Stephanie Pernas is a stylist, fashion writer, editor and style expert. With almost 10 years of experience in the fashion industry, she has worked in the fashion departments of some of the world’s most influential magazines including Glamour, Women’s Health and Teen Vogue. She has worked with prestigious fashion companies including BCBG Max Azria, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. After spending 5 years in New York, she is currently bringing a little bit of sparkle to the South Florida area where she resides with her family.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is fashion blogging your profession or just a hobby?
I’m very fortunate that fashion blogging is a part of my job. I run a personal styling business, A Sparkle Factor LLC, and blog about my favorite trends, brands, style tips, and beauty. The great part is that I absolutely love it and would do it even if it WASN’T my job!
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
I’ve always been intrigued by the blogging world and the idea of having your own space on the web where you can share your fashion point of view. I love that the possibilities are endless! When I decided to start my own business, it was a very natural extension of my services and what I wanted to do. At this point, I feel like I NEED to create content! I love and enjoy it so much! Being online is integral to staying informed, plugged into my blogging community, and connected to my readers.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I actually did it myself! Before I got started, I spent a really long time reading, browsing Pinterest, and just researching. From the beginning, I had a very clear vision of what it was that I wanted. Obviously, when starting a business, there are a lot of expenses. I was willing to pay someone else to do it for me, but when I started brainstorming, I realized I could do it myself! I will eventually do a re-design, and at the point will probably pay someone else to take it to the next level.
The right domain is crucial! You want it to match your blog name and be easy to remember. Once you choose a domain, you’re kind of stuck with it. People DO change them, but it’s a mess and you have to basically start all over building your readership. It took me awhile to come up with my name. ‘A Sparkle Factor’ made sense for me for two reasons: first of all, I love sparkle. Sequins, glitter, you name it! But it’s really a play on words and refers to that ineffable quality a girl has that makes her special and unique. ‘A Sparkle Factor’ is about fashion, yes, but it’s also about becoming the very best version of yourself.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
I use a modified version of the Intuition theme. My must-have plugins are definitely the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin, the Yet Another Related Post Plugin, WordPress Backup to Dropbox, and the Mailchimp Plugin.
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.)?
I run a self-hosted WordPress site. I find it to be the very best platform to use that offers the most flexibility and options for customization. I find navigating within my CMS to be very easy and straight forward.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I spend a lot of time blogging and on blogging related projects. Writing an actual post takes about 20 minutes. I spend a couple of hours a day brainstorming, researching, and creating my collateral. Taking photos, scouring the market, designing post layouts, etc. I also spend a lot of time networking, attending events, and answering emails. Overall, I probably spend about 45 hours a week doing everything. (Full time job!)
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
Social media is absolutely crucial to blog success. I’m most active on Twitter, followed by Instagram and Pinterest. Those are the three platforms I’ve chosen to focus my attention on. I am on Facebook and Google+, but I haven’t focused on them as much. I find that my attention is better spent on promoting on other networks. I always tweet my latest posts. I’m also on Bloglovin’ and the Lucky contributor community for some added exposure.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
There are tons of ways to monetize a blog! You can use affiliate networks like RewardStyle and ShopSense to make money off of product links, sell add space on your site, create a product that you can sell, or offer services. Sponsored posts, brand partnerships, the sky’s the limit! Find your strength and what people want from you, and figure out a way to monetize it.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
I would encourage someone to start their own blog if they felt they had a unique voice and a passion for a specific topic. We’re all different and see the world in different ways. If you can create fresh and new content that’s true to who you are, I think you should! But it’s important to be truly passionate about your niche and present yourself in a professional, constructive way.
I think that passion is crucial to success in blogging. If there’s a topic you love and know about, you should share your expertise. If you have a unique viewpoint about something, you should create content to share that viewpoint with others. I also think it’s important to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Success takes time and hard work. If you’re willing to invest your blood, sweat and tears, readers will come. Don’t give up!
Photos ©: A Sparkle Factor