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

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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!

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

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In todays A-Z of Blogging, which I am doing as part of the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge, we have the letter S.  S stands for Schedule, Social Media and Stats.

Schedule.  If you want to grow your audience and attract new followers and readers then having a schedule in place is a must for any blogger.  Having a schedule in place, whether you post once a day, 3 times a week or once a fortnight it is worth keeping to a schedule so your readers know when to expect a new post.  One way of keeping to a schedule is to use a function available on most blogging platforms (and one I am really into using) is the “Schedule” function button which allows you to write a post and then publish it to your blog at a future point.  This function means that you can write a series of posts in advance and then not have to worry about writing for a while.

Social Media.  There are lots of different views on social media as a blogger with regard of how to use it, which platforms to use and when you should post to them but my advice is to find a social media platform that you love and invest time and effort into making that the platform your blog is showcased on.  It is better to focus on one platform and know the ins and outs of it and really give it a go than to have a half-assed attempt at all of them.  That being said, if you don’t want to use social media to support or promote your blog then that is fine too, blogging is about being comfortable with what and how you share it, not when and where.

Stats.  Stats are those, sometimes pesky, little numbers that tell you how many people have visited your site and how many views certain posts have been seen in a day/week/month/year and can tell you all sorts of things.  It is worth checking your stats occasionally so you can see how certain posts perform so you can look at writing further, similar posts or creating a series of posts that link to the original post.  They also tell you things about the demographic that your posts appeal to, such as where the main percentage of your audience is from, and how well your blog is performing in certain places which you can use to adjust your posts towards.  One thing that I’d like to say is, try not to become to obsessed with stats, they are only numbers and should act as a guide for your blog and are not something to worry about, there are peaks and troughs in all bloggers stats through the year and that is normal, but obsessing over them will not get you anywhere.

What are your thoughts on schedules, social media and stats?  Let me know in the comments as I’d love to hear about them!

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

R2020

Today we have the letter R which stands for Reblog and Reviews in my A-Z of Blogging for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge.

Reblog.  A reblog is a share of either one of your posts by another blogger or you sharing another bloggers post.  If you are going to re-share another bloggers post then explain in the reblog the reason you are sharing it.  I don’t tend to reblog a lot of other peoples content unless it is something I have really enjoyed and I tend to point my readers toward the blog post that I’d like them to read by adding a link to their post or blog.  Should someone request that the reblog is removed, which the original writer may ask you to do, it doesn’t matter about their reasoning, it is common courtesy to remove the post as soon as you are asked to do so, and the same should be expected if you have work reblogged that you do not wish to be shared by another blogger.

Reviews.  Reviews are brilliant for other people to find out just what a product or service is like from a real person and many people will turn to reviews before making a product purchase so you can gain a lot of traffic from these sorts of posts.  There are several different kinds of reviews, from paid reviews, sponsored reviews, unpaid (personal) reviews and many others in between.  Whatever kind of review you are writing will need to be disclosed at the beginning (or end) of the post.  I like to disclose my kind of review both at the beginning and end so the audience knows.  Failure to disclose this information especially when you have received money or goods in exchange could lead to a fine or your blog being shut down as it is now law as part of the Advertising Standards Agency Influencer Guide.

What do you think of reblogs and reviews?  I’d love to hear your views in the comments!

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

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In today’s post for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge, we have the letter Q.  Q in my A-Z of Blogging stands for Question and Answer Posts.

Question and Answer Posts.  I love question and answer posts and think they can add something more for the reader in terms of getting to know you, the writer.  There are lots of different questions prompts on the internet, conducting a search for “Get to know me questions” will give you lots of different questions which you can make into a fun post that readers will love!  Other ways of generating questions to answer are to ask your audience by either using your blog post to ask if the readers have any questions or via your social media channels (a good way to engage with your audience outside of your blog and gain traffic from other sources).  If you are stuck for ideas you can also do a search on your blogging platform for other bloggers who have done similar posts and use their questions to generate some of your own, or you could think about the kinds of things you would like to know about other bloggers, questions like “How many pets do you have?”, “where do you blog?”, “where do you get your inspiration from?” are always really good questions to start with.  If you want to do a question and answer post have fun with it!

