The Blogging Landscape: What It’s Like To Start A Blog Right Now
By: Taylor Davies

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If you do a Google search for “personal style blog,” you will be greeted with more than 55 million results. It’s safe to say that our once niche community has grown into a full-on cultural sensation.

It’s hard to believe, but IFB has been around for nearly five years, which means that so too, have many of our favorite fashion and style blogs. The landscape was very different then, before social media, before brand projects, before everyone had an iPhone.

Flash forward to today – with so much development and evolution in our world – and it’s a totally new place. Bloggers getting started now are equipped with so many helpful tools and the experience of so many other bloggers to learn from. That being said, are new bloggers at an advantage or disadvantage?

To get a little perspective on what it’s like to start a blog in this market, we chatted with the women behind two personal style blogs, The Marcy Stop and Honey & Silk, that have already garnered attention around the web, and have been around for less than a year each.

Creating High-Quality Content From Day One

Lauren and Micol started their joint-venture blog, The Marcy Stop, in January 2012. Both women had always thought about starting a blog, and they decided it would be the perfect outlet for their love for fashion as well as a chance for Micol to work on her professional photography skills.

Right away, both women understood how important it would be to come out of the gate with great, high-quality content. “From the start, we both knew that we wanted the photography to be top notch,” says Lauren.

Micol, who takes the photographs, cites Lauren’s keen eye for fashion and specific style as a key component to their blog’s appeal. “She’s responsible for the amazing looks we shoot each day and it’s what she’s chosen to wear that determines how I shoot the outfit and the location we choose,” says Micol. “It’s not either fashion or photography for us that we want to showcase; the two go hand in hand and in turn, complement each other.”

Both women are grateful for any exposure they get, and acknowledge that it isn’t easy to stand out in such a saturated market. “While sometimes making our mark seems hopeless, we just try to stay true to our own voice and hope that people will continue to listen. There is a lot of noise out there; every one has a blog. But the great thing is, every one will always find a reader or two that their blog speaks to, and I think as long as your blog stays true to your voice, message and style – you can’t go wrong.”

From Passion Project To Professional

Honey & Silk

Stephanie Liu created Honey & Silk in July of 2011, originally focusing more on food, and talking only about trends and shopping finds than her personal style. When she wanted to showcase a particular purchase, her first outfit post was born, and things snowballed from there. Taking inspiration from some of her favorite blogs like Gary Pepper and Atlantic-Pacific, she began regularly posting her looks.

Stephanie says the development of her blog has been an evolving process, but things really took off after she attended a blogger conference in May. She was able to network with brands, PR people and bloggers, and her blog was mentioned and featured in L.A. Weekly. After that she began working regularly with brands, her traffic nearly doubled, and she recently quit her real estate job to pursue her blog full-time.

It was a very big descision, but im a very optimistic person. I’m passionate, and I want to do something more with my time – doing something I love, and  I think I can make a living out of it.”

It’s a big leap to pursue blogging full-time no matter how long you’ve been at it, but Stephanie feels confident that there’s always room for a fresh perspective. “There are hundreds of blogs out there that are basically household names – but times are changing! There’s room for new perspectives, and I think that if you really work hard enough to stand out – you can,” says Stephanie.

 

Engaging With The Community Is A Top Priority

About their audience, Micol says,”Reading our followers comments never gets old. Because as much as this blog is a passion project for Lauren and me, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without our readers who have amazing blogs that in turn inspire us every day! Blogging is as much about creating content as it is about supporting our fellow fashion addicts so Lauren and I both do a lot of outreach to make sure they know that.”

Both The Marcy Stop girls and Stephanie cited social media as playing an integral roll in the growth of their blogs and finding a place in the community.

“I saw how important it was to keep in touch with the world on a regular basis,” says Stephanie. “Twitter is really important for that; it’s the most direct and personal way to interact with readers, other bloggers and industry people.”

