50 Holiday Blog Post Ideas for Fashion and Lifestyle Bloggers

Tired of the same old holiday posts? Here are 50 holiday themed posts for your fashion and lifestyle blog. // Read the post for the full list.

Feeling overwhelmed planning your content schedule for the upcoming holiday season? Don't worry. I have you covered! Feel free to use any of the content ideas below on your own blog! Get creative and put your own spin on it for a unique piece perfect for the holidays. 


 

Thanksgiving

 


  1. Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas / Look book - Make a look book of your favorite looks that you are considering wearing this Thanksgiving. 
  2. Thanksgiving Outfit Choice - Do a photo shoot with the outfit that you decided to wear on Thanksgiving. 
  3. Thanksgiving Dinner Menu + Table Decor Ideas 
  4. How to Host a "Friends-giving" - Decor Ideas, Recipes, etc. 
  5. List 20 Things That You Are Thankful For 

 

Christmas

 


  1. Five Ways to Enjoy The Holidays When You're Single 
  2. Five Simple Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays 
  3. How to Entertain for the Holidays in a Small Apartment or Home
  4. Gift Wrapping Series - One post a week (for example) showing your favorite ways to wrap holiday gifts. 
  5. Your Favorite Cookie or Holiday Treat Recipe - Make sure to document the process of you making them + your favorite tools that you used. 
  6. Favorite Holiday Traditions - What holiday traditions do you and your loved ones celebrate? 
  7. Chat While Wrapping Presents or Cooking (Video) - Do a laid back chit chat video as your wrap presents or do any holiday cooking
  8. Decorate Your Tree - Do a photo shoot with your decorated Christmas tree. Make sure to include shots of your favorite ornaments that you have collected over the years, as well as good sources to purchase new ornaments! 
  9. Decorate Your Home / Apartment - Holiday decor home tour / sources to buy some of the decor items. 
  10. Christmas Eve Outfit Inspiration - Make a look book of your favorite looks that you are considering wearing this Christmas or holiday. 
  11. Christmas Eve/ Christmas Day  Outfit - Do a quick photo shoot wearing the outfit that you ended up choosing from the post mentioned above. 
  12. Holiday Decor 3 Ways Post - Do a mood board featuring three different styles of home decor and your favorite pieces from each niche. Ex. Traditional red and green, all white and silver, etc. 
  13. Holiday Gift Guides - A gift buying guide for the special people in your life. Ex. For Him, For Her, For Your Pet, For Your Artist Friend, etc. 
  14. Five Things That Get You in the Mood for the Holiday Season - Ex. Your favorite holiday songs, scented candles, etc. 
  15. Top 10 Favorite Holiday Movies - List your favorite holiday movies to watch. Get creative with the additional content that you can add to this post. For example, you could feature your favorite slippers and pajamas that you are currently loving or your favorite snacks. 
  16. Your Holiday Wishlist - What items are YOU asking for this year?
  17. What You Got For Christmas This Year (Possible Video Idea As Well) - After the holidays are over, make a video or a blog post talking about your favorite items that you received as gifts this year. 
  18. Five Places in Your City That Will Get You In the Mood for the Holidays - Appeal to your local followers and make a quick holiday guide to the city that you live in. 
  19. Quick and Easy Holiday Cocktail Ideas 
  20. Christmas Dinner Menu + Table Decor Ideas
  21. Gift Exchange With Your Significant Other / BFF (Video)
  22. Holiday Hauls (Video) - Do a video featuring all of the gifts that you are planning on giving your loved ones this holiday. 
  23. Holiday Decor Haul (Video) - Make a video showing your viewers all of the holiday decor items that you have gotten this season. 
  24. Stocking Stuffer Ideas + Giveaway - Collect a few of your favorite stocking stuffer items and give a stocking away to one of your readers! 
  25. Holiday Gift Card Giveaway - A fun way to give back to your readers with a gift card that they can use for their holiday shopping! This is also a great way to boost your followers and potential affiliate income during the holiday season. 
  26. Things to Buy Someone That You Recently Started Dating (Male and Female Version) - This is a fun spin on the average gift guide for him and her. 
  27. Five Places to Spend Christmas That Won't Break the Bank - A fun way to incorporate a travel vertical into your holiday content. 
  28. Ten New Traditions to Start - Tired of your old traditions? Make a list of fun new traditions for your readers to start. 
  29. Christmas Party Snack Recipes - Quick and easy holiday party recipes your readers can make. 
  30. White Elephant Party Gift Ideas - A fun spin on the traditional holiday gift guide. 

