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Blogging

What inspired me to open a blog

What inspired me to open a blog

Hi everyone,

This post is going to be short* and I’ll try not to ramble too much. I wanted to share with you the reason why I opened my blog which, you’ll see, is not the one you might have imagined. I’ll have to give you a bit of background, just so you know what I’m talking about.

A year ago I moved to Barcelona to study for 6 months. It was part of my Engineering degree to spend half of the academic year abroad and we could only pick from 3 destinations, the other two being in Ireland and France. I chose Spain because I knew the language well and Barcelona was also the biggest city available to me. We were supposed to have one term of lessons, which we did (I say we, because I wasn’t alone, there were other students from my Italian class as well) and then find ourselves an internship for the next 6 months.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the position of having to find an internship, but this thing seemed to me very difficult. Not only because I had no experience in any field (working as a waitress during summer doesn’t really count, does it?) but also because I had no idea of how I could possibly use the things I had learnt in the first and second year of University in a practical way. For example, I couldn’t think of how physics would be useful to me in a working context. Worse than that, I didn’t feel like I had anything that would make me stand out as a candidate.

So I applied for a lot of internship I found on LinkedIn or sent spontaneous applications to companies I liked. I felt hopeless and although my CV was a full page long and well put together, just as we were taught to do it, I felt I had nothing to offer than my desire to do something and gain experience for the first time in my life, because we all have to start from one point or another, right? Every big CEO or entrepreneur has been trusted enough to be given a first chance in his/her life.

I soon realized that to work or even be considered by big companies, or even small ones, you need to have something more than a one-page CV with a list of the schools you’ve attended and the language diplomas you have. I’m 21, I feel partly justified not to have had any experience before, but at the same time I knew that I had to do something.

Something I could do without too much external help, a personal project that I could show to anyone asking me “what have you accomplished in your life so far?”.

I didn’t have an answer to that. Yes I’ve played sports and have done a couple of extra-curricular things at school but the truth is, I’ve never excelled at those things and I’ve only ever focused on the things I really liked which were, at the time, reading a lot of books and being good at school. But these things aren’t enough in today’s world. They don’t make you stand out, they don’t make you special. Having good grades is not enough because you’re just one in a million.

I decided to take action. I decided to learn everything about opening a blog, using WordPress, Seo and social media strategy in order to open my own personal blog on something I was really passionate about. Beauty was my choice and if you read my about page(here) you’ll know why I love it so much.

My blog is my little project. I have no wish to turn it into a job or dedicate my life to it. I have other things to do as well: I’m starting my last year of bachelor degree in three days and I’m also getting ready to take a difficult business exam called the GMAT.  But I’m so incredibly proud of having something that I’ve created all on my own, that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing, and that I know makes me a little bit more special, unique in my own way.

So thank you to everyone who clicks on my blog and takes a bit of time to read my long posts (sorry about that!). I couldn’t be happier that I’ve been able to share this with you all and I’m grateful to have you as a part of my project. Whenever you are in the world, thank you for being here, right now.

 

xxx

Silvia

*that was the intention at the beginning. I’m sorry it’s not.

Please follow me on Bloglovin here <3

Blogs I read
Blogging

Skincare gurus and blogs worth a visit

Hi everyone,

The idea behind this post is to share with you the blogs and pages that I like to read and follow for skincare reviews and advice. I thought I would also tell you something about their authors, as some of them have chatted with me so I feel I want to share the love with you and help you find new skincare geeks.

These are all primarily skincare-based blogs. Of course I read lifestyle and make-up blogs too but this post will only be skincare related. I hope you’ll find this useful as these sources are useful for me. There are many more blogs and people I follow but these are those that came to mind first, I might publish another post later on if I realise there was one I forgot to mention.

