The reality of being a fashion blogger

So I'm sitting here, wearing head to toe Chanel (this season, obviously) with Anna Wintour on the phone (begging me to be on the cover of the September issue) and more money sitting in my Hermes bag than I know what to do with. Ah, the life of a fashion blogger, eh? It almost sounds too good to be true.

And, unfortunately, it kinda is. I mean,don't get me wrong, I bloody love what I do beyond belief, and I feel insanely lucky each and every day that I get to wake up when I want, and write about what I want. But man, it's definitely not as glamourous as us gals make it out to be. There's no Hermes in sight - or head to toe Chanel for that matter. Instead, it's more like empty MacDonalds boxes and head to toe Primark pyjamas. But if I'm being completely honest, that's more my kind of thing. So understated, you know?

So anyway. We all know I like to keep it real (always wanted to say that) here on the blog, so I've decided to make a post all about what really happens behind the scenes. That's right guys, I'm not the sophisticated, composed, completely faultless human being you all thought I was.. *cough*. In fact, I'm writing this whilst wearing a tomato stained vest top right this second. Oh the glamour! Speaking of which..

You blog about pretty clothes, but spend your life in your pyjamas

Wait, did you really think I wore heels all day long? On these cobblestone English streets? Hell. No. Sure, I wear my nice clothes when I'm out and about, but as soon as I get inside off go the dresses (and the bra) and on go the tracksuit bottoms. Sitting at a desk in skintight leather trousers gets...itchy, to say the least. Elasticated waist bands are where it's at. 

And what about days off? There are no days off

I guess this is all relative depending on how strict you are with what you do, but I'm one of those people that just keep on trucking no matter what. I guess when you work for yourself (or even just like to blog, a lot) there isn't much that can stop you from posting, whether it's illness, school, sleep, or even a holiday (gotta get poolside snaps). Would you judge me if I told you I skipped Uni sometimes just so I can blog? I hope my lecturer doesn't read this.

The most menial things will seem like a day out

Since days off are pretty much non-existent, you end up getting super excited whenever you leave the house. Today I went to the post office and bought some milk. It was probably the most fun I had had all week. I wish I was lying.

But despite all this, people will never believe you're actually busy

I wish the majority of my day was spent shopping and taking selfies, but the fact is is that most of the time I'm just replying to emails and filing out paperwork. Self assessment tax forms are the devil - s'all I'm sayin'.

Friends will think you're a millionaire (you're not)

Sometimes my bank balance will look really, really nice. Sometimes I'll be living off of Super Noodles. The fact is is that freelance work is never steady money, no matter how successful you are. There have been times where I haven't earned a single penny for months, and there have been times when I've felt like one of those cool pimps in MTV music videos making it rain over the sexy naked ladies. Only they dress better than I do..

Most of the money you earn will go back into what you do

Cameras, laptops, memory cards - I hate to think of how much I've spent on 'equipment' over the years. It's not even just useful things either. I'm forever spending money on new photo props just to make sure my flatlays don't all look the same. If I come home with a fresh bunch of flowers, you know I'm about to shoot some blog pics. Why else would I buy them!?

You'll start noticing (and hating) pointless things about yourself

For every decent outfit shot there are fifty more terrible ones. I guess on average we shoot around two hundred pictures of each outfit, each time - and guess who has to go through all of them at the end of the day? Yup, me. You'd think I would have gotten used to seeing photos of myself, but every new #ootd makes me cringe just as much as the last. I have a bump on my nose that I never noticed before, I have a vein that sits around my mouth that I never noticed before and my ankles are bigger than I'd like them to be. I'm aware I sound deranged. I guess with this you can either let it bring you down or you can just laugh it off - which is exactly why I've spent the past few weeks saving all of my best/worst outfit shots for a future blog post. Heh.

You'll either be cold, or really really warm

So you know that thing about fashion always being a season ahead of itself? Yeah, it's kinda the same for us bloggers. In the outfit snaps above you can see me wearing French Connections A/W collection (which is insane, btw) and - whilst I might look fairly comfortable - I was sporting this RSVP wool jumper on one of the hottest days of the year. Same goes for shooting Spring/Summer collections. The amount of times I've worn a swimsuit in the peak of winter is, well, chilling..(sorry).

