Key Things to Have on Your Blog
6-Things-to-Have-On-Your-Blog

Starting a blog is a commitment and investment, from purchasing the domain to spending countless hours on the design. You've got things set up and even have a few posts scheduled, but wait, how do you categorize them - better yet, what exactly should you include on your blog?

Not every blog is the same and depending on your niche, there are some things you should have while other things are optional. 

I was recently asked what were necessary items to include, which is something I actually continue to struggle on. When I initially launched my blog in 2012, I basically looked at all my favorite blogger's sites and copied what they had (haha). Through the years, I consistently edited my pages to ensure it fit my brand. I recently did another change and cut out a few pages to narrow down my focuses.

As you grow, you'll need to adjust your blog so that it grows with you. However, there are 4 key things that I believe never changes and are on everyone's blog.

  1. About Me (section or page): people want to know who you are and why you're worth following so having an about me section or page is always helpful
  2. Contact (form or page): how are brands and/or readers suppose to contact you without one of these?
  3. Social Media Links: let the stalking begin! People will want to follow along on your daily happenings in "real time", so be sure to give them outlet options.
  4. Archives: allow readers to see what you wrote in the past because you never know which article is still relevant or may appeal to them so let them dig.

In addition, these are optional categories that you can apply (if they fit your brand):

  • Shop/Shop My Instagram
  • Instagram Feed
  • FAQ
  • Videos

For categories, it is dependent on your niche.
If you're a fashion blogger then you might have categories such as outfits/style, accessories, trends, and maybe beauty.
If you're a travel blogger then your categories might be broken down by destinations or travel guides, things to do, where to eat, etc.
 
There are no rules when it comes to categories and if you're only blogging about one thing, then you can skip categories altogether.

In addition, I would suggest to ensure that your blog is easy to maneuver so don't go overboard on your categories. Also keep in mind that the more clicks you require to get to the end result, the more likely your readers will click out entirely. For example, if it takes more than 3 clicks to get to an article, I'm probably going to just give up and leave the website. Remember, people are typically in a rush and have a short attention span these days.

Lastly, your blog is YOURS so you can really do whatever you want to it but I would just keep in mind the key elements I mentioned above.

Scheduling Work Into Your Vacation
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Hotel-Normadie

If there's one thing I believe I am good at, it is balancing productivity with activities when I'm on vacation. Yeah, it's the one time I'm supposed to relax but let's be real here, when you're the CEO of your own business, you really don't have much of a choice. That is, until you grow into an empire with several employees and a trusted manager to watch over the company when you're gone.

While I'm progressively building my business up to that point, I have figured out a schedule that works well for me and perhaps for you too. This schedule works best for weekend getaways but can be adjusted for week long trips, depending on who you're traveling with and how heavy your itinerary is. 

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The First Day/Night

  • I always set up my work area on the first night. I take out my laptop, charge it (if needed), my external hard drive, notebook, pen, and whatever book I'm reading it. 
  • Before I go to bed, I prioritize deadlines, projects, and go over the trip's itinerary to see what time I have to work. 
  • I do not do any work the first night because I'm tired/jet lagged and need to sleep! I also don't want to start my vacation off stressing.
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Second Day to Second to Last Day

  • I typically wake up 3 hours before we have to leave the hotel. This gives me 2-2.5 hours of work time and 30 minutes to an hour to get ready before we head out for the day.
  • Morning work loads are light to medium. I check/answer emails, write a blog post, take conference calls (30 mins or less), edit photos from the previous day and transfer them to my phone to schedule onto Planoly. 
  • Before I leave the house, I always set up my alarms for the day, which notify me when to post for my clients. I currently post on 4 Instagram accounts, including my own, every day. 
  • Upon returning for the evening/end of day, I will usually shower and change into PJ's before hopping onto my laptop for an hour before bedtime. Typically just checking emails and editing photos from the day.
Note: Sometimes I will end the night earlier when it comes to social events, such as skipping on after dinner drinks and/or the after party so that I can get some work done and still get at least 6 hours of sleep. A little sacrifice goes a long way. 
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Photos by KSOLE; Location: Hotel Normadie

The Last Day

  • I'll wake up 2 hours ahead of schedule to work, pack-up, and get dressed. I typically will spend the first hour answering emails, editing any leftover photos or scheduling posts to be published onto Instagram that day. I also will go over my list of deadlines to make sure I completed what I needed during the trip (i.e. hotel room shots, any sponsored projects, editorials).
Note: I always keep my laptop on me during trips, either in my personal bag that I carry onto the plane or in my tote bag for car rides, so that I can easily access it. That also means that I do additional work while I'm at the airport and in the car, if I'm not driving. 