  • Kim is an Aussie currently travelling around Europe. She used to have a blog but now she has moved everything to Instagram where she posts her daily skincare routines and reviews of products she has finished up or loves. I’m a particular fan of this last part, I trust her opinion —even though I cannot afford most of the things she shows — and I find her reviews very well done.
  • Liz lives in Alaska and has an Insta page. She posts reviews under the #lizalaskabeautyreview hashtag and answers questions with #lizalaskafaq. She was mentioned by Caroline Hirons as someone she follows and gets advice from, so that’s enough to go and follow her. She has one of the prettiest cats I’ve ever seen as well.
  • Jason is someone I love interacting with on his page. He’s Irish and used to have a blog too, but now he only posts on Instagram, reviews and personal bits too. He uses both high end and drugstore products (and he’s a fan of The Body Shop) and always replies and gives advice on products to use. He’s extremely friendly which is a plus.
  • Caroline is a New Yorker who started posting her routines on Instagram. I’ve seen her account grow right in front of my eyes as she’s one of the first I started following last year. She now also has a blog but I like following her on Insta. She knows her thing about skincare and has a ton of reviews posted on her feed (mostly high end products).
  • Fiona is a dear friend of mine, someone I would really like to have a cup of tea with, if only we lived closer. She posts bright and flowery daily routines on Instagram as well as reviews and in-depth ingredient spotlights on her blog. I saw her Insta growing and I’m really happy for her, she likes to learn and read scientific papers (I know, crazy!), plus she’s generous and down to earth.
  • Arly: The queen of skincare routines pictures, hehe. I think her and Fiona’s pictures are the greatest, just have a look and you’ll know what I mean! She knows a lot of stuff about brands, ingredients, new launches. She focuses on green skincare and uses mostly high-end products. I absolutely love her reviews and she’s also the person who knows the brand Deciem the most. So reach out to her if you have any question on Niod (but also Oskia, Votary, Aurelia Skincare and many others…).
  • Siobhán is an Irish blogger who loves make-up and skincare equally. I like her empties posts and her reviews of products I can only dream of now. She is also very kind and always replies to comment and I love this about her. She has Lyme disease, an experience she talks about openly with readers on her blog.
  • Binita lives in Australia and likes green skincare. She posts colourful daily routines on her Insta and lots of in-depth reviews and ingredients spotlights on her blog. She also features a lot of brands I have never heard of, which I really appreciate. There is a mix of both expensive and less expensive products.
  • Sarah is from Dallas and is an aesthetician. Her posts focus on ingredients and how to use certain products like Vitamin C and Retinoids. She’s straightforward and an expert in her field. I like reading her blog and she’s on Instagram as well.
  • Maree is from the US and has a YouTube channel along with a blog. I follow her mostly on YouTube. She likes to share her favourites and she has tried so many products I think she must have a wardrobe as a bathroom cabinet. She likes to share them with her mother which I found really sweet. She also has a great sense of style.
  • Blanche is an Aussie mummy of two, she posts reviews and daily routines on her Insta. She comes across as a very sweet person and she’s guilty of loving expensive skincare, but who can blame her?
  • Emma is from the UK and is a mum too, she likes expensive high-end skincare (she’s a great fan of Zelens) and posts both daily routines and mini reviews of her favourites.
  • Victoria is from the UK as well, and is a trained facialist and pilates lover. I like that she recommends products she likes and most of these are quite affordable and easy to find in Boots. She also has a very good looking family (herself included!).

__

Hope you liked this kind of post!

If you want, you can follow me on Bloglovin here and on Instagram here.

xx

Silvia

How i feel about #ad posts
Blogging

How I feel about #Ad posts

Dear beauty-addicts,

Today I decided to talk about something which is not often discussed in the beauty blogging community but about which I have something to say, both as a reader, a consumer and a blogger myself. I hope this will stimulate a positive debate and I hope you’ll let me know your opinion in the comments.

So, I’m sure you all know what #ad posts are and you’ve probably seen many over the blogs you follow. What I mean with #ad are posts which feature products (or a service etc.) that a person has been paid to push in their content.

I suppose by law the writers have to disclose this information, which is why you can almost always figure out from the title that is going to be an advertisement in some form. Be it written or in a video.

