Blogging

4 Simple Tips for Blogging Success in 2018

Blogging began as a way to keep a digital journal, but over the years it has evolved into a popular pastime and viable career path. (read this tale of a London SEO expert success story you’ll never believe) With so much competition out there, it’s more important than ever to have a high-quality blog. In this post, I’ll highlight a few ways — from upgraded web hosting services to embracing SEO — to improve your website.

When it comes to creating and maintaining a successful blog, there are many, many things to consider. Although the design and content are the first things your readers will notice, the efficiency, SEO, and quality of your website hosting also play a vital role. In this post, we’ll take a look at why each of these benefit you and how you can implement them into your site.

  1. Quality Over Quantity

The blog posts you write are not only your website’s main purpose but also a representation of you as a person and a writer. Ensuring that the content you publish is of the highest possible quality will establish a stronger connection with your audience and give them a reason to keep visiting your website.

Although it’s good SEO practice to publish content on a regular basis, it’s vital not to slip into the habit of writing for the sake of writing. You should always prioritise quality over quantity when it comes to blogging, so plan ahead, research thoroughly, and don’t rush the writing process. Oversaturating your blog with too many posts will make it difficult for your audience to keep up and is a good way to lose readers.

  1. Is Your Blog User-Friendly?

Before people get a chance to read your content, the first thing they see is your website’s design. It’s for this reason that a professional and appealing design is essential, to make a great first impression and ensure that your posts get read. Although the style and aesthetic of your blog are important, it’s also vital that it’s user-friendly, because even the most amazing design will come unstuck if it’s a nightmare to use.

In this instance, you should aim to make your website as simple to use as possible. This means menus and other navigational tools have to be in plain sight, the font you use needs to be legible, and your website must be mobile-friendly. A few years ago, mobile internet usage overtook desktop for the first time, so without a mobile-friendly site, you’ll substantially decrease your potential readership.

  1. Upgraded Web Hosting Services

Another important aspect of website creation and maintenance is web hosting. This is the service that provides you with the web space and bandwidth to get online. If you’re yet to re-evaluate your website hosting service since you first created your site, it’s vital to upgrade if your current service no longer suits your needs. There’s a good chance that your traffic is now higher, meaning you need greater hosting resources to keep everything up to speed.

A higher quality website hosting service (e.g. upgrading from shared hosting to VPS servers) will improve site performance. This is another way to enhance user-friendliness as it means your blog will load quicker and be a lot smoother to navigate. Those things are necessities these days, as we expect our internet to be fast our patience for slow sites has seriously dwindled.

  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

As a blogger and someone who spends a fair amount of time online, it’s likely you will have heard of ‘SEO’ before. This stands for search engine optimisation and is a series of techniques you can employ to make your blog rank higher on search engines.

Optimising your blog posts and website copy for SEO — and therefore making your blog appear on the higher pages of a search — will prove to be a massive benefit for increasing your readership and establishing your site as an authoritative voice in your chosen niche.

So now that we’ve established that SEO is a fantastic thing for your blog, here are a couple of easy ways to get started:

  • Keywords: Keywords are words and phrases that are entered into search engines. First, you need to decide on a few keywords that relate to your blog and that you believe you can rank highly for. Then use these keywords throughout your content to make sure your site appears in more search results.
  • Backlinks: Backlinks are external links to high-authority websites inserted into your posts to help support aspects of the article like statistics and quotes. Doing so tells search engines that your site is a reliable and relevant source of information, and in the process greatly improves your site’s SEO.

Are you a blogger looking to kick things into gear in 2018? The tips in this post are a few ideal ways to make some adjustments to your website, current content, and future posts to give you the best chance of increasing your readership and brand recognition.

Happiness · Home

My Dream Hobby Room

My Dream Hobby RoomI have to admit, I spend more time looking at Rightmove than is really necesary for someone who has no intention of moving. I’ve always loved looking at other people’s houses and can often be found binge-watching episodes of Grand Designs or Location, Location, Location just to get my interiors fix! I love dreaming about what I’d do if space and money were no object and at the moment, a hobby room is at the top of my list. Read on for an insight into what I’d have in my ultimate hobby room:

A Sewing Station

I absolutely love to sew and make clothes but I often lack the space to do it, so a dedicated space with a dressmakers dummy and lots of fabric storage would be a great way to enable me to get sewing. Valentino’s Displays has an amazing range of clothes rails, mannequins, hangers and storage bins and I reckon I could get everything I needed for my sewing area on their site.

