We have asked our blogger community to answer a few blogging questions about themselves, with the aim of getting to know them and their blogs a little better. These will be published as a series of blog posts, which we hope will make interesting reading. Carry on reading if you’d like to find out more about the bloggers who are active on Bloggers Required. You can view other blogger Q&As here, and you can complete your own here.
Please tell us a bit about your blog?
I blog primarily about beauty, but also about some of my other loves in life…fashion, health, lifestyle, theatre, travel, film, music and books.
Q1. How and why did you get into blogging?
I started off by making videos on YouTube. I came across some other people making beauty videos on YouTube and it interested me to the point where I wanted to make my own videos, share my opinions, network with other companies, vloggers and bloggers. After I while and especially after joining Twitter, I got to see some blogs, which again inspired me to want to start my own. I also felt that as I love writing, I may be able to blog more often than vlog because when you’ve written what you want to, you can check it all over and publish it straight away. It takes slightly longer with a video as you have to edit it and then upload it which sometimes can take hours and even overnight. I am currently just focusing on blogging as the editing software I have on my laptop for videos isn’t the best and it takes so much time to edit and upload and sometimes even crashes, so I need to get some better software eventually before I continue with that :).
Q2. Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
My inspiration for writing can come from something that just comes into my head that I want to write about which may be triggered by a picture I’ve seen, a news article or something like that. I also carry out reviews, so if I’ve just bought a new product and want to share my opinion about such thing in-case other people out there are looking for reviews, I may write a feature review. This also occurs if I receive samples from companies that I feel deserve to be written about…with reviews, it’s the feeling of helping someone out there make a decision about whether or not to buy something. I am always honest with my features and reviews, so when someone comes back to me and tells me my blog post really helped them, it makes me feel like what I’m doing is worthwhile. I may also blog about things depending on the season, so for example I may do gift guides for Christmas, Mothers Day etc. I may also write about personal things and things going on in my life, for example an experience I’ve been on, somewhere I’ve travelled to or my wedding.
Q3. If you could offer some words of encouragement to a newbie or frustrated blogger, what would they be?
I would just say, stay true to yourself and always be honest in what you write about. Don’t worry about getting followers really quickly from the start and don’t get dis-heartened about obtaining a lot of followers, getting loads of comments or people mentioning your blog initially…this all comes with time, you just have to be patient. Don’t think you aren’t good enough just because someone else has more followers than you or seems to have loads of comments on each of their posts.
Write about things that you have a genuine interest in, don’t let it get to the point where you feel you should be blogging for your viewers/followers but don’t really want to or aren’t sure what to write about…it will show in your writing. Genuine followers and people who may just read your blog will understand that you have a life outside blogging and may sometimes not be able to blog every day or every other day or every week. Blog as much as you want to and don’t ever feel pressured to blog…it’s meant to be something you enjoy, not a chore :).
Q4. What has changed most about blogging culture/the blogging industry since you started?
Hmm, I think a lot more people are getting into blogging than vlogging on YouTube. I’ve noticed some people blog and say they’d love to vlog on YouTube but don’t have to confidence. I’ve seen a lot of new starters since I’ve been blogging (since 2011).
The community is lovely, there are so many encouraging, friendly people out there and not just bloggers either. There can be one person that comes across a post you’ve written and leaves a comment and it might be the first time they’ve ever seen your blog, but their comment can make your day. It’s nice to see bloggers being so kind to each other, helping each other out where they can etc…it really is a lovely bunch of people to be amongst.
I have noticed there seems to be more controversy about the issue of PR’s and companies giving out samples. The issue seems to be whether the bloggers state on their posts that what they are writing about has been given to them and whether or not bloggers are just bigging up an item because they have been given it for free. I guess you don’t know this about everyone, but I feel as long as your blog isn’t just based on posts from free samples, you declare on posts whether or not you have been sent any item for free, are genuinely interested in anything you agree to receive for free and that you are always honest in your posts (and make this clear to PR’s and companies beforehand) then all is good :).
Q5. What daily tools and platforms do you use in your blogging routine, for research, promotion, sharing and other?
For research I use the internet a lot. If it’s just my own personal things I’m writing about then obviously this comes from experience. I may need to refer to a news article/another website’s article for a feature I am writing about, aswell as use their pictures (which if I do, I always declare). For a review, I may use the product’s website to get any info that I need for my post or maybe use a booklet/leaflet that I have been sent along with the item. I sometimes use a company’s high resolution images, but I do like to try and use my own where I can.
I use Twitter a lot to share my posts. I tweet when I have published a post and hash-tag to who I feel may be the relevant people. I also tweet to certain people if I think the post relates to them. I email companies/PR’s whose samples I have featured, so they can view my post.
Q6. Do you understand your blog analytics, and how important do you think they are? Please share some best practice.
I tend to use Google Analytics and they are pretty straight forward to be honest. I also have a look at my general stats on blogger, which are also pretty simple to work out. I do think they are important…I like to see how many people are viewing my posts, which ones have the most views (which sometimes triggers something in my mind about what else to write about within the same subject that people seem to be interested in), which have the least, which have the most comments etc. I like to see that what I am writing about and spending my time doing is worthwhile.
Every-time I get a new follower, I truly appreciate it, it genuinely means a lot that someone wants to follow what I am writing about. I set up my Twitter account in 2011 to link with what I did in terms of blogging and vlogging. I now have over 1,000 followers. These people are following me because they are interested in what I am blogging/vlogging about…it might not be millions of people but to me it means a lot and I feel it can only get better :).
Q7. Where do you hope blogging will take you in the future?
I want to keep up with my blogging, eventually going into vlogging again. I want to continue networking with people on Twitter and other blogging platforms, getting to know more people, helping more people and just continuing to progress with my blog…onwards and upwards, as they say!
It’d be great to live in London as that is where a lot of the ‘action’ which resolves around blogging goes on. I get invited to events and they always seem to be in London, which isn’t always easy for me to get to when I live a couple of hours away via train, train tickets aren’t cheap and I don’t drive :/. I’d love to continue receiving opportunities from brands and PR’s, get invited to events and maybe receive a full time work opportunity through my blogging…it has happened to people, so it’s always on the cards if you put the hard work in :).
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