Every person is different, some aren't early risers and hate waking up in the mornings so adjust this to fit your nighttime schedule instead. Whenever I'm at home in LA, I actually do the complete opposite (as I write this post right now at 1:26AM). I don't wake up until 10AM and sleep around 1 or 2AM, since I spend majority of my time with clients during the day and attend events at night. 

Finding a schedule that works with you is always a trial and error process, but hopefully sharing how I do it can help you figure out yours.

3 Ways to Self Promote Without Sounding Like a Broken Record

Self promotion, when done correctly can increase the visibility of your brand and drive more traffic to your blog/website/store, while gaining more followers through the process.

When done badly, you can easily sound like a broken record, become really annoying to your peers, and/or sound like you're just showing off. 

When I initially started my blog a few years ago, I had no idea how to promote it. Through trial and error, I realized a few key things.

But, before moving on, ask yourself these questions first -

  1. Why was your brand created? What's its purpose?
  2. Can you sum up your brand in one sentence? Consider what your elevator pitch would be.
  3. Why does your brand matter and how does it help someone else?

If you can answer those three questions confidently, then you're already half way there. Now, let's get to the good stuff.

1. Utilize Social Media

Obviously social media is a top tool to use that's free and available to everyone. How you use it though, is the determinant of how useful it can be to you.

Here are a few ways social media can work in your favor when it comes to self promotion / exposing your brand.

[Engage] Remember in elementary school how your teachers would start the beginning of the school year with a game where you introduce yourself to everyone in the class, list what you like and where you're from. Well, take that concept and find your niche online. If you're a fashion blogger, you're in luck because there's plenty of those on Instagram and making friends online is the norm. Follow and interact with accounts that are similar to you, genuinely interact with people and leave comments that go beyond "Nice!". Don't forget to also comment back to those who take the time to comment you too!

[Build Relationships] Making friends in the industry will do wonders for you socially, emotionally, and mentally - because let's face it, your S/O doesn't want to hear about your blogger problems and/or they just won't get it. Building a long lasting relationship also proves that you're not just using the person for their resources and I would never suggest doing this either. If you haven't noticed lately, "girl gangs" and/or your "blogger squad", are getting more attention than single individuals with brands. By being able to provide packaged deals, you become a little more attractive to brands who can utilize you and your friends for a campaign versus finding 6 individuals. Win-win. Promote each other while getting paid at the same time.

[Present Your Best Work] Social media is a digital portfolio so always keep in mind to put your best foot forward. On the flip side, stay authentic. You want to promote your real self, not someone you think people will love. Create content that shows off your brand in a way your audience will relate to you, to give them a sense of connection. If possible, be vulnerable; you'll quickly realize that the majority of your struggles are shared by half of the world and together, we can all support each other. 

2. Give More, Take Nothing

Why does Gary Vaynerchuck have so many fans? Because he talks to them, not at them. He isn't always promoting his products, instead he gives them endless amounts of knowledge, motivation, and empowers them to believe that they can also be successful. He never talks down to anyone but rather treats everyone equally the same, regardless if they're a celebrity or kid trying to make it in the real world. The way he treats people is a reflection of who he is and his brand, which in turn makes people want to be around him.

There's one thing that I truly believe in and that is, if you help others even with the smallest task, they'll not only respect you but they'll be loyal to you. I have no problem helping my friends in the industry, whether it's helping them craft a proposal or taking a photo with them while we're having out together. As my blogger babe, Stuart said, "We're all in this together."

Approach people with a "how can I help you?" attitude and I guarantee you that'll always have your back. At least the good people will and yes, you can possibly get burned by the shitty people but don't let them ruin your attitude.

