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

P2020

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 – 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!

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 – 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!

Words on Wednesday

Wednesday (3)

I have signed up for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge, a blog challenge that starts with a topic of your choice beginning with A on the 1st of April and ending with a Z on the 30th April (skipping Sundays!)  I took part last year and really enjoyed it so have decided to participate again this year too!  I have a theme all ready to go and am drafting my introduction post this week to be ready for the last day in March!

I love a blog challenge and have tried my hand, so far, at Blogtober, Blogmas and Blogging from A-Z.  I am considering taking part in NaNoWriMo this year instead of doing Blogtober and Blogmas, or maybe even doing all 3 but that’s a long way off!  I love that these challenges can boost the sense of community, encourage us to support other bloggers/writers, introduce us to new blogs, push our skills, encourage us to write better and more engaging content, learn more and have fun along the way.  Another great thing is that it gives us the freedom to try something new with our blogs without the commitment of making a full change, we can test things out, see if we like them and if ourselves and our readers like them we can use them in the future, the same goes for trying something and then it not being as successful as we thought it was, we can drop it for the time being.

Are you taking part in any blog challenges this year?  Let me know in the comments as I’d love to know your thoughts on blog challenges and the ones you do (or don’t!) take part in!

 

A-Z of Date Ideas

artistic blossom bright clouds
Photo by Pixabay on http://www.pexels.com

As it is coming up to Valentine’s Day I thought I would share a fun post on date ideas.  I think, as a couple, whether you have been together only a short time or for months, or years it is essential to still do fun things together as a couple.  Dates are not only fun but they bring you together as a couple, give you a fun time together, let you get to reconnect and know each other a bit more and give you something to talk about, not to mention memories that will last forever.

I decided it would be fun to give you 26 date ideas that are inspired by each letter of the alphabet!  You could work through these in order or just pick one at random whenever you choose!

A is for…

Art Show.  Why not see what kind of art shows are available near you?  Sometimes local colleges and universities hold art shows of student’s work, or museums will hold a show based on a theme or artist.  These can be fun to attend as you can look at new artworks, discover new artists, support your local students, learn new things, get inspiration while talking about which works you enjoy and which you don’t.

B is for…

The Beach
The Beach

Beach visits.  Whatever season it is, beach visits can be lots of fun.  In the winter wrap up and take a flask of tea or hot chocolate, or in the summer take a book and a towel, there is nothing better that a walk on the beach.  Follow the tide line and see what you can find that has washed up.  Not only is exercise good for you but being in the out doors and close to the sea is good for your mental health and can lift your mood.

C is for…

Craft Fair.  Craft fairs happen all over the place, in markets and fields, halls and churches.  Many of them are run by and stalled by local artists and makers.  It’s a nice way of whiling away an afternoon.  Not only that but you can pick up some lovely hand-made, unique gifts while supporting local traders and craftspeople.

D is for…

dinner
Table laid out with dinner plates and food

Dinner.  Why not take it in turns to host a dinner date, whether you are living together or as a new couple, separately.  Find out what the other person’s favorite meal is and cook it for them, lay the table, get out the best crockery, light candles, buy a nice bottle of wine for you both to enjoy, and dress up for the occasion.  What is nicer than spending time with a loved one and a thoughtful home cooked meal?

E is for…

Eating Out
Photo by rawpixel.com on http://www.pexels.com

Eating Out.  Take your loved one to the first place you had a meal out together or to a favorite food place, or try somewhere new that you both have wanted to visit.  Sit down, enjoy the food and ambience while being together.

F is for…

Farm visit.  Lots of places have farms that are visitors attractions now.  You could spend a day visiting one and learning about the animals and how a farm operates then after your visit stop off at the on site cafe for a slice of home-made cake anda cup of tea.  Remember to advise your date to bring wellies or other suitable walking shoes!

G is for…

Board games
Photo by Ylanite Koppens onwww.pexels.com

Games night.  Why not hold a night of board games?  Dig out the old classics like scrabble or snakes and ladders, see who is most competitive out of you both.  I’m sure there will be many laughs had and the vintage-classic element is sure to get you talking of past memories!

H is for…

Hot Air Balloons
Photo by Pixabay on http://www.pexels.com

Hot Air Balloon show!  Bristol holds a Hot Air Balloon Fiesta each year in August.  There, you will be able to see balloons of all shapes and sizes take to the sky.  The best part of the show (and most romantic in my opinion) is the Nightglow, where balloons tether up and light the night sky.

I is for…

Informative talk.  Why not attend an informative talk on a subject that both of you enjoy or on something that you would both like to know more about?  Lots of informative talks take place in libraries and museums and subjects covered can include photography, local history, wildlife, and many other subjects.  Learning about a subject or adding to the information you already know, can give you both something to talk about and a shared knowledge bank.

J is for…

Jim Jams Day.  Why not spend a day with your loved one doing nothing but staying in your pajamas all day.  It’s a lovely excuse to get the duvet down, snuggle on the sofa with hot chocolates and snack food, enjoy each others company and binge watch your favorite shows.  Go one step further and limit interruptions by turning your phones off and banning social media for the day!

