Diary of A Fashion Blogger #1

Welcome to my new Docuseries that is all about fashion blogging.  In my “Diary of A Fashion Blogger” docuseries I will be sharing my process of blogging and the ups and downs of being a blogger.  This series is my public diary all about blogging and it gives me a space to share my knowledge in the hopes of helping some of you that are fairly new or aspire to start blogging.  The blogging game is not all peaches and cream; there are good and bad aspects to everything in life.  So come with me on this journey!

Episode 1: Everything Does Not Always Go As Expected  

Blog Disclosures: How Ethical Are Bloggers?

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Many bloggers are extremely uncomfortable with revealing that they are being compensated, but its unlawful not to do so.  I don’t know why this is such a taboo topic!  If you give more than you take, contribute to your community, and produce good quality content you should be compensated for your hard work.  I have witnessed individuals drop $300-$500 dollars on a concert ticket to entertain themselves and make celebrities even more rich, so I’m sure they will not mind you making 5 cents off an affiliate link…lol!  A year ago I barely knew anything about blog disclosures, but things can change quickly.  Now that I have the opportunity to partner with companies and use affiliate links on my blog, I have discovered that I may be doing something incorrect (it’s debatable), but we’ll get into that later.  Let’s start by briefly discussing the basics.

Does Your Number Of Followers Really Matter?

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In the blogging world it seems as though everyone’s goal is to have more readers and followers on social media.  Let me start by saying that the importance of numbers really depends on your goals!  There are many reasons why people start a blog, so in some ways it is really an individualized journey.  I can only answer this question from my personal experience and from the research that I have done.  This topic is definitely not one dimensional, there are a couple of aspects to consider.  So let’s get right into it!

How To Start A Blog

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There are many ways to start a blog and the process can be frustrating and tedious, but I am here to break down a few ways that you can easily start your first blog.

1. Hire Someone  – I hired a friend to handle the whole process of moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress, and I have to say it was a good decision for me.  You can hire a freelancer that specializes in web design on Elance or Odesk (the cost of hiring a freelancer will vary based on experience).  You search for qualified applicants to set up your blog and hire them to complete the entire process.

2. Do It Yourself – If you have time to learn the process and are slightly tech savvy, do it yourself.  Overall, the process is relatively simple.  Two of the most popular blogging platforms are Blogger and WordPress.

WordPress – There are major differences between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, but the main reason that I would suggest the self-hosted wordpress.org over the free wordpress.com is the advertising differences.  WordPress.com will allow you to use affiliate links, but do not allow banner image ads or third-party advertising like Google Adsense.

Check out this great infographic that gives a detailed explanation of the differences between the two sites.

Steps To Starting A Blog On WordPress

There are five steps to starting a blog on WordPress.org:

  • Find a host site. This is the server that your blog will operate on.  A lot of the blogging experts recommend Blue Host because their customer service and technical support is available 24 hours a day.  You will need a credit card to sign up for this service.
  • Sign up for an account on Blue Host
  • Select a domain name for your website (your web address)
  • Install your WordPress blog
  • Select a theme design for your blog (the WordPress theme directory offers a variety of free themes that you can use for your blog)

Here is a great video that uses screenshots to explain the entire process of starting a blog on WordPress.

Blogger – I started out with blogger four years ago, and I really enjoyed it for the following reasons:

  • It is very easy to set up a blog and start posting
  • It is free unless you want to remove the blogspot at the end of your web address (for example, when I first started my blog the web address was thenaturalfashionista.blogspot.com but I wanted a more professional web address, so I purchased the domain name thenaturalfashionista.com)
  • Very simple design templates that you can automatically install on your website
  • You can use banner image ads and third-party advertising networks like Google Adsense

Here is a video tutorial on how to start a blog with Blogger.  You may also find this screenshot tutorial useful.

The reasons that I decided to leave blogger and go to WordPress.org is because I wanted more flexibility with my site design, the option to use great plugins, and I wanted ownership of my site.  Blogger is an amazing platform if you are just starting out and want to start blogging immediately.  Ultimately you are going to have to decide which blogging platform will work for you based on the goals that you have set for your blog.  I hope you find this post helpful in starting your first blog.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

10 Blogging Fears That Will Keep You Stuck

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As a new blogger or someone who is trying to grow your blog it can be very difficult to get past your fears and get going.  You may not even understand why you are procrastinating, but sometimes it is the fear of blogging.  When I first started my blog I was very unsure of myself and the direction that I wanted to take it.  I was on a road that was leading nowhere.  I don’t want this to happen to you!  I want you to overcome your fears and develop a clear plan for your blog.  In this post I am discussing 10 fears that will stop you from reaching your blogging goals and some tips to overcome them.

1. I don’t know what my niche is.  Neither did I and some days I still brainstorm about the direction of my blog.  It takes time and practice to develop the direction of your blog, so stop worrying about that and just do it!

2.  I am a bad writer.  If writing is not your forte there are ways to improve that.  Pick up a book on the topic (I will talk about some free & paid resources that you can use in a future post).  Get a journal and write everyday.  This will help you get better.

3. You are Comparing Yourself To Others.  The worst thing that you can do as a new blogger or someone who is trying to grow your blog is play the comparison game.  It will not help.  As a matter fact, it will only make you feel worse.  You have a unique voice and story that only you can tell.  There are no two people exactly the same in the whole world, so play up what makes you different.

4. What if no one reads my blog.  The truth is that when you are first starting out you may not build traffic to your blog for many years.  Some people go viral within the first few months of blogging, but that will not happen for everyone.  You will have to build an audience that values your content, and that may take some time.

5. I don’t have a big social media presence.  Social media is important, but that should not stop you for carrying on with your blog.  The key to getting people to read your blog is to start making some real connections.  First, it starts with other bloggers in your community, then you will learn to build your own community.  Introduce yourself and leave genuine comments on other blogs and social media profiles and you will see your blog start to grow.

6. I don’t have a lot of money.  A lot of people don’t.  The costs of starting a blog varies depending on your goals.  You have to take the time to decide which route to take when you are just starting out.  I would start slow to practice consistency and go from there.  As your blog grows you will do what it takes to invest in it and watch it flourish.

7. I don’t know what to write about.  This is something that all good bloggers struggle with because we want to give our readers useful information.  Don’t put so much pressure on yourself because that can actually cause writers block.  Jot down a list of ideas that you can pull from to create blog posts.  This will help you in the process of creating content for your blog.

8. I don’t understand the process of blogging.  This is going to take some work on your part. Blogging is not for lazy people (I learned that really quickly).  In the old days, I thought I could just post something and readers would follow, but I have learned that a lot more goes into it.  You must educate yourself.  Take courses, read books, and do your research.  I love to read articles that give you the ropes on the blogging game.

9. What if people don’t like what I have to say.  This is apart of the blogging experience.  You should never deliberately try to offend anyone, but there will be some people who do not like your point of view and that is okay, as long as they remain respectful.  If you are going to develop an authentic voice you cannot be afraid to share your thoughts and opinions.

10. I don’t know how to edit my pictures.  I use Pic Monkey to edit my pictures and I love it.  The learning curve is easy, and you can upgrade to more advanced features once you get the hang of it.  Leave a comment below if you would like me to do a quick tutorial.

Thanks so much for reading my very first post on Blogging 101!  Leave any topics that you would like me to discuss in future blog posts.
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