A Reading Nook

I’ve always been able to read just about anywhere, probably from years of reading on buses and trains, but these days I do require a little bit of quiet to enable me to get lost in a book. A comfy armchair in the corner of the room with a little table for a lamp and my latte is definitely a bit part of my fantasy room.

A Writing Area

Writing is both a hobby and my profession and although I tend to work on a laptop literally on my lap, Burrito Baby is off to nursery in September which means I don’t have to only work in the room she’s in! A proper working area where my laptop could sit and I could use a decent ergonomic chair would not only be a novelty, but it would probably also be a lot better for my back!

A Proper Coffee Machine

These days, my vices are well and truly confined to the virtuous, never more so than now, given the fact that I even eat clean and don’t drink alcohol (well…hardly ever!). However, one thing that I absolutely refuse to give up is decent coffee! I tend to use my Waitrose card to get a free cup every day and I think I’d be considerably poorer if I didn’t get my coffee fix from there! Having a coffee machine in my hobby room with a proper milk steamer would be the ultimate indulgence for me.

A Yoga Corner

Since I started going to yoga classes at my gym a few months ago, I’ve found a really deep love of it. It’s one of my favourite hours of my whole week and I look forward to it every Saturday. I’d love to be able to do it more often but we really don’t have much space at home for yoga because our house is pretty cluttered. A dedicated space to find my zen and get my stretch on would be a dream!

What would you have in your dream hobby room?

Blogging

Being a Better Blogger

When I started blogging back in 2010, I never thought it would be something I would still be doing 7 years later, but here I am still tapping away. My blogging has gone through peaks and troughs, with various levels of effort from me. When Sausage started school, I was able to go along to more blogging events during school hours and I went to some really cool things, like the gaming event in a hotel basement or the time that I got a manicure and makeover in a spa just because the brand liked my blog.

Burrito Baby is going to be three in a couple of weeks which means that, from Easter, she could be in nursery for a few hours a week if we decided to. I’m still umming and ahhing about it, and haven’t made any concrete plans, but I do like the idea of having a few child-free hours aweek again so that I can focus on myself.

Being able to travel more for blogging would be really great; I miss the hustle and bustle of events, meeting up with other bloggers and just getting a change of scenery for a day. I’d also like an excuse to buy a lovely new laptop backpack for travelling with my tech, but that doesn’t seem like a concrete enough reason to put my baby in playschool!!

I’m also planning on investing in a new camera this year and possibly some sort of backdrop set-up for taking better pictures. Every single blogger who I’d consider a ‘top blogger’ has beautiful imagery on their site and although I’m happy with my blog I’d really like to take it to the next level. I’m also looking into photography courses so that I can learn the basics of how to really get the best shots.

Another thing I’m planning to do is getting involved in more blog hops and regular linkys. One of the hardest parts of blogging is coming up with new, original content on a daily basis and it’s something which really fluctuates for me. However, when I blog more it somehow makes me more creative and I’m able to come up with more things to write about, so getting a few prompts each week should really help.

Another thing which makes a good blogger is by reading other blogs and sharing their content. Blogging is a community and as such a bit of love can go a long way. People are always happier to share posts and leave comments if there’s reciprocation but it should also be natural and genuine – if you find a post you love, share it and comment on it without the expectation of reciprocation and it’ll always be nice when it happens!

Do you have any plans for being a better blogger in 2017? Do you know of any amazing linkys that I should be joining in with? Which events will you be attending this year?

Blogging

Ways to Improve Your Blogging

I’ve been doing this whole blogging thing for over six years now and I never dreamed that I could make a living out of it, but here I am doing exactly that. I do try to avoid ‘blogging about blogging’, not least of all because I certainly don’t feel like I’m in a position to be telling other people HOW to blog, but I have picked up a few things along the way which have taken my site from unread to having several thousand subscribers, so I thought I’d share a few of them here.

Invest in a Good Camera

If you intend on taking photos to go on your blog, investing in a decent entry level camera (Sensible Reviewer has some great suggestions) will help you to take your images to the next level. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with natural. off-the-cuff photos taken on a smartphone or compact camera but all of the most successful bloggers I know also throw well-styled images in, especially if they’re working with a brand.

