Getting started is always the hardest part with anything. There’s a steep learning curve when you’re getting into blogging for money. Just like other niches, fashion blogging has interesting challenges and benefits that provide huge opportunities for growth and learning. Starting a fashion blog can make you loads of money and the best part is you’ll look good doing it!
In This Article...
- 1 Starting Your Fashion Blog
- 2 Setting Up Your Fashion Blog
- 3 How To Make Money as a Fashion Blogger
- 4 Fashion Blogging Barriers To Entry
Starting Your Fashion Blog
1. Make a Plan
Going into a new blogging venture without a plan can lead to slow traffic/visitor growth, fatigue, burnout and eventually failure. If you’re not mindful of your ultimate goal you’ll be doomed from the very beginning.
The best way to get off on the right foot is to ask yourself what you’re looking to accomplish.
If you’re in it for fun…
If you’re simply starting a fashion blog just for giggles then really all you need to do is 3 things:
- Find a buddy to take your pictures.
- Post them to your social feeds or where your friends hang out.
- Build a WordPress website and post them there also.
If the answer is to make money…
You’ll definitely need to consider how other bloggers are cashing in and model your approach after theirs. Initial things you’ll want to consider:
- Who’s going to take my picture? And can I count on them long term?
- What type of camera and lens do I need for the best quality photos?
2. Research The Competition
In actuality it’s best not to think of other fashion bloggers as competition, but instead as inspiration or potential partners to help you toward your goals.
You’d be shocked at how much easier building a brand and a substantial following is when you’re inclusive and community based. After the research phase think about some unique ways to connect with the influencers in your niche. Here are some good examples.
Types of Fashion Websites
It’s super important to nail down your style and stick to it for a while before branching out. Targeted expertise beats out broad knowledge 9 times out of 10 when ranking in search engines.
Gaining a core audience is much easier if you identify with a sub-niche of people who have equal passion for the kinds of clothes you’re wearing.
For example you can break fashion blogs down into a variety of sub-categories that appeal to very different market segments. These variations also can be approached very differently in terms of how best to market yourself or monetize your online presence. Let’s examine a few.
If you’ve got deep pockets or don’t mind taking lots of dressing room selfies showing off your couture wardrobe can lead to some pretty high-profile partnerships and commissions once you’ve gained a following.
The barrier to entry in this niche can be really high because getting it’s tough to fake being rich and putting together expensive outfits on the regular is going to take a lot of money.
Youth culture trends toward the cheap, innovative and fashion forward. These are all encapsulated in street style fashion blogs where assembling unique outfits where anything goes is the name of the game.
The ratio of female to male fashion bloggers has to be pretty lopsided. This means there’s an opportunity to make money for any guy who’s happy to flaunt his vanity. It’s probably more important to be attractive for me given that girls tend to purchase on behalf of their significant others, but it’s definitely not a requirement. You’re probably just as likely to find a measure of success promoting big and tall clothes if you consider the demand for it vs the amount of competition.
Mom’s have it rough. Parenting children and remaining fashionable is a tough challenge that many of them don’t have time to worry about. Getting advice on the best buys from a fellow mom adds a level of comfort and community to your pursuit and gives you an angle to also think about other parenting topics and…
A lot of parents like to make sure their children are stylin and profilin and a great way to do that is to keep up with top kid’s fashion bloggers. Since children’s fashion tends to be a little cheaper than adult (less material) it might be wise to wardrobe your offspring. The benefit of this is you can also play the photographer which prevents you from having to bother anyone else to snaps some shots.
Believe it or not there are a lot of older generation folks who still want to remain fashionable. If you fall into that category and are looking to have some fun in retirement starting your own fashion website can be lucrative and give you the perfect opportunity to get out of the house for some photo sessions.
If you’re a celebrity then you probably don’t need any help making money and you’ve likely got other career choices that provide you with a better income. However, if you’re a regular person who loves pop culture then you’re perfectly well suited to create a celebrity fashion blog.
Not only are there mass amounts of people searching for things like “Taylor Swift’s Yellow VMA Dress“, but it also means you don’t have to go through the hassle of putting together an outfit and getting photographed in it. Literally all you need to do is offer your visitors a link of where to find their favorite celebrities newest pair of jeans.
3. Picking a Name for Your Blog (Choose Wisely)
Selecting a name for your blog can be a fun, yet exhausting exercise. Whether you choose to use your given name as the basis for your site, a kitschy or clever play on words, or something niche specific there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Here’s what you should be considering.