 

New Year's Eve

 


  1. Three Glamorous Places To Go In Your City on New Year's Eve - Appeal to your local following and make a quick NYE city guide for your readers. 
  2. New Year's Eve Party Guide - Create a comprehensive guide to throwing a glamorous NYE party. Include decor ideas, easy cocktails and snack items, and outfit options! 
  3. New Year's Eve Outfit Ideas / Look book - Make a look book of your favorite looks that you are considering wearing this New Year's Eve. 
  4. New Year's Eve Outfit Choice - Do a photo shoot with the outfit that you decided to wear on New Year's Eve. 
  5. New Year's Eve Get Ready With Me (Video) - Film a "chit chat get ready with me" video while you get dolled up for the New Year's Eve festivities. This is a quick and easy video to film that doesn't require a lot of planning and editing. 
  6. Hair and Makeup Ideas for Christmas and New Year's Eve
  7. Quick 3 Ingredient New Year's Eve Cocktails - No one wants to have to buy 4 million ingredients for one simple cocktail. Talk about some of your favorite easy recipes for your readers to serve.
  8. New Year's Resolutions - You can share your goals and resolutions for the upcoming year with your readers via blog post or video.
  9. New Year's Resolutions (With a Twist) - Instead of just sharing your resolutions for the upcoming year, discuss all of the things that you have learned from this past year. 
  10. New Year's Party Favor Ideas - Share some fun party favor ideas for your readers to hand out at their party. 

I hope that you enjoyed these holiday themed blog post ideas. I know that when I am planning my editorial calendar, the last thing that I want to do is spend half the day trying to think of fun ideas! No one has time for that. 

What are some of YOUR favorite holiday blog posts to write? 

XOXO

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5 Creative Ways to Use Pinterest Secret Boards for Your Business

5 Creative Ways to Use Pintererst Secret Boards // Pinterest boards aren't just for wedding planning and fattening recipes! Find out my favorite ways to get the most of the Secret Board feature! // Click the image to read the full post.

As a blogger, business owner, home cook, newly engaged person, avid DIY-er, Pinterest is wildly useful. But you already knew that. Pinterest has an array of features that make finding and saving inspirational ideas fun and easy.

My favorite tool that Pinterest offers however, is the ability to create a "Secret Board' that isn't visible to anyone viewing your account except for yourself. This feature allows you to aggregate inspirational content in the privacy of your own hidden boards! 

Don't want anyone to know that you have an unhealthy obsession with Disney memes? I completely understand. Create a secret board. 

While the use of secret boards may seem pretty straight forward, I wanted to share with you some of the creative ways that I use Pinterest secret boards in my own business. 


 

How to Make a Secret Board On Pinterest

 


Before I get into all of the useful ways that you can utilize Pinterest secret boards, I will quickly show you how to make one for yourself if you are not already familiar. 

5 Creative Ways to Use Pintererst Secret Boards // Pinterest boards aren't just for wedding planning and fattening recipes! Find out my favorite ways to get the most of the Secret Board feature! // Click the image to read the full post.

1. Navigate to your Pinterest Profile by clicking the icon in the top right hand corner of the screen. 

2. Click "Create Board".

3. Click the Button illustrated above to mark your Pinterest board as secret. 


 

1. Connect Your Business and Your Personal Account

 

 


When I decided to separate my personal Pinterest account from my blog account (I recommend that everyone should do this btw) it used to annoy me when I would see pins that I wanted to pin on my personal account when I was logged into my business account and vice versa. 

5 Creative Ways to Use Pintererst Secret Boards // Pinterest boards aren't just for wedding planning and fattening recipes! Find out my favorite ways to get the most of the Secret Board feature! // Click the image to read the full post.

To alleviate this problem, I created a secret board for my business and a secret board for my personal account and added both accounts as contributors (as pictured above). That way, no matter what account I am logged into, I can save pins into "The Personal Portal" and the "Blog Portal" and go back later on the correct account that I want to use and pin them.

Having two "Portal" boards makes it easier to later separate what pins go to which account instead of putting them all on one "Portal Board."


 

2. Schedule Your Pins

 

 


Even with the best scheduler, scheduling pins is a giant pain in the rear (in my humble opinion). I have found that it is a lot easier to schedule out pins for my blog when I have a place that I can save pins as I come across them. This makes me less overwhelmed than if I had just decided to sit down for 2 hours and go find a bunch of pins worth saving right then and there. 

5 Creative Ways to Use Pintererst Secret Boards // Pinterest boards aren't just for wedding planning and fattening recipes! Find out my favorite ways to get the most of the Secret Board feature! // Click the image to read the full post.

 

Again, if you have multiple websites, you can use the "portal technique" and create separate boards for each website's pins to schedule and then link all of the boards to your various accounts. Tedious up front, but MUCH easier in the long run. Trust me! 


 

3. Save Visual Inspiration

 

 


This suggestion may seem like a "well no shit Marie, duhh" moment, but create a secret board to save visual inspiration for your brand and content. For me, this has evolved from just saving cool pins that I see around Pinterest, to essentially creating a swipe file of website screenshots, email graphics, etc. of other brands that have inspired me. 
 