And finally, no matter who you are, you'll always get weird looks from the public

I often wonder what people must think of me when they see me getting my pose on in the streets. They must either think I'm super important or just really, really weird. We both know the answer to that one. Obviously the first option is the right one. Obviously.

Now if you'll excuse me. I have to go and do really important blogger things like change the cat litter and take the rubbish out..

Can you guys relate to any of these misconceptions at all (please tell me I'm not alone)?

French Connection RSVP Knit *
French Connection Marie Skirt *
French Connection Mules from Cloggs *

Here's how to wear culottes (and actually look good)

Culottes are like the ugliest but coolest wardrobe basic out there. They're kinda like shorts, kinda like trousers, and kind of the most comfortable things you'll ever put on your butt (at least, to my knowledge anyway..ahem). But let's face it - they're not exactly the easiest thing to pull off sometimes unless you're an eight foot model with legs the size of..really tall legs..yeah.

Anyway, I wrote a little 'piece' on how to style them up for this season, along with a few other pictures of lil old me wearing the culottes in question. Head on over to the Shopstyle American Express Style Inspiration Hub to shop the look and lemme know what ya'll think!

H&M Leather jacket (sold out but similar here)
Monki culottes 
Filippo Loretti Rome Gold watch *
Ash leopard slip ons *

10 things every good blog needs to have

Things every blog should have

I like to think I'm a bit of a checklist queen, if I do say so myself. I make lists about the lists I want to make, and sometimes I re-write lists just for the fun of it. For the past few days I've ben suffering (and I don't say that word lightly) with some sort of Norovirus. So what do I do? I write lists. So far I've written a list about all of the blog posts I'm going to write, a list on today's things to do and - most importantly - I've written a shopping list of various foods that I can eat. Bread. Dry biscuits. Paracetamol. I'd like to see you fancy food bloggers make something delicious out of those ingredients. Wish I was joking. Anyway, I think it's safe to say that I'm the sort of person that never really rests, and that I'm always looking for something to improve on. A few days ago there was a little bit of radio silence on the blog and that my friends was all down to me trying to be all market-ty in hopes to find the perfect algorithm to making the perfect blog. Spoiler alert: there is no such thing as a perfect blog. But. I did notice that all of the 'best' blogs had a few things in common. Consider these your first steps to becoming the best blogger in the world..

Easy to use comments section

If you haven't already guessed by now, I love talking (or, typing, whatever you wanna call it!) so when I read a blog post that I love I always try to leave a comment, just because I know how much they mean to me when you guys do it. But when I leave a comment I don't want to have to fill out my email address twenty times, along with my first and last name, my website URL and about fifty different security question/captcha tests (I can't be the only person that sucks at those?). Now I understand a few things have to be filled in for security reasons sometimes, but if it takes me long to submit a comment than it did for me to actually leave a comment, something's gotta give.

A fast loading website

Now I don't know about you guys, but I have a pretty short attention span, so when it comes to waiting around for hours just to have one web page load, I'm not having it. Five seconds of waiting and I'm pretty much done. Maybe seven or eight on a good day.  But long story short, no one likes to wait for things. Us bloggers aren't giving out the most important, life changing information, so why would anyone want to spend more time than they have to on our sites? If they wanna look around after they've finished reading, that's cool. But sometimes I just want to see your latest OOTD and skim through the text about your day and - let's face it - I don't wanna have to close every window on my laptop just so it can deal with slow website speeds. If you find your site is struggling a bit try putting less on each page, and have less moving slideshows or whatever. They look good, but not if they don't work.

Beautiful images

Even if I have something super important to say in a post, I'll never upload it without making sure I have something decent for you guys to look at. I mean, hopefully by now (if you've been here for a while!) you like me for me and what I have to say, and not just because of a few overly photoshopped photos (if not, no judgement), but even still I like to make sure there's at least something for you guys to look at, even if it has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. Take the above photo for example. Thigh high boots have 0 correlation with blogging tips, but I know some people just like to have a sneak peak at what I'm wearing sometimes. So, outfit stalkers, the photo is for you. The text? Well, it might be useful, but it's not something you're going to be putting on your Pinterest any time soon, is it?

