7 Common Traits of High Quality Fashion Blogs

fashion blogger

“Be so good they can't ignore you.” ~Steve Martin

I keep going back to this, because it's at once sage advice, and completely subjective advice. For bloggers wishing to become professional, getting noticed is no small feat in this competitive world. Your work is good. You pour your heart into it. But why is nothing happening? It could be you just started, or you're not making yourself available for success. Or, maybe “high quality” is too broad of a description. Blogs are like babies, everyone thinks their own blog is beautiful and a bit genius. It's hard to look at something you've worked so hard on objectively. Sometimes it's just hard to define the common traits among successful blogs.

Blogs are like babies, everyone thinks their own blog is beautiful and a bit genius.

While each blog is different, there are traits that successful blogs tend to have. You might be really great at one trait, but need help with the others. The more of these traits you can master, the easier it is to rise to the top.

1. Strong voice

Every time people describe what makes a great blogger, you get the “strong voice” answer. Every time. There is a reason for that. Bloggers who have something to say and say it with confidence can develop a strong voice, if they don't already have it. Technology comes and goes, heck, blogging might even peter out one day. If you develop a strong voice, you'll be ready for the next medium.

How do you develop a strong voice?

This is a lifelong journey. Honing in your voice and writing skills is a constant evolution, one that will never be perfected. If you're just starting out, find writers/bloggers you love with and identify the qualities of their writing which speaks the loudest to you. Are they concise, funny or thoughtful? Do they give a lot of examples? Practice these qualities in your own writing (this is not stealing, unless you're taking their writing and calling it your own). It's how influence works. Soon enough you'll be working on refining your own style.

2. Clear purpose

What is your blog about? Are you laser focused, or all over the place? Blogs that tend to do the best (aside from the very general news sites staffed by many people) have a very clear purpose to them. Readers know instantly when they go on the site what they will get.

How do you get a clear purpose for your blog?

Write a mission statement. Stick to it. If you're finding your blog's content is too broad, narrow it down, and write a mission statement.

3. Well-branded

Whether you're inspirational or offensive, the image you portray in the internet is your brand.

Branding has become more and more important to smaller blogs and even individuals with the advent of social media. Even if you are one person, in this day and age, you should be aware of your own brand. Whether you're inspirational or offensive, the image you portray in the internet is your brand. The closer your brand aligns with your mission, the better. The more consistent you are with your brand, the stronger it becomes.

How do you develop your brand?

Again, this is an evolutionary process. One great way to start is, after you write your mission statement, list out brand guidelines for your blog. If your blog is about fashion news, do you talk about your boyfriend or girlfriend on your blog Twitter account? If your blog is about personal style when you talk about the Tea Party, are you talking about the movement or actual tea parties? Do you make a point to only post/tweet/instagram things that help your readers? Hash out all these components to make sure you have a consistent presence with your blog.

4. Clear design

Once in a while, going through the IFB approvals, I'll come across a “blog” that is so hard to navigate, I can't even tell where the posts are. It is true. Or there are too many colors, blurry logos, music… things that make my eyes bleed. On the other side, I also see a lot of blogs that look the same. Using the same theme, logotype… and while I prefer that to a pixelated mess, it can be just as bad. Finding that sweet spot can be difficult, and subjective, because not everyone has the same taste, and different niches have different vernacular. Just make sure your readers can find your content.

How do you get a clear design?

Look at the blogs you like the most, and pay attention to their design. What components do you love? If you are doing it yourself, find a theme that works best with your requirements. If you have trouble, find someone to design your theme for you.  There are some great ones on Etsy.

5. Easy to read

Somewhere between “strong voice” and “clear design” your blog needs to be easy to read. Be sure to treat your text carefully and make it inviting for readers to come in and peruse your content.

How do I make my blog easy to read?

When in doubt, use Helvetica, Georgia, or Droid Serif. There are also other tricks like being concise, use pull quotes, pictures, whatever to make your blog easy for the distracted reader to digest.

6. Great photography and visuals

A picture is worth a 1000 words, posting a blurry photos in bad lighting suggests you don't take your words seriously. I personally have a problem trusting blogs that do not have excellent photography because, fashion is a visual art. While being a great photographer is a discipline in it's own. There are a number of ways to get beautiful graphics on your blog.

A picture is worth a 1000 words, posting a blurry photos in bad lighting suggests you don't take your words seriously.

How do I get great photos and visuals on my blog?

Practice taking photos, experiment with light and your settings. Take a photo class. Invest in a good camera. If all else fails, get really great at collage. Subscribe to a stock photo service. Maybe you're better at illustrating?

Don't post blurry photos on your blog. Keep taking photos until you get it in focus. Trust me, the more you do this, the easier it will be to get photos in focus on the first try.

