How to be a fashion blogger

How to grow your blog for 2018.

There was a time when I imagined a day would come when I would have the opportunity to write a post all about “How to grow your blog” – and it would be titled something catchy – like: “How to grow your blog”, or “How I tripled my followers in 2017!”

I tripled my followers in 2017. I think.

I don’t remember how many followers I had at the beginning of the year. That was a long time ago, when I was still saying things like, “I really need to work on my blog more”, because I posted a picture of a hat or a scarf once every three or four months and made some comment about… I don’t know, what did I write about? Hats and scarves? Things fashion bloggers write about.

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Anyway – moral of the story – now I have over 1,000 followers. So, I *think* I tripled my following? – assuming I started the year off with 200-ish (sounds about right).

“How did she do it?”, you’re asking. “What’s the secret sauce?”

I had always assumed this post would be a lot more professional-sounding. I imagined talking about things like “SEO tools” and “brand content” and “how to plan your blog posts”.

I assumed I would actually know what those things were by the time I got around to writing this post. If I can write a post about “tripling my traffic” – you’d think I’d know something about traffic tools. But I don’t. I had to Google “What does S.E.O. stand for?” And the last time I tried to plan out my blog posts for the month… I just couldn’t. It was hard. I was expecting these posts to be GREAT!-AMAZING!-WONDERFUL!-PULITZER-PRIZE-WORTHY (forget the fact that the Pulitzer is an award given to outstanding achievements in journalism, which is hardly the same thing as being a self-proclaimed blogger… but you know what I mean). I was giving myself time to write the posts. It wasn’t something I was just throwing out into the world all willy-nilly-“let’s just word vomit all over this page” like I usually do (like I did with this post). Unfortunately the extra time just made me extra stressed. Things didn’t SOUND right. They didn’t jive. They didn’t feel… bloggy. Blogger-y? Blog worthy. You know, since I gave myself all of that extra time to write.

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So I wrote a post about THAT experience here. And then I started Googling things like, “How to grow your blog following” and “How to drive traffic to your blog” – because I thought maybe I’d get an extra confidence boost if more people started showing up and reading my stuff, even if it wasn’t up to my weird, unattainably high standards. Maybe other people would appreciate the… heart? Sure, let’s go with that.

But when you Google things like “How to drive traffic to your blog” – all of this stuff pops up about, like… numbers. Blog numbers. “Hits”. SEO. Online marketing. Technical Internet jargon. “RSS feed”.

That was one of the things. “Make it easy for blog visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed“. And I was like – do I even HAVE an RSS feed? I don’t know what that is. Is it like the comment section?

They’ll also tell you to invest in promotion (“For $10, you can boost a post on Facebook to reach wider audiences!”), or “Incorporate keywords to improve your SEO”. How do I know what the “keywords” are supposed to be? Is there a list? How do I incorporate them? Is it like a hashtag?

There’s other stuff Google will tell you – all kinds of stuff, you can read for hours and learn alllllll about the technical side of blogging if you want to – but every time I try to, it makes my head spin and I get overwhelmed and flustered and a part of me thinks, “This is too hard. I’ll worry about this part later.”

Blogging can literally be a full time job. That’s why some people do it as a FULL TIME JOB. And those are the people who can work on things like SEO and online newsletters and “hits” and RSS feeds. But if you’re like me – and all you want to do is write and take pictures, that’s okay too. Your passion project doesn’t need to be your full time job. Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself not to get too caught up in this stuff – don’t take the fun out of it. That’s why you started doing this in the first place.

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But if you’re interested in how I grew my “traffic” this year… well, I don’t really know how I did it. I think it was a happy accident. But here’s what I can tell you that I started doing this year:

 

