The last 12 months have been an absolute whirlwind of fun for me with blogging, this year especially! There are so many beautiful, amazing and extremely talented beauty bloggers out there today and it’s now becoming more and more popular, especially in Australia. I honestly think that blogging is great – being able to discuss opinions, share quality photos of new releases, talk about our hits and misses and even make new friends in the blogging community!
I personally rely a lot on beauty blogs before purchasing new items – there’s something about an honest, detailed opinion on a beauty blogger’s website that seems so much more genuine than a short 2 sentence review on Google. I guess that’s why I really enjoy blogging, because I can express myself and give my followers my true opinion at the same time (plus, as you all know, makeup is addictive) So, here’s a few of my tried and tested tips & tricks for blogging that I’ve learnt so far along my journey – I hope you enjoy!
Pick a Unique & Memorable Domain
The most important thing to remember when picking a domain is that you choose something people will remember and something that reflects what your blog is all about. Whether it be a personal domain with your name in it: take mine for example. I chose www.wordpress.elleymae.com because it matched my Instagram (@elleymae), my email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and it just matched my “brand” as such. You could opt to pick something more catchy. Take a fellow blogger of mine for example – Holly (known as @brokebypayday on Instagram). She has the catchiest username you could think of! When you’re living with an addiction to makeup and beauty, who isn’t broke by payday?
I actually have 2 domains – I first purchased www.elleycharles.com from NameCheap before I decided how I wanted my blog to be branded. I am pretty sure that my first year of this domain only cost me $1 when I purchased it as there was a flash sale on OzBargain – what a steal! After finally deciding that I wanted to go ahead with my brand name as Elley Mae, I purchased the new domain for $14AUD (per year) through NameCheap. It’s great because you can actually have more than one domain linked to your blog so if you’re undecided on what you like better, you can link them all. I currently have both elleycharles.com and wordpress.elleymae.com linked to my beauty blog through my website hosting – which leads me to the next topic.
Choose a Customisable Blogging Platform
I’ve played around with my beauty blog a lot over time – fonts, graphics, logos, layouts etc. I won’t lie, it can be difficult when you first start out but as time goes by, you gradually get better and better at working out what works and what doesn’t. Most blogging platforms have a variety of different layouts you can choose from when you first start up your blog including headings, images, menu options etc. It took me a lot of brainstorming and a lot of hours trying to perfect my blog but I finally think I’m there.
A big tip of mine is to write drafts – write tonnes of them! It doesn’t matter if you turn around and hate the ideas you come up with, at least you’re writing and gaining experience. In fact, you’re better off to write a million drafts before you publish because it’s gives you more time for more ideas, time to spell check and saves the heartbreaking feel when you publish a post and soon realise you hate it. Wix has a preview feature that I utilise a lot when I’m about to schedule my blogs to be published (another great feature), and allows me to see what my viewers would be once I submit it.
Take Good Quality Photos
So, on to one of my favourite parts of being a beauty blogger – the photography! I’ve been in love with photography for over 7 years now and can’t see myself giving up any time soon. I currently use a mixture of my DSLR camera and my iPhone 6s Camera on my Instagram, solely using my DSLR on my blog. Out of the two, obviously my Canon 60D DSLR is my preferred camera of choice as it gives me more control over my images, however it’s bigger and bulkier and I don’t take it everywhere with me.
For my blog images, I use a 50mm f/1.8 lens on my Canon 60D and shoot in RAW rather than the normal JPEG format. It took me a while to learn how to shoot in RAW but I’ve never shot in JPEG since and I honestly never will. Shooting in RAW gives me way more control over the post-processing of my images, allowing me to create lighter and sharper photos. Once the photos are taken, I load them onto my Macbook Pro (15″ with Retina Display) into Adobe Photoshop CS6, beginning with the Camera Raw extension and moving on to Photoshop for a few minor changes and then straight onto the blog.
For my Instagram photos, I like to swap between my DSLR and iPhone 6s – depending on how much time I have to take the shot & if there is enough natural lighting (where I don’t need to edit it a whole lot). The camera’s on iPhone’s (and most smartphones) nowadays is absolutely insane and just keeps getting better and better with new releases coming out all the time. When I am using my iPhone, I make sure that I’m shooting in square mode so that I can see exactly how it will be published on Instagram. It’s also super important to make sure that you wipe the lens on your smartphone camera just in case it’s dirty (trust me!) If you don’t give it a quick clean, it’s likely that your photos will come out with a strange haze over them & look very unappealing.
Watermarking is another thing that I have found comes in handy a lot, on Instagram especially. I currently use an app called Watermark that allows me to pick my font and colour of the text I enter and it adds a watermark to my selected photo. When editing my photos on my iPhone for Instagram, generally I will use Facetune & then edit the brightness & sharpen up the photos in Instagram itself before publishing them. I personally don’t like using filters on my photos as it isn’t my thing but some accounts can look really amazing & cohesive when this is done right!
The most important thing about starting a blog is that you have intentions of writing your own, original content and not scabbing off other people’s ideas. Sure, it’s great to gather ideas and inspiration from other bloggers and even social media, but there soon comes a point where inspiration becomes imitation. Copying someone else’s work is not only rude but it’s also illegal. If you want to go far with your blogging career and stand out from the crowd, put in the hard yards and it will pay off, trust me!
When I first started my blog, I found a lot of great inspiration from Pinterest actually. If you’ve never heard of Pinterest before, what are you doing with your life?! Pinterest is basically a social network where you can create “boards” than you can “pin” ideas to – ie like saving a heap of screen shots of things you admire (without clogging up your phone). I currently have a heap of different boards on my Pinterest, most are public and some are private – I have a few Photography Idea boards, Marketing, DIY Projects, Beauty (duh), Blogging Tips, Photoshop Tutorials, Quotes, Flatlay Ideas and so many more.
Being original sounds easy – but writing your own, unique content can be sometimes challenging. I’ve only been in the blogging game for less than 12 months but already have seen such an improvement in my writing style and overall “flow” of my blog posts. You will see in my blog that I focus on beauty and makeup, with a hint of lifestyle (tips, tricks and a few posts about me). I want my viewers to know exactly what they’re going to expect when they visit my blog – beauty and lifestyle. So just remember, don’t lose sight of your main goal with every blog post you publish – after all, it’s your opinions you’re giving, not someone else’s.
Look – I’m no expert when it comes to blogging and I know that, but the aim of this post is to show you what I do and what I think works for me. Hopefully some of you get a few ideas or some inspiration from this post to start a blog of your own. If you do, make sure you send me a link to it!