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

J2020

Today’s Blogging from A-Z letter is J.  J in my A-Z of Blogging stands for Join In and JPEG.

Join In.  As a blogger, it is easy to feel alone in what you do so to combat this “aloneness” it is worth joining in with things that are happening in the blogging community, whether it is a challenge, a meetup or by leaving comments and joining in with chats that take place on Twitter or other social media sites.  There is always something going on that you can join in with and can help you to develop networks and relationships with other bloggers, gain new followers or even help you to develop your blog and generate ideas for your blog.  I find Facebook blogging groups and Twitter chats to be really helpful tools as a place to start.

JPEG.  JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group and is a file that is common to images.  Most cameras and other image capturing devices use JPEG as the standard format for image files but it might not always be the best option.  JPEG is a fairly low-resolution format and can pixelate when the image is blown up or definition can be lost when viewing on some devices.  I always try to use TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) where photos are concerned, especially when taking images with a digital camera as the clarity is much better and tend to use PNG (Portable Network Graphics) when I have created my own blog banners or other graphics.  In all honesty though, so long as your images are well lit and of good quality from a viewing standpoint it shouldn’t matter too much which kind of format you use.

Can you think of any other blogging terms beginning with J?  Or do you have any opinions on Join In or JPEG?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so let me know in the comments!

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

I2020

Todays Blogging from A-Z letter is I, which in my A-Z of Blogging stands for Ideas and Instagram.

Ideas.  Every blogger no matter what stage they are at in their blogging journey will have times when ideas flow really easily and other times where you think you will never have an idea for your blog again.  I like to keep a notebook to hand and jot down any ideas that I may have, no matter how small they are.  You can get ideas for your blog from so many different sources, I like to read news articles, books and other blogs but have got ideas from searching Google or Pinterest for different challenges and prompts too.

Instagram.  Instagram, the photo-sharing, storytelling social media site can be used in so many ways by bloggers and it is really up to you how you utilise it alongside your blog.  Some ways you can use Instagram are promoting your blog posts, giving your audience a glimpse into your life, doing challenges and adding them to your “story” such as the 30 Day Song Challenge,  running competitions and giveaways, interacting with your followers and seeing what they are interested in and communicating with them in a different way.  I love using Instagram to share bits of my life, outfits and things I am doing that may not get shared on the blog. (You can find me on Instagram here).

How do you generate ideas or use Instagram?  I’d love to know, or any other thoughts you have on my topics for “I” so let me know in the comments!

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

H2020

The letter for today’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge is H which stands for HTML, Hosting and Housekeeping.

HTML.  HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is used to control how most web pages appear, from things like colour, font, margins, paragraphs, spacing and a whole ton of other things.  A lot of bloggers will never really need to understand much about HTML other than copying and pasting certain bits of HTML code into their blog so that things can appear when viewed by the audience.  Occasionally, adding in HTML will bring up errors but they can be easily fixed by doing a Google search on the error or asking in a forum dedicated to HTML coding.

Hosting.  Hosting is where your blog is housed, where all the files are stored and where all the technical “background” things are looked after for you.  There are 2 ways to get hosting for your blog, either through a dedicated blog platform (such as WordPress.com or Blogger for example) or you can self-host and take care of all the technical aspects yourself (such as through WordPress.org).  Depending on your level of technical expertise and the amount of time you have should be the main factors in which you choose.  I have my blog hosted through WordPress as I like to know that I have support from the WordPress team should anything go wrong.  There are lots of pros and cons to self-hosting vs hosted and you should weigh them all up when making the decision.

Housekeeping.  Housekeeping or blog admin (I like to call it Blogmin!) is all the things that you do on a weekly or monthly basis to keep your blog running smoothly and looking the best for visitors.  Blogmin things include checking that all posts appear in the same format – things such as how and where images are placed, headings, paragraphs, that all links work as they should, that each post has been categorised and tagged properly and that the text used is legible and big enough.

What are your thoughts on HTML, Hosting and Housekeeping?  I’d love to read about them so let me know in the comments!

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

G2020

Today’s letter for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge is G.  G in my series for this challenge, the A – Z of Blogging stands for Goals, Graphics and Guest Posts.

Goals.  Goals differ from blogger to blogger and can depend on many different factors including how long you have been blogging for.  If you are setting yourself any kind of goal it is useful to follow the “SMART” rules – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.  Breaking down your goal like this gives you an idea of how you will meet that goal.  There is no point in saying, for example, that you want to reach 1000 followers and then do nothing about it aside from post to your blog once in a while, you need to think about what you can do to make that goal reality, how you will get there when you want to reach that goal and if you can do it in that timeframe that you want.  Getting 1000 followers in a month maybe attainable if you have been blogging for years and gain a few hundred followers a week, but as a new blogger, you need to be realistic and set a goal of maybe 10 followers in a month then increase the number of followers you would like month on month.  My advice is to be realistic and re-assess each month how your goals are going and re-adjust the figures and your strategies accordingly.

