Blogging 101

Hi everyone! Can’t believe it’s been two years since I started blogging. I started it as a creative outlet, a place where I can share my interests and now it became so much more. Just like I promised, here are a bunch of random questions I get asked about blogging and some advice I have. I know it’s long and I probably forgot to mention some stuff but feel free to ask me anything additional 🙂

Blogging Q&A

Why did you want to be a blogger?
I have always been into taking pictures and fashion and thought about blogging but never did until I start following my favorite blogger Marianna Hewitt. She started an IG page called “blogwithme” that shared tips on blogging and it just motivated me to start one. At that time, I was in nursing school so blogging really was a creative outlet for me and a way for me to destress and have a hobby. I was never into sports and don’t have any other talent lol so this became my hobby and now it’s my pride and joy. 

How to get started as a blogger?
Honestly just start! I did lots of research online and decided to use WordPress as my platform. I then researched how to make my own domain ( instead of I don’t use my blog as often as my instagram so you can always just do instagram photos and be consistent with that. It takes awhile to get a blog started but once it’s done, you’re set. I now blog when I feel like I have something to blog about. I know I’m slacking lol but I will start being more consistent I promise 🙂 

How expensive is it to run a blog?
This can vary from what you want from your blog (layout, extra plug ins, extra storage, etc) but this is a rough estimate of my expenses:

  • Blog Layout $70 
  • Site domain $143 a year 
  • Lightroom for editing $11 a month 
  • VSCO for editing $20 a year 
  • UNUM for planning IG feed $6.99 a month
  • WordSwag (cute fonts for IG stories) $4.99 a month 
  • Storyluxe (cute collages for IG stories) $2.99 a month

How do you edit your pictures?
Omg I came a long way with editing pictures LOL when I first started 2 years ago, the current trend was like monochrome like white/grey/black so I did everything I could to have white backgrounds. Then, I started to transition my feed into a girlier theme with a pink tints. Finally, I realized I like a more natural effect with some vibrance and colors to match my personality. 

I did buy some presets I used in Lightroom and over time, I started to tweak it around and now I have my own preset kinda. To sum it up, I just play around with the brightness and try to enhance the colors in Lightroom. Lastly, I go to VSCO and use the effect M5 and only up it like +1 and add some grain effect to make sure all my pictures end up having the same effect. I like a more natural and vibrant edit just because I feel like it fits my personality and lifestyle best.

How to grow your IG?

  • Be consistent with posting but don’t stress yourself out. If you can’t do everyday, try every other day.
  • Have a cohesive feed. I have an app called “UNUM” that I use to plan my feed to make sure it fits. I try to switch it up between full body pics with portraits and then pics of random stuff like food/drinks.
  • ENGAGE with other bloggers! I would sometimes go to my explore page or even search some of my favorite hashtags I use and show love to other bloggers through spamming them with likes and comments. You can always join a “pod” which are basically like engagement groups with other bloggers to support each other when you guys post. The more you engage, the more likely they will see your page and hopefully reciprocate the love.
  • Network: I do get invited to events around Philly area so I definitely go and bring my business cards and try to network with other bloggers, PR companies, and more. Don’t be afraid to go by yourself to these events and when you see buncha girls taking lots of pics and selfies, there is a high chance they are bloggers too lol so join in on their fun and introduce yourself.
  • Take advantage of hashtags and tagging! I always use the max of 30 hashtags. I try to do key ones in my caption and then the rest in my comments section so my caption doesn’t look so messy. If I am wearing a certain brand, I will make sure to use the brand’s hashtags, If I am in a certain location, especially a high tourist location, I will do research on best hashtags on that location (example: #phillyblogger #phillystyle #aroundphilly #phillybucketlist). Popular hashtags change all the time so I am always trying to research and switch it up. Furthermore, I also tag brands in my pictures and IGs who normally repost pictures like “blondesandcookies” and “ootdmagazine.” If I am uploading any travel pic, I tag travel IGS and food IGs in my food pics. This will help more eyes see your pictures! 

How many hours do you spend a week in blogging?

