It’s New York Fashion Week, and the “Internets” is alive with fashion snaps of effortlessly stylish posing on busy Manhattan streets. As you ponder all those beautiful clothes, confident gazes and (supposedly) candid moments of cool, you realize you are ready to place that “@”symbol before your name, put your digital camera to work, and launch your very own fashion blog.
Congrats on taking it to the next level! Free clothes and endorsement deals could be just around the corner, so roll up your sleeves: we’ve outlined the first few steps to realizing your 15 minutes of digital fame.
Step 1: Name Your Blog
You’ve come up with a great name. You’ve polled your friends, loved ones and agreeable coworkers. They either hate it or think you’re brilliant. We say go with the smart money — it’s brilliant!
Here are a couple philosophical (and practical) things to consider when naming this blog. Why are you doing this: what is your blog going to be about; what’s your angle? Does this name communicate that? Or at least your sensibility, humor, intellect – what makes you fabulous? Your blog name should reflect all these lofty ideas. Next, do your research. It’s possible someone else has already snatched up the name you’ve fallen in love with. Query the Domain Name Database to make sure no one else has registered that perfect blog name.
Glamhivegirl Caroline from styleontheside.com, used knowem.com, which scans over 500 popular social networks and the entire USPTO Trademark Database, to ensure that she picked a winner. She adds, “Some of the best advice I ever received was to have consistent branding across all my platforms so that brands and PR professionals could easily find me.” If it all looks clear, register it immediately! The first step to promoting yourself is to have an easy to remember domain name (web address).
This is now your digital brand. Start staking your territory; register your handle on Facebook, Glamhive (ahem), Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. Save those passwords somewhere! You’ll be back later with graphics and banners created with PicMonkey that will make your profile look amazing!
Have fun coming up with your perfect blog name and know that it, too, can be a work in progress. Glamhivegirl, Gigi-D shares her story:
Step 2. Set Up your Blog
There are plenty of options and help to get you where you need to go. New platforms and services launch daily. SquareSpace was mentioned by a few bloggers we spoke to – but the jury’s still out. We’ll just cover two of the most widely used platforms at the moment, either of which are a great place to start.
Blogger, which is free and, if you aren’t much of a geek, relatively easy to work. If you’re super caffeinated, you can be up and running in 15 minutes. Some of the advantages of using blogger are:
You can use your own domain name and avoid a subdomain.blogger.com address. (Just, no. Make that ten dollar investment!)
You can add bells and whistles without too much tech know-how.
You can also avoid learning anything about SEO, backing up your blog, or tech-y things you will have to be on top of, should you go a more independent route.
The downside is, Blogger can suspend your account if they think you’ve violated their terms and conditions. (Like who has time to read those?) You probably won’t have a reckoning with Blogger anytime soon but, may have to figure out how to transfer your blog over to WordPress when you outgrow the blogger.com platform. Moving, even in the digital world, is no fun.
We suggest you start on WordPress. The top 100 blogs, PicMonkey and Glamhive’s Blog are all WordPress blogs. What we love about WordPress is there’s a plugin for everything- backups, SEO, social sharing, even e-commerce, you name it, plus at the end of the day YOU own your blog.
What we don’t love about WordPress is that you’ll have to turn on the side of your brain that likes to remain happily untroubled with technical things. You can set up your WordPress site through any web hosting company worth using. Most offer a simplified one-click WordPress installation, so you can be up and running in 5 minutes.
But, there’s an expense for going pro. Adding up your domain name purchase, hosting, WordPress theme. Count on approximately $60-100 a year.
There are plenty of ready-to-go themes for WordPress, some are even free!
Simple is the way to go: throw up a logo, pick a font, and a color scheme and you’re off and running. PicMonkey has logo design tips and branding tips to get you started. Make sure your design and layout choices will complement your future images and photography, not compete! (Remember Myspace? ’Nuff said.)
An affordable resource for design and technical help are sites Elance and Upwork, where you can hire freelance help by the hour. Always ask for links of previous work and references!
Step 3. Start Blogging!
Post awesome content. And do it consistently.
Glamhivegirl Anne from DailyFashionMuse posts daily. (Go get it, Ann!), while most bloggers we spoke to post, on average, twice weekly. Regular, quality fresh content is crucial in growing a following and building a reputation.
Here are a few ideas to get you going:
Behind the scenes — your closet, your work buddies, your home.
What’s inspiring you today.
A day-in-the-life montage (Picmonkey has a super easy to use collage tool).
A color-themed post.
A product review.
Outfits based on movies, characters, places.
What you packed/wore on your recent or upcoming weekend trip.
A fashion problem you have, and how you solve it.
When it comes to getting the shots, you may have to recruit a “local” help to get you started. Give an inexperienced photographer plenty of direction so you end up with photos you can work with!
Other bloggers suggest begging friends and relatives and admit that hiring photographers are probably their biggest blog-related expense, as quality images make your blog stand out.
“Ask other bloggers! They’ll know what angles are good, and it’ll be easier to communicate your thought process to them,” recommends Glamhivegirl Dana, from the somethinggoodblog.
One last thing to consider is SEO. Search engine optimization gets your content found when people search a particular term or phrase. You need to master a few basics, like: try to write 300 words per blog post; use relevant keywords in your title, headlines, and meta descriptions. Google is pretty smart, but following basic best practices will go a long way in allowing your blog to be discovered by new readers. Jeff Bullas offers great best practices and tips for bloggers.
Step 4. Network Like There’s No Tomorrow
Spread those social butterfly wings and get to work building your social media presence. Announce your blog on Facebook. Tell your mother, sister, and best friend to post your blog link, post photos on sites like Glamhive and Instagram, engage with other bloggers on their blog or Twitter! Join IFB, and other blogger organizations. Cross post your content everywhere! Be funny, interesting, and authentic. Share the stuff you love and spread the love by @mentioning others.
One final thought, before you go forth and start creating your digital brand: don’t forget to have fun!
PicMonkey’s partnering to bring you these expert tips from Glamhive, the world’s first style community that rewards people for sharing their personal style and for shopping the looks they love.
Join a community that loves style, fashion and photography as much as you do and be rewarded. Join Glamhive.