A few months ago, it was brought to our attention by several PR practitioners that a few unscrupulous bloggers accused us of buying likes for the Bangsar Babe Facebook Page. According to them, it was “impossible” for a blogger like her to garner that many fans. I take offense to that accusation as Bangsar Babe’s fan base is grown organically, through a lot of hard work and a digital strategy I started at the end of 2010. So you can imagine the years of hard work we had to put in to amass such a huge following (231,000 and counting) and engagement, compared to those bloggers who buy their fan base (FYI, we don’t have the money to
waste do so because we blog out of passion).
Bangsarbabe.com has grown considerably from year to year – in the beginning, all I did was setup a blogspot account and create the moniker “Bangsar Babe”. Sue Lynn did most of the daily management of the blog, like email correspondence, theme design and content updates. After a few years, the workload got too intense and she decided to outsource the theme design and server updates to a professional where he would help change and/or update the theme when requested (for a fee of course). Sue Lynn who holds a BA (hons) in Advertising Design and Copywriting then played the art director role.
All that changed in 2010, when I volunteered to take over as the blog manager. I first started to take over the email correspondence and then, managed the blog almost entirely. 2014 has been an incredibly tough year for us for one reason; the workload has become too heavy for the both of us to manage. Just like a company, once you reach a certain size/revenue, the management would need to hire additional employees to run the company. We are currently at a crossroad – if the blog were to continue to grow at this rate, we would either need get more help (from people we can trust), outsource more of the services, or Sue Lynn would need to consider switching to blogging full time. You will know our decision in 2015. ;)
Unlike my article last year, I would just like to highlight some of the significant happenings that we went through during the year.
- Participated in Malaysian Social Media Week 2014. At the event, we were not only exposed on various industry experts, but also bloggers from around the world.
- Although we did not manage to travel far this year, I would say we had quite an adventure (most of the trips were on our own expenses).
- Shanghai, China
- Taiwan (visited almost all the major city and tourist attractions)
- Krabi, Thailand
- Penang (as usual)
The Bangsar Babe blog revamp
One of the many complaints we received about the blog was that it was a bit cluttered. While it was easy on the eyes, it wasn’t as easy to navigate through the hundreds of posts that blog contains. So we simplified the blog to make it easier for our readers to go through the archives. We opted for a 2-column theme instead of the older version of 3-column for better reading and a less cluttered site. The blog has a responsive design and thus, is mobile friendly to cater to those on the go.
– For Food Reviews, we broke it down by:
- Location (and Sub Location)
– For Travel, we broke it down by location
– New social media widgets
i. On the header
ii. Instagram on the side bar
iii. Facebook on the side bar
From my year end notes last year, you can tell how disgusted we were when copy-cats imitated our ideas and this year I came across many “Top 10 lists” or something similar in the blogging community. Not sure if it was a coincidence, but we noticed many top 10 food guides appearing after we launched ours:
These are what I noticed in general, about the other top 10 list we found on other sites:
- They went to 10 places and listed all those places under their top 10 food or cuisine.
- They do it for the sake of doing it (typical Malaysian copy-cat).
- They do it to make their website look good.
What we assure our readers when we launch our top 10 food guide is that we try at least 20-30 restaurants or food stalls in that area before carefully curating a list of food that most of our readers will enjoy. That’s essentially how a “Top 10 Food Guide” should work, just FYI. Funny story…Sue Lynn and I were in Malacca heading to our usual eating spot and notice 3 Alphards parked outside the restaurant, I thought to myself, “habis-lah, confirm no more food for us”. Mind you, this is a small family restaurant.
Upon entering the premise, the first thing we notice was that the group of people from the Alphards had a printed the Bangsar Babe Top 10 Food List for Malacca. We even saw the same group later that evening at our favourite eating spots. We overhead them saying that they purposely drove down to Malacca to try all the food listed in the food guide as “Bangsar Babe recommend…must be good-lah!”. When we launch a Top 10 list, some (or even most) of our readers would take our word for it and we try our very best not to disappoint. Of course, personal preference comes into place but we still try. :)
The other thing I noticed in the blogging scene is the “dilution of a blogger’s influence”. It was just a theory at first, but when I started searching for restaurants/bars in Singapore, none of the top bloggers were in the first page of Google search. At best, they were at the bottom of the first page. The first few results would be the outlet’s social media page and website (this is understandable) and the next few results would be the aggregators. What these aggregator websites do is combine multiple sources about the same outlet and present it on one single platform.
Starting 2013, I removed or discontinued bangsarbabe.com’s contribution on all known aggregators site. I even randomly search if any aggregator “pulled” posts from the website without consent and emailed a cease and desist letter. The result? A 20% increase in the blog’s website traffic. I urge all bloggers out there to stop contributing to this aggregator website for a nominal fee. It is your hours of hard work, travelling to the restaurant/event, taking photos, editing photos, writing the post, and all for peanuts.
This year has been hectic for Sue Lynn and I, and we hope we can do more for our readers in 2015. Before I end, I’d like to wish all Bangsar Babe readers a Happy New Year!