With the rise of computers, the Internet, and smartphones, blogging- or posting written content online- is bigger and better than ever. According to a report by The Nielsen Company, there are now more than 181 million blogs around the world. Of these blogs, almost three-quarters of their authors, called “bloggers,” are under the age of 35, according to a study by Sysomos Inc. Blogs are very popular on college campuses, with blogs like #whatshouldwecallme and CollegeFashion. Since the only required materials for blogging are an internet connection and an idea, it’s possible for anyone to start a blog.
That’s how Kathleen Harper, a sophomore at Elon University, began to experiment with blogging this summer. Now, with over 5000 views and an award-winning blog under her belt, Harper is one of Elon’s hottest up-and-coming bloggers.
“People really do read it and look forward to reading it,” Harper says. “It’s a powerful feeling.”
Harper is undoubtedly a fashionista. Her blog, “Kat’s Fashion Fix,” uses Harper’s own outfits to give readers fashion tips and help readers discover the best looks of the season.
“I take a lot of pride in my clothes,” Harper says. “I’m just one of those shoppers, it’s my thing... I get so into it.”
Harper began writing about fashion in the sixth grade, when she kept a journal of her outfits for school.
“It was like a blog, but on paper,” she says. “I would sit there and have a chart, for the entire year... and I would write down every single thing I wore that day and chart it out.”
Now, Harper shares her outfits through her blog. She explains what inspired each day’s look and how to make a similar outfit from what readers already have in their own closet. Her readers take her words to heart. On one post about wearing white pants after Labor Day, several readers voiced their similar support for the fall fashion trend.
Since beginning her blog three months ago, Harper’s blog has been seen by thousands of people. Harper’s blog even won Blogspot’s Liebster Blog Award for up-and-coming blogs. Her commitment to her blog is the key to her success. Harper reads 50 blogs a day and works on her own blog for an hour daily. For Harper, that hard work has paid off.
“People on campus say, ‘Oh, look at Ms. Fashion over there!’” Harper says with a smile. “I’m so grateful to people who just check it out.”
After the success of her blog, Harper recommends that other students follow in her footsteps. She says that her blog has given her a lot of confidence and is a great way to inspire others through her passion. Besides being a great form of self-expression she says a blog is a great way to network with others in your career field and looks impressive on an résumé. Harper hopes her own blog will lead to work at a major fashion magazine.
In the meantime, Harper continues to blog, posting fashion updates each week with new photos of her fall outfits. Before dashing off to try a new outfit, Harper offered this step-by-step guide to creating your own hit blog.
Choose a blogging site- In order to begin blogging, you have to register for an account at a blog site. Blogspot is Kathleen’s site of choice, but other options include Wordpress, Pinterest, Tumblr, and the microblogging site Twitter. Each site has its pros and cons, so research them all before choosing your blogging home.
Pick a name- Choosing your blog’s title is extremely important- Harper took three days to decide on the name of her blog. Harper recommends researching other blogs about your topic, and asking friends and family for advice about possible title ideas. One important aspect to consider is your audience. “One [name I considered] was ‘FashionBomb,’ which I really liked,” Harper says, “But my dad said [it could be offensive]... You have to kinda think about something that appeals to all demographics.”
Experiment with aesthetics- Blogging is a visual medium. Embrace this by using photos, colors, and graphics to make your blog shine. Harper features several photographs in each of her blog posts, along with a profile picture in her blog’s sidebar. Harper also recommends incorporating “widgets,” or small modules with functions such as photo slideshows or social media updates, into your blog’s homepage. And don’t limit yourself to visuals only. The Internet is a great place to showcase music, videos, and outside links to your favorite websites. Each blogging site is different, so learn what your site has to offer and give it a try!
Writing a post- What’s a post? It’s the individual update that is posted to a blog. Kathleen starts her posts with several pictures of her outfits, followed by a brief paragraph about what the outfit means to her and how she put together the look. For non-fashion blogs, visuals are still important, but it’s okay to let your words take center stage. Regardless of your topic, Harper recommends keeping your posts brief and on-topic. Don’t overload your reader with information or stray too far from your main theme. This helps streamline your writing and keeps your readers engaged.
Share your blog- Sharing isn’t just for kindergarteners anymore. Telling others about your blog is one of the easiest ways to help your future readers discover your work. Besides word of mouth, social media is a great way to take your blog to a global audience. Harper advertises her blog on her personal Facebook page, along with a Facebook page made just for her blog. She also tweets about her blog on her personal Twitter, and reposts her photos to Pinterest and Instagram. Finally, Harper networks with fellow bloggers through the sites Bloglovin and Google Friend Connector. The best aspect of sharing a blog on social media is that friends can share your blog with their own friends- so make some friend requests and get your name out there!
With these tips, you have all the tools you need to start your very own blog. So, get out there and start posting! As Harper says, “there really is no limit,” so start your blogging adventure today!