7. Engaged audience

If no one comments on your blog, is it really a blog?

If no one comments on your blog, is it really a blog? Some blogs don't allow comments, but nearly all of them have sharing capabilities on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. If you have all the components above, you should be able to garner an engaged audience.  Without this you basically have a private blog. All high quality blogs have an excellent degree of engagement. It may take more work than actually producing the content, but for a blog to become successful it is a vital investment of your time.

How do you get an engaged audience?

Jump right into the blogging community. Produce content that resonates with your readers. Actively engage in social media. Listen to your audience. The sky is the limit!

There are more traits of high quality blogs… but this post is already long, so I'm turning this over to you… what do you think makes a high quality blog?

[Image source: Shutterstock.com]

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43 Responses

    • Jennine Jacob

      You are right… there is a difference! And not to be confused. However, an arrogant voice is not strong… it’s just arrogant.

      Reply
    • Jennifer Nini

      I absolutely agree with you! I love style blogs but to be honest, I only follow a few religiously and that is because they have something to say that is unique and fresh and worthwhile reading. A blog I can really can learn from. By the way, love your blog title!

      http://www.ecowarriorprincess.net

      Reply
  1. Miu Koridi

    You are right about the high quality pics, and I agree on engaging the audience. I always try to end my post with a question, because I want to know my readers and to connect with them.

    MiuKoridi

    Reply
  2. Gabrielle Pedriani

    Great tips.

    It’s so difficult to narrow the focus! Especially when you’re interested in such a wide area of areas.

    It seems like sticking to a niche requires such a sacrifice – any suggestions? You guys are geniuses over here.

    -Gab

    Reply
  3. Anthea

    Great suggestions. Question for you – is it better to have original runway photos that are blurry or borrow high quality from a photographer and credit?

    Reply
    • Jennine Jacob

      That’s a good question. Go with the professional photos, and post yours only if there is no other way to tell the story without the photo (if they are blurry). Taking runway photos is hard, so practice as much as you can!

      Reply
  4. Lauren Dinkens

    Two questions:
    1. Is it a terrible thing that I don;t take photos of myself to place on my blog? I really don’t like being in front of the camera (I’m the introverted blogger, sorry).

    2. How do I get more people to engage on my blog? I can’t seem to get more than a few comments below my posts even though I get told by blogger friends how great my work is.

    Reply
    • Carol C.

      If you’re not comfortable with being in front of the camera that’s absolutely fine. We can’t all be extroverts, thankfully 😉
      Seeing as your friends like your blog maybe you can twist their arms and ask them to model for you instead.

      Wish I could answer your second query but I’m still figuring that out aswell myself 😀

      http://www.JollyCaucusRace.blogspot.com

      Reply
  5. Gull

    Oh my god! This post is so helpful. The issue with my blog is that although I 98% of the time write about fashion and style, 2% of the time I end up writing about books I read or things I baked or parties I went to. What should I do? Eliminate that 2% of diversity?
    Also, bloggers etc tell me they love how I write but not many leave comments on my posts. Help me please!!!!

    Reply
    • Kenneth Jacobs

      Hey Gull,

      My suggestion is not to completely eliminate the 2%, but to incorporate fashion with your interest. I.e “parties you go to” write a topic on “5 great party looks” or do a “how to” post like “how to party with style”. I like to blog about almost everything too LOL, but I’ve been trying to keep it where I’m incorporating fashion tips to my other interest also.

      Good luck!
      xoxo Kenneth
      http://www.thefashionatefotobug.com

      Reply
      • Bethany

        Hey!
        To elaborate on what Kenneth said, you could also do themed personal blog posts. I have ones called “Bethany’s Blurbs” where I post personal things just to show my readers that I’m down to earth. They can read it or not. It’s just a break from fashion, fashion, fashion and just some real life blogging. Is that bad?

        xoxo
        Bethany

  6. absolutelymrsk

    again the usual suspects, we all know what it is about! but there is so much more to it, so much more, it is about queen bees, the girls next door, the ones with the x-factor and so so on! i am a sucker when it comes to photography, absolutely not photogenic so i am screwed sister. and do you really think people care about the writing?? seriously? oh and BTW twitter is fabulous, i love it, i am very engaged to it, but when it comes to traffic it is not your best source because it goes so fast. I appreciate what you are doing with articles like these, but every time the same tips over and over again, we all know it by now and believe me it is not the holy grail. and yes invest in a good camera, experiment, …. I know I know…

    Reply
  7. Laura

    Thank you for your tips! I really need to work on taking good pictures, because mine aren’t that clear and nice. Guess for good and interesting pictures you really need a good camera so I will start with buying a new camera =)

    – Laura

    Reply
  8. E-M

    These points are so completely true! For me, definitely a strong voice is important and that’s a bit difficult for me to execute. However, I think being approachable is the most important thing! Therefore, I want to give to my followers a feeling of happiness, cheerfullness and the knowing they can always come to me with their questions 🙂

    http://zerxzastyle.blogspot.com

    Reply
  9. Lindsay

    I totally agree! I’m both a blogger and a photographer and I’m high on fashion!
    Design, images and clear spoken character most definitely draws a crowd!

