What You NEED to know about Blog Traffic! Plus Free Awesome Content Checker!

blog traffic how to learn So I sent out a question asking a bunch of bloggers what their biggest struggle is as a blogger, is it promoting your posts? writing the content? the actual understanding of your website and designing it? Well over 70% of you said getting traffic to your blog was the hardest part! Social media promotion wasn’t far behind! So I thought if traffic is what you’re struggling with then let’s break it down together! Because WE GOT THIS! 

Traffic traffic traffic….the thing all bloggers want and yet so little receive! So why is it sooo hard to get traffic to your blog?! Well when you say it’s hard to generate traffic or views to your blog in my book that boils down to several things that lie behind the scenes that will affect your overall traffic:

  • Your content needs to be good for people to actually want to read it!

  • Blog post promotion needs to be relevant and strategic!

  • You need to promote to your Target Audience, not just any audience!

So let’s break this down together!

1. Your content needs to be good for people to actually want to read it!

Okay so you’ve just published a brand new blog post! Yay! You can’t wait to share it with everyone! So you do, you share it a ton of places and yet no one is viewing it?
A common pitfall it that you share a post that you think is great (And it could damn well be the best piece you’ve ever written!) and yet, it literally has no relevance to anyone. The title isn’t grabbing anyone’s attention and the content itself doesn’t help your reader at all. It’s important to remember that yes your blog is for you to share whatever it is you want to blog about, but if traffic is something you’re hoping for then you can’t just blog for yourself, you have to make your blog posts for your reader too whilst writing about what you love! 

Here’s an example, say you’re a travel blogger and you just spent the best week in Hawaii ever! Compare the two blog titles:
My incredible week in Hawaii!‘ Or ‘My Top 5 Things to do in Hawaii!

Which would you be more likely to read?
Remember: The people who are finding your post are probably those who have literally searched for ‘Things to do in Hawaii’. So if I was that person then the latter title would entice me much more to read your post! Presenting your information in a way that will actually benefit your readers will gain a lot more interest than simply putting the information out there in any manner!

If you need more info on making your content AWESOME! Here’s my Awesome Content Checker!

2. Blog post promotion needs to be relevant and strategic!

Nothing bugs me more than a ‘follow for follow‘ or ‘like for like‘ post on Facebook. For several reasons:

  1. These people are not your ‘ideal audience’, they may boost your page views but the success is temporary. Also if someone follows to just unfollow 24hours later then this actually affects your blog negatively meaning your content is less likely to be seen.
  2. This does not provide you with engaged fans of your work. Traffic is nothing if you don’t have any engagement, that’s why you need to be searching for the RIGHT kind of traffic.
  3. If this is the only way you can get likes or followers then you really need to rethink what you’re writing about and how you’re promoting yourself, harsh but hey!

So how can you actually relevantly promote yourself AND with a strategy in mind!
Well this does take a lot of practice! Not going to lie, for ages I neglected probably one of the biggest platforms I really shouldn’t have….Pinterest! It is definitely one of the hardest platforms to grow on at the beginning because there is soo much content already on there, however perseverance is key and definitely worth it!

Facebook is a great way to get your content out there and get some feedback but you are constantly trying to find your ideal audience and sharing can become repetitive with little results whereas on Pinterest your Ideal audience is pretty much trying to find you! It does take time to build followers, but updating your boards regularly (or using an app to do it for you) and joining collab boards really helps! (You can join my collaborative board here! Simply leave a comment on one of my pins and I’ll add you in!)

When sharing your content online make sure to include a reason WHY people should be interested in reading your post. Posting a link just simply isn’t enough! Even write a well thought out promotional status with the link to your new blog post and copy and paste that and share it in several different groups or pages or with people specifically! You don’t need to waste time writing a detailed promotional post over and over again but of course depending where you are sharing it you may need to change it up slightly!

So how can you be strategic in your promotional posts?

