Tag Archives: Web Creators

4 blogging pros share how they attract new visitors

Blogs are a powerful tool to reach a wide, global audience, but for those just starting out, it can be intimidating to get those first few readers and subscribers. We recently asked successful musicians, foodies, fitness instructors and fashionistas how they grow their blog followings. Here’s what they had to say.


Post regularly and be authentic.

The most common response we received from almost everyone we talked to was to post regularly. But about what? One strategy, according to queer, non-binary musician and lifestyle writer Rigel Gemini, is to answer common questions. “One of my top articles,” Rigel says, “answers the common question, ‘why are queer people creative?’ I wrote it without even realizing it was so heavily searched, but realized that as something that I have often wondered and thought about, so many other people have, too.“


An image of Rigel Gemini

Rigel Gemini regularly posts updates about music, fashion and Atlanta-based events on his eponymous blog.

And in addition to posting regularly, you’ll want to stay true to who you are. Fitness-focused parenting blogger Amy Jay of Go Fast Mommy adds, “It’s important to share the real you.” She says she makes sure to show her face and voice regularly on her Instagram stories, “so that my followers can relate to the real ‘me’ behind the pictures.”


Find your niche, but don’t be afraid to branch out.


Most creators build a following by carving a niche in one area, but they also shared that branching out can also help to reach new fans.


Rigel Gemini knows that the internet has always been a place to connect with people who have similar interests. It also offers a world of difference that can bring value to your blog. “I try to engage as much as I can across the internet and in my real community in the physical world,” he says.


Ana Snyder, fitness instructor and creator of Get Buff with Ana, began by sharing her bodybuilding  experience and expertise. “In order for me to grow my account,” Ana shared, “It was also important that I expand my niche a little bit from bodybuilding to more generalized health and wellness.” Now her content includes tips about handling isolation, expressing gratitude and maintaining financial wellness. 


Form partnerships.

Online, as in life away from the keyboard, one way to create a community and a career is to form meaningful relationships. Partnerships with brands and other content creators allow bloggers to blend communities, exchange ideas and reach new readers. Brand partnerships often pay influencers to promote their product. Ana Snyder, for instance, partners with a number of fitness and wellness brands and writes about them on her blog and social media. The products she promotes are ones she uses in her day-to-day life, and they allow her to reach fans of those brands. 


But keep in mind:  It’s important that brand partnerships be genuine and relevant to your content. “I only work with those [brands] whose message mirrors mine,” Ana says. “I often turn down partnerships with vegan companies. Although I eat vegan food occasionally, I’m not vegan, and I don’t want to give my followers a contradictory message.” Ana also writes bylined editorial content for a health and wellness platform. “This publicity has helped me get a lot of followers,” she told us. 


Ana Snyder standing in front of a stone wall

Ana Snyder blogs about health and wellness, fitness and bodybuilding.

Add events into the mix.

When the pandemic is over, social events will return to our lives, and these gatherings can be a powerful way to grow a following. Clarissa Mae of Clarissa Mae Yoga is a yoga instructor and mobility coach from South Dakota. She teaches yoga and social media branding classes both online and in person. These events drive deeper relationships with Clarissa’s brand — and when people bring friends to the events, Clarissa often gains new followers.


Clarissa Mae helps someone stretch in a yoga position in an exercise studio

Clarissa Mae supplements her blog’s content with regular events, workshops and seminars.

Rigel Gemini frequently attends events such as FABNORMAL, a queer arts showcase in Atlanta. Events like these help him network with other people with similar interests, and also give him compelling blog content that people are searching for online, such as written and video recaps.


These days, there are many ways to grow a blog. Try out the strategies we’ve shared, and learn what works best for you.

Unsplash helps 20 million creators tell their stories

Mikeal Cho, co-founder and CEO of Unsplash, believes that there’s an image at the heart of every story. Since 2013, Unsplash has allowed more than 200,000 photographers to share their work and build relationships with other creators and organizations. 

Cho refers to Unsplash “an accidental company.” When looking for images online, he found that “great images were often locked up with confusing licenses,” meaning people couldn’t easily use them. So he uploaded 10 photos left over from a photoshoot to Tumblr and allowed anybody to use them for personal or commercial purposes, without attribution or licensing fees. Now, far from simply being a source of free stock photos, the platform has become the foundation for new careers, relationships and stories.

A photo of a laptop and coffee cup on a desk.

