A Lifestyle, Grooming And Technology Blog

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. 


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. 


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.


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.


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.

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.
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