It can often be frustrating in our community when we have a discussion about fashion blogs, because we find ourselves coming back to and talking about the same ones over and over. The ones that set the benchmarks are widely read, influential among peers and chock-full of high-quality content. That being said, what exactly are the makings of the superstar sites?
To try and figure it out, we couldn't just list blogs off the tops of our heads that we really like. We needed quantified proof. We turned to the Signature 9 99 Most Influential Fashion and Beauty Blogs for Spring 2012. (We're ranked 56th, right behind The Glamourai (55) and Street Ettiquette (53).
Signature 9 uses Alexa and Twitter scores, Google blog links as well as page ranks and more to create a series of scores that are then tallied, and the totals determine each blog's rank. From this list, we excluded the fashion news blogs like Fashionista and Refinery29, and looked at only street and personal style blogs to see where they rank. Here's a small sampling:
The Sartorialist (1)
Garance Dore (4)
From Me To You (10)
The Blonde Salad (11)
Fashion Toast (14)
Man Repeller (20)
Advanced Style (27)
Susie Bubble (28)
Sea of Shoes (36)
After looking at the Style99 list and seeing how personal style blogs rank, you have an idea of which blogs are popular and what numbers get them there. But how do these blogs get those numbers? We wanted to see if we could pin-point just what makes big blogs so big. The X-factor varies with the style of content, but we believe there are generally 5 qualities that contribute to a blog's popularity.
Clear, Gorgeous Photos
No matter what types of photos they're taking, whether they are of the blogger or someone else, the quality, the clarity and the eye are always sharp. To reach the top of the top, it seems you either have to be a fantastic photographer, or have one at your disposal. We are a visual culture, and therefore it seems only natural that the more beautiful the photos, the better a blogger's chances for success.
A Distinct Point Of View
If you were to spend some time going over the content from each of the above blogs, you would be able to draw discernible differences between all their points of view. Sometimes it comes through in the angles and focus of their photography, sometimes it's in the way they write about and look at personal style or fashion. The angle is everything. For example, The Man Repeller has tapped into a perspective on fashion that would seemingly put off the opposite gender, and Cupcakes & Cashmere zeroed in on a very feminine, sweet take on personal style and cooking.
An Easy, Simple Layout
The top-tier blogs have mastered the art of simplicity. Each uses their header to convey a bit of personality, flair or color, but the layout, navigation and design are consistently minimal and a synch to figure out. A white background is usually the base of each blog's design, with black text and spare amounts of extras and advertisements.
An Aspirational Element
Each of the above 11 blogs has an aspect that always seems just a little bit out of our grasp. Sometimes it's in the expert styling, sometimes it's an exotic location and yes, sometimes it's very expensive clothing. We love to read these blogs because we like to dream about the life and lifestyle they portray, and imagine what it might be like to have it. Audiences like to view a blog that provides an escape, inspiration and something to strive for. (Whether that's a good or bad thing is up for debate.)
Consistency in Content and Posting
Whether these blogs are newer (From Me To You) or have been around for quite some time (Style Bubble), their authors maintain their influence and popularity because they maintain everything. Their content has the same feeling and style throughout each post, and those posts are published at a constant rate. The consistency shows in their photos (always the same size) and the writing (smart, to the point, well-edited). These bloggers treat their site as a job from the get-go, whether it becomes a full-time commitment or a supplement to their career.
Do you agree with these 5 qualities? Do you think there's something else that contributes to these blogs' popularity? Share your thoughts on ‘The X-Factor' in the comments!