I’ve noticed some growth in my blog since I’ve started working full time, which is maybe a bit ironic, because you’d expect things to go in the other direction. Apart from putting out (I think) better and also most focused and organised content, I’ve kind of realised that one thing that has actually started helping me quite a bit in this journey, is no longer being student-finance-reliant. I recently read this post by Chloe Plumstead, which resonated quite a bit with me, because in some ways – it is very true that having some more disposable income will help to boost your success in this industry. You can afford better tools (like a good camera) to help with your content, if you’re a fashion blogger you can afford more clothes (to feature) and also a photographer to produce better quality and more varied content (which has been the case for me and are two factors I think have helped my blog perform better these past few months), and if you’re a beauty blogger you can afford to buy more items to review! Blogging when you’re a broke student (i.e. my whole life until 6 months ago), is actually not the easiest, and if you don’t do the right things (which I didn’t), it can become near impossible to see any growth in your blog. But I’ve been able to look back in hindsight, and have a few tips that I think can help you grow your blog even as a broke-ass student…
The high quality camera
What I did: I started out blogging on a crappy webcam camera. Yes, a webcam that I attached to my then desktop computer (does anyone even use USB webcams anymore, or they just come with laptops?). I would use my hand to click on the webcam for a photo, then try and cut it out of the photo so that no one could tell what I was doing. Eventually I graduated onto a 2 megapixel Blackberry camera (which was probably worse), to a slightly better Samsung camera, to your basic digital (maybe £15-20), to a Fujifilm bridge camera (c. £50). It was just months, and months, and even years, of crappy quality grainy photos. In a world now where people are using Olympus Pens to take photos which are crisp as can be – no wonder nobody cared about my blog. It wasn’t until my third year where I used some Christmas money and also some of my own internship money to invest in a DSLR which I now own (it was only in my third year of university that I truly started to take blogging very seriously).
What can be done: I think for high quality photos there are a few options. One option is to use a phone camera with a good quality and become an OG at editing. I personally have not been able to figure out how to turn phone camera photos into really HQ photos, but Holly has and has put up a great tutorial on how to do so here. Otherwise, one thing you can do is save. It can be tough when you’re a student without much money anyways to put some aside and eventually part with a ton of it at one time for an investment such as a HQ camera – but I believe it’s worth it in the long run. Lastly, you can use special events to request a HQ camera and a good lens, for example you can ask your parents for one as a birthday present. You can even get some of your family members to put their money together if need be to get you these tools that you desire.
The monthly shops
These days, it seems like every fashion blogger has an endless supply of new clothes, and most fashion bloggers on the street own some type of designer bag. Be it a Gucci, or the classic (and beautiful) Givenchy Antigona, it’s not out of the ordinary to see bloggers donning hundreds, if not thousands, in $$ on their shoulders.
What I did: As a student, I just didn’t have the money to constantly be buying new clothes and new bags to put into outfit posts on my blog. So I’d either just go some time without any fashion content, or remix my outfits to the max. A lot of the outfits I posted on this blog I had worn in some other sort of form in a previous post. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with re-wearing for blog posts (I actually plan to do this next weekend in my next shoot), I didn’t re-use and refresh in interesting ways.
What can be done: If you’re going to re-post an outfit with, for example, the same top – then make it more interesting. Perhaps you can tie the top, or style it with totally different accessories – just switch it up to keep things interesting. Also, put some money away to spend on more decently priced stores. You can most definitely get some items from Primark or H&M (for example) and dress them up in such a way that they still look totally banging and glamorous, despite the lower price tag.
Your own photographer
What can be done: I used to take photos in my room, behind my door, for a long, long time. It took a while for me to step out of my comfort zone and decide I was going to take photos outside with a more interesting backdrop, and I turned immediately to my friends (and on the rare occasion my boyfriend) to help me out. I first called on my photographer friend Ope to help take these photos of me, then eventually me and my friend Andre formed a partnership where we’d take photos of eachother for our respective blogs every Friday after university. It’s definitely useful to utilise what and who you have around you – I know some bloggers that take the most amazing, high quality photos and it’s all down to their other half on the other side of the lens. At the same time – strive for perfection. If I’d ever take some not-great photos with a friend, I would still publish them on my blog ‘just to have some content’, which just doesn’t make sense. Quality > quantity, every time. Since I’ve started working, I’ve hired a photographer and it has been one of the best decisions for my blog (you know I always bang on about investing in yourself). But this was simply not possible when I was a student.
Your student discount
Unidays should be your best friend. So many popular websites such as ASOS, PLT, Missguided and more offer this discount. It can only be up to 10% sometimes, but of course every little helps. Otherwise – look out for sales, look out for deals, and use these as a time to stock up on some investments for the future.
Let me know your thoughts on this topic. How much do you think being a poor student can affect your blog – if even at all?