K is for…

Kites flying in the wind
Photo by FOX http://www.pexels.com

Kite flying.  Buy a kite and take it out onto some open land (away from overhead cables) on a windy day and capture some of the childhood joy from your past.  Whether you have ever flown a kite before or not, doesn’t matter, there is something magical about launching a kite together and watching it glide through the sky!  Wrap up warm and pack a bag with some tea to have to warm back up again afterwards!

L is for…

Local Attraction.  Whether your town has a castle, a museum, a steam train or another local attraction, why not make time to visit it?  Whether you have been before or it’s always been overlooked for something further afield, it is nice to experience a local attraction with a loved one.  You can both learn something, talk about what your experiences have been and create fun memories that you will be able to revisit from time to time.

M is for…

Museum.  Museum visits are always fun, whether you go to a local museum or a national one, there is so much to see and often there are special exhibitions to explore too.  On a rainy day there really is nothing better than taking a walk around a museum and chatting about the displays.

N is for…

Night walk.  There are many different kinds of night walks that you can go on, guided candle lit local history walks, ghost walks, evening photography walks, night-time nature walks, the fun thing about night walks is that you get to share the experience of seeing new things and exploring somewhere at a time of day that you wouldn’t normally be out.

O is for…

Open Air Cinema.  Open air cinemas are popping up all over the place and the films shown range from arty pieces, classic films and even new releases.  Take a bottle of wine, your favorite snacks and a blanket, cuddle up and enjoy the experience of seeing a film in the outdoors.

P is for..

picnik
Photo by rawpixel.com http://www.pexels.com

Picnic.  Who doesn’t love a picnic.  Go to a park, the beach, a local landmark, for a walk, but pack a delicious picnic of sandwiches, fruit and drinks, salad, a few snacks and something for dessert.  Find a quiet spot with a lovely view and sit, eat and enjoy the area that you have chosen.

Q is for…

Quiz.  Why not head out to a local pub and take part in a quiz night?  Quizes can be fun for lots of reasons, guessing the answer and seeing if you have the correct one, the chance to put your knowledge to the test, working as a team, the competitiveness, the list goes on.  Sometimes just being out and enjoying something together can be the most fun thing to do.

R is for…

Romantic place.  Take a trip back to a place that olds fond memories for you and your loved one, whether it’s the place you had your first kiss, where you first met, where you proposed/got proposed to, this date idea will be different for each person or couple.  It would be a fun idea to get the other person to guess the relevance of the place you go to, or why the place is important.  Maybe take your loved one there on the anniversary of that action?

S is for…

Star gazing.  There is something really lovely about star-gazing and something that you can do in your own back yard, or any other place of your choosing.  All you need is a soft blanket to lie on and maybe some cushions to lay down on.  You can pint out certain star formations and constellations to each other and just enjoy the night sky with each other.

T is for…

Stage and curtain
Photo by Monica Silvestre on http://www.pexels.com

Theatre.  How about a trip to the theatre?  You could go and watch a play or pantomime, support your local am-dram group, watch a funny show, a well-known story or something you have never heard of before.  There is something really nice about going to the theatre as, regardless of how well you know the story there is always something unexpected and fun thrown in to the script!

U is for…

Under the stars.  Under the Stars is a generalised them for a date, whether it is a walk under the stars, a meal, a beach trip, drinks, a picnic, reading poetry, sitting out in the garden, the possibilities are pretty much limited only by your imagination.  There is something really romantic about experiencing something under the stars that will make for a magical evening that you will remember for a long time.

V is for…

Vacation.  Whether it is a day break or an evening away, take a trip somewhere that you both want to visit and explore it together, whether it be a town or city, somewhere full of history, or full of shops, wherever you go, it is fun to be able to explore together.

W is for…

Couple wrapped up warm and out for a walk in the snow
Photo by Rhiannon Stone on http://www.pexels.com

Walk.  Go for a long walk, or a short walk, a ramble or a hike, go out in any weather and enjoy the outdoors together.  Buy an OS Map and see what sort of walks are around where you live, choose one and follow it, take a camera to capture things that you may not have seen before or to photograph wildlife or landscapes.  Remember to take a bag and some refreshments!

X is for…

Xbox or other games console day.  Set up the games console and choose 2 player games that you can both play together at the same time.  There is nothing better than sitting and playing a game together when its cold and miserable outside.

Y is for…

celebrating Your anniversary.  Whatever you do on your anniversary, remember to celebrate it.  Whether you have been together for 1 year or 50, it shouldn’t go unmarked.  Do something you both enjoy or go to the place of your first date, first meal first kiss, celebrate your relationship in a way that is meaningful to you both.  Take time to reminisce and talk about all the memories that you hold dear.  Anniversaries are important.

Z is for…

Zoo.  Take a trip to the zoo and visit all the cute, weird and wonderful animals, if you are allowed, feed and pet them, take photos and learn about your favorites along the way.  Find out which animal is your loved ones favorite and buy a silly memento of the day with that animal on it to remember the day by.