This is not to be confused with products that have been sent to a blogger without any form of payment and when they have been left to express their opinion on it, whether it is positive or not. This happens for most blogs and I have absolutely nothing against that.

Why they exist

This is easy to understand. Some bloggers or YouTubers have thousands if not millions of followers, which means they have a wide and easily accessible audience. Brands are well aware of this and want to capitalise. These media channels (blogs, twitter, instagram, snapchat) are starting to replace the old formats, such as TV adverts. For some smaller brands, they’re the only means through which their marketing operates. Think about, for example, Oskia and Pixi – they do not appear on TV or on specific adverts in beauty magazines. They mostly operate through word of mouth and appearances on beauty blogs and magazines.

Why brands opt for this method

I believe the cost factor is key. This kind of publicity is far cheaper than adverts – in the printed press or on TV. Most importantly of all, this approach allows the brands to target a specific audience, which is a lot more likely to be interested in the product they are promoting. Of course, the range of people watching TV is far wider than those specifically leafing through make-up and skincare blogs. Furthermore, bloggers are real people who their readers know and in most cases, trust, which makes it a lot easier for bloggers to convince their readers to buy something, or to persuade them that a certain product is amazing and worth the money.

How they affect me

Being a skincare-addict makes me liable to this. I’m sometimes quite easy to convince, because I’m genuinely interested in trying new products or new brands. The difference is that I’m far more likely to have faith in a product if the person pushing it hasn’t been paid to do so. I know most big bloggers will say things like “they only promote things they believe in”, “they only write honest reviews and opinions” and that “they decline a LOT of offers except for the ones they highly believe in”.

However, I find it hard to always believe this. On the one hand, I completely understand that for those who make a living out of their blogs, this is a key source of income. Then again, I personally feel it diminishes my interest. I don’t remember the last time I ended up buying something that was sponsored.

It doesn’t feel right to trust someone who is getting paid for telling me that something is great and will make my skin better. Perhaps I’m being slightly pessimistic, but that is my own personal opinion and you may totally disagree with me, of course we can respect each other’s view point.

I also want to say that I do buy a lot of products after having seem them on Instagram or on blogs, but it’s always been in the firm belief that the person is offering a genuine opinion.

Also do I really want to help a top Youtuber make even more money? When it’s essentially just a business. To tell the truth – not really.

I like being an informed consumer. I read tons of reviews and almost never buy something without having read some comments on it. In this way I find that those reviews sections in most e-commerce websites are very good at giving me a general opinion of a product, especially given that people who leave such short reviews are not bloggers but random people — just like my mother or some of my friends — who do not want to waste money on products which falsely claim to work miracles.

To conclude

I’m totally not against #ad posts as I do get that for most bloggers they are the only way they can make money out of their passion for beauty, make-up or skincare. It’s also a way for them to finance the rest of the work they’re doing. However I just want to share my own opinion on it and say that I am often sceptical about them, especially when they’re sponsoring a skincare brand, a new make-up range. They often just sound like what you’d read on a company’s website or in a TV advert. I also find it very boring to see everyone talking about a new skincare range or product all at the same time and all pretty much saying the same things. Again, it’s my opinion and of course there are exceptions.

To be fair, who doesn’t like it when bloggers are given some discount codes for their readers?  Annoyingly I’ve not yet got to use one, because I always see them when I’m tight for cash!

I should say finally, that I understand that this is part of blogging, as an industry. Obviously, if I want to be a part of it I have to accept what’s going on. I hope it doesn’t sound too aggressive, so please see this from a consumer’s point of view, rather than as a fellow blogger.

I’d like to know your thoughts, feel free to disagree with me, as always!

You can follow me on Bloglovin here.

Silvia

5 honest tips for beginner bloggers
Blogging

5 honest tips for beginner bloggers

Hi everyone,

If you’re reading this, you may have just started your own blog. Maybe you’re hoping there’s some kind of magic formula.

This post will not teach you that, firstly because I’m still learning myself and secondly because I don’t think there can possibly be a secret recipe for success (see point 4). Nevertheless, having now blogged for more than three months I want to give you some tips and thoughts on simply how to make life easier and perhaps a little more stress-free.