    Reply
  10. Sarah Harman

    Great advice! This has really made me think about the voice of my blog. I have a really low key/low maintenance style, which is unique to me. I really need to start working on my voice for this and focusing my blog posts on this more.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Sarah x
    sarahloves.co.uk

    Reply
  11. Kenneth Jacobs

    When it comes to engagement, I’m all for it! But when it comes to engaging with other bloggers, Do you find it difficult in trying not to become another blog spammer?

    My Solution:
    It’s more genuine to view a persons blog before writing to them to get a better feel of who the blogger is (their voice, blog content, etc). Then in your message (whether it be on IFB or through email) you can introduce yourself, say what you like about their blog (a certain post, their style, etc), and/or maybe give some feedback on what could be better (or share some helpful tips that have worked best for your blog that anyone could use, cough cough, HeartIFB 😉 ).

    I would love to engage with other bloggers (especially here on IFB), but when I receive emails from bloggers, the message contains another “view my blog”. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this here on IFB. Let’s become better at being genuinely engaged rather than being another “view my blog” email in someone’s inbox!

    xoxo Kenneth
    http://www.thefashionatefotobug.com

    Reply
  12. Camille

    Awesome tips and post!

    Unfortunately, I am still at a loss on how to garner engagement from my readers. You could have content you’re proud of but if nobody is stopping by, I’m not sure.

    Reply
  13. Margot Potter

    I think the key is to be clear about your brand, your message and your audience. Eclectic is okay as long as the through line is your unique POV. Some of my favorite bloggers offer a pu pu platter approach, with a little bit of this and a splash of that. The reason I love them is that whatever they dish up, I know it’s going to be tasty. I agree that having a strong voice is key, because that lets the readers know immediately who you are and what they’re going to get. I find people on the internet really want to engage and not only that, but to talk about themselves. People want to feel valued in all interactions, if you can do that and give them something to takeaway, you’re golden!

    Reply
  14. Jonelle @ Design Thrift

    these are great tips. i’ve been practicing the well-branded and clear design one since the beginning but i struggle with narrowing down my niche at times. I am mostly fashion/DIY based but i also include some lifestyle and home design as well.
    I just posted a new DIY for Modern Vintage thread wrapped earrings. Check it out!
    http://designthrift.blogspot.com

    Reply
  15. B

    I need to work on my photos and garnering comments. I am pushing myself to be OUT of my blog more, but, it is my happy place… But. I will try harder. Yes, I will!

    Great post!

    Reply
  16. Sarah

    I unfollow blogs having too low a signal-to-noise ratio. I like blogs having excellent photographs of INTERESTING OUTFITS and NEW written ideas about fashion. I unfollow blogs having the following:
    – lots of shopping links
    – giveaways
    – lots of sponsored posts
    – tips I have read a million times before
    – non-fashion-related content (can’t stand ‘lifestyle’ blogs – please FOCUS)
    – contentless time-wasting posts like “sneak peek” ones

    Reply
  17. Adela

    Such useful article. I always want to improve and learn something new from you all the time!
    Adela x

    Misspinkstyle.net

    Reply
  18. Zamri

    I like point #7. Mine is very much a ‘private’ blog, as I don’t engage with the readers quite frequent – I replied the comment if I had time (weeks after that sometimes), or I shut off the comment button. But it’s quite surprising how it’s still able to garner lots of traffic though…

    Reply
  19. Marie Denee

    I agree 100% with every one of these! 🙂 Great post! While My readers do not comment so much on my blog, they sure go in on my blog’s FB Page! I chat with them where they are at! LOL

    Reply
  20. Maria

    Jennine and all,
    These are all great tips! The last one is especially piercing. If you put your time/work/energy into creating a post but get little or no feedback it can be very discouraging. However, if this is something you really want to pursue, how much time do you suggest waiting and diligently posting before you re-evaluate an approach?

    Reply
  21. Nastya Rudakova

    I absolutely agree that fashion blog is not good without good photography. Also leaving your posts with photos but without any descriptions to them means that you just have nothing to say, and that’s quite weird. In my opinion, a high-quality fashion blog MUST be clean, have a beautiful design, lots of amazing photos and an excellent, smart, and funny writer behind it, who has a lot to say and can say it correctly.

    Reply
  22. Orla

    Hi,
    I was wondering what hosts everyone uses- which one is best? I’m trying to decide if I should use wordpress or not. Thanks! orla

    Reply