My integration into the blogging world began when I was in high school. My Writer’s Craft class dealt primarily with posting on a group blog as a means of staying interactive with one another and to share our content. Since then my interest in this platform has grown significantly and I spend a lot of time reading and looking for new blogs. I’m definitely not an expert on the topic, but having my own blog gives me a bit of insight on what goes into creating and maintaining a lifestyle blog, along with the many hours of research I put into it.
I didn’t start my blog with any real direction because I had no idea what blogging really meant. It was a few weekly posts about a random thought, much like they are now, but did not include a specific structure or pretty pictures. Since then I’ve learned that it’s important to have an end goal in mind when managing a blog, and that can be quite hard to perpetuate in every post. Today I wanted to discuss the important factors that go into a lifestyle blog seeing as this is the only facet of the overarching community I have really immersed myself in. All these ideas are subjective and can be different for anyone, so I’d love to hear your own take on what a lifestyle blog is to you.
FOCUS ON PICTURES
It took me a while to recognize the importance of pictures on a blog. When I first started blogging I thought it was only about the content, and while it still is, pictures are a great way to attract prospective readers and break up a somewhat lengthy post with a bit more visual stimulation. At first I thought this was insulting to the reader, as though they didn’t have the capability to read a long post without getting bored or distracted. But, as I’ve grown a bit more attuned with the blogging culture, I’ve realized that pictures serve just as important a purpose as the content. They have a symbiotic relationship where one reflects the intentions of the other while giving you the opportunity to be that much more creative.
That being said, this does not mean that you have to spend an entire months pay to buy an extravagant camera to get those pictures you see on professional blogger’s sites. While I have a camera like that, I bought it because I genuinely enjoy photography outside of my blog. If you don’t have a similar passion for it, then there’s no necessity to splurge on one. However, I do think that you should get comfortable with editing photos. The first few pictures I used on my blog weren’t edited and didn’t have a specific theme to them—this made every post look different and unrelated, as though someone new was posting every week.
By tweaking the brightness or tint of your photos, you can create a colour palate that is suited to your taste and also creates a specific look that readers will associate to you and your work. Most people use Photoshop to edit their photos and while that is a great program, I find it quite expensive, especially for a beginner blogger who isn’t really sure about the direction their blog is headed. I would recommend using a few of the free apps, either on your phone or laptop. The two I use are VSCO Cam on my iPhone and Fotor Photo Editor on my MacBook. Both of these allow you to adjust the brightness on dark photos and change the shadows or highlights so that every picture you take looks somewhat similar.
FIND YOUR VOICE
As mentioned above, your content and pictures work together cohesively to create your overall blogging voice. This is what reader’s associate to you and come back for every week. I think it’s difficult for new bloggers to find this voice, especially when most blogging resources say to find a niche and stick to it. That mentality does not work for me, so I’ve stayed away from it for most of my journey. It does a disservice to the writer to limit their interests and abilities to that extent. Sure, you can like makeup, but enough to write about it every day? This can apply to any hobby; given time it will begin to seem tedious.
In my opinion, the key is to uncover the style of your writing and generate your content from there. For example, I strive to write my content as thought provoking personal essays. Of course, I change it up every so often depending on what I want to write about, but I tend to have a specific voice and that drives what I put onto my blog. Some people might really enjoy providing detailed descriptions or reviews. While they may start out reviewing makeup, it’s easy to transition that writing style to other products as well, giving you enough flexibility with your content so that you don’t get bored.
While having a specific niche might be great to drive unique traffic to your blog (maybe someone is looking for information on that specific topic at that moment) I personally like the idea that people are coming back because they like you and the individuality that seeps into your writing.
DON’T BE ASHAMED TO PROMOTE YOURSELF
Lifestyle blogs are an acquired taste. I’ve encountered people who don’t really know what the purpose of them is or why they should take the time to read them, and that’s where self-promotion comes in. I remember when I first started blogging the last thing I wanted to do was tell people about my blog. How embarrassing! But as I continued to work on my blog it I realized that blogging provides all sorts of people with a voice that they would have otherwise never had, especially for introverts like myself. I would have never gone in front of an audience, sharing my bizarre ideas, but now I know that I’m reaching other’s who are like me or are interested in my perspective.
They key to reaching those people is by becoming your own publicist. You have to shamelessly put your content out there and essentially show people why they need to visit your site. My favourite platform to do my promoting on is Instagram because of how visual the environment is—everyone is scrolling through for pretty pictures, so that’s great if you are proud of your photography and want to showcase it. Twitter is my second favourite because you are able to interact with other bloggers on a more personal level and share yourself in the process. However, the platform I get most of my traffic from is Facebook blogging groups. My most consistent ones are Boost Your Blog and Blogging Newbs, but there are so many out there full of people who have their ideas to share and looking to make connections. In these groups you can also post your other social media platforms so that you can gain exposure on those as well as your blog.
I hope these tips helped anyone who is thinking of starting a new lifestyle blog or someone who has just joined the blogging game.
What are your key factors of a lifestyle blog?