This of course takes some pre-planning! A good way to entice your readers into sticking around and excited to see what you have to offer next is by literally telling them what is next to come! I love when someone shares a post and tells me ‘if you enjoyed this then just wait until next week where I’ll share with you my top 10 reasons why I love to blog!’ (Random example but you get my drift right?) I’m now clocking this blogger to make sure I keep an eye out for their post next week, or I’ll follow them because I already know I’m interested in the other posts they have to offer! This takes planning on the bloggers part because you can’t share your next blog title if you haven’t even thought of it yet! This also works well when you’re creating an online product to sell or in the process of creating an awesome freebie, by dropping hints and teasers in your promotional posts you’ll gain the interest of your readers who can’t wait to get their hands on your product when you finally release it!

Being strategic ensures that you as a blogger are organised and stops you from just throwing out whatever content you think of on the day! Instead your posts are well thought out, they’re exactly what your ideal reader want, and you can consistently deliver top class content!

3. You need to promote to your Target Audience, not just any audience!

So you’re sharing your awesome content and you know it’s awesome because you’ve used this Awesome Content Checklist! and you know you’re sharing your posts with detailed descriptions and enticing teasers for future content/freebies and yet hang on a minute…still no traffic?

Here’s another pitfall, are you sharing your awesome posts in the right place? I’m always seeing bloggers posting in Facebook blogging groups which are more or less designed for bloggers to get advice on blogging etc. But if you’re a parenting blogger, blogging groups are not your ideal audience! Yes you will get a good few views from sharing on there but not huge numbers if that’s what you’re looking for! Go find a parenting group, get involved and share your content with them if you feel it would genuinely help them!

No matter what your ideal reader is go find them, where do they hangout online? What apps are they more likely to use? How can I effectively reach these people and show them I have the answers they need? Putting a whole load of effort into your blog and sharing it to the wrong kind of people will not equal a great return for your efforts! So be strategic!

Top tip: If you can’t find a place where your ideal audience hangs out, create that place! You can create a Facebook page or group, joining together a small gathering of people and get a interactive community going! However don’t make it your prime focus just to share your posts because that can be annoying and spammy so aim to actually create an environment where people are engaged with one another and as a bonus you have the potential to share your relevant content to people you know will be interested!

Phew, we did it!

So how do you feel about traffic now? Maybe you’ve identified somewhere you can improve to increase your chances of more viewers, if so great! Let me know if this information was helpful in the comments!

Hold on there a minute!

I have another question to ask you guys! Are you wanting to increase your traffic because you feel that’s the only way you can earn money from your blog? Well if so, what if I told you it doesn’t have to be like that? I have a whole post dedicated to how you can start earning money online Here! And guess what? You could have zilch followers and you could still make money! No, it’s not get a ‘get rich quick scheme’ it does take effort of course! But it does mean you don’t have to rely on 100,000 views in order to get $10 from adverts on your page, which sucks right?

Remember your number of views isn’t everything, if you’re creating quality content consistently you will see an increase, whether it’s slow or fast everyone’s success story is different! So go make yours!

Want to be a part of the cool Crew? Well I’d love it if you did! So go on and Subscribe Here! I pinky promise I’ll only share cool stuff with you, cause we all hate spammy emails!

 

How to Start Earning Money from your Blog in 6 Simple Steps!

IMG_1533Working out how you’re going to earn money blogging is a pretty obvious dilemma right? Of course not everyone is mad about making money from their blog, heck some people don’t even really care about the views, it’s more of a personal outlet for themselves…

But wouldn’t it be pretty cool to get paid for something you love doing? You bet that’s a heck yeah!

(If you want the 6 Steps now then keep scrolling down! If you want extra juicy info then keep reading! hehe)

Now how many of you guys are blogging your life away and you’re feeling a bit down because you put all his hard work into it and yet you’re nowhere closer to making you blog a side hustle never mind full time income? I’d say it’s a lot of bloggers out there. So you’re not alone, in fact only about 10% of bloggers make big money from blogging, 20% earn nothing and then there’s a 70% in-between stage of bloggers who earn a moderate amount of money. So where are you? The 20% who earn nothing from their blog? In the 70% but are still not earning at the level you’d like to be?

Well blogging isn’t easy, that’s no surprise! But there’s a reason why only a small percent actually make it big time from blogging. The bottom line is, if you want to make money from your blog, your blog has to have purpose, a meaning, some sort of solution for your readers.  Many blogs simply don’t have this, remember a blog doesn’t make money, a business does! So are you ready to switch your blog into a business? 