An early photo uploaded to Unsplash. Photo by Alejandro Escamilia.

Who did you envision as Unsplash’s users, and how has your audience changed? 

We have everyone from independent bloggers to large publishers, and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies using Unsplash. There are 110 million image downloads a month on Unsplash, and 70% of those are coming from people who haven’t downloaded a photo from a stock photo site before.

What is the relationship and value proposition for Unsplash’s users and content creators? 

Users can download high-quality images for free, quickly, and you don't need to subscribe or create an account.

We weren't sure people would contribute images for others to use for free. The thesis was that if you find useful images for what you’re creating, and you have a couple of images of your own, you will contribute those to the site. We started with our own photos, and our theory turned into a reality. The value was the ability to be a part of something.

If you're sharing photos on Unsplash, you're helping other people make something. You're also sharing your story. High-quality visuals covering lots of different use cases enable you to tell those stories—and stories are the way that we create change.

People ice skating on frozen canals.

Fun on the Frozen Canals of Delft, Photo by Max van den Oetelaar.

What motivates creators to contribute to this amazing gallery of photographs?

The internet is big, but it can also get lonely. Eighty percent of uploaders consider themselves to be amateurs. They’re learning a craft together and Unsplash is their platform for sharing. Because the platform is big, their work can lead to other opportunities.

It’s similar to what happened with blogging; people wondered, "Is it going to kill the book industry if everyone is writing online for free?" There was more publishing, more ideas being spread, and those ideas created downstream opportunities. That's what Unsplash does for someone who contributes images. Somebody sees that image, and now they know you and your work. This can lead to them wanting to connect with you or wanting to hire you. You don't need an agent. You don't need to come with a name. If you have great images, it's going to get noticed.

How else can Unsplash help uploaders succeed online?

It's helping creators build confidence. The only way we make progress is by sharing and being open, so we've developed our product to help encourage creators. People who contribute photos are able to directly message each other and our team. We have also enabled people to send out thank-you messages. We've also seen people end up married after they found an image and wrote to the photographer.

Spaced empty folding chairs at an outdoor event.

Photo by Forest Simon on Unsplash.

Is there anything you want to tell other content creators?

There is a lot of advice about what content to create and when to post. But what you should really care about is making something that resonates with people and that you can sustain for a long period. Instead of what you think might be a huge market opportunity, make sure you are always solving, writing, and creating what is interesting to you. The world will follow.

4 ways web creators are monetizing their blogs now

Most bloggers start out writing about passions, whether it’s fashion, travel, pets, food…whatever inspires them. And the most successful among them are as devoted to their blogs as they are to their passions and produce rich content on a weekly or even daily basis. 

But what does it take to turn a blog from a fun hobby into a source of income? We asked web creators who focus on a range of topics how they’re monetizing their blogs and websites to shed some light on the process. 

Let advertising work for you

Blogger Kevin Espiritu

Kevin Espiritu uses ads and affiliate links to monetize his blog, Epic Gardening.

Kevin Espiritu runs a blog about growing your own food called Epic Gardening, and one of his tips is to make use of advertising. "We monetize with curated display ads and affiliate links mostly," he says. "Ads are the base layer of monetization on the internet, and carefully selected affiliate links are a helpful, low-lift way to provide readers an option to purchase a product that will help them in the garden.”

One advertising option is Google AdSense, which offers bloggers and website creators a way to run display ads alongside their blog posts. Advertisers compete in a digital auction to place ads on your blog, and how much you earn depends on monthly traffic to your website and how many visitors see or interact with the ads.

Make use of affiliate links

Beauty blogger Nikki Apostolou

Beauty blogger Nikki Apostolou runs affiliate links to products she believes in

As Kevin mentioned, affiliate links are another way to generate revenue for your blog. With affiliate marketing, the blogger agrees to link to specific products that they feel good about sharing with their audience. An affiliate link takes the consumer to the merchant’s website, with the affiliate (the blogger) getting a commission for every sale. Multiple affiliate networks are out there to bring together merchants and products with bloggers and website creators. 

“With affiliate links, I love that I could leave a link in my bio, a swipe up in a story, or a link on a blog and get a percent of a sale,” says Native American beauty and fashion influencer Nikki Apostolou, who publishes The Cosmeholic blog. “If it’s something I'm passionate about, and I share all the time, it makes it an organic income stream.”

