Fashion

Dear CeCe: How do I Start a Successful Blog?

October 13 2014 | CeCe Olisa

Dear CeCe!

I love your blog! I really want to start my own blog, but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any advice for starting successful blog? How to get noticed? How to get people to my site? HELP!

-SD

Hi SD!

I’m flattered that you’d ask me for advice on blogging. In the grand scheme of things, I definitely consider myself a baby blogger, but I have learned a lot the past few years. I am passionate about blogging, I love it and it has become a huge part of my life which is something I didn’t expect.

I’m going to answer some of the questions I get asked most often about blogging here and hopefully this will help you out 🙂

How to Start a Successful Blog

How do I start a blog?

When I started my blog I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. I just kind of started making posts as an online diary for myself so there was no pressure, when people actually started reading and commenting… I was shocked! So… I say just start 🙂 That’s the only way to get going, go ahead and get that first post written. I know its scary, but there’s no way around it. Things to do before your first post:

  • ask yourself what you want to talk about and who you want to talk to
  • choose a blog name that’s easy to spell/remember
  • decide how often you want to post (I’d say a minimum of once per week)
  • open your blog for free on blogspot or wordpress (I recommend wordpress)

side note: I don’t use CeCeOlisa.com, but I own it because I would hate for someone else to start a site using my name for something random, or worse charge me a ton of money to buy ceceolisa.com from them (it happens!). No matter what your blog is called, you may want to also purchase yourname.com. I purchased my domain name for a few dollars here.

How do I get people to read my blog?

I am grateful everyday for my Plus Size Princesses who hang with me on this site and share my posts. The interesting thing about the internet is that its hard to say how people find different blogs. The one thing I know is that having posts/content is key. My experience is that blogging from the heart is the best way to go. Blog about what you have a passion for, blog about what you love, then people who are passionate about those things can find you.

How do you balance your blog and your full time job?

Between my job, my blog, #PSPfit, my family, friends and Robert… I’m stretched pretty thin. But I love everything I’m doing right now so I make it work. They key to juggling everything for me is scheduling and making lists. I have lists of blog post ideas and things I want to talk to you girls about. I have lists of outfit items I need to track down. Sometimes when I know I’m busy, I’ll write blog posts and auto schedule them to live while I’m at the gym. I make a blog calendar from my list of topics I want to discuss so I know what to work on. I also have days that are off limits, so that I can keep my personal life in tact. Most importantly, I know my limits… I like to put up a new post three times a week, but sometimes that can’t happen and I have to just keep it moving. I know I can’t do everything all the time and I’m 100% okay with that.

How do I get my blog out there/recognized?

Earlier this year, I woke up and one of my blog posts was going viral. It was the craziest thing, but it happened because a few key people and websites picked it up on social media and shared it. So for me social media has been instrumental in getting my work “out there”. When it comes to social media, there are soooo many options. You don’t have to be on all platforms all the time, but just choose the ones that work for you. I’m on twitter, facebook, pinterest and YouTube and that’s more than enough to keep track of (*ahem* you’re following me, right?) Anyway, choose the social media platforms you like and then use them to share your blog posts and links!

Side Note: For tips on how to make the internet work for your blog traffic and following, AwesomelyTechie has everything you need to know and more. I learn from her site every day.

How do I work with brands?

Working with brands is one of the perks of being a blogger. I mostly talk about brands and products that I buy, but every so often I agree to collaborate with a company. I’m typing this post on a light weight Intel 2 in 1 laptop/tablet as we speak (p.s. I’m getting one of these for my parents as an early Christmas gift, they need a new laptop and this one is in the budget). If I wasn’t a blogger I wouldn’t be testing out this awesome computer. So, how does someone start to develop relationships with brands? The more you blog the more brands will reach out to you, but here are a few ways to introduce yourself to a brand:

  • Tweet a brand if you mention them on your blog
  • Make sure your email address is on your site, so brands can contact you
  • Join networks that broker brand/blogger partnerships. I recommend Izea and if you’re interested in collaborating with Intel you can join the intel advocate experience below

