I am Dalene Ekirapa, a 20-year old fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger born and living in Kenya.
Currently, I am a student taking my Bachelor's in Quantity Surveying and I must say that dealing with the construction industry is something that naturally appeals to me too.
Coming from a family of artistic people, I got inclined into music so I sing, write music and play the guitar. I haven’t gotten into such professionally, so I do it for fun with my friends.
I enjoy writing, travelling and a little bit of photography.
How long have you been blogging and what type of blog do you have?
It has been one year and eight months, since January 2017, when I launched Dalene Ekirapa -a fashion, travel and lifestyle blog. Initially, I just opened a free blog on Wordpress for the fun of it; until my tablet crashed, so I quit.
Months later, in October, I decided to revive the blog and tried working on it, since I had written so many drafts, and also much of what I’d want to do with the blog. That’s when it became so interesting and I went self-hosted in January 2018.
What made you decide to start a blog?
Being the only daughter among four brothers, I grew up as "a girl who did what boys did." I call it that way because I can’t incline to saying that I was a tomboy. Anyway, it was until I joined high school that I had to interact with girls who were getting more conscious about their shapes and all that stuff. I then tried acting more like a girl but my slim frame wouldn’t make the cut since many of my friends were so curvy that I was kind of left out. At times, people would mock me for being slim but I thank God for blessing me with so much self-esteem. But since I love style, I would dress to kill. At times, my friends would have a share of my clothes. So with all that in mind, I decided to launch the blog, mainly to inspire slim and petite ladies to shop and dress for their perfect shapes. After all, we are all wonderfully made, right?
Do you have a routine that helps you stay on track and be productive?
It’s always important to have self-discipline especially when working to get to your goals. I always promise myself to post twice a week, and I ensure I do so every Monday and Thursday.
Basically, having a proper schedule is key. Since I don’t use any social media scheduling tools, I tend to promote my posts manually each time I post. But I’m hoping to find a social scheduling tool soon; it can get hectic! But as I said, it takes discipline!
Have you ever experienced a creative rut and how did you get out of it?
I experience a creative rut at times and even when I try to force myself to write, nothing comes up. Yet I have to maintain my schedule.
So to be on the safe side, whenever I feel like writing, which is usually, I prepare so many drafts for the future. I’m always reading a lot on fashion, travel and lifestyle so it is easy to build a post even from just a name.
But something that has really worked for the good of my blog is opening it up to guest posts. Whenever I’m in a very serious rut and none of my drafts are properly edited, I welcome related guest posts to the site to keep it going. This is also good for it builds relationships and traffic too.
Dalene's tips for people who want to start blogging
Blogging takes passion, determination, commitment and patience. Passion will always drive you, determination will hold you up when you feel like quitting, commitment will keep you in track and patience will let you appreciate the small wins while you work for the greater good ahead, as time goes by.
Bloggers that inspire Dalene
What has been one of the most challenging moments in your blogging journey so far?
First, I really appreciate how far the blog has come 5 months after going self-hosted. But my main problem is actually getting the amount of traffic I want to get. It takes patience and commitment to get serious traffic.
I mean, I’m so grateful to all my readers who take time to visit, like, share and comment on my blog but it never hurts to dream bigger, right?
And since there is so much fuss on social media for traffic, it’s best for bloggers to start taking SEO and Pinterest traffic seriously! This is not necessarily a challenge for me but I have to step up my game.
With the rise of "Influencer" Marketing, how can bloggers stay true to their creative voice and individuality while still promoting valuable content for their audiences?
It is so easy to be swayed by the good stuff we see on social media. And as bloggers, the pressure can be too high, especially if you run a visual blog like I do.
But I say that start with what you have! As a blogger, one must know how to package themselves not just online but also in real life in order to be able to influence. So even if you have to do what others are doing, then let your voice shine through. Take what others are doing for inspiration and be able to switch it up to your style if that’s what you think will do for you. Always stay true to yourself and your passion!
How can a new blogger find support from peers in the community?
While it might be hard to actually meet a lot of bloggers daily unless you attend networking events frequently, then meet them online. I mean, many bloggers are online and very willing to help each other.
For instance, Facebook groups are all over. especially those that are about blogging, as well as many Twitter threads. So why should you lack inspiration and support if you can go online and interact with other bloggers from all over the world on Facebook or Twitter? I do this each time and I can attribute the success of my blog to all that I've learned from these groups and threads.
So what are you waiting for?