Are you overwhelmed by all the fashion blogging advice? You’ve been reading and researching but it’s hard to figure out where and how to start a fashion blog, right? You’re not alone.
Why start a fashion blog and become an influencer?
There are big opportunities in fashion blogging:
- You get invited to fun fashion shows and events. Bloggers and influencers are front row material sitting next to giants like Anna Wintour.
- You often get sent free clothes and makeup to review.
- Style and beauty are some of the most searched for guides according to a study by Google. With a blog, you will get discovered in search results.
- It’s a great way to get your foot into an industry that’s so hard to get into.
If you’re dreaming of making it in the fashion industry, blogging is an excellent way to start!
Blogging will help you extend your Instagram profile. You’ll also get discovered on Google. You can build a more loyal connection with your audience and charge more money for sponsored posts.
So how do I start a fashion blog exactly? Not only start, but how do I differentiate myself in the sea of fashion blogs, get more followers and become an Instagram influencer? I’ve included tips and advice from several successful fashion bloggers in this guide.
How to start a fashion blog: A-step-by-step guide
You need to decide a blogging platform and a hosting provider for your fashion blog. I prefer, use and recommend WordPress as the blogging platform. It’s the most popular blogging platform and is very intuitive and easy to use.
More than 75 million bloggers and brands use it to create beautiful websites. Even Instagram’s own blog is hosted with WordPress.
- It’s completely free to use and is here to stay. It’s not a commercial organization that may run out of business or that might make some decisions in favor of their investors or shareholders and against the people that use it.
- It’s the most popular blogging platform used to host more than 35% of all sites. Very flexible and extensive so it’s used by everyone from institutions such as The White House and NASA, corporations such as Facebook and CNN to independent blogs such as my one.
- Open-source with a large community of people using it, loving it and contributing to it. You benefit from this by having access to thousands of free designs that can change the look of your site with a click and tens of thousands of plugins to add any feature or functionality.
- Any problem or issue you might have is easy to find a solution for using sites such as my blog or one of the many WordPress communities.
- Easy to start with and maintain it even for people who have no coding skills and who have no prior experience building websites and publishing content.
These reasons show you why WordPress is a great blogging platform to use to create your own permanent home online. A home that you fully own, fully control and that you can depend on.
WordPress is open-source and free to use. You do need a domain name (address people will type to get access to your site) and space on a server (computer that delivers your content when requested by a visitor) to make your site accessible on the Internet.
WordPress hosting provider that I use and recommend
My site is reader-supported. If you make a purchase using my link, I earn a commission at not additional cost to you. This helps keep my site advertising free.
There are so many capable and affordable WordPress web hosting providers. I recommend GreenGeeks. I pay them to host my site and they have everything you need for a great WordPress user experience:
- GreenGeeks is an independent company based in Los Angeles, California. They are specialized in WordPress hosting with more than 10 years of experience, more than 40,000 customers and are home to more than 500,000 sites.
You get a free domain name, fast loading site, automatic updates, automatic backup and top security. There’s a 99.9% uptime guarantee. They also have a 30-day money-back guarantee just in case.
- Unlike most providers, their servers are environmentally friendly and your site will be 100% carbon neutral. They use energy-efficient hardware and purchase wind energy credits for 3 times the amount of energy they consume.
- They provide 24/7/365 customer support via chat, email and phone. I’ve never had to call, but I’ve emailed and chatted multiple times. They’re fast, responsive and unlike some other providers I’ve dealt with actually solve any issues.
11 steps to register your domain name and install WordPress
It will take you 10 minutes to get your WordPress site up and running. Here are the step by step instructions:
Step 1: Visit GreenGeeks and choose your plan. I pay for the Pro plan at $5.95/month as I run more than one site. The Lite plan at $2.95/month is the best value for those with one site only. Click the big green “Get Started” button.
Step 2: Now you need to register your domain name or transfer an existing domain name. GreenGeeks provides you with your chosen domain name for free. Type your domain name and click on the “Check Availability” button.
Step 3: Fill in all your details in “Account Information“.
Step 4: In “Package Information” you see the summary of your chosen plan. To get the best value monthly price you need to sign up for 3 years.
3 years of hosting on the Lite plan is billed $106.20 total. If you wish to purchase one year only, the total price will be $59.40.