3. Network Offline

Events, parties, and even just grabbing drinks with friends - every opportunity out in public is one that should be seized. Of course, time and place should be taken into consideration because you don't want to be talking about yourself all night at someone's birthday celebration.

When speaking about yourself/your brand, be conscious of your tone and how you speak about your brand. The last thing you want is to come off as a show-off/bragger/jerk. The goal is to perk just enough interest to leave them wanting more and don't forget to tell them where they can find you. 

While business cards are being used less and less these days, it is still handy to have. I go on quite a few press trips and the demographic of influencers always vary in range. Majority of the time, I'm being asked for a business card so it's safe to say that business cards are still relevant and good to have. By the way, if you need a business card design, hit up my girl Melanie Dylan Kim! She made mine and I absolutely love it :) She also does logo's and art illustrations.

The bottom line is, go out and talk to people. Utilizing social media and digital marketing is great, but the most valued connection will always be face-to-face. 

FabCounsel

Photos by KSOLE | Images from Fab Counsel Panel in July 2017

The above advice are just 3 out of the many ways you can self promote yourself. Honestly, it really comes down to trial and error to find what truly works for you. Do research, experiment, and notate what helps your brand gets noticed. 

If you have any questions or want further clarification on anything mentioned in this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll respond back.

Same goes if you have any other topics you'd like me to cover, feel free to leave a comment below. 

Creating A Media Kit That'll Seal the Deal

Media Kits - do you need one? How do you make one? What do you include in one?

Let's start at the beginning, what is a media kit?

A media kit is typically a PDF document containing information about you and your business/your blog. It is basically a promotional tool that provides all the logistics of your blog to the brand and/or PR company you are attempting to do business with. 

Do you really need one?

In my opinion, and I believe most brands and PR companies will agree, that is better to have one. It cuts down on the back and forth emailing, as you can just send your kit over and it'll answer all their questions regarding statics and following. It also gives the brand an idea of the quality of work you do, the partnerships you've had, and what they can basically expect from you. Essentially, it is your resume.

OK, so what do you need to include?

There are varies things you can include, but the basics are:

  • About Me / About Your Blog
  • Social media following 
  • Blog views (page and unique views)
  • Demographics (blog/social media audience)
  • Past collaborations, press, and/or partnerships

Note: put your best images in your media kit and make sure they are high quality.

Alright, now that we covered all the basics, let's talk about how you can use your media kit to get noticed.

I asked a few friends who work in PR and that work for brands, who consistently get media kits thrown at them, what truly catches their attention. This is their advice on sealing the deal.

"The busier the media kit, the faster I stop reading."

"Your media kit should be concise, simple, two to three pages, and curated to your aesthetic. I want to see accurate reach, stats, and examples of your collaborations. The busier the media kit, the faster I stop reading."  - Phoenix Ha, Marketing Analyst | SUPRA

"Differences win deals."

"Keep your media kit simple in both the design and content. It is easy to want to put all your information on your media kit, but too much information can be overwhelming. Make sure to have concise wording that sells your brand best. And remember to include details that make you different from your competitors. Differences win deals." - Nichole Brandt, VP of Digital Influencer Marketing + Technology | XOMAD

"Provide proof."

"1. Make it as concise and informative as possible. No one has time to read through a 10 page presentation. 
2. Use pictures that aren’t pixelated. Blurry photos make you look unprofessional so why would a client trust you to make their products look beautiful? 
3. Provide proof. Include some snapshots of Instagram posts that got a ton of engagement or a blog post with a ton of comments. Clients want to know that your posts will get engagement." - Mary Vallarta, Brand Strategist | FAB Counsel

"Continually update your rates and social handles."

"I would definitely say the most important DO is to continually update your rates and social handles so that brands can accurately see information up to date!" - Becca Sigal, Account Executive | BWR

"I want no more than 3 custom written sentences."

