A Lifestyle, Grooming & Technology Blog

Monday, 14 August 2017

Smarter, Greener, Leaner: Better Ways To Get To Work

Unless you are part of the work from home revolution, the chances are that a significant percentage of your day is spent travelling to and from work. There’s also a very strong likelihood that you travel by car, too - the last UK census revealed almost 60 percent of the working population drove themselves to work every day.

When you look at the state of the nation’s roads, this little statistic won’t seem so much of a surprise. The streets in every major city - and beyond - are jam packed with vehicles of all descriptions during the rush hours, and getting caught in the chaos isn’t good for the soul, the sanity, or the planet.

Cycling

Cycling to and from work helps you beat the rush hour traffic, has a carbon footprint of zero, and gets you fit and healthy in no time. If you aren’t cycling to work, it’s time to give it some serious thought. The fact is that two wheels (and no engine) are better for everyone, and not only will you get to work quicker, but you will start the day with a first-rate calorie burn.

Hoverboard or Segway

If you do have to rely on an engine of some description, why not use a Segway or hoverboard? They run on electricity, so there’s little to no pollution spilling out onto the streets, and they are are also ideal for giving your core and stability a little work out first thing in the morning. Live too far away from work? Just use public transport (more on which in a second) for the first part of your journey and finish the rest on your board. You’ll save a fortune on fuel and develop the balance of a pro skateboarder.

Public Transport

Of course, not everyone lives close enough to cycle or board their way to work, but long distance travel on public transport is much more efficient than driving. Not only does it cost less, but you get a head start on your work day. Many trains and even buses have onboard WiFi these days, so you can sit in peace and quiet, listen to some chilled tunes, and start your work projects before you even see your office window.

Car Pools

There will be occasions when getting to work is impossible without a car - of you live in the middle of the sticks, for example. If this is the case for your situation, consider setting up a work car pool scheme. Let’s say you share with four other people - you only need to drive to work and back once a week, rather than every day of five. That’s a huge amount of money you are saving, not to mention the fact that one car travelling belches out a fifth of the pollution you would all be using by driving alone.

Do you have an alternative method of commuting when it comes to work? Share your thoughts in the comments!
SHARE:

Sunday, 13 August 2017

ASOS FINDS: 20 UNDER £20




Turns out there's loads of bargains to be had on ASOS right now from all kinds of brands including Vans, Tommy Hilfiger and A&F to name just a few. It's so easy to spend hours scrolling through their latest arrivals but there's so much on there it's often completely overwhelming. I've pulled together my top picks under £20 to give you a few ideas on ways to fill up your shopping bag. 

SHARE:

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Tips for bloggers that work full time

Well, if there is anything I have learned from blogging over the past several months, it is how to manage my time and schedule better. Time management is key when you are a blogger, especially if you are working full-time. Blogging is a side hustle for the majority of us bloggers. It is important to remember to find what works for you in managing your time.



I learned really quickly that there is no such thing as work-life balance. It is virtually impossible to find the perfect balance. But, you can find what works for you. Think about what your ultimate goals are.  Do you want to quit your day job? Work from home to have more time with your kids (or dog, lol)? Do you want millions of followers and to run your own business? Or do you just want a creative outlet? Figure out what your goal is and let that guide you to finding the right “balance”.

Plan & Schedule

This might seem like a no brainer but, it is so important to have a plan and schedule your blog posts and social media content ahead of time. This will help you be able to prioritize your weekly and monthly tasks and goals. At the beginning of every month set aside time to brainstorm your content and plan out your calendar. 

This will help you avoid falling behind or getting in a creative rut. Set aside time to work on your blog, whether it is before work, after work, over the weekend, etc. Find a time that works for you and stick with it.

Find Time That Works For You

We all work best at different times. For me personally, I have always been a morning person. I do my best work in the mornings between 8-10 with a strong coffee in hand. Everyone's different so it just depends when you feel at your most productive and motivated. Not a morning person? Maybe you’re a night owl. When you get home from work take a quick nap, get dinner and then buckle down and work on your blog.

Outsource Tasks

This was one of the best things I ever did for my blog! We all have things we absolutely love about blogging and wouldn’t want to give up. But, there are also a handful of tasks that I would greatly pay someone else to take care of. For me, it editing photos. Find something that takes up a lot of your time, that you don’t particularly enjoy and OUTSOURCE IT! 

Trust me when I say this is worth your investment, especially for those working full-time. Invest in yourself, your brand, and your blog and you will see a return because you will have more time work on what you love.




SHARE:

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

How To Turn Blogging Into A Career

Blogging is a wonderful thing, and it enables creatives to express their views and share their passions with people from around the world. For many, though, it’s more than just a hobby; it’s a business venture too.



When done right, blogging can be very rewarding on a financial front as well as an emotional one. However, this is only made possible when the commercial elements are in place. Follow each of the five steps below, and you should be just fine.

#1. Perfect Your Content
 
If blogging is to become a viable career option, it needs to be both fun and commercially rewarding. Frankly, creating content that actively gets you excited is the only option. If you’re just posting content for the sake of it, readers will soon see through it.
 
Writing with passion and expertise ensures that blog posts connect with your audience, which is when they’ll keep coming back for me. Even if it’s a niche audience, that sense of loyalty is what will bring the long-term rewards.

#2. Create A Brand
 
Quality blog posts will keep the readers coming back, but your first job is to grab their attention. As such, you need to build a brand image that will make a huge impact and lead to increased traffic.   

