Smultron Rydstedt, the creator of Hawaii Kawaii , talks about how to make and market an image-based blog.
1. What made you decide to do a blog about cuteness?
It was quite recent after I stumbled upon the concept of kawaii. I had always loved Hello Kitty and other cute stuff, been dressed in pink and being girly but when I found out about kawaii I was smitten. A contributing factor was that there was not very many blogs about the topic at the time so I thought I might have some relevance.
2. Where do you go to find material for your daily updates?
Oh everywhere. Sometimes I search Google and sometimes I read blogs but usually what I find is not what I was searching for in the first place. Most of the time I cant even remember how I found good stuff. I should get a notebook so I can go back after some time and find more. If I find a lot of great material on a site, I write two or more posts at the same time. Then I schedule them so they are published weeks apart. Some great sites for material and inspiration are Pinterest, different Tumblers, We Heart It and Etsy.
3. How many viewers/followers did you have early on? How fast did it grow?
I had very few followers of course everyone starts at zero. It grew quite fast to about 50 and I have worked on it ever since. I started following a lot of blogs and then a quite big portion of them followed back. Having giveaways is also a good way of getting new followers.
4. How many viewers/followers do you have now? When did you start offering ad space on your blog?
I have 1600 public followers/members and 1300 subscribers via Feedburner.
I have offered ad space through Project Wonderful for about a year and a half and the ad space administered by me I launched this January.
5. How did you promote your blog? Which methods worked the best?
As mentioned before I followed other blogs to get them to notice me and I commented a lot on blogs to. I created a blog button so that the bloggers that liked me could give support in an easy way. Furthermore when I started getting a little money from Project Wonderful I put it all into ads for Hawaii Kawaii in the same channel. You can get really cheap ad space with Project Wonderful. But the absolute most successful thing has been hosting giveaways, they have really helped to get blog followers, Twitter followers, traffic and introducing Hawaii Kawaii to new audiences. A key factor in promoting is assessing what I have just done, did I actually get any traffic? I love looking at statistics and have several different stat tools that I look at to know what is working.
6. As an artist who does commissions, what methods do you use to showcase your work and advertise your services? Is Hawaii Kawaii one of the more effective ways?
Hawaii Kawaii is the only venue where I promote the kawaii commissions but I have another website for my horse paintings http://www.smultronrydstedt.se/. I have to say that I have not tried enough ways to promote my work yet to be able to tell what works best. Until now I have just been supplying information about what people has emailed and asked for. I suddenly got a lot of emails asking about commissions so I made a commissions page.
7. What other sites is Hawaii Kawaii associated with and how did those agreements come to be?
I have another kawaii blog Kawaii Wallpapers that focuses only around cute desktop wallpapers and I have some new web projects in the pipeline. I also have some affiliate bloggers that I exchange links with, they are all long time cuteness bloggers and some emailed me and some I contacted.
8. You recently moved Hawaii Kawaii to Wordpress. What motivated that decision?
It was mostly a SEO decision. As far as I know Blogger is really hard for search engines to read and Wordpress is not. My traffic has boosted since the move so it was the right decision.
9. You refer to several specific brands and properties. Have you ever been contacted by any of them?
Yes, I get contacted every day by webshops, brands and promotion agents that wants me to write about their products. However it is not that often i publish their stuff and that usually is because the content does not fit Hawaii Kawaii or that the photos are of low quality. But I love when bloggers or business owners send me suggestions, and if the idea or the material is good I always publish it.
10. Anything else you’d like to tell Fan To Pro readers?