Have you done any question and answer posts?  What do you think of them?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so let me know in the comments!

Coronavirus, Lockdown and Me

***This post is image-heavy***

 

I’ve been off from work for a few weeks now, I was really poorly with something – aches, tiredness, shortness of breath, coughing and a sore throat which wasn’t good.  My temperature spiked on Easter Monday to 38.3 and by Tuesday I felt awful.  I phoned the dr and had a telephone consultation where he said from the sounds of my symptoms I could have contracted the virus but now it sounded like a chest infection as I was coughing up some funky coloured phlegm, and have been prescribed antibiotics.  The prescription was sent to my local pharmacy and I had a bit of trouble getting it – queued for ages at the pharmacy who couldn’t find my prescription so I had to call the dr to re-send it and managed to get my antibiotics on Friday.

I’ve been taking my antibiotics since Friday and am still feeling rough but getting better slowly and I’m so thankful that we have got an NHS service that can provide us with these things and take care of us.

I’ve been on lockdown and in isolation for nearly 3 weeks now and it can be a struggle, I find myself getting a bit lonely and my stress and anxiety haven’t been too good, and coupled with being ill it has been hard at times, but I have found some ways to cope and cheer myself up.  Our street takes part in the Clap for Carers at 8pm on a Thursday which I have been joining in with from my doorstep, its nice to see the neighbours and be part of something nice.  I have also been joining in with Frock Up Friday which is a fantastic group full of the most lovely people who all get dressed up on a Friday and post their outfits to the group, I’ve never been part of a more lovely and inspiring group!  It has even encouraged me to get dressed up during the week too, and I have been making an effort with my outfit and makeup choices each day.  I find that making an effort to dress up is making me feel a bit less ill and it has altered my mindset in a positive way.

And I am working on the 100 Day Project which runs for 100 days!  People can choose to do anything over the 100 days, I’ve seen people doing 100 days of baking, dancing, singing, sketching, sewing, all sorts!  It’s not just for artists and anyone can take part!  I decided to do 100 days of squares and am doing 8×8 inch squares which will all link together to form a big picture which I want to hang in my spare room.  I am using the project to try out lots of different mediums and techniques so the outcome should be really interesting.  I am a few days behind as I have been working on linking the pictures together and re-working some things as I go along so its not really been a square a day but, I have been “arting” each day!

Here’s some of my work on the project so far…

How are you all?  what have you been up to?  I hope you are all staying safe and well!

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

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P stands for Posts in my A-Z of Blogging for the April A-Z Blog Challenge.

Posts.  Posts are the individual entries that appear on your blog (like this one!).  There are lots of guides and differing rules about writing posts online, many are really contradictory though so don’t feel that you have to stick to any rules that you read.  I have read that a post should be a minimum of 250 words and not exceed 3000 but in reality, length doesn’t matter all that much.  The main things that you should follow are that your post is well written in a clear and concise way, the post contains paragraphs, correct grammar and makes sense.  If you are using affiliate links or it is a paid or sponsored post then it is the done thing to let your readers know, and if the post has lots of images I like to warn my readers that the post is image-heavy in case it takes a while to load for them.  If the post is on the heavy side with text then consider adding sub-headings or images to break up the text, or if you can – bullet points work really well, anything that will make reading the text easier for the audience goes down really well.

Do you have any thoughts about posts at all?  I’d love to hear about them so let me know in the comments!

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

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Today’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge brings us the letter O and in my A-Z of Blogging O is for Outsourcing.

Outsourcing.  There are many reasons you may be considering outsourcing from having a lack of time to not knowing fully how to implement something and any other reason in between which is where you look for another person to delegate certain tasks to.  In the blogging world, there are lots of different things you could outsource, from writing certain blog posts, photography and images, managing social media feed to email subscription lists.  Outsourcing is not a good idea for all bloggers though and unless you are already making money from your blog it can be pretty costly to do.  If you are thinking of outsourcing certain blogging tasks, think about the reason you want to outsource and see if you can come up with a different strategy such as re-thinking your time schedule or learning a new skill first.

Have you thought about or do you outsource any blog task?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on outourcing so let me know in the comments!