Using Your Own Name
If you choose to go with the moniker your parents gave you then you should be prepared for the world to get to know you very personally. Some people like this level of notoriety, but it’s important to consider that if things in your life take unfortunate turns down the road that you might not want to make it so easy for people to identify you. It can be be much harder to hide or back out of the spotlight when everyone knows who you are.
Additionally, you should be thinking about the possibility that if at some point your blog or website becomes a big (or even moderate) success that it’ll be much more difficult to sell. Most people don’t think about selling before they even start, but if you ever want to peace out for a lump sum of cash it’s a good idea to stay away from branding yourself. Anyone who buys your site will likely have to rebrand and that’ll cost you in terms of the valuation. Typically you can sell a website/online business for 2-3 times your yearly revenue, but if a new owner isn’t you then they’re going to have to make additional determinations of how viable it is to take over.
Using a Clever Name
Typically this is the best option these days for building a website or social following. With these types of brands you’re getting to select a name that’s personal and fun for you, but also is attainable in terms of buying a domain or registering social media accounts under the same name.
My wife started ClothedCaption.com a couple years ago and she was really intent on coming up with a clever name that had an available matching domain name and instagram account. This should be equally as important to you.
Keep in mind that even though you think it’s kitschy and unique doesn’t mean that it’ll be easy for your audience to translate. Run the name by some friends and family and be prepared for their honest advice about how the name makes them feel. If they report back that they don’t get it you might need to go back to the drawing board.
Using a Broad or Simplified Name
In terms of starting your brand it can be tempting to pick a short, but sweet name (think FashionGirl.com). In an ideal world that would be perfect because it gives you a lot of room to scale and appeal to a mass audience. Problem is that domain names and social media handles for ideas like that have long been taken and you’ll have to have some upfront cash to acquire them.
Sure you might be able to pick up the .net version of the name or the fashiongirldotcom Pinterest account (they actually limit you to 15 characters…lets pretend for this example), but if you want to remain consistent across all the platforms you’ll be promoting your wares then best to pay careful attention to the availability of your choice and how it comes off to your audience.
Stay Away from Competing Letters
Sometimes you come up with the perfect name, but there’s one problem you might not think about. If the last letter of the first word is the same as the first letter of the second word (ie Fashion Notes) then it can be potentially troublesome for your visitors when deciphering the domain. See how www.fashionnotes.com can be a little hard to read? Two letters together usually signals the middle of a word. You’d be pretty surprised at some of the ways people can misinterpret brands like these. Fashionno Tes?
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Setting Up Your Fashion Blog
Once you know what you want out of your blog it’s actually a pretty simple process to get set up. In a lot of cases you can actually get online in under 30 minutes. You’re going to need three things to start your website: a domain name, a website host and a blogging platform.
If you think of it in terms of physical real estate you’re essentially talking about your home’s address (the domain name), the land it’s built on (the web host), and the actual house (the website). Obviously you can build a shack (a really crappy blog without a lot of work that no one wants to look at) or a mansion (a website with all the bells and whistles that people go out of their way to see). If you’re going to make money you’ll want to work hard to create the mansion, or hire people to help you get there.
Back to the steps…
Step 1. Buy a Domain Name
This is also called a URL or “what you type into the search bar”. For those who have no clue what I’m talking about (probably the senior fashion bloggers reading this) it’s the bold portion of the following… http://www.getnichequick.com.
With the proliferation of new TLD’s (or top level domains) you can actually buy some pretty crazy things these days. Fashionblogging.guru or kidsclothing.expert are viable choices for your new site if you can’t land a less attainable dot com.
We’d still recommend shooting for something that ends in .com, but it’s not essential to your success. The general public is just much more familiar with the dot com URL structure and tends to trust it more.
In our humble opinion stay away from .nets and .orgs. They just feel like the ugly stepchildren who no one loves. *No offense to actual ugly stepchildren. I love you.
Step 2. Host Your Website
As described above you’ll need to purchase a plot of digital land to put your your house on. In most cases, this means renting that land from a web hosting company, although for the technically savvy people out there it is possible to maintain your own hosting.
For starters you can purchase a plan from an entry-level hosting company likes BlueHost or HostGator for under $10/mo and be set up for quite some time.
As your traffic (people coming to your website) and storage requirements (files and photos) increase it’ll be good at some point to consider a higher quality hosting company with stellar support, better stability and higher capacity. If you’re not looking to skimp it wouldn’t hurt to start here to save you some headaches down the road.
We recommend MediaTemple.net as a great middle of the road solution and WPEngine.com our favorite WordPress dedicated hosting company.
Step 3. Set Up Your Blog or Website
It’s important to note that a blog or a website can really be referenced interchangeably. In a lot of cases blogs can actually be found on websites or they can be stand alone. Websites that aren’t considered blogs usually tend to be built on platforms other than WordPress or other content management systems (CMS) by professional developers and coders. There’s really no set rule though.