Do you think it’s easier or more difficult to start a style blog right now? Are bloggers at an advantage when they’re able to see what so many have done in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Image credit: Cameron Krone for Amica magazine via Fashion Gone Rogue

 

Comments

  1. Laura Lily says:

    I do not know if it is more difficult to start a blog now than years ago, but there definitely seems to be more competition. Some times I get discouraged when I see tons of other bloggers doing amazing things (traveling with brands, collaborations, etc.) and I think, “Will I ever get there. ” But then I get a comment on a post from a reader that really brightens my day because little by little, my voice is reaching out into the world. Of course I would love to quit my day job (entertainment related stuff) and blog full time about fashion events, trends, and people, but I am realistic. One day maybe, but for now, I will just stay true to myself, my voice and my reason for the start of my blog- To inspire women to look their best without spending a fortune on fashion.

  2. Toni Styles says:

    I definitely have high hopes for myself and other emerging style bloggers. The key thing is to BE YOURSELF – that right there is unique and one of a kind. In the past you may have been able to get away with “follow the leader” type blogging – but not so much today.

    Readers want a fresh perspective and something different. Video is a plus! I have to remind myself all the time that in the beginning it’s just about content and communication. Getting your original posts out there and being social, particularly on Twitter and other blogs. The cool design and advanced equipment are things to think about later, As I discover new blogs, it’s surprising to see more and more readers not judging my cover but by character and content.

    That’s so refreshing!

  3. The post was so helpful and inspiring! As a new blogger [launched on February 2012] I really see the competition and the difficulty to get noticed. However, as everyone has said, hard work and a sincere voice would eventually pay off. I get comments from readers that are really thoughtful and insightful. It makes my day to see that my post made someone think. Even if it’s just one person.

  4. It’s definitely difficult to get noticed when you’re not focused on beautiful locations or runway trends since those seem to dominate the bigger, more well-known style blogs.

  5. Queen Shmink says:

    I don’t think it’s more difficult to start a style blog now. It’s actually easy to START one now because there are so many ideas to draw from in order to create your own.
    Getting “noticed” though or working with top-level brands is a whole other ball-game. There is definitely TONS of competition, but that’s what makes it fun! Everyone has a unique story!

  6. zoobia says:

    On one hand, there are so many blogs out there that the market has become oversaturated, making it difficult for any one stand out. On the other hand, new bloggers have many examples they can consult when researching what makes a blog successful. What hasn’t changed is that a unique voice attracts an audience, regardless of the type of blog. There are millions of style blogs filled to the brim with outfit posts, but a fresh voice stands out despite having the exact same premise as those millions.

  7. Hera Nyx says:

    Thank you Toni Styles for introducing this article to me. No matter what field or industry you want to get into there will always be competition. And like everyone says Nothing is new under the sun. I feel as if it is easier to start because of the numerous resources we have. Not to mention singing up is a breeze. I encourage people who want to pursue blogging to blog. Whatever your vision is focus on it and use your voice.Don’t be discouraged or compare yourself to other bloggers. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone has a voice needed to be heard, and everyone has a unique perspective. It may be hard reaching out to people but that should never stop a blogger from writing. Focus on the reason why you started blogging and continue. I just recently had my one year blog anniversary!! it’s exciting and the feedback that I receive is amazing. I will continue blogging because I LOVE IT. Always, always always be yourself.

  8. Starting a blog may be easy to do but I definitely think its harder now to stand out than it was a year or two ago. Sure there is tons of inspiration to work off of but no matter what you have to something unique that makes you stand out. Finding that something special within your blog no matter what your focus is can be challenging and the process is full of hard work.

  9. Hera Nyx says:

    It may be an advantage but at the same time it can be a disadvantage. Being exposed to so many other style bloggers, one may lose their own focus. Inspiration is good but don’t let it be a distraction from your own voice. You have to step in and step out then create.