We’ve most likely had those same feelings, thinking it’s impossible to even get one bloglovin follower.  Today I want to share with you some of the things I’ve learnt so far in this amazing journey.

  1. The importance of self-promotion

You’ll probably know it by now if you’ve done some research. Running a blog is 20% about creating good quality content (of course this is absolutely crucial) and 80% about promoting it. Good bloggers are good at promoting their blogs and themselves. You have to do it if you want to attract people. You may well have a beautifully designed blog, but at the beginning people will not visit it, or even know it exists, if you don’t drag them there. So focus on it, create a strategy and you’ll see the number of visitors growing. Create amazing content and they will come back, get engaged and become a faithful follower. Also, do not be afraid to be slightly overzealous if you tweet about your posts, I’d say it’s okay to push the envelope. For every person that unfollows you, there are new followers to come. For this I recommend using Buffer to schedule your tweets. Make sure you use a good picture for each one of them and tag some ‘retweet’ accounts that will basically retweet your post if you tag them (but you also have to be following them!).

  1. Don’t put pressure on yourself, blogging should be fun!

When I opened my blog I had around 7 posts already set aside which made me feel calm and relaxed about the fact that I could spend the next month just doing nothing. It turned out to be a complete fail on my part because the excitement of having a blog made me publish around 2 to 3 times week which meant I quickly ran out of posts and material. I definitely think it’s key to be consistent, but at the beginning you also have to take time to figure out how to find your own schedule, so maybe something like once a week, or even less. I would suggest you take your time and don’t try and run before you can walk, you may not end up going in the direction you want to. There’s no doubt a successful blog takes time to grow, so try not to go overboard at the early stages or put too much pressure on yourself.

  1. Network with fellow bloggers

One thing I’ve really loved about blogging so far is how amazing some people are and how easy it is to build a good relationship with some girls and boys out there. I feel like a good way to do this is being active, leaving comments and not being afraid to communicate with other bloggers just as you would do with your friends. It always pays to be nice and kind too. You’ll see that many people will thank you for a comment by visiting your blog, and they may start following you and being active readers. Clearly this doesn’t happen overnight and I don’t really buy the “comment 4 comment” or “follow 4 follow” rule. I believe being genuine and honest helps, while not always expecting something in return, or you may be disappointed. Some of the most followed bloggers do not reply to comments, but many smaller ones have the same amount of passion and take the time to interact.

  1. There are no secret rules for success

Sad but true. There are lots of strategies to build your audience and gain page views but after having read hundreds (and I really mean hundreds) of articles about how to approach this, I have not come across a magic formula. What I have learned is that time, effort and dedication are key, and we know it’s not always easy. With time and experience we can increase the size of our audience and improve our content. It’s important to bear in mind that some of the most successful bloggers have been on the ‘market’ for a number of years, perhaps before blogging became as widespread as it is today, when there is definitely more ‘competition’.

  1. You should really take photos in bulk

Because taking photos is stressful isn’t it? Well for me it is, and I feel like I have no time do it except for at the weekend, when I have time to waste thinking about which flowers to put in my flat-lays and how to make something creative and unique, which stands out. Taking good photos is difficult, you don’t need excellent skills, I certainly don’t, but practice makes perfect! As you go on, you’ll learn from experience and find your own style. You also don’t need to have a super fancy and expensive camera. If you do have one, that’s great! I have an old compact camera which works perfectly for flat lays and I have no intention to splurge on a new one soon. Remember this: it’s not about the camera, it’s about the person behind it.

Hope you liked this, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

I wish everyone a happy day!

xoxo

Silvia

Please follow me on Bloglovin here.

5 Blogging mistakes you should avoid
Blogging

5 Blogging mistakes you should avoid

Though I’m only 21 I’ve been reading blogs for a long time. I’m sure we can agree on the fact that blogging has spread like wildfire in the last few years, and with that we’ve seen an increase in the effort and work that goes into it, as well as in the quality of the contents. So much so that nowadays people can base their entire careers around it!

