Hello, my name is Eli and I began Thrift Eye in 2006 to keep note of all things I found while on my thrifting escapades. My blog has since evolved into a personal catalog of outfits, people/places/things that inspire me, certain book or literary things (I am a Librarian!), as well as an outlet for my photography. I still like to keep it very thrifty – my wardrobe mantra is about mixing high/low & new/old pieces, and also shopping Made in the USA.
Is fashion blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Blogging is a professional hobby for me, I work full-time during the day as a librarian. But even though it would be considered a hobby, it’s still another full-time job for me.
Sometime in 2006, I was reading a copy of Teen Vogue and came across a feature of Susie Bubble – and there I quickly was introduced to the world of blogs. At the time, I was living in Las Vegas Nevada, and found very little fashion inspiration in that area. I created the blog to keep a record of my fashion influences at that time. I use the blog to keep track of my fashion choices, both good and bad, I think it will be nice to look back on all that one day. Being online forces me to practice my photography and writing skills too!
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
About 99% of the website has always been done by myself. From the themes, layouts, headers, photographs, photo editing, is mostly done by myself. I think this is big difference between blogs that are blossoming now – they have a team of people working together. My blog has always been a one woman show. Even when I transferred my blog from Blogger to WordPress, I did it myself. It is not easy, and even with someone helping you, frustrations arise. BUT, doing it all myself is extremely satisfying. I’m learning a lot at my own pace and figuring out my own problems instead of paying someone else to do it.
I can no longer remember why I chose the name I did – I wanted it to say something about thrifting. I’ve gone through some moments where I wanted to change it and rebrand my whole blog. But I couldn’t think of a better name and had been using Thrift Eye for so long, that it was just better to keep it! Unfortunately, now, there are so many blogs and websites out there, that many possible names seem to have been taken! Think of something catchy, and before you settle on it make sure you search online for it in case someone already is using it. So before you get excited about naming your blog X, Y, and Z, make sure there isn’t a blog out there called Z, Y, and X.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
I went from starting out on Blogger and having a blogspot.com domain, to self-hosting on WordPress after I bought my domain and Blogger refused to let me use it nor explain why I couldn’t make it work. So I switched it all to WordPress instead. As I got adjusted to how it worked, I used the free themes provided. But then I started to poke around online and see WordPress themes that were much more beautifully designed and that not-everyone else had too (which was one of the downfalls of using Blogger) and at a small price.
Plugins can be very helpful, but don’t overload yourself because they are third-party software and can do more harm sometimes. Make sure you get a statistics plug-in/widget. This will help you immensely in seeing who is visiting your blog, at what times, and what they’re searching for to find you. Look for an anti-virus or firewall plug-in too, sometimes you never know what might happen if you’re not protected. A previous-post-suggestion type widget is great too. If installed correctly, it will suggest similar posts at the end of a blog post to your readers.
There is no easy way to tell how much time I spend blogging. Some weeks it’s more, some less. I would say between 10-15 hours a week typically, with sometimes more if it is a more in depth post. First comes photographs, then editing, then uploading pictures, typing and arranging the post, finding links, proofreading, and finally publishing.Then you should occasionally be looking around on your blog to make sure links are working, and things are okay, or even things to improve. And depending on how in depth you want to be, this may take one or a few hours a week.It isn’t quite done yet, you still have to promote your blog and posts!
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
There are a few different way I approach promoting my blog. Make sure that you set up a few things to automatically update each time you post – you can do this through a few plugins. Bloglovin, Facebook, and Twitter will push an update to your followers if you connect your blog to these outlets. Some people let people know through Instagram they have a new post, I personally don’t.Leaving kind and insightful comments on blogs is also a way to promote and get your name out there.
Remember to be smart about your promoting, you don’t want to seem desperate or spammy.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
There are a few ways to monetize – some people will collaborate with companies in exchange for money or merchandise. Don’t sell your soul for something that won’t bring you much return though.You can also apply to join affiliate link networks. Typically there are two types – where you get paid per click, or per completed sale.
In a day where there are SO many blogs, you have to search deep within yourself to see if your blog is something you want to commit lots of time to. I think a lot of people get caught up with the idea that it will bring in lots of money or fame. You should be creating it for your own personal satisfaction, because when it begins to feel like a burden, your readers can sense that and disappear.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure if they need a blog of their own?
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else already blogging. A big blog may be posting every single day, and you can barely squeeze one post a week. It’s okay. I learned a while back to never apologize for your infrequent blogging because you’re busy. EVERYONE is busy!
In similar vein, if someone else is doing something, don’t think you have to jump on the bandwagon. I have seen some bloggers get in debt because another blogger was given an expensive purse for free, and the rest followed in purchasing something way out of their budgets. Be a leader, not a follower.
Images © ThriftEye.com