Guess Who’s Back? An Update

It’s been months since I last wrote a blog post and so much has happened in that time,  I have had a few weeks away from work with an unidentified sickness which was thought to be Coronavirus (this was pre-testing) which then developed into a 4 week, 2 lots of antibiotics, battle with a chest infection.  On top of that, I have had to take further time off from work as I had been in contact with someone who started to show Covid symptoms to shield my co-workers and make sure I was not unwell.  All of this and the uncertainty of the past few months in general have really knocked me off kilter with my routines and writing which has meant that blogging has been pretty hard to keep up with.

Though I have not been blogging I have still been writing, Iwrote an article for an on-line magazine called The Everyday that you can find here https://theeverydaymagazine.co.uk/opinion/working-from-home-before-and-after-covid?rq=suzi%20tench and I have written another article for them that should be published at some point in September.

I started the 100 Day Project(https://www.the100dayproject.org/), a free art project lasting 100 days, which started on 7th April 2020, where you aim to do something creative each day for 100 days.  I started with the good intensions of being able to complete the 100 days but gave up around 20 days because I just felt so unmotivated to do any art.  I had started with an idea to work on an 8×8 inch square each day that would link together with other squares to form a bigger picture.  In all honesty, though I really enjoyed what I was doing, I think I was overly ambitious in the sizing of my squares that took more than a day to complete.  I think I will do the project again next year with the same concept but use much smaller squares of either 4×4 inch or 2×2 inch as they will be quicker to complete.

I found a fab group on Facebook called Frock Up Friday thatwas set up by Susan Sims and Bevali Francis during lockdown and gave members an excuse to get dressed up on Fridays when much of the world was working from home in comfortable clothes.  I joined and have taken part in frocking up on several Fridays during lockdown, which has helped me with my mental health during these uncertain times and has given me something to look forward to each week.  The Frock Up Friday group are lovely and the outfit’s people post, not just on a Friday, are amazing!

The biggest thing that happened just prior and during lockdown was that I gained a new boyfriend who has moved in with me!  I say new, though we grew up together, his sister and I were best friends through secondary school and her family became like my second family when growing up.  We have been in contact much of our adult live, mostly via social media, and decided to meet for a drink one evening and didn’tstop talking all night.  It has been lovely to have someone in my life who has known me through the years and has shared memories of things we did as kids.  A few months ago, we made the decision to move in together, he gave notice on the place he had been living in and moved in with me.

Since Rob and I got together and lockdown has eased, we have been away several times for the weekend, once we went to St David’s for the weekend to visit his mum and other weekends we have stayed in Brean walking along the beach, going out for dinner, having a mosey around the market or playing games in the arcades.  We have spent nights in during the week, watching tv, cooking food, having takeaways, listening to music and enjoying the odd glass of cider or wine.  When it was really hot, back in July, we bought a large paddling pool that we put in the garden, filled with water and sat out in the evenings watching the sun go down and the stars come out.  All this stuff, things that people take for granted in relationships, I didn’t realise I missed until I had it back in my life.

Anyway, that’s enough of the soppy stuff…  What have you all been up to while I have been away?  I hope you are all well and safe!  Hopefully, this post will be the start of more regular blog posts coming from me as I have really missed my blog, blog friends ad my blogging routine!

Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – Z

Z2020

It’s the last day in the Blogging from April A-Z Challenge and as always, Z is a pretty difficult letter to find words for.  I found it pretty hard to come up with anything for my A-Z of Blogging but found one thing that Z could stand for, and so I bring you Z for Zip files.

Zip Files.  A zip file can be used for many things, compressing files, archiving and sending large files online to another person.  The main thing that zip files can be useful for in the blogging world is to archive your blog – posts, data etc as the data from your blog can be saved into a file that is compressed, saving you space on your pc.  Zip files are widely recognised and can be opened by most operating systems which can be useful if you are upgrading your pc and still need access to information that you have saved elsewhere.  Most blogging platforms will offer a way for you to download your blog and save the information in case anything should ever happen to your blog and the option can usually be found in the blog settings menu.  I recommend archiving your posts and saving them to a zip file before you make any big changes to your blog (such as changing the theme or layout) and regularly making backups of your blog, once every 3-6 months depending on how often you blog.  You never know what could happen to your blog and having a backup saved means you always have access to things you have written and can re-post them should they disappear from the internet at some point.

What do you think of Zip files?  Do you have any other blogging terms that begin with Z?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so let me know in the comments!

 

Blogging From A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – Y

Y2020

Todays Blogging from A-Z April Challenge brings us the letter Y and in my A-Z of Blogging this stands for YouTube.

YouTube.  Blogging via video is known as Vlogging and can be used on its own as a blogging channel or, you can amalgamate traditional blogging with a vlog, gaining other followers from different places.  Vlogging is a useful medium for showing your audience things such as how to’s, reviews, general chat and letting your audience get to know you in a different way.

Do you have a YouTube channel?  What sort of things do you put up or watch on a vlog?  I’d love to hear your comments!

Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – X

X2020

We are nearing the end of the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge and in today’s A-Z of Blogging we are covering the letter X which stands for X-Posting.