 
A suitable blog name, supported by a premium domain is key. You can always use Fiverr freelance graphic designers to build a logo and web layout. Even if it uses a template, a blog that stands out as carrying a professional look stands a far greater chance of achieving its goals

#3. Be Available At All Times
 
The world of business never sleeps, and your blog cannot afford to either. A regular stream of content is one thing, but being able to connect with readers on a 24/7 basis is another altogether. If you want to gain that close community vibe, getting this element right is essential.
 
A smartphone is considered essential for all modern bloggers. If you’ve started this career or side business due to poor financial status, Zaggor SIM only deals are a lifesaver. You can always pick up a used Apple of Android device on the cheap. With minutes and data on the move, maintaining strong links will be easier than ever.

#4. Make Friends
 
Unlike many business types, blogging is one where competitors can become your greatest weapon. Most readers have time to visit a handful of their favourite blogs. Therefore, teaming up with others allows you to build an audience together rather than fight for individual shares.
 
Two heads are better than one and can help you create killer content. Moreover, link building through these resources can be mutually beneficial in a way that search engines love. It can bolster visibility and reach while establishing your place in the market. In terms of the business growth, this is pivotal.

#5. Monetise
 
Building a brilliant blog establishes the foundations of a great business. However, this counts for very little if you aren’t generating money. Google AdSense is the perfect starting point as profits will grow with traffic. Nonetheless, you should look for other money-making options.
 
You could sell advertising and sponsorships, especially if you decide to create podcasts or other media content. Meanwhile, selling merchandise is another fantastic option once the brand has been established. As the revenue rolls in, you’ll be able to keep building the business. Sustained success is assured.
SHARE:

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Things to consider before starting a blog


When it comes to blogging, there is no right and wrong way of doing it. We are all individuals, and as such, our blogs should reflect that. However, there are certain things that all bloggers should do. So today I thought I would share some things that everybody should try and do. Just remember to take this post as a guide: while I’m saying you should try and do it, that doesn’t mean your blog won’t succeed without it.

Create a media kit

A media kit is an absolute must if you want to get taken seriously and considered for brand partnerships to really start monetising your blog. It’s actually taken me over a year to make mine, and I really wish I had made it sooner. Basically, a media kit is like a CV for your blog. It tells prospective clients what your blog is about, its achievements, and how well it is doing. You can then send this off to brands if they approach you about collaborations. It's a lot less wordy than an essay explaining the niche of your content and the demographic of your readers. Prospective clients can get all the info they need about your blog on a single page. 

Hosting

You'll also want to self-host your blog with a trusted site. The reason you want self-hosting is you have more flexibility to do what you want with your blog. Self-hosting means you own your blog entirely. You can grow it however you want, add multiple domains, and pay for site maintenance/support. It’s all under your control.  For beginner, to mid level-bloggers, I recommend Bluehost because it has all the capabilities you could possibly need for a reasonable price. You won’t need unlimited bandwidth with 10,000 KBs of memory (I don’t even know if that’s the right terminology I’m just making this up right now). Plus Bluehost has outstanding customer support. You send them one email expressing your concerns and boom they email you back almost instantly. This is especially helpful if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing.

Create a content calendar

One of the most exciting things about starting a new blog is having all those ideas of different content that you're going to create. But what's the best way to plan out exactly when you're going to post when and where? A content calendar of course! The first step in creating a content calendar is to create a weekly schedule. What I mean is you designate each day of the week to a specific topic. For example, fashion bloggers could do something like this: Monday = Shopping haul, Tuesday = Outfit post, Wednesday = Outfit video, Thursday = Round up of your week, Friday = Follow Friday. This way, even if you're not actually posting content everyday at least you've got a big backlog of posts just sitting there ready to go - perfect!

At this point, you should be pretty well organized – you got your weekly schedule down, and you've got your content ideas ready to go, now it’s time to actually create.  Most bloggers blog as a side project or hobby so we're very limited on time. We have a lot to balance and without managing our time accordingly, our side hustle can suffer. It’s easy to get off track and miss one day which turns into one week which turns into one month and then you’re back at square one.  In order to avoid this, you need to make time for when you’re going to write the post, when it’s going to go live, and what time you’re going to promote it, otherwise it might not get done at all.

Make your blog easily searchable

It’s SO important to get those Google bots crawling your website regularly so that your site data is kept fully up to date. The easiest way to so this is by creating and uploading a simple Sitemap file. It lets Google know every time your content has been updated, and crucial every time you launch a new page or product if you run an E-Commerce store. This is super simple if you’re on Wordpress because this tool will do all the hard work for you. 

Yoast is a Free Wordpress plugin that enables you to preview how your site will appear in Google results, as well as take some of the most important keywords you’ve picked up from Google Trends and give you the best tips of how to optimise for them efficiently. It’ll also advise you on the best pages to internally link and the most common phrases and keywords used throughout your site to give you an excellent summary of your site’s performance vs. the most important search terms you’ve been researching. 





SHARE:

Thursday, 22 June 2017

3 Magazines for bloggers


In a challenge to be more productive outside of the blogging scope, spending more time with my head more into reading something that scrolling social media seems to be the perfect antidote at the end of the day. Magazines sometimes feel 'out of date', a thing of the past and something not a lot of people spend their time reading these days. With the digital age people find it a hell of a lot easier to read topics their interested in online, because they are so quick and easy to access but also because magazines can be full of advertisements which leaves little actual writing structure to the publication.

Recently, I've have collected together a few of my favourite magazines to show you, some are old and some are new favourites that I would hand on heart recommend for my fellow bloggers to get stuck into. They are also great props for that blogger flatlay too!