Experiment with sponsored posts

LGBTQ blogger and influencer Rigel Gemini

LGBTQ blogger and influencer Rigel Gemini monetizes his site with sponsored posts and brand partnerships

Rigel Gemini blogs on fashion, art, film, music, travel and lifestyle within the LGBTQ community. Sponsored posts are one way he earns income from his blog. 

In this scenario, brands will pay to have their company name, products or services featured on a blog. Sponsored posts offer brands a way to get exposure from popular bloggers and other influencers, while offering the content creator a fee. As with affiliate marketing, numerous sponsored post networks exist to bring together brands with bloggers and social media influencers. 

“I monetize via sponsored posts and brand partnerships mainly,” he says. “This has been a consistent stream of opportunities for years.” 

Adds lifestyle photographer Nicholas Valdo, “Affiliate links and sponsored posts seem to be the most organic and true way to promote products I genuinely believe in and have used.”

Seek out brands to build your own

A Treasure Dig activity from blogger Mothercould

Mothercould created a Treasure Dig activity for Nickelodeon's Santiago of the Seas.

Some bloggers, like Myriam Sandler of Mothercould, will reach out to companies whose products she already uses and wants to endorse. Myriam, who creates sensory games and activities for kids, approached a company whose food coloring she used in her recipes. The brand jumped at the chance to partner with Myriam to sponsor and create custom content. This led to other kid-friendly companies like Nickelodeon contacting Myriam to establish brand partnerships. “You get a lot of ‘nos’ before you get to a ‘yes,’” she explains. “For me, the [first] partnership gave me the confidence to pursue more.” 

How you choose to monetize and grow your blog is totally up to you. Some bloggers start out using advertising and affiliate links as they build their following and reputation as content-matter experts and influencers. Sponsored posts and brand partnerships may come later, as your blog and your online presence grow. Know you can mix and match your approaches — no need to stick to just one, and your approach can adapt as your blog evolves.

“It takes some time to start to build up a portfolio and cultivate relationships,” says Rigel Gemini, looking back on the content and revenue streams he’s developed. “But over time it's easy to start to build a reputation in brand work. Brands depend on working with creators who have professionalism and follow-through.”

Take a virtual tour with a professional pizza enthusiast

You might think you love pizza, but Miriam Weiskind truly loves pizza. She has given pizza tours of Manhattan and Brooklyn for Scott’s Pizza Tours for over eight years, runs a website and blog at the ‘Za Report, is active on Instagram at @thezareport and now makes her own pies for her local community — with a month-long waiting list. And while Miriam also runs a Brooklyn-based creative studio called mdoubleu Design, she is clearly a professional pizza enthusiast.

To help people around the world learn a bit about Miriam and her passion for pizza, the Google Web Creators team partnered with her on a Web Story showcasing a virtual pizza tour of Brooklyn. 

The story’s title page draws you in with a mouth-watering video of a pizza being tossed and baked. The personal introduction makes you feel like you’re right there with her. She also appears throughout the Web Story, offering her opinions on what makes each pizza great.

First pages of Miriam's Web Story

Video shot in the pizza shops brings this Web Story to life. Instead of reading a blog post mentioning coal-fired pizza, you see a pizza with melted cheese emerging from an oven with red-hot coals.

A pizza comes out of the oven in Miriam's Web Story

The Web Story also has summary pages, featuring Miriam’s favorite pies at each pizza shop. It ends with the names of the three places visited in the story, and features photos and a link to  locate these places on Google Maps.

Links to the locations Miriam shared on the last page of her Web Story

We recently chatted with Miriam about her love of pizza, and how that’s given her success on the web and social media.

How did you find your audience?

I began working with Scott’s Pizza Tours, giving tours once a week while working as a freelance art director in advertising and branding. My passion and love for pizza grew from that.

How did you figure out what you wanted to sell?

During the pandemic, I began to bake [pizza] pies for free to help those out who lost their jobs, were first responders or essential workers, or who were feeling sad or isolated due to the pandemic. Word of mouth quickly spread that I baked amazing pizza for free, and people began to donate to keep me baking. I now offer a limited menu of wood-fired pizzas and Sicilian pies that sell out 30 days ahead of time.

Tell us about your brand. How do you want it to be perceived by followers and fans?

I’m a pretty simple woman, working to make it in the pizza world while leaving a lasting impression to inspire others to do good and be good to others. Followers and fans love my story and the amazing pizza when they try it. 

How do you come up with ideas for content for your blog?

