On Friday I was on my way to the Eastern Shore for the weekend and I got an email from Baltimore Magazine saying I won Baltimore’s Best in the Website (other) category. Obviously, I was really excited and blown away, my website is a labor of love and something I am constantly working to improve on. A few years ago I won in the Instagram category and that was so great but I do not own that platform or really have much control over what goes on. With my website, I make all the decisions and anything I want to add to it or change on it, I have figured out how to do myself. Website developers are expensive and I have not had the money to hire someone to help me so I decided to just figure it out on my own, it is so satisfying when I do because honestly sometimes it takes a while to get there. I have gone through a few platforms and changed my aesthetic a few times but I am finally at a point where I am proud of what I have created and I am so happy to know you guys like it too!
But before I continue I wanted to reflect back on my blogging journey a bit because this is a milestone that comes from lots of hard work, failures, and adjustments. When my now husband and I decided to leave LA and move back to Maryland (he is from Chicago, we met at ASU and he moved to LA 6 months after I did, we were there together for 2 years) it was not an easy decision. I had a job designing for a women’s clothing line that I really loved and Steve was working for a really cool advertising agency but something was pulling us closer to home, to the people we loved and the support system we both had for our whole lives. We decided to make the move and put our trust in the fact that we would be able to figure everything out – I had a job lined up starting a clothing line with a women’s boutique which was really exciting. Steve did not have anything lined up which was scary but we know he would be able to find something in due time. We road tripped back with our late pup Beni and took our time, stopped along the way and saw so many different cool places, we had the time of our lives and the most amazing memories. Once we got to Maryland we moved in with my parents while we got settled and began to try to figure out how to make a life. After a few months the job I had lined up crashed and burned, they were naive with it took to get a clothing line off the ground and we were not on the same page. It was a super difficult time in my life because after that happened I struggled with the fact that I left a really great job for something that ended up not working out. As I went back to square one and tried to figure out what I was going to do because design jobs are not a thing in Maryland, I decided to start a blog! I was desperate for a creative outlet, something I could fully control and take ownership of, I had no clue what I was doing but I decided to learn as I went along.
My first step was finding the platform I was going to put my blog on and that ended up being Blogspot, it was free and easy to navigate which was all I really needed. I brainstormed on a name for days and Invisible Crowne ended up being the winner, I love the thought of always feeling good enough about yourself from the inside out that you are wearing a “crowne”. Once I had the name I would put outfits together and have my mom take photos of me around her house – from the beginning, she was so supportive and I am so thankful for that. Even though she didn’t understand it she did whatever I asked to help get what I needed. I transferred my Instagram from random photos of my dog and food to pictures of my outfits and that’s where it all started and I have not really stopped since. I worked full time throughout the past several years and never stopped working on my blog, it has always been my passion and that is what has kept it going all of these years. It is crazy because the only people that ever read it was my mom, my sister, Steve and maybe a few of my mom’s friends and my friends. I feel so lucky to have had and still have the support of these people, they have always cheered me on and supported this thing they didn’t get. After years of sticking to a free site, I decided to move to this WordPress platform and create my dream space. It has been really fun figuring it all out. Becoming an affiliate with Liketoknow.it was a game changer for me because it allowed me to integrate my Instagram and website together and make it so easy for you guys to shop my look, keep all my links and information organized, make a commission and be able to track what you guys are loving and how I can better serve you.
Fast forward to today it is amazing to see how far I have come on this journey. I debated writing this blog post because by no means do I consider myself an expert, there is so much more I have to learn and want to do. But I decided that if there are other people out there that are thinking about starting a blog I could give a few tips I have learned along the way:
-Find your niche and stick with it. Having a niche is really important in finding the followers that truly love what you have to say, having a USP (unique selling point) will attract more readers. With that being said it has to also be something that you are truly passionate about, if you want to be in it for the long haul you have to be excited about what you are writing about and have lots to say about the topic. Of course, you are going to have a few subcategories but overall you want to share your own point of view about your niche. (Also, I think it is important to start your blog for yourself and no one else.)
-Create amazing and unique content. It is so important to create your own content that is unique to your niche. Taking the time to take photos whether it be of yourself, flat lays of your product, inspirational collages or whatever it may be, it sets you apart from everyone else! Think outside the box and be yourself, people will be drawn to it and want to see what you will do next!
