Check out some of the She Says panel.
What inspired you to start ecofabulous? What approach did you take for setting up your site and blog?
I was deep into an extensive remodel of my house and found it incredibly difficult to locate reliable resources of beautiful yet sustainable products. Because both of my children suffered from severe asthma I was determined to create an environment with minimal toxins, but refused to sacrifice my aesthetics. Many people either cannot afford to hire a designer or don't want to hire someone who isn't on the same page as them when it comes to style and/or environmental concerns. Ecofabulous is meant to fill that void by providing fun, engaging information about products and concepts so readers become more conscious without losing their sense of humor.
A lot of new bloggers want to know about finding their voice for starting a blog and/or site. How has this happened for you and how has your "voice" evolved as your brand grows?
Very good question! Ecofabulous was originally created for the TED community, and since I was the eco-editor of House and Garden at the time, it was narrowly focused on interior design and indoor air quality. Over the last few years it has broadened into lifestyle because in almost every case there is a beautiful, more eco-friendly option available for anything. Additionally, eco-design, like design in general has become much more accessible, democratized if you will. Though I still maintain ultimate editorial control, ecofabulous is a collective effort of many committed writers, researchers and designers, which is a big change from the days of 2AM blogging alone.
We love your videos! What are your thoughts on Web 2.0 and what advice would you give to new bloggers who want to achieve this?
Video is a wonderfully rich medium, so if you are interested, just start producing! I have created everything from big sponsored projects to cost-free interviews and worked with production teams of ten to a friend holding a Flip camera. Just figure out what you want to get across before you simply post video. Another thing to keep in mind is that short is best. Keep video to under 5 minutes, ideally under 3.
Best tips for writing content? Do you have an editorial schedule or do you just write as you are inspired?
I used to just write about things that inspired me for ecofabulous (though I always have had certain requirements/requests from the Conde Nast publications that I contribute to) but as we grew it became necessary to create an editorial calendar. Yet, due to the immediacy of the internet we have to have a very flexible system - we don't want to be late to the game. Luckily nearly everything we cover is in some way exciting, so approaching my fourth year I am still never bored!
1) You have your own design and package agency, Vale Design. How has blogging helped your business to grow? Have you found new clients because of your blog?
2) How do you "edit" your blogging? i.e. what topics do you choose to blog about or do you cover almost everything?
I look at my site as a personal vault of all my design influences and references. Everything I love and utilize for work is all in one place. If I find something I think is interesting in the design world, on the homefront or if I have a DIY I want to try/share, I will write a post about it. I simply write about what interests me.
3) How did you decide your "voice" for your blog? (i.e. the tone of your writing) What are some tips you can share for this?
To be honest, this was very hard in the beginning. I was not sure I wanted to be "in the system." I was happy to be under the radar. Then one day I was wandering through Target and saw one of my favorite designers, Orla Kiely, on an endcap. I came home and was so excited I wrote a post about it. That was it. It hit me. I wanted my site to showcase my business and personal work, and my love of design. My advice: I think it is best to just be true to yourself and write about what you love. Some people will have the same taste as you and some will not. As my site represents my business, I am very conscious about what I say on the internet. I try to put only good out and I do not respond to the negative. I am still genuinely humbled/amazed if someone likes and features my work. I try to follow up with a thank you to as many people as I can.
4) How often are you blogging and how have you found balance in your life with work, blogging, family, etc?
I try to write a new post Monday thru Friday. Some weeks that works with my freelance schedule and sometimes it does not. If I am working on a project, I just post a sign stating I am working and thanking readers for their patience. I try to keep blogging/work/Etsy related design between 8:00 and 5:30 when my husband comes home. He goes to sleep early so if there are loose ends I wait until he is asleep. I have been a freelancer and running my own business for almost four years now. No day or time is off limits for me when it comes to work. That is just the standard that I set for myself. Blogging is a networking extension of my business and my husband, family and friends are aware of my schedule. I am not sure I have found a balance yet...and I am not sure I want too! I am truly fortunate to love what I do for a living.
And another thank you to Sasha of BellJar for donating her gorgeous shop to us for the evening and for sitting on the panel. You must go there now if you live in SF. Or just book a trip to SF and go see her shop. Thank you to all the Etsy sponsors for the goodie bag - full of such incredible items. (Click here for a peek into the goodie bag.) And to Fleurt and Robyn Pope for the lovely floral arrangements. What an amazing community of people!
And finally a huge THANK YOU to the attendees! The shop was packed and we appreciate you coming to this event and engaging in great conversation. Blog Out Loud is a place to get inspired to blog - there's room for everyone and no right or wrong way to do it. Your way is perfect for you!