While I would never copy a brand directly, I frequently take the inspirational elements that I have gleaned from other bloggers and businesses and put my own creative spin on it! Get as specific as you would like with your secret boards. I have one for photography inspiration, website logo inspiration, email marketing graphic inspiration, etc. This keeps my inspiration organized and easy to find when I need it!


 

4. Create a Project List / Shopping List

 

 


For your next project or big photo shoot, create a secret Pinterest board to house all of the inspirational images, items on your shopping list, etc. This is such an easy way to keep your shopping list and inspiration organized and in one easy to locate place! When you are finished with the project, simply delete the board. Boom. 


 

5. Track Your RewardStyle Purchases

 

 


This is probably one of my favorite ways to use Pinterest secret boards. If you are a life and style blogger chances are you have heard of, or are a part of, rewardStyle. RewardStyle is an affiliate company that offers commission to bloggers like yourself for product sales that result through your blog or social media accounts. 

5 Creative Ways to Use Pintererst Secret Boards // Pinterest boards aren't just for wedding planning and fattening recipes! Find out my favorite ways to get the most of the Secret Board feature! // Click the image to read the full post.

 

A good way to increase your affiliate sales with rewardStyle is to track and promote any products that have since gone on sale since you originally mentioned them on your blog or social media platforms.

Related Post : 10 Ways to Boost Your RewardStyle Sales

Save each product that you feature onto a designated secret Pinterest board. Schedule a time every few days to check on the products that you have pinned to this board to see if they have gone on sale or not! If they have, make sure to mention them to your audience via Instagram, Twitter, etc. 


I hope that you have learned some creative new ways to get the most out of your Pinterest boards. I am still coming up with fresh new ways to organize my content, and look forward to sharing more of my ideas as they come to me! 

Let me know in the comments if you have any unique ways that you use your Pinterest secret boards! I would love to learn something new :) 

XOXO.

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Build Your Blog's Local Presence

Creative ways to build your blog's local presence. Connect with local brands, network with other bloggers, and expand your reach as a lifestyle blogger. // Click the image to read the full post.

When I first began blogging, I mistakenly underestimated the power of having a local blog presence. Not only does it provide a great foundation to use for future networking and brand collaborations, it is an almost endless source of unique content! 

IT'S NOT BLACK AND WHITE

I used to think that when it came to creating local content, I had to either identify as a local blogger, or as a bigger, wider scale blogger. I seriously want to be like ummm hello Marie? Hi. Yeah, so you can do multiple things at one time...

Whatever. Hindsight is 20/20. 

This lapse in judgement has gotten me thinking. What are some of the benefits to building a local presence, and how does one go about doing that?


 

The Benefits of Building a Local Presence

 


Building Your Portfolio

When you are first starting to build your audience as a blogger, it can be tricky finding brands that want to work with you because you have less experience doing so. 

Securing a brand collaboration is kind of like trying to build your credit. You can't build your credit without a credit card, but you can't get a credit card without credit.

Fantastic. Makes perfect sense. *eye roll*

Working with local brands is a great way to grow your portfolio of sponsored work that you can later use to secure a larger company. Because local businesses are typically not as large as some of the giant brands that you eventually want to work with, they are more likely to work with a smaller blogger that has little to no experience.

Brands Want An Engaged Audience

When brands collaborate with a blogger, they want that blogger to have a targeted, engaged audience. A wide domestic and international readership, as well as an engaged LOCAL presence, will dramatically increase your blog's value to the brand. (AKA more money for you). 

Local Content Is Unique Content

While a chunk of your readers will have zero interest in reading about your local posts,

Uhh I live in New York, I don't understand your weird obsession with Tex Mex...

another chunk of your audience will love it! Creating local content will automatically separate you from other life + style bloggers that are just exclusively posting Nordstrom outfits and Shopbob sale roundups all the time. You want your blog to be a reflection of you, so creating unique content about your city and physical surroundings will help to portray that!


 

Start Networking 

 


It's time to get your hustle game on. Make a list of local bloggers and brands that you want to connect with, and start re-posting their content and interacting with them on social media. Don't be a weird stalker about it, but when you are sharing the love and spreading their content, they will be much more likely to want to start building a relationship with you. 

Building relationships with more established local bloggers will allow you to potentially leverage THEIR following and readership. 

Most bloggers are on the prowl for other saavy minded business owners like yourself that they could potentially collaborate with. Think of all of the fun, unique content that you can create together that you wouldn't have been able to make had you been living in a different city. 


 

Reach Out To Local Brands

 


Beginning to build connections with local brands in addition to local bloggers is extremely important. Make a list of potential blog posts and another list of brands that you might easily incorporate into that content. Start reaching out to the companies that you are interested in working with and pitch your ideas. 