On a whim. I let ideas come to me, but I do have a certain algorithm I stick to in order to keep my audience engaged. Also, I do everything on my own. I want my voice to stay true to who I am, and if I were to have someone else do it for me, I don’t feel it would resonate as well with my audience.

How do you manage your content calendar? Any suggested tools or resources you rely on?

I use a text editor on my phone. I should really use a calendar.

Please share some of your most successful posts/content. Why did they work so well for you?

Anything related to my mom and how she inspired me followed by beautiful pizza shots. I was being myself and allowing people to connect to my story.

A Hawaiian pizza on Miriam's Instagram account

Do you have tips for recycling your content across platforms?

I shoot multiple things for one post. I like to do a teaser, then a post a day later. I always shoot video, and share snippets in stories. Stories are the fastest ways to catch eyeballs these days on Instagram. 

What advice would you share with your earlier self when you were starting on this journey, based on what you’ve learned along the way?

Set up a good website, and be ready for anything. Get organized and partner with people who want the best for you and your product.

Any other advice or tips for success that you’d like to share that we haven’t already asked about?

Never ever use a knife and fork to cut your pizza!

Five #BlackGirlsWhoBlog to follow now

In 2014, Morgan Pitts was a recent college graduate with a small following of fellow Black women on Twitter and a serious interest in blogging. When we recently caught up with Morgan, she recalled an off-the-cuff tweet that mobilized a community around the #BlackGirlsWhoBlog hashtag and led to her @blackgirlswhoblog Instagram account (with 115,000 followers and growing). Now she uses her platform to curate and promote voices from across the web. Here are the five bloggers she says you should be following now.


CeCe Olisa

CeCe Olisa's website.

CeCe Olisa has been called “one of the Top Ten New York Fashion Bloggers” by WhoWhatWear.

CeCe Olisa is a model and the co-founder of theCURVYCon, a three-day event hosted during New York Fashion Week. On her blog she writes about how to nurture confidence, begin new chapters of life and celebrate your own sense of style and fashion by exploring hers. “I am helping our community find more representation with the brands that ignored us in the past,” she wrote as she recalled how she achieved her dream of working with Nike.


Danielle Gray

Danielle Gray's website

“The Style and Beauty Doctor” shares skincare advice and ideas.

Danielle Gray has been passionate about style and fashion for as long as she can remember. While pursuing a career in finance, she enrolled in classes at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, completing an Image Consulting Certificate in 2006. Around that time, she started sharing advice on AOL message boards, which she turned into her blog, The Style and Beauty Doctor. Today as a blogger and freelance writer, she writes about skincare, haircare and fashion. 


Melanie Marie

Melanie Marie's app

Melanie Marie’s app is a one-stop connection to her store, writing and projects.

On her blog, In Drew’s Shoes, Melanie Marie writes about her on-the-go lifestyle, mom life and the entrepreneurial skills she has developed as the founder of her jewelry line. She is also the author of a children’s book, My Name is Unique Just Like Me! You can shop and keep abreast of all her content using her app.


Kayla Walker

Kayla Walker's website

Kayla Walker is motivated by helping young people achieve their dreams and own their image.

Since she was a teenager, Kayla Walker was at the top of her class, and graduated magna cum laude from Clark Atlanta University. Today she blogs about skincare and style and mentors more than 40 young people striving to become influencers, and more than 500 college ambassadors. Kayla’s Instagram followerssee her working with gaggles of young women on photo sets to hone their images, and sharing her favorite outfits and skincare brands. On TikTok, her recent posts feature encounters with her younger sister as they navigate life under lockdown. 



Mattie James

Mattie James' website

Mattie James offers recipes, business advice and coaching all from her blog.

Mattie James has written that she likes advice that’s “cut and dry...black and white...straight to the point” and “without the fluff.” Twice a week for four years, she took to the mic to share her own advice on her podcast, The Mattie James Show. Now she has turned to her own blog to continue that practice by sharing books that helped grow her business, how she feeds her family of five and what influencers should avoid while pitching brands.

Five #BlackGirlsWhoBlog to follow now

In 2014, Morgan Pitts was a recent college graduate with a small following of fellow Black women on Twitter and a serious interest in blogging. When we recently caught up with Morgan, she recalled an off-the-cuff tweet that mobilized a community around the #BlackGirlsWhoBlog hashtag and led to her @blackgirlswhoblog Instagram account (with 115,000 followers and growing). Now she uses her platform to curate and promote voices from across the web. Here are the five bloggers she says you should be following now.