Blogosphere Magazine

This is the one publication that most bloggers need to get their mitts on if they haven't done so already. Blogosphere is now in it's 4th year since it's beginning back in 2013 and serves as an essential for bloggers to get some inspiration, understanding in the blogging community but also to find new blogs to explore and love. The tag line says it all - For bloggers, by bloggers. It's filled with fascinating interviews with up and coming bloggers as well as seasoned pros.


Kinfolk Magazine

Kinfolk is a 144-page quarterly that focuses on food culture, hospitality, and community. Launched in 2011, Kinfolk uses short articles, photo essays, recipes, and practical tips to convey its philosophy of community. As founder Nathan Williams describes it, “It’s about being more intentional in how we approach food and community. It’s about gratitude and reverence for the community we have. Taking an overly casual approach shows an error, that we don’t appreciate them as much as we should.”

Much of Kinfolk’s international success (it’s been translated and published in Russian, Japanese, and Korean) is due to the ways it tries to live out its own ideals. Kinfolk has organized hundreds of community gatherings all over the world, centered on seasonal or culinary themes. They’ve also sponsored international food-based workshops, published a cookbook, and are at work on a short film series.


Umbrella Magazine

Umbrella is a magazine inspired by style, cities, design and culture. I’ve always been a fan of Umbrella; it’s one of those magazines that are well written, with interesting and varied content, but somehow I also felt it deserved a bit more than the well made online version. Nothing beats a nice printed magazine, does it? 

It's a magazine aimed at guys, which I really appreciate. The likes of GQ and Esquire have become so stale and full of useless ads over the past few years and Umbrella is leading the way to a new generation of content for the guy that cares about style.

SHARE:

Monday, 12 June 2017

Between Jobs? Here's How Blogging Can Get You Out of a Slump

Whether you’re between jobs, have recently been fired, been made redundant or have had to quit work due to illness, losing your main source of income can be hard. Not just from a practical point of view since less money is going to mean a change in lifestyle, but from a personal one too. Our jobs and careers form a large part of our identity, and if you’ve worked somewhere for a long time having that taken away can leave you feeling completely lost.

The only thing you can do in these situations is try to look on the bright side, maybe this will lead to a better position or change in career? Perhaps it will give you time to re-train, study or set up your own business? Whatever you decide, while you have some free time between hunting for jobs or deciding on your next move, why not set up a blog? Here are just a few of the reasons to do so.


It Gives You Something Productive To Do

When you’re out of work, it’s easy to get into a slump. With a lot of free time and not much spare money it can equal disaster for your mental health on top of having to deal with everything else. Starting a blog can give you something productive to do. Unlike wasting time playing a game or watching tv, you’re actually creating something worthwhile.

You could teach yourself coding and play around with your template and design. You could snap photos to use in your posts, and spend time writing up content on a subject that you enjoy. Whether you want to document your life or share tips and advice with others on a topic, the world is your oyster. Best of all, it’s completely free to start and you can use equipment you already own.

It’s possible to get laptops with bad credit if you need an upgrade, and your credit score isn’t perfect. And having access to one is will be beneficial for your job search (far easier than using a smartphone) as well as blogging, so a good investment.

It Could Earn You Money/ Become a Career

As well as being a fun way to pass the time, eventually your blog could become a source of income or even a full time job. While it does take time to get to this stage, it’s definitely something worth aiming for and makes your hobby even more worthwhile. You can monetise blogs through Google Adsense, affiliate programs and through sponsors. 

Once you’ve been blogging for a while you will be contacted by sponsors who are looking to advertise on your site, usually in the format of a sponsored post or banner ad. To make your blog attractive to sponsors, you will need a neat and tidy design, regular content and clear photos. Register your own domain too, it only costs a few pound a year and makes all the difference when it comes to sponsorships. 


It Helps You To Connect With Others

Being out of work can be isolating. You’re used to seeing everyone at work, but now you’re not there that becomes a thing of the past. You don’t have a lot of money to be going out with your friends, so where does that leave you? Blogging can open up a whole new social network. You get to meet people with a shared passion and it can be an ideal way to meet and socialise with new people.

SHARE:

Monday, 5 June 2017

5 Ways To Reach Blogging Greatness Quickly


We’ve all come across those stories about a blogger that makes £100,000 a month from their blog, or a blogger that started a blog and then sold it on for six gajillion rupees or whatever, and we’ve found ourselves wanting to be these people. Of course, we have. They have a blog, how easy is that. You start a blog, write on that blog and then become rich (and maybe even famous). Simple, huh? Well, no. Not really.

Yes, it is totally doable, but it takes dedication, determination, passion, persistence and, at the top of the list, a mentality that says you are serious about blogging. Chances are, your blogging is going to be terrible, to begin with, but that is part of the journey to greatness. The question is, how do you speed up this journey?

Well, here are my top tips for anyone that wants to be a successful blogger:

Don’t Stop Reading 

If you want to become a respected voice - an expert - then you need to do as much reading as you possibly can. You need to read up on the area in which you will be blogging and keep up with current trends and opinions. But you need to go further than this too. Running a blog is like running a business (that’s the long game, right?) and that means you need to know about marketing techniques, business strategies, and start buying self-development books as well as Twilight, or whatever you’re secretly into.

The more you can do to grow your confidence as a blogger the better. If you want to be an expert then you need to read what the experts are saying, learn what works for you and then learn how to apply these to your blog.

Know Your Niche 


This isn’t 2007 anymore. You can’t get away with having a general blog that covers all things at all times and that is because the competition has exploded. Everyone has blogs nowadays, some of which have been around since 2007, which means they have the upper hand, especially on Google.