Another simple way to start getting companies to notice you is by tagging the brand in a photo when you post something that they are featured in. For example, let's say that you post a photo of you drinking a cocktail at a new restaurant downtown. Tag the restaurant in the caption and in the photo and talk about why you love that restaurant. More often than not, the restaurant or company will respond back to your comment and/or follow you! 


 

Create Your Own Guide 

 


A fun way to connect with your local audience is to create a city guide featuring your favorite hangouts, restaurants, things to do, etc. I am currently working on one for my own blog, and I have had a TON of fun making it. Not only is this content beneficial to your readers, it is a good way to feature multiple local businesses at one time.

Make sure to tag all of the companies mentioned on social media when you are promoting the guide! You want to make sure that they see the post and potentially promote it themselves. 

Consider creating a separate page on your blog to accommodate your different city guides like Mackenzie Horan from Design Darling did! This contains all of your relevant posts, pictures, and commentary in one easy place for your readers to navigate to. 

Creative ways to build your blog's local presence. Connect with local brands, network with other bloggers, and expand your reach as a lifestyle blogger. // Click the image to read the full post.

The sky truly is the limit here, so get creative with the content that you feature in your guide! I have compiled a list of some fun local related posts below to get you started!

Best Tacos in Your City

10 Under $10 (Either ten things to do or ten yummy things to eat or drink)

Favorite Boutiques to Shop In

Best Spots to Take Pictures In (great for fellow bloggers)

Fun Places to Hike

Free Things to Do In Your City

10 Things No One Will Tell You About _____

Sh** People In ____ Say

Best Bars in Your City

5 Fun Places to Take Your Dog

10 of the Best Geo-Caching Spots In _____

5 of My Favorite Places to Buy Art In _____

3 Touristy Things You Have to Do While In _______

My Love Letter to ______

10 Reasons to Move to ______

I hope that you found these ways to build your blog's local presence helpful! Let me know in the comments if you have found other creative ways to build your local readership. 

XOXO

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17 Essential Ingredients To An Expensive Looking Blog

Learn how to design and create a professional looking fashion blog with no coding experience needed! // Click the image to read the full post.

When it comes to creating a consistent personal brand, it is absolutely essential that your website is a professional extension of that. As the blogging industry (more specifically the fashion blogging industry) becomes more and more saturated, the level of competition will continue to rise along with it. How are you and your website going to stand out?

The Answer: You're going to do everything better than your competition. 

Well duh Marie, isn't that the whole point of competition? To do it better? 

Yes smart a** it is.

Just kidding, I love you. But not everyone knows HOW to do it better. There are more big name fashion bloggers out there with amateur looking websites than one would think.

While I'm sure all of us would love to hire a custom web developer to build us a beautiful, professional looking, custom blog from scratch, we don't all have the luxury of spending thousands of dollars on a website right now.

Before we dive into the 17 specific ways to make your blog look expensive, I want to cover a few general concepts that will also help you in your quest for a beautiful blog:

  • Keep It Clean and Simple - When it comes to designing an expensive looking website, less is more.
  • Make Sure All Elements Serve a Specific Purpose - Do not add any features or design elements on your website that don't serve a definitive purpose. Clutter = wasted space, and a cheap looking website.
  • Stop Copying Other People - It is fine to take inspiration from other beautiful websites that you admire, but it is extremely important to stand out with your own unique layout, design, and branding! For example, I remember the trend a few years ago was to name your blog Blank and Blank. Such as (I'm spit balling here) Glitter and Cupcakes or Cashmere and Couture. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just doesn't stand out like a really unique blog name might. The Bottom Line: Stay as unique and true to your own style as possible. 

1 . A Clean Sidebar

I see so many bloggers making the mistake of having a cluttered sidebar. Not only are you wasting precious real estate on useless junk when it could be making you money, it's just down right fugly and anxiety inducing.

Make one or two goals (max) that you want your sidebar to achieve. Are you seeking to make additional income with commission based ad banners (ex. rewardStyle ads)? Are you wanting to increase your Pinterest following? Are you trying to build your email list? Select a couple of goals and stick to them!

Make sure that every element in your sidebar directly contributes to achieving the goals that you have set. Note - that isn't to say that you can literally only have one to two things in your sidebar. Just make sure that the elements that you choose are aligned with your goals.

THE GOOD

These are examples of some simple, clean looking elements that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but serve an actual purpose for your business:

Emily from Life With Emily, does a beautiful job with her sidebar elements. Each feature is framed with a simple white box, including the few advertisements that she does choose to display. This creates a polished look and has a nice effect on the overall aesthetics of her site.

Her category images feature the same transparent title box that can be seen on her "About Me" image above. Tying in design elements used in other parts of your website will create a cohesive look.

...AND THE BAD

In addition to being strategic about the elements that you DO place in your sidebar, I have compiled a list of elements that should NOT have a place in your sidebar:

Learn how to design and create a professional looking fashion blog with no coding experience needed! // Click the image to read the full post.