  • Editing Pictures: probably at least 2 hours a week, depending on how much content I have to create
  • Creating Content: this varies between 2-5 hours every week, depending on my schedule and the type of content I want to shoot
  • Engaging on IG: around 2 hours a day… LOL definitely way too much time
  • Blogging: even though I don’t post a blog post every week, I do spend at least 1-2 hours a week trying to make goals for my blogs and even draft my next blog posts. When I make a blog post like this, it takes a minimum of 5 hours between drafting and editing.
  • Emails: my nursing schedule is crazy sometimes I can’t respond to my dms/emails every day but make it a habit of spending an hour or so every other day to respond back to potential collabs and even start pitching to brands

What’s been the most challenging?
Trying not to get discouraged and be obsessed with numbers. Some days, my pictures do really well and I get like over 1000 likes and some days I barely get like 500 likes. If you don’t know by now, the instagram algorithm SUCKS and it is so unpredictable. Apparently, I read multiple articles that says your picture will be bumped up and more likely to be on the explore page if you have high engagement within the first 15 minutes after you post. This means you have to also engage back with whoever comments you right away. In addition, it is recommended that you post your pic at “optimal times” aka when your followers are most active. If you have a business instagram, you can see this through your insights; if not, there are apps that can be able to tell you. I don’t always follow these rules all the time because it feels too restricted and too much of a chore and I just want my blog/IG to be fun!

you’re more than just a number of likes or comments on your post

To sum it up, you’re more than just number of likes or comments on your post. If you really want to pursue this full time, I would really look into insights of your posts and see what posts perform better than others. Obviously, my food pictures are not going to do as well as my outfit pics but that does not stop me from uploading whatever I want (to an extent) because it represents me.

How did you get invited to your first event?
I can’t really answer this but what I started to do more was network like I said up there. I started to join Philly bloggers group and started to go to events around the city. I also made friends with other Philly bloggers who invited me out to these events. 

I do get approached often through emails so I do add my email to my IG bio and make sure I add Philly as my location while hashtagging Philly hashtags in my pictures.

How to work with brands?
If you have a favorite brand you wear, be sure to hashtag them and tag them in your pictures. I also try to comment and show love on their page as well. I do get approached by brands through emails but you can always pitch to brands yourself. On the brand’s website or IG, they should have a contact email or PR email. You should introduce yourself, why you want to work with them, and what you can offer them. I worked with a PR girl who helped make me a media kit and a pitch for brands with rates. You can easily make your own media kit via Canva and there are tons of examples online.  

Blogging Advice 

Be true to yourself and your brand 
I get approached so often with paid campaigns but I have to deny when it’s something I normally genuinely don’t post or use. For example, tampons and panties subscription boxes reach out to me and offered me money too but my feed is more fashion and lifestyle; I would not post a picture of tampons nor panties because that’s not me at all. Trust me, your followers will know if it is a genuine post or not. 

This may differ for you and your goals, but I do not want my IG to be all sponsored posts and look like ads and spam. My feed is more lifestyle and me. Know yourself and your brand and stick to that. 

Know your worth/Learn how to say no 
In the beginning of blogging, brands kept approaching me for gifted products and I kept saying yes to everything and did not realize they were taking advantage of me. It is time consuming to make content for all these gifted posts and it just looked like spam on my profile. In addition, so many brands wanted to send me free stuff but wanted me to put out money first or pay for shipping… THIS IS A NO NO! You should never have to pay for anything or put money up front so be careful of these scams. Furthermore, ignore those annoying brands who leave comments on your page like “your page is beautiful.. Please DM me to collab.” If brands wanted to collab with you, they will reach out. I think it’s unprofessional of them to just leave comments on your post instead of taking the time to either shoot you a dm or email yourself. 

I am pretty much a “yes” person as in I want to go to every event because I have FOMO but it does get tiring lol so take care of yourself first and realize it’s okay to skip out on things. There are plenty of more events out there.

Invest in yourself but don’t go broke
When I say invest in yourself, I mean invest in your blog and not closet lol. Put money towards creating it and trying to better it if you are really passionate about it. I worked with a PR company to get my media kit and pitches. There are also tons of guides & classes on how to be a blogger, how to edit pics, basically everything you can think of when it comes to the blogging world. I currently want to take a class next about utilizing Pinterest to drive traffic to my blog. I used these resources to really try to transform my blog and monetize it in the long run.

If you’re just starting out as a new blogger, it may be hard to get brands to send you products right away but you don’t have to feel tempted to go out and buy stuff to create more content. Don’t feel the need to constantly go shopping just to create new content. Try to revamp your closet and make new looks. If you do have to go shopping, make a budget and try to stick to it. Buy staple pieces ie: a jacket you can rewear or basics. If you’re into flatlays, buy fake flowers from the dollar store you can reuse and you can make your flatlays cuter! 

Furthermore, you can always check out free things to do in your city aka museums and exhibits. I always try to find cute cafes where I can just snap pics of my lattes or food for content. Try searching instagrammable places in my city and see where I can shoot and make new content. 

This blog post has been a work in progress and I kept rereading it and adding more stuff so if I missed anything you want to know, feel free to ask. I am not an expert or a major influencer.. I am just another blogger sharing my experience so far and what I did. Hope you like and have a wonderful day 🙂 xoxo, fab <3

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