You can choose your “Server Location“. Options are the United States, Canada and Europe. Pick the one closest to where the majority of your target audience is.
“Coupon Code” with the highest value is automatically applied. You always get the best possible deal so no need to take any action.
“Domain WHOIS Privacy” at $9.95/year is selected by default but it’s possible to deselect it if you wish.
Every domain name registered has a publicly viewable database which includes the contact info of the domain name owner. This option protects your personal information with an anonymous registration.
Step 5: Fill in your credit card details and click on the “Create Account & Get Started” button. Then wait for an email with your GreenGeeks account login details.
Step 6: Log in to your GreenGeeks account and click the “CPANEL” button. Search for “Soft” in the top box to locate the “Softaculous Apps Installer“. This is an easy way to install WordPress.
Step 7: Click on WordPress and on the next page click on the “Install Now” button.
Step 8: In “Site Settings” type your Site Name and Site Description. You don’t want your site to be “my WordPress blog” or “just another WordPress site”.
That doesn’t tell your visitor much about what you care about. Fill in your title in “Site Name” and explain what your site is about in the “Description”.
Don’t worry about making this perfect as you can change it at any time in your WordPress dashboard.
Step 9: In “Admin Account” select a new personal username and a strong password. These will be the login details you will use to enter your WordPress dashboard.
Don’t use the default admin username as it makes you a target of brute force attacks. Create a new and unique username for yourself.
Step 10: Click on “Advanced Options” and choose to Auto Upgrade WordPress to “Any latest version available”. Auto upgrade plugins and themes too. Set “Automated backups” to “Once a week”. These are the best practices to secure your WordPress site.
Step 11: Now you can “Select Theme” that you like. By default, you’ll get the great and modern looking Twenty Twenty theme.
You can change to a different theme with one click in your WordPress dashboard at any later stage so don’t worry about making a perfect choice now.
Click “Install” and wait until your site has been set up. You can now log in on yourname.com/wp-admin/ with your WordPress username and password.
Fashion Blogging 101
The world of fashion blogs is competitive, the quality is high so an effective way to gain attention and make your voice heard is to diversify your content and establish your originality.
Like with everything else in life, in order to stand out from the crowd, you need to bring something special to the table.
For many fashion bloggers, it’s their personality and style. These are some of the things you should be aware of and follow to achieve success with your blogging:
Upload colorful and attractive photos
Make sure that the photos you post are bright and clear. I use some photos of my personal outfits, some of food, shoes, bags, scenery, etc. These are Instagram’s creative principles for photos:
Pictures are one of the most essential parts of fashion blogging. Ordinary girls are looking like photo models today thanks to great cameras and editing software.
The key to creating amazing content (and keeping your readers interested) lies entirely in the photos.
Much like you would see in the glossy pages of magazines, fashion blogs are all about the creativity in the outfits and the strength of the photos. Visually appealing and stimulating photos are important.
A lot of people don’t generally read the text. They only look at the photos first and that in itself tells me a lot. You need the photos to initially draw people in.
When I browse other fashion blogs, if I’m interested in the photos, it entices me to read the actual post. The key definitely lies within the photos.
How do you get visually appealing photos that can keep your readers entertained or create new loyal fans? Lorna Burford from Raindrops of Sapphire says:
When I say clarity, I’m talking about really crisp photos that are of great quality. There is nothing worse than looking at really blurry photos where you can’t really see the outfit or the person behind the fuzz.
The best way to achieve great photos, if you are serious about your fashion blogging, is investing in a great camera.
If you are thinking about getting a new camera, I would definitely suggest getting a DLSR. Instead of buying a super expensive digital point and shoot camera, I would invest in an entry-level DLSR.
The quality of your photos will be so much better than anything a compact camera can produce.
I also recommend using Photoshop to enhance the sharpness of the photos and shooting in raw format so you have the ability to change things more.
Who doesn’t love color? Color is so lively and it really catches your eye. I’m not saying you need to have an outfit filled with a rainbow of hues, but I’m saying pay attention to your shades.
Using deep burgundies, yellows and purples for Autumn really work, especially if you enhance them in Photoshop to make them pop.
For the Summer, neon pinks, yellows, greens, and blues are always great options and are very eye-catching.
