Monday, September 12, 2011
Chictopia is an online fashion community where anyone can sign up for an account. They call themselves the largest online community that gives everyone a voice in fashion. They have over 100,000 users and are always growing. They are one of the top 4 style sites and have a huge presence in the online fashion community. I'm sure you've seen hundreds of blogs with their Chictopia badge on it. They have several features that I'll quickly explain and I'll tell how how I use Chictopia to my benefit.
Style Gallery is one of my favorite features. They have a gallery of photos of girls whose photos have been rated "chic" by members. I use this daily for inspiration. They filter the photos by making members vote photos "chic" or not… so that way you don't have to sift through a bunch of mediocre, dark, blurry, fuzzy, photos. This gallery gives you the best of what is on Chictopia so you can be inspired. You can browse by clothing type, colors, trends, everything. It's so helpful if you want to style up an olive green article of clothing… you can click on the color and find hundreds of outfits styling up an item that is olive green. I love that feature.
Rewards are items Chictopia posts from sponsors! You can earn chic points by doing several things: uploading a photo, commenting, gaining "chic" votes, gaining "fans" or "favorites" to build up enough points to purchase a chic reward! Keep on the look out though - they go super fast. I've only been able to snag one item from them!
Chic Swap is where you can sign up to become a Chic VIP so you can upload to the swap. You can post items, sign up for items and swap clothing online!
Forum They have a great forum with over 10,000 topics and over 164,000 posts on everything from living and advice, to current events, to culture and interests.
Community is where you can find out about recent contests Chictopia is holding (they hold SO many great ones!), they talk about Style Icons (hang tight, I'll give you some tips on how to become a style icon soon!) and the Best of Chictopia with some of the top-rated photos and outfits.
So go in, create an account and start updating with outfits! It's a fun community; make the most of it!
Tips on how to become a style icon:
- Post everyday: I know, it can be really tough to post everyday, but it's the best way to ensure you are constantly exposed to readers so they can add you as a favorite during the month.
- Step out of the box: When I was in the running for style icon, I had to be really really creative. I used a scarf as a cardigan, wore the funkiest floral tights I could find and tried to work my closet in a completely fresh and unique way.
- Comment on other photos: It's all about networking. If you comment on other photos, comment back on who has commented on your photos, you'll just be exposing yourself to so many more people who can add you as a favorite! The trick of the game is to get as many "favorites" as possible!
- DO NOT message or comment on people's photos and ask them to add you as a favorite. That will never work, plus it's annoying spam!
Weardrobe is a great online fashion community. It's a bit more low-key, more focused on the actual outfit photos instead of trying to filter it out by trend or color. Let's focus on the benefits of Weardrobe!
Featured: If you upload your outfit pictures to Weardrobe, you have the opportunity to get featured! They pick only the best outfits in the community and put it on their "featured" page along with links to shop similar styles! It's super helpful if you spot something you like on the featured page… you can shop it really easily.
Recent: Recent shows you a quick and easy look at some of the most recent outfit posts that have been styled. I love the simplicity of Weardrobe and how they let the bloggers do the talking mostly.
Explore: They haven't been keeping up on Weardrobe as much as I'd like to see, but they used to do interviews and features on bloggers! I like to check out their "blogs we love" sidebar. Such a great resource to some amazing blogs out there!
My favorite feature about Weardrobe:
You can name your clothing articles anything you like. So, whenever I upload a photo to Weardrobe, I am very very particular on what I name the item, so I never name the same clothing article the same name. Why? Because it's AWESOME to be able to click on your outfit photo, click on the name of the clothing article and see all the different ways you've remixed that item (like so!). Weardrobe is like… a remixer's dream! You can't do that on any other online fashion community.
Lookbook.nu is a "collective fashion consciousness". The home page is empowering. These are real people.. and they look like they've come out of a fashion magazine! It's such a great resource for inspiration. Lookbook used to be an invite only community, but now they've opened it up and anyone can join!
Hot: Lookbook.nu judges looks based on hypes. Users can "hype" a look and it will rise to the top of the "hot" page. It's a big deal to be placed on the "hot" page!
New: The new page showcases all of the newest photos that have been put on Lookbook. It's a great way to see all of the looks instead of just the "hyped" ones.
Top: The top page contains the top looks of the week, by total hype.
Leader: This page showcases all of the big names on Lookbook.nu. Check here to see the most popular Lookbookers of today, this week and of all time on Lookbook.
The GUYS! On Chictopia and Weardobe, we are lacking some major guy fashion inspiration! I love using Lookbook.nu to look for new ideas for Brett. He secretly denies me and says he hates what they are all wearing… but he'll be peeking over my shoulder and I'll spot him picking up an item that he saw on Lookbook. :)
The lack of variety in body type and ethnicity. There's definitely a lack of diversity on Lookbook. While there are tons of people on Lookbook with amazing style, I do love seeing more of a variety of people in all colors, shapes and sizes.