CeCe Olisa

CeCe Olisa's website.

CeCe Olisa has been called “one of the Top Ten New York Fashion Bloggers” by WhoWhatWear.

CeCe Olisa is a model and the co-founder of theCURVYCon, a three-day event hosted during New York Fashion Week. On her blog she writes about how to nurture confidence, begin new chapters of life and celebrate your own sense of style and fashion by exploring hers. “I am helping our community find more representation with the brands that ignored us in the past,” she wrote as she recalled how she achieved her dream of working with Nike.


Danielle Gray

Danielle Gray's website

“The Style and Beauty Doctor” shares skincare advice and ideas.

Danielle Gray has been passionate about style and fashion for as long as she can remember. While pursuing a career in finance, she enrolled in classes at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, completing an Image Consulting Certificate in 2006. Around that time, she started sharing advice on AOL message boards, which she turned into her blog, The Style and Beauty Doctor. Today as a blogger and freelance writer, she writes about skincare, haircare and fashion. 


Melanie Marie

Melanie Marie's app

Melanie Marie’s app is a one-stop connection to her store, writing and projects.

On her blog, In Drew’s Shoes, Melanie Marie writes about her on-the-go lifestyle, mom life and the entrepreneurial skills she has developed as the founder of her jewelry line. She is also the author of a children’s book, My Name is Unique Just Like Me! You can shop and keep abreast of all her content using her app.


Kayla Walker

Kayla Walker's website

Kayla Walker is motivated by helping young people achieve their dreams and own their image.

Since she was a teenager, Kayla Walker was at the top of her class, and graduated magna cum laude from Clark Atlanta University. Today she blogs about skincare and style and mentors more than 40 young people striving to become influencers, and more than 500 college ambassadors. Kayla’s Instagram followerssee her working with gaggles of young women on photo sets to hone their images, and sharing her favorite outfits and skincare brands. On TikTok, her recent posts feature encounters with her younger sister as they navigate life under lockdown. 



Mattie James

Mattie James' website

Mattie James offers recipes, business advice and coaching all from her blog.

Mattie James has written that she likes advice that’s “cut and dry...black and white...straight to the point” and “without the fluff.” Twice a week for four years, she took to the mic to share her own advice on her podcast, The Mattie James Show. Now she has turned to her own blog to continue that practice by sharing books that helped grow her business, how she feeds her family of five and what influencers should avoid while pitching brands.

From stay-at-home mom to full-time creator

In 2015, Myriam Sandler had a problem many moms face: Her baby daughter Nicole refused to eat solid foods. Spaghetti, soup, rice … she wouldn’t have any of it. “That was driving me crazy as a first-time mom and I was determined to find a solution,” recalls the Venezuelan-born Myriam, who grew up in Miami.

Fortunately, Myriam had an educational  background in psychology and, prior to becoming a mom, had worked with kids that had ADD and ADHD. She eventually realized that baby Nicole likely had “texture sensitivities,” which makes some foods seem unappetizing. So she began to create play activities to help her daughter experience things that felt squishy, slimy, wet or rough. Through feeling the textures, Nicole became accustomed to the sensations and started eating. 

“I felt like I had a parenting breakthrough,” Myriam says. This experience inspired her to record short videos of her sensory play activities to share with other parents on social media. What began as an experiment has developed into a booming social media and web presence, as herMothercould brand has attracted more than 640,000 followers on Instagram and 40,000 monthly visitors to her website, along with business partnerships and other opportunities.

Here’s how Myriam went from being a young learning mother to a full-time social media and web creator, promoting her growing, family-friendly brand across multiple online platforms. 

Launching on social media

After creating her Mothercould websiteand a brief foray onto Instagram in 2016, Myriam paused  content development to focus on her family. In late 2018, after giving birth to her second daughter Emma, she relaunched herMothercould brand on Instagram, featuring kids’ play activities and recipes. “There were no videos out there bringing play into food and activity recipes,” she recalls. “It just exploded and the feedback from other parents and educators was so rewarding. It inspired me to keep creating.”

Myriam shows how to create a face to help children depict emotions.

On Instagram, Myriam shows how to create a face to help children depict emotions.

