When blogging first started being a “thing”, there was just a person behind a screen who wanted to vent about their lives and their passions in that moment. Nowadays, blogging has become a full time career with hundreds of people monetizing their hobby, and with time has come a slew of new tools to help make blogging easier to manage -whether that be with content, social media or images.
Here are a few tips from one beauty blogger to another to help you make the most out of your passion.
Being able to schedule blog posts has become every bloggers best friend. Many bloggers feel the need to post everyday or every other day and so being able to write up two or three blog posts at one go and schedule them to appear on your blog at a specific time or date is definitely essential to blog maintenance. Whether you use Blogger or WordPress (as most bloggers do) each platform gives you the option to schedule your posts. No more working weekends – Hurrah!
Many bloggers spend hours on end perfecting their pictures, whether that is of a product or of your makeup or outfit, you can end up spending the entire day photographing something and still find that once you upload it, it still looks boring or the lighting looks awful. Nowadays there are several tools you can use to help you edit the lighting and add in all sorts of fancy embellishments to your images.
Picmonkey as an example is a bloggers favourite tool as you can edit and design images without downloading software or registering to the site. If you prefer to use apps, you can download “afterlight” which is a free app where you can apply filters and lighten the images on your phone.
Here’s an example of an image that has been edited using Picmonkey to add filters and overlays:
Pictures are equally as important to your blog as content. If you have good photography then you make your blog look and feel more professional which not only do visitors love, but so do companies who might be interested in sending you their products or wish to advertise their brands. There are a few things you can utilise to make it that bit easier:
- Buying a large sheet of thick white paper or card is inexpensive but can help make your product pictures look much cleaner and professional. Beauty products in particular are notoriously difficult to photograph with reflecting and mirrored packaging causing shadows and catching your reflection. Adding the white background can help to eliminate some of that.
- As for lighting, many bloggers use ring lights and soft boxes but these can prove to be pretty expensive (wave goodbye to the handbag you’ve been saving up for!). You can find some good deals for these on Ebay or Amazon but there is a much cheaper alternative. There are lamps that have a swivel neck on them and no shade that are available to buy for less than $15 in your local homeware stores. Buying two of these and some powerful light bulbs can give good lighting without breaking the bank which for beauty and fashion bloggers is ideal.
Tip: Aim each lamp at either side of the object and photograph from above to avoid shadowing.
- In terms of actual camera equipment, of course there are dozens of DSLR camera’s available at different prices. For those of you who don’t know what a DSLR camera is, “DSLR” is short for “digital single lens reflex”, Basically, they use a mirror behind the camera lens that directs light towards the viewfinder when you’re composing a photo. It all sounds complicated right? Well, all you really need to know is that the pictures from a DSLR camera are significantly sharper than using a standard point and shoot camera. If you’re interested in investing in a DSLR camera but are not really sure which one to go for, then the one that is favoured by beauty and fashion bloggers is the Canon 600D. There are of course others available but this one is great for being able to change or add lenses and the video quality is also pretty good if vlogging is your thing.
Aside from DSLR’s, there are high quality ‘point and shoot’ camera’s which do the job pretty well. Again, Canon have pretty much nailed it when it comes to quality – anything with a high MP (above 12 megapixels) and has a good digital zoom (10 x or higher) will do the job perfectly. Pretty much every camera has a display on it nowadays but just in case, be sure to look for this so you can view your images prior to uploading.
Smartphones invariably have good camera’s nowadays too so don’t be afraid to snap your outfit or a beauty product you’ve been loving if you haven’t got a fancy camera.
Here’s a picture of beauty products that was taken using just a smartphone:
Whether you decide to use a smartphone, DSLR or digital camera, buying a tripod is definitely recommended, particularly for outfit posts or for taking selfies of your makeup or hair. You can pick one up fairly cheaply; however, if your camera is heavy or expensive (like a DSLR) then you might want to consider spending a bit more cash on a higher quality tripod. If you are using your smartphone, you can still use a tripod – take a look on ebay for “Smartphone tripod” where you will be able to pick up a holder for your smartphone that will screw onto your tripod for about $5 (including delivery).
As we mentioned in a previous blog post, social media is a vital for making your content reach new audiences. There are a few tools that you can use for scheduling tweets, facebook posts and even Instagram posts.
Buffer is an app that you can download and use to control all of the mentioned platforms and will allow you to schedule updates at your preferred time and date. It will even allow you to send your updates ‘as and when’ the app thinks is suitable. Another great platform to use is Hootsuite which does pretty much the same as Buffer, except you can use it on desktop PC’s and laptops too. Both apps are free.
A lot of bloggers already use Google Analytics to track which posts are performing well and to check their audience stats however some don’t use it because they feel it s difficult to use or mistake it for adwords. Adwords is a paid for advertising platform, whereas analytics simply tells you all of your visitor statistics including their age, location and how long they stayed on your website. It even tells you which backlinks you have and where your visitors clicked from to get to your blog. It’s definitely worthwhile using and is actually quite straightforward to use. There are thousands of online tutorials and help pages on how to use Google Analytics so go ahead and erm, ‘Google’ it… Pun intended!
Commenting & Interacting
Finally, the best thing that we could recommend is to interact with like minded people by commenting on other blogs and leaving your links in the comment. Make sure your comment is actually interesting and relevant otherwise those pesky spam filters will ‘junk folder’ your comment instantly. Here’s an example of a good comment:
“Great advice! I always forget to put a top coat on once I’ve finished painting my nails and then wonder why they chip so easily! Which top coat would you recommend? Thanks again! (insert blog)”
As you can see the comment interacts with the blogger and lets them know you’ve taken time to read their post. You also encourage them to reply to you either by visiting your blog or by replying to their own comment. Bloggers love nothing more than to know their work is appreciated and a comment lets them know that they’re not just typing into an empty space that no-one reads. You’d be surprised by how many followers, comments and visitors your blog will receive if you ‘pay it forward’ by interacting with other bloggers.
As always, we here at Purely Social Media will be updating with more advice to improve your blog each week so be sure to add us to your favourites or tweet us @purelysocialtip