Note - While, the Facebook Like Box Widget is probably the least awful out of these four, I still wouldn't recommend featuring one anymore. Yes it's still good to have likes on your Facebook page, but what are you actually going to do with all of those likes? It would be much more practical to use that space to promote your Facebook GROUP for example. 

While the elements mentioned above are just examples, they should give you a better idea of the look that you should try and avoid.

2. Branded Post Cover Images and Collages

When I first started my blog, I made the mistake of not creating a blog post cover "template." Instead of focusing on creating my brand's signature look, I focused on what looked good from blog post to blog post. Had I initially taken the time to set these design rules up front, I could have been building my brand's exposure and brand recognition the entire time. 

Some things to consider when designing your blog post cover look: 

  • Keeping a consistent font and/or font size throughout all covers
  • Text placement - Ex. directly over the image, in an opaque box on top of the image, in a transparent box over the image, etc.
  • How to Make It Unique - Play around with image placement, how you incorporate your branding and logo, etc.

Using consistent brand imagery not only builds brand recognition on social media platforms such as Pinterest, it makes a clean, professional, and (expensive looking) impression on your actual website visitors. 

Here are some of my favorite blog post covers and branded collage examples:

 

3. Creative Use of Images

If computer coding isn't your strong suit, hyperlinked images just became your new best friends. 

Essentially what I'm talking about is turning images into clickable links that will take you to another page of your website or an external URL. This makes creating custom looking buttons and interactive elements on your site much easier than coding them in manually.

DISCLAIMER: If you know someone that can actually code and is willing to make you custom buttons, graphic elements, etc. then do it. This is a bootleg way of obtaining a similar look in the event that you don't have the actual skills to do it the professional (correct) way. 

SO WHAT EXACTLY AM I REFERRING TO?

Take a look at my blog sidebar. Do you see the category and archive buttons under the photo of me at the top? Those are examples of the buttons that can make your website look more professional. While mine are actually coded in the right way (thank you Squarespace), you can easily create the same look by making an actual image and hyperlinking it to the page that you want the button to take the user to. I demonstrated a few of the many ways that you can use image hyperlinking to your advantage in the examples below:

Note: All of the darker boxes are hyperlinked image "buttons" that a user can click on to take them to another page of your site.

Useful Tip - If you aren't a member of rewardStyle or ShopStyle yet, you can mimic the look of their shoppable widgets by featuring a single product image in your sidebar with a short description and a custom button underneath that takes you to that website or another page on your own site.

 

HOW DO I MAKE BUTTONS AND GRAPHICS?

I use Adobe Illustrator to make all of my blog and website graphics. Ya'll I'm not kidding when I say that I avoided using this program for years. You better believe that I am kicking myself now for not biting the bullet and learning how to use this AMAZING tool. The learning curve wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and I am SO happy with the results that I am getting from this program. I used to use other programs to make my custom buttons, but because Adobe Illustrator works in vector mode, the results are much crisper and more professional looking!

Note: Let me know in the comments below if you would be interested in a Adobe Illustrator walk-through and tutorial of the main features that I use daily for my own website. 

 

I MADE THE BUTTONS - SO NOW WHAT?

Now that you have your image ready, it's time to link it to the page or website you are wanting to connect it to. Copy and paste this simple code below and replace the parts in CAPS with your image URL (found by going to your platform's media library and clicking the image) and destination URL.

<a href="DESTINATION URL GOES HERE"><img src="IMAGE URL GOES HERE" </a>

4. Wisely Chosen Fonts

Choosing a cheap looking font is like wearing flare jeans with mom sneakers. Just - don't. When in doubt, keep it clean, sans-serif, and simple! Once you have picked your font for the main body of your website, choose two more fonts to use for your website graphics. I usually go for a sleek, modern, sans- serif and a contrasting serif or handwriting font. These contrasting fonts pair nicely together and provide a sense of visual balance.

K. And you're done.

Only three fonts now exist in your world. Please don't be tempted to just throw random ones in willy-nilly because you think you're suddenly a graphic design goddess or something. ;)

Keeping it to three fonts will do WONDERS for the overall aesthetic of your website, pinky swear.

5. A Standard Photo Width

You may be starting to notice a trend here. Make a decision and stick to it darn it! My NUMBER ONE blogging pet peeve is when bloggers have images that are all different widths. Choose a standard image width that works for your theme and stick to it! Call me judgmental, but when I see bloggers with a hodge podge of different sized photos, I definitely knock them down a few rungs in my mental blogger ranking that I have going. Not even kidding.

The frustrating thing about this design rule is that it limits your selection of photos that you can use on your website. Example - let's say that you're doing an interior design post about grey sofas. You head on over to Pinterest for some inspiring images to include in your post and quickly find a favorite. However, when you get to your blog you quickly realize that the image is too small to be blown up into a crisp image that will fit your standard image width/size.

