Author: skylarallen

Taylor Sterling of Glitter Guide and Sterling Style

Kaczmarski, Alaina. “Taylor Sterling of Glitter Guide and Sterling Style.” The Everygirl. N.p., n. d. Web. 9 Mar. 2014. <http://theeverygirl.com/feature/taylor-sterling-of-glitter-guide-and-sterling-style&gt;.

This article is really helpful for my research because it is a career profile on the founder of one of the blogs that I am focusing on with my paper. Taylor Sterling founded The Glitter Guide, a lifestyle blog that’s extremely girly and very creative. I was always very curious about how this site makes money and although this article doesn’t flat out say how it does so, it pinpoints some of the struggles and hardships that Taylor had to endure when starting the company on her own. Taylor admits that she had to borrow money from her family to get things. Taylor also gives tips on how to manage being your own boss, starting a company from the ground up and advice for girls who want to follow in her footsteps. This article is helpful because it shows an additional side to making a career out of blogging.

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News/Magazine Blog Concept

Everyone loves photos, and that’s the number one reason people click on posts, so why not create a blog entirely focused on photos? Our idea for a blog is that the homepage would simply be a collection of images, that are ultimately connected to full stories or blog posts. We based our idea off of tumblr and the fact that everything is photo-centric on that site. Below is a rough example of what we would want the homepage to look like.

 

On the left, we would have a navigation bar to guide readers to specific sections, as well as an about us page, a search bar and a contact page. The navigation bar would be a static function of the blog that would remain in place while scrolling through photos. Advertising space could also be sold as the same blocks that contain photos, which would require advertisements to be extremely visually appealing. When you hover over a photo a headline would appear towards the bottom of the photo in a transparent box so that readers know what they are going to click on. This would require that all posts have a photo, but we think that that is a great thing to strive for with a blog or news site. This blog would be the best of social media. It would be a beautiful collaboration of the best of tumblr, pinterest and instagram, with a hint of Twitter and Facebook.

 

By Skylar Frederick and Jill Holzheimer

Response to Lauren DiCioccio Paintings

Well I think it is both obvious, and not, how we can relate Lauren DiCioccio’s Paintings to blogging. What she has done with the dots teaches us a lesson. Whether it is words, cats, oranges or airplanes, the format and layout of the page remains the same. It is so much the same that we can recognize what she is trying to portray although there is not a single word on any of these pages. In terms of blogging, we can use this lesson to our advantage when it comes to laying out our page. I think the number one thing to take away, is that there is somewhat of a set format when you are laying out posts and pages on your blog. For instance, you can’t have a blog that doesn’t have a single word on it anywhere. That would mean there is no title, no contact information, no about section, nothing. Would that blog ever get any traction? Would anyone ever want to visit that blog? Same thing would happen if the blog was nothing but words. Think about how boring that blog would be? With that being said, we obviously don’t want every blog on the internet to look exactly the same, but like DiCioccio used dots instead of words, maybe we use graphics instead of photos, videos instead of paragraphs. There are endless possibilities when it comes to blogging but it is always important to keep in mind what your audience wants. Of course, this depends on what kind of blog you are running. But in my opinion, regardless of the type of blog, there should never be a blog that doesn’t include any pictures. If you have a food blog, include so many pictures so that your audience isn’t hungry for more (no pun intended). With my food posts, I like to show a picture of the ingredients, a picture of the batter or mixture, a picture before the oven or freezer or fridge, a picture after the oven or freezer or fridge, a pictured of the dish artfully laid out on a plate, and a picture of the dish with a bite taken out of it. When I’m baking, and following a recipe that didn’t show step by step picture like that, I’m always questioning whether or not my version looks like it should, whether I did it right, or if things are going to go horribly wrong. When it comes to format, DiCioccio’s paintings also advise that we should follow somewhat of a set of guidelines, like coloring within the lines for the most part, but it can’t hurt to change things up a bit and go outside the norm. There are an endless array of possibilities when it comes to blogging, just keep in mind that visually appealing is the number one thing your blog should strive to be.