A snappy about page

Aaaand just like that I realise I don't have one of my own. Oops. But either way, you should have one and so should I. These 'about me' pages won't make a difference in your stats, nor will they have any other real purpose in life. They are however, a good place to actually tell people who you are. Hello! Look at me! I'm a real person and not just a thing that lives in cyberspace (no seriously, I am actually a real human!!1). It's nice to know - or at least get an idea - of the person(s) behind the blog you're reading. Just a few sentences will do. Talk about your likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams and whether or not you like avocados. I don't.

A mobile friendly website

So this is actually a must in the blogging world now. If your website doesn't work on a mobile phone or tablet then you can be penalised, and your Domain Authority score can go way down. Despite all of this, it's really handy to have a working mobile-friendly website regardless, since we're all stuck to our phones these days. Just like before, it should be quick, easy to navigate and nice looking.

A niche and a purpose

A niche doesn't mean you have to be the only person doing what you're doing, but it does mean you need to stand out from the crowd in some shape or form. For example, for ages I was just posting outfits with nothing interesting to say about them. That's fine if people just want to look at what I'm wearing, but I usually want more from a website than just a few links to where I can buy a pair of shoes. I imagine you guys feel the same way, right!? So instead of being 'just another fashion blogger' (ew who wants them?) or 'just another beauty blogger' try doing something different. Add in some lifestyle, fitness, a weekly theme..blah blah blah. Just make sure you do something a little different to your competitors. Maybe I'll make a fashion blog for my cats.

A stylish, easy to use website

Graphic design has always been something I've been interested in, so maybe, maybe, I go a little overboard with worrying about how everything looks. But despite all that, looks isn't everything. In my opinion you should make sure your website is easy to use before you do anything, then, when it is working as it should be you can go in and do any fancy tweaks to make it looks swish and hipster. Or you know, just make it look nice.

A search bar (that works)

There have been so many times that I've wanted to search for a specific post on someones blog, but haven't been able to find it without trawling through all their posts. Again, as mentioned above, my lack of attention span usually gets the best of me and I click off after a few pages of not finding it, but if these people had a working search bar I may have stuck around for a little longer. A lot of sites like Wordpress and Blogger have a little widget that does it all for you, but if not you can always find a simple code online to make your own!

A privacy/disclosure page

If you look back at my latest post that talks about various laws your blog needs to follow you'll see that a privacy page is pretty vital for your readers - just so they know that you're not going to go and sell their email addresses onto a third party. A disclosure page is kind of the same, as it informs your readers of when your posts are sponsored/paid for or when you're wearing or using something that has been gifted to. It's just there to make sure you're being completely honest with your followers. You know when companies try to sell mascaras, then you see in the tiny writing at the bottom saying 'false lashes used on the mode'? It's like that, but blogger edition.

An easy, obvious way to contact you

PR companies are awesome, but they're not always super professional detectives, meaning that - if you don't have your email address on your page - they're not always going to be able to contact you. I have three (?) ways of contacting me on my blog, not including my social media widgets, and that's just so people are able to find my contact details without trawling the entire internet for hours on end. The easier you are to get a hold of, the more likely people will contact you. This does include spam emails though, so be sure to get a good spam filter!

 

Do you think I've missed anything out?

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Forever 21 sheer shirt *
F&F by Tesco ripped denim shorts *
Missguided lace up thigh high boots *

I tripled my blog traffic in 2 weeks (without selling my body)

How to triple blog traffic more followers

Blogging isn't all about numbers - let's just get that little nugget out of the way. But no one can deny the joy that comes with visitor growth going up, up, and up. It's like crack, but you know, the good, non-illegal sort of crack. Uhh. Don't do drugs kids. Drugs are bad. 