"Most brands answer: We want a PR kit that includes high quality imagery, social media information including demographic and amount of traffic, collaboration costs, different collaboration options, and cost effective options. They want to see a general excitement about the brand and not just an interest in money. Excitement about the brand in many cases trumps your follower count.
My real answer: I want no more than 3 custom written sentences that explain why you like the brand, how you plan on turning my cost into ROI, and why I should choose you over the hundreds of other submissions I get.
I don’t need anything else. I can look at their social media presence to determine the rest." - Nathan Martell, E-Commerce Manager | BEDSTU

"Consistent, clean look."

"Your media kit should be a reflection of you and your brand, with a consistent, clean look. Avoid lengthy wording and keep info to the point. Brands want to be able to gather who you are and what you offer by quickly looking through your kit. Bullet points can be really helpful." - Darby Barton, Brand Manager | XOMAD

Hopefully all the above has helped and if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me an email: info@bylisalinh.com

 

Thank you to my friends for answering and providing great insight!

3 Tips for Success
As @GaryVee said it best, "There's so many ways to win. There's different ways to do it, the key is which bird knew himself best." 

Success is not based on luck; it is not based on how much money you had to start with or what family you were born into. Success is something that is earned, that is given to those who want it badly enough. If you ask me right now if I consider myself successful, the answer is no. I have a long way to go and a lot more to do. I'm still young, we all are, and as Gary Vaynerchuk consistently echoes, "you have to be patient."

I was asked the other night on Instagram Live, "what are your tips for being successful?" FYI, I love Instagram Live and if you want your questions answered, make sure you turn on post notifications (@bylisalinh)! Now back to the question, my tips for success - well I have quite a few but here are my key tips that I believe has worked (at least for me). 

1. Hustle + Heart: There's no question about the work you have to put in to get to where you want to be. I've always been a hustler, from elementary school selling my cousin's toys, to middle school, making deals for snacks. I guess you can say that money has always been on my mind and I've always came up with ways to make it. I had no problem working at the age of 16, I loved it and wanted to work more than just weekends. 

In high school, I worked 2-3 different jobs over the course of 4 years and got a taste of corporate life. I was kicked out of my parent's house at 18, so I learned how to be a responsible adult and pay bills. This also forced me to hustle harder because I refused to live on the streets. In college, I managed to work full-time while going to school, became a club promoter at one point, then picked up a 2nd job waitressing. So I never got a normal college life, never went to a frat party, didn't get to go on the snowboarding trip and have yet to see snow in real life, but I don't regret it at all because I wouldn't be where I am now.

The point is, if you're passionate about your goals, determined as fuck, and work your ass off - no one can stop you. 
 

2. Do you believe in yourself? Do you see yourself being successful? If you can imagine it, you can do it. 

Many people believe in seeing is believing, but why not reverse that? Believe it so you can see it. If you never talk about your goals, if you don't become obsessed with it, then how do you expect others to believe what you say? 

But - "don't just talk about it, be about it." Make sure you back up your talk with that walk. People will automatically doubt you so while they might not believe it at first, at least they'll know how serious you are about it with the work you put in. 

So many people doubted bloggers and blogging to be a thing. They talked shit, they said it'll disappear in a couple of years and here we are. I believe Chriselle Lim and Amy Song are going on strong with over 5+ years in the business. Influencer marketing is still growing and people are now just catching on. 

3. Don't cheat yourself. Don't take the easy route or the short cuts that will just end up putting you back at square one down the road. No one knows how hard anyone else works but they'll sure as hell underestimate you and then tell you that it was just "so easy" to get where you were. There's no quick rich scheme that works. 

There are ways to improve how efficient you can be and to help cut down on time consuming tasks, but don't go out and spend large sums of money on e-courses or classes that will "guarantee" you to be as successful as they are. There's no one way to do it, everyone has their own path to success and you just have to do it to figure it out.

The thing I love about Gary Vaynerchuk is that he isn't trying to sell you anything. Yeah, he writes books but his audience buys it because they truly want to - not because he asks them to. In fact, he doesn't ask for anything at all. He puts out free content, advice, takes on calls from his audience and so much more - all for free. Why? Because he understands and knows that everyone is different so it is up to them to find out how to get to where they want to be. He just helps but motivating and inspiring you to get off your lazy ass and do it! 

