Beauty blogging: 5 things to avoid as a better blogger

Once in awhile, I have something to contribute in the name of beauty blogging and this usually happens after some observations or discussions with fellow bloggers. It can also be borne out of a personal experience. So today, I’ll share my thoughts on five areas that I think a better beauty blogger should avoid.

Don’t ask for favors when you haven’t networked with the blogger
If you really want to grow your blog, then you should be prepared to network. Sometimes, that simply means going round to the blogs to comment WITHOUT expecting anything in return. If you do that long enough, the blogger will start noticing you and may visit your blog. Sometimes that can even result in some link love or even requests for product testing. However, approaching an established blogger cold and asking her to help you promote your blog contests or promotion is just wrong on all counts.

Don’t be obsessed with your statistics
I know how bloggers can become obsessed with their blog statistics. While it’s good to track your blog’s statistics to find out areas you can improve on, you don’t want to be checking them every 15 minutes. I have been publishing content online for about ten years in all to know that web traffic can become unpredictable especially from the search engines. Your numbers can look really good for a period of time and then suddenly take a plunge for reasons you don’t know.  It can therefore be discouraging for a new blogger if one gets too focused on those numbers.  So know that traffic that goes up can come down and don’t be too upset when that happens.  If you can, read up a bit to find out what could have happened and how you can nip the problem in the bud but I’ll say if the downturn is coming from search engine, sometimes lying low and waiting out is the best strategy.

Don’t blog for free products and services
Actually I really doubt those who blog solely for free products can ever become good bloggers. The reason is simple: such bloggers only write lop-sided reviews with the motive to get into the brand’s good books. And because of this, they can never become established nor can they ever expect to have good traffic numbers. While it’s quite a thrill in the initial stage to receive free products from brands you covet, blogging just to receive them is very short-sighted and will earn you a bad repuation in the long haul. And this motive is very different from those who blog to make money because these bloggers who want to make money out of their blog may know how to strategize their priorities better such as producing quality content over one-sided product reviews. Related to this is that I also know that some better bloggers are actually worried about offending brands because they do not wish to be “blacklisted”. Let me just say that if you are always blogging under the shadows of these fears and worries, you can never rise up to become better.

Don’t employ sensationalism indiscriminately in your blogging
Sensationalism is often used by the media to play up emotions in order to increase readership. By definition according to Wikipedia, sensationalism is “a manner of over-hyping events, being deliberately controversial, loud, self centered or acting to obtain attention”. So simply put, it is an exaggeration of facts. Unlike bloggers who write for freebies, there are groups of bloggers who write to bash products to the extent of exaggeration and I find this group equally distasteful. I’ve also come across bloggers who run down other bloggers or create untruths just for the sake of making themselves look better. This strategy may gain you some short term readership but it’s definitely not going to gain you long term fans when the truth is exposed. And I want to remind you that if you’re not careful, you can land yourself in some hot legal soup because I’ve came across a few incidents like that where bloggers were asked to remove content from their blogs because what they have written were viewed as libel.

Don’t copy ideas persistently in the name of community sharing
I don’t know what is worse – copying blatantly or copying discreetly. While some of our ideas may have been born out of an inspiration from another blogger, it’s another story altogether to keep implementing other’s ideas on your own blog. Sure, blogging is about community sharing but it’s also about respect for the community. Your readers may not know but the blogger whom you’re consistently copying from will get a sense and really, who likes having a wannabe colleague or girlfriend who keeps buying the same outfits, accessories or makeup items? It’s highly annoying and not flattering at all! Have your own identity and for all you know, you may just shine being yourself!

And there, I’ve said my piece! There are a couple of other things I would like to say but perhaps I’ll keep it for another time. Now, it’s your turn to tell me what you think we beauty bloggers should be avoiding. Come on in and share your thoughts!