That’s why you should narrow your niche and really focus your topic. If you’re interested in online gambling, then start out with a blog that acts as an online bingo review. If you want to become a travel blogger, then narrow this down to how to travel on £5 a day, or RV travel, or a specific location. The more focused you are the more of an expert you will become, the voice for those interested in that subject.


Shake It Up 


If you want your blog to have real value as a resource then you need to offer something that other’s don’t, and that is thinking differently. When you write, try and have a point of view that is different. Present what you are saying in a way that hasn’t been done before.

To do this, look at what your competitors are doing. If they are all about long informational texts, then use video and short snappy cliff notes. If they write in a serious way then make your posts funny and lighthearted. If they are using stand alone blog posts, then why not make a story out of yours, a journey that people will want to keep coming back to. Innovation is the key to quick success.


Investment Is The Only Way 


Thomas Jefferson said the man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time. You have got to spend money on your blog. Don’t view this as a negative thing, though. It is an investment and a wise one at that. It is worth spending money on a designer instead of pinching pennies and having a shabbier design instead.

A little bit of money can go a long way on this front. All of the money you spend will improve the experience your views get and that is what will keep them coming back. So spend a few hundred quid here and there, look at it as an investment that you will recoup, and maybe quicker than you realized too.

Come Up With A Product 


We mentioned it above, but you have to think of your blog as a business and all businesses sell something - a product or service - and so should you. It could be a Kindle book you have written, t-shirts, bits of art, a course in something, tours of a place or even other people’s products through affiliate marketing. Whatever it is, just make sure you have this something in your arsenal.

The reason for this is, well, it keeps you independent and that is attractive to a reader. It will keep you independent from sponsors and advertisers and brand deals and even competitors, and also act as a way for you to scale up yourself. Your website, your revenue.
SHARE:

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Finding Local Professionals With Bidvine*


With a full-time job and living alone I don't always have time to complete those annoying chores or DIY, that's why I'm so glad Bidvine* got in touch and introduced me to their fantastic app. Let's say you need a plumber for blocked drains. Not glamorous. And not something I know how to repair myself. You just answer questions to explain the exact nature of the issue and how long it has been happening for. You can also specify when you’re available, which hopefully means no taking time off work or waiting around between 8am and 1pm for someone to turn up.

From doing your chores to pursuing your passions, Bidvine makes hiring trusted local service professionals ridiculously simple. Firstly, you fill in some information about what it is you need; answering some service specific questions so that the team at Bidvine can match you to the best suited pros. Once they have all the info they need, your job will be sent to trusted local professionals who can help you get the task done. They'll share your generalised location, answers to their questions and your phone number with the bidders. They will never share your email address or personal details.

They then sent our job request to trusted local professionals who could help with what we needed. They shared the answers that we provided to the service-specific questions and our general location.We love that they sent our request out to matching pros right away.

You should get your first bids within hours, you’ll get a maximum number of bids based on the service, and usually get 2 pros expressing interest. Pros do pay a small fee, but that’s only when they want to send you a custom bid using Bidvine.


It’s good to use a service like Bidvine because you can go through the steps of finding exactly what you need, and someone who is local. I also worry about not getting a good quality service, or paying over the odds. By finding someone through a platform like this I feel there’s that extra layer of security that its a decent service. And because you get quotes for the service you know you’re getting a competitive price.

You can check out Bidvine and try them out for yourself here.

*This is a sponsored post on behalf on Bidvine. All views and opinions are my own.
SHARE:

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Let's Play | May 2017


It hasn't been the busiest month for video game releases so I thought I'd go back and play through a couple of my favourites from the year so far. Two massive sequels to highly respective titles - let's see if they matched up to the hype..

Gears of War 4 

The Gears of War series is a massive deal for Microsoft. The launch exclusive for the XBOX 360 way back in 2006 has now reached its 4th iteration but continues to innovate the shooter genre more than we ever thought it could have done. The series was always a big reason to own the Microsoft console, and luckily it still is.

The real struggle any returning player is going to find is in relation to the new characters. The original Gears Of War crew stood out because of how ridiculous they were. Here, our new cast are a little too generic to compare. They develop before all is said and done but none are as memorable as Delta Squad.

Ultimately, not much has changed, but that’s exactly why it’s so good. It’s been over three years since Gears Of War: Judgment, so jumping back in is like reacquainting yourself with an old friend. There are new modes – such as Dodgeball where you kill members of the opposition to revive deceased members of your own squad – but the real joy comes in how unique it still feels.

You can pick up Gears of War 4 on Amazon here.


Halo Wars 2 

As I said It's been a month of playing sequels and this is no exception. Halo Wars 2 is yet another example of a shining beacon from selection the Microsoft exclusives available for Xbox One. The Halo series has always ben at the cornerstone of what Microsoft stands for when it comes to top quality multiplayer shooters, but this RTS (real time strategy) approach to the series will be a welcome change for many.

If there’s one thing Halo Wars 2 gets emphatically right it’s the Halo content. You can feel it in the music and the front-end menus, the lengthy cut-scenes and the near-constant referencing of background bloodshed. If you’re looking for the sense that you’re fighting climactic battles straight from the Halo playbook, only from the perspective of a commander controlling units from the sky, it has you covered.

There’s some smart thinking going on behind the basics, too. As you play you can build up a range of Leader abilities, enabling you to heal or repair units or call down missile strikes, mines, turrets and ODST troopers. Upgrading skills makes them even more powerful, and using them wisely can be a game-changer, turning the tide of battle when you need it most.