Find. A. New. Picture.

Yes it's annoying.

Yes you really love the image and you don't even recall asking your readers' opinions on your blog imagery in the first place... #M.Y.O.B

Just find a new one.

DO IT FOR THE BLOG YO. It's worth the extra work I promise!

6. A Comprehensive Theme

For all my WordPress ladies out there, this is for you! Stop screwing around with underwhelming WordPress themes because you don't want to spend the extra $50-$100 on a non-crappy theme. I saw you spend that much on lattes last month so don't even...

Below is a list of some of my favorite themes that are catered to fashion and lifestyle bloggers:

Helen $29.00 - Features a custom slider and tons of home layout options

Valentina $29.00 - Slider feature has several design options 

BlueChic Themes - $80.00 - I have used one of their themes before and really liked it! However, I will say that I was not too crazy about the mobile version of the website.

Etsy - They have a TON of really neat WordPress themes at all price points. Definitely worth checking out. 

7. Your Own Domain

Nothing says I have a cheap website (and I don't take my business seriously) faster than a blahblahblah2731.blogspot.com website. It is absolutely necessary to own your own domain. Not only does it look 100x more professional, Bluehost (my favorite web hosting platform) has tons of bonus features that make the switch more than worth it. 

At only $4.95 p/month Blue Host is my absolute go to for simple, reliable web hosting with amazing customer service to boot. They also have a really handy analytics system built right in that is useful for tracking your blog's web traffic, bounce rate, and more!

8. Attention to Detail 

Adding simple visual effects such as a professional looking post signature, a mouse over effect on your buttons that you have created (see #3), and a custom pin it hover button will add to the expensive effect that we are trying to create. 

CREATING A POST SIGNATURE

Creating your own blog post signature is extremely easy to do using Adobe Illustrator or a free program such as Canva

Simply create a new document in the size that you would like your signature to be. Select the font that you would like to use (I use a hand writing font that looks similar to my own) and type your name. Save the image as a jpeg or png, and you are good to go! Now all you have to do is insert the image at the end of each blog post.

CREATING A BUTTON MOUSEOVER EFFECT

Check out this really simple tutorial from Carrie Loves that will teach you how to create a mouse over effect on social media icons (which you can easily apply to your custom made buttons or images). Note - In the tutorial she mentions uploading your photos to Photobucket so that you can obtain the URL to use in the HTML code that she provides you. This isn't necessary because you can just upload the images to Blogger or Wordpress and use the URL given to you in your media library. 

CREATING A CUSTOM PIN IT HOVER BUTTON

While you can manually code this effect into your website, using a Wordpress plugin to do this (sorry Blogspot ladies) is MUCH easier. jQuery Pin It Button for Images is the plugin that I use on my own website. I love it! 

All you have to do is install the plug in, create the image that you are going to use as your pin it button in Adobe Illustrator or Canva and save it with a transparent background. Upload your image using the plug in and you are in business!

9. Blog Post Previews 

Adding a preview button to each post on your blog home page is such an easy way to de-clutter your website.This simple change will clean up the look of your home page as well as raise the chances of visitors seeing more of your content at one time. 

Jess from The Golden Girl, has a simple button featured that users can click to read the full version of the post.

ADDING A 'READ MORE' BUTTON TO YOUR POST

Quick Note - I am explaining how to add a 'Read More' button on Wordpress. Other blogging platforms are going to differ. Additionally, each Wordpress theme is going to have a different looking 'Read More' button. To specifically customize your own, you will need to find someone that is proficient with CSS and coding to help you make one.

Okay, now on to the helpful part. 

Open a new blog post and type the first paragraph or two (depending on how long you want the preview to be). Click the button that I circled below, and you will see a dashed line appear. This is where the button will appear on your post once you save it. Voila! All finished.

Learn how to design and create a professional looking fashion blog with no coding experience needed! // Click the image to read the full post.

10. Professional Photography

These days, it is absolutely essential that you have professional photography on your website if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger. There are several options that you can choose from to achieve this look, so don't panic!

Stock Photography - There are so many websites with gorgeous (often FREE) stock photography that you can use on your website. The only issue that I have run into with this is that because it is stock photography, you are running the risk that a ton of other bloggers are using the same images as you. Remember, we want your website to be as unique to you and your brand as possible! For this reason, I would use stock photography sparingly.

Hire a Photographer or Shoot It Yourself - As a life and style blogger you are more than likely going to need to have custom photos done of your content. You can achieve this by either hiring a professional photographer or shooting them yourself. For a detailed breakdown on the pros and cons of each, make sure to read my post on DIY photography vs. Hiring a Professional Photographer.

11. A Unique Blog Layout

As the pioneer fashion bloggers that paved the way in our industry continue to evolve, so do the layouts of their blogs (and the price tag it takes to create their web design). While there is nothing wrong with having a basic blog layout (typically with a right hand side bar and some sort of banner element at the top of the page), mixing it up a bit will do wonders for the aesthetics of your site.

