My name is Lindsay and I am an accidental budget blogger! I started in 2007 by sharing my sale finds with friends who believed they couldn’t afford to dress the way they wanted. Now, I use my toolbox of internet sleuthing skills to share ways to save money while designing your life! I have worked with brands like TJMaxx/Marshalls, JCPenney, and Boohoo to utilize social media and blogging to revamp the way people think about spending money on themselves and their homes.
Fashion blogging is my profession! I have been blogging at Broke & Beautiful for about seven years. It started as a hobby but, once the blogging “industry” started developing and including monetization opportunities, I figured I’d be a fool not to try to make it work for me! I never liked having a boss (sorry, former bosses) and I’ve been addicted to independence since the day I opened up my first business selling painted rocks at the bottom of the driveway at my childhood home.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
I have been online ever since I got my first AOL screen name, “LindsGinn.” (Internet security was a little different back then…) I got the idea to launch my own blog from my close friends! I was always a shopping fanatic, and when I had a Real Job, I spent way to much of my cushy salary on full-priced, never-going-to-be-worn clothing. Once the walls of debt started closing in, I started learning how to shop smarter and shared my discounted finds with my friends over email. Eventually, I found blogs and realized that it was a lot easier to just post these finds and have my friends peek at their own convenience. Boom, a blog is born!I adore the internet and find it to be a magical and exciting place. The internet can help your dreams come true, expose you to new ideas, and inspire your creativity. It’s not all roses & ribbons, but when utilized correctly, I think that it provides an endless world of possibility.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
Back when site clustered like Geocities, Angelfire and Tripod were the big names in internet, I had several websites. They were all terrible-looking, and they’re long gone now, but they helped me learn the foundation of coding and design. Since then, I have become a WordPress designer and custom blog creator. I have designed all of my own blogs, and several others!
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
Embarrassingly, a long time. My first blog – the one I used to show my friends killer sales – was called “Hot & Cheap.” I know, it’s terrible! Once I decided to throw my hat into the “professional blogging” game, I knew I had to pick a better name. Thank goodness “Broke & Beautiful” popped into my head!
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
Wow, this is my favorite question! I could talk about themes and plugins for days. I used to write about WordPress plugins for IFB (Independent Fashion Bloggers) and other technology websites because I feel like they can help take your blogging business to the next level with literally no overhead costs! Most plugins are free, and the ones that aren’t are usually inexpensive.
Plugins can dramatically improve your efficiency and productivity. Some of the key plugins I’d recommend:
Shortcut Macros: This plugin allows you to set shortcodes for things you write a lot, including code, intro paragraphs, text links – whatever you want, just by adding “##” before a keyword.
Future Posts Widget: This helps if you are trying to create a consistent posting schedule. It’ll show you, right in the Edit Post screen of WordPress, on which days you have posts already scheduled. That way, you can be sure to evenly space your content out.
WP Stats Dashboard: This is for the person who loves analytics. Keep track of your standing across the board, including Alexa, Moz, and Domain Authority while also monitoring your followers on social media!
I’ll use WordPress forever. I have blogged using Blogspot/Blogger, and I’ve designed blogs for web hosts like Squarespace and Drupal – WordPress is the best. It’s the most customizable, flexible content management system. The post creation process is incredibly simple and easy to use. I use Disqus for comments, and find it very easy to use and navigate! It’s also easier for readers to sign in and comment.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I treat blogging like a full-time job. I have office space set aside in my house, and I get up early in the morning with my coffee and get to work. What a lot of people don’t understand is that blogging is more than just shopping and writing posts. You also receive about 300-500 emails per day from various PR agencies and brands attempting to receive promotion through you blog. There are also advertising inquiries mixed through there, as well as newsletters and offers from affiliates. On top of that, you must use social media to promote both new and slightly older content… And there sure are a lot of social media outlets. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr – they all have blog readers as their primary users, and that’s a market you don’t want to miss out on!
Occasionally, I will throw $5 at Facebook Ads to get some new eyes on my content, but ultimately, I don’t advertise. I use social media to connect with potential blog readers and existing blog readers. I also partner with aggregation companies to help my content reach as far as it can. Social media is an indispensable self-promotion outlet. If you’re blogging and you’re not using social media, there’s a good chance that not many people are reading your blog.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Absolutely! Through advertising and brand partnerships, coupled with affiliate programs that allow you to work as much or as little as you want for your earnings. Every day, there’s a new way to monetize your brand through your blog, and that isn’t likely to change! Affiliate networks like Shopsense and Rewardstyle are a great way to get started.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
If you’re interested in writing, have some writing chops, and love to talk and talk and talk about one topic in particular – yes! if you easily get bored by hobbies and don’t have much to say about events and/or things you enjoy, then no. Blogging isn’t for everyone, and I’ve watched a lot of people (even writers!) fizzle out with disinterest. It takes a special, manic type to be good at blogging, and if that’s you, then get out there and blog!
My advice is: give it a try. You can’t win if you don’t play and, for the most part, blogging is free. Register on WordPress.com or Blogspot.com and give it a whirl! Don’t worry about who is or isn’t reading your blog. The more you can enjoy blogging without worrying about your page views, the better. Stats aren’t everything. Don’t forget – YOU are your brand, when you’re a blogger! Tell your friends and try not to be embarrassed. Chances are that they think it’s super, super cool. (And it is!)
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