So you want to start a fashion blog, huh?
Well, I’ve got good news for you.
Fashion blogs are huge right now.
But, this post is not just about starting fashion blogs. I’m going to show you some step by step tips for starting any blog in any niche and making sure you do it properly.
Oh, and if you really do want to start a fashion blog this post will hopefully blow your socks off!
Quick interruption: BlueHost is giving readers of my blog a discount rate of $3.95 per month (billed annually) + a free domain name to start your fashion blog. Click here for a step-by-step guide to starting your own blog.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you sign up. Thanks for your support and please know that I only recommend services that I use myself.
To start a fashion blog you need some guts
Let’s not sugar coat anything here – blogging is hard work.
And if you truly do want to start a fashion blog you are entering a niche that is so crowded and cramped you will struggle to even find room to breathe.
The same goes for blogs about blogging, travel blogs, music blogs, sport blogs and probably sexy ones.
The competition and the noise is endless.
But there is good news and that is that 95% of those blogs really suck.
I mean they REALLY suck.
This leaves you with an opportunity to do something amazing and awesome and special but, like the paragraph header says, you need some guts. You are going to have to make this work by being smart and different. If you’re not prepared to do that then you may as well stop right here.
So now what?
Remember: this post uses fashion blogging as an example but can apply to almost any other niche.
The basic steps needed to start a fashion blog
Now that we’ve got the scary learn-the-hard-way-grasshopper lessons out of the way we can get into some practical matters. To start a fashion blog and make it truly awesome you will want to follow these basic steps (there’s more detail afterwards):
- Get a sick domain name and your own host
Please, please, please don’t start your blog on Tumblr or Blogger. Those things are promotional tools for your main blog or website. If you want to truly grow a brand and make a business out of your fashion blog you want your own domain name and blog hosting in order to start a WordPress blog. Most of the best sites do it this way.
- Find out why you are fabulous first
As I said in the intro-mumbo-jumbo, you really need to know why you are different. There are millions of fashion blogs out there and unless you do something differently you are going to get lost in all the noise. You don’t want that.
- Publish the most incredible content your brain can manage
Once your blog is all set up and running don’t just publish lame crap that you type out in five minutes and hit publish because you want to go out and drink lattes. Blogging is hard work. Sometimes I take two or three days to write one blog post. You have to make your brain work really damn hard.
- Network, network, network
Make friends. Lots of them. Make friends with your readers and make friends with other bloggers that are already way more awesome than you and might be able to give you a helping hand. This means growing a mailing list and it means being active on places like Google+.
And now you are successful and famous!
Well, not quite.
Let’s get into a little bit more detail about all those points.
Why you need your own blog host to start a rockin’ fashion blog
I’ve written this stuff in a few blog posts now but it is just so important and we constantly see people get it so wrong that I need to keep saying it.
A free blog is not a good solution
If you want to start a blog that will eventually become a business then you need to get your own domain name and web host.
Because that blog is your asset.
It will be the place from which you launch every project that you can come up with in the future. It will be the place from which you promote everything you do and it will be how all the big cats in your industry come to know you.
So why would you try to do that on a free host with some other company’s name in it? Can you imagine starting a restaurant or a shop and having another company’s name in your shop sign or restaurant name? No way!
A big tip about your future
Here is a big tip that I am going to make about your future. I guarantee that this will happen. It happens to everyone who makes this mistake. This big tip is this:
If you start a blog on a free host one day you will want to transfer it to a self-hosted WordPress set up. – Click to Tweet this quote.
That is a fact. And now that you know it you should be smart and just avoid the future headaches of a painful migration and start your blog in a way that sets you up for the long term.
It sounds really complicated, how does it work?
Getting your own blog host does sound complicated but I can assure you it isn’t. For example, over 850,000 people have set up a WordPress blog with BlueHost. I am betting you are as smart as at least some of those people.
Here is a quick overview of how it works:
- Visit BlueHost
Start by visiting BlueHost. This is the hosting company that I recommend for all beginners.
- Get your domain name
You can buy your own domain name through BlueHost on the first page. Your domain name is what people will type in to find your site.
- Fill out all the details
You then fill out all your details, purchase the hosting package (billed annually) and you’ll get instant access to the control panel.
Quick interruption: If you’d like more help I have a complete guide on how to start a WordPress blog that takes you through each step with pictures and screenshots. Ten minutes max!
- Install WordPress
Just find the button called WordPress in your cPanel and click it. It will take you through a set up process that will take literally 30 seconds.
- Your blog is ready
Sure, its just skin and bones at this stage but you are literally ready to start blogging on your own set up.
What happens next?
Once you have your brand new baby blog you’re going to be seduced by millions of plugins and WordPress themes. You are going to want to change things and muck around with your theme and never actually do any content creation. That is a big mistake.
So, perhaps before you go too much further down the road you should read the next section.
To start a fashion blog (or any blog) find out why you are fabulous first
If you’ve jumped ahead and started your new blog that’s totally fine – it shows you’ve got passion and energy.
But here are a few things you need to consider about making a blog successful, awesome and totally fabulous.
Being different is being alive
That might sound a little dramatic but it is totally true. If your blog is the same as all the other fashion blogs (or travel, music, sport) out there then you are going to fail and give up within a few weeks.
If, on the other hand, you know why you are fabulous and you work hard at making sure that is part of your brand and that you let people know why you are different you will find that you start having small successes.
These small successes are very important.
For example, you might think of a really cool name for your blog, or a really cool angle from which you blog about something. Someone might notice that name on Twitter or Facebook and give you a little shout out saying that it is a cool idea.
That is a very, very important thing to have happen.
Very early on in this blog’s lifecycle I got a simple Tweet from a guy called Rand Fishkin.
He said, “I really like your About page.”