We want to hear from you!! See that little sidebar to the right as you scroll down the blog? If you have some time, let us know what you thought about the event by taking our poll. And we love your stories! Email us about your own blog inspiration.
Blog Out Loud TV will be up in the next few weeks. Mini-moments from the event. In the meantime, check out some photos from the event and check back in soon for details for the next Blog Out Loud event in Los Angeles in October.
>>getting ready for the Blog Out Loud event this Sunday at BellJar. We have had an incredible response and it will be packed! If you are attending, get ready for a great night of blogging inspiration and a cozy time.
>>I participated in a fab event last night for She Says, an organization for women in digital media. I was part of a round table chat, met some lovely people and talented digital divas. On the panel was Marisa from Hey You Listen Up, Kat of Exopolis, Erika of Wiredrive, Tara of When Tara Met Blog, Kim of She Says and me. For all you ladies looking to join an empowering organization of women in the digital, click here to learn more about events in the US.
>>BEST TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR BLOG:
>>keep your blog set to private and then write a bunch of posts. once you have about 10 - 20 written, announce your blog to the public.
>>email and comment. get out there! if you love a blog, tell the blogger. if you love a product, tell the blogger. we are all doing this to connect and bloggers love hearing from bloggers.
>> don't worry so much about the "perfect design" of your blog. you will change it. a lot. (see our current Q & A's for inspiration)
>>don't give up - part 1. blogging does take time in your day but keep going. like anything, the first few weeks are tough but after a month, it will become second-hand and part of your daily routine.
>>don't give up - part 2. it will feel like no one is reading your blog and you may feel a little, well, silly, writing an online journal with that feeling. but people will be and probably are already reading. i decided to add a micro-blog to loving. living. small. called i heart living small. i started it 4 days ago and today saw that i had 1 follower. yay! the point - people will read so go for it!
here's the deal....
it's basically your twitter. your fb status. your tumblr blog. your linkedin status. it's a brief update of where you are, what you are doing, etc. So if you've been wondering if you also need to micro-blog, you probably already are and didn't even know it. tweet tweet!
ok so you started your blog, you have found a clear voice and are creating some great content - now how do you get people over to your blog and, in turn, your business? Here are 15 tips to follow to capture the eyes of new readers and keep e-friends coming back for more. I definitely need to follow tip #10 - such an easy one that I haven't been doing.
1. Write Well and Write Often
Frequently updating your blog with useful content is the first step to building your blog's audience. The content you write is what will keep readers coming back for more. Make sure you have something meaningful to say.
2. Submit Your Blog to Search Engines
Submit your blog to search sites. Most search engines provide a 'Submit' link (or something similar) to notify the search engine of your new blog, so those search engines will crawl it and include your pages in their results. It's important to understand that simply submitting your blog to search engines doesn't mean your pages will appear at the top of a Google search results screen, but at least your blog will be included and will have the chance of being picked up by a search engine.
3. Use and Update Your Blogroll
This is an easy way to get the link to your blog in front of many readers on other blogs. The hope is that some of those readers will click on the link to your blog on the other blogs' blogrolls and find your content interesting and enjoyable turning them into loyal readers. I updated my entire blogroll over the weekend and look forward to adding to it.
4. Harness the Power of Comments
Commenting is a simple and essential tool to increase your blog's traffic. First, be authentic and real by adding a meaningful comment. Also, respond to comments left on your blog to show your readers that you value their opinions and draw them into a two-way conversation. This will increase reader loyalty.
5. Syndicate Your Blog's Content with an RSS Feed
Setting up an RSS feed button on your blog makes it easy for your loyal readers to not just read your blog but also know when you publish new content.
6. Use Links and Trackbacks
Links are one of the most powerful parts of your blog. Not only are links noticed by search engines, but they also act as a tap on the shoulder to other bloggers who can easily identify who is linking to their sites. Linking helps to get you noticed by other bloggers who are likely to investigate the sites that are linking to them. This may lead them to become new readers of your blog or to add links to your blog from theirs. You can take links to other blogs a step further by leaving a trackback on the other blog to let them know you've linked to them. Blogs that allow trackbacks will include a link back to your blog in the comments section of the post that you originally linked to. People do click on trackback links!
7. Tag Your Posts
It takes a few extra seconds to add tags to each of your blog posts, but it's worth the time in terms of the additional traffic tags can drive to your blog. Tags (like links) are easily noticed by search engines. They're also key to helping readers find your blog when they perform searches on popular blog search engines such as Technorati.
8. Submit Your Posts to Social Bookmarking Sites
9. Remember Search Engine Optimization
When you write your blog posts and pages, remember to optimize your pages for search engines to find them.