Lastly, my #1 tip for success is to always remain true to who you are. Success can change you, for worse or better is up to you. People will say you've changed because they don't understand what you're doing and why - but that's OK. As long as you know that you're still true to who you are and you don't start treating people differently because the money's flowing in then it's all good. 

Hustle and Heart by Lisa Linh
Believe in Yourself by Lisa Linh

Now go chase your dreams.

3 Things Not To Do On Instagram Stories

To ditch or not to ditch Snapchat, that is the question. 

It's the new burning question for influencers, should I keep Snapchat or switch to Instagram stories? Others, such as myself, have been contemplating on whether we actually do have the time to use both platforms simultaneously. After all, there are only so many hours in a day to post and choosing the right platform to spend your energy on is a big deal. 

Both, Instagram stories and Snapchat, have their pros and cons. What it comes down to is personal preference or which platform has the higher views. I'm not going to outline or sway you on either of these platforms, however, I do want to remind you of 3 things not to do. 

After using Instagram stories for over a week, I noticed quite a few things that people (especially influencers) should be aware of. 

1. Don't talk shit/don't get caught talking shit. The volume is always on.  Either I'm blind or there is no way to turn off the sound when you're recording on Instagram stories. Really Instagram? However, when you're snapping away, it can often slip your mind so what you just said about Jane is going to be heard. Be very careful when you're recording or just don't gossip ;)

2. Personal information. This may seem like a no brainer but be weary whenever you're opening packages, showing off your car, your home (in general), etc. You may think you can't really see it, but you never know! Always make sure to cover up all personal information when it comes to social media. Better safe than sorry.

3. Too much information. The biggest difference between IG stories and Snapchat (for me) is the following. I have a higher/stronger following on Instagram than I do Snapchat, which also includes a lot of business relationships (PR companies, brands, etc). Therefore, you have to be weary of how much you post and the content itself. On Snapchat, I feel comfortable posting party nights or weird/silly things. However, on Instagram, I try to reveal less because I don't want to leave a bad impression on anyone within the industry. After all, Instagram is one of my portfolios of work so I must maintain a certain expectation. 

All the tips above can apply to any and all social media platforms. The general rule I go by, despite the 24-hour lifespan, is to know your audience and post accordingly.

 

Tips for Traveling on a Budget

Traveling has always been out of reach for me, for three main reasons:

  1. I had a full-time job and was never able to save up enough vacation time for a decent trip
  2. Never had enough money
  3. I didn't know how to relax and rather worked

While only the first reason has changed, the other 2 still linger around however in the last year I've learned that if I don't do it now then I'll never do it.

I'm 28 and live in a studio apartment outside of downtown LA. My rent isn't too bad and the area I live in is safe, quiet, and has the best Chinese food around. That being said, I still don't have enough money to travel as often as I like but I do it anyways. Now the big question is, HOW? 

I'm going to be frank, I get sponsored to travel most of the time. What does that mean? It means that I partner up with hotels, car rentals, and restaurants in areas I'll be visiting and work out some deals in exchange for stays, drives, and food. However, I do have a few suggestions when it comes to your trip but I apologize in advance if they're not mind-blowing!

Flights: A recent Huffington Post article has found out when the best time to buy tickets for your flight is - 54 days out. I have found that buying ahead of time does save you more than half the cost versus last minute flights. My best example is our recent trip to New York, in which Pau and I bought our ticket to NY in late December/early January, but waited last minute (the week of) to get a return flight home. We paid a little more than double the cost to come back to LA. Totally my fault as I was under the assumption that booking last minute would be cheaper. Lesson learned. I also used Sky Scanner to help track our flights and alerted us when the price dropped. It's also a convenient way to check prices of all your desired airlines. Thanks to Naty for the tip!

Rental Cars: Driving allows you to be in control of when and where during your trip. If you have a reliable car that you don't mind putting miles on, then take that. If it's a gas guzzler, then rent. I just got my car last year and the miles on it aren't easy on the eyes so I avoid taking it too far. Enterprise and Hertz are my go-to's, although Hertz has Triple A discounts if you're a member so take advantage of that! Enterprise does have great deals from time to time and I've personally used them more than Hertz, but make sure to compare both options before booking. Renting can save you gas, miles, but you will have to consider the cost for borrowing so make sure you're traveling with friends to help split the cost. 

