I’m writing this at 4am, Costa Rica time, with severe jet lag and after spending a good hour or so replying to emails, comments and messages; it suddenly occurred to me just how many messages I get asking questions about how to start a blog, how to edit your Instagram images, advice on how to monetise your content, and personal questions too. I’m yet to build an FAQ page, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t impart a little wisdom on a blog post to share with you. So here are a few of the questions that I’ve been asked recently which hopefully will shed a little light on blogging and what I do on a daily basis! I hope you enjoy. xo
Q: How do you start a blog?
A: This is a great question, and my answer is always; just start. Head over to blogspot, think carefully about a name, and start posting. No-one expects your blog to be as glossy and perfect as those that have been around for years, and each and every blogger started somewhere. Most bloggers delete their first blogs and first posts (I havn’t) because their styles develop and change so quickly. It’s only once you start that you’ll learn what style suits you, how often you can afford to write and edit a new post, and what you love to write about.
Once you’ve set up a blogspot account and have pulled together your first post, you’re probably going to want to make the design a little more fancy, and this is so incredibly easy. Head over to Etsy or Pipdig to look at some very affordable yet beautiful blog templates. Over time you may decide to invest in a bespoke design, I updated my bespoke design for the second time at the beginning of this year and I love it, but it was an investment, so not something that you want to spend a fortune on if you’re just starting out.
Personally once I had written a few posts, I then started to share them across my social media channels, and eventually converted both my Twitter and my Instagram to my blog, and set up a Facebook group too. It’s pretty important to set up an account on Bloglovin’ too so that your blog can be found, and readers can follow your updated posts.
A final note on this question is that writing a blog is not as easy as it looks. Many friends of mine and girls / guys that I know have started a blog because they’ve seen how mine has grown, and have set one up only for it to fizzle out three or four weeks later. This is in no way a criticism of them, but more to highlight that blogging is very hard work, it takes motivation and serious commitment. Coming up with new ideas, photographing, editing, writing, scheduling, it takes a very long time, and building a following is not an easy feat. So, if you want to become a blogger, stick to it; those posts won’t write themselves!
Q: How do you grow your following? How do you take your blog to the next level?
A: This is a question that I get asked a lot, but I find very hard to answer. There is no ‘trick’ and each blogger or YouTuber I’m sure will give a different response. When it came to taking my blog full time, it was the result of patience, perseverance and passion behind it. I didn’t have any favours or piggy back off anyone else’s success – I won’t pretend that it wasn’t hard work! With blogging, it comes down to you alone, and how much you’re willing to bring to the table. Blogging is an incredibly saturated market so think about what you can offer that no one else can? Yourself! So use it to your advantage and don’t try to do what everyone else is doing, just be yourself.
Promoting your blog is down to social media, at least at the beginning. Use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube to your advantage; they connect you to billions of users so market yourself in a strategic way. Brand your social media outlets and push your content in a useful (not spammy!) way. Most importantly, be patient. It won’t happen overnight, these things take time!
Taking my blog full time was an incredibly scary and bold decision. I get asked a lot when you should take it full time, and I honestly think you’ll just know when it feels right. When you’re becoming so busy with your blog that you simply don’t have enough time to work in another job and blog, and when you’re earning a reasonably consistent income that you can live from, those are good indicators. Don’t push it just because it’s what other bloggers are doing, I blogged for almost two years before realising that taking it full time was the only option if I wanted to grow Fashion Mumblr.
For me, the main assets that helped my grow my following were; time dedication, instagram and YouTube. Firstly time – as I mentioned growing your blog doesn’t happen over night and each blogger grows at a different rate. Some successful bloggers have been blogging for up to ten years, others two years, others just one. It takes a while to settle on your voice and your style and you have to dedicate time to understand what your audience likes and don’t like. Secondly Instagram. My target audience are those that spend hours each day scrolling through their feeds, looking for inspirational content. It seemed unsurprising that as my Instagram following grew, as did my blog readership. My content was being shared by brands, exposing me and the blog to a much wider audience. Finally YouTube. Since starting my YouTube channel I noticed a rise in my blog readership, and also brand engagement. It seems that starting a YouTube channel really helped to increase my exposure, and was definitely a main contributing factor when it came to taking my blog full time.
Q: How do you grow your Instagram?
A: Oh how I wish there was just one simple answer for this! Instagram is a fascinating platform that we are all so obsessed with, and arguably the most important for brands. Engagement is absolutely key for growth, increasing your exposure and keeping your followers coming back for more. Create expectations and stick to them. Have a rough posting schedule and stick to it where possible. Reply to comments, like other peoples photos and leave comments on other peoples photos. Use hashtags; you can do this in the post title or the first comment. It doesn’t hurt, but don’t spam – 5 is enough. Brand your feed. When people first discover your page they will have a first impression based on your ‘grid’ and this is why it’s so important that your images sit together beautifully (I could write an entire post on this!) and give off the right vibe about you and your content. Are you capturing someones attention within the first few seconds of them laying eyes on your page?
Q: How do you make money from your blog / Instagram?
A: It’s mostly ‘real life’ people that ask me this question, as opposed to it coming from the online community, but I get asked this a lot (the amount of raised eyebrows and confused looks that I get when I say I blog as my full time career is quite incredible!) so thought I’d address it here. Simply put, there are two main ways; through affiliate links and sponsored content. As your blog and social channels grow, brands may wish to sponsor content and provide a fee in return for a blog post / Instagram post / YouTube video / Tweet or even Snapchat story. That’s how I earn most of my income, but also through affiliate links. I use rewardStyle so sometimes when a reader clicks on a link to a product and makes a purchase, I earn a small commission.
Q : What is your typical daily routine as a full time blogger?
A: A really great question – and the answer? There is no daily routine as a full time blogger. I’d say I work between 80 – 100 hours a week, and ‘switching off’ or ‘finishing work for the day’ does not really happen or exist when a social media presence is required at all times. I love my job and wouldn’t trade it for anything but I work very hard, and am not content unless I am being productive.
Usually Monday is my admin day, so I’ll ensure all emails are responded to, schedule some posts, plan, arrange meetings, edit posts and edit videos as well as planning what needs to be done throughout the week. Do I have any deadlines approaching? Do I have videos filmed for the upcoming week? Do I need to buy anything or call in any samples for any upcoming work? I plan these things usually on a Monday.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday usually consist of getting up early (usually around 6.30) and beginning work at 7.30 after a little time spent playing with Dexter, planning that the day’s content is scheduled and answering some more emails before heading into Central London for breakfast/lunch/coffee meetings, launch events, previews etc and perhaps meeting with blogger friends to brainstorm, plan collaborations, or shoot some content. Each day is different depending on my events and meetings, and any collaborations I have in the pipeline!
Friday is usually filming and photography day but this can be switched around depending on the weather (I need sunlight, but not too much!!) and other arrangements during the week. I’ll spend the whole day setting up and shooting the content, with breaks between each shoot to answer emails etc.
I try not to work to much over the weekend but naturally there’s always more to be done. That’s the thing when you are your own boss – you get out what you put in so I always want to put in more effort and achieve more. I tend to get work done early in the mornings before Charlie gets up so that we can then enjoy the weekend together. I love to watch Charlie play rugby on Saturdays but if I have a lot of work to do, I’ll stay home to finish up so that we can enjoy the afternoon and evening together.
So I hope that this post was both useful and interesting, and answers a few questions you might have about blogging! If you have anything else you’d like to ask then definitely tweet me and I’ll try my best to get back to you ASAP!
Photography by Joe Galvin
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