Halo Wars 2 suffers a little from its console limitations, but it’s a solid RTS with a strong campaign and a good overall feel for the Halo universe.

You can pick up Halo Wars 2 on Amazon here. 

SHARE:

Monday, 29 May 2017

Growing Your Blog Organically | A Guide To Self-Promotion

So you've created your very own blog (congratulations!) and have started frequently posting new content that you're super passionate about. Good start. The eternal struggle I had when I first started blogging just less than a year ago now was how to grow my audience and maintain that growth as the weeks go by without having to rely on things like paying for advertising space on blogs that were a similar niche to mine but had a much larger following. Organic growth is always best.


There's tons of guides online that'll tell you they can show you how to make $1,000 in your first month of blogging or get to 1m Instagram followers in less than a week.. but seriously it's just not possible, well not legally anyway. I thought I'd pull together my top tips on growing your blog organically and how to get away from hiding behind your laptop and actually actively promote your blog - scary i know! 

I've written a couple of blogging advice posts already which you can check out below so give them a read and let me know if there's any other tips that would be helpful, although maybe yano finish reading this one first? 

#1 | Reach out & engage with the community

Bloggers don't bite! There's no better way to organically grow your blog than simply engaging with other bloggers and content creators and getting their thoughts, feedback and criticism on your content. There are Twitter chats every day of the week to get involved in and start sharing your latest posts. This will help gain not only visitors to your blog but hopefully lifelong readers and subscribers too. 

Blogger events can also be a fantastic face to face alternative to virtual chats, and usually end up being much more productive. Most of them centre around London but ask around and see if there are any taking place on your area, or if not why not create one yourself? They are the perfect way to meet local content creators and come up with new collaborations.

#2 | Think about post titles - SEO is key

I am absolutely no expert when it comes to SEO, but I do know that the choice of title really helps. Posts with titles such as '5 things/ways/......' are always good. They're more likely to come up on search engines. I mean, I definitely don't stick to this all the time, because you've gotta keep it personal too! It sounds obvious but always try and make your title clear to the reader what they might be about to click through to on your blog. 

For example, if I was writing a post about the technology I use everyday, I wouldn't want to just say "Never leave the house without your iPhone". This certainly sounds interesting, which might get you a few clicks, but doesn't actually explain the post of the post. Something like "The tech I use everyday" is much shorter and to the point, but also does a better job of explaining the subject of the content your readers are about to see. 


#3 | Create eye-catching content

I don't know about you, but the first thing that entices me into reading a blog post, is the photography. I think its good to keep the photography clean, and simple. Well, this is if you're photographing products of course. A busy background can often distract the eye from the product you're talking about, so keeping it simple(ish) is always a good idea! I often visit sites such as Unsplash to get stock photography that's free to use. This way even if you're not a dab hand and taking photos you can still create super engaging content that will be more likely to get people clicking on, whether that be through Bloglovin, Instagram, Twitter or others. 

#4 | Don't be afraid of social media

My final point on this guide is based around the myth of too much self-promotion. When you first start out it can often be daunting to keep tweeting about your latest post and flooding instagram with all your fancy new flat lays, but the truth is you just have to keep at it if you want to get a serious following. Determination is the most important thing when it comes to starting out. For the first few weeks or even months you won't get any followers and barely and readers. But that's just it, you shouldn't be writing your blog for sole purpose of quitting your job and making big bucks blogging all day because let's face it it's just not going to happen that way. Blog for yourself first - always be selfish when it comes to the content you create.

I've gone off track slightly...but you get the point. There's so much social media has to offer when it comes to promoting your blog. Heres just a couple of pointers:

  • Comment on at least 5 blog posts per day with  a link back to your site.
  • Use hashtags that fit your blog's niche like #BBLOGGERS or #LBLOGGERS. 
  • Post regularly on Instagram and engage with the users that like or comment.
  • Link back to your blog in the bios of all your social media - make it ridiculously easy for people to find your blog.
So that's my short and sweet guide to growing your blog organically. There are various ways to to pay for more traffic and more followers, which I can cover in another post but really the best route to a successful blog is creating content that you enjoy and sharing it with others that feel the same.








SHARE:

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Vinyl Arrivals #2


It's been a busy old month for new music releases so I thought I'd share with you the vinyls I've picked up lately. My last vinyls post was one of the most popular I've ever done so I hopped onto Amazon and ordered some more!

John Mayer - The Search For Everything

The latest release from John Mayer is easily his best work since the incredible blue-athon that was Continuum. The Search For Everything combines many of his best sounds and spans many genres into a single record including some acoustic tear jerkers as well as the more recent blues-filled sound you'd find on Paradise Valley. A true masterpiece from start to finish. Available here.


Paramore - After Laughter

I wasn't quite sure what to expect for this upcoming album but i'm so happy with what we got. A lot of bands change their style over the course of their career and Paramore is no exception. After Laughter is a mixture of old and new. Its a new place for paramore, but its what they excel at. The album has the standard tone, themes and pacing of a regular paramore, in an 80s style. The old paramore style may be dead, but the new one thrives in this mixture of songs that show the real feelings behind the past 4 years that paramore have been away for.  Available here.


Harry Styles - Harry Styles

If somebody would have told me a year or two ago that I would one day buy an album from somebody in one direction I would have never believed them. But here I am with the first solo effort from Harry Styles in my possession and wow, i'm blown away by the 70s pop-rock vibe.  It will be interesting to see how many one direction fans turn away from this new style that Harry is going down, but it will be equally interesting to see how many new fans are picked up along the way. 