If you prefer to be a little more subtle with your outfits, then opt for a colorful and inventive background, perhaps one with gravity or colored walls.
Or use nature to your advantage, the backdrop of Autumn leaves creates a gorgeous scene or Summer flowers in full bloom.
Being creative is the key to keeping things interesting. Using different locations, different backgrounds, different pieces in your looks, using props etc, keeping things varied and intriguing always makes the readers fascinated.
When I see other people’s creative photos, I’m always going back to see what they do next.
Have fun and enjoy what you’re doing. It will come across in the photos. It’s a chance to really let go and do things you might not necessarily do in your everyday life.
Go out in the rain and twirl around with an umbrella, sit on walls or staircases, strike some interesting poses… but always be creative with your outfits as well.
Some of the top fashion bloggers wear some wacky and inventive clothing, but it always comes out well in photos. Visually stimulating photos is exactly what you are looking for.
Post content about the popular trends
Do some research on what’s going on Instagram that’s relevant to what you’re doing. What topics are people posting about? What hashtags are they using?
Then post content about the popular trends and tag it with some of the popular hashtags. There are many popular hashtag trends to consider.
#photooftheday, #picoftheday, #bestoftheday, #instagood, #quote, #quoteoftheday, #tbt, #instamood are just some of them. Here are some recent fashion-relevant trends to get you inspired:
Post about celebrity style
A lot of girls and women look up to celebrities. They dream of dressing like them and are looking to bloggers for advice.
Use approachable clothing
Inspire people with your outfits (whether you’re wearing them or displaying them in sets like I am), but make sure that the clothes you use are fairly affordable, so your readers can identify with you.
Set aside a certain day of the week or time of day that you will dedicate to blogging and upload posts on a regular basis. I shoot for three a day but most bloggers shoot for four a week. Give people tips and tell them stories while you do it.
DIY projects are always a hit
Women love being creative, so teach them how!
Find the subject of your blog
Perhaps some complimentary subjects too. Stick to those and do not stray too far off-topic.
I personally chose fashion and all things artsy. Write posts about stuff that interests you and in a language that will keep your readers entertained!
Don’t let your fashion blog become one big advertisement
Be picky when it comes to samples you’re sent for review. People get easily bored with looking at sponsored ads and articles.
100% original content
One huge mistake some fashion bloggers make is to copy other bloggers’ work. That’s easy to spot and the readers will head on to the next fashion blogger in line!
Presentation with your blog is everything
Just as with your personal appearance, the presentation of your blog is everything. Shanon from Kiss My Fashion says: “I have met bloggers that carry themselves well, then I go to their website and it is a jumbled mess.
If you have to keep your blog unpublished for a few extra days until you can figure out how to design a blog, then do it!
It’s better to maintain a classy website than to appear unorganized to some potential business partnerships or collaborations.”
Of course, everyone has their own unique style, so don’t try to copy anyone and don’t feel the need to go crazy.
Do what feels right for you and play around with things, you will eventually find your own unique voice and can make statements with your photos.
Think of your profile as a portfolio of who you are. I’d like to think my readers continue coming back to the blog because of my own personal perspective.
If the photos are attractive, it’s likely that people who come to your profile will follow you. If they are dull, blurry and uninteresting, it’s more than likely they won’t. Here’s advice from Instagram on what a good fashion feed looks like:
Share your unique view on fashion with the world
Shanon says: “At first it can be challenging when trying to find your own signature ‘thing’ to capture at events or just surfing the web for interesting fashion news can take hours.
There are thousands of fashion bloggers out right now. So the same subject is being discussed over and over, right? But I try to change the theme and elaborate on things that other people may not.
For example, when covering New York Fashion Week, many bloggers will have images of every piece that hits the runway.
I hunt for what the audience is wearing, capture some great photos, and then title it, “What to wear to New York Fashion Week” or “Trendy Handbags to Rock to a Fashion Show”.”
Do videos as they are getting increasingly more relevant
Video is a very popular content format in the fashion field. People love watching the “get ready with me” type of videos. Could you create some of these videos yourself?
Such as walking your audience through your preparation for a night out or your preparation for a day at work? Two million hours of this type of videos were watched on YouTube.
Video views on Instagram have increased by 150%. This means that you should try to create videos.
