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?
Travel, Style, Food is my little website full of posts on travel, food, reviews, recipes and various other topics and interests. I’m interested in almost everything and if I find something I really enjoy in this world of ours, I get excited and have to write about it, hoping that I can help others discover new things. I spend a huge chunk of my time reading blogs every day and if I want to research something, I tend to trust a variety of personal experiences I find on blogs more than any other medium these days. I like to give my personal opinion and advice on things so that people who take to the internet to look for guidance on products and places may come across my take on things, paired with the opinions of others, achieving a well balanced view from their peers. Reading blogs and admiring some of the gorgeous photography and talent in writing out there inspires me to keep my blog as both a form of expression and a personal hobby!
Q1. How and why did you get into blogging?
I started in 2009 as part of a Fashion Journalism University project at UCA Epsom in Surrey. My first blog was called Clementine and Lace (named after what I was wearing and eating at the time!) and it was more fashion focused. I studied in Epsom for one year, until returning to my hometown of Dublin to complete my course under Journalism & Visual Media. I kept Clementine and Lace going for a while (www.clementineandlace.blogspot.com) but my heart wasn’t in it anymore, just like it wasn’t diehard into Fashion anymore.
I’ve always been a creative person and like having a hobby to reflect the same that I enjoy, so I started TravelStyleFood during summer last year with a blog that more so fits my current interests.
Q2. Where do you get your writing inspiration from?
I’m inspired by gorgeous places and spaces – restaurants, beautiful parts of the world, beautiful people. I’m totally drawn in by the aesthetics of everything – this makes me feel guilty sometimes as I have a tendency to buy 10 different kinds of the same product, if the packaging is pretty. Everything inspires me really, colourful food, beautiful architecture, simplistic chic style…I just come across something I really love or enjoy or I’m really drawn to and I write about it. If my attention or interest in it wanes or is short lived, I don’t feature it on my blog. It’s a gut feeling thing.
Q3. If you could offer some words of encouragement to a newbie or frustrated blogger, what would they be?
I’m still really new to this. I’m a little quiet when it comes to promoting my blog because a lot of the time I write for me and I don’t want to push it on to people or anything. If I can offer any advice, I would suggest a clean, easy to navigate layout and some high quality pictures. Again, that’s the aesthetics side coming out again!
Q4. What has changed most about blogging culture/the blogging industry since you started?
When I started reading blogs, there were a lot, but I don’t remember huge blogging stars, like Chiara Ferragni, Andy Torres or Rumi Neely. It hasn’t quite found it’s feet as a lucrative industry. Now brands are getting it right, approaching bloggers to review and experience their products in a personal way, as it really is the new way forward for advertising and promotion. That’s a great thing but a difficult thing too, as a lot of people want to be noticed, so there’s a lot of samey-samey blogs out there. I’m sure my posts sound like or cover the same things as someone else does in the world somewhere too. It’s a tough call. It’s pretty difficult for lots of bloggers not to share the same interest though – but the ones I enjoy shine through with some kind of niche offering. As a result, when I do find a blog I really love, I bookmark it immediately so I don’t lose it forever!
Q5. What daily tools and platforms do you use in your blogging routine, for research, promotion, sharing and other?
I’m using WordPress, but I moved to my own domain, so I use Jetpack to check my stats, like page views, referrers, search terms, clicks. I tend to do field research on what I’m writing about, and if I need to back it up with extra facts, info or contact details, I find that stuff online. I don’t want to copy anyone’s work. My posts are shared via email, WordPress Dashboard, Bloglovin’ and Twitter. That’s about it so far, I don’t see the point in having a Facebook page right now, when my blog is so small.
Q6. Do you understand your blog analytics, and how important do you think they are? Please share some best practice.
I understand all of it very well, I’m used to this kind of thing as part of my job. I find them important because I can see what kind of posts are the most popular, what kind of searches lead people to my blog, that kind of thing. If you write about something and it’s pretty popular, you could always try writing about something similar or in that area of interest.
Q7. Where do you hope blogging will take you in the future?
I live for food. Writing about it, cooking it, discovering new dishes and recipes. I’m not sure where blogging will take me but it’s nice to know it can be used as a portfolio of sorts if I end up in that line of work. It can’t hurt having something online that people can access, showing my passion for recipes, food reviews and food photography.
I have met some really nice people since I’ve started Travel,Style,Food and it really does present new opportunities for networking and making friends online with similar interests to you. I learn so many new things from blogs, so even if I’m just broadening my horizons and learning a bit more about the world, then blogging has taken me somewhere, and I have my own online scrapbook of my experiences that I can revisit whenever I like.
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