  10. Rachel says:

    I think it is difficult but definitely those who persevere and truly love style and blogging will succeed in the end. Also, i would love if you guy (who ever that may be) would check out my blog and give me your input on it! im always looking to improve my blog :) thanks

    BLOG: http://www.misscitychic.com/

  11. Sarah says:

    It’s hard to know whether it was easier to start a style blog now versus in the past, because I think most style bloggers either did one or the other! I just started a month ago, and it’s not like I’m getting hundreds of hits every day, but I feel confident in how my blog is growing.

    I don’t know if I would have had the inspiration to start my own blog if it weren’t for all the resources (like IFB!) available nowadays. Of course the plethora of resources means that the niche is going to be full of people like me who think they can write a great blog, but I’m sure many of us will give up eventually and leave it to those who are more dedicated. At the moment, I’m having fun and working hard, and I think I’ll be happy with the experience no matter what happens!

    Thanks for the article.

    Sarah’s Real Life

  12. Personally, I find it so much harder to stand out in the sea of fashion blogs these days. I see the super-popular successful blogs, and a lot of them began when fashion blogging was relatively new, so people flocked at the idea which quickly increased their following!

    I think the only way to stand out these days is to find a “niche within the niche”– Anyone can take a picture of what they’re wearing and post it on the internet, but you have to really let your true style stand out and put yourself out there as different from all the rest. I think this is what brands and companies look for, as well as what loyal readers will love.

    Just remember to stay genuine and true to yourself, and put yourself out there as much a possible! :)

  13. Miloveda says:

    Sometimes I feel like it’s harder because everyone has almost the same technology and some of the new bloggers get lost in the mix but in my two years of blogging I’ve learned that you just have to be your self and stay true to who you are as a person and your personal taste and use technology the best way you can… Blogging is a way to share the way I see fashion and that’s how I’ll strive.

  14. Rita says:

    It’s easier these days. And so glad it is so! People do approach what is available in their own ways so no matter how “saturated” the bubble will be, there will always be some blogs that attract some people and other blogs that attract others. Once in a while there will be that one or two blogs that really stand out and everyone likes. But I like that everyone can use this medium to express their style, their views, their opinions on products…Sure, there is a risk some will be repeating each other but there is also a lot of room for all the diversity in the World to come through. And that is just great!

  15. AJ says:

    I absolutely love that new blogs launch every day. There is so much room for NEW voices and styles and shapes and sizes and perspectives that this is the time to thrive as a fashion blogger!

    And I look back at some blogs I’ve been following for a few months and see that they were just a dot.blogspot less than a few months ago and I get hopeful that my blog too will take off like that. It only takes one or two great posts to put you in the big leagues if you’ve been curating great content all along.

  16. Lauren says:

    I think now it’s really easy to start one, because of all the platforms…

    However, getting noticed is a whole different story. I’m not even trying to get brands to notice me right now — more focused on just getting anyone really to be a loyal follower, and it’s hard. It’s very competitive.

    My biggest realization I’ve come to lately is to not give up on having fun blogging. I’ve been discouraged to the point of taking two breaks from my blog and honestly it has helped me regain the passion and the love for just sharing my closet on the internet. It’s hard not to get swept up in the hype of trying to be a professional blogger or a sponsored blogger. Remember it’s OKAY and even valued to be someone just blogging for fun and for their own personal enjoyment. Even if not many people see it.

    It’s also become, in my opinion, increasingly difficult to get involved in the community because there are SO many bloggers sending out the vacant “i followed you follow me back!” things. It’s tough to strike up those real friendships in blogging now. But, still possible, when you find the right outlets!

    • Audrey says:

      It’s really annoying when some says follow me i’ll follow you back and then they don’t or they follow and never even read your posts. Why can’t people geniunely follow you because they are interested in your content rather than trying to garner followers for their blogs?

  17. Audrey says:

    I started my blog in September 2011 and breaking into the blogging scene can be tough but with hardwork and perseverance it’s beginning to look up. Social media has helped alot. I use other blogs for inspiration and I try as much as possible to maintain my voice.

