Style Melbourne by Sarah Willcocks

After six years of covering fashion weeks, local labels and new openings, StyleMelbourne is one of the premier fashion blogs in Melbourne. Blogger Sarah has cultivated a site that is less a vanity project (outfit posts are rare) and more of a passion project (think original content and sharing underrated beautiful things) to provide readers a little substance with their style.

c1f1eb5651b6880bde4e7366474ffb80Please tell us something about yourself. Is fashion blogging your profession or just a hobby?

It’s complicated! I tend to say I blog full time but really my income comes from related gigs like freelance writing and editing, social media management, styling and special projects that come about because on my connection through the blog.

When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?

I started in 2008 – Australia is pretty behind the times in some areas and there were only a handful of fashion blogs in Melbourne that still exist today. No-one was a “professional” blogger back then; we did it all for love, a creative outlet and/or a sense of community. I wanted to showcase our local fashion that was ignored by glossy magazines.

Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?

I only know (very) basic html so after a while I had a friend design a new layout for the site which lasted a few years. Now, that sort of stuff is done by my partner who works in the I.T. industry based on my designs.

The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?

Pretty fast – I wanted something that told what I was about from the start and that was good for SEO. Usually things with the word “fashion” in their name can counter-intuitively be a bit daggy, so I went for “Style” instead which has been more versatile as I get more into the lifestyle realm. The title “Style Melbourne” is also a little play on something like “Vogue Australia” – just on a really small scale.

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What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?

My theme is custom built and I like to keep it simple so beautiful images and words are the focus. I use Akismet for spam fighting, NextGen Gallery for photos and Shareaholic for social sharing. And I’m putting in an Instagram widget soon as that what people seem to care about these days.

What CMS (Content Management System) do you use on your blog? How hard is it to navigate within your CMS (making a new post, inserting images, moderating comments, etc.)?

Self-hosted WordPress and I love it – it’s so easy!

SDP_0652How much time do you spend blogging?

Countless hours over the years! Though I’ve cut down to one or two posts a week recently (thinking quality over quantity) instead of at least once a day (except during fashion weeks and festivals). So since I’m posting on my social platforms a day it probably adds up to about 10-15 hours a week.

How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?

I use social media to promote posts. Facebook seems pretty much a dead avenue for this. Twitter is still good. I have Pinterest and Youtube but I don’t have much time for them. At the moment brands seem to care about Instagram influence which I personally think is very superficial.

Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?

Of course! Ads, sponsored content, special projects, affiliates and partnerships! It depends how good a salesperson you are, how much time you want to spend on that side of things and how much you’re willing to compromise. I always say making a real income off fashion blogging is like becoming a Hollywood star (there’s millions of wannabes out there but only a handful make it). In the past year or so I’ve taken cues from Garance Dore’s philosophy – I don’t have ads or sponsored content on my site (or it would be a VERY rare occurrence); preferring instead to use it to showcase my work and build my reputation to gain external roles. I don’t think blog should be about making money, they should be about self-expression and originality.

bWould you encourage other people to make their own blogs?

Sure! If you think you have a unique voice/look (research this – you’d be surprised who’s out there!), time to post regularly and a passion for a certain niche.

Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure if they need a blog of their own?

Nobody NEEDS a blog. But it can be a useful tool for promotion if you put in the effort and educate yourself. Otherwise you can always just have a private diary/pinterest board/tumblr to collect your thoughts.

Images © Stylemelbourne.com

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