By Tony Allen,
Here’s the second part of our third blogger interview!
For the second part of my interview with successful blogger and Oxford graduate Abbey (you can read part 1 here), I asked her about how and why she started blogging, who inspired her and her personal blog experiences on abbeylouisarose.co.uk.
When, where and why did you start blogging? What was the main catalyst for you in the beginning?
It was actually my friend’s girlfriend. I followed her on Twitter without realising she’s a blogger. People promote their blog posts on Twitter, I was reading some and I thought ‘this looks like so much fun’. She was getting to talk to people and engage more with her interests and share aspects of her life, she’s an artist so she was talking about her art. So I thought ‘you know what, I’ll give this a go as well!’ So that was where it started and I haven’t stopped yet.
Did any other bloggers in particular inspire you when you were starting out?
I think one of the first people I followed was Laura Snow. Although my blog’s very different to hers (she covers quite a lot of beauty things) I just liked her style and how personable it was. What I like about reading blogs is that it’s like a chat. It’s not a magazine article where they’re trying to sell you something. Although you can have promotional and review posts, it’s more like a friend’s advising you than Cosmopolitan magazine telling you your must have for the summer.
Has your blog led to any exciting experiences for you?
One of my favourites was the Cheltenham Ladies’ Day. It was a fantastic day out. It was something that I would never do myself, it’s not something that I would think, ‘oh yes, I’ll go to Ladies’ Day’. Or the safari park trip that I did at Broxborne Wildlife Park. It’s not something that would occur to me to go and do necessarily but if you get the chance then why not! Blogging opportunities open up a whole range of things that you hadn’t even considered yourself.
How much time on average do you spend per week on your blog?
When you’re scheduling tweets it feels like you’ve spent about three weeks on it because it’s so boring! But it’s worth it because you do notice the traffic go up when you’re promoting. It really depends on the post for how much time I spend on it. For my holiday post, because the lighting was so great out there (there was actually sunshine!), it was minimal photo editing time, but if it’s the middle of winter, you’re doing your best with some lights, it can take three times the amount of time. I’m not sure on average, it depends on what specifically I’m doing.
What bloggers are you reading at the moment?
There are my friends Helen and Kate. Hels blogs about parenting and lifestyle and her days out, and I think she’s the prime candidate for saying that your appeal transcends the people who are in the same position as you. She’s got a one-year-old son called Dougie, he’s lovely. I have no plans to have a baby, I’ll cuddle it and send it back! But Hels has written posts about breastfeeding, her birth and other Mum-related things, and she writes with such personality that it doesn’t really matter what she writes about, I’ll always be interested in it because it’s her. And she has such a great style so I really enjoy reading her content. Kate does a lot of lovely outfit pictures. She looks like she’s stepped off an ad from a magazine!
When and why did you start accepting advertising on your blog?
Although it’s only £26 per month, every little helps, so it means I can go out and have a meal, for example. Maybe not in Oxford, but in Norwich! A lot of people offer advertising, some people I feel overcharge and I feel like £1 is not going to hurt anyone’s bank account, it opens it up to more people. I like to share other people’s blogs, I like to read other people’s blogs. If it gets me to meet other people, talk to other people, I don’t see a downside.
So you wouldn’t advertise someone whose blog you didn’t like?
Your blog header (above) suggests the content will be quite jovial and fun. When did you settle on it? Did you have anything before?
No, that was my first idea. I just thought that my name is quite easily pun-able I think. I thought I’ll just own it and go for it! It was the first request my header designer had ever had for a picture of a toilet in a blog header, she was just like, ‘are you sure?’ but it’s something different, it makes people laugh, it’s memorable!
I wanted to ask about personal social media – your Twitter account is very much ‘you,’ as opposed to an account just designed to promote your blog. Would you ever consider a Facebook page that people can ‘like’ or a Twitter feed dedicated solely to your blog?
I have a personal Twitter that I don’t use. So my blog Twitter is personal as well as blogging because it’s nice to have a mix and then people get a feel for you as a person as well as just this random woman writing stuff on the internet. As for a Facebook page, not all of my friends in real life know that I write a blog, I find it a bit cringey to be like, ‘I’m going to blog about this!’ I guess if a complete stranger reads my content and thinks it’s awful, I’m like ‘oh well, I’ll never meet them, it doesn’t matter,’ but if my best friend were to read the content and be like, ‘why are you bothering?’ I’d probably cry! So that’s why I don’t have a Facebook page. I might do in the future if I pluck up the courage, but also I don’t want my mum to read it!
You don’t want your mum to read it?
She’s read some things. She loves Hotter shoes, so when I wrote a post with Hotter shoes, she was like ‘I have to read this one!’ But yeah, I’m not sure my mum would want to read my post about sex, so I’m keeping that one quiet!
We discussed Twitter chats and social media in the last post, – how helpful has the blogging community been for you?
I think one of the biggest things that has kept me going with the blogging is the friends that I’ve made through it, like Helen and Kate who I’ve already mentioned [in part one]. I’m in a couple of WhatsApp groups, I’ve never met these girls but we talk all the time, we’re always there for each other if someone has a problem or someone has had a bad day we all just club together and cheer her up. That’s one of the biggest perks that I wasn’t expecting when I got involved with blogging; the people I’ve met.
Have you had any problems with, or criticisms of, your blog, and how did you deal with them?
If it’s pervy blokes, just block! Once I think there was a big drama going on about people buying Instagram followers. And it had all been sparked off by this big blogger who had found a way of checking who’s buying Instagram followers. And there was a big witch hunt, everyone accusing everyone else of buying followers. But it’s one of those things where there’s huge drama for 48 hours, then two days later everyone’s still following the same Instagram accounts, everything’s gone back to normal and everyone’s stopped bitching. So I wrote a blog post about if it’s all just fickle, and I mentioned the big blogger in it who had sparked it off, to explain why everyone was talking about this. I think I tweeted her the post. It wasn’t an accusatory post about her, it was more a criticism of the fact that there is so much drama but then nothing actually changes. I was pointing out that if we’re all in an uproar about this and nothing ever changes, we should make a positive change rather than sitting on the internet bitching. She was talking about the same things so I sent her the post.
She had read the first paragraph that she was mentioned in, and was like ‘oh, I don’t think I’m fickle at all’ in the reply! I thought, ‘you didn’t read the rest of the post and if you had, you’d see that this was very much a post appealing to people to say, okay this is silly, we need to make positive change’ rather than a criticism of her. So I was a bit frustrated. If you’re going to send me a critical comment, at least read the damn post! So after that I just couldn’t be arsed with criticism!
20 years ago, there was no such thing as the blog. Do you think there will still be blogs in 20 years’ time?
Interesting question! More and more people are getting into blogging. There’s sometimes a few bitchy things like ‘oh! Blogging wasn’t like this back five years ago when I started.’ Well yeah, the whole world is different, Princess! I think I read something this morning that more money is being spent on advertising directed through the internet than it is through TV ads. That’s really interesting. A portion of that, probably quite small, but still a portion, is going to bloggers. So if that kind of industry continues then yeah, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger.
Photos of Abbey taken by the author in Chapelfield Gardens, 14/08/2017.