  1. Paris B says:

    Good points all, Sesame. I’m seeing quite a lot of #1, #3 and #4 recently. Oh and indiscriminately posting press releases of anything under the sun. Its come to a point some people expect that a press release is all you need to run a post.
    Paris B last post is: How Do I use a Bronzer? Top Tips on how to apply Bronzer by Maxime Poulin, Guerlain International Makeup Artist

  2. EcoBeauty says:

    Thanks for this post, Sesame! ? I’m always thankful because I learned a lot of blogging tips from you (even before you started posting them) and I got more interested in trying out natural/organic products when I discovered your blog.

    I agree particularly with #1. There was a blogger once who asked me for a very BIG favor (and no, we have never had any interaction before that. I don’t even think she read my blog more than once, lol). Yes, it’s quite a big favor because it involved spending my own money and dedicating time. I was actually very happy to help her since she was new (newer than me! :D) and I think she was going through something. All I asked was for a simple link back to my page because I was going to do some work and hoped to be at least credited for it. Then she just suddenly disappeared and never e-mailed me back after I spent a lot of time working on various drafts for her and communicating with her. Worse, she seemed to brush off the issue about the “link/credit” whenever I brought it up in my emails. So I realized she wanted the relationship to be a one-way thing and felt really disappointed, almost mad. Sorry but I don’t want to name her blog (I don’t think she’s someone you know, anyway). I was just really disappointed…

    About the freebie issue — I also agree strongly with that. It’s just that because a lot of bloggers seem to do it, a lot of companies also think that a lot more bloggers will be willing to do it. And some of the companies start to become ‘demanding’ and develop very high expectations whenever they send out products for consideration to bloggers.
    EcoBeauty last post is: Join my iHerb $75 Shopping Giveaway and Check out the amazing prizes from WD’s Contest!

  3. Tine says:

    Spot on, Sesame. Can’t stand them all. About #1, I received an email from a random blogger a few months ago, introducing herself and her blog, asked me if I could put her link on my blogroll, and if not, what does it take for her to get a spot on my blogroll. Now I’m not a big shot blogger who’s a stickler for selecting people in my blogroll, but this irked me because when I clicked on her blog, she had one post. ONE POST! I don’t think I’m the only person she approached. When has it gotten to the point where it’s okay to ask for link exchange when you’ve only written one post?

    Tine last post is: List of Lusts: Mint + Coral

  4. Jyoan says:

    Good points! I dislike seeing excessive sensationalization. It’s like provoking for the sake of provoking. =( But I actually haven’t see a beauty blog that has done that… … Sensationalisation does makes me wonder what is the difference between a blogger and a gossip magazine writer.

    I can’t really imagine anyone doing points #1, #2, #3 though. Hmmm… especially #1. Isn’t life very painful doing such “empty” stuff than blog for joy? I am sure it exists if it’s big enough for you to point out. But I just can’t imagine the pain doing it.

    Lastly, I really do hate seeing #5. It’s very boring. I subscribe to blogs I know are first hand sources of press releases, but to read parrot press releases without a personal account/view/opinion, makes me feels really empty.
    Jyoan last post is: Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Lash

  5. EcoBeauty says:

    Oh I forgot to say that the story I shared about another blogger asking for favors and totally disappearing was more of a lesson for me than for her. I learned my lesson not to be too accommodating which is kind of ironic.
    EcoBeauty last post is: Join my iHerb $75 Shopping Giveaway and Check out the amazing prizes from WD’s Contest!

  6. Alexandra says:

    Well said Sesame! I recently had an experience with point#1, asking me to add her to my bloglist, where this blogger only visited my blog once. I frimly believe one should not make this request, in order to generate more viewers to their blog. They should make an effort to do their own networking more.
    Like Vivi, I had some bloggers asking for some favors and after one or two communications, they totally vanish!
    Alexandra last post is: Review: Lip Pure Lip Balm

  7. john smith says:

    well said don.Thanks for beautiful and fantastic sharing.