Get a Proofreader

Before I hit ‘publish’ I always proof-read my own posts, but it’s still really common for mistakes to fly below the radar, especially when you’re reading your own work. Many bloggers fall into the “spelling and grammar doesn’t matter” school of thought, and that’s fine for them, but I usually feel mortified if I read a post back from a while ago and see a mistake which has gone unnoticed all that time. Husband casts an eye over things for me now to see if I’ve made any glaring mistakes!

Formatting Consistency

This one may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like to format my posts a certain way to give consistency down the page. All of my posts are aligned justified down the page to give nice straight lines as I just think it makes my whole site look tidier and my images are usually centred, which also makes the page look neat. If I go onto sites where the text and images are all over the place it often puts me off of reading further.

Don’t Blog for the Sake of It

I know a lot of bloggers who blog to a schedule and that’s fine if you’ve actually got something to write about, but I also see people blogging simply for the sake of getting something published so that their site doesn’t sit dormant for any length of time. Blogging shouldn’t be forced and it’s really easy to spot posts which have been thrown up simply as ‘filler’.

Don’t Be Scared to Promote

Writing a blog is all well and good, but if no-one reads it you’re basically doing the digital equivalent of shouting into an empty room. Utilise social media to its fullest potential, don’t be afraid to write posts with the words “If you like this please hit share” and don’t forget to join some of the Facebook groups for bloggers which are a great place to join in with comment posts and sharing circles.

Blogging

Another Year of Mum’s the Word (part one)

The Best of 2013It’s hard to believe that this little ol’ blog of mine will be into its 5th year of life in 2014 – I can be flaky at the best of times and I never thought my blog would be going this long, nor have the readership it has now, let alone some of the fabulous opportunities it’s given us a family in those years. It’s gone from strength to strength, especially over the past year, and I’m really excited about the year ahead, not least of all when we’ll gain a new family member in February, who’ll no doubt be featuring quite heavily!

In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a round-up of my favourite posts from the year and those which have been most popular amongst you guys, to give you a kind of ‘Mum’s the Word in one post’ and maybe show you something you might have missed. Hope you enjoy!

JANUARY

There were two post from January of which I was particularly proud; this rather scathing account of what it means to be British is a good read if you need a chuckle, while my summation of the ‘horse meat scandal‘ might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will hopefully make you think.

FEBRUARY

Sausage had us worrying about her self-image at the beginning of February, thought not for the reasons we’d expected. I was also offering some alternatives to the usual Valentines schmaltz, to help you if you aren’t a fan of generic outpourings of affection.

MARCH

A leading charity had me rather upset at the beginning of March, with their poor approach to fundraising. I also got sick of spam and came up with a way to save myself a serious amount of time each day. This letter to Sausage for International Women’s Day was one of my favourite posts of all time.

APRIL

April was a busy month, with a few posts that I’m rather proud of. Firstly, I shared my Bavarian-style pretzel making, which was a huge success. I was also mourning the loss of More! magazine, a publication which was huge during my formative years. I was also getting you to delve a bit deeper with this (wholly tongue in cheek) post about domestic goddesses and whether they’re really as on the ball as they seem. Obviously, April was the month in which Margaret Thatcher died, so I also had a couple of political posts, one about her directly and another about expanding our political options.

MAY

Sometimes, as a blogger, you find that comments on posts become bigger and more interesting than the posts themselves, and this post about the correlation between Christianity and the spread of AIDS in Africa was certainly one of those cases. The end of the month saw me getting onto a couple of women’s issues, namely make up and feminine hygiene products.

JUNE

June was a mega-busy blogging month which kicked off with me blogging about our absolutely awful trip to Chessington World of Adventures. Things took a more serious turn when I asked my readers their thoughts on the death penalty and continued with a different post about whether Ian Brady should be allowed to take his own life. On a lighter note, I was all over the complaints that the BBC received when Holly Willoughby wore a mildly revealing dress. I blogged about my hormones at the end of the month (when I was pregnant and didn’t even know it!) and finally, I was INCENSED about my Husband calling me ‘The C Word‘…though it might not be the one you think it is…!

I hope you liked the selection of posts I chose – and don’t forget to check back for part two, later in the week!