I read from blogs every single day, mostly beauty-related ones. This post includes 5 things that have put me off when I’m reading a post or when I’m simply scrolling through a new blog. I would really like to know yours and see if you have my same pet-peeves.

A little disclosure: I wrote these things from a reader’s perspective, because despite having blogged for a month or so now, I’m still a reader above all else! I have a great deal to learn too!

  1. Not having a Bloglovin button

Bloglovin is a wonderful way to catch up with new posts from your favourite bloggers. I love Bloglovin (do you follow me there?). I wonder how I managed to live without it for so long. For me it is extremely important to be able to easily find the Bloglovin button on a new blog so I can make sure not to miss any new post. Bloglovin’s feed is chronological so you can make sure you don’t miss anything if you check it every day.

In addition to that, you can also “like” and save the posts in folders you create. From my perspective, not having a Bloglovin button means that I’m probably less likely to come back to your blog. Make what you want of this, but I’m sure every blogger wants traffic and wants to make sure that their reader comes back again and again…

  1. Not having a simple comment procedure

One the best plugins you can get for your blog is Disqus, an amazing way for readers to easily leave comments and for you, as a blogger, to answer them. It gives you notifications when you get comments as well as answers from other blogs.

You only need to have an account and once you have it and are logged in you won’t have to re-enter your name, email, website etc. every time. I find it a bit annoying when I have to enter my details over and over again. It can be a big turn off for readers, at least for me. I also don’t like the fact that once you’ve left a comment with these other systems you don’t get a notification if the blogger actually replies to your comment. Unless you either a) go back to check it on that blog b) click on “notify me of new comments via email”, the latter meaning that you’ll get an email every time a reader leaves a comment on that blog.

My advice is: get Disqus and enjoy its use. It’s one of those life-changing blog-changing things.

  1. Not engaging with their readers

I don’t know about you, but I always try to leave meaningful comments to any post I read. Obviously, I don’t always leave a comment, but if I do I don’t just write a short sentence and leave a link to my blog, bish bash bosh. No, I always make the effort to write something related to the post, maybe ask something I’m interested in. However, I don’t always assume I’ll get a reply because, the truth is many bloggers don’t bother getting back to their readers! And I’m not talking about those who get over 30 comments for daily posts or have thousands of followers on Bloglovin. No, I’m talking about ‘non-pros’, with a manageable amount of interaction.

Maybe it’s just me, but this totally gets on my nerves. I often have a look at old posts by some bloggers and find that they never reply to comments! Even when they’re genuine comments by genuine readers. Once I see these things I often decide not to leave a comment on purpose, just because I know I’ll feel offended if I don’t get an answer. Let me know what you think of this, do you feel the same?  Am I selfish to look at it this way?

  1. When links open in the same page

That’s a huge pet-peeve. Always double-check that your links (social links included) open in a new tab. Because I really don’t want to go back and forth and lose the page I was reading. Plus, I definitely think it will improve your readers’ “blog experience”.

  1. Not having an ‘About Me’ page

I might be nosy but I always read people’s bio. Some bits of info I like to find out include your name and where you come from (though I haven’t fully stated it, for those who are wondering – I’m Italian). Knowing your name will make it easy for me to communicate with you, making it more natural, like I’m talking to a friend.

I think it’s also a nice idea to include something interesting about you, your background, what you do in life. I love reading these things, after all, we (bloggers) are all people who have a life, feelings and many other things to offer. Finally, the easier the ‘About Me’ page is to find, the better! BTW, you can read mine here.

That’s all that came to mind. I might be doing a second post on more things that get on my nerves in the future but for now, enough complaining from me! I just want to say that if you are reading this, I will still read your blog even if you are not on Bloglovin, leave a comment even if you’re not going to answer (but I will be sad!!) and if you don’t have Disqus I’ll still make the effort to enter my details every time and receive your emails.

Let me know the things that put you off in a blog! It’s nice that we share these kind of things as it can only help us get better!

Have a good day!

Silvia

 

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