  18. Miranda says:

    As a blogger who just started my blog 2 weeks ago (yeah – I’m super fresh!), it’s definitely overwhelming to see the thousands of other blogs out there all vying for attention. However, the positive side to that is that there are tons and tons of wonderful stylish ladies out there to meet and draw inspiration from. Thanks IFB for this article! It’s really motivating to see 2 new-ish bloggers who have become successful in such a short amount of time.

  19. Ria says:

    I think as a person relatively new to the industry, I am glad there are experienced bloggers out there who can their stories and share. I have truly learnt the importance of blogging and I’m still familiarizing myself with the different techniques and strategies.

    New bloggers are at an advantage, they have many examples to follow and technology is so evolved, not only does it educate but it also helps with promotion. I too hope someday that my blog develops to something greater and can contribute to the goals of my website, but I see the challenge and I am grateful to have the opportunity to learn!

  20. bhakti says:

    superb post. its a 50-50 situation,,, as you can learn soo much from fellow bloggers and have an idea, but at the same time there is soo much creativity you need to stand out and be at your best ..

    xoxo
    bhakti

    http://bhakti-pinkandeverythingthatgirlswant.blogspot.in/

  21. I’ve only been blogging under 2 years now but it feels like the blogging landscape been through so many changes in that time – all I can say to the newbies is stick it out, it’s really rewarding to see your own content grow, and remember to have fun with it or there’s simply no point in blogging otherwise!

    • I agree completely! I think that its really important to stick out the tough times and the old saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” holds true for the blogging community :)

  22. This is a great article because I have really given this topic alot of thought. I think I’ll even write a blog post about it now that I’ve really realized other people understand and know what I’m talking about. I really think that it’s something of a disadvantage to start a blog now a-days. I recently started mine (it’s a little over a week old) and even though I’ve gotten my first 500 page hits, it’s still tough to try to network and stand out in the world wide web where every other girl in high school owns a blog. What I think makes people stand out as a blogger is their dedication to it. So many people “have” a blog that they update every month, sometimes twice a month, and then they call themselves a blogger. Dedication is what really can get you noticed and if you stay true to what you love, you can’t go wrong. Lauren and Micol said it perfectly.

  23. GREAT post, and I love the comments.

    I had no idea what I was getting myself in for in Feb 2009 when I started – and even then, it seemed like there were so many blogs.

    How’s this for irony: I really want to write about my feelings about it, but I don’t have time because I have to get ready for a business meeting that wouldn’t have come about if I hadn’t done my blog. It’s easy for me to focus on the pain that came about in my case – from being befriended by some rather ruthless competitive sorts, and then being bullied – but the truth is, like anything else in life, the experience of blogging is what you make it. And that can be WONDERFUL. Magical, serendipitous.. between the people I’ve met on the street, street shooting, and the ones I’ve met virtually, online – and then, often, in person – I’ve expanded my world to some of the most wonderful, true friends. I even found this post from reading a tweet from one of the best of the bunch, Stephanie of Style Odyssey (new url: http://odysseyhome.blogspot.co.uk/ )

    These days I’ve been moving away from fashion – partly to try to keep a lower profile, to let the bullies think they’ve won, and partly because my interests are beyond just fashion, but my best advice to someone starting out is:

    • stay focused – at first. Once you’re more known, you can diversify. But start with a simple idea, and stick with it until people know who you are.

    • make friends. Do it in a genuine way. Let your comments with your links speak for themselves. Just like in real life, friendships should form naturally, with like-minded people. Just tossing off a few dozen ‘love your look, follow me’ comments is not going to entice people to your blog.

    • most importantly – as Lauren put so well in her insightful comment – don’t forget to HAVE FUN. Otherwise, what is the point. As my dad always said, try not to be so busy that you don’t have time to stop and smell the flowers.

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