I am a reader of A Pretty Penny and I just wanted to introduce myself. I don’t know how I stumbled upon your blog (30 for 30, perhaps?) but I have loved reading it. I love that your style is so accessible and wearable. Often times I see great outfits on other blogs, but think “I can’t wear that in real life!” Your site provides practical inspiration.
I never envisioned myself taking pictures of what I wear, but I figured I had been reading so many of these sites, it was time to practice what I stalked, I guess. I hope that by forcing myself to think about what I wear, it will help me create a more polished look with what I already have in my closet.
I would love any advice you have on building your blog. In the time I have been following you, I have noticed that you have grown quite a bit. I think having people keep tabs on me and my blog will give me the motivation to stick with the challenge.
Thanks for your email, Linda, and for reading APP! I’m so glad you like the blog, and that you’re finding useful inspiration from it. I’ve gotten a few emails and Formspring questions about this same topic, so I thought I’d share my response with everyone — hope you don’t mind! Find my full response after the jump.
Congrats on taking the leap and starting your own style blog! It’s been such a fun adventure for me, and I changed it dozens of times until I felt it evolved into what I really want it to be. It started six months ago with simple daily posts of head-to-toe outfits I created with a budget of $150 or less, and morphed into a journal about my life and style, and everything in between. I’m learning more about blogging and this community every day, and really just growing into it along the way.
I think I should start by saying this: Everyone measures the “success” of a blog differently (followers, comments, sponsorship, advertisers, free swag, features and press, etc.) I define the success of my blog by the amount of engagement I have with my readers and fellow bloggers, which is why emails like yours totally make my day and validate what I’m doing here!
I didn’t pay much attention to my followers or stats in the beginning. I needed a hobby; an outlet to channel my love of style into something productive and help me put the brakes on my nasty shopping habits. I’ve always been interested in social media, and I’d started and quit a few non-style-related blogs before I started this one. I really didn’t think anyone would read it… I didn’t even tell my friends about it! In fact, it used to really catch me off guard when local people told me they loved APP. The most I did to promote it back then was dropping my URL into my personal Facebook profile, but it was spreading throughout my community and I didn’t even realize it.
Find Your Focus: I spent a lot of time reading other style blogs and “studying” what my favorite bloggers did on their sites. My early obsessions were What I Wore, Work Your Closet, and Kendi Everyday (they’re still obsessions, but now I have a lot of other favorites, too — check out the blogroll to the right). I took pieces of inspiration from each of them: Jessica’s gorgeous photography and girl-next-door appeal, Jamie’s recreation of popular styles and trends with her “if it’s in your closet, it’s in your budget” motto, and Kendi’s polished style and awesome writing. I knew I wanted my blog to have a little bit of all of those things, and that it had to be genuine and real. I wanted to talk with my readers like I’d talk with my closest friends — whether I had five followers or five thousand. My content can change and evolve, but those things are the foundation on which everything else is built.
Get Involved in the Community: One of the first things I did to learn more about the style blogging community was join Bloglovin’ and start following the blogs that interested me. I left comments on the posts I liked (but only genuine ones, not fluffy comments just for the sake of commenting) and engaged with bloggers on Twitter. I also joined Independent Fashion Bloggers, which has become an invaluable resource for help with technology and branding.
Maximize Your Social Network: There are so many ways to engage with your readers, and every reader will have different preferences for communicating with you. Make yourself accessible through email, Twitter, Facebook, and Formspring, and take the time to respond to all inquiries and feedback. This includes visiting the URLs of people who comment on your posts and sharing the love (this can get tricky as your following grows, so just do your best). Finally, download a third party Twitter app like Tweetdeck on your desktop or smartphone so you don’t miss any tweets or messages from your readers.
These are all of the things I’ve done to get my humble little blog to where it is now. Like they say, “if you build it, they will come.” I think the greatest advice I can give you is this: staying true to yourself, your style, and your point of view. The rest will fall into place.
For more great advice from a professional blogger, check out Jessica’s “Pro Tips” and download Gala Darling’s “Love & Sequins No. 7” podcast. They’re both chock-full of awesome tips that every blogger can use!
I'm a small town lady from the sunshine state with an affinity for bookstores, beauty counters and unfussy style.
I spend my days running my flower shop, and my nights blogging about what I love and what I wear.
(Or watching Netflix and drinking wine.)