Because more advanced layouts are more difficult to create, web designers charge a premium for a custom look. You can mimic the look of an expensive custom looking website by investing in a Wordpress theme that pushes the boundaries a bit. 

Look for themes that have a lot of different layouts and versatility. The more control that you have over visual features and layout of your site, the easier it is to create an expensive, custom look.

12. Wider Margins

You might be wondering how using wider margins will make your blog and website look more expensive... When it comes to pre-packaged blog themes, a lot of them use narrower margins for text. Creating wider margins on your website will remove any connotation that the reader might have with an amateur looking blog theme, as well as make it easier to read the text itself. 

13. A Top of the Page Button

Nothing is more annoying to me than viewing a blog or website that has a long page, or god forbid, infinite scroll, and no way to easily navigate back up to the top of the page. Adding a simple "Top of the Page Arrow" is a quick feature to add, and one that will contribute to the overall professionalism of your website. 

Here is a comprehensive tutorial that will walk you through the process of creating and implementing this useful button on your website. Trust me, I'm not coding wizard, and while this tutorial may look intimidating, they do a great job of providing detailed step-by-step instruction to guide you through the exact process. I encourage you to at least give it a go! 

14. A High Quality "Avatar" 

It is important that users see what you physically look like quickly after navigating to your website. Being able to put a face to your work and writing will dramatically boost your relatability factor and increase the chances of forming a real connection with your blog reader. 

Here is one of my favorite examples of a professional looking head shot/avatar (for lack of a technical term) created by Jess Keys of the Golden Girl.

Learn how to design and create a professional looking fashion blog with no coding experience needed! // Click the image to read the full post.

15. An Organized Menu 

When it comes to choosing the items that will be linked in your main menu bar, it's important to get organized In addition to listing the essentials such as About Me, Contact/Partner, etc. it is important to list your post categories and extra content in an intuitive way for your readers to navigate. 

Learn how to design and create a professional looking fashion blog with no coding experience needed! // Click the image to read the full post.

Brighton's drop down menu is a great example of this. Instead of just making an "outfits" category, she breaks down the content further into individual seasons. This simple detail makes it so much easier to navigate her website and subsequently purchase the products that she is recommending. 

16. An Effective 'About Me' Page

Your 'About Me' page isn't a page for you to talk about yourself and list meaningless facts, that face it, no one really gives a shit about. Treat your about me page as the prime piece of website real estate that it is.

The focus of this page needs to be on selling your brand and your product. If you don't sell physical or digital products on your site (most people don't) then use this area to sell your brand. Aka you. 

Of course in order to sell your brand (you) you are going to have to talk about yourself. That's fine. Just be strategic with the information and personality that you are conveying to your audience. 

For example, if you focus on being the relatable down to earth girl that everyone wants to go get a drink with, then make sure to convey that on your 'About Me' page. Talk about yourself in a way that strengthens your personal brand. 

17. An Organized Archive Page

You can do a lot with a properly organized archive page. Kate from Lonestar Southern does a great job of this with her "Shop the Post" archive page. This allows users to shop the post directly via rewardStyle without having to navigate to the post itself. (Note this is an advanced archive page that would require someone proficient at coding to create, but it serves as a wonderful example of what can be done). 

Learn how to design and create a professional looking fashion blog with no coding experience needed! // Click the image to read the full post.

A simpler, DIY Wordpress archive page could be different headings labeled for each month and year linked to a tag page with that month's posts. You can create this by adding a month and year specific tag to all posts from that month and then linking the headings below to each subsequent tag page. 

Example:

March 2017

April 2017

May 2017

You could further jazz up the page by adding other sections to the page with your blog's post categories and top five most popular posts. Add a professional quality image of you or something relevant at the top of the page, and you have yourself a functioning archive page that your users can navigate your content with! This easy hack requires no coding experience and effectively mimics the look of an advanced archive page. 

 

By taking these small manageable actions, you can create a professional looking website without paying the professional quality price tag. I would love to hear YOUR favorite tips and tricks to making your website look expensive below!

XOXO.

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The Monthly Task List That Every Blogger Needs (Free Checklist)

The Monthly Task List That Every Lifestyle Blogger Needs - Marie Hampton // Are you a life + style blogger struggling to get organized? Girl, I've got you covered. This checklist will take the stress out of staying on top of your to-do list. Click through to read the full blog post.

When it comes to operating at my highest level of productivity, I place a huge emphasis on preparation and planning. I find that my most productive months stem from a few hours of planning at the beginning of each month.

Take a little time to get your head straight, re-calibrate, and plan your content for the upcoming month. I promise that you will find yourself accomplishing so much more, and at a faster pace.

First things first, download your FREE printable checklist that will help you to remain accountable and complete these useful monthly tasks. Just click the button below to grab your copy.