It is an album that deserves to be heard, and this guy should be applauded for taking such a huge risk and proving what a truly talented singer-songwriter he is. Don't turn your nose up just because he was in a boy band, Give him the chance and the credit he deserves for crafting such a brilliant first solo album. Available here. 




So those are my new vinyl additions for the past month, what do you think are their any more new releases I need to consider? You can check out my first vinyl arrivals post here. 

SHARE:

Monday, 8 May 2017

Growing Your Domain Authority


If you've not come across the term Domain Authority (DA) before, then simply put it's a measure of between 1-100 of the quality of your website in terms of SEO. This is SO IMPORTANT for the blogging community because your score will go along way to determine the ranking of your content in search engines such as Google. Allowing users to organically find your blog content via search is the holy grail when it comes to our community because it means focusing less on broadcasting your latest and greatest post all over your social media, and more time writing the next post!

Generally speaking, a DA of 25 is a good benchmark for a quality website that contains SEO friendly content. Brands often request a DA of at least this standard before working with potential influencers to ensure that the blog on which their product/service will be promoted will be beneficial for them in terms of additional traffic to their own site.

How to increase DA

The first question you're probably asking yourself is "Well what's the domain authority for my blog?". Well I'm glad you asked! Head over to Moz Open Site Explorer and enter the URL of your site to find out just that. There's a couple of key stats to take note of here:

DA Score - Authority of the entirety of your site (www.theguyontrend.co.uk)
PA Score - Authority of a specific page of your site (www.theguyontrend.co.uk/p/advertising) 

The easiest way to increase your domain authority is gaining quality external links to your blog. The best way to do this is simply by commenting on blog posts you enjoy and making sure to include a link back to your website. If the blog you commented on has a high DA and you get a decent number of clicks back to your website from that page then it will benefit your own authority score. Simple right? Just remember, increasing your DA is no quick process mainly due to that fact that in can take some time to get relevant clicks back to your content once you start leaving lots of comments and secondly sites like Moz only update their stats around once a month - so keep checking back regularly to see how your score is improving over time. 


Another great way to improve the DA score of your site is some simple SEO house keeping. Little tasks like remembering to include meta descriptions, title tags and cross-linking to other content on your site throughout your posts are quick wins when it comes to tackling your score. 

Always remember to go back and check your old blog posts for any broken images and especially broken links. Google will instantly spot these and punish you and your DA score. Linking to a product on ASOS that no longer exists? Change it. Linking to an old article that's since been moved? Find it and update the link. All of these little bits of blogging admin soon pile up but will ultimately improve the score of your website and allow you to confidently reach out to brands and improve your site's ranking on search engines. 

Lastly, remember that your DA will generally increase in line with the age of your website so these things can take a lot of time. I've only been blogging regularly for just over a year and have so far managed to keep my DA pretty stable at 12/100, which is still very much below average but I've noticed it improve significantly over the past few months as i've started to add new SEO-friendly content to the site on a regular basis.

I hope you've found these tips helpful, do you have any more advice on growing and maintaining a healthy DA for your blog?


SHARE:

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Wishlist | Space.NK & Get £10 Off

Browsing the Space NK website is addictive. Every time I make an order there's instantly another 5-6 things added to my wishlist to remember for next time. They've got a great selection of products for men, which is still quite rare these days and also a selection of candles and diffusers. I thought I'd share with you the most recent additions to my ever-growing wishlist. Also look out for my referral link below that will nab you £10 off your first order - you're welcome!

1. Anthony Algae Facial Cleanser - £36 

Don't let the name put you off with this one! The Algae facial cleanser contains Azulene - a known ingredient in algae but also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties so it's perfect for reducing blemishes and softening the skin. There's also a heavy presence of lavender here so if you're a fan then this is definitely for you.

2. Aesop London Travel Kit - £50

This fantastic travel kit for Aesop contains loads of travel-sized skincare essentials - perfect for a long weekend somewhere. No need to bring a huge bag of lotions and potions. The London kit is all you need. There's shampoo, condition, bath oils and much more. It's also an affordable way to try out some of Aesop's best-known products before you go all in and purchase the full size versions.

3. Diptyque Mimosa Scented Candle - £24

There's no better way to burn your hard earned money than candles (sorry I couldn't help myself!). I've never been lucky enough to own one from Diptyyque but this Mimosa scented one sounds incredible! They'll burn for around 60 hours which makes them pretty pricey but from visiting several of their stores and testing out the scents it seems worth it to me!

4. Kiehls Daily Reviving Concentrate - £38

This one's a must buy! I've been using the equivalent night time concentrate for around 3 months now and it's fantastic. It takes some getting used to as it's extremely oily on the skin and certainly doesn't feel like it's going to do anything good to your skin. But when you wake up in the morning your skin instantly feels nourished and softer. So this is the versions for applying before the day ahead. Round the clock visibly healthier looking skin sounds like the dream to me!

5. Tom Ford Noir Eau de Toilette 50ml  - £54

Did I mention Space NK sell fragrances? They've got a wide selection and this is certainly one of the ones I'm so excited to add to my collection one day soon. Noir is made up of citrus and notes that create a fragrance that can be worn in the office or out to a formal event. It's also pretty reasonably priced for a Tom Ford scent at £54 - most of them are just under £100! 

6. Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream - £24.50 

Lastly, here's one of Kiehl's most popular products that I'm still yet to try out for myself. It's hyped up as a 24-hour moisturiser than you're supposed to combine with the aforementioned  day and night concentrate oils. It ensures your skins remains soft and healthy-looking throughout the day, which sounds perfect. No need to top up during the course of the day.