How to Earn Bundles From Your Blog Without Ever Selling Anything On It

Tice, Carol. “How to earn bundles from your blog without ever selling anything on it.” Tuts Plus. Envato Pty Ltd, 24 Jan 2014. Web. 1 Mar. 2014. <http://business.tutsplus.com/articles/how-to-earn-bundles-from-your-blog-without-ever-selling-anything-on-it–fsw-36810&gt;.

 

Though I have yet to see this on any fashion blogs, this article explains how bloggers can make money without selling any ad space on their actual blog. Instead, these bloggers sell ads on their newsletter that gets sent out to followers and helps bloggers make thousands of dollars. Though not all bloggers use this method of making money, this is a good article for my research because it shows an example of a way to make money as a blogger. The article provides hard evidence from people who have sold advertising this way, as well as the reasons why it makes so much more money. The end result is that viewers are less likely to share sponsored content on a blog and are often turned away by it. There are downsides to this method though. It changes the way your users take in your content, as well as the number of subscribers vs. non-subscribers visiting your site.

Response to “Uncreative Writing”

Appearances matter, regardless of where you art, what you’re doing, and whether it’s online or in the real world. We might not think of it, whether because we think it doesn’t matter or because we just have no idea how to do it, but the way our blog posts look can really affect your success as a blogger. Think about the different websites you frequent when you’re online shopping. I know personally, that I have certain companies I love to shop from, mainly because their website it just so user-friendly and overall awesome. Other websites deter me in that they are too confusing, or just not easy to navigate. Same goes for blogging and news articles. Too much text makes a reader not want to read the whole thing, while photos help to engage the reader and offer an alternative way of absorbing the information. These things are very important, and with our basic WordPress sites it can be a bit complicated to figure out. We are limited in what we can customize, including fonts, colors and just the overall appearance. So it’s important to fix and be creative with what we can. Use photos often, and make them pretty photos that are as high quality as possible. Change up the layout, use a header, categorize your posts and always keep your readers in mind. If you wouldn’t want to read it then why would anyone else?

In terms of creative commons, this article brought up a very interesting point. Text is text, but magazines and newspapers aren’t just text. There are people whose job it is just to layout the page so that it looks appealing, and so that it isn’t just a page of boring black and white text. Context is also very important. A story accompanied by a photograph helps to better tell that story, but also helps to better explain that photo. But if you took either one away, the story or explanation would be lacking, and not the same as it was when coupled together. Those photos are also meticulously chosen so that they are showing exactly what they want to show. Rather than just any picture of a car, but the specific car the article is discussing With Creative Commons, the same truth can be argued for. Creative Commons limits users in what media they have access to. If you are looking for a very specific picture of an african american man, wearing a black top hat, smoking a cigarette while walking his dog in the middle of Times Square, chances are you won’t find that on Creative Commons. Creative Commons is more for the general use. So it would be used in places where the picture you need is broad and is just a visual element for the article or blog post, rather than the focal point of the post. The same is true with music and videos found on Creative Commons. You won’t be able to be very picky when you’re looking up media on Creative Commons because not everyone needs what you need, but regardless Creative Commons is there to help. And if there’s something you need that you can’t find on the site, then you’ll just have to put in the extra work and do it yourself. Also it’s important to keep in mind that what you’re taking from Creative Commons has a different context than the context you will be giving it.

Can You Make Real Money Blogging?

Williams, G. (2013, July 11). Can you make real money blogging?. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from     http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/07/11/can-you-make-real-money-blogging

This articles begins to explain how hard it can be to make money while blogging. It begins by pointing out that when blogging was new and novel, making money was much easier, because so few people were blogging. But now that there are over one hundred million blogs, making money as a blogger is that much harder. With the downfall of the economy, less advertisers are buying up space on blogs, and the ads that they do buy cost a lot less, making the blogger nowhere near as much money as they used to. The article warns against relying on blogging for income, pointing out that it takes a very long time to make money from blogging, if ever. This article points out three key things to know about successful blogging: “making a living won’t come quickly”, “utilize your experience”, and “Blogging may not be digging ditches, but it’s mental work.”