That was it.
Well, it just so happens that Rand Fishkin was/is a huge internet hero of mine and receiving that simple Tweet gave me a crap-load of energy.
If I got my About page right surely I could get other things right. Right?
That quote is still featured on my About page.
And I think it all came back to doing something different.
So, how can you start a fashion blog that is different from all the rest?
- Put your face on it
You are going to be a huge part of your blog. You write the darn thing! Make sure people know who it is coming from.
- Put your story on it
Why are you writing this blog? Why should people listen to you? Tell them your story even if it is really, really long.
- Think of a strong and differentiated brand
Your brand is not just your logo – it’s everything that you do. It’s everything that people think about you. Make sure your name, logo, design and style is all connect and all works together to make your blog different.
- Take risks
You need to take risks with your content (kind of like I am now writing a post about fashion blogging for tens of thousands of readers!). Talk about things that matter to you – don’t just try to be like everyone else. This is actually one of the hardest parts about blogging.
All of this comes down to having a really deep knowledge of why you are doing what you are doing.
Try and have some idea of your motivations before you start.
And then publish the best content your brain can manage
This is what blogging is really about.
Even if you’ve made mistakes in the last sections – chosen a bad domain name or started on a free host (ugh) – you can still make it work if you publish damn good content.
So what does the best content look like?
Well, the best content is not so much about how it looks. It may be in many forms like a video or a blog post or an eBook. That doesn’t really matter.
The best content, however, is something that changes a person’s life.
Again, that might sound dramatic but it’s not really all that surprising.
If your fashion blog is about helping curvy women then some content that you write might make someone feel better about themselves for a day.
That is a big thing. And they will remember it.
The best content solves problems. You and your brain should spend a lot of time trying to come up with the best and most helpfulest content ideas that you can think of.
So how do you do it?
- Make plans
Plan ahead with your content. Figure out what people might want to see now and in the future.
- Copy your competitors and then be better
Have a look at what your competitors are doing to be successful and then copy them but make it different, unique and better. No point re-inventing the wheel.
- Get professional
Professional photos, videos, graphics – all of these things can make a huge difference to how you are perceived.
- Write, write, write
You want to get better at writing? Well, you need to write a LOT. Write all the time and really try to find your voice. Write long blog posts that give out a lot of value.
- Focus on evergreen content
Evergreen content is useful stuff that stays relevant not for just a week or two but forever. This is a key point to running a successful blog.
- Learn SEO
Search Engine Optimization is annoying but it is a vital part of helping you craft good content that get’s noticed. I have a guide to SEO for blogs that you can read.
Now, the reason I mentioned the brain in this section’s header is because this stuff really does become a drain on your brain if you are doing it right.
The best content is not easy to come up with. It takes a lot of research and it takes a lot of time to write, edit and perfect.
But it is very important that you make the effort to try and be completely fabulous with your new fashion blog’s content because even if you don’t quite hit it the first few times you will still get people’s attention.
And then network, network, network
While good content is really important, you really need to make sure that you network, network, network.
I’ve said it so many times: it’s your colleagues and readers and the relationships that you have with them that will make you famous.
So how do you do it?
- Spy on fashion bloggers
The first step is to get on Google+ communities or Twitter search and start spying on the best fashion bloggers. Find out who is who and get to know what they do.
- Make contact
Slowly start to make contact with them around their content. Help them get more comments and try to make friends.
- Share content
Start to share their content on your own blog. Let them know that you gave them a mention. Try to establish a relationship by learning how to write emails.
- Start discussions
Wherever possible (forums, comment areas, Twitter, etc.) try to start discussions. Some of the best relationships I’ve made have come about this way.
- Use Skype
If you can get another blogger on Skype you will generally make friends for life. It is a fantastic medium that we don’t use enough.
These are some of the main ways I network online but, of course, there are a lot of other things you can do.
Getting you started in fashion blogging (plus lessons for the rest of us)
To help start you on that networking process I’ve made a kind of categorised list of some of the best fashion blogs around. Visit these sites, see what they do well and then get ideas and make contact.
For everyone else who isn’t interested in starting a fashion blog I’ve made sure these sites give you a lot of other useful things to look at.
This is a really good example of a blog that doesn’t need to just be a blog. The best way to make a blog is by creating a whole website around it. They have deeper content ideas and a broad range of articles that aren’t just simple tutorials.
A great example of creating a tribe around an emotional idea. The catch-phrase is “Freedom of expression through personal style”. You immediately know what you’re getting.
Anne Street Studio
A simple blog design with a rather complicated and “different” approach to a blog. You’ll instantly notice the professional photographs – there’s a reason for that.
The Beauty Department
The thing I love about this site is that they do almost everything in an infographic/graphical way which would lend itself extremely well to social sharing on Pinterest. It also creates a unique brand and style that you recognize right away.
This is how you build a personal brand and become famous. Not everyone loves him but he seems to be doing pretty well for himself.
The Independent Fashion Bloggers
This is an amazing case study of a website that has been grown and expanded by bringing in multiple talented authors to write about one specific topic. A very good lesson to learn.
The Lingerie Addict (maybe NSFW?)
This is the perfect example of someone who has started a blog on a very niche topic and is thus able to make money extremely easily by reviewing products or solving problems related to those items.
Go Fug Yourself
A massive blog with an incredible tact for branding. The name is memorable and the content always matches.
What advice would you give for starting a fashion blog?
I’d really like to draw on the collective brilliance of the Tyrant Troops here and ask what tips or hints you would give to someone starting a fashion blog or any blog that is focussed around a particular niche or sub-topic? Please leave a comment.
Oh, and I’d really appreciate a share, tweet or +1 on this post. These darn things take ages to write!
Updated 24th of June, 2014.