  • Facebook 
    • I literally went to Facebook.com and typed in “Fashion Bloggers”, “Chicago Bloggers”, “Lifestyle Bloggers” – you get the idea – then I clicked “Request to join” on these group pages. And guess what? THEY LET ME IN. These groups are extremely supportive and offer excellent opportunities for blog engagement. Many times the admin will start a post that will let you add your latest blog post as a comment —- and people will actually read it! It’s a great way to get involved with the blog community AND drive traffic to your blog. (But make sure you’re interacting with their blogs too!) 
  • Instagram 
    • You know how people will find out that you have a blog? When you tell them you have a blog. Utilize your Instagram following by adding the link to your bio, and making sure to create posts that can help drive traffic to your blog. (Bonus – this can also help you to get sponsorships!) 
  • Utilize your blog platform
    • Mine is powered by WordPress, and one of the things I enjoy doing is looking up other people’s blogs on WordPress. It’s fun to see what the other bloggers are doing – and, let’s face it, I love blogs (hence, why I have one). By interacting with other bloggers in your platform (liking and commenting on their posts), it can also help to drive traffic and new readers! 
  • Pictures
    • I was one of these people who thought I didn’t need pictures for a long time. “People are going to think I’m into myself,” I said. “It’s really about all the writing anyway.” Sure – it is mostly about the writing, you should have good content…. but people like pictures. They like visual aids. And the better quality pictures you have, the better and more professional your content will be. 
  • Aesthetic & theme
    • It’s important your aesthetic matches your niche. At the beginning of the year, my blog didn’t have a title. It was just “jennsfashion.com”….here it is. A fashion blog. With a bunch of weird. posts about, like, yoga and bleaching my hair. People were probably like “What is this even about? I don’t get it”. So I changed up the layout to make things easier to read, added a title – “The Internet Needs Boring Fashion Blogs” – which is direct, but also cheeky enough that people probably know the tone of voice they’re getting into before even reading a post. Keep a cohesive theme and voice to let your readers know who you are and what they’re getting into.
  • Collaborations
    • In all fairness – I’ve really only done this once. I’m picky about collaborations because I am so assertive about the content and voice that I want on my blog. It isn’t big enough yet to feature other voices. However, I was nominated for the Leibster award (only people in the blog world know what that is) and was featured on someone else’s page – which helped drive traffic to mine. From then, I featured about a post about other bloggers, which ultimately helped all of us. (If you would like to be nominated for a Leibster – you can find links to these posts in the Facebook groups). 
  • Pinterest
    • I’m on Pinterest. I don’t know if it’s actually done anything for me, but I have links to my blog posts on Pinterest. 
  • I bought a domain. 
    • At the beginning of the year – this web address was still “jennsfashion.wordpress.com”. But since I’ve purchased the domain, it is now jennsfashion.com. Not only does this clean up the name, but it also makes the page seem more professional. And – in my own words – “real”. 
  • I worked on how my “voice” goes with my niche. 
    • It’s weird to say that I have a fashion blog, written by someone who knows nothing about fashion, written for an audience of other fashion bloggers. And yet – somehow – it all seems to work. I love incorporating personal stories into my posts, without losing sight of what the post is supposed to be about.  Never lose focus on your niche. (Sometimes this is harder than you’d think it would be. Sometimes even I don’t succeed at it. But the point is, I’m trying!)
  • Treat it like a business. 
    • I can sit here all day long and try to convince you that I don’t take this blog seriously because “I don’t plan out my blog posts” and I joke about “SEO” and “not posting on a schedule”…. and all of that stuff is true. But in reality, I do take this blog seriously. I don’t post something if I think it’s crap. I don’t make a joke out of the photoshoots that I do (even though sometimes they can feel that way). I don’t just post “whatever”. These posts typically take hours to write – because they’re supposed to be good. And all of them have come from a running list of  ideas in the “notes” app on my iPhone. When an idea strikes me for a blog post, I write it down. I take it seriously. And when you take something seriously, and treat it like a business, your business will grow. 

So maybe it’s not “keywords” and SEO tips – but it’s ten new things I did this year with my blog, and it helped to drive traffic! What are some of your tricks that you’ve noticed have helped drive traffic to your blog this year? Let’s hear it in the comments below!

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29 thoughts on “How to grow your blog for 2018.

  1. It was interesting to see your perspective on driving traffic to your blog. It is a mystery to me! I have read all the SEO tips and tricks too. Maybe it is better to just focus on good content and regular posts rather than focusing on the technical stuff. Hopefully, something will click for me in the new year. Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much for this. I spent the whole summer trying to figure out how people grow their blogs in just a short amount of time and to tell you the truth, I don’t think a got any of it. I have figured out that growing a community and posting often actually does work, it just takes some time. Like they say: “slow and steady win the race”.

    Styleexperience.org

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It is very refreshing to see a post about growing traffic that is a not a cookie-cutter, ponzischemeesque piece of hype. I love that your main focus is doing what means the most to you. I feel like I am alone in a sea of bloggers when I say that I don’t care about Pinterest and Twitter, I just want to write for my outdoorsy friends and so that is what I do.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these tips even I’m trying to increase my blog traffic and when I google all the tips they is about SEO , marketing I will try you tips and let you , really I liked your tips they are amazing and simple 😊😍

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Really insightful Mz Jenn, adding media is becoming a necessity. With ability to move data easily this has to compliment great content. I like what you refer to finding your niche, as being authentic to yourself. People would love to hear your own story, what makes your blog different and if they love it they will come back, then you can monitor your audience through web tools!!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I actually read every single bit of this post and loved every single bit. Not that I am an important critic or anything. I especially love the “no bullshit” tone in your writing. Thanks for sharing and I will most definitely be back for more.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This “This is too hard. I’ll worry about this part later.” Has definitely happened one too many times to me. I’m still looking to reduce the occurrence.
    What I did and do that helps is engaging on other blog posts. Some people easily (by feeling guilt ridden) head over to your blog page when you leave a helpful comment on their blog posts. I think.

    Idle head

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was halfway through a free crash course on SEO an hour ago and gave up. Not cause I don’t understand but because my site isn’t a purchased domain and I don’t plan to invest financially on my blog at the moment. While I’m still figuring out what and how to progress with this blog I have about lifestyle and food, I would like very much if at least a few people were reading it. And in that regard, your blogpost was really insightful Jenn! ❤️ Much love. and if you’re even a little interested, I’m over at https://vitalitytribe.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Heh, several years ago, I was writing for a high-traffic math site and I had to do lots of keyword research. While I didn’t need to have the know-hows of SEO and other technical stuff (as they had other people for that), I was expected to produce articles with high keyword density and of course, long tail keywords.

    When I started my blog, I considered doing the same, but then I decided to save myself all the trouble and just blog. Google’s algorithm may not be able to pick up my blog quickly, but I believe that all I need is time…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Scheduling your posts is a total duh moment for me just now. I mean, blogging is basically arguing with someone (yourself) and cursing your past self for not planning ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I just tried joining a facebook group and I have to say THANK YOU! I didn’t even know those existed! I’m super excited to see if I get in and even more excited to read some new content. Again, thank you so much lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This read was everything!!! I am really trying to triple my followers this year myself; I was clueless for the latter part of 2017! I,like you, joined some FB groups, and I’ve noticed a good increase of traffic. We’ll see how it goes!

    Liked by 2 people

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