Response: Creative Commons is Rewriting Rules of Copyright

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Creative Commons was created by Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor. Lessig said he created Creative Commons in order  “to create a body of digital work, which he calls ‘artifacts of culture,’ for the public domain, accessible to all.” Since then, artists, writers and musicians alike have used Creative Commons to release their work, whether it be in full or just pieces, with the hopes of sharing their creations with the public.

One of the problems facing artists then, that is even worse now, is the ability to get their work into the hands of their fans, for little to no cost. As is explained in the article, Chuck D and the Fine Arts Militia released their single, “No Meaning No,” through Creative Commons, and were blown away by the fan base the free release of their music created. After this success, the band then released their entire album under creative commons licensing.

So then, I am left wondering, even with such a successful fan base, how is this band making money? Creative Commons allows anyone to use, edit and redistribute the material on the site. Although this is great for exposure, especially for new musicians and artists, how are these people supposed to make money? At the time this article was written, Apple Inc. had proved that people were willing to pay 99 cents to download a single song, I’m not convinced that’s the case now. I don’t remember the last time I purchased a song on iTunes or even bought a DVD. Nowadays, we can find everything for free online, though most of these are illegal versions. Think about how you consume media. Whether its music, tv shows or movies, do you always pay to listen to or watch them?

On the contrary, there is something to be said about the fact that these artists and musicians are willing to give their art away for free, and not only give it away, but let users turn it into whatever they want. The article points out that this is becoming the new norm as more and more artists warm to “the idea of the Internet as a friend instead of foe and race to capitalize on technologies such as file-sharing and digital copying.”

The internet can be such a beautiful thing, if we allow it to be. Opposite from last week’s discussion about trolls and the hurtful things they can say to anyone they want, without even saying who they are, Creative Commons is one of the most positive places on the internet. We all know the saying, “sharing is caring” and Creative Commons capitalizes on that notion. The creator, fans and supporters of Creative Commons are all a part of this community that lets anyone access and use art for free and do whatever they want with it. These people aren’t necessarily concerned about the money, but rather care so much about the art, and their art, that they will let anyone have it for free. This really makes you think — why do we have to pay to listen to music, or to watch movies, or look at pretty pictures? Is the obsession with making money off of all of this taking away from the art itself?

Regardless of where you stand on the money debate that I laid out above, Creative Commons, in my opinion, is a lifesaver for a lot of people. Just the other day I introduced my coworker to Creative Commons and she couldn’t stop thanking me. She needed music to add to the background of a video she was making, but had no idea where to get music that she could use legally. Creative Commons allows anyone to use media or art to do whatever they need, saving them time, money and a whole lot of effort.

Creative Commons

There are so many reasons why it is important to use creative commons media. First off, you don’t want to get sued! If you’re taking pictures from non-creative commons sites, chances are, you’re doing something illegal, and if you’re caught you will have to pay up. You might think that you could talk your way out of it, but honestly you never know how the owner of that work will respond. In order to avoid getting into trouble by using media that isn’t yours, the safest thing to do is to use creative commons media. Though sometimes the results can be limited and not exactly what you are looking for, using creative commons media actually saves you a of time and money. In addition, someone worked really hard to take that photo, create that video, or record that song. By stealing it and posting it on your blog illegally, you are pretty much giving a really big virtual slap in the face to creator and discounting all of their hard work. If you had taken that photo or recorded that song, wouldn’t you want credit? Using creative commons media  is the best way to ensure that you don’t find yourself in legal trouble. It can also enhance your blog when you don’t have the opportunity or resources to create your own media.