So for the past few weeks I've been doing things a little differently on the old blog, and in that time I've seen my traffic (along with my unique visitors) triple. Once, it even quadrupled for a few days. Okay, I'm showing off a little here, but hey, I'm pretty excited about it!

I think transparency with bloggers is seriously importantly - especially with so many blogs now working with different companies and brands. By now, I hope you all recognise me as a pretty open person. If you can see my granny pants through a pair of white trousers, I'll be the first to point it out, so when I'm sitting here bragging about all the new people I've got rocking up to my blog, you should know that I'm going to spill all my secrets to you guys. Let's face it, it's pretty damn annoying when people don't give you the full picture. Agreed? Agreed. So here it is, the full pictures (or at least as much of a full picture as I can give you without publishing a novel the size of War and Peace).

So about my stats. I used to get around 250 Unique Visitors each day, meaning 250 lovely individuals strolled on over to my blog on the daily (ps. thank you). Now? I'm getting anywhere from 650 to 1100 a day. Now unless there's some unknown naked picture of me foliating around Google, bringing all of these people to this blog to laugh and mock at me, I'd say it's down to all the things I've been doing differently lately. Normally I'd ramble about every point in twenty different paragraphs, but chances are you came here because the title caught your eye, so I'll get straight to it.

Choose an eye catching title

If in fact the reason you came here was because of the title of this post, then yay (!) - it works! Keywords are important when it comes to choosing your title, because more often than not they're the things people will be searching/looking for when browsing on the internet. The words 'tripled' 'blog' and 'traffic' are three beautiful words that are probably going to intrigue anyone, whether their traffic consists of 10 Unique Visitors a day, or 10,000. People always want more.

Be informative and have a purpose

Not only do people want more, but they also want information. This isn't to say you should make 'how to' posts every second of the day (although, go ahead if you're up to the challenge!) but I have noticed that actually having a point to a blog post really helps. Sure, some people can get away with just talking about their day in a post, but I find visitors stick around longer when there's something in it for them. Whether that's blogging advice, beauty hacks or when a sale is on - it's all down to you. One thing I do like to do however, is make as much of my content 'evergreen' which basically means it's always useful no matter what the season/year/situation. Kinda like this post, really.

Post as much as possible (within reason)

Chances are, the more you post, the more people will be inclined to stop by your site - you know, just incase you've published something new that day! I'd like to post every day, but right now University is telling me otherwise, so instead I just post as often as I can. This isn't to say you should just post a picture of your cat every four minutes to generate traffic (you know, unless that's what you're audience are after..I'm game) - ideally you should still be posting quality content, only more often.

Traffic comes from humans, talk to them

It's easy to forget that these numbers that happen on Google Analytics are actually real life, breathing, walking, people. Unless they're those spammy robot things..ignore them. Whenever people comment I always try to message back as often as possible. It can be difficult to stay on top of comments as and when they come, so I like to try and put aside twenty minutes a few nights a week to reply to different people. If they took the time to comment, comment back! Not everyone will do it, but if you reply to someone chances are they'll click back to see what you said. Hello, one extra page view - but most importantly, hello brand new actually living internet friend!

Share the love (and your blog posts)

This is probably the main thing that's helped me during the past few weeks - and some of you may well have noticed. Normally, when I posted something online I'd simply tweet about it once and maybe promote it on Facebook if I felt productive. Now? It's a whole new ball game. Obviously no one wants links shoved in their face 24/7, but at the end of the day who doesn't love a bit of self promotion? I like to promote my 'evergreen' posts on rotation. I find they tend to be the posts that get the most views, and since they never really go out of style it doesn't really matter if I promote it three weeks from now! Stumbleupon is also good for lazy promotion.

Divulge in a spot of SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is like your least favourite grandparent that you dread to see...but they give you chocolate when you do see them. Basically, when you put the effort into SEO you're bound to reap some sort of benefit. I've been doing this a lot more lately and it's boring as hell, but seriously helpful. I'll be doing a more in-depth post on SEO soon enough (I even went to the library to STUDY SEO????) so stayed tuned for that bad boy!

Hope this helped! Share any of your tips in the comments, because it's nice to be nice ;)

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UK Fashion Blog