Families were hungry for the fun, rainbow-colored activities Myriam posted. By August 2019, she had 100,000 Instagram followers. “I thought, let’s branch out and see what happens,” Myriam says. She established a presence onFacebook andTikTok, and began sharing some videos onYouTube and Google’s new short-form DIY video platform,Tangi

Attracting business partnerships

Interest in Myriam’s content kept growing by leaps and bounds, as she brought together an online community of like-minded parents. For almost a year she rejected Instagram promotions that would come her way, waiting instead for the right moment to turn her hobby into a business. So she reached out to a food coloring brand she loves to use in her recipes. The brand jumped at the chance to sponsor her content. “Two weeks later, Nickelodeon Kids called,” Myriam recalls, asking her to create activities for the Nickelodeon Parents channel.


Treasure Dig activity for Nickelodeon's Santiago of the Seas

Mothercould used the Tangi short-form video app to create a Treasure Dig activity for Nickelodeon's Santiago of the Seas.

Myriam attributes her success to being authentic and not being shy — reaching out to companies she wanted to work with herself. “You get a lot of ‘nos’ before you get to a ‘yes,’” she explains. “For me, the Wilton partnership gave me the confidence to pursue more.” As her brand exposure increased, more businesses began approaching Myriam for customized content and sponsorships.

Creating a web hub

Though Myriam had originally considered Instagram her home base, the platform allows only one link on the user’s bio page. She realized she needed to create a links page on her website to invite her Instagram followers to learn more about Mothercould’s online shops and her other product-related “favorites.” Adding this landing page link on Instagram had an unexpected benefit. “My website went from almost no visitors to 40,000 monthly visitors overnight,” she says.

This traffic boost motivated Myriam to reevaluate her Mothercould website, which until recently  was an afterthought to her social channels. She created a centralized hub from which she could link to all her social media properties. She began updating her blog with fresh content, appealing to visitors who want to read about activities and view printable recipes. “This was a real tipping point for me,” Myriam explains. “It helped with my SEO and getting more people to the website.” 

Expanding the Mothercould brand 

By 2021, Myriam signed with Digital Brand Architects, one of the first and largest digital creator agencies, to handle her business partnerships and other opportunities. 

Myriam offers this advice to other web creators who want to follow in her footsteps: "Find people that are doing something similar, reach out, introduce yourself, become friendly in the comments section, and share each other's content. That's how you start building relationships so that you can build your online presence."
Myriam of Mothercould next to balloons.

Morgan Pitts built a community from a tweet and T-shirt

Morgan Pitts has always had an eye for style. While studying marketing at the University of Maryland, many of Morgan’s friends encouraged her to start a blog, but it was not until after graduation that she actively began blogging to showcase her own work. From there, an impromptu tweet and an idea for a T-shirt inspired Morgan to build a platform as a way to build an online community. Now she uses @blackgirlswhoblog and the #blackgirlswhoblog hashtag on Instagram to share playlists and inspiration, and to empower Black women across the world to share their voices, too. 


What is “Black Girls Who Blog?”

“Black Girls Who Blog” is an online community of Black women in the blogosphere and a place where Black women who blog can be seen, heard, celebrated and validated. 

What made you decide to start it up?

When I graduated, a friend who was doing pageants had asked me to style her for new headshots. So, I decided, I want to start a blog. I want to have something tangible to show my work.

Fast forward to a year later, April of 2014: I unintentionally tweeted that I would love to have “Black Girls Who Blog” on a T-shirt. It was aimless, and I didn't think anything of it. I just sent it out to Twitter. At that time, I had a small community of Black women who blogged; we followed each other, and we supported each other's posts. A friend of mine reached out and asked if an illustration should accompany the text on the shirt. She sent me a draft of the original Black Girls Who Blog logo and had shirts printed. That is how #BlackGirlsWhoBlog was born. 

I started an Instagram to promote the T-shirts. When that run died down, I thought I’d just continue posting on this account and share different Black women who blog, who I thought were fly, talented, cool and have quality work. 

I started making every day a theme and that gave me some consistency. The rest is history.

Black Girls Who Blog T-shirt shown on Instagram

The Black Girls Who Blog T-shirt allows fans and followers to show their appreciation IRL


Are you the only person behind it? Do you do all the writing?

Yeah. I do literally everything. I'm a one-woman show.

How do you find people? How has the community grown since you launched it?

When I first started, I was posting bloggers that I was aware of. As the hashtag and the page grew, I just had to search through #BlackGirlsWhoBlog on Instagram. Features are selected by using the hashtag and tag in the photos. There is some color coordination that goes into the selection so every week there's a cohesive color theme.

