t complain but, blogging is actually enjoyable to me– exactly as it is.

I’ve always loved writing and reading but, I haven’t been contributing to the fashion and beauty world for very long at all. However, I do have a few tips that have come in handy up to this point that might help some of you newer bloggers out. I’m no marketing guru, graphic designer, or english teacher so, take my advise for what you think it’s worth and apply what seems constructive for you. 🙂

  • STYLE– When you first set up your site on a blogging forum like WordPress, Blogger, Weebly…etc., one of the very first things you are asked to do is to customize the appearance of your homepage. Keeping in mind that most of us are rather indecisive, especially if we aren’t yet sure about the content of out blog, the general presentation of the information we fill the site with is subject to change a few times. For instance, I’m sure that some of the people that began following me when I had a bright orange, aztec patterned background are shocked and hardly recognize the more calming, herring-bone design, seaside colors that now represent who I am as an online personality.

Many websites won’t let you completely re-design the layout and format of the blog unless you buy a domain name and certain other upgrades. However, if you are just starting out and don’t know just how far this adventure is going to take you, upgrading is not immediately necessary. Give it a good 3-6 months before you make a decision. Take an objective look at your homepage each time you log on and take mental note of what you like about it and what you don’t. Experiment with your sidebar, widgets, and navigation options. Observe what you like about other blogs that you frequent. What makes them welcoming? What would you change? Once you have a pretty good handle on who you are as a blogger (which we will talk about next), you can give your domain a more personalized and permanent look that your followers will enjoy as much as you do.

You also need to determine what type of “voice” you want to come across when others read your posts and articles. Whether you are perky and peppy or more of a monotone speaker… stay true to who you are. You’ll strike a balance of enthusiasm and holding your readers’ attention somewhere along the way.

  • SINCERITY- Never (I repeat), NEVER try to be someone else in your online space. We all wish we had certain qualities that our friends, family members, or icons display but, if you try to adopt a fake persona on your website it won’t come across naturally in the way you word your content. To put it simply, if you’re having trouble writing it, it won’t be enjoyable to read.

Further, if you do eventually end up doing business with other companies or franchises, and have to meet with representatives in person, talk with them on the phone, or converse with them through email, they will expect the same type of opinions and expressions to come through. If you fail to deliver the passion and/or professionalism that you do on your website they may lose interest in working with you because you seem to lack sincerity; either about your subject matter or the collaboration in general.

Write/Vlog about something you are interested and feel comfortable with. The more you delight in your subject matter, the more your readers will be entertained by considering it. For example, I love bloggers who can make me laugh, are charming, and persuasive. Don’t strive for greatness from the get-go. Strive to be genuine and the rest will follow.

  • SELFLESSNESS- You might have gotten to this point of the post and started thinking, “What does being selfless have to do with blogging?” but, it has a lot to do with it. It takes time, effort, and imagination to put together & edit a feature on any given subject. Even if you aren’t into the entire writing process (brainstorming, drafting, & final draft) make sure you have plenty of time set aside to devote your undivided attention to your ideas or the concept you want to convey might get lost in translation.

If you’re like me, you start a post 3 days before you actually post it and just add a little bit each day. Any way you choose, start with an open mind and end with a finished product. (Yes, complete sentences and all 😉 )

  • SHELF LIFE– Something I never thought much about before I started blogging was that any information you decide to report on (fashion, technology, cooking technique…etc)– they all have a shelf life. Think hard about how many times a week you will update your blog. Will you refresh your posts every day? If you can’t write daily, or even weekly, will you at least put up a bulletin telling your fans when they can expect new content to be posted? Because, although previously written material still has value for those who have not yet discovered your site and may become future avid readers, you have to keep it fresh for those who are faithfully waiting for your insight, opinion, or advice.
  • SWEET TALKING Last, but not least, we should talk about being noticed. Whether or not your goal is to “make it big”, every blogger wants to be read and feel validated. This is where sweet talking comes in handy.

You might think that there is no way that sugar coating your posts could get you more readers, sponsors…etc.. However, I assure you that you are wrong. Everyone likes to be flattered and/or consulted so, if you have specific products or brands mentioned in your article, why not let them know that they are being written about? A great avenue to do this is Twitter (and other avenues of social media).

As a mode for sharing personal information, I’m not a huge fan of tweeting. When blogging, though, I realized that when I write an article about a certain shoe, handbag, or cosmetic product and I let the retailer know that they’ve been advertised on my blog (for free!) they often retweet my post. So, even though they didn’t offer to do business with me, my story is reaching more people= more traffic to my website. Some of those same individuals may decide to value my opinion, fashion sense, or (lord forbid) humor, enough to push that “Follow” button. Because of that reason I have made more of an effort to be active on Twitter and have recently been in connection with many of my favorite stores & designers!

The other great thing about Twitter is that it gives you access to other bloggers who you can get inspiration from or network with later. Many established bloggers are more than willing to do guest posts for smaller blogs who are looking to build their stats and fan-base.

Alright, those are my tips. Please, leave me a comment below and let me know if you thought this was helpful 🙂

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