Once you start blogging, you're probably eventually going to want to post an "About Me" page, so your readers have a place to go and find out more about you, and maybe answer questions they may have. A good way of figuring out how to write your About Me/what to include is by checking out other bloggers' about me sections.
by Elizabeth, Delightfully Tacky
Sunday, September 11, 2011
A working environment is a huge deal when you have a blog! More than likely, you'll be working from home a lot and you need to set aside the distractions that might come from working at home. Create a little corner, clear off a desk, set up at the kitchen table… whatever it is, make sure you have a special working environment that suits your needs.
Steps to take to create a working environment:
- Find your space. Find a space in your home you can set aside for a work-space. Like I said, it can be a small desk in the corner, a mini end table inside a closet, whatever it is… find a space that will work for you. I'm lucky enough to have a little nook in our recreation room that I devoted completely to my blog studio.
- EMPTY your space. Huh? Seriously. Empty it. Bare. Nada. Zip. It is so helpful to see the area alone, with no clutter, nothing. That way you can map out where everything will need to go! (Plus it's a great opportunity to clean from top to bottom!)
- Furnish. You'll need a tabletop or desktop of some sort! That way you'll have your computer in one spot, along with sticky-notes, books that are of importance and anything you'll need on a daily basis. I also included an enclosed shelf where I can store giveaway items, samples that I throw into packages and other miscellaneous items I might need. I also have a filing cabinet full of cards, papers I need to store and a pen drawer for all of my writing utensils and supplies. Include a comfy item for visitors. I purchased a cute chair from IKEA with a footstool, but it can be something as simple as a floor pillow or bean bag. Plus, if you're flipping through magazines or need a comfy place to think, you'll have it right there.
- Purge. Before placing anything into your space, think about it. Are you putting a box in your space that hasn't been sifted through? It's full of old dust bunnies and calculators that don't work? Get rid of those items! If you know you're not going to use it, now is the perfect time to sift through everything and figure out what you need and don't need to keep.
- Organize. Purchase some inexpensive file storage. I have boxes, magazine files and binders to store all of my papers, envelopes, you name it. Tip: Find ones with a place to label the box! My most used boxes are: shipping materials, envelopes and letters I've received in the mail from readers/friends/bloggers.
- Lighting. If you're working on your computer a lot, you're going to want to avoid bright lights if you can. It strains your eyes to have too much light while you're trying to look at your computer screen, so try to place a nice warm-light. I have two lamps in my studio… a table top one and a paper lantern. They are both very warm and it's cozy and inviting to be there at night, reading blogs and catching up on emails.
- Decorate. You'll want to add personal touches to your space! Include pictures frames, quotes, inspiration, magazine rip-outs, whatever makes you happy. When you are stressed and trying to get through a hundred emails, you can look up at something… be inspired and get right back to work. I keep a magazine rack so I can stop what I'm working on, get into my cozy chair and read a magazine. I also have a magnet board where I can rip out magazine spreads or print off pictures from the web and put up on my inspiration board. Whenever I can't find an outfit or need something to inspire me, I refer to my magnet board. It's a huge help!
- Make life easy. Is there something you use every single day? Keep it out! You don't have to have a perfectly organized and clean space. Every single week I need the address directory for the Delightful Dozen. So, I printed out the address directory which is on a cute map and framed it by my desk! I refer to it daily and so not only does it work in a functional-way but also an aesthetic way! I'm also constantly using my calculator, so I keep it out and don't put it away. I also keep a cup full of things I need constantly instead of putting them into a drawer. My cup contains my favorite pens, a ruler, scissors, you name it.
- Keep your space cozy. For me, that means the lighting is right, there are no crumbs on the carpet and things are organized. If something bugs you… like how too much natural light comes in through the window, purchase an inexpensive pair of blinds! Keeping your space cozy and up-to-par will encourage you to continue to visit the space and maintain the space. The more time you spend in your space, the better it will become.
2) Give them a shout out on Twitter or Facebook! This is fun to do if you're window shopping and find something you really love. I like to tweet stuff like, "Ah! I love this dress from @shopruche! So pretty. http//...." I usually do this anyway, not even thinking that it's a promotion. It's a great way to share little things you find with your readers.
3) Inform your readers of a really good sale they are having or a promotion that will be expiring soon. Or, if your sponsor has a special discount code they've created for your readers, let your readers know about it! Tweet, Facebook, mention it in a post... let your readers know that they get a special discount for following your blog!
4) If you love one of your sponsor's clothing articles, wear it on the blog and link to their website! Your readers will trust the company if they see you wearing one of their items and you really do love it. Note that readers will notice if you're wearing something totally out of character just to promote a sponsor, always be yourself!
5) Don't ever give praise to an item if you hate it, or if it's bad quality. Readers won't want to read awful, snarky reviews… just be honest. Say you received a dress from a sponsor and it's poor quality, that's all that's necessary. If a sponsor continually sends you poor quality items, it might be time to consider removing them from sponsorship. You don't want to be promoting a brand or shop that you don't feel confident is in the best interests of your readers. People will buy things from them and then wonder why you support such a low-quality brand. This has never happened to me though, so I don't feel like it's a frequent occurance.