For almost any fashion blogger starting out you’ll want to begin like most others…on WordPress. Most web hosting companies (including the ones we recommended) allow you to easily connect your domain name to WordPress with a few simple steps.
From there you’ll need a crash course in how to use WordPress, but at it’s most basic level there is almost no training required. Trial and error should be just fine while getting your feet wet as long as you have a bit of experience with traditional text editors like Microsoft Word or Pages.
How To Make Money as a Fashion Blogger
Ok so now that we’ve covered the basics comes the really fun part. Making money online isn’t really as difficult as it sounds. As long as you’ve got people visiting your blog or your social media accounts you have the potential to make money.
Another analogy for you. Consider your website a retail store front. Every time someone comes in the door (visits a page on your site) you have the opportunity to present them with something that will make you money. This can come in the form of an affiliate link that generates a commission, an ad click, a sponsored post, free stuff from style partners or a combination of it all.
Additionally, your social media accounts can be seen as separate boutique versions of your store where you can gain brand recognition and ultimately funnel people to your main cash machine (your blog).
Assuming your website is live and you’ve managed to get a handful of posts on there it makes sense to consider signing up for Google Adsense and Media.net.
These two programs essentially partner with advertisers from around the web and display their ads in the most relevant places. Since you have a fashion blog all you have to do is install some code (actually just copying and pasting some text) onto your site and they’ll automatically figure out which fashion-related ads to display to your visitors based on the words you have on the page. Pretty cool right?
So from there you’ll basicallymake a portion of the amount the advertiser agreed to pay per click to Google and you’re making money.
Affiliate programs have made it so easy for fashion bloggers to make money these days. Since you’re likely trying to get people to buy the same outfits you’ve put together you’ll need to get people to click on a link to go buy it.
Simply inserting a link to Nordstrom.com won’t make you any money though. Instead, you’ll need to partner with them in some way.
What are the best affiliate programs for fashion bloggers?
Reward Style and ShopStyle Collective have made it incredibly easy to access a huge database of clothes from hundreds of retailers and link to that particular product. Just like the cost-per-click advertising these programs pay you a small fee (think 5-10 cents) per click.
If you’ve got thousands of loyal followers or a bunch of random visitors interested in what you’re wearing then those little clicks add up to $100’s of dollars a day.
10 clicks @ $.10 = $1.00
100 clicks @ $.10 = $10.00
1,000 clicks @ $.10 = $100.00
Imagine if you get 1,000 people who care to see what you’re wearing every day and would consider buying it. And that’s just one outfit. It’s really not that far outside of the realm of possibility to be making a substantial living by showing off your clothes.
Another way to make money through affiliate partnerships is to sign up directly with a specific retailer. Typically these programs will pay you based on whether someone clicks on your link and goes on to buy the product you’re recommending. The payout is usually about 6-10% of the price of the product, but you get far fewer people who commit to buying as opposed to the previous option that pays you just if they look.
Sponsored Content / Direct Advertising
Sometimes your fashion blog fits perfectly with the ideals or vision of a particular retailer. In those cases they might reach out to you and offer to pay you money to promote certain products of theirs or display their ads around your website. These deals can be quite lucrative if the stars align, but you’ll definitely need to have a substantial following before it’s viable.
Once you’re to this point it’s wise to create a media kit that helps potential advertisers to understand your reach (website traffic + social media following) so that they can evaluate how much partnering with you is worth to them.
Fashion Blogging Barriers To Entry
What Else To Consider…
- Nice Camera
- Distinct and Plentiful Clothing Collection
- Someone to Take Photos on the Regular
- Hard work ethic
Although camera phones have gotten much better, it’s still pretty easy to tell professional looking photographs from those snapped on your handheld. Consider buying a semi-professional camera to start out and people will take you more seriously from the get go.
Distinct and Plentiful Clothing Collection
You’re going to need lots of clothes to photograph if you plan on posting regularly. If your closet is already stocked you should be good for a while, but remember that people want the latest fashions so you’ll need to constantly be on top of your game.
Someone to Take Photos on the Regular
Asking people to take photos of you is no fun after the first couple times. Not just for you, but for them too. Make sure you have someone who’s willing to be in it with you for the long haul or you might find yourself unable to post new outfits regularly.
Hard work ethic
There’s nothing easy about fashion blogging for money. Just like any business, the most successful people are the ones who are consistent, innovative, unique and most importantly put in the long, behind-the-scenes, hours. If you’re willing to do that then you might just stand a chance at making the big bucks…or at least getting your new outfits funded for free.