Get £10 off your first order at Space NK by using this link.
SHARE:

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Create Content You're Proud Of


When you're constantly comparing your blog to others it can often be difficult to be happy with the content you're creating and making sure it's truly unique. Does your latest post really fit with the other content your readers are enjoying or is it an excuse to gain additional views and followers? Never create content just for exposure. 


Spending hours over not just the words in your post but also the photography and links is so important, why waste all of that work on something you're not actually proud to call your own? Now i'm not saying there's anything wrong with chatty life update posts.. in fact this is kind of turning into one of those now I think about it, but you always have to make sure you're being true to yourself and your content as you write. Here's my 5 sure fire ways to create content you can really be proud of...
Write posts you'd love to read yourself 
Kind of an obvious one I think, but re-read your post a few times after you think you've finished creating it and just make sure it's something you'd enjoy reading and that it meets the description of the title. I'm assuming you're creating content for followers that have the same interests and passions as you do? So just make sure it actually meets the brief if that makes sense. If you came across your post on another blog would the title alone make you want to read on? This also rings true when it comes to sponsored posts. Getting paid to blog seems like a dream come true for most content creators but never agree to a paid post if it doesn't match the theme of your blog - readers will be able to see straight through it!


Partner up 
Everyone hits a brick wall sometimes when it comes to blog ideas. You can read my post about it here. It's so frustrating scrolling through Bloglovin reading all kinds of different posts and wishing you had a killer idea that would both engage your readers and get them sharing it all over social media. The key to keeping your readers coming back is fresh new content posted regularly and sometimes the best way to achieve that is teaming up with a fellow blogger for a collaboration or guest post. I always find I'm much more creative and ideas come quicker when i'm writing something with another blogger and it's also a great way to get your name out there and reach new readers. 

Create a schedule that works for you 
Most bloggers these days are combined to force their love of writing with a full time job.. blergh. There's very few bloggers that  are able to quit their job altogether to focus on their blog, which I actually think is quite a good thing. I enjoy the fact that blogging is more of a hobby as it never seems like a chore and certainly not something I'm forced to reply on for income.  If you're busy 9-5 for most of the week like I am then creating a schedule for creating and posting content is essential if you want to put the most time into each post as possible, rather than cramming writing into a Sunday evening which is something I've found myself doing for too long now.  

There's loads of planners available on Easy or Amazon but I find the best way to plan your content out over a month is just a simple calendar template from either Evernote or Google Docs. That way you can plan your content on the go and create checklists to make sure you've done your links and image alt tags etc. for the best SEO. 


I always try and allow 30 minutes each evening after work just to brainstorm new ideas and write short descriptions of each post - that way when it comes to actually sitting down and writing them I've got some clear direction on what needs writing next.  

So that’s it there’s my advice on creating content you’re proud. I hope it helps! Do you have any more tips to share? 
SHARE:

Monday, 1 May 2017

Gaining Confidence As A Blogger

Blogging can often be insanely addictive and rewarding, but also extremely intimidating especially when you're just starting out. The fact that you want to create content and share it with the world via your blog would suggest your confidence may be relatively high already, but often when you start to face criticism it's easy to be tempted to just throw in the towel and stop writing about the topics you're passionate about - just because others don't agree.


Here's a few pointers on how to avoid just that. Don't give up and be confident about the content you create. The key to diving into the blogging world is just that - dive in.

1. Join welcoming communities

Blogging is all about the community. Whether that be the relationship between you and your readers or with your fellow bloggers, it's key especially as a newbie to get as involved as you can in Twitter chats and Instagram pods that are all aimed at helping new and aspiring bloggers share their content and reach new readers. I've also recently been getting involved with Facebook groups that are focused on sharing and commenting on other people's content and getting new followers. I've seen some fantastic results in terms of traffic to my blog so go ahead and get involved.

2. Don't over complicate

It's so important, and yet often over looked, to focus your mind on exactly what your blog is all about. This is especially key when approaching brands for potential PR samples or product reviews. You need to be able to deliver that 2 minute elevator pitch on what your blog stands for and why brands would what to associate themselves with you. And the same goes for your readers. 

I only tend to read blogs regular that have consistent content, both in terms of regularity and subject matter. Nowadays it's so obvious when bloggers start writing about specific products that have nothing to do with anything else they've done or their readers interests. Stick to what you love and stick at it.

3.  See others as inspiration

Before I started The Guy on Trend I used to spend hours scrolling through some incredible blogs with fascinating content and impressive imagery and it always got me thinking "Well how hard can it be?" Turns out... very. Even once you've set yourself up with a catchy name and fancy looking blog template you've still got to actually fill your little corner of the internet with something interesting for your readers to consume. 

It's so easy to compare yourself and your blog to that of others. But just remember no matter how many followers you have or what your monthly page views stats look like it all comes down to how much you enjoy writing. It's inevitable that you'll start comparing your content and your stats to your fellow bloggers but try and see it as inspiration rather than competition. It sounds selfish but write for you and you alone. 


I hope these tips have helped. Do you have any ideas on boosting your confidence as a blogger?

//  Matt 






SHARE:

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Let's Play | March 2017


I'm a huge gaming fan and also have been, ever since my parents bought me my first PS2 for Christmas the year it came out. I can still remember sitting there eyes glued to the screen losing hours of my day, and entire weekends. It. Was. Awesome. While other kids were outside climbing trees or generally enjoying the outdoors I was inside frantically trying to win the Royal Rumble using my created superstar on WWF SmackDown Just Bring It.. impressive I hear you say, and you'd be right!