What is the response from the people you feature? Do you feel like the community is growing? 

The community is very dynamic. You have people who are going to hold it down and support, who were here back in 2014, and you have people who are stumbling across it today. They become immersed and want to be a part of it. 

I don't tell people they're being featured. I do my own research, and then I curate the content I post. Everyone is even more excited when they're featured because they have no idea that it's coming. They wake up, and they're like, "Oh my gosh!"

Michelle Ijeoma at her computer

Michelle Ijeoma was recently featured on @blackgirlswhoblog. She’s a corporate lawyer who blogs about beauty and style at michelleijeoma.com

How are things looking for the Black Girls Who Blog hashtag?

A few months ago, the #BlackGirlsWhoBlog hashtag on Instagram hit one million users, and I'm proud of that. You can obviously see the following, how it’s grown and how people interact with the content.

What are some things that you've learned about this community that you didn't know before?

You assume that the only bloggers out there are the popular ones. You don't even realize how many people have their own personal blogs that they take very seriously, update consistently and put a lot of time, effort and money into. There's so many different topics, so many different lanes of blogs out there. 

Morgan in an Instagram picture wearing a shirt that says "Eat. PRAY. Blog."

Morgan celebrates her birthday wearing a gold skirt and a baby-blue “Eat. PRAY. Blog.” T-shirt.

You appear on a lot of panels; can you talk about that?

I did two events in New York. One was a panel with three of the ladies that I've mentioned in my blog, talking about how the blogosphere and the internet have given microphones to marginalized voices. 

 I did another event with Glossier. They were expanding their shade range of complexion products, so I did an event with them. And then most recently, I did an online video call tutorial on how to make video content with the Jumprope app. [Events like these are] an extension of “Black Girls Who Blog.” They’re events for community members, and I do them when the opportunity presents itself. Someone has come to me and asked , "Hey, would you be interested in doing this?" If I'm interested, I pitch the idea. It's an extension of the brand IRL versus in a URL.

A flyer for Morgan's Jumprope workshop

A digital promotional flyer for Morgan’s Jumprope workshop. Follow Black Girls Who Blog on Instagram to catch one of Morgan’s future speaking events.

Bustle Digital Group gives digital natives content they crave

With 84 million readers and 55 million social fans across nine media brands, from Bustle to Elite Daily to Input, Bustle Digital Group (BDG) has the largest reach and engagement of any millennial and Gen Z-focused publisher. 

BDG has been working with Web Stories since late 2019, and has adopted them across their brand portfolio to connect with their audience of digital natives who grew up on the Internet and spend hours a day on their phones. A major champion of Web Stories at BDG is its editor-in-chief and executive vice president of culture and innovation, Joshua Topolsky.  He shared with us his vision for Web Stories and the future of digital content.


When did Bustle Digital Group begin publishing Web Stories, and what did you hope to accomplish?

We started working on Web Stories with Google in December 2019. It was clear that we shared similar goals on pushing storytelling on the web beyond traditional and familiar formats. We knew if we gave our writers and editors the tools to create evocative, mixed-media stories, they'd use those tools to make great things — stories like they’re already telling, but also new types of stories that simply can’t be created in a more traditional format. 


Tell us about your audiences, and what you’re hoping to accomplish with these stories.

Our audience is made up of people who've been raised online and intuitively understand the frameworks of mobile devices and social networks. They’re hungry for a more engaging, immersive and modern form of storytelling. Web Stories are design-first, and we wanted to use them to tell the stories that really can only be told when you combine mixed media, interactivity and traditional journalism all in one place.


Pages from Bustle's WFH story

The 9 Genius Morning Routines for People Who WFH story takes what could have been a listicle and transforms it into an interactive, tappable story.

How do Web Stories change your storytelling process?

Content creators have been stuck in a groove for a very long time, in terms of how stories are presented, the tools we have to tell them and the channels through which we reach our audiences. Web Stories let us break out of that groove.

One of the great powers of Web Stories is that you can take familiar content and elevate it to a place that makes people pay attention. Instead of writing 1,000 words, you can combine photos, quotes, video, infographics and text to viscerally change the way you communicate with your reader.

Let’s chat about some of your favorite Web Stories from across your publications.

Let’s start with Bustle’s 9 Genius Morning Routines for People Who WFH. This could have been a basic listicle, but instead we join together visuals and quotes and put them in a format that feels native to people who live on their phones. So something that you might have glossed over suddenly becomes an electric piece of visual content. 

