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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

My blogging tips

I've learnt so much since starting 'On the face of it'!

Don't try to write like someone else

It's tempting to feel that you need to adopt the tone of your favourite blogger or writer in order to be successful. But doing so takes away the very thing that makes your blog unique - the fact that you have your own innate style and your own opinions. That's not to say you shouldn't read other blogs - do! If something you read has a great tone, structure or gorgeous images, then be inspired by it, but don't make your blog a carbon cut-out of somebody else's - frankly, you'd be wasting your talent.

Don't judge your first post

Blog posts are like pancakes - the first one, no matter how bad you think it is, just needs to be finished and published and got out the way. The more you write and photograph, the better you get. It can take time to develop a tone or style that suits you.

Get organised

The best way to maintain consistency is to know what and when you're posting. Pulling something out of thin air at the last minute to meet a deadline is always going to cause more stress and result in a less thought-out post. Having posts all lined up and ready to go is useful because life gets in the way sometimes. I use Google Calendar because it's really easy to edit and create to-do lists. Being able to schedule a post to appear when you'd otherwise be busy is a really useful feature on Blogger - say if you want your post to appear at 6pm while you're battling rush hour. Photo-wise, knowing how to quickly upload and store your photos on your computer saves a lot of time. As a general rule I rename my images so I don't have to search through the time and date stamps that my camera gives them, then I save them folders on my desktop so they're easy to find.

Keep at it

The key to gaining followers is consistency. It doesn't happen overnight - any really popular blogger is likely to have been at it for years. You don't need to post every day, but once or twice a week will help you maintain an online presence.

You don't need loads of new stuff

Don't be tempted to decimate your bank account buying loads of new products - besides, the bloggers with the latest stuff have often been given it for free. Companies know that blogs with high traffic will disseminate the information effectively. If there's an eyeliner you love, write about it. You can get several posts from a few items, for instance with an eyeliner you could do a review of the product, a natural everyday look, a retro winged liner look, and a grungey smoky eyed look, which shows off your creativity and the versatility of the product. 

Use blue-tac

Photographing eyeliners, lipsticks, and anything that rolls can be a huge pain because they never stay still. Putting a little blob of blue-tac under them stops them escaping and allows you to shoot them at any angle.

Natural light is your friend

A well-lit unedited image is a thousand times better than a poorly-lit, over edited one. Whatever you're photographing looks clearer, brighter, and much more realistic in natural light. 

Beware of the windows

Shooting into the light (i.e. facing a window) creates too much contrast and will leave your image looking dark and overcast. Facing away from the light (with your back to the window) will bathe your object(s) in light and give you a beautiful image. Side-lit photos can also be really lovely, particularly when photographing glass or anything glass-like.

Think about composition

There's no other way around it - even the most beautiful product looks drab next to scrumpled up tissues and dirty plates. Find a clean, empty surface to place your product on. I love my little IKEA Lack coffee table for taking photos - it's small and lightweight enough to be moved around a room to get the best light. Products nestled in bed linens and blankets can be really nice too as the texture and pattern creates a lovely cosy feel. Both the insides and outsides of magazines are really lovely too. In terms of colours, avoid backgrounds that are either too similar to what you're photographing (e.g. red lipstick against a red book cover) or the image will lose its impact and look bland. Add other objects if you want to. To be honest a lot of it is intuitive, so experiment and go with what looks good to you. 

Learn how to use a camera

I've read blogging tips from bloggers whose posts are filled with beautiful photos, but it soon became clear they knew nothing about their (expensive!) cameras. (Not going to lie - I was super-jealous. I wanted a fancy camera too!) Knowing what the different features (aperture, shutter speed, ISO) are and how they affect the image allows you greater control. Yes, an expensive camera will give you a nice image and takes a lot of the work out, just like a DSLR is better than a camera phone (as I can attest to in my first few months of blogging before I eventually found my camera charger!) but a top-of-the-range camera absolutely isn't a requirement. Creativity and persistence are much more important.

Take lots of photos 

I usually think I've got a good photo then realise once I look at it that my eyeliner's smudged, my hair's sticking to my face and I'm making a really weird expression. Whatever you're photographing, taking lots of photos will allow you to be more discerning when it comes to choosing the final image, and you're likely to end up with a better photo.

Proof read

Prood read proof read proof read. I literally can't say this enough. It's boring and time consuming, but it's worth it. When you read through your own work it's easy to miss mistakes because you know what you've written. Comb through carefully, reading every word, or ask someone else to proof read for you - it's usually easier to spot mistakes in other people's work than your own. 


If you want to improve your blog traffic, advertise in as many places as you can. Get on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any others I've missed out and use these platforms frequently to alert your followers to new posts. Use hashtags so that people browsing can see your posts (I always use #bbloggers on Twitter as well as other relevant hashtags.) Claim your blog on Bloglovin' so that your Bloglovin' followers can see all your new posts automatically. The online world moves fast so posting on social media several times a day is usual.

And last but not least...

You look great

I always, always hate how I look in photos. It's hard not to jump to criticising how I look. I do it all the time, and worrying about how I look on camera has stopped me from showing makeup looks or getting into vlogging. A lot of blogging is very image-focussed, in more than one sense of the word. I have a little trick where, once I've chosen the photo of myself I'm going to use, I challenge myself to list five things I like about myself in it. Also (and this goes without saying) if you're on someone else's blog and all you can think about is how bad they look in a photo (and even worse, if you actually comment about it) then, frankly, piss off and have a good hard think about how you act towards others. 

Woah that ended on a tense note. Here's a picture of Strawberry having a little snooze to balance it out. (He's in the top part of a terracotta pot. No idea why, but he looks very happy.)

Do you have any blogging tips?