When you take a look at the landscape of fashion blogging today, it can seem totally over-saturated. Our community is dense with content, overflowing with blogs and rich with talent. But how do you stand out? How do you rise above the blah? What is the secret of success for the bloggers that are fast becoming household names? (In households filled with fashion-minded girls at least.)
Guess what? I have no idea. There is no recipe for guarenteed success in blogging, or in any field really. It's a wild, unpredictable, perfectly mixed, baked and served up hot mix of timing, talent, originality and desire. There are definitely certain strategies that you can employ to get the most out of your blog, reach more people and improve your site – if there wasn't, IFB wouldn't exist, am I right?
Here's what I do know: There are some misconceptions out there about things you have to have for your blog to be considered “successful.” That term is certainly relative, and perhaps you consider your blog a success simply because you post on it often and you aren't the only person reading it. I think that's fabulous. So whatever your interpretation of success may be, let me at least tell you some things that you do not need to have a successful blog:
1. Lots of Comments on Every Post
I think that as bloggers we can get really wrapped up in the need for feedback on our posts. If no one has anything to say about it, was it even worth writing? It's true that the amount of traffic different types of posts get can be an easy way to guage what your readers want to see, but just because you're not getting 10 or 50 or 175 comments per post doesn't mean your not reaching people or influencing them; especially when half those comments are just other bloggers' URL's and a “Follow me!” note. I'd rather have one genuine and thoughtful comment than a dozen of the kind I mentioned above.
2. Thousands of Followers
Truth? I have 312 followers through Google on my blog. That's not 3,000 but it's also not 30. I'm happy with this number, but working to grow it everyday. Additionally, my monthly uniques and my page views far exceed my followers, so just keep in mind that people are visiting your site but are probably too lazy to register as followers. Your traffic numbers are going to be the real gauge of how many people you're reaching and how your blog is doing. Make sure to register your blog for Google Analytics (or something similar) and keep up with them weekly if your stats matter to you.
It's true that WordPress has many more customization options than Blogger or Tumblr, but it's just not true that you absolutely should be on this platform if you want to have a successful blog. There are countless “big” blogs that use Blogger, from Atlantic- Pacific to The Man Repeller. Also consider Tumblr blogs like What I Wore and From Me To You. It's all about finding a platform that works for you and the audience you want to reach.
Take a cue from Lawrence of Sartorially Inclined. The guy has never sold a lick of ad space and has thousands and thousands of readers and followers, and leveraged his blog into a successful career. You can absolutely be successful (and your readers might respect you more for it) without monotizing your site.
5. Partnerships With Brands
I feel like there's a stigma in blogging that you really just haven't made it unless a brand wants to send you free things or do a giveaway on your blog or sponsor a post. While it can be really rewarding, fun and terrific exposure to partner with a brand or retailer that you love, it's not the only thing that denotes success.
Editors Note: As I'm sure you've noticed, different bloggers have different strategies for success, different elements of their site or of their social media that they use to grow their traffic and their online presence. Having some of the above qualities can make a blog popular. And in fact it sometimes does. I just feel like it's important for bloggers who are on the cusp, just getting started or who have been at it for ages and still not global superstars – don't get discouraged by percieved ideas of what you do and don't need to make it as a blogger.
Choose the things that matter to you, and focus on them with unrelenting passion and diligence, and you will be rewarded.
[Photo by Nando Alvarez, from IFBcon in September, 2011.]