Clearly I don't have quite as much time on my hands these days what with a full time job, but I still like to keep up to date with the newest releases and play as much as I can. March is usually quite a dull month for new video games to hit the shelves as most are still in development right up until the big Christmas rush in November. However, there were a few notable releases in March from Bioware and Guerrilla Games so I thought I'd share my thoughts on them.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Where to start with this game? It's unlike anything I've ever played before and that's why I had to call it out first. Think of it as a mixture between an incredibly well written RPG like Oblivion or The Witcher 3 thrown together with a 2017 version of Jurassic Park's mechanical monsters. Sounds good right? Horizon Zero dawn is a game that combines flawless combat with role playing elements that will make it hard to tear yourself away. 

Unlike many games, you'll find yourself really caring for the central characters, including the spritely Aloy which is the main hero. There are some quite profound themes within the story that involve the player making decisions that can result in plot-twisting deaths and actions that really feel like they've made an impact on the world around you.

Despite a strong story the side quests can often become a bore, and are clearly added to the experience as a way to level up more quickly, which isn't uncommon at all in these kind of games but often become repetitive and bring you out of the game world when you realise you're fighting the same enemies over and over again just to access chests filled with better weapons and armour. Combat is where this adventure really shines. Aloy utilise bows, slingers, electric wire and all kinds of devastating attacks to down her mechanical enemies and they are all a joy to use and often with real precision.

Across a vast and open world filled with things to do, Horizon Zero Dawn is a joy to play from start to finish and an experience that I won't be forgetting in a hurry. Truly a must buy! Available from Amazon here.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

The other big March release was a new Mass Effect game from Bioware, which has to be one of the most hyped games I've seen over the past year or so since it's teaser announcement a while back. Unfortunately, despite some great story telling and combat mechanics, this latest venture into deep space suffers from some quite serious (yet hilarious) character animation glitches that will leave you wondering how this managed to get released so soon, and in fact why on earth you paid £50 for the privilege. 

It's certainly not all bad news though, even in the graphics department. The game has an incredible opening segment that looks stunning and instantly drops you into the actions as you and your team of space explorers begin the hunt for a new planet for the human (and alien) race to call home. 

It's just unfortunate that the gameplay gets very stale very quickly. You'll find yourself carrying out the same "go here and kill these guys" or "go there and capture this base" missions over and over again, which is a shame because there's some great story telling going on underneath all of that but the missions are just so boring! There are some also some beautifully crafted conversions in the cut scenes which are where the graphical glitches just ruin the experience.

All in all it just feels unpolished. A game still very much in development, filled with gameplay bugs and an open world that just feels empty a lot of the time. One to pick up in the Black Friday sales I think! Available from Amazon here. 



What games have you been playing recently? Any recommendations? 
SHARE:

Saturday, 25 March 2017

SKINCARE - TRYING SOMETHING NEW

Over the past month or so I've been trying to explore a few new skincare products as I usually just stick to what I know. Luckily I was pleasantly surprised! I find that once I find a product or fragrance that I enjoy I just end up sticking to it, so here's the perfect chance to find a few new firm favourites.

Gentlemen's Tonic Daily Moisturiser* 

I'm a firm believer in not leaving the house without applying a daily moisturiser. This one from British brand Gentlemen's Tonic certainly doesn't disappoint. It has quite a strong fragrance, which as long as you're into that kind of thing when it comes to skincare you'll find it rather nice. It's filled with  essential oils and seaweed to help soften and protect your skin throughout the day. It also seems to absorb super quickly to avoid the dreaded shiny face look as your board the morning train. Definitely one to pick up and great value at only £28 for the 100ml. Available here. 

Gentlemen's Tonic Facial Scrub* 

Another natural product from the Gentlemen's Tonic range is the exfoliating facial scrub. This is designed to be used 2-3 times a week to really clean out the pores and prevent blemishes by removes excess skin cells. It even contains bamboo particles! I've used many different scrubs and this is certainly one of my absolute favourites, again it has a strong scent but I quite liked it. Be sure to to follow up with a great moisturiser to set you up for the day. Available here. 

The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Toner

There's a brand new range of Tea Tree products available now from The Body Shop and these next two are my top picks from the new collection. I've always loved the Tea Tree range, despite the very strong smell, as it's perfect for getting rid of spots and blemishes, as well as looking after tired skin. The mattifying toner is the perfect way to prep your skin for a facial scrub as it removes any residual traces of dirt or dead skin. You'll be surprised at just how much dirt this toner can take off, even after you've already exfoliated! There's a 250ml option and just only need a small amount per use to it's a real steal at only £6. Available here. 


The Body Shop Foaming Cleanser

My other favourite addition to the Tea Tree collection is this foaming cleanser. Unlike other scrubs it's not full of tiny particles that scrub dirt and dead skin cells from your face. This foam-based formula is designed to be much more gentle so it's ideal for sensitive skin. It's absolutely brilliant value and left my skin feeling soft and refreshed. The cleanser purifies without over-drying but be sure to apply a good moisturiser afterwards to take advantage of those freshly opened pores. Available here. 

So that's it! Those are my latest skincare finds. I'm so glad i decided to branch out try some new products this month. I've always struggled with oily yet sensitive skin, and these have certainly helped. Do you have any more recommendations for me to try? 


*Certain products in this post were sponsored samples. All opinions and views are my own. 

SHARE:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig