Today’s post is for everyone who is looking to start a fashion blog and delve into the world of blogging or website generation in general. But wait, do you even need a blog nowadays if you want to become a fashion Influencer? Isn’t Instagram enough? The short answer is yes and no, depending on how much in control you want to be.
Why You Need To Start a Fashion Blog To Become an Influencer
“Blogging is dead” and “No one reads blogs anymore” are the two phrases that are constantly thrown around in fashion communities. But this isn’t really true. Although Instagram and YouTube have enabled consumers to reach information about trends and fashion tips faster and easier than traditional blogs, websites are still as popular as ever. The audience is just slightly different, as is the content.
Having a YouTube channel and an Instagram are quite an integral part of being an “Influencer” and they are not to be ignored if you want to reach a larger audience. It is a lot easier to set up an Instagram profile than it is to start a fashion blog, so it is easy to see why many “bloggers” only bother with IG.
However, there is one key aspect that shouldn’t be ignored about these platforms – you don’t own them. At any given time, the mastermind engineers behind these platforms may change how the YouTube or Instagram algorithm works. At best, a change in the algorithm may skyrocket you to internet stardom and at worst, you could lose all of your exposure and reach none of the people who follow you. Heck, your account may even be deleted!
Why You Should Start a Fashion Blog In Addition To Instagram
The story is a little different when it comes to blogging. Once you start a fashion blog, the platform is yours. You’re in control of your site’s destiny, and no algorithm can mess up your performance. (Provided that you don’t engage in any dodgy stuff that would upset Google, but that’s unlikely.)
Although it is easier to reach more people through Instagram, ask yourself how engaged are your followers really? Do they know anything about you, or are they just following you for pretty pics? Having a blog enables you to bring out more of your personality much like YouTube. It’s easier to share your thoughts in a blog post rather than on Instagram and really resonate with other people.
Another reason why you should start a fashion blog is that the content you produce is there for ever. Blog posts can stay relevant for many years, and it’s much easier to promote your old articles than it would be to promote an old Instagram post. If you focus on search engine optimisation (SEO), some of your articles will even continue to bring in traffic completely on autopilot for years after you’ve published them.
Blogs also provide other means to building up an income online through affiliate links, on-site advertisement and sponsored posts, all which are slightly different to what other social media platforms enable you to use.
Brands Love Fashion Blogs
Another great reason to start a fashion blog is that it is a great asset to have if you are looking to build a business. If you are looking to take your career as a blogger/influencer seriously, you need to think about what brands you want to work with. Brands that have an established reputation and that are seen as more high-street/luxury, such as Topshop or Ted Baker often want their brand ambassadors to exude an air of elegance or luxury. Even though you might already have a social media presence, high quality blogs are often seen as more chic than a YouTube channel, for example. If you are able to share high quality images on your blog, it’s much easier to start negotiating with established high-street brands.
Okay, Got it. So How Do I Start a Fashion Blog?
Hopefully I’ve convinced you that no matter what your current situation is, having a blog is beneficial to you if you’re looking to grow as a fashion influencer. Next, let’s go through some steps about what you need to do to start a fashion blog successfully.
Step 1: Choose a Name
Duh, I know. This one is pretty obvious. Before doing anything else, start thinking about what you would like your blog to be called. It can be anything as simple as your name. I would recommend choosing a blog name that will easily let people know what your blog is about, or what you want it to be associated with. My blog (as you may know) is called The Chic Pursuit, because I like to think that my personal style is rather elegant and glam. Those are also the words that I would like my blog to be associated with. Even though I blog mostly about affordable style, I didn’t want my blog to be called ‘The Affordable Pursuit’, as that just makes my blog sound cheap.
Another great tip is that if you really have no ideas for a name, choose something that has keywords in the title to bring in more traffic from Google. For example, let’s imagine that you want to start a fashion blog and you’ve chosen to name it “The London Fashion Blogger” – not particularly catchy, but every time that someone searches for “london fashion”, “london fashion blogger” or anything similar, the chances of them discovering your blog are a lot higher than if you had chosen an edgier blog name!
Step 2: Sign Up To a Self-Hosted Website and Buy a Domain
Now, there are free blogging platforms such as Blogger or WordPress that don’t require you to host your own domain, but I don’t recommend using them. The URL of a free blog look similar to this: www.chicpursuit.blogger.com or www.chicpursuit.wordpress.com, respectively. Although it’s free to use these domains, it undoubtedly looks more unprofessional than having a simple .com; co.uk after your blog name. Although you might think that it won’t hurt to begin with a free platform, it actually does.
