How Dave Bowden started a fashion blog with 35,000 monthly visitors and that year grew 131%

Are you ready to learn how to start a fashion blog?

Maybe you have an eye for a great outfit. Or, you always get praised for your latest style and want to share your fashion tips with the world.

You have decided that now is the time to fulfill your dreams in the world of fashion blogging with “purses”.

Today I have inspiration for you and maybe someone you can learn from.

Dave Bowden doesn’t run just any beauty blog. He is the founder of Irreverent Gent, an online resource that inspires men with advice on fashion and confidence.

The Irreverent Gent has been featured in AskMen, HuffingtonPost, Business Insider and Readers Digest. Dave also mentions that the most important of his articles was published in his parents’ fridge.

Dave not only runs the successful blog, but also wrote the Amazon bestseller “Man in Command”.

If you want to become a fashion blogger, you shouldn’t expect success overnight.

In fact, it took Dave years to make any real income from his fashion blog. But when he stuck to his goals, he was able to continuously improve. In 2020 he was able to increase his web traffic by 131%.

The Irreverent Gent is a successful fashion blog that attracts over 35,000 visitors every month. The traffic and success came with some valuable lessons.

Dave tells us how he spread too thin. In the early days of his blog, initiatives like social media, affiliate marketing, and creating branded partnerships all consumed his time.

When he started really focusing on and using professional tools, his niche fashion site started taking off.


Hi there! Could you introduce your background and why you choose to start a blog in the fashion industry?

My name is Dave Bowden and I am the founder and editor of Disrespectful Gent, a blog about men’s style and lifestyle that shows guys how to sharpen their style and improve their confidence.

I’ve carved out a niche for myself in the men’s lifestyle space by creating articles that are not only informative and insightful, but engaging, entertaining, and (as the name suggests) disrespectful.

I also write books in the same way, an area where I’m best known as the author of Man in Command: How to Go from the Most Self-Doubtful Man in the Room to the Most Confident Man, an Amazon, # 1 best seller (in Canada … but still!).

Since working from home last year, I have invested more time and energy in Irreverent Gent. The results have paid off.

My website traffic has more than doubled in the past 12 months My sales have increased 10 times.

What’s your backstory and why did you start your fashion blog?

I founded Irreverent Gent to bring some of my passions together in one project.

The first is style and menswear, which I’ve been obsessed with for more than a decade. I have always been fascinated by the effect style can have on you as an individual and on the way other people perceive you.

Irreverent Gent gives me an excuse not just to investigate this issue further, but to share what I am learning with people who can benefit from it.

The second passion I can pursue is content marketing.

As a journalist and blogger, I became a content marketer about eight years ago when I got a job running a travel blog and quickly found that this was the perfect way for me to combine my skills in a creative and professional endeavor.

What I love about blogging and content marketing is how I can make both creative and business decisions. From the image to be paired with a headline to the overall business strategy, I am in complete control.

Dave Bowden

What worked for you in driving traffic to your websites?

My biggest source of traffic is organic, and my blog really started taking off when I got serious about SEO and keyword research.

This year I finally stopped using free keyword tools and invested in a monthly Ahrefs subscription that has already paid off multiple times.

To give you an example: My organic traffic in December 2020 increased by 144% compared to the same month last year 2019:

start a fashion blog

The two biggest things that contributed to this growth are:

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  1. Improved Keyword Research Tactic – I am now targeting more competitive keywords and creating content that is specifically geared towards those phrases
  2. Some good old fashioned elbow grease which means I produce more posts more often which results in higher output.

It is this combination of increased quantity and higher quality that has really resulted in more growth.

Did you learn something particularly helpful or beneficial while setting up a fashion blog?

The most beneficial thing I learned from creating my blog is the predominance of the 80/20 rule. Focus on 20% of the activities that yield 80% of the results.

Before this year, I stretched myself too thin by spending roughly the same amount of time on content creation, keyword research, social media, link building, and branding partnerships.

