My name is Jessica Cangiano. I’m 30 years old and live in beautiful Penticton, British Columbia with my darling Italian husband, Tony, our sweet grey tabby cat, Stella, and our endlessly energetic American Bullador (half lab, half American bulldog), Annie. I’ve been interested in, and passionate about, history and all things vintage for as far back as I can recall. For nearly six year years now I’ve run a popular mid-century vintage fashion and lifestyle blog called Chronically Vintage and in May of this year (2014), I launched an eponymously named Etsy shop that sells all kinds of antique and vintage clothing, jewelry, hats, bags, gloves, and other assorted yesteryear treasures.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Vintage blogging started out as a hobby that I happily devoted a lot of my time and energy to. I wouldn’t say that I set out with the goal when I began Chronically Vintage of having it morph into my career, but I did intend to have ot grow, thrive and continually expand, which I’m delighted to say that it has. In the past couple of years, I’ve been turn make the transition into being a full-time (professional) blogger, in addition to running my thriving Etsy shop. I feel incredibly fortunate to be in this position, especially since the vintage blogging sphere is quite a niche segment of the larger blogging world and there aren’t folks who are able to reach such a point (going pro vintage blogger, I mean).
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
The desire to launch my vintage blog came about in the spring of 2009. I was going through an especially rough period on the health front (I’ve been severely chronically ill with multiple medical conditions since I was 18 years old) and felt that even though I was only in my mid-20s at the time, the world, and even myself some days, usually just saw me as being chronically ill, even though there was (and is) so much more to me than that. One of my greatest passions in life has always been vintage and as I was already wearing vintage all the time (I’ve been doing so since I was 15 years old), it just made sense to launch a site about this vast topic and in the process to define myself not merely as chronically ill, but as “chronically vintage” (because I’m vintage all the time, too!).
I truly adore being online and see it as a hugely important part of my world. I hope to continue to keep blogging for many years to come and love that the longer I stick at it, the more ideas for future posts and other plans relating to my vintage blog and Etsy shop I seem to get. I find that creativity really begets creativity for me and that has proven to be immensely helpful in running my blog.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I run my blog on blogger and use a custom domain/url. For the most recent design, I worked with an excellent graphic designer (and fellow blogger), who I connected with on Etsy and have seen become online friends with.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
As touched on above, the name of my blog came to me at a very difficult time in my life and I knew instantly when it did that it was the right name for me. Fortunately the domain was available, so I was able to register it and put it to work right away.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
I use a custom three column theme and don’t work with a lot of plugins. I like to an Etsy Mini on one of my sidebars, as well as a widget each for Facebook and Instagram. In general I like to keep my blog’s appearance from being overly cluttered or full of plugins, which can be distracting and/or run the risk of slowing a site down a little.
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.)?
When it comes to writing my posts, I use Windows Live Writer on my desktop. My blog runs on blogger, so that’s where I moderate comments, edit blog pages, and things of that nature. I find it super easy to use and navigate both and highly recommend them to anyone who is keen on blogging, but who might not be a programmer and/or CSS whiz (neither of which I am).
How much time do you spend blogging?
I had to smile as I read this question, as the answer to it is anything but cut and dry for me. If we’re talking strictly how much time to spend writing posts, though that does vary somewhat from week-to-week, in a given seven day span, I’ll probably spend in the range of twelve to twenty hours writing posts, but that number can certainly be higher, just depending on the topics I’m covering, what time of the year it is, how many posts I’m putting up that week, etc. However, as I do a lot of research for many of posts, need to gather images for some of, edit all of the photos of myself for my vintage outfit posts, and am extremely active in the online vintage blogging and social media worlds, I would say that on average, I devote anywhere from five to twelve (or more) hours a day doing something or another that would fall under the general heading of blogging. It (again, along with my Etsy shop) truly is a full-time job for me and I while I do take breathers from time-to-time (we all need them periodically), I try to devote as much of myself to my blog and Etsy shop as I can.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
I’m a very (very!) shy person and have never been the type to shout out, “Hey world, look at me and my blog”, even if sometimes it would be nice to do so. Instead, I’ve been highly active in the vintage blogging world in terms of interacting with other bloggers (and folks on social media) from the very get-go. In fact, I was already following and commenting on some of the early vintage blogs before I launched mine in April 2009. I care a lot of the other members of my online community and love to comment on their sites, Instagram photos, etc, so by building these sorts of long-term relationships, growing a large audience, receiving a fair bit of press in the vintage world (such as in magazines like Her Vintage Life and V&Oak, as well as being named one of the website Queens of Vintage’s Vintage Queens in 2013), and staying active on social media (I’m on Facebook, Twitte, Instagram, and Pinterest), I’ve been fortunate to grow – and continue to expand – my audience.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Absolutely! There are a numerous different ways to potentially make money from your blog, the key one of which I use personally use is working with a select group of paying blog sponsors (I only work with sponsors that I feel are an excellent match for my blog and its vintage loving audience). The second main way in which I generate income for my blog is by working with a small number of affiliate programs, such as the one run my Etsy Canada. I collaborate with various wonderful companies and individuals in a product review/placement and/or brand ambassador capacity, which can be a way to generate income and/or receive awesome products in exchange for writing about them on my site (I only write 100% unbiased review and again, am highly selective when it comes to the companies/people that I’ll partner with in this capacity).
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Everyone needs to blog for their own reasons. One person’s motivation to do is not going to be the same as another’s per se. In general though, I would encourage people to blog because it’s a highly rewarding and enjoyable activity. It allows you to connect with like-minded folks, can be a stellar creative outlet, and may potentially become a part (or all) of your career one day. You never know where blogging will take you, who you’ll meet in the process, and what benefits it may bestow upon your life. If you’ve been thinking about launching a blog or taking your existing site to the next level, I say go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as the age old expression says!
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they make a blog of their own?
This is a topic that’s near and dear to my own heart and which I’ve covered at length in two of my blog posts, which I would recommend that all new and novice bloggers check out. They are:
-30 Tips that Will Help You Succeed as a New Blogger: http://www.chronicallyvintage.com/2014/02/30-tips-that-will-help-you-succeed-as.html
-10 Harsh Truths that Will Make You a Better Blogger: http://www.chronicallyvintage.com/2014/03/10-harsh-truths-that-will-make-you.html
Photos ©: Chronically Vintage