How to Start a Blog
With our guest Emma York from Beauty Folio
Ever thought about writing your own blog, but wondered where to begin? We’ve quizzed green beauty blogger Emma to find out some tricks of the trade.
We’ve known Emma for some years, through social media. We love her writing style, her professionalism & the fact that she’s happy to collaborate with us in an ‘old school’ way (previously we’ve gifted products in exchange for unbiased reviews on her blog).
This feature is a kind of ‘swap’. After Emma interviewed us for her ‘Meet the Maker’ blog series, we thought it would be fun to reciprocate & find out what it’s like on the ‘other side’.
Lucy: Hi Emma, thank you for joining us today. Could you tell us a bit about you & your background?
Emma: Hi Lucy, thank you so much for having me, it is a pleasure to feature as a guest on your blog.
My name is Emma and I’m a 29 year old green beauty blogger from Northampton. I have a BA and MA in English Literature and currently work in the building industry, running the office for my Dad's business. Aside from my blog, which I’ll be talking about in a moment, I spend my free time reading, researching natural skincare, catching up with friends and spending time with my black Labrador called Jake.
Lucy Sounds like a lovely balanced lifestyle. Could you tell us the name of your blog, how long you’ve been writing it & what you write about?
Emma: I set up my blog called Beauty Folio back in the summer of 2016 and it was very different in both look and content to what it is now! It has always been a space where I could share my passion for skincare however, when I first started blogging, I was yet to discover green beauty and the benefits of natural skincare in particular. Beauty Folio is now a blog where I share my love of natural products, indie beauty brands and features such as Meet the Maker.
Lucy: I like the way you’ve been on a journey of discovery through the blog. And thank you for interviewing us recently for your Meet the Maker series. I’m interested to know what prompted you to start blogging?
Emma: I have always had an interest in beauty and loved sharing my recommendations with friends and family so a blog seemed like a great platform to be able to do this on a larger scale. I had also completed my Masters degree at this time and felt like I needed to continue my love of research and have a creative outlet that was lacking when I finished my university education.
Lucy: It’s great that you were able to bring your writing to a wider audience. Did you have prior knowledge of blogging? How did you know where to start? How did you know which website platform to choose?
Emma: The only prior knowledge I had of blogging was being an avid blog reader, whether that be academic blogs that I read while I was studying or blogs on interior design, food or lifestyle. I love reading, whether it be novels or articles, so that is really where my knowledge came from.
I think starting your blogging journey is very much like any online job or hobby, it takes a lot of time to decide what you're looking for in an online platform and how much time, effort and money you are willing to put into it. Luckily, there are some great sites that allow you to get free hosting, domains and editing tools which is a great way to dip your toes in without feeling like you're drowning.
I would say that it took me at least a month of researching to actually know how I was going to attempt to set up a blog, and more importantly, what I was actually looking for in regards to themes, domains etc. I actually changed the name and content ideas for my blog at least three times, but luckily as I chose to host on Wordpress.com, it was easy to amend any issues and didn't cost me anything when I initially set up my website.
Lucy: It sounds as though you knew your subject well, which helped as a starting point. Good advice for anyone wanting to start blogging. Can you remember what you wrote about for your first blog feature?
Emma: My first post was actually a 'Welcome to my Blog' post where I outlined exactly what Beauty Folio was all about. It didn't contain any photos or introduce who I was, and really did reflect on the fact that I was a blogging novice! But it really doesn't matter where you start with your own blogging journey as it is a space to grow and learn as you go along - and it does get easier I promise!
Lucy: Sometimes you have to just jump straight in & it sounds as if that’s what you did, which again is good advice, as sometimes we all let fear hold us back. It’s interesting to hear how you started & see where you are now, that you’re still loving it & developing it. It must be rewarding. Can you tell us what some of those rewards are? e.g. Do you make any money from your blog? Does it open doors? Is it just for fun?
Emma: I personally have my blog as a hobby, so I don't make money from it (although I know several amazing bloggers who do). I've had brands very kindly gift me products to try, which is lovely, but as I love to support smaller, indie brands, I also purchase a lot of the products I feature. I personally feel that the best part of blogging is the satisfaction you get when someone tries one of your recommendations and thanks you for sharing. It is a great feeling knowing that you've helped someone find a product that really works for them, or they've actually learnt something from content you've shared.
I must say that the blogging community is such a welcoming space and I have met some truly incredibly people who are so supportive of each other. Social platforms can something receive a lot of bad press and negativity but I have to say, when used in a positive way, it can really be a rewarding space to interact with like-minded people.
Lucy: It’s interesting hearing your motivations about sharing your experiences & helping people to navigate through the beauty ‘jungle’. It’s invaluable having those unbiased reviews, it can get pretty expensive otherwise! For anyone wanting to start a blog, hearing that there’s a supportive blogger network they can be part of, is a brilliant piece of intel!
Well now of course I have to ask, as you’ve reviewed a few of the skincare products I make here in Somerset, do you have a favourite you would recommend?
Emma: I am a big fan of your ethos and products and have thoroughly enjoyed using your skincare and fragrance over the years - so I don't think I could chose just one! I think I would have to say that your Uplifted range is one of my favourites as the scent is heavenly, especially at this time of year. I love using the Uplifted Body Oil and Body Polish in conjunction which each other, as they really are a dynamic duo for dry skin. I have also got to give a special mention to the beautiful Golden EDT which is such a stunning, evolving fragrance that is perfect for every season and occasion.
Lucy: I love that you’ve picked up on the way our products are designed around the way they make you feel as much as the way they help your skin. Thank you for enjoying the Uplifted products (we designed those to perk us up when we’re feeling a bit flat with the Pink Grapefruit & Pink Pepper). As for Golden EdT, that was our artisan perfume which took 3 years to make but has now been discontinued due to supply chain issues. I’m glad you had a chance to experience it.
To the future. Do you have plans for your blog?
Emma: I recently re-branded my blog and have started to add some new features to help people explore green beauty a little easier with a brand directory, discounts and offers page and features such as my Meet the Maker series. I think I would like to expand these features further by adding some new blog series, perhaps on the benefits of particular ingredients or showcasing the different steps of skincare routines. It is very much a work in progress at the moment but I hope to continue to showcase my passion for natural beauty, love of small, indie brands and help educate people a little more on exactly what green beauty is all about.
Lucy: I love the look of your new design & content Emma. Wishing you the best of luck with it & thanks so much for an insight into the blogosphere!
Follow Emma on social media at:
@beautyfoliouk on Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest
@beautyfolio on Facebook
We hope you enjoyed the read. If you have any questions for Emma that we haven’t covered, do ask them here. We’d love to know your thoughts. Lucy x