For Romper’s How Kristen Bell Teaches Her Kids the Big Lessons, the team took additional content from an interview and were able to slice it into something completely unique that was additive to our feature storytelling.

Then, for Input’s Riding an underwater scooter, we had a videographer and an editor check out this crazy device that lets you fly around underwater. They spent half an hour messing around with it, shooting video and getting data on it. It didn't require an intense video edit or voiceovers, because you can mix a paragraph about the scooter with video or data points. This Story feels like a mini documentary, but it only took two hours to put together.
Pages from Input Mag's "Riding an underwater scooter" Web Story

The “Riding an underwater scooter” Web Story is like a mini documentary that was filmed, edited and published on the web in two hours.

Lastly, for Input’s Pixel 5 vs. iPhone 12, we used Web Stories to showcase camera comparisons, showing someone flipping through photos on the phones in real time. This is the best of what happens on social media and what YouTubers do with review videos, but compressed into a format that feels a hundred times more native on a mobile device.

Can you tell us a bit about your results with Web Stories so far?

We’ve seen tremendous performance on our Web Stories. We've been able to expose a much larger audience to our content — not only because of how shareable stories are, but also due to where they appear on Google Search and Google Discover. 

Our advertisers love that Web Stories give them an opportunity to tell their stories in a different way. They’ve become an integral part of how we help partners tell their stories.

How do you look at the future of storytelling and content consumption more broadly on the web?

Web Stories are a sign of things to come. Beyond text, images and video, there are other things on your phone today — real-time 3D, interactivity, mobile gaming — that you could experience within HTML and within the browser. From a design perspective, you have a variety of opportunities to add typography, color and more. The combination of these elements could lead to massively powerful experiences. 

Any high-level advice about how to think about the Web Story format as a whole? 

The most practical advice I can give is to take this format seriously. We’ve seen stories spread like wildfire across social media, and we have early and positive results that people want them elsewhere. This is a new format, a new space — think about it as an open canvas to reinvent your storytelling.

It's important to ask, “What stories should we tell and how would we tell them if we had different tools?” The limitations are diminishing and the opportunities are increasing. I think the next year or two is going to be explosive in terms of creativity, but in order to tap into that creativity, you have to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.


What’s different about Web Stories

Stories have become a popular format for digital content and social media. It seems that most social apps have their own take on stories, but what about Web Stories? On the surface, all story variations may appear to be the same. For example, they all allow you to tap to go forward and backward, swipe up to open an attachment, or swipe right to go to the next story. That said, let’s check out some features that distinguish Web Stories from other story formats.  You can also see a full breakdown in the video above.


Web Stories:

1. Are designed for high-quality editorial or journalistic content. You write a full Story on your topic before publishing it instead of posting one page at a time. 

2. Have no expiration date. You can publish a Story, and it will stay up as long as you like.

3. Are published by you and hosted on your servers.  You host and own your Web Stories and content instead of posting them to an app or other platform. Your copyright, your content, your rules.

4. Have no editorial restrictions. Create what you want, not what’s defined in someone else’s terms of service.

5. Let you earn money from ads or sponsored content. Unlike stories on other apps and platforms, when you include ads in your Web Stories, you get to keep the revenue.

6. Are accessible like any other webpage. They can be accessed on any browser or device you use to access the web — instead of just in one app. They can also be created in a number of ways, including the tools listed on stories.google

7. Are indexed by search engines.
People can find your Web Stories through search and they can be linked to from your other pages.

8. Are highly customizable. You can use any web font and can add custom animations or even modify the underlying CSS.

Web Story Editor in WordPress

Web Story creation tools offer many formatting options.

9. Can have embedded links. There’s no friction in getting to the content you need or to say “link in bio.”

10. Act like standard web pages. This means you can view them in different browsers, on different devices, and use tools like Google Analytics to measure their performance.

11. Are responsive. A Web Story can automatically resize and adapt to fit different screen sizes, like those for desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets. (Not yet supported by all Story creation tools.)

12. Can feature interactive elements. You can run quizzes and polls from inside your Web Stories.  (Not yet supported by all Story creation tools.)

Quiz functionality within a Web Story

Web Stories can have polls and quizzes.

13. Can include new content. New pages can be added in real-time to your Web Stories, and users will be notified of them and able to view them without having to refresh their screen.

To learn more about Web Stories check out our Web Stories site, and the “Storytime” videos on our YouTube channel.