So you want to be a fashion blogger? Good for you!
A blog (short for “web log”) is an online journal of one’s thoughts and interests. Many members of the Second Life community use blogs to chronicle their exploration of or interests on the grid. A popular topic for many residents is fashion.
A fashion blog can cover the varying aspects of the SL fashion industry from the writer’s unique viewpoint and/or showcases the writer’s personal style.
As you embark on your journey into the blogosphere, here are a few things to keep in mind before beginning.
(I do not consider myself to be an expert; these tips and suggestions are merely knowledge that I have picked up along the way.)
This post will cover:
- Getting Started
- Choosing a Blog Host
- Choosing a Photo-sharing Site
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guidelines & Disclosure Policies
- Creating Your Blog’s Framework
- Choosing a Name for Your Blog
- Writing for the Web
- Designers are People Too
- Give Credit Where Credit is Due
- Increase Your Traffic
- Social Media
- Syndicated Feeds
- Shake it Off
Choosing a Blog Host
Most people generally start out by utilizing the tools provided by a free blogging service. Two very popular blog publishing platforms are Blogger (included in the Google Accounts portfolio of products) and WordPress. There are pros and cons to using both. A free blogging provider will have a limit to the amount of file storage/memory your free account can contain. Using a photo-sharing service to host your images (see below) or an online document storage tool like Google Docs can offset these storage limitations.
When using a free blog host, make sure that you carefully read the “fine print” in the Terms of Service prior to getting started. On WordPress, for example, displaying advertisements is strictly prohibited. If you are planning to use your blog as a promotional tool that generates revenue through banner or button advertising, WordPress is not the choice for you.
For a comprehensive comparison of the features offered by both services, click here.
Many bloggers eventually host their blog within their own domain, upgrading from some of the limitations of using a free service provider. To learn more about using a free blogging service versus hosting your own blog, click here.
Choosing a Photo-sharing Site
A photo-sharing site allows users to upload and publish their digital format photos online. Photos can typically be shared publicly, to a specified person or group of people, or kept completely private for the account holder’s eyes only.
Using a service like this to host photos can not only free up storage space on your blog, but also promote your work within the photo-sharing community that you choose.
Flickr, the service that I am most familiar with, has a very large and active community of amateur and professional photographers, artists and enthusiasts from Second Life. Because of this, it can serve as a great social networking tool!
Once again, if you decide to use a photo sharing site for hosting the pictures on your blog, keep in mind that they also have terms and conditions attached to their service that users must agree to at sign-up. Flickr, for example, has a set of Community Guidelines. Part of their requirement is that user photos must be linked back to the original photo page.
Other photo sharing sites might have similar regulations they want you to follow so remember: read the fine print!
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guidelines & Disclosure Policies
Please note the changes to FTC Guidelines became effective on October 2009 regarding product endorsements and testimonials. Fitting with this spirit of transparency in product reviewing, many bloggers do include a disclosure policy page on their blog or otherwise indicate which featured items were provided as au gratis review copies.
Now that we’ve discussed blog and photo sharing service providers, it’s time to jump into choosing a name for your blog and considerations for your first posts.
Choosing a Name for Your Blog
When choosing a name, try to make it something that’s memorable. It should be relatable to you and/or the subject matter you will be covering. This will affect how your blog shows up in search engine results and whether visitors to feeds that syndicate your posts will find your title to be eye-catching.
Your blog name should:
- describe your blog (content)
- be easy to remember
If people don’t get an understanding of what your blog is all about as they quickly scan chances are that they won’t click.
Writing for the Web
A buzz word that is thrown around when describing the development of content for Web 2.0 is “sticky”. “Sticky content refers to content published on a website, which has the purpose of getting a user to return to that particular website or hold their attention and get them to spend longer periods of time at that site. Webmasters use this method to build up a community of returning visitors to a website” – Source: wikipedia.com.
The fundamental way to keep your blog “sticky” is to have concise, informative writing.
When writing for online audiences:
- keep it short (unlike printed content, people won’t spend a lot of time reading information on their computer screens)
- keep it simple by using plain, familiar language
- elaborate by providing a lot of links to other information to support your ideas and thoughts
- write in inverted pyramid style, putting your most important information first
- break your content up into digestible sections; use …
- headings or subheadings
- bold, italics, underline to format for emphasis
- bulleted or numbered lists to break up points
For further information on writing for the web, visit:
- Problogger.net: Ten tips for writing a blog post
- Memorial University: Writing for the Web
- UseIt.com: Writing for the Web
Whilst maintaining a fashion blog, you will inevitably come in contact with many designers for various reasons.
Second Life designers are people just like you and I. Many have not received formal training to produce the items they may be selling inworld; they create for enjoyment and in the pursuit of self-expression. They stumbled upon Second Life just like you and I and saw a vehicle through which they would find fulfillment in creating.
Whether requesting review items or simply just featuring your favourite designs/designers, here’s a few things to remember when interacting with content creators.
- Be courteous. Treat them with the same level of respect and courtesy you would also expect in return. Your mother taught you the Golden Rule for a reason.
- Be informed. Before contacting them read their profiles to see how they like to be contacted and what their review copy policy is. This goes for bloggers, magazines, mall rentals, hunts, daily specials, etc.
