I feel very weird labeling a how-to guide about how-to be a blogger. I believe I’ve even written about this before, but since I recently launched the new layout, I figured I’d come back with some refurbished ideas. I’m always asked two questions by you guys:
- How do I escape my small town?
- How can I be a “blogger”?
I get DM after DM on Instagram asking me what my advice is for starting a blog, or for staying consistent with blogging. You’ve probably read so many posts from other bloggers about how to be bloggers, which makes the topic annoying and slightly monotonous, but since I’m asked the question all of the time…I love getting your messages and checking out your blogs, but I think it’s time you little cute people fly on your own and have a guide for answers to your questions!
If you haven’t had a chance to read through my story, I started A Life in the Fashion Lane back in 2011. This is a time in a land far, far away when blogging was not cool. Social media was confusing, and Instagram was filled with wonky filters that are considered very ugly and outdated now. I’m 20 years old, and I already feel elderly writing this post. When I introduce myself to someone, I honestly avoid saying I’m a blogger. I definitely don’t say I’m an influencer because I don’t find myself to be an influencer. Like, what is an influencer? I prefer to just say I run a site for teens and a nonprofit on social media and mental health. Boom!
I frequently say the same thing to those who reach out to me: find what sets you apart, and start your journey there. Don’t start a blog because you want to set yourself apart by doing something that’s going to set you apart, because everyone is a blogger right now. I yearn for the days I could write a post without thinking whose going to read it, hate me because I say something that someone doesn’t understand, or question me on. I adore my job, of course! But this world isn’t like it was when I started.
Alexa’s Tips For Blogging
1. I started on Blogger and then I went to Squarespace and now I’m on WordPress. I paid a lot of money for this new website design: and it’s way more than I’ve ever paid. I used to pay $400 a year for a design on Squarespace and $16 a month for hosting. I do not advise you to use Wix or Weebly: I just think the layout of Squarespace and WordPress is much cleaner.
2. How will you find a cool design? Squarespace has tons of fantastic layouts that come with the website, but you have to find someone to actually design the site for you. 2 years ago someone tried to take me to court because they said I stole their Squarespace site layout from them? But Squarespace has 16 site layouts, so I had to choose 1/16…Weird. Any who, you can Google “website designers”, use Craigslist, use 99designs.com, check out other blogs and scroll to the bottom and check out where it says “designed by…”. There are millions of designers out there! You could probably even find one at a college by writing a post on a college design Facebook page or something.
3. How do you set yourself apart? Well, what makes you unique? What do you like? Food, clocks, bikes? Can you make a website to design bikes for people in Indonesia? Sure! I have days where I don’t even know what sets me apart. I’m just out here following my dreams, inspiring you guys to follow yours by my unusual journey. When I’m confused, I’ll take myself on a hike or write in a journal to understand what the next step in my life is.
4. How do you promote yourself! So way back when, I started as a freelance writer at Parade Magazine, Huffington Post and Guest of a Guest while I was blogging. That kind of put me on the map because I was 14 and writing about the top 7 hotels in Manhattan to get free hotel rooms to take pictures in for my blog. One time, Trump even tweeted to me before he was in office! Depending on what that thing is that sets you apart, you can promote yourself leading with that. If you want to be a fashion blogger, find a fashion writer at Refinery29 or Urban Outfitters and ask to style them in return for publicity. If you want to be a stylist, do the same. Want to be a freelance writer? Find emails on LinkedIn or press releases and pitch yourself! Sell yourself. Why do you deserve to write for X, Y, Z?
5. How do you make money! Oh boy, I’m asked this question at least twice per day. I’ve been working with the brands I work with for years. It’s the kind of thing where I almost feel like I’m casually dating my brands, like Lands’ End and Lane Bryant. Like, you know when you meet a cute boy and you don’t want to seem too interested so you kind of play hard to get but then you find yourself bored and alone on a Saturday night so you leap and text them? Sometimes they’ll reply and sometimes they’ll be like yea, not interested. That’s me with my brands! This world is all about relationships: if you have talent, and you showcase your talent properly, people will eventually catch on. If you have something to offer, don’t be afraid to ask for something in return. Literally, it’s dating.
6. Once you’re ready…how do you price yourself? The age old question! Well, I say when you’re ready because I don’t think that money should be your priority. If you’re a fashion blogger or trying to promote some type of fashion, then you should join RewardStyle or Like2KnowIt (Did I spell that right?) but I’m not a fashion blogger so I’m probably not the best person to ask for questions related to fashion blogging. But, I know a thing or two about business. My friend messaged me the other day asking how much she should charge for a styling session with a Boston- based boutique. She’s never done something like that before but she has styled people. I told her I’d charge $250-$500 depending on a range of factors: how much time will be spent? how many posts are they expecting? how many people will be styled? are you doing Instagram story or just Snapchat?
If you want to start a blog to start a business, you have to start thinking of yourself as a business. Everything you do, public figure or business, reflects on you: if you’re just starting, you don’t need to charge $2,000 for a sponsored post unless you’re the next Logan Paul. And if you are the next Logan Paul, you better be adding a few extras 0s to that price tag above. Have fun with it- most of this is trial and error. You might get a bite (a lead) from one brand and no leads from the next 50- who cares! What sets you apart is how much BS you’re willing to put up with, and how much you love creating content.