Experiment by posting a few videos on Instagram or IGTV and see what results you’re getting compared to your photo content.
Use also the Instagram stories for that. Are you getting more impressions, reach and engagement on a video than on a photo? Consider the data in order to create the best content strategy.
Check also the two apps Instagram released: Boomerang and Hyperlapse. They can help you create better videos.
Shanon also says: “I use the information I find for my blog as a tool to stay well informed in the fashion industry.
I love getting dressed up for events and snapping pictures of fashionistas with my oversized camera. And never having to pay for fashion shows is definitely a perk! My number one advice though is to have fun!”
How to get more followers on Instagram
Starting a fashion blog is one thing, but I wanted to talk about getting your blog known in the social media circuit too.
Once you have started and have published some interesting content, you need to get visitors. You must promote your content. Nobody will see it otherwise.
You might sit there and get upset that nobody is coming to your blog to read it, but it’s a lot like having a shop. If it’s new and down a side street somewhere, the chances are that not very many people know it exists.
Search engines won’t help drive traffic to you in the early days. Google is flooded with content, and it takes a long time to build up any credibility and success in the search results.
This is where social media networks can help. Instagram and Pinterest are perfect social networks for fashion bloggers as they are based on visual content.
Heading down the social media route for acquiring visitors is one of the best and quickest things you can do early on.
Instagram is a very popular, mobile-first and visual platform used by more than 1 billion monthly active users. It’s made for fashion too, and industry has adopted the platform. According to a report from Instagram, “fashionistas” are:
- Viewing 5 times as many photos as the average user
- Posting 3 times as much
- Following 2.5 times more accounts (353 on average)
- Have 350% more followers
- Have 6 times as many impressions
- Are logging in every day of the week
- Are checking the app 15 times per day
- 45% of all users follow a fashion brand or personality
Some of the top fashion bloggers like The Blonde Salad, Song of Style, Style Scrapbook, Atlantic Pacific, etc. all have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of followers on Instagram.
You can really build up a community there with your own profile and spread the word about your content by doing a few simple things. Here’s how to get more followers on Instagram:
Make your profile description short and to the point
Pick a niche topic and describe what you are doing in order so people know what your profile is about and what they can expect from you. Be creative. Be unique. Be yourself. Be funny. Use emojis.
Include your URL
Since you can’t include clickable links in your photos, it does make it harder for followers to go to your blog. In general, they usually click the link in your profile if they’re interested in checking more.
It’s why it’s important to have an attractive profile as people love the photos, so they will go on to click your link. Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in the descriptions or comments section of the photos.
You are only allowed one link on your profile. You can see when people come to your blog via Instagram when you check your referral sources.
Usually, it’s not a huge amount as there aren’t a large number of links on Instagram. In general, the point of Instagram is more about building up your profile, your status, and your community.
Post screenshots of your articles
One interesting way of bypassing the no links situation is to actually take screenshots of your content and post them directly on Instagram.
This will still not be clickable but will raise the awareness of the new post on your blog and should get more people to take a look. Include also the different hashtags relevant to promoting a new blog post: #ontheblog #linkinprofile.
Add relevant hashtags to your posts
Including popular hashtags in your photos is a great thing as when people search for photos they want to look at, yours will come up in that search system.
Hashtags are very important in getting you discovered by a wider audience. There is an unlimited number of hashtags that you can use.
Be creative with your use of emojis
Instagram is huge for emojis. Almost every post includes at least one emoji. Use them freely and be as creative as you can.
Start following people you are inspired by
Follow also those who are in the same line of work as you. The best way to get known is by heading over to someone else in the same area of work as you, for example, one of the popular fashion bloggers.
Click their followers, like their photos and follow some of them who you think might be interested in your photos.
By clicking their followers and following some of them who you think might also be interested in your account, you put yourself on the ladder. It’s a great way of getting people to know about you.
There are a lot of fashion blogs out there. Get to know your competition. Befriend the enemy, some would say.
The thing is, the more blogger friends you have, the more you will learn from them. Some of the best friends I have today, I met through blogging!
By socializing with them, leaving comments on their blogs, writing guest posts and having guest posters on your blog, you’ll gain more friends and readers.
