How to Start a Fashion Blog (And Keep it Going)
Quick disclaimer before I start, I just wanted to add that lately I've been seeing some really toxic posts circulating around the blogosphere. They have clickbait headlines like 'How I make X amount of money per month by blogging' or 'The easy way to become a top blogger with an X figure salary'. Heres the cold hard truth: Starting a fashion blog is easy. Keeping it up is hard. Making it successful is a full time job. Monetising it is nearly impossible.
If you're serious about wanting to make it as a fashion blogger, then by all means go for it. Make a plan and get started today. Despite certain influencers making the headlines lately, it totally is still possible to break into the industry. But if you are not prepared to put the hard work in, perhaps just use your blog as a hobby rather than a career, because its certainly not the easy, get rich quick route you might be hoping for!
First off, find your niche. I don't believe that a blogger can truly stand out without being specific, as there are so many voices out there writing about the same things. For me, Urbanity didn't start taking off until I stopped trying to cover every topic under the sun, and starting narrowing things down, namely to ethical, independant and local fashion. If you're a little overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of topics within the fashion industry, simply focus on what you're passionate about. Maybe you're mad about shoes like 5 Inch and Up, or love to travel like In The Frow, perhaps you rock retro style like Miss Vicky Viola or love DIY and crafts like Happiness Wherever. Whatever it is you choose to focus your blog on, you need to truly feel passionate about it, or it will quickly become a chore, and reader will see straight through a voice that is not authentic.
Next up, you need to choose a name. This is probably one of the hardest things to do as the fashion blogosphere is very saturated! I remember Sarah (my co-founder) and I sitting in coffee shops brainstorming for weeks before we settled on Urbanity, and even then only urbanity-blog was available as a domain! Make sure that when you find a name you're happy with, you check the domain is available and buy it as soon as you can. I would recommend Godaddy for an easy and affordable option, and use Wordpress.com, Wordpress.org or Blogger to build your site to direct to that domain. Then check the name is available accross social media, a key point for keeping a consistent brand and promoting your blog.
The main tools you will need for fashion blogging include:
- A laptop or computer
- A smartphone
- A camera
- A notebook/planner
- Good copywriting skills (spelling, grammar, vocabulary)
- Excellent organisational skills and time management
- A strong opinion and a loud voice
- The confidence to network and connect
And here are the tools you DON'T need to start a fashion blog:
- To live in a fashion hub
- A lot of money
- A lot of clothes
- A lot of beauty products
- Excellent photography skills
- Tons of marketing experience
- Millions of social media followers
- A beautiful face/ hot body/you name it!
I would say a really important part of maintaining the success of a blog is consistency. Once I started posting, on my blog and instagram, with a set schedule at regular times, I saw a huge boost in my traffic. Planning my content in general, whether thats with a bullet journal, calander, spreadsheet or just the notes in my phone, is absolutely vital for me as a stupidly busy person to stay on top of things. Blogging can take a lot of time, what with endless emails from PR companies, brands and collaborators, social media management, drafting posts, taking and editing photographs, attending events and networking. Remember to make your schedule fit around your lifestyle, and don't be too ambitious.
One part of blogging that is certainly underrated is the offline side. For me it is massively important to try and attend regular events, whether thats a quick meet-up with other freelancers for networking, a launch party for a new local brand, or a dedicated fashion blogger event. Always keep a stack of business cards with you ready to hand, and don't be afraid to get out there and introduce yourself.
Outfit shoots (like this one!) are a major part of fashion blogging, but definitely not an essential one. Compared to many bloggers I don't post my own style that often because I'm more interested in covering other topics in the fashion industry, but if I get the chance I love to work with photographers and fellow bloggers to get street style imagery, as it is a brilliant way of adding interest to blog posts like this one, and of course have a bank of stylish content for your social media channels. Again, you don't need a super fancy camera or even to be friends with professional photographers, but just a keen eye for your personal style and attractive locations, and a willing friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/sister/mum etc. Bloggers don't have to be fashion models, but your readers want to see the face, and the style, behind the articles.
There are also some excellent resources around to support you in your blogging journey. Lately I've been totally obsessed with podcasts, and addicted to The ProBlogger Podcast by Darren Rowse (also a great website for bloggers at all levels), and Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker. You should also follow many bloggers in your niche across all platforms, get researching blogging tips on Pinterest, read fashion books and magazines, and immerse yourself in social media and digital marketing trends and news. Inspiration is everywhere.
Here are some final tips and tricks for budding fashion bloggers:
- Get a good logo and some decent brand photographs that you can use across social media and create a proffessional business card and website design.
- Email ettiquete is totally underrated and vitally important. Create a slick email address with your domain, use a handy email signature to promote your platforms, and respond to all your emails promptly and professionally. Also, don't be afraid to email first and reach out for opportunities; if you don't ask, you don't get!
- Instead of trying to replicate what other bloggers do, research those that you admire and see how you can take a different approach and stand out, but with the same passion. Comparison is the theif of joy.
- Take a while getting used to blogging before you jump into the more techy stuff, like self-hosting, coding etc. And always keep back-ups of your blog just in case!
- Engagement is so much more important than how many followers or readers you have. Really try to connect with your readers by creating content thats tailored to them, reply to all your comments, messages and emails, and most importantly support other bloggers.