How do I work with brands? (part two)

No one asked me this, but I want to keep it 100 with you guys– I know it seems cool to have a brand reach out to you and ask you to blog about their product, but always remember that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. It took me a long time to get comfortable saying no to brands who wanted me to do things I wasn’t comfortable with. At the end of the day its your name and face out there, so be true to yourself. Also, if a brand calls you on the phone and you make an agreement, be sure to recap the agreement in writing via email and ask them to confirm. Two of my rules for working with brands

  • No negative reviews I only write about things I like and I think you girls will like. I also don’t put brands on blast for bad products. That means I’ve had to have a few “but… it doesn’t work” conversations with brands, it was awkward but it kept my integrity in tact
  • No irrelevant collaborations After I started doing #PSPfit, a weight loss pill offered me $$$ to collaborate. It would have been nice to pay a bill or two, but I’m not about that diet pill life, so I told them NOPE

How did you start writing for Refinery29?

I guess you could say “Home Training” got me writing for Refinery29 lol. Manners and being polite is something that my parents instilled into us and even though the internet can feel impersonal sometimes, I still always say thank you, when I can. Earlier this year, Refinery29 mentioned my viral Yoga post on their site, I did some research on how to contact the person who wrote the article about me, then I sent them a thank you note and a few emails later they had offered me a weekly contributor spot on the site. The R29 crew is an amazing group and I learn a lot from them… so I’m happy to be there!

Okay, so those are the questions I get most often, but here a few other thoughts on being a successful blogger:

  • Decide what success means to you. My blog is diary of my life as a Plus Size Princess and that makes me happy. What do you want out of your blog… a place to be creative? a large following? fame? money? There’s no wrong answer, but deciding what’s important to you will help you stay true to yourself
  • Stay in your lane– or create a new one! I started blogging anonymously and I still laugh thinking about how I did fashion posts without putting pictures of myself on my site (who does that???). There are no rules when it comes to blogging, so don’t feel like you have to be like (insert famous blogger here), do it your way!
  • Don’t break the bank! Yes, good equipment makes blogging easier, but take it slow and don’t spend all your money before you even have a post up! My first outfit pictures were taken on my cell phone camera, it was only this year that I upgraded to this Canon DSLR and I got it used! I’m all about blogging on a budget
  • Give yourself time someone once told me that it takes about 5 years for a blog to really “blow up”… I dont know if that’s a fact, but oddly enough, I went viral around my 5 year anniversary

I hope this post was helpful, but if you have additional questions leave them in the comments and I’ll respond there so we all can read them and learn together!

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between my site and Intel This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access, etc.

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28 responses on “Dear CeCe: How do I Start a Successful Blog?

  1. Tiffine Love Screenwriter

    I don’t really want to do blogs, I’d prefer vlogs. All my favorite youtube channels they have a blog. Do you think one can do vlogs and still have success that way???
    Thanks.

    1. CeCe Olisa

      TOTALLY! There are so many YouTubers out there, but even if you just have a blog/site to embed your videos and let people contact you, I think that’s helpful

      1. Tiffine Love Screenwriter

        Thanks. I’m still thinking. I originally wanted to do both, but decided to focus on vlogs. I’ll just have to give it more though, see how I’m feeling about things.
        Thanks again

  2. redwritermovie@yahoo.com

    I don’t really want to do blogs, I’d prefer vlogs. All my favorite youtube channels they have a blog. Do you think one can do vlogs and still have success that way???Thanks.

    1. nycece@gmail.com

      TOTALLY! There are so many YouTubers out there, but even if you just have a blog/site to embed your videos and let people contact you, I think that’s helpful

      1. redwritermovie@yahoo.com

        Thanks. I’m still thinking. I originally wanted to do both, but decided to focus on vlogs. I’ll just have to give it more though, see how I’m feeling about things.Thanks again

  3. Clever Girl Reviews

    CeCe,

    I’ve been a fan ever since I saw you posting on r29. I was glad to see a PSP out there and owing it. I totally hear you on saying no. I’ve had some pretty trashy clothing companies contact me and ask me to do editorial pieces. I also am struggling with $$$ to put to my blog, I need an upgrade to my camera and a space where I can take well lit photos no matter what time of day it is. Editing software and a new blog theme are on my list too. Because I don’t have Adsense I’ve been struggling to even make the site pay for itself so I’ll consider trying out your suggestion for a partner. Keep on doing what your doing! It’s making a positive impact!