Hotels: I've been a loyal Hotels.com customer for a little over 2 years, racking up my stars to get that free night stay on them. I've found great deals off them and they always have a sale going on. One of my best friends uses them too and loves them! Of course, there's also Air B&B if you're bringing a group of friends along or want some private getaway for you and your boo. Another resort is Hotel Tonight, an app that gives you last minute deals and I've used it on a couple of times but would prefer Hotels.com (IMO).

P.S. Try to find hotels that offer complimentary breakfast so you can save on at least one of your meals! 

Ok so the booking part is never fun and planning ahead does save you more money. So let's talk about food and the visit.

I'm a snacker so I will stock up on snacks for any trip and you'll always find something in my purse. This saves on sporadically spending throughout the day and keep you satisfied until lunch or dinner. It also helps save you time on the drive as you won't need to stop as often. 

I use Yelp a lot, but I'm not an Elite member (in case you're wondering). I'm just like you, I use it to find affordable places to eat based on reviews. I do keep in mind that some people are just salty and can't be pleased so reviews can be completely bias/wrong for whatever reason. Trust me, I've talked to enough restaurant owners to hear all about it! So when looking for a restaurant to eat, read more than just 2-3 reviews. Get into it and look at photos, if it looks good to you then try it! After all, you never know until you've tried. I've never gone wrong from Yelp, well just once and it was from a restaurant that had perfect reviews! 

Another way to look up food and things to do in your area is Trip Advisor. You can find hotel reviews, restaurants, flights, and learn more about your destination. I use it here and there, but most of the time I just type in "Things to do in ______" or "Best places to eat in ______" (on Google). Of course, there's always Instagram where you can look through the hashtags of the city to find some hidden gems (i.e. #sanfrancisco #sf) - although this takes some time and not everyone has time for that! 

For activities and tourism during your trip, I suggest Groupon and Living Social. Got some fun date nights off of those two websites so check them out! 

Lastly and most importantly, make sure you can afford the trip! Before you start wondering where to go, calculate up the estimate of how much it'll cost to get you there and the total amount you'll be spending when you get there. Once you've figured out a budget for transportation, food, stay, and activities then you can see whether it's worth putting a dent in your wallet. There's been plenty of times where I set myself up, planning everything out and announcing I'll be traveling only to be hit with a flat tire, needed car service, cat expense, or forgotten bill. So be honest with yourself and don't try to "do it for the gram" unless you can truly afford to. There's no shame in being an adult and being financially responsible. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the middle of somewhere, with little to no money left. 

Start small, as I did, with weekend getaways to Palm Springs, Vegas, Santa Barbara or whatever cities are within a driving distance to you. I was dubbed the weekend getaway queen for awhile (lol).

Traveling and exploring doesn't mean you have to go far away. If you're craving an adventure, just create one. Dare yourself to visit a part of your own city you've never been or to find local hidden gems with friends! 

[Details] Roxy cardigan, O'Neill dress, Triangl bikini, and ZeroUV sunglasses.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Start a Blog

By Lisa Linh is a little over two years old now and while it's been a slow yet steady growth, I am rather proud of how far I have come. Although, in no way am I where I want to be and I know I have a very long journey ahead. Regardless, I am always flattered when people ask me for advice on how to start a blog.

It is one of the most common questions many bloggers receive; the second most asked is what camera we use (for me - Sony A6000 for videos and D800 for photos). While we all have taken different roads to get here, we all have asked ourselves at least 2 or 3 of these questions below, if not all 5. After all, this industry is competitive, oversaturated, and there's no such thing as overnight success. So are you really up for it? 

1. Why do you want to blog? 
If your answer is because you want free stuff, you want to be Instafamous or because you think it's the cool thing to do, please don't start. There are too many people out there that start a blog thinking they'll automatically get free clothes or access to events right off the bat. There are also a lot of people who start it thinking they'll monetize off their blog/Instagram easily. Newsflash, it is not that easy and there's a reason why many bloggers have either a part-time or full-time job while they blog. 