-Learn the ins and outs of your platform to have full control. I touched on this already but it is something that I feel very strongly about. Website developers are expensive and when starting out it is not an expense that not a lot of us can take on so learning how to create your blog or website the way you want it is priceless! Not only can you make any change you want whenever you want but you are learning a whole new skill that will be super beneficial. These days there are so many ways to get the information you need (Google, online chat support, youtube etc.) that if you put a little bit of time and effort into it you will figure it out! The feeling of accomplishment I get when I accomplish a task is my favorite thing ever!
-Do not do something because someone else is doing it that way, make decisions that are unique to you to make you stand out. Anyone can start a blog and create the same content as everyone else but people really gravitate to posts that spark their interest and pieces that have a cool twist on a topic, it sets you apart from the others. This is not easy to do, sometimes you have to be vulnerable and open but I see the most traction on the posts where I share something that is unique to me and what is going on in my life. Stay true to yourself and be open about the topic you are talking about.
-Be okay with the fact that it is going to take time to grow your blog and get it out there. This is not something that happens overnight and that is okay. While you are creating your little space online take that time to work out the kinks and create something that you are proud of! Posting your blog posts on social media with a link to check it out, showing people how to subscribe, getting good at SEO and spreading the word locally are a few ways to get things moving forward. When people ask me for fashion advice or ask me what they should wear in a certain situation I have them refer to my website because I have so many blog posts on so many different topics. It is a great way to get people to keep coming back and sharing the site with their friends too!
-Not everyone is going to understand and that’s okay. I have learned that people don’t like what they don’t understand but that is not your problem. Blogging has become popular over the past few years but when I first started not a lot of people got it. When people asked what I did and I tried to explain I got a lot of confused looks and questions and to this day it still happens. Don’t let those questions and looks get you down, keep your eye on the prize and surround yourself with people who are supportive no matter what. If you have a vision and a plan for your blog and you take the steps to accomplish your goals you will get there! Just keep going no matter what!
-Write about what you readers ask about. This does not have to happen all of the time but if you get asked the same question over and over, write a blog post about it! Clearly, it is something people are interested in and those are the best topics to go in on. When you cannot come up with some good content ideas go to your readers and they will point you in the right direction, it is really fun to write for them every once in a while and answer their questions.
-Build a community. This is not easy to do and takes time but it is key to having a successful blog. I am still working on this step because finding what makes your readers excited to come to the blog and engage can take a while. I get so excited when people comment and engage on my site, it makes me feel so good and it is so fun to interact and get to know each other!
-Be willing to fail and move forward. Not every topic you talk about or idea you have is going to be a hit and that’s okay. It is better to try new things and fail than not try at all, it helps you to better understand your audience and what they are looking for. It is all a learning experience and if you look at it that way it will all be okay. I have tried many different things on my blog but the response was not what I wanted so I moved on from it. There have been so many times that I have felt defeated and wanted to quit but when those times come I take a step back to gain perspective, I then refocus and try to look at things a bit differently to redirect and move forward. The more you try and it doesn’t work out the more you learn about yourself, your industry and your POV.
-Be consistent. Consistency is key because people like to know what to expect. Set days that you are going to put up blog posts and stick with it. The more content you put out there and the more dedication you have to your blog the better you will get at it and your audience will know you are reliable to follow. With that said, everyone needs a break here and there and that is okay. Just set a limit to how long your break will then get back to it within a reasonable amount of time!
-Use affiliate links. If you are sharing products with your audience utilize affiliate links to get a commission on what people purchase from your blog. Do research on which company will work best with you and your niche (Liketoknow.it, Shop Style, CJ, Linkshare etc.). It is not a lot of money by any means but it adds up and becomes a steady stream of side money over time. You also get credit for what is sold and build up credibility with companies that could help lead to collaborations in the future. If you are sharing something with your followers and they decide to buy it because of you then you deserve to get a commission on it. Most followers fully agree with this and want you to get the credit you deserve for the work you put in!
This is all I got for now, again I am nowhere near where I want to be but I am having a lot of fun getting there. As I have evolved throughout the years I have revamped my blog and that will continue as I go through life. Nothing ever stays the same so I have just really been embracing those changes and blogging about them along the way. I truly appreciate all of you who come and read my posts, it means more to me than you know and I am forever grateful. I hope sharing some background on how I got started as well as some tips I have learned along the way has been helpful! If you have any further questions leave them in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to answer them! I would also love to hear if you have anything to add to these tips I have shared, I am always looking for new perspectives and new ways to be better myself!
My dress is 50% off right now making it under $30, such an amazing deal on this piece! It is so soft and I love the print, I would suggest sizing down from your normal size for the perfect fit! Click the photos below to get more information!