How do you figure out what your personal brand entails? Are you inspired by beachy style and coastal living? Do you especially love baking (and eating) deserts? Are you really into thrift shopping or DIY? Or do you love high end fashion and runway looks? Those are few examples of specific niches that you can build an entire blog around. I would focus on your favorite colors, hobby, place, etc., to get started and hone in on what really interested you. From there you need a catchy title and a fabulous design…
As a total internet-obsessed geek, I am fascinated by blog and website designs/layouts. Lucky for us though, we don’t have to be HTML pros to be able to have a gorgeous blog design. My first design was a $15 Designer Blogs template, which the amazing team at Designer Blogs installed for me. Their templates are a brilliant and a less expensive alternative to having a design custom made. They’re all so simple and beautiful and will look unique with your own header/title. I bought a few widgets from them as well, such as the “Pin It” button and the “About Me” blurb. It’s honestly up to you to decide which add-ons you think your blog needs most. You can pick and choose and always add them as you go!
One of the most important tips I can give for starting a blog is to be consistent with how often you post new content and to write about things that are original and genuinely interest you. This also demands that you post high quality content. Crisp, clear, and large pictures are a must. As well as writing that reflects your personality and has a unique tone.
I would definitely recommend investing in a digital camera (I have the Sony A7) or a professional photographer to take your blog photos. It’s amusing how most top tier bloggers have their boyfriends take their photos (“hey, do you mind snapping a quick photo of me?!” We’ve all been there…), but that doesn’t always have to be the case–your dad or little sister is a great option too:) If you ask around, you’d be surprised at how many aspiring photographers would love to add a few fashion shots to their portfolio! I’ve also recently reached out to a wedding photographer in my area, and she has graciously agreed to take pictures of me in her spare time!
Regarding blog graphics, like the one I made for this post, I use Canva, which is a fool-proof and free graphic design program. It is super easy to use and creates beautiful graphics! I create collages featuring items on a blank slide on Powerpoint (Powerpoint can do EVERYTHING!), though Photoshop can do the same, and link them through rewardStyle, which I will explain more…
When it comes to marketing your blog posts, your ultimate goal is to direct traffic to your site. One of the biggest marketing tools I use is social media. By integrating all of your social accounts to represent your blog’s brand, you can build an entire network of platforms that can market your blog posts. I would recommend having a Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook page, and Instagram account all for your blog. It’s smart to use the same photo you use for the “About Me” section on your blog as the profile photo for all of your social accounts, so that they can be easily identified with your blog.
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is also something to consider when trying to optimize the traffic your posts receive. In a nut shell, SEO is about getting your site to appear high on the list of results in a search engine, such as Google. For example, when someone types in “I believe in pink,” I want my blog to be the first thing that comes up on the Google page. There are certain things you can do to maximize the chance your site has of showing up on search engine pages. For example, you can use specific “search engine friendly” key words in the title of your blog posts and in the names of the photos you use. There really is no specific recipe to mastering SEO, but be sure to check out this article on the basics of SEO for blogging for more info.
Connecting with Other Bloggers
Have you always admired a particular blogger? Reach out to her! You have absolutely nothing to lose. I’m writing this post because girls reached out to me. Before blogging, I didn’t really know how to connect with other people who had the same interest in writing, photographing, design, etc., like I did. But by participating in blogger meet ups and get togethers, and having many social media friends (ha), I’ve definitely found that community. Just this past week I was able to meet Summer from Mermaid Stilettos for a drink in NYC, and we immediately connected over our common experiences with the ups and downs of blogging. There’s nothing like having a whole network of fellow #girlbosses to encourage you to stay focus and motivated. I’ve learned so much from reading other bloggers’ posts about how they started and grew their blog, so it was about time that I share my tips and tricks too! I’m a big believer in that there’s room enough for us all to succeed in our own way:)
To grow my Instagram specifically, I’ve done a few loop giveaways. This means that I go in with a group of bloggers/boutiques on an amazing giveaway item, such as a Macbook and a Kate Spade tote. For people to “enter” the giveaway, they have to follow everyone in the loop. I have kind of mixed feelings about loop giveaways because I feel that they can look kind of distracting or annoying on my Instagram feed, but at the same time, it gives me the chance to introduce my feed to a ton of people who have never seen it before, and to give away a truly amazing gift to the lucky winner!! (seriously, sometimes the gifts are so good I want to win myself..) This is just another way I get to know and collaborate with other bloggers as well.
There are various affiliate programs that allow bloggers to track the purchases their readers make through their links, which bloggers usually state in their blog’s disclosure. I am a part of rewardStyle, which allows me to include interactive widgets in my posts where you can shop the products I’m wearing as well as most of the products I share through my Instagram. You can read more about rewardStyle works here. While I’ve found these blog widgets to be extremely helpful and widely accepted by my readers, I’ve heard of bloggers getting flak for earning commission on affiliate links or for charging companies to post about their product. As someone who is constantly juggling collaborations and diligently crafting posts on products I’ve tried and loved, I can tell you, it’s a lot of work! The best kind of work if you truly enjoy it, but work nonetheless. Compensation should be given where it is deserved. So if you have a phenomenal site and a professional media kit to go along with it– by all means, go for it! You go girl.
If you are really looking to learn even more about blogging, I would check out The B Bar and Blog Better By Leap for lots of tips and chit chat about every aspect of blogging. Also, take a look at my “Bloggers Gonna Blog” Pinterest board, which has a few more additional resources. The bottom line is that blogging is essentially what you make of it, and it has the ability to provide you with an amazing space and creative outlet where you can keep a personal journal or connect with others. If it wasn’t for blogging, I might still be painting seashells in my garage in order to have calming and creative activity (I really did that, ha). Thankfully, I Believe in Pink provides me with that space, which I love. And I know that there is so much in store for it in the future!
If you’re a blogger, I would love to hear your tips and tricks for blogging as well, so leave a comment or shoot me an email!
p.s. This is the last weekend to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! If you haven’t taken a look at the amazing deals yet, get your booty over there before everything goes back to full price on Monday!! Scroll down to the next post to see the few last-minute items I’m shopping!