2. What do you want to blog about? How often will you blog?
Finding your niche, what you love, and what you want to write about is another question to ask yourself. While you can write about whatever you want, it is always good to find out what your brand will be about. What's your elevator pitch? What's your focus and why should people read your blog? Also, how often will you be publishing? 

3. Will you have time?
I started blogging years ago, had a couple of blogs and none of them succeed because I would push it aside when things got busy. I was also going to school, working 2 jobs, and had a very active social life so I wasn't fully dedicated. I also didn't promote them very well. Blogging is full-time job and many bloggers have 2 full-time jobs. If you love it, you won't mind staying up until 1AM to finish that blog post for the next day. Dedicated bloggers will burn through that midnight oil to reach deadlines, after a long day at work or after the kids are asleep. Hustling to shoot, create content that will stand out, and networking is a 24/7 thing. We're constantly working, thinking about our next moves, and yes, sometimes we will sit there at dinner for 10 minutes, editing a photo for Instagram. 

4. Are you willing to hustle? Do you have patience? 
Patience is key with blogging because you aren't going to see a ROI right away. It can take months and sometimes a year to see growth. You'll be event hopping, networking, doing email outreach, socializing and developing lasting relationships - on top of what you already do. Your significant other won't see you as much and if they do, you'll be busy typing away on your laptop. Unless you have a blogger boyfriend, your SO will need to prepare themselves and blogging can damage relationships too. Think about it and ask yourself, are you ready to throw yourself out there and self-promote shamelessly? Are you going to have the time and energy to keep it up or will you burn out within 3 months? Are you willing to stand out in public and do whatever it takes to get that really cool shot for your Instagram? 

5. Are you ready to be criticized and hated on? 
Being a blogger means you are opening yourself up to a world that can be welcoming and hateful at the same time. Judgements will be passed, comments will be made, and if you don't have thick skin, tears will develop. No one ever said the fashion industry was nice and many have called it hell. While I have come across the most genuine bloggers who I adore being around, I have also had my fair share of self-entitled divas who I could care less for. Attitude takes you a long way in this industry and people talk. Remember, your network is really your net worth.

Jealousy, assumptions, miscommunication, and irritation will occur and friendships don't last. You cannot please everyone so don't even try. You'll be blocking people on social media and attempting to keep calm when you get rejected for deals. You will have to deal with friends who don't understand what you do and/or family members who will give you the hardest time at family dinners because they think blogging isn't a real job. Be prepared. 

While there are a ton of things that can happen in the blogging world, there's one thing that should remain true: if you love it, it won't seem like a job. I wake up every morning, thankful and appreciative. It is the best feeling in the world to do what you love and be able to share it with the world. It isn't an easy life and money flow is not consistent (and can take awhile to even come in), but I don't regret this route and I cannot wait for what's in store. 


Blogger, Wordpress, or Squarespace?

Happy Thursday guys! I wanted to squeeze in this last minute post as I've been getting a few questions lately and feel horrible not having time to really respond to them. 

In the last few months, I have had friends ask me questions about blogging and how they can start blogging. I must say that I love inspiring people to follow their passion and totally get into it when they do ask me. Of course, this isn't a quick 30-minute chat but ends up being at least an hour as I go through the basics. However, the most commonly asked question is which server should I use? So let's go ahead and answer this one for you guys! I'll have another Q&A up later regarding photography, as that was the 2nd most commonly asked category. 

If I didn't answer anything specific you were looking for, please feel free to email me (info@bylisalinh.com)!

Which server do you use to host your blog?

Squarespace. I love the user interface of Squarespace and how simple it is. Publishing is easy, the templates provided are gorgeous and customizable (to a certain point).

The downside to Squarespace is the community is not as large as Blogger so you will not get as much interaction (comments/likes) as you would on Blogger. Templates are available but limited and while you can customize it yourself (HTML/CSS), it isn't as easy to manipulate and you can only do so much to it. 