Eventually I realized that the two things that will have the greatest impact on my bottom line are keyword research and content creation. So I doubled down on this, which resulted in exponential growth.

I think it’s common for business owners and website owners to jump back and forth between the different hats they have to wear and the tasks they have to do, but the truth is, real growth comes from having your most precious ones Identify tasks and lean into them as much as possible.

How long did it take you to start making money from your fashion blog?

It didn’t take me long to make the first few dollars – I joined Amazon’s affiliate marketing program and started making money almost immediately, albeit very little.

What took a long time was enough money to be made to qualify as income or even a sideline. It took a couple of years of consistent work to make a sizable amount of money off of the affiliates’ income, but the beauty of blogging is that it is composed.

The posts that produced those first few dollars continue to bring in a few dollars each month, but now hundreds more have done the same thing.

The other thing that helped was expanding my income streams.

In addition to affiliate ads, I now also run display ads on the website. The ads bring in a smaller but steady stream of money each month.

I also write books that I publish on Amazon myself and that also generate a nice monthly sum.

Which platform / tools do you use for your fashion blog?

As mentioned earlier, Ahrefs is by far my favorite tool, which has made my keyword research so much faster, more efficient, and more effective, which has resulted in a lot of growth.

In addition to Ahrefs, I use ConvertKit as my email service provider which is designed for bloggers and is great for capturing email addresses and dropping content.

What is your philosophy or strategy for link building?

I tend to differentiate between active and passive link building.

Active link building is anything that takes time that keeps me from my primary keyword research and content creation duties.

I only track active link building with websites that have a domain authorization of over 50. This goes back to the 80/20 rule. If I want to spend time following links, I want to make sure they are high quality links that will help me build my own authority.

Passive link building takes place more through the creation of content.

Creating high quality posts that rank high in searches also tends to result in more linkbacks. With that in mind, my content creation efforts not only help me build traffic, but also have the secondary benefit of creating more links.

Advice to other online business owners looking to get started or just getting started?

My advice to anyone looking to get started is to stick to the long run and understand that consistency is key.

It can be daunting to spend hours creating content and posting something that you think is awesome but then you don’t see any traffic.

You have to assert yourself and remain undeterred. When all you have is great content, it’s hard to get the authority and attention you need to monetize it. But it’s a lot easier when you have 10, and even easier when you have 100, 1000, etc. So go ahead, keep creating, and keep publishing.

As your production volume improves, so does quality. To create all of this content you have to put in the famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) “10,000 hours”. Make yourself better over time.

So keep pushing, keep going and keep going.

Now that you’ve heard from Dave what it takes to build a successful travel blog. Let’s take a look at what it takes to start your own WordPress blog in the fashion world.

Here are some steps you need to take to start a fashion blog.

  1. Set up with a WordPress web hosting service. We recommend using BlueHost. It’s cheap and easy to use for those looking to install WordPress for the first time.
  2. Choose a domain name for your new fashion blog. Something short and memorable is always best.
  3. Choose a WordPress theme that suits your fashion brand or personality.

    Here is a premium theme that can make your blog look like a professional fashion magazine.

  4. Get set up on social media. Be an Instagram Influencer! Fashion bloggers have the opportunity to double their great content. Posting fashion visual content on platforms like Twitter and their Instagram feed is great for engagement.
  5. Write great content. As Dave mentioned earlier, it takes time to blog post viral. Use WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO and explore Ahrefs to improve your content even further.

Get started blogging now!

If you have any questions about creating full-time blogging, feel free to post your questions on Niche Pursuits’ private Facebook group. The community is always helping other bloggers and it’s a great place to share ideas.

Another great resource for building your fashion blog is our email newsletter. Subscribe to the Niche Pursuits newsletter for more insights and inspiration for your blog.

If you’re looking for step-by-step instructions on how to start a fashion blog and get your Bluehost setup, don’t forget to check out our article on how to start your blog here.

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