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

N2020

Today’s letter for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge is the letter N which stands for Networking and Niche in my A-Z of Blogging.

Networking.  Building up a network of like-minded bloggers is a must for any blogger and in its essence, networking is all about communicating with other bloggers.  Networking is pretty simple in the blogging world, commenting on blog posts, following other bloggers and taking part in conversations that are going on are just a few ways to network with others.  Taking part in things like blog awards, guest posting, collaborations and question and answer sessions are other ways you can build up a network.  Each blogger will have a different set of bloggers that they network with depending on the types of blog, interests, hobbies and other factors.  Many of the bloggers I have networked with have become friends in real life and online and they really are valuable in all sorts of ways!

Niche.  Your niche is the overarching theme of your blog or the main topic of your blog.  This blog, for example, is a lifestyle blog which covers post topics such as mental health, crafts, DIY, books I am reading amongst other things.  Blogs can fall into all sorts of niches – gardening, business, finance, fashion, computing, gaming, photography, the list is almost endless, and generally, most blog posts would cover something to do with the overall theme.  Blogs don’t necessarily have to fall into one kind of niche either, I have read blogs that are business and mental health-themed and cover topics such as how to reduce stress in the work environment and other mental health/work things.  Having a niche that your blog fits into can help you to generate ideas for posts as well as attracting an audience that is interested in that theme.  By keeping blog posts related to your niche you will find that readers will keep coming back and you will gain more followers as the audience will come to know what to expect from your posts.

What are your thoughts on networking and niches?  Where does your blog fit niche wise?  I’d love to hear any thoughts you may have so let me know in the comments!

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

M2020

Today’s Blogging from A-Z post brings us the letter M which stands for Monetization in my A-Z of Blogging series.

Monetization.  Monetization is a way to turn your blog into a money-making venture.  There are lots of different ways to monetize your blog, from affiliate links –  links placed into your post that direct your readers to certain products, paid advertising and sponsored posts are just a few ways to monetize your blog.  I have not monetized my blog and think that you really need to think about whether you want to or not and think of ways that you can get your blog working for you in terms of income.  You need to have a strategy in place, followers and regular readers, you need to understand the rules around different monetization options (like affiliate links and sponsored posts need to be clearly labelled as such).

Have you thought of monetizing your blog?  Or do you have any other thoughts on monetization?  I’d love to read any comments you have on this!

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

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Today’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge letter is “L” which, in my A-Z of Blogging stands for Layout, Learning and Links.

Layout.  Layout refers to the appearance of your blog and includes where things are placed and the overall presentation of the site to external* users (*you can see the external view of your blog by typing in the blog URL into a new tab or window on your computer).  There are no strict rules when it comes to your blog layout but it should be easy to read with clear fonts and font sizes, easy to navigate with menus and sidebars clearly labelled, and it should be uncluttered so avoid placing anything unnecessary into sidebars if possible.  If you add or take-away any items that could effect how your blog appears should be checked by viewing as an external user.

Learning.  With advances being made in technology almost daily, and new software, social media apps or additions to social media being introduced it is helpful to learn how to use these things even if you may never use them in the future.  There are so many useful learning resources, many aimed at teaching blogging and blogging platforms as well as others that can teach more about the social media elements that run alongside.  I found the “For Dummies” books to be a brilliant resource but there are lots of other ways to learn – Youtube, Google, Skillshare, podcasts (I highly recommend Pete McPherson’s Do You Even Blog podcast and the website – some really useful resources on both!).  Learning from other bloggers is useful too, I have learned so much from being part of groups dedicated to blogging and even on Twitter too.

Links.  Links connect one web page to another and, from a blogging standpoint, act as a way of showing your reader extra information about what you may be writing about.  For example, I have used links in this post that direct you, the reader to the Dummies book webpage, Skillshare and the Do You Even Blog site which, when clicked will open the relevant page (hopefully) in a new tab or window for you to view.  Links are not always necessary depending upon what you write about but, if you do use links, it is worth checking every now and again that they still work and take the reader to the right sites.  There are a few ways to check if links you have used are broken or still valid and would recommend searching Google for link checkers and find one that you like using.

Do you have any thoughts on Layout, Learning or Links?  I’d love to hear your comments so let me know below!

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

K2020

Today’s Blogging from A-Z letter is the letter K which stands for Keywords in my A-Z of Blogging.

Keywords.  A keyword is part of S.E.O (Search Engine Optimisation) and is a word or a string of words that enables internet searches to find your post when those words are entered into a search.  Keywords will vary from post to post, topic to topic and from blogger to blogger.  One way of incorporating keywords or keyword strings into your posts is to think about the topic you are writing about and make a list of search terms that you would enter into a search engine to find related posts.  For example, if you are writing a post about an outfit, where would you wear the outfit? Keywords related to that could be “smart, office wear”, “business casual suit”, “green pleated skirt”, you could name the brand and be super specific about that item of clothing.  Once you have a list of different keywords you can then build your post around those words and mention them in the body of the text.  There are no hard and fast rules around how many keyword/keyword strings you use in a post but make sure that the post is well written and cohesive and that it makes sense.  There is nothing worse than reading a badly written post that is peppered with really obvious keyword strings.

What are your thoughts on Keywords?  Do you use them at all?  I’d love to hear about any thoughts you have so let me know in the comments!

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

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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!