There are so many options when it comes to hosting, that is it overwhelming! Which do you like better? Wordpress, Blogger, or Squarespace

I have used all 3 in the last few years and it really depends on what you are looking to do with your website/blog. Are you looking for layout specifications, being able to customize your blog with coding and your own graphics/layout, or are you looking for a backend that will be easy for you to post/upload your photos? Perhaps your decision is based on budget, do you want a free hosting site or do you want to pay for one monthly?

Here's my personal opinions/viewpoints on each of the 3 -

Wordpress: I have used Wordpress for at least 2 years, starting with a blog where I ranted about everything and anything. It was literally called "Bitchin' Rants" and I used Wordpress (the free version) to run it. My goal with that blog was to write and share my creative writing so I wanted feedback/comments. Wordpress has a large community and also does selective features of their users, although I was never lucky enough to be on that features page, it was a good way to possibly get discovered.

I like that they do have a ton of selections when it comes to layouts, especially with Wordpress.org - in which you are free to manipulate your blog as you wish. The downside is that Wordpress is always updating so your plugins and backend crap will always have to be updated or else something might not work on the page. With Wordpress.org, it may get confusing to newbies or those not familiar with the logistics since you have to find your own host and install yourself - but it's not impossible to learn. You will have full control of your blog with Wordpress.org, however, it all comes down to how much you want to do with your blog. Read this page for a comparison in pricing and features between Wordpress and Wordpress.org.

Blogger: I attempted a couple of times to use Blogger, as I know it has a large blogging community focused on fashion but I cannot get over the limited features it has. While Wordpress has a ton of plugins and is hosted on their own server, Blogger is run by Google and  they have the right to shut you down at anytime. In comparison, Blogger is super easy to set up and it's completely free. Since it's run by Google, you already have analytics and AdSense, along with unlimited storage thanks to Google Cloud

However, everything free comes with a price so here's my quick list of cons for Blogger:

  • Default themes are ugly (IMO). You can always buy themes and customize them yourself but depending on the cost, it can get expensive if you change it as often as I do (2-3 times a year). You also have to know the basics of coding to install and customize it.
  • Image sizing: Maybe it's just me but I find it annoying to resize your photos manually. This is the one thing I love about Squarespace - it automatically resizes all your images so they look consistent in your posts! I never have to resize an image for it to fit with Squarespace.
  • Features and functions limited: Great for casual bloggers who don't seek much other than a place to write and being able to change the layout/colors. However I have seen a lot of people move from it once they get serious with blogging or want more from it.  

Squarespace: The first thing that attracted me to Squarespace were the templates. You can easily change templates and actually preview what the website will look like, before applying a template. This is something I abuse and use all the time because I am always changing the look of my blog. Being able to easily move content around, not loosing a single page in the process, and previewing what it can potentially look like before applying the change is amazing. 

As mentioned above, I love that images are automatically resized to fit the blog post. You can easily set it to open in a new window, caption it, link it to whatever you want, and have it pop up in a window for full viewing. You are also allowed to select whether you want to upload your images as a grid, gallery, slideshow, or carousel format.

Everything is easy to do and use on Squarespace, making my life so much easier and posting faster than the other 2 servers. I will have to say that sometimes the server can get slow (uploading wise) and I hate the fact that it does not allow me to upload multiple photos at one time (unless I am selecting to upload as a gallery). This is where Wordpress wins as they let you upload as many photos as you want, all at once, and then choose which photos you want to include into the blog post. 

I have been on Squarespace since day 1 of By Lisa Linh and while I cannot fully customize my templates to my complete liking, I will have to say that whatever I do to my blog, I have received compliments of how organized it looks. So I guess it works right? It connects to all my social media accounts in one click, I can easily write a post and move things around without losing it. It gives you 4 tabs in the backend of your blog posts, "all, drafts, review, and scheduled" so I can easily find posts that need to be worked on versus what I already scheduled out. Inserting HTML and CSS is easy and settings are understandable. 

Squarespace does cost money and has 3 options in costs, depending on what you are looking for. I have the 2nd option, the "Business" package which is $18/month. Here's a quick guide to the price breakdown and which you should choose. 

Ultimately, the choice is yours and what you personally need. But I do hope this helps in answering the question on which one you should choose. 

[Details] Skullcandy headphones, Cotton On top, and Pheel bottoms.