By: Afika Lulo Jadezweni
I’m no expert blogger with a large following, but looking at (and editing) past blog posts has revealed a lot to me in the form of growth, social media skills and a better camera. Yes, a good quality, high resolution camera can really make or break your blog. Learning from my previous faux pas and experience then, I have compiled a list of factors I deem crucial for a better blogging experience.
As fashion and lifestyle bloggers we communicate in pictures and if these pictures are not immaculately edited, let alone, our own original work, we stand to lose some of our audience. What I am saying here is that steer clear of pictures taken from the internet (unless you are making particular reference to it), as that makes you seem lazy or look like you are plagiarising another blogger’s work.
When it comes to editing do not edit so much that the digital version of a white top in real life now looks beige. Editing is for enhancing not transforming. If you take well lit pictures, there is no need to do so much filtering anyway.
If you want to keep your followers interested do not have extra long gaps between your posts. If you post once a week, make sure you keep at it every week. Furthermore, be consistent in your content – if you promise your followers that you will post shoes on Friday, make sure that you do so on said day. With consistency always bear in mind that it is better to post fewer high quality posts rather than several average posts.
Some bloggers say they do not find it necessary to monitor how much traffic each blog post generated, as it either puts too much pressure on them or discourages them. However, if you have not quite established yourself as a blogger, monitoring your traffic will help you suss out what kind of content interests people and you can therefore build on that and produce more of that or improve on what didn’t quite excite people.
Don’t try too hard:
It is always easy to tell when someone is not being themselves online because they are busy trying too hard to be this person they think they ought to be online. Don’t be that person. Write in a tone that you are comfortable with and wear clothes you are comfortable in.
Don’t use it as a substitute for Instagram:
Sometimes as bloggers we take great pictures, but are that are not necessarily in line with what our blog is about. This is where Instagram comes in – rather post these pictures on your Insta account and then you may hashtag your blog in the post if you wish. Use your Instagram account as an extension of your blog, where you may post pictures of what you wore that day (followed by your blog name as a hashtag) rather than posting what you wore that day (OOTD) on your blog when you don’t actually have an OOTD feature on your blog. This is why I only do this once in a while on my blog.
I touched on this in the “don’t try too hard” subheading – it is often best to use a conversational tone, as online audiences prefer something that is quick and easy to read. Do not be condescending in your tone – it is very easy to pick that up in any writer’s work. If you are using jargon, do explain it in layman’s terms as well. If you are writing a longer piece and you want to be formal, maintain that formality throughout the post.
Mentioning brands is not bragging:
In our style posts we like to mention where we bought what we are wearing and that is totally okay. Feel free to even @ the brand when you share the post on social media, but this should not be misconstrued as a means of bragging – it is a means of giving credit where it is due and sharing information with fellow stylistas who may want to purchase the same item.
Editing editing editing:
Remember how in high school they used to constantly encourage us to check our tests and exams thoroughly before declaring ourselves finished? Well that is a habit you should carry through from your social media posts to your blog posts. An online blooper is not easy to recover from, especially when you are trying to establish yourself as a brand. Check spelling. Check grammar. Check that the right caption is under the right picture and ensure that you have cropped your picture in such a way that nothing unsavoury is visible. I type extremely fast, so typos often creep up on me and I used to only realise this after I had published the post, so I cannot stress enough how important editing yourself is.
Avoid using bad puns for your post titles:
There is nothing worse than a bad, misleading pun for a post title. It is always better to get to the point with the title and use as little words as possible, much like you would see in a magazine.
Know your strengths:
This one is self-explanatory. If you are a better photographer than you are a writer, make the focus of your blog the pictures you take and vice versa. Do not try to be a master of everything or try to cover issues you are not that clued up on. I hate to quote from a High School Musical song, but when it comes to blogging “stick to the things you knooow!”
You are probably wondering how emotional stability is relevant here, but unless your blog is of a more personal nature, then you have to be emotionally stable. David Tlale said not too long ago that “you have to be emotionally stable or else it shows in the way you dress.” I agree with him and I apply this to blogging as well – if you are not having the greatest day/week, rather avoid posting because it will show in your work.
All the best. Keep blogging.
Afika Lulo Jadezweni is a fashion and lifestyle blogger. I am a Journalism & Media studies student, a radio presenter and an avid magazine collector. A petite foodie with a sweet tooth. I have a wicked sense of humor and I appreciate stellar wordplay, which is why you’ll find Hip-Hop in pretty much all of my playlists. Every day is an Instagram kinda day to me because I see art in almost everything. Eat more. Pray more. Love fashion.