10. Name Your Images
Images don't just make your blog look pretty, they also help people find you in search engine listings. People often use the image search options offered by Google, Yahoo! and other search engines, and naming your images with search engine optimization in mind can easily boost your traffic.
11. Consider Guest Blogging
Do a little guest blogging or have a guest on your own blog. This will give you a little traffic boost. Many of the other blogger's readers will visit your blog to see what you have to say.
12. Join Forums and Social Networking Sites
Find online forums and social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn where you can share ideas and ask questions of like-minded individuals. Add a link to your blog in your signature line or profile, so each time you post on a forum or participate in another online network, you're indirectly promoting your blog. Chances are many people will click on that link to learn more about you.
13. Promote Outside Your Blog
Promoting your blog shouldn't stop when you step outside the blogosphere. Add your blog's URL to your email signature and business cards.
14. Nominate Yourself and Other Blogs for Blog Awards
There are a number of blog awards given out throughout the year. Nominating yourself and other blogs and bloggers can draw attention to your blog and drive traffic to it.
15. Don't Be Shy
The most important part of the blogosphere is its community and much of your success as a blogger will be tied to your willingness to network with that community. Don't be afraid to ask questions, join conversations or just say hi and introduce yourself. Speak out and get yourself noticed. Let the blogosphere know you've arrived and have something to say!
content via about.com
What's been the best reward since you began your blog?
Not to sound too cheesy, but self-discovery. Really there's no un-cheesing that, so here goes: just finding that I do have something to say. Sometimes it's about bubble baths, other times about motherhood. It's not always important or funny even, but it's mine.
Best tip for writing original content.
Be honest. I tend to gravitate toward blogs that are honest, whether it's a personal blog or a blog about fireplaces. Whatever. Blogs aren't a place to bs (there's enough of that in the real world).
How many times have you changed your blog layout?
Maybe 3 times? Although if I were more html literate I would not be able to keep my hands off. Which is why I also will never learn how to cut hair.
I have to thank one of my best friends for getting me into blogging in the first place. She kept sending me posts from some of the blogs that have been around for a while, like Decor8 and Design*Sponge, and I started thinking, "Hey, I could do this..." Plus, the hyper-organized side of me realized it was a great way to keep track of all my favorite things in a searchable way instead of folders stuffed with old magazine tear sheets. I've always wanted to work in the magazine world, and I think blogs are the modern-day magazine in some ways, so I think I found that side of it very appealing. I like approaching some of my posts from a more editorial standpoint and try to make the content useful instead of just pretty pictures (although, I think we can all agree that sometimes a pretty picture is just what you need!).
Two things that have come out of my blog that have been amazing rewards: making new connections and having my own company. I didn't start coco+kelley thinking that I would launch a business out of it, but that's where it's led me and it's so amazing to be doing what I love (interior and event design) because of my blog! However, I honestly think the larger reward has been all the creative, awesome people (like the gals behind BOL!) that I've met through the blogging community. Whether they've been clients, readers, fellow bloggers or even people on the PR and media side of things, it's been such a great way to expand the global social circle!
Write from your heart. If you're not writing about what you love, people will know. Don't copy content (duh), but DO get inspired by others. If you repost something you've found, explain why, or put your own twist on it. Make it personal. And give credit where it's due. Don't follow trends, write what you know and you think. And always, always illustrate your point with quality photos.
Ha! I have no idea. I've probably had a few major revamps, but I'm constantly looking at my layout and tweaking it. I'm currently considering switching from Blogger to Wordpress and am completely mortified at the thought, but I also love doing a little makeover to keep things fresh, so we'll see!
Read more of our mini Q & A's from past and present panelists right here!
We thought it’d be a great way to share with our customers as we learned more about wallpaper and the perfect way to share wallpaper inspiration and build a community of wallpaper enthusiasts. As we’ve grown, it has been a really fun to share photographs of ferm living in people’s home, DIY projects, interior design, products sales, and just random thoughts about life...
What's been the best reward since you began your blog?
When someone leaves us a positive or supportive comment. That is the best!
Best tip for writing original content.
Keep the text focused, not too wordy, and always accompanied by pretty/inspiring photographs.
How many times have you changed your blog layout?
Click here for all Blog Out Loud info and RSVP.
We decided to go for it again and reached out to a handful of bloggers. The response has simply been beautiful! Here's a sneak peek of just one of the lovely items that you will find in the goody bag. We only are making 20 since the items are being generously donated. Read here to learn more about the reasons why we started this free event.
To see all of the sponsors so far, please click here. And while you are at it, RSVP to come to the 2nd Blog Out Loud event - we'd love to meet you!!