      1. Clever Girl Reviews

        I applied for adsense two weeks after I started my blog. I got accepted but two weeks later they took it away. The only thing I can think of as a military spouse I had an APO in the US but my IP was German. They didn’t tell me why. I reapplied when we got back to the US 3 months later and they denied me with in under 30 minutes. I’m not sure what to do.

  4. erin@clevergirlreviews.com

    CeCe,

    I’ve been a fan ever since I saw you posting on r29. I was glad to see a PSP out there and owing it. I totally hear you on saying no. I’ve had some pretty trashy clothing companies contact me and ask me to do editorial pieces. I also am struggling with $$$ to put to my blog, I need an upgrade to my camera and a space where I can take well lit photos no matter what time of day it is. Editing software and a new blog theme are on my list too. Because I don’t have Adsense I’ve been struggling to even make the site pay for itself so I’ll consider trying out your suggestion for a partner. Keep on doing what your doing! It’s making a positive impact!

      1. erin@clevergirlreviews.com

        I applied for adsense two weeks after I started my blog. I got accepted but two weeks later they took it away. The only thing I can think of as a military spouse I had an APO in the US but my IP was German. They didn’t tell me why. I reapplied when we got back to the US 3 months later and they denied me with in under 30 minutes. I’m not sure what to do.

  5. jkahdjak@yahoo.com

    Havana Rae by Medium & Message: http://crtv.mk/pvWS this theme is great for your blogs about fashion. It has some features where you can connect your blog to social media’s and so. Visit the link now for exciting features the theme has to offer.

  6. Limmie

    Havana Rae by Medium & Message: http://crtv.mk/pvWS this theme is great for your blogs about fashion. It has some features where you can connect your blog to social media’s and so. Visit the link now for exciting features the theme has to offer.

  7. kbesser@yahoo.com

    Do you work with professional, hobbyist photographers or friends for your more “professional-looking” photos?

  8. ✨Marteekah✨

    Thank you so much for this post. A few years back I started looking for online fashion bloggers that were out of the box from what used to be the traditional plus size clothing. (Can anyone say, elastic waist baggy jeans) When I found you and the other top bloggers I was so happy because finally someone understood that Plus Size can be fashionable. I’m so happy you were able to persevere and are now a model on fashion runways!!! 💗💗💗 I just started vlogging , something my friends have been begging me to do for years and it is hard. It took me days to edit my first video and when I saw how far behind I was, in terms of quality and aesthetics I wanted to quit. But as you did. I just started….and if nothing comes of it, at least I started something I’ve always wanted to do. So far I’ve got 144 followers and I’m so grateful. Your blog series could not have come at a better time. Thank you for paving the way for all of us. Best of luck in ALL of your future endeavors.

    Best,
    Marteekah

  9. muvmarteekah@gmail.com

    Thank you so much for this post. A few years back I started looking for online fashion bloggers that were out of the box from what used to be the traditional plus size clothing. (Can anyone say, elastic waist baggy jeans) When I found you and the other top bloggers I was so happy because finally someone understood that Plus Size can be fashionable. I’m so happy you were able to persevere and are now a model on fashion runways!!! 💗💗💗 I just started vlogging , something my friends have been begging me to do for years and it is hard. It took me days to edit my first video and when I saw how far behind I was, in terms of quality and aesthetics I wanted to quit. But as you did. I just started….and if nothing comes of it, at least I started something I’ve always wanted to do. So far I’ve got 144 followers and I’m so grateful. Your blog series could not have come at a better time. Thank you for paving the way for all of us. Best of luck in ALL of your future endeavors.
    Best,
    Marteekah

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