- Be reasonable. Review copies are not an obligation, they are a courtesy. Designers and content creators are not required to shower them upon bloggers. If they decline your request or don’t respond they may feel that your blog image is not in line with how they want their products to be represented. Don’t take it personally; there are many other opportunities.
- Be respectful. In reviewing items, if you notice any flaws, it is proactive and respectful to reach out to the designer first to constructively let them know that the flaw exists (they may not have noticed themselves) and, if you so choose, that you may not be blogging their item(s) as a result. Remember, “constructive criticism is criticism kindly meant that has a goal of improving some area of another person’s life or work”. Your constructive criticism can be a source of valuable information for future products for this particular creator.
One of my favorite reviewers is Grazia Horwitz. Her tactful skin reviews are very detailed, well-researched, concise, eloquent and, most importantly, non- condescending.
Instead of getting into a huge debate about how important it is to credit and provide as much information as possible, I’ll just tell you a little story.
Once upon a time, when I was a total newb with only a few weeks under my belt (and still looking horribly inadequate), I stumbled upon an amazing fashion blog! In this blog, this wonderful human being/avatar was wearing these gorgeous eyelashes that I did not even know existed on the grid.
I read the post completely and was delighted to find that at the bottom of the post she had listed where she got these eyelashes from and even the SLurl to the store.
I quickly teleported to the location there and since then I have been in prim eyelash heaven. I remember that day clearly and I have always gone back to her blog and it still to this day remains as one of my favorites.
I hope this illustrates how important it is to list even the smallest of details and how much your readers will love and appreciate you for it … and designers, when your post(s) refer new customers to their store.
You’ve got your blog (with a snappy name), you’ve styled the perfect look and arranged it all in a stunning post that Shakespeare himself would be envious of.
Now … how do you let people know about it? How do you direct readers to your masterpiece?
On my blog, I actually get the most referrer traffic from, believe it or not, Plurk! I must admit that my Plurk buddies are very good to me; they support me, encourage me and every time I post about new content on my blog to followers of my timeline the majority of them click and come on over to read/view. Thank you, Plurkers. You have no idea how much I appreciate that! ♥
The second place my blog gets the most referrer traffic from is Flickr (remember I mentioned the value of this as a social networking tool?). I’ve been using Flickr for photo sharing for almost 3 years and during that time I have accumulated a lot of contacts. Those contacts also click on over to my blog whenever they see my blog photos show up on Flickr. I also link from Flickr to my blog posts.
This just goes to show that joining various social networking sites will not only gain you more friends and acquaintances, but it will assist you in promoting your blog posts and get the word out there.
There are many Fashion Feeds run by Second Life Residents that also bring quite a lot of referrer traffic to my blog. Here are just a few that I am a part of and get the most hits from:
Remember to read each of their terms and conditions carefully for they all have different rules and regulations you must meet in order to join them.
Finally, I’d like to prepare you for a few things you might experience as one who becomes labeled as a “Second Life Fashion Blogger.”
As Dr. Seuss once said, “Do what you want and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.
No matter what you do in life (or Second Life) people will criticize you, whether they know you, think they know you or don’t know you at all.
As a public blogger, you are putting yourself out there for people to see – your avatar, your thoughts and opinions. Your blog is now a manifestation of “you” in the public eye and people will talk smack about you.
“OMGahz how many fashion bloggers does the grid really NEED???!!!!!1”, they’ll exclaim.
People publicly will criticize your writing skills, your stance on review copies, your styling and clothing preferences, the way you list your credits, your avatar shape and appearance. Some will say your butt is too big; others will be adamant that it’s barely there. There’s no end to the criteria that they will scrutinize in an attempt to devalue you and your work. Shake it off and keep going.
I see these kinds of things happening all over social networking sites and different inworld groups on a daily basis.
The most important thing to remember is that this is your fashion blog, not theirs. Don’t let others discourage you from pursuing things that you enjoy! Blog your style, what you like, what you feel comfortable in and what you want to share with your readers. Everyone has their own tastes and your blog will attract the people that appreciate your style.
My reason for blogging is simply because I love to take pictures and play with them in Photoshop. Sometimes, I see an article of clothing inworld and get so inspired by it, wanting so badly to just throw it on, run to the sim that I want to take a picture at, share a quote or poem that will express what I’m feeling right at that moment and blog it. I get so excited with this idea that at times I do not even notice the large gaping seam on my hip or if I’m wearing the wrong prims, or whatever else I have messed up that day.
These things happen, we are human. We will miss things and we will make mistakes. Just don’t let it get you down and remember what brings you back to blogging and what you love most about it.
So that’s pretty much all of the advice and suggestions I have to offer.
Never forget, this is your fashion blog. Do what you like and say what you feel… as long as you are coming from a place of positivity that brings enjoyment to your life.
Remember to have fun because that’s why we’re all here!
Happy blogging! ♥
» You can view all of my current tutorials and see coming titles on my tutorials page.
Credits for the pic:
*Skin: –Belleza– Elle Dark Mocha pack by Tricky Boucher
Eyes: Poetic Color eyes – quicksilver by Lano Ling
*Eyelashes: Amacci ~ Eyelashes “Charm” – Black by Carina Larsen
Hair: *eha~ Sang Darktone Fat by Salut Erin
*Review items and/or gifts.