PIN THIS FOR LATER!
Reasons To Go Self-Hosted
If you start a fashion blog on a free site, the platform has full rights to your content. Erm, what?! This point basically ties back to what I said earlier about owning your own platform compared to YouTube and Instagram – you want to own your own blogging platform.
It looks more professional. It’s as simple as that. All the blogs that I follow are self-hosted and I’m not going to lie, blogs that have a url ending with .wordpress.com immediately makes me think “oh, it’s a hobby blog!’.
You can make your website look like anything you want. When you sign up to use a self-hosted domain, the possibilities are endless. Your website is fully customisable up to the smallest details.
You don’t want to make the switch. Apparently it’s a pain to switch from a free site to a self-hosted platform, so yo want to start off on the right foot from the get go. I have heard that changing your host could affect your rank in Google, so you definitely want to avoid it if search engine traffic is part of your blogging strategy.
Alright, Let’s Set Up Your Domain
Before you set up your hosting platform, you need to buy a domain. I know, the blogging lingo might sound a little hard, but it really isn’t. A domain is essentially the URL of your page. So, now it’s the time to register the blog name that you have chosen. Domains normally cost about 10 USD for 12 months, which is not a bad deal at all. I have bought my domain from GoDaddy, which is the largest domain provider in the world.
You also want to have your domain protected. Choose “Domain Privacy Protection” before you check out – otherwise your address and phone number will be public information for anyone to see – yikes!
Domains are separate from hosting, so now let’s connect set up your hosting.
Choosing Your Hosting Provider – I Recommend Hostgator
I have used Hostgator on my website for over a year now and I have been very happy with the service that they’ve provided. Not only are they the cheapest well-established hosting provider online, they have excellent customer service. If you’re anything like me and don’t know much about the technical aspects behind blogging, Hostgator is perfect for you. They provide 24/7 customer service and you can either call them directly via Skype and speak to an actual person (instead of a robot), or use their Live Chat feature. Honestly, this saves a lot of time if you’re starting out as a newbie like I was!
The second great thing about Hostgator is the quality of their service – my website has never been down to any hosting related issues as they are well equipped to handle a lot of incoming traffic. They also have unlimited disk space and bandwitch space, which is very useful and enables your website to run fast.
I would also like to mention that Hostgator is very flexible when it comes to returns. There have been two occasions in the past 2 years (with this website and my previous one), where I’ve either accidentally bought something that I didn’t need, or I was charged extra for something that I didn’t want. On both occasions my money was returned to my bank account after raising a claim, no questions asked. They have a 45-day money back guarantee on all purchases, which is amazing.
Now, to set up your hosting, go to the Hostgator website and choose the Hatchling Plan. If you’re looking to start a fashion blog, you won’t need the other plans unless you are planning to set up multiple websites. I recommend buying hosting for at least 2 years – the more the better. Not only does it make sense (you want your blog to be around for long, right?), it’s also a lot cheaper that way.
After you’ve picked the plan, you’ll be sent to the order form.
Here, you only need to pick which hosting plan you want to go with, your username and PIN number. The username is not public information, so you can choose whatever you want.
And that’s it! Takes less than 10 minutes and you’re good to go!
Step 3: Install WordPress
Alright, now we’re almost done with the technical aspects of setting up your blog! After that, it’s time to get creative.
The first thing you’ll want to do is to install WordPress. WordPress is what actually runs your site – your host is just the computer that “houses” your website. So, to set up WordPress, loging to your Hostgator account and click “Hosting” in the top right corner. The, select “Get Started With WordPress Today”.
You’ll be taken to this screen – Click Wordpess to continue.
Now, select your domain name and click continue.
You will be asked to complete your user details – fill out the blanks and click install. Voilà, all done!
Step 4: Choose Your Theme – The Fun Bit!
Although WordPress offers a large variety of free themes, I would buy a professional theme. My own blog theme is from the UK site Pipdig (I use their Opulence theme), which is also very popular among other UK bloggers. Although you need to pay £49, it’s completely worth it and if you choose your theme carefully, it will be a one-off fee.