The fashion industry is a tough one to get into and be in. Ever seen The Devil Wears Prada? But that’s not the case with the fashion blogging world I know. People are actually friendly, helpful and nice!
So get out there and start mingling! Whatever you do stay focused on the goal. The readers may not start coming in masses right away, but persistence pays off.
Browse hashtags and interact with people using them
Do the same for hashtags. Find relevant but popular hashtags. Then follow and like photos of people who are posting content with those hashtags.
Doing this you can gain a lot of people who are interested in your photos and they will follow you back and like your photos. The more promotion you give yourself, the better.
Continue following and interacting every day
Keep doing this consistently each day over a period of time and you will build up a good follower amount daily. Like everything, it takes time to build a significant following.
Not everyone will be interactive or follow you back. It’s up to you if you want to unfollow them in order to make your profile look tidier.
Post when people are most active
Look at your Instagram analytics. See when your followers are most active and aim to post those days of the week and times of the day. Here’s some data on days of the week when the “fashionistas” are posting the most.
Convert your personal profile into a business profile
A business profile gives you several benefits. One is that you can add a “contact” button to your profile.
You can also pay Instagram in order to get your content to a larger audience. The main benefit is getting access to Instagram Insights. It’s similar to insights you get on your Facebook page.
- You can see the total number of times your content has been seen (impressions).
- The unique number of people who have viewed your content (reach).
- The number of clicks to the link in your profile.
- You can also learn more about who your followers are (gender, age, location).
- You can also see when your followers are active on Instagram.
All this helps you figure out how well you’re doing. These insights can help guide you towards creating better and more engaging content. They can also help you figure out the best time to post.
To convert, simply go to your profile and tap “Switch to Business profile“. You need to also have a Facebook page in order to convert your personal profile into a business profile.
How to make money on Instagram
The most common to make money on Instagram and your fashion blog is to get sponsored.
The concept of sponsorship is that a brand pays an Instagram influential or a fashion blogger to post a blog post, a review, an image or a video using the product of the brand.
How many Instagram followers do I need to make money?
There are social media influencers agencies that now represent bloggers and other influencers and get them in touch with big and small brands.
Single sponsored post such as an Instagram image could cost anywhere from $500 from bloggers with thousands of followers to $20,000 or much more for bloggers with millions of followers.
And to be an attractive influencer to sponsors, you don’t need to have millions of followers. It all depends on the type of audience that you’ve built and the brand that is looking to promote their products.
These are the main groups of influencers, the range of their followers and the type of reward they can expect for the sponsored content:
- Influencers are internet famous and have millions or more Instagram followers. They usually earn $20,000 or even more per sponsorship
- Micro-influencers have tens of thousands to low hundreds of thousands of followers. They usually earn around $500 per sponsorship
- Nano-influencers have as little as a one thousand and up to 5,000 followers. Money is rarely part of the deal. They usually get free products to post about and review
Three approaches to making money on Instagram
1. Let interesting companies contact you directly
The first approach is to focus on posting the best content that you have, building your following and engaging with your audience. The better you do this the more companies will naturally find you and will be interested in working with you.
Leave your contact details somewhere prominent and they will contact you directly.
2. Reach out to companies you are interested in working with
The second approach is more proactive. Actively find and reach out to companies you are interested in working with.
You may love their products. You may have seen them doing advertising or sponsoring another influencer. You may have seen their products reviewed on other blogs.
All companies will have their contact info available on their website. Reach out and tell them about yourself, the audience you’ve built and ideas on how you could work together.
This is best done in a brief media kit document that you can send to them. The media kit should contain a description of your Instagram and blog reach and engagement stats, media features and anything else that paints a great picture. Here’s an example of a media kit.
3. Join influencer agencies and let them find sponsors for you
This may be the most convenient way of making money on Instagram and on your fashion blog. There are many influencer agencies and they have established relationships with many brands. Join them and let them find brands that want to work with you.
Having an agency or an agent represent you may be convenient but it’s also the most costly option. Agents may usually charge you a fixed fee retainer of $1,000 or more per month and may also take a 20% or so commission on all the deals you get.
Remember, it may be simple to start a fashion blog but it takes a lot of effort over a longer period of time to become an Instagram influencer. Keep it simple and take it one post at a time. The ball is in your court now. Get started!