Above Image Credit: The Style Lane website
In our next post on fashion, we interview Penny Lane, who created the style blogging website The Style Lane. Billed as an ‘online fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine for women who desire fast style’, The Style Lane have us routinely swooning over their picks (everything from Katherine Hamnett tees to Prabal Gurung make-up). Penny was kind enough to let us pick her brain last week and gave us valuable insight into what it takes to start and grow a style blog. Read on to find out how she got started, her top social media tips and her best bits of advice for those wanting to break into the fashion blogging industry.
Where did you go to university and what did you study? How did you get started in fashion and lifestyle blogging?
After completing a fashion journalism course in Southampton, I interned and wrote beauty and style articles for different online magazines, before landing a freelance role. I carried on writing for other publications, but realised I really wanted to start up on my own. I had all the PR contacts to get started, so I could create good content and reviews immediately. However, after only a brief section of my degree covering web design, I knew I needed a simple format, without huge amounts of tricky coding.
I chose Moonfruit because there are no layout restrictions, unlike many other blogging platforms. I knew I wanted a sleek design and Moonfruit allowed me to start from scratch, without sticking to a particular style. However, if you do need a few pointers towards design, the choice of templates are great, too.
How do you choose which topics to feature and write about?
Trends influence content heavily. Although, the content mostly comes from what happens to catch my eye. From the latest restaurant opening to a new lipstick launch, we try our very best to stay on top of all fashion and beauty news, to deliver the articles to our readers daily.
One reason we love your site is because the visual element is so arresting. Do you work with a professional photographer?
There’s no professional photographer used for The Style Lane. The images are a mixture of snaps taken by myself, contributors or provided by the PR representing the brands we are reviewing or working with. However, it would be great to work with photographers in the future on our own shoots.
What social channels do you use and which one(s) have been the most useful to growing your fanbase? Was it hard in the beginning to build up page views and visitors?
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram drive the most traffic to the site. All three have to be updated daily to keep readers interested. Pinterest has been great, too. Google + has been a little slower off the ground, but it seems to have helped with SEO. It was definitely hard to get noticed at the very beginning, but if you stick to consistent posts, the ‘likes’ and followers grow quickly.
How has the fashion blogging landscape changed since you began your site?
It’s been nearly three years since I launched The Style Lane and the main changes have focused on video content and the growth of YouTube. It’s a whole new side to editorial content and encourages even more creativity. We’re planning to launch our channel this year – you have to keep on top of the social media trends.
What kinds of tools do you use to figure out what kind of content to post?
Google Analytics had been hugely helpful to measure which topics are most popular. It’s also the best way to measure unique users and daily page hits.
If you had one tip for any aspiring style/fashion bloggers out there, what would it be?
Do it because you’re passionate about your chosen topic. Blogging is a wonderfully creative outlet and the communities are often a great way to make yourself heard. Patience is so important because you have to work hard to make your website stand out from the rest. Once you have your own style and aesthetics, exciting opportunities will follow. Also, if you’re thinking of getting into the world of fashion blogging, head down to the courtyard at Somerset House for LFW this month, to chat to like-minded people. You’ll get some great street style snaps, too.
Remember to tune in next week when Penny shares her top tips for style photography.
Want to start a fashion site with Moonfruit? Check out our range of fashion templates here.