Michael 84

Fashion Blogging Tips – How To Get Started

Blogging Tips, Tech Blog
Sunday, 15th July, 2012

 

So you want to blog? Well, getting a blog started and online is a very easy process. There are many services out there which you can use to start a blog, some free, others are not.

Why Blog?

Having a blog can be great fun, and you can have your own space on the Internet which you can use to do pretty much anything with. There are thousands of fashion blogs out there, with new ones being started every day.

What do you need?

To start all you need is an idea. You have to decide what you want to blog about, and make sure that you are focused and are able to write about the subject you pick. Even if you write about fashion, this can be drilled down into a specific area of fashion; High end, vintage, personal, magazine style and more. You have to choose the direction you want to take your blog in, and think about what people would want to read about.

Content is very important. Whether it is images, text or both, you have to have good content which is fresh, and is what people will want to read. It is important you maintain a steady flow of content, to keep your readers interested and coming back. It is not a good idea to post 10 items in one day and then nothing for months. Spread it out, if you only want to write once or twice a week make sure you still to that so your readers know what to expect from your blog.

So you have your idea, and you have content ready to go, how do you get it online and on the Internet? The two methods I will talk about are the free option and paid option.

 

Free options – Get your blog hosted on a 3rd party site

If you are not sure you want to blog or do not want to spend a lot (or any) money doing it there are plenty of options available. You can use a free platform to blog on. One of the biggest is Blogger (Blogspot) which is owned by Google. This service lets you set up a blog in minutes, and you can get to work straight away. It is probably the most used free platform to blog on which fashion bloggers use. There are many customisation options available, and you can make your blog stand out with it’s own look and feel.

There are other blogging platforms which are free, such as WordPress.com, Typepad, blog.com and more.

Advantages of using a free service such as blogger

  • It is free!
  • Easy to use and set up, and you can get started in minutes
  • You don’t have to worry about hosting and things that go with it such as uptime, bandwidth restrictions, moving to bigger servers if you blog grows, etc.
  • If they are part of a network (such as blogger) you will get traffic from within the network, and more people will comment on your blog.
  • You will be able to use your own domain name (if you pay for one) and customise the blog so it looks more professional.

Disadvantages of using a free service

  • You have to play by their rules, which means your blog could get taken down, blocked or other
  • You are restricted by what they will or will not allow
  • Customisations will be limited, in comparison to a self hosted paid option
  • You may have to display ads if the network you are on is ad supported.
  • You may have limited features, such as a limited number of visitors, users, members
  • If something happens to the free service (such as downtime) you are at the mercy of the service

If you are new to blogging, or do not know if it is for you, using a free option is a great way to start. I would recommend Blogger, it is a good, reliable service with plenty of customisation options. A lot of big blogs in fashion use blogger, such as The Style Rookie, Where Did U Get That and more. A lot of the big fashion blogs also started on Blogger and have since moved on.

Paid options – “Self Hosted” blog

What is self hosted? Well basically it means that you go and get your own web hosting, and set up a blog on it. You go to a web hosting company, and pay them for hosting, and you can do anything you like with the hosting, set up websites, email and more. This can cost anything from £3/month upwards, for a blog you probably don’t want to be spending more than £20/month; And for that you should be able to get some great hosting.

Hosting is usually paid for monthly, some companies will give you an annual deal for a bit less,  and you will also need to pay for a domain name, which can cost around £10/year, although you can get it for quite a bit less.

Some companies will offer different “levels” of hosting at different prices. You could start at their lower cheapest level, and work your way up should you need to. 123-reg for example offer hosting from £2.99 and go to £8.99.

If you do not know much about hosting make sure you get one which has good support, and some kind of Control Panel interface so you can easily control your account. Many companies use CPanel, which is a very easy to use interface and you can set up a huge amount of things through it.

When you have the hosting you will then need to choose blogging software to use. There are lots to choose from, but the most popular is WordPress, available from WordPress.org. You can download WordPress and upload it to your hosting, or your hosting may have an “auto installer” which will let you install it within a few clicks. Once it is installed it is as simple as going through and setting up a few things, and you are ready to go. WordPress has a lot of great tutorials and help available at their site to help you out should you get stuck.

Advantages of Paid Hosting

  • You are in complete control of your blog
  • Unlimited customisation possibilities
  • More freedom than in a free environment
  • no ads unless you choose to have ads on your blog
  • It can be more reliable

Disadvantages of Paid Hosting

  • It’s not free – You have to pay per month/year and keep paying if you want your blog to stay online
  • If your blog gets busy you may need to “upgrade” your hosting which will cost more money (more on that below)
  • You are in control of the software, if something goes wrong you will have to try and fix it, or seek help.
  • You have to keep the software updated; Although this is easy to do, I have seen a number of fashion blogs who use old software and don’t bother to upgrade.

Once you get really busy, expect to pay more for hosting

Probably the biggest disadvantage of using your own host or server is that the bigger and more popular your blog gets, the more it’s going to cost. Depending on your hosting company, you may be asked to upgrade to a more expensive package or move to a VPS (Virtual Private Server) or Dedicated Server. It is impossible to say “how many visitors will I be able to have before I am asked to upgrade”. That will depend on your host, what they will allow, how good their servers are and how many resources your blog is using.

However I think that for the majority of people who want to blog, this should not be a problem, unless you plan to get thousands of visitors per day. If you are in doubt about the web host you probably want to send them an email before hand, asking about their resource usage, how many visitors on average do they think they can handle on their hosting and more. If you are interested in having a self hosted blog, then search Google for “Web hosting” or “blog web hosting” and check out a few different companies.

Be wary of companies who offer “unlimited” things. It’s unlikely that they do, no matter what they say, their unlimited features may have other restrictions hidden away in their terms.

Of course the more visitors you get, and the more your blog grows, the bigger the opportunities are to monetize your blog and create revenue to pay your hosting bills. I’ll save that for another day 🙂

Conclusion – What I would do if I were a beginner starting

If you are starting a blog and it’s a hobby or not 100% serious then I would recommend that you choose a free option such as Blogger. You can start here and learn the basics of blogging and running a blog, and decide if you want to take it up as an ongoing thing. If you do then you can continue to use the free options available, or move on. If it’s not something you want to pursure it’s only cost you your time 🙂

 


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Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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