The Monthly Task List That Every Blogger Needs - Marie Hampton
 

Stay accountable and organized every single month. 

This is my personal monthly task list that I complete before I begin any content creation for the month.

1. Document Last Month's Analytics

It is important to document your blog's statistics each month so that you can track the progress that you make. Create a spreadsheet in Excel and take note of the following:

Unique Monthly Visitors | How many new people visited your site the month

Total Visitors | The total number of people that visited your site the month

Top 3 Posts | The three most popular posts for the month

 Bounce Rate | The percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page

Total Income | The total amount of income that was made the month

Total Expenses | The total amount of expenses that were incurred for the month

Net Income | The total amount of monthly income, less the total expenses

Additional Notes | Include any other relevant notes such as brands that you collaborated with, events you attended, etc.

 

2. Determine the Theme of the Month

Before beginning to plan your editorial calendar for the month, determine if there are any upcoming holidays, milestones, or blogger events that might influence your content direction. For example, if it is April, cater your content to spring. Feature posts highlighting your favorite spring accessories, light salad recipes, or spring cleaning tips!

 

3. Plan Editorial Calendar for the Month

Once you have determined if there are any special holidays or events occurring this month, you can begin planning your editorial calendar. I like to plan upcoming blog posts in my Epic Blog Planner. It helps me to stay organized and keeps all important information in one place.

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Make sure to not only plan each blog post, but to include any shopping lists or materials necessary to write the post. In the blog planner there is a place to list each post and the items you need to complete it.

 

4. Plan Content Shoots

After you have your editorial calendar planned for the month, you can begin planning any shoots that you might have in the upcoming weeks. I like to keep a secret board on my Pinterest account with photo inspiration for each shoot. I then make a shot list and a supply list for each separate shoot so that I know what I need to collect beforehand.

This keeps me from running around the day of with my head cut off trying to curl my hair and find a blue place mat (or insert random object needed in shoot here) at the same time.

 

5. Plan Instagram Shoots

I find that when it comes to Instagram, batching my Instagram photos into two shoots per month helps me to stay on top of posting consistently high quality content several times a day.

At the very least I try to have two weeks full of Instagram content planned so that I am prepared for the days that I shoot the actual photos. Make a shot list and a supply list for all of the outfits, items, etc. that you need for the shoot and it will take a lot of the pressure off of producing the quality photos that you want.

 

6. Schedule Social Media Posts

Pre-scheduling my social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest takes some of the pressure off of managing my social media strategies on each platform. While it isn't necessary to plan and schedule content for the ENTIRE month, I would at least schedule out posts two weeks in advance.

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Here are some social media scheduling tools that are available to check out and see if they are the right fit for you and your business:

Pinterest - Board Booster, Buffer,Tailwind (my favorite)

Twitter - BufferHootsuiteMeet Edgar

Facebook - BufferHootsuiteMeet Edgar

Instagram - TailwindReward Style (must be approved to join), Later

7. Set Monthly Goals

Setting goals each month will help you to clearly define your objectives and the steps that you need to take in order to complete them. In addition to this, it is helpful to be able to look back on the goals that you have set for past months and reflect on the progress that you have made since setting them.

Think of it as giving yourself a mini blog report card! Everyone loves a gold star.

Reflect on the intentions and goals that you would like to set for the upcoming month. Are there any brands that you are wanting to work with? Any traffic goals that you would like to hit? Take all aspects of your business into consideration when setting these goals!

I like to then, break each goal into five manageable steps that will make the goal easier to complete.

 

8. Budget for Any Purchases

Take a few minutes to plan for any large purchases or monthly fees that you will be paying this month. All of those little $20 here $30 there purchases really add up. I like to get a rough idea of what I need for the month and what I will subsequently be spending.

 

9. De-clutter Your Space

I struggle to work in a messy environment. Clutter = distractions in my book! I like to take an hour or so at the beginning of each month to make sure that my desktop is clean and tidy. I will file any papers that need to be put away, dust off my computer monitor, refill the giant bowl of skittles that I have on my desk... you know - the necessities!

In addition to cleaning my physical desktop off, I like to go in and de-clutter my laptop and desktop computer desktop. Boy can that thing get messy... After a month of blogging it becomes a virtual garbage can for random files and images that I don't need to save.

 

10. Reflect on the Past Month

Think back on the month before. Was there anything that you would have approached differently? What could you have done more efficiently? What was your greatest accomplishment?

Reassessing your methods and goals each month will keep you on track and ensure your productivity and progress as your blog continues to grow.

 

Stay accountable and organized every single month.

 

Take the Time to Prep

By taking a few hours at the beginning of each month to plan, you are setting the foundation for a stress free, productive month. Success is when hard work and preparation meets luck. Do the prep work now and you will thank yourself later!

XOXO.

Marie Hampton Signature