There are many ways a blogger can take advantage of creative commons media. Say you are blogging about your upcoming trip to Brazil, but since you obviously haven’t been there yet, you have no pictures to use for your post. This is where creative commons media comes into play. You can easily find an image of Brazil that is legal for you to use, as long as you provide proper attribution. Often, people like to add music to their posts or videos, but aren’t so musically talented. Creative Commons allows you to legally use songs to buff up your content, saving you from lawsuit and saving your audience’s ears from any horrible singing or guitar playing. Though it’s always safer to just take your own photos, it’s often impossible to do so for your blog, unless you have a food blog like I do, and therefore have all of your content right in front of you. Creative commons is kind of like a fairy godmother that is there whenever you need it.

As a creator, creative commons media is a very easy way to get your work out into the public. Yes you can post your work on Facebook hoping someone sees it and wants to higher you. But once you post something on Facebook, Facebook owns it, so the licensing changes and it’s no longer yours. Creative commons works very well for users who are broadly searching for something. As a creator, you have a greater chance of having your work seen if you post it on creative commons. Creative commons is very helpful and is a great platform for showcasing your work because it will not only show up on your own blog but it could show up on hundreds of other blogs as well.

 

Three Blogs I Admire

1. The Blonde Vegan 

I have been following The Blonde Vegan for awhile now, after finding her account on Instagram. All of her food looks so delicious, and compared to the majority of other foodie and fitness accounts I follow on Instagram, The Blonde Vegan actually lives in New York. I really like the simplicity of this blog. The layout is clean and the color scheme is simple, as to not distract from the content. I also like how her blog is sophisticated and well put together and includes icons and links to all of the other ways you can connect with her on social media. As far as content, I really aspire to be as creative and interesting as The Blonde Vegan. All of the posts are incredibly detailed, but not in an overbearing kind of way. Rather she really takes the time and effort to make her posts helpful to her audience. I also really like how the blog isn’t just recipes, but also contains reviews, helpful hints, and even a little yoga inspiration on the side. I also like how the corresponding Instagram account is updated constantly, and the blog is updated once every couple days. By following her on Instagram, I easily get inspired but don’t have to wade through paragraphs of text. The only thing I don’t like about the blog is that because she lives in New York, she has access to healthy restaurants at food stores at just about every corner. Here in New Brunswick we don’t have that and I wish that she would try to cater to that type of audience as well.

 

2. Garden of Vegan

This blog has some of the prettiest and most simple food pictures I have ever seen. All of the photos appear to be taken in the same place and I just love when bloggers make the effort to make the pictures beautiful, which is something I am struggling with. I also really like all of the different pages the blog has, such as “Breakfast”, “Lunch & Dinner”, “Snacks” and “Food on the Go”. This makes navigating the blog very easy, and its much more organized than just having a recipe page. I like that there are multiple posts every couple of days. The food is very creative and artfully presented. I don’t like however, that the posts don’t have corresponding recipes with them. They have ingredient lists but that’s it. Whenever I’m looking at beautiful food pictures I want to know how to make it and I wish this blog would tell me!

 

3. Vegan Housewives

This blog is clearly more than just a blog to its founders and rather is a career. It’s not just a side note or a hobby, but the main focus of these women’s lives. This blog has everything from recipes to tips to clothing. I really like how the blog features veganism in all aspects of the lifestyle. The blog includes vegan fashion, how to travel as a vegan, and even how to date as a vegan. They really hone in on everything you could ever want to know. I really like that with blog it feels very personal. All of the posts are conversational and when reading them you feel like you’re listening to your best friend talk. I also like how the blog breaks it down into even more than just vegan. There are categories for gluten-free, sweets, homemade and even how to prepare vegan food for kids. The only thing I don’t like about this blog is the layout. It is very cluttered and a bit overwhelming and distracting. There is a row of categories on the top, but then there is another set of categories running along the side. There are ads and links and pictures and graphics just everywhere and it takes away from the incredible content.