Sometimes the best (and most exciting) way to learn is to talk to an expert – someone who knows what it’s like to be in our shoes. So that’s what we did.
Here are some tips and tricks from successful lifestyle blogger, Kayla Short of Short Presents. Trust us, by the end of the interview, you will love her as much as we do.
Tell us a little about yourself and your blog.
I am the Halifax-based author behind the award-winning lifestyle blog, Shortpresents.com, where I write full-time about food, fashion, beauty, and travel. My work has appeared in national publications from Flare to Fashion Canada, as well as many other independent magazines, newspapers, and websites. I was also recently chosen as one of Huffington Post’s Top 50 Canadians among the Prime Minster, Chris Hadfield, Drake, and many extremely accomplished and inspiring Canadians.
You might have also seen me on CTV, Pop Culture TV, or CBC offering up advice as a frequently called upon lifestyle expert. And surprisingly I’m actually pretty good at getting 8 hours of sleep.
How did you first get into blogging?
The funny thing is, I actually didn’t start my blog. It was created for me, and given to me by my boyfriend. I’d been talking about how I wanted to write a cookbook and how I wanted to do this and that, but never really put anything into motion. I was teaching high school full-time, and also working a million other jobs, so needless to say I wasn’t thinking about starting a blog. I actually didn’t really even know anything about blogs, and they certainly weren’t careers at that time.
One night I was making dinner at his place, and he opened up his computer, and left it on the coffee table. He posted one lonely little photo of a meal I’d had eaten at local restaurant and I was like “hey! I took that photo, why is my photo on this website?” to which he responded, “it’s your website”, and the rest is history. It’s one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever received, and I feel so fortunate that he was able to see something in me that I may never have seen in myself.
What are some of your strengths that helped you as a blogger?
I really think having my degrees (Lit and Education) has helped me tremendously because I try to make sure my blog has a purpose, and people learn something upon visiting it. I never want it to just be the Kayla Show.
What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide its readers?
It’s different for everyone because it depends on the type of blogger you are, but I hope that people always learn something, or come away with a better understanding of something, or at the very least are entertained in some way shape of form (Even if it’s at my own expense.) Blogs should help unite us, and hopefully bring people together.
What has been the hardest part about being a blogger?
Doing absolutely everything myself. When you run your own business (because that’s what blogging is, your business) you are literally doing everything until you can afford to pay someone else. Because blogs thrive when they are authentic it’s important that you are the one getting your hands dirty, and that means you’re responsible for not only the creative side, but also the financial and planning as well.
How do you stay inspired/motivated to keep the blog up and running?
Comments! I love reading comments from my readers. Honestly it’s the best thing in the entire world to know that I’ve helped someone in any way! And this is a shameless plug, but being chosen as one of Huffington Post’s Top 50 Canadians (along with our Prime Minister and Drake) REALLY put some pep in my step.
What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Being honest and real. I think people experience enough “fakeness” in their lives, and especially online these days, so I think (and I hope) that my honesty shines through. That and meeting people in person! My most loyal followers are people I’ve met in real life, so do not underestimate the value of a quick conversation at an event, or conference.
What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
Being interesting, and staying true to who you are. There’s things you can do to be internet famous (we all know what they are), but you have to rise above that, and stick to your guns. It might take longer, but you’ll have longevity rather than simply a quick 15. I always say it’s easy to be the cool new guy, but it’s tougher to be the cool guy 10 years later.
What two pieces of advice would you give to someone who was looking at starting a lifestyle blog?
The best advice I can give anyone who wants to start a blog is to start. I wish I had a dollar for every person who’s said to me they want to start a blog. You can talk about what you’re going to do until the cows come home, but you’re never going to get anywhere until you start. I say start, and you’ll figure it out. Heck you might even change your mind a few times I know I did. Which leads to me to my next point.
Don’t feel married to whatever it is you started with. Your blog will grow with you, and frankly it should. I started out as a food blogger, then I added fashion, and then beauty, and then travel. Its only really been in the last few years that I feel like I have the formula that works for me, and had I stuck to what I started with I wouldn’t have grown or challenged myself nearly as much.
Who are a few of your favourite bloggers?
My favourite bloggers is tough because basically everyone I follow on Instagram is a blogger and I love so many, for so many different reasons. I think it would be really tough to pick just a few, but I would say I do love following along with my fellow Canadian Bloggers.
I love Becky in Calgary from Velvet and Vino (although we’ve never met in real life we have phone dates all the time, and I adore her).
Melanie, from I am Born Lippy, we met at fashion week and she is the absolute sweetest.
I adore Sarah from Boho and Braids (she’s another East Coast Blogger) based out of Moncton, and has some real great style. I love her flat lays.
Gabby from Dentelle + Fleurs, and I met when we both were featured in the Winners Fall look book last year. We were both in town for the shoot, so we kinda clung to one another. It was an amazing experience, but I have to admit I was nervous to be shot by the same man who photographed Taylor Swift. It was a big moment in my blogging career, and she was so chill about everything that she totally helped relax me. Funny story I took my first Snapchat thanks to her. I had no idea what I was doing, but she had all the faith.
We hope that some of her insights will help you stay motivated and continue to improve your own blogs. If you want to stay up-to-date with Kayla and all of her fun adventures, check out shortpresents.com and follow her on social media!
Facebook: Short Presents
Have any suggestions for another interview? Let us know in the comments below!