Thoughts on Blogging!
I quite often get asked this. “I want to start blogging, but I don’t know. What should I do?” Or: “How can I improve my blog?”
I wrote up a little list of things that I, both as a blogger and as an eventmanager always consider to be pillars of good blogging. Now before you scream “How dare she? Who does she think she is?!” – keep calm! This is a personal list that -I- consider important and isn’t necessarily a universal perspective on blogging.
1. NEVER beg or demand review copies! It reflects VERY badly upon you and your blog. Be patient, blog continuously and once your blog is old enough (~ 6 months), apply whenever a store/event accepts bloggers. If people like you, they will approach/invite you. Applying for events/stores which you never blogged before is a bad idea.
2. Find your niche! Be unqiue, offer something the 10000 other bloggers don’t already do. Don’t just open the 50th blog of the same kind. Research what is missing and try to fill in that blank. This is super, super important. No event has any use for 100000 bloggers with the exact same kind of style (hint: plain white background).
3. Have a good layout and good pictures! A good, easy to navigate website is important. If everything is cluttered and all over the place, it is very distracting and annoying. Large, crisp pictures are a must in my book. Don’t pick a theme that downsizes your pics to tiny thumbnails.
4. Only blog what you like! I don’t see the point of blogging what you DON’T like. If you like an item, but spot a major mistake with it that needs fixing, tell the designer before you blog it so they have a chance to fix it. If it’s a thing like…a missing hairbase or maybe you think the textures could be smoother? I think that’s fair game to say. Bashing items is shitty.
5. Never blog only for freebies! This is a thing that I personally find very important. I think you can SEE when people just blog whatever is tossed their way. Few people can conceal their lack of passion for a certain outfit. Blogging to get free shit will usually result not in so awesome outfits.
6. Be honest! If you review, don’t fawn all over an item when it has visible downsides. People will value you for honesty, not for endless asskissing. Any designer with guts will also value your opinion, IF you a) word it politely and b) can back it up. Even your fav item might just not be perfect, even if you love it. Never be afraid to voice your opinion. Smothering designers and eventowners with (undeserved), exaggerated compliments and crawling up their bums might seem a profitable way at first, but most of us see right through it and aren’t usually very impressed.
7. Get connected! Link to other blogs you like, link to Flickr (important!), Facebook, Plurk, Google Plus, Twitter, whatever floats your boat. Use the social medias to get your blog out there. 🙂 Get on a few good feeds such as IheartSL, Second Social, Style Academy etc.You see people with average pictures getting 300 favs on Flickr? Well guess what? They usually socialize like hell! It is extremely important.
8. Always improve! Chances are, there are 200 bloggers out there who are much better than you. Watch tutorials, try to get the gists of basic photoshop editing. You can add a lot of flair to a pic by just doing little things. A few neat tutorials can be found on Stawberry Singh’s blog. It took myself a long time until I finally dared to try it out, but…it works! 🙂 Learn how to tweak WL settings in SL to fit your image. If you look at my pics from a year ago and now? I learned a lot I think and there is STILL room for so much improvement.
Learn how to improve your stats, because those ARE important if you want designers to take you seriously. They want you to advertise them if you get their stuff, not sit on your pretty pics and posts, never to be seen by anyone!
9. Do not over-accessorize! It’s something that I did in the past for sure. If your outfit looks as if you right-clicked on the latest gacha-event folder and then clicked ‘wear’? Not good. Designers want their items to be represented and if you wear 100 of them?…little of each one will be seen. Find a balance. Even I have a hard time with this one sometimes. 😀
10. EFFORT! Your blog should show that you put effort into it. Pictures, layout…everything sums up to effort and how much time you are willing to spend to advertise products. If little effort is shown and every post looks as if it was done in 15 Minutes? Why should anyone invite you to blog for them? If you couldn’t even be bothered to find a pose that doesn’t make your layered meshclothes glitch all over the place…why would I bother buying it?
11. Credit your items!! I personally don’t do Slurls unless it is an event because too many stores move around all the time. But they are a nice addition for sure. Credits should contain the NAME of the designer, the name of the store, the item’s name and version/colour. If it is an event, link to it! Some people credit the price as well which is really nice.
12. Be picky! Your blog – your reputation. Which stores do you WANT to represent? Don’t accept EVERY offer and EVERY invite. Be picky and think carefully: Do the items fit your style? Do you truly like the items? If you doubt, don’t do it.
13. Not too much porn! This is a personal one. If your blog is full of pixelporn, mewmew and semen dripping from your giant pixelboobs, chances are you’ll get kicked from every feed and Flickr will not show your pictures instantly (maturity filter) which means a lot less exposure for the designers you blog for. The least thing you can do is push the porn pics into a different category, so they won’t land in the feeds and get you kicked.
14. TAG. YOUR. STUFF. Not tagging items means less search results, means less hits, means less exposure, means a bunch of annoyed storeowners and eventowners. 😛
15. Don’t burn yourself out! Be patient! Be proud of your work! Many bloggers expierence this: You work hard for your pictures and posts, you are proud of your work. But you don’t seem to get the recognition you think you’d technically deserve. Here is the thing: It is super hard to get noticed nowadays.
16. Link to your blog ingame! A clean profile with clearly visible links is important. Nothing is more annoying for anyone than having to browse your entire profile in the desperate search for THAT link. Link to your Flickr, blog, Plurk…whatever else you use! Link like this [http://thebloggingelf.com/ The Blogging Elf] and your links in SL will show up in a neat and pretty way! 🙂
Be patient. Don’t blog to be cool, to be popular among your peers or to become slamous. Blog because YOU love it, blog because it is FUN for you. As soon as it isn’t fun anymore but feels like you are trapped in eternal competition and frustration, take a step back and look at what you do. Regain perspective. Don’t be sad if people with pics that hardly seem interesting receive more views and favs than you. Chances are, they have been networking since years. Blogging should never feel like a chore.
And never blame others for your own lack of effort or lack of improvement. Don’t sneer at those with better hits/views, more favs etc. for ‘having no life’ or ‘taking blogging to seriously’. Chances are, they are having as much fun as you do and just have more motivation to have ‘that edge’.