I’m a 21-year-old student and model from the UK. I am currently studying a science degree at university and so do blogging as a hobby in my free time. Between my studies I do some part-time fashion and beauty modelling. I love fashion, beauty, animals and travel.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is fashion blogging your profession or just a hobby?
My Sweetheart Fashion blog is a hobby. I am currently a student at university studying a science subject which is very analytical and logical, therefore it’s great to take time out every day or as often as possible to do something creative. During term time I post as often as I can but it may be a couple times a week and during Christmas and Easter I may not post at all as these are just before my exams. However summer holidays are long and I’m able to post at least once a day and really get into it.
I thought about it a year ago, at the beginning of summer 2013 and spent all summer researching, practising, trying things out and getting to grips with the idea. Around the end of August I took the plunge, made my blog and haven’t looked back.
I got the idea to start my blog predominantly because I was inspired more and more after reading other blogs and found I was sharing similar things on my personal social media, so I thought it’d be a good idea to share with a wider audience than just my friends and connect with other likeminded people. Particularly as I was often asked where I got something from or how I did something (such as my hair) in the pictures etc. I was sharing on my social media and so felt it would be good to be able to direct them somewhere to read about it.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I designed and created my blog’s website and blog’s Blogger pages myself. I’ve always had a knack for HTML coding and website design so I thought I’d do it myself to make sure it turned out exactly how I wanted. There are plenty of website building sites to help you build your own site, with or without you using code so it’s worth looking that up if you wanted to build your own but don’t know how to code.
I already had the domain name from a few years ago and so just decided to use it for my blog as it does seem to fit and I was lucky that no-one else had taken it as a blog name. If I were to create a new one though I think it would take quite a while and a lot of brain storming, as there are so many good ones already taken, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find something unique. Sometimes though, the simplest answers are the best, if you have a cute/interesting name such as blogger ‘Lily Pebbles’, then that also makes a fab blog name. Good starting tips would have to be to think of nicknames you’ve been called, a name of a beloved pet or just the kind of persona you want to portray.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
On my Blogger site I used the “Simple” theme. This helps to keep it clean and fresh and more room to add individuality. I use a big, bright picture as a header and then the header titles are in script writing, to look as close to my own handwriting as possible. My website design is more create and girly. I’ve currently got a vintage, nature type theme with a pink background, flowers and a butterfly, which goes well with this season’s trends.
It is important to make sure you have plugins that link to your social media. It’s easier to gain followers on them than your blog at first so show off those figures and it lets readers have a greater connection to the real you. I’ve found that blogging is just as much about interaction as it is about having good content.
I use Google’s Blogger to make posts and this feed also automatically appears on my website. Blogger’s very easy to use and moderate comments; pictures are quick to load and you have a lot of freedom with how your post appears. Although it’s been known for some people’s stats to go awry sometimes, on the whole I’ve only found them to be very accurate which is very helpful for monitoring your progress.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I spend around an hour writing up an average post but more if I’m going really in-depth with it. But this is after taking photographs, editing them and maybe doing research as well depending on the topic and this can take time too. Depending on what you’re posting about, if you need pictures you could to do what I do which is often to take all your pictures for the week ahead in one go on the weekend, particularly if you work full time and so wouldn’t be able to take daytime pictures during the week. It’s important to be organised. If you know you can’t set aside a time to create a post on the day you want it to go live then make sure you write it before and then schedule it to go live at the later, desired time. Don’t feel pressure though. You can post as much or as little as you want and whenever you want. More professional bloggers may have a strict schedule of when and how often that they post but that’s after years of finding a pattern that works for them. As a new blogger just post when’s convenient for you and you’ll soon find what works best with your personal life.
Every time I do a post, I share it on my Twitter and Facebook page and it’ll automatically appear on my Bloglovin site.
According to my all-time stats, Twitter attracts the most views, followed by my blog’s Facebook page and then Bloglovin. However the traffic from Bloglovin has definitely increased over recent months as my followers on that increases.
I also use Instagram and I know that brings in a lot of traffic too as I can see my stats increase dramatically when I upload a picture advertising a new post on to my blog’s Instagram account. However, it struggles to appear on the stats due to Instagram comments not allowing hyperlinks, making it more difficult for people to get to your site/post and very difficult to measure.
These four sites are ones I would definitely recommend to bloggers to get your site out there; particularly Twitter to connect with other bloggers and brands. I’ve also been recommended to use Pinterest but I’ve only just started using that myself so don’t personally know how effective that is yet.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
There are many ways to monetize your blog but in the beginning we’re only talking pennies. It’s a big misconception when people see these glamorous bloggers living the highlife that everything is bought for them and they are paid a lot. But it takes time and hard work to be a blogger worthy of samples and to be paid. You can start with Google’s AdSense which will earn you pennies for each advert click. But you may only get around 10-20p a month for this and they won’t start paying out until you reach £60, so don’t expect to see this money any time soon. However, when you get a good following you could start to make money yourself by selling advertising space to other bloggers or signing up to blogger networks which will put you in connection with brands for commission on banner ads. It’s also worth looking at different affiliate programmes with brands directly so that if you advertise their product, you earn a percentage from that if your readers buy what you recommend.
It’s important therefore that you go into this for enjoyment and view any money you receive from it as a bonus.
Absolutely! You can blog about absolutely anything and you will still find people who will enjoy reading it. Don’t feel like you have to conform and be one of the main three; fashion, beauty or lifestyle blogger, just pick a topic that you really enjoy from books, films, travel, art to current affairs, food or dating, and run with it. It will help you connect with other people that are equally as passionate about the topic as you are.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure should they make a blog of their own?
My advice would be to 100% do it for your own enjoyment. Don’t get hung up about how many people are viewing your page or following your blog/social media or how much money you make. Write what you feel passionate about and makes you feel happy and the rest will come in time.
Images © SweetheartFashion.co.uk