Please tell us something about yourself. Is fashion blogging your profession or just a hobby?
My name is Vanessa Rodriguez, I live in California, partner in a Digital Agency and my blog is Stylishlyme. Stylishlyme started off as a hobby but it has turned into so much more. I want to provide my readers with advice and guidance. My blog now offers how-to’s, style tips, guides, resources and tools in style, fitness, beauty and travel. I hope to inspire, motivate and ultimately make my readers life stylish from the inside out. I believe that every women should feel confident everyday and wearing the right outfit can change everything.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you be online?
The idea was given to my by my boyfriend in the Summer of 2009 while we were traveling. He knew I had a love for fashion so he mentioned why not put all that passion on a blog. It was that July, a couple of days before my birthday, that we came up with the name Stylishlyme. We even bought the domain and got all social vanity url’s. Maybe it was the traveling that made it so much more exciting, we were in France after all, but I actually didn’t start blogging until 2011.
It’s very important for me to be online. I’m partner in a Digital Agency so it’s important for core team members to keep their online brands alive. We practice what we preach and I believe that’s what makes our company so unique. We live and breath what we help our clients with everyday.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I actually have made all the different versions of my blog. I already loved art and design so developing the look of my blog was not hard but I did have to learn to code. I’ve personally built three versions of my blog and I’m currently working on the next one, but with the help of my team. I wouldn’t suggest this for everyone. I’m in a unique situation because of my company, I now have developer’s available to help me. If your blog is gaining momentum and you want to create something unique than I would highly recommend searching for a designer/developer.
I’m here to help if anyone needs some advice on where to start!
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
It’s very important! Going to my previous answer, as soon as we came up with the name of my blog we bought the domain. I actually didn’t come up with the name, Peter did, my boyfriend/photographer/business partner :). We were brainstorming for about half a day – it didn’t take that long.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
Since I built it, it’s a custom theme “Stylishlyme.” But as far as the plugins I currently use:
Askiment, to protect my blog against comment spam.
Broken Link Checker, checks your blog for broken links and missing images and notifies you on the dashboard. This is really handy since fashion bloggers usually link to products, so when that product is gone this plugin alerts you. Very handy.
W3 Total Cache, it improves the speed of your site and a lot of other cool stuff.
Yoast WordPress SEO, for seo.
Pippity for my email signup form.
Digg Digg for social sharing.
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 currently run my blog off of WordPress. I think it’s the best. Everything is super simple and you can do anything you want with it, visually or otherwise. It’s always getting updated to make content management easier.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I’ve recently started tracking this using this really cool online software, Toggl. You can keep track of the activities you do and color code, categorize and everything. I highly recommend it. Overall it varies greatly, depending on how much content I have and projects I’m working on with brands. I try to dedicate at least two hours a day.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
Yes, social media is crucial to building an audience. I receive a lot of my visitors from Pinterest because of I use a lot of imagery. The networks I use are the main 5: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. This is where I spend the majority of the time.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Yes, there are two ways to make money, directly and indirectly. The two main avenues I use is display ads and sponsored posts. I’m part of the StyleList network so that is where I receive most of my paid sponsored posts opportunities. I also use StyleList’s display advertising. A lot of blogger use rewardstyle for affiliates, I use it at times but not that often. These are the direct blog revenues.
Depending on what you blog about these could change, maybe you could get modeling gigs (indirect). It really depends on your goal and content.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they make a blog of their own?
For new bloggers, I would suggest focusing on creating great content. I know this is said a lot but it’s what makes your blog. Without great content you really don’t have anything.
A few tips would be getting to know the editors at larger website you might want to guest post to. Submit a idea for an original guest post and see if they are interested. I recently started guest posting on websites larger than mine and every time I do I get a spike in visitors.
On social networks don’t just share photos but share links to your blog posts. This is especially important on Facebook and Google +. The likes that your shared link gets on Facebook gets transferred to the likes on your blog post, this is true for Google + too.
Create a posting schedule, when are you going to post and how often. It takes time to develop a blog that garners the attention of readers so don’t give up in the first year or two. Yes I’m talking years not months. Make sure you’re consistent.
Lastly, know your audience, whether you’re writing to high school kids, college graduates or mothers keep your ideal reader in mind when writing your content.
You’re never going to be ready to start so just do it.
Photos ©: Stylishlyme