X-Posting.  X-Posting, also known as Cross posting is where you publish the same post to other sites or blogs.  X-Posting used to be the done thing with bloggers sharing their posts to several different groups or sites in order to gain readers or followers but generally, now, is not such a good idea.  SEO tends to frown upon posts that are shared elsewhere (links are fine, so ccarrying on sharing links via social media won’t do any harm) but sharing a full post to other sites means that your post could become unserchable and harm your chances of being found as it is hard to determine the original work and one that has been plagarised or copy and could have been copied and pasted from another source and is not an original work.  Best practice as a blogger is to never copy and paste an article to other sites but provide links that will send readers to that post instead.

What are your thoughts on X-Posting?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – W

W2020

We are into the last few days of the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge and today’s letter in my A-Z of Blogging is W which stands for Workspace and Writing Style.

Workspace.  Having a dedicated workspace set up for blogging is a good idea, it can save you time as you don’t have to think about setting anything up prior to writing, can aid your creative flow and allows you to get into a blogging mindset.  It doesn’t matter where you set up your workspace, it could be a kitchen table, on the sofa, in a spare room, just make sure that it is comfortable, warm and light and that you have everything you need to hand.

Writing Style.  There are so many different writing styles, from formal and business-like to chatty and friendly but whichever tone and style you choose you should let your personality come through, being aware of how you want to be perceived and be fitting with your blog niche or topic.  You should always try to keep to a similar writing style through each post that you write and publish, there are so many posts online and keeping to the same style of writing will identify your posts as being yours almost as much as the clothes you wear and the speaking vice you have.

Do you have a workspace that you blog from?  Or do you have any thoughts on Writing Styles?  I’d love to hear about any thoughts you have so leave me a comment!

 

Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – V

V2020

V in my A-Z of Blogging for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge stands for Views and Visuals.

Views.  Views are all part of Stats (which I wrote about in this post) and tell you how many times a post or blog has been seen.  These figures can be used to gauge what the audience you are writing for find the most interesting in terms of topics you write about.

Visuals.  Visuals are any items inserted into a post to make the post more interesting and mainly cover the form of photos, graphics or infographics.  Using visuals not only breaks up a text, illustrates what you are explaining but can also entice the reader to click on your post to read it if the image catches their eye.  Visuals can also be used on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to promote the post you have written by uploading the image with a short sentence about the post along with a link or directions to a link (such as Instagram, a useful term here would be Check my bio for the link).

What are your thoughts on Views and Visuals?  Let me know in the comments!

Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – U

U2020

Today’s Blogging from A-Z April Challenge brings us the letter U which in my A-Z of Blogging stands for User Experience.

User Experience.  User experience is such an important thing to consider when building your blog, designing a simple, easy to navigate page where everything is laid out clearly and all buttons work the way they should, that articles and posts are easy to find, read and have clear headings, paragraphs and are easy on the eye all make for good user experience.  Good user experience is the most important thing to focus on as a good user experience will lead to repeated views and direct traffic.  Think about how you want your site to appear, the placing of menus, sidebars and things you display on these, keep them simple with links to the important pages, whether these are links to posts in certain topic groups or external links to social media or galleries, the choice is yours.  I like seeing sites with a search facility so I can re-visit certain pages easily so I highly recommend adding one and placing it in a visible area.

How much importance do you place on user experience?  What have been your experiences either good or bad?  I’d love to know so leave me a comment!

Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging – T

T2020

T in my A-Z of Blogging for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge stands for Tags, Time Management and Traffic.

Tags.  If you use Twitter or Instagram then you may be familiar with the hashtag (#) that is put in front of certain keywords to help your tweet or image to reach others that are searching those words but did you know you can also add tags to blog posts?  Most blogging sites will allow you to add tags to your post (here on WordPress when writing a post there is a sidebar to the right – post settings – categories and tags).  By adding tags to your blog post it can help your post to appear in searches and be found more easily.  There are a few things to note about using tags on your blog – you don’t need to put the # symbol in front of any words or phrases you use, only use tags that are relevant to your post or the topic and only use up to 10 tags on any post – many blog sites will not make posts searchable if there are too many tags used as it will consider the post to be spam.

Time Management.  When starting a blog it is easy to get caught up in trying to do all the things that you see other bloggers doing and before you know it you have no time to do the things that you should be doing for your blog.  To help manage your time it is worth thinking about the elements of your blog that are essential, making a list helps, then prioritising them in order of most important to least before focusing on the most important ones.  For me this is – researching post ideas, posting schedule, writing time, photos/graphics/images, before I even think about other social media platforms.  Once you know which tasks need performing then you can allocate time to getting them done.  Being aware of how you spend your time on your blog can help calm feeling of overwhelm and can streamline your blogging experience freeing up time to work on other parts of your blog.

Traffic.  Traffic is the number of views and visitors to your blog on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis and as 2 types – organic and direct.  Organic traffic comes from external links (for example a tweet that contains a link to your blog) and direct traffic is generated by someone knowing your web address (URL) and directly typing that into a web browser.  You can generate your own organic traffic by using other social media sites to promote your post or blog by sharing a link that directs people to your blog with a short explanation of what the post is about.  Direct traffic can be harder to generate as you are relying on people remembering your blog and the site name which is why it is so important to choose a short and memorable name for your blog.  Another way to generate direct traffic is to get some business cards made up with your blog address on and hand them out to people either at networking events or whenever you mention your blog to someone.

Do you have any thoughts or opinions on Tags, Time Management or Traffic?  I’d love to read any comments you may have!