    Latest prom dresses

  8. Aleya Bamdad says:

    All good points- especially the last one. The blogger community is well aware of what;s going on, on the net and if others see that you’re taking their ideas they will shun you.
    Aleya Bamdad last post is: Top 5 Things That You Might Be Doing To Unknowingly Harm Your Skin!

  9. Yulia says:

    Great advice !! I really liked this post and love your blog I hope one day I can become a great blogger like you !
    Yulia last post is: Aishwarya Rai’s beauty secrets

  10. coralcrue says:

    Being very new to the blog world, I find this a wealth of information. Thank you ?

  11. Sesame says:

    Most of those who copy from press releases are those who can’t write. That, or they just need to fill a blog entry. ?

  12. Sesame says:

    Hmm…I’m really thinking hard about the blogger you mentioned. Is she someone in our niche cos I got approached by someone like that to promote her contest. She sent me an email before that to say hello blah blah and the 2nd email was to help her promote her contest on my blog. I replied the first but ignored the second. Sorry but I don’t waste time with people like whose motives are quite obvious. I had another blogger writing to ask me to sponsor her products for her contest and I was like WHAT???

    As for freebies, let me also say that companies are so unwise to be giving their products away indiscriminately. The PR folks are either lazy or not web savvy; it’s quite easy to check the credibility of the blog.

  13. Sesame says:

    Haha…you should have replied that it’ll cost her $500 to be on your blogroll cos that’s what I understand how some big established blogs reply.

  14. Sesame says:

    We know the famous XX vs DY saga but yes, it has also happened in the beauty blogging scene albeit a smaller, less dramatic scale and more so outside Singapore. I was a victim to an established US blog that employed the “sensationalism” approach. Well, more of writing something that was totally false and untrue. I had to put my foot down to name and shame on Twitter and Facebook. I also know companies writing cease and desist letters to some really established bloggers too.

    Oh #1 is VERY common.

  15. Sesame says:

    You’re welcome.

  16. Sesame says:

    Yeah, it’s really small and words can go around.

  17. Sesame says:

    Thank you Yulia! You can if you work towards that goal. ?

  18. Sesame says:

    It’ll be good to find out more so that you can plan better for your blog posts down the road. ?

  19. Sesame says:

    Yes, they should! I’ve been blogging for so long and I’ve never asked for link exchanges or to be included in blogrolls.

  20. Sesame says:

    Well, we do learn sometimes through the hard way…one operation code for me is never to be too nice online.

  21. EcoBeauty says:

    Not sure whether she’s from the same niche but at the time of our last email exchange, her blog talked mostly about diet and natural products. But I highly doubt you know her ’cause at that time, I thought finding her was something “too random” and I don’t think she’s active anymore.

  22. Sesame says:

    I see…then probably I don’t don’t her at all. Anyway, she sounds really random.

  23. Lanie says:

    hi sesame, your post is very timely. I was also quite mad recently because of a blogger who claims she is a doctor and an oncology writer. She joined a group that I am member of (this group is about all alternative cancer treatment), the first time she posted on our Facebook group, she included a link to her blog, initially she wrote articles that seemed to be pro-alternative. In the end, she started posting links to articles that promotes chemotherapy which I think is out of place and uncalled for cause she knows that our group is not just pro-alternative but also anti-chemo ….it drove me mad enough to check her FB page and other blogs, and lo and behold, it was so obvious that she is obsessed with stats, that she went to the level of giving freebies/contest, for those who like her FB page and follow her blog. To me it screams of self promotion and self glorification, almost selling her soul.. I dont know, I just feel that a blog is a reflection of one’s self… sigh,,
    Lanie last post is: Forest Bathing or Forest Walking is Therapeutic

  24. Swati says:

    absolutely agree with you on all points ? even I see so many press releases everyday which I find quite discouraging in the world of blogging. another trend I have been seeing is to copy paste directly an entire article and cite a source in the end. its almost like copying with giving due credits to the source. can’t say its plagiarism either.