Graphics.  Graphics are images that are added into a blog post or to parts of your blog, such as your blog banner and should always be legible and fit with the theme of your blog or the post you are writing.  You can use images you have taken, create graphics using software or add in stock images.  Most bloggers will add at least one graphic to a block of text to draw in the reader’s interest, illustrate what the post is about and to add in a break in between a lot of text.  There are a few simple rules when using graphics, that they are relevant, good quality and add to the text.  If the graphics don’t make sense to the text, don’t use them, graphics are not always necessary.

Guest Post.  A guest post is a post that you write for someone elses blog or that you invite other bloggers to write for your blog.  This kind of post is usually asked for by the person who owns the blog and, should you be asked or chosen to write a post will usually follow a topic of the blog owners choice.  If you want to find bloggers who are looking for guest posters I would search for tags such as #guestposterswanted on Twitter or other social media sites.  Guest posts are a brilliant way to build backlinks (Which I spoke about here), reach new audiences, build connections and networks.

Do you have any other blogging terms for the letter G?  Or do you have any thoughts on Goals, Graphics or Guest Posts?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Words on Wednesday

wednesday-3

It seems that I could have contracted the Coronavirus.  I haven’t been feeling 100% for the past week and have been self-isolating for the second time since last Wednesday.  I have had another cough and sore throat which I had put down to having really bad hayfever but isolated again just to be on the safe side.  For the past few days, I have been feeling pretty short of breath like I have just run somewhere or have been rushing about even though all I have done is go upstairs for something and come back down.  I phoned work to let them know how I am feeling and that I would be isolating for a bit longer.  Aside from the shortness of breath and the odd coughing fit I don’t feel too bad in all, just really anxious and worried about the whole virus situation.

I decided not to watch the news as I was getting pretty triggered by it and have had a few panic attacks, instead I only watch one news programme – the update each day, and I will read the news update on the Guardian app on my phone if I miss the daily tv news.  This has been helping to control the anxiety I have been feeling.  I have also been practising mindfulness for half an hour each day – lighting incense, listening to some calming meditation music and just breathing.

I have been chatting to friends on the phone daily and am grateful that we have video calling, and have spent a few hours chatting with friends and being able to see their faces.  I have been working on my blog and planning future posts that I want to write which have been nice as I feel that, after the patchy internet episode I had the other month, I have been neglecting my blog and routine somewhat.  I have even managed to do a few hours work in the garden the other day as the sun has been shining.

I have a few different things I want to do, many of which I feel should wait until I feel less out of breath – finish painting the kitchen, add a few different coloured strips to the wall where my desk is located in my spare room, sanding down some desk drawers I was given and re-painting them, the list goes on!

But, for now, I have a new project that I am undertaking which started yesterday, its called The 100 Day Project.  The project runs for 100 Days and you can choose to do anything in that 100 days, so far I have seen posts from people who will be undertaking 100 days of dance, workouts, baking, card making, weaving, drawing, writing and all sorts of other activities in-between.  I have decided to take part and am working on one 8×8 inch square of paper each day, creating a pattern on it that will link to the next square and so on.  I am hoping, by the end of it to have 100 squares that are all linked together and forming an 80×80 inch square made up of 10×10 8inch squares which I will be fixing together to hang in my spare room.  I will be putting the date on the back of each square and am thinking about journaling something onto the backs so I can look back on it in years to come and remember what I was doing.

How is everyone?  Are there any projects you are currently working on?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

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

F2020

Todays Blogging from A-Z letter is F and in my A-Z of Blogging, F stands for Facebook, Followers and Forward Planning.

Facebook.  Facebook is a brilliant tool for promoting your blog posts to friends and family.  It is also a useful tool to find other bloggers groups where you can share your blog posts or ask questions, find help and support or other like-minded bloggers to network with.

Followers.  Followers are the readers who like your blog and want to keep up with all of your blog posts.  Most blogging platforms have an option to follow a blog and new posts from the blogs that are followed will appear in a separate place along with other blogs that they follow.  While followers are a brilliant thing to have, it is worth remembering not to get too hung up on how many followers you do or don’t have, many people may not use a blogging platform and just save your URL  to their favourites on their computer and visit you that way.

Forward Planning.  Forward planning is an essential part of blogging for many bloggers.  Forward planning enables you to plan what you are going to write and when it will be published to your blog allowing you to spread your blog posts over the month.  All you need is a diary or a spreadsheet that is set up like a calendar where you can jot down ideas for posts against the dates you would like them to appear.    I like to use a spreadsheet as I can place ideas against dates and move them about if I decide to write something else for that day.

What are your thoughts on Facebook, followers and forward planning?  I’d love to hear them so let me know in the comments!

 

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

E2020

Today’s Blogging from A-Z – A-Z of Blogging is the letter E.  E is for Editing and Engagement.

Editing.  Editing is a really important step in composing a blog post and is worth spending some time on.  Once a post has been written, reading back through it slowly and out loud can help with finding any problems with any grammar or punctuation errors, or even sentences that don’t flow properly.  I like to write a post, leave it for a day, saving it as a draft, then re-visiting it to read through and make any sentence and grammar changes.  While in the editing stage I will make sure all spellings are correct and add in any links I want to include before scheduling a time for the post to be published.

