We are often asked what being a fashion blogger is all about and how we make money. While we can’t speak for the likes of hyper-successful The Blonde Salad, Man Repeller or Zoella, we can say that the reality of being a full time blogger is some way from the glossy, polished image we (try to) portray. While the perception of wearing nice clothes, posing for photos, drinking gallons of coffee and getting loads of freebies may not be wholly inaccurate, this is a heavily redacted version of our day-to-day existence.
Instagram Stories allows us to show a little more of our real lives but we’re still editing out the chilblains from a sub-zero shoot in a little dress, the tearful website “fatal error” moments in the middle of the night, the hours in the Post Office queue behind the chap trying to send free samples to customers in 27 countries and the agonising mornings working on the perfect flat lay. We don’t mean to sound downbeat about this – quite the contrary, we genuinely do think we have created the best job in the world for ourselves. We get to work together everyday, be creative, meet extraordinary people and, best of all, be our own bosses. Plus get a great new Facebook profile pic. However, we can assure you, the other side of the job is wholly unglamorous.
The Role Of A Fashion Blogger
My role, and I can only assume that of others in the same field, includes: stylist, author, editor, sometime-photographer, filter applier, content curator, technology wizard, SEO geek, plugin encyclopaedia, graphic designer, newspaper publisher, marketer, retailer, business developer, collaborator, researcher, networker, social media guru, growth hacker, delivery & returns master, book keeper and fake tanner extraordinaire. A fashion blogger develops an astounding ability to run up the most enormous credit card bills and shrink them again before the payment becomes due. We know our local DHL, UPS, DPD and Royal Mail delivery peeps on a first name basis and logistics is as critical as oxygen. The most staggering realisation, stupidly it now seems given the job title “Digital Influencer”, is how inextricably linked our lives are to technology. The reliance on computer and phone is so complete that any kind of digital detox is impossible. We dream of holidaying off-grid. Maybe Snowdonia. Outer Mongolia holds a certain allure. As does the moon.
Who Is Number One?
All of this operates under the sinister shadow of the Grim Google Reaper, who requires you to forever churn out fresh, engaging, regular content or else be banished to a bulging cemetery of irrelevant websites. Posting content is only half of it; if your image file names, meta descriptions and alt tags aren’t carefully considered, you are irrelevant. If your images are too big, that’s not good. Nor if they’re too small. And make sure you get the format right, for goodness sake. As for the post, you absolutely must find a keyword that is neither too popular nor unpopular, and it must feature in the slug, SEO title, meta description as well as throughout your post to even be in with the smallest chance of featuring on the first 37 pages of Google.
The chances are, if you find a tool that works for you, like a pop up asking people to sign up to your newsletter (fine, it is slightly annoying but it works), Google will inevitably soon decide to penalise you because they deem it harassment. It is an ever evolving technology race, to try and find successful ways to grow your traffic before everyone else catches on and search engines decide to wield their scythes. Google’s spidery little robots may even crawl all over this and report back that to their master that HøFSisters is a threat needing to be terminated. Or maybe I’m growing paranoid (shhhh, Google’s always listening).
In summary, a blogger needs traffic to make money and this comes through having an intimate relationship with the innermost workings of a search engine. As with most relationships it takes hard work, consistency and lots of energy, resulting in moments of euphoric, blissful love with intermittent deep pits of despair. A lack of understanding or bad communication leads to being ignored, or even worse, kicked out.
Making Money Out Of Blogging
There are three main revenue streams when it comes to blogging: affiliate commission on sales, advertising and sponsored posts. All three only really work when you have a sizeable following (maybe 10k+ on Instagram). Until that point, maybe 3 years in, we keep lean and mean. Costs down and do everything ourselves.
Some of the shoppable links on this site will pay us a small commission on any items bought. For example, if you liked the recent statement sleeve poplin shirt from M&S and clicked the link to take you through to the product page on the Marks & Spencer website, which you subsequently bought, we would take a small percentage. This ranges from around 5-8%, from which the affiliate platform then takes their fee. This is a small revenue stream at our current size but it does help to keep the business ticking over, so please, if you see something you like, do click through from our site rather than going directly. This doesn’t cost you anything and allows us to keep HøF’ing.
Advertising is something we are passionate about not introducing to HøFSisters. Editorial, unbiased content is the most important thing and flashing banners pushing product are detrimental to your experience. It would be foolish to promise that we can do this forever, but we’ll do our best and you can help by shopping from the links mentioned above… ?
Advertising ties into sponsored posts – where brands will pay us a small fee to feature a product in our post or Instagram feed – so advertorial, if you like. This has been one of our sources of revenue and where this is the case, you will see “THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH…” Two things to note. One, we only present brands to you which we genuinely believe will add value to your HøFSisters experience; we regularly turn down gifts and payments which we do not believe are aligned with our brand values. Two, despite payment, we will always give an honest assessment. To be a successful business we need your readership and trust, first and foremost.
The 4th Option: Selling Stuff
When we find something really special (The HøF Special), we will get a small amount of stock and offer it to you directly. These flash sales will be brief and on a small scale, and it is possible that you will not be able to shop these items anywhere else in the UK. Please take a leap of faith and buy something you like and we will personally make sure you have a great shopping experience.
How You Can Help Us
So long as our business model operates around generating free, engaging content we really do need your help. It may seem like we’re just wearing clothes for a living, but we are a small business with big ideas, starting with broadening the fashion landscape for tall women. The following are 3 easy ways to help us keep growing and improve the experience we can offer you:
- Recommend Us. Please ask your friends and family to sign up. Every follower makes a huge difference by increasing our traffic, giving us their feedback and referring us to their friends. Yes, we are tall sisters, but that is only part of who we are so please recommend us to anyone interested in fashion or discovering new under-the-radar brands, tall or otherwise.
- Follow us across all platforms: Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and HøFSisters newsletter (above right box),
- Talk to us. We don’t want to live in a bubble, putting lots of time and energy into content that nobody is interested in. Get in touch publicly, either in the comments section after each blog post, on our Facebook page or Instagram, or privately, by using our contact form, sending us an email, Instagram or Facebook message.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Big love from The HøFs xxx