  25. Sesame says:

    You’re right that her links are highly inappropriate! I wonder if she posts these herself because some of them hire these online SEO help and they’re very spammy in the way they comment on posts.

  26. Sesame says:

    Yeap, really pointless and there’s absolutely no value add so what’s the point right?

  27. MsLips says:

    Great post Sesame! Though I do not have a blog, I find your tips can apply to for example FB posts or anything one writes online. Tips like don’t expect favors are also timely reminders to writers in general on how to establish synergistic relationships.

  28. Sesame says:

    Yes, true. I think some writers operate on the basis of “I, me, myself” and don’t see that they should actively sought meaningful and strategic relationships in order to grow.

  29. Viktoria's Style says:

    I like the post! Actually everything you wrote about is VERY common in the blogger community I’m blogging in. I find most things very irritating, especially new bloggers asking for things but it is obvious they dont read your blog (never posted a comments etc). Or others use vulgar words and write like they know everything better (most of them are 18 or younger)….. Or they write that everyone “HAS TO” try out drugs at least one (WTF??? And No one else thought it was horrible to write on a public blog that has teenage followers!). But I could go on with the list. I think the latest problem was that some bloggers bought fake likes (thousands of likes on Facebook) just to get free products and giveaways (PR guys are not too smart because they still support them though the “cheat” is obvious). Well, these people succeeded so probably they’re happy but I still think it is not the right way… Blogging is a strange world, but I still love doing it ?
    Thank you for your post, I enjoyed reading it, and I agree with you ?

  30. Sesame says:

    Oh what you’ve mentioned are pretty new to me! I’ve not read blogs that suggest trying out drugs…that’s very disturbing! What are they thinking? And I absolutely have no idea that some bloggers are purchasing fake “likes”. Wow, that’s like so desperate!

  31. Viktoria's Style says:

    Yeah in Hungary it is the new “trend” lol buying likes. And companies only see the numbers and dont notice that a Hungarian language blog is most popular in New York or Cairo.. (lol). But I have seen webshops doing the same. You know they’re new and want to impress people… I think I’ve seen too much of this fake thing.
    Thank you for replying, I see you always answer to everyone, that’s just REALLY nice and sweet! ?

  32. Sesame says:

    You’re welcome! ? Btw, I love the pictures on your blog! They’re very beautiful.

  33. MyMy says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Sesame. I’m a beauty/lifestyle blogger also but my blog is fairly new. I’ve learned so much from what you just wrote here. Will surely keep those points in mind. Thanks again and more power!
    MyMy last post is: Weekend Reflections: Freedom Through Forgiveness

  34. Sesame says:

    You’re welcome! All the best to your blogging journey. ?

  35. Ash says:

    Thanks to you, now my skin has imporved ?

  36. Ash says:

    How do i subscribe to you?

  37. Sesame says:

    That’s great…that makes me very happy. ?

  38. Sesame says:

    Oh, you can subscribe by my post via email using this link to receive almost daily updates. But emails will arrive a day later in your inbox. If you’re using a reader, you can subscribe here and the update is almost immediately after the post is published. You can also join me on my Facebook page.

  39. Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog says:

    Love this post and these are some great ideas. I’m seeing a lot of #3, especially in some established bloggers. And it’s quite obvious when they “review” a cook pot when they run a beauty blog.
    Angela @ The Unprofessional Beauty Blog last post is: Girls’ Generation Sunny I Got A Boy Inspired Makeup Tutorial: Rockin That Royal Blue

  40. Sesame says:

    Haha…review a cook pot on a beauty blog? It’s strange but if they disclose, then I suppose it’s okay.

  41. Emily says:

    I love your blog! I’m planning to start my own soon, this helps me realize that not everyone goes into this kind of thing with the same intentions you know? Anyways, have a great day!

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