Engagement.  Engagement is often thought of as comments being left on a published post but in reality, it is so much more than that.  Engagement encompasses things like post stats, amount of time visitors spend on that post and where they go on your blog from that point.  Engagement can help you to see which topics appeal to your audience most and can help to shape your blog for the future.

What other “E” words can you think of that are relevant to blogging?  What are your thoughts on editing and engagement?  I’d love to hear your comments so let me know below!

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

D2020

Today the Blogging from A-Z Challenge letter is D and as my theme is the A-Z of Blogging I will be covering the following topics – Demographic, Domain and Do’s and Don’ts.

Demographic.  A demographic is a set of people grouped together by any given trait – for example, women under 50, men over 40.  For bloggers, your demographic is your target audience, but not necessarily the audience you write for, its the readers who visit your blog.  You may think you are writing for a mid-30’s businesswoman who wants to make the most of her spare time but you may attract such readers like mothers, older or younger people and knowing your demographic can help you to write better posts that appeal to them even more.  There are several ways of finding out your demographic from using stats and analytics tools to polls and reading the comments that readers leave, however you find out your demographic appeal doesn’t really matter just that you know the kinds of people that are visiting your blog so you can create more targeted content for them and keep them coming back time and again.

Domain.  The domain is the address of your website, most free blogs have a “yourblog.blogprovider.com” format and you can usually drop the “blogprovider” part by paying a subscription to your provider.  It is worth thinking about what you want to call your blog and how the domain will appear.  You should make the domain simple, memorable and uncomplicated.  Once you have chosen the name for the domain it is worth checking social media sites and google to see if that name is already in use before committing to that name.  Once you have created your domain name, set up an email account that you can use specifically for your blog and blog-related things then sign up to all social media sites and secure your user name on them too, even the sites you may not use at present, as you never know when you may want to use them in the future.

Do’s and Don’ts.  There are a ton of different do’s and don’ts in the blog world so I won’t cover them all here but a few basics are…

  • Do leave comments on blogs you read that are relevant to the topics covered.
  • Don’t just leave random “follow me” or “check out my blog” comments.
  • Do find other blogs that are in a similar niche to you, read them and follow them.
  • Don’t just follow a ton of blogs to get people to follow you back.
  • Do leave a “like” for posts that you have genuinely enjoyed reading.
  • Don’t scroll through someone’s blog and just like all their posts without reading them.
  • Do try to post regularly, whether it is once a month, week or day being consistent helps your followers to know when to expect a post.
  • Don’t spew out a ton of posts on one day and then post nothing for ages, try to stagger and schedule posts across a few days/weeks.

Do you have any other “D’s” to add?  I’d love to hear about them and any thoughts you may have, so leave me a comment!

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

C2020

Today’s Blogging from A-Z letter is C which, in my A-Z of Blogging means Call To Action, Categories, Comments and Costs.

Call to Action. A call to action is something that you add at the end of a blog post and asks your readers to do something,   This action could be “pop over to my Instagram account and follow me to see what I have been up to” or “let me known what you think of this post in the comments”.  It is something that you can use to interact with your readers and build up rapport.  If you want people to comment or follow you on other social media channels, or to subscribe to a mailing list it is worth including a call to action in your blog posts.

Categories.  Most blogging platforms allow you to add categories and tags to a blog post, I will be talking about tags later in this series so for now, I shall focus on categories.  I like to think about categories as an index system which allows readers to find other posts related to that category, whether it is “recipes” or “gardening tips”.  Categories help your reader to stay on your site for longer and read posts related to certain topics.  If a reader likes the post they have just read they can easily find other posts on the same topic if you add categories to each post you share.

Comments.  Comments are a brilliant way to engage with your readers and allow you to work out whether the things you post are having an impact.  They allow the reader to voice an opinion and let you know what they think about the topic you have covered.  When leaving a comment on another blog it is worth keeping in mind a few things – always be courteous, keep your comments relevant to the post and do not spam with “follow me”, “read my blog” or any other irrelevant comments.  I, personally, delete any comments that are not relevant to the post or my blog especially any “read my blog” comments as I don’t want my readers to be bombarded with anything that isn’t relevant to my post.

Cost.  Blogging can cost you thousands, or it can cost you nothing at all but it depends on what you want to do with your blog that matters most.  I pay for my .com web address and also for having a premium plan on WordPress.  If you are a hobby blogger then it may be worth just having the free services to start with then decide if you would like any extras that other plans can provide you.  My advice would be to start off with a free service and test it out before committing to a paid plan if you would like any other services.  I also pay for Canva which is a graphics software app that allows you to create banners, social media images and other things which can be useful blogging tools to add colour and pictures to your blog and social media feeds.  But, it is ok to blog for free, just remember that it is your space and you can do with it what you like, and just because it is free it doesn’t make you any less of a good blogger just like spending lots of money on a blog doesn’t automatically make you a good blogger.

Do you have any thoughts, comments or additions to the letter C of my A-Z of Blogging?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!