Another website that has been popular with UK bloggers is Kotryna Bass Designs. I have personally never user her designs, but they are very similar to Pipdig themes in terms of their functionality. For example, both Pipdig and Kotryna Bass easily enable shoppable widgets on the blog, which is a key element for any fashion blogger. Both of the websites also offer fully responsive themes, meaning that you’re website will look incredible in all dimensions – from desktop to mobile to tablet.
If you have any other blogger in mind who’s blog layout you admire, scroll down to the end of their home page to see who has designed their website. It will usually be written in the bottom right corner. Other popular websites to look for themes are WooThemes and StudioPress.
Collection of Pipdig Themes
Customise Your Theme
To customise your theme, head to your WordPress dashboard, hit “Appearance” on the left hand-side column and select “Customize”. You can play around with your blog features for as long as your happy with the way that it looks. However, I would recommend that you start by writing a few pages and posts before fully customising your blog as you will get a much better idea about the way that your blog will look like in the end. Pipdig offer excellent customer service if you need to ask them anything in particular, so just send them an email if you are unsure of anything. Once you have a purchased a theme from their site they will also provide you with easy to follow YouTube tutorials.
Step 5: Install Your Plugins & Widgets
Now that you have your theme, let’s install some plugins before writing your first post. Here is a collection of plugins that you should install (they’re all free!):
Yoast SEO. This is the go-to plugin for search engine optimisation. By utilising the tools that this plugin offers, you are more likely to rank higher on Google for keywords that matter to your niche. Yoast SEO also allows you to create meta tags, optimise your titles, and create a sitemap for Google. (I know SEO can be a little bit hard to grasp, so if you have any questions, leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can.)
WP Super Cache. This Plugin will speed up your website by creating saved copies of your website, saving WordPress from having to generate them for every site. This cuts down the work that your hosting server has to do and ultimately makes your website run a lot faster.
Pin It For Button For Pinterest. Pinterest is an amazing traffic source for some bloggers out there, so you don’t want to miss out on the potential traffic that it might bring. This plugin will enable your blog visitors to pin your content on their Pinterest boards more conveniently, which will in turn allow more people to discover your blog!
BJ Lazy Load. This plugin is essential for fashion bloggers who are planning to include a lot of images in their post. What this plugin does is that it only loads pictures on a post as the user scrolls down a page – speeding up the loading time a lot. This improves the user experience on your site and makes it less likely that people will click away from your site.
WP Cerber Security & Antispam. This plugin will provide protection against hackers and spammers – better be safe than sorry.
BTW! Pipdig and Kotryna Bass Designs come equipped with a plethora of their own cool widgets and plugins that are made especially for fashion bloggers. These include social media side bars, about me sections and everything else you could think of (sort of!). This is another reason why these themes are so great. Familiarise yourself with all the features that they offer in your WordPress dashboard.
Also, remember to sign up with Google Analytics and connect it to your website. This is by far the most detailed analytics data provider that there is.
Step 6: Create Posts and Pages!
Now that you’re all set up with the technical aspects of setting up your blog and you have a nice layout it’s time to start creating your content! Finally, I know. To begin with, create a few pages such as “About me”, “Home”, “Contact”, etc. You may also want to create category pages for your blog posts, but I would recommend that you don’t add them into your menu bar just yet – it’s not a great look if users are going to come to your website and click on one of your pages that doesn’t lead anywhere.
I created 3 posts about my fashion looks before I made my blog public and I would encourage you to do the same. You want your visitors to have something to look at and read when they visit!
So, There You Have It – Now You Know How To Start A Fashion Blog!
Congrats – if you followed these steps you’re officially a fashion blogger! Now it’s time for you to start creating regular content and marketing it in the right way. I suggest signing up to every social media platform to begin with (yikes!) and seeing which one you get the most success with. It’s impossible to manage 9 different social medias by yourself on a daily basis, but I think it is important to give them a go before giving up. For example, my biggest following is on Instagram, yet it brings in the least amount of visitors to my blog! And I never knew this until I tried other social platforms.
If you have any more question on how to start a fashion blog, feel free to shoot them at me in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. I would love it if you could share this article on some social medias using the buttons below if it was helpful to you (of course, if this post didn’t help you, don’t share it!). I would also love to see some of your new sassy blogs, so leave a link to them in and I will check them out!
If you want me to cover aspects on how to make money blogging, let me know in the comments. I’ve written a blogpost about how I make money on Instagram, so check that out meanwhile if it’s something that interests you!
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