So How do I Earn Money?

One of the easiest ways to start earning from your blog is quite frankly selling something! A lot of blogs may get around $10 a month from ads or affiliate links and that’s fine but wouldn’t it be a lot simpler if you had your own product to promote? Even if only one person bought  your product it in a month, that could be a $10 profit depending on how much it’s priced. Ads and Affiliate links are difficult to earn money from especially at the start of blogging that’s why many get frustrated. Remember though this doesn’t mean your blog isn’t good or the quality of your content is great, it’s just that people simply aren’t clicking links or ads on your site.

When you’re new to blogging it’s hard to gain an audience (am I right or am I right?) and what normally puts people off are adverts and affiliate links. Yes they can be done in a clever way on your site so they don’t look like clutter many blogs do this successfully, but for me it’s not worth the effort, I’d rather give my readers an easy experience on my blog so they want to keep coming back! On the money side of things its difficult too, you have to rely a lot on heavy traffic to increase the chances of someone clicking on any ads or links, and as a newbie blogger, heavy traffic is something that you probably don’t have yet (if you do, share your secret!)

Soooo Creating your own Online Product might not sound so bad now? Does it?

Yes it does mean you’d be putting a lot of work in at the start but you’d still be getting paid for that product months down the line, so don’t freak out, it’s not scary! And in a moment I’m going to give you a run down on a the potential steps you can take to get you ready to sell your first online product! I’m yet to  come across a simple guideline of what to do and when and how to do it without an overload of information about business funnels, SEO and a get rich quick promise. No I’m not saying this will make you rich in a matter of weeks, it could but it’s unlikely, business takes time especially a good business!

So here is simplified list of steps you could take to begin creating a professional looking blog/website, creating your first online product and making your first sale! There are a ton of other things you can research online about how to create an automated blog funnel etc, but I find this scares away people from beginning to create their first product online. Nobody expects you to know everything at the start! You WILL learn as you go along but for now here are:


6 Steps to Start Earning Money from your Blog! 

1.Perfect your Website!

For even just a couple of months, forget about making money and simply increase the standard of your blog. It’d be a dream to start earning money without having to spend any but your website is the tool you use to gain trust with your viewers and potential customers/clients.Here’s three things I would spend money on once I know I’m going to be selling an online product:

  • Make sure you own your Domain Name and your site is Self Hosted. Very important for having Google and other company’s to take your website seriously.
  • Paying for a high quality theme or getting a website designer to perfect the interface of your site and the design can save you a lot of time too! Sometimes DIY isn’t the way to go, hence why people have jobs in these areas.
  • Establishing a high quality Brand is also very important! You can learn more about Branding Here! It’s so important to be consistent on your blog because that’s another way you build trust with your potential customers!

These are a few things I would definitely spend money on before I would even think about trying to sell anything on my site, what’s the point if no one trusts me as a blogger or believes in the product that I’m selling, it would inevitably be a waste of time. However once you Do start earning money recycle that money back into your blog and you’ll see even bigger results! 

2. Content!

Focus on gaining enough content so you can blog maybe once a week or every two weeks and the rest of your time you can spend creating your online product. I.e. Cut back on the amount of posts you’re publishing and instead save up some pre-written posts so you can use those while you focus on creating your online product to sell! Having content that is good quality and consistent builds trust, so even when you’re busy creating your product you can still be publishing your blog posts on time and to a high standard! (Don’t let the standard of your blog drop!)

3. Create a freebie!

A lot of people skip past this, however your readers are greedy! I don’t mean to sound bad but they want something from your blog, they won’t stick around unless there is something in it for them, so give them that! Creating a high quality freebie that make people go ‘What?? They’re giving this away for free?!’ Is exactly what you want! The higher quality the freebie the more your reader and potential client will trust you and be more likely to buy from you, considering they love love love the freebie you just gave them! Getting an email in exchange for a freebie is a big deal so if you can incorporate that into your freebie then you’re on to a winner! A super special email subscriber is an even more likely client one day!

4. Create your Online Product!

Here’s a link to a list of over 20 potential online products you could sell online! Remember to:

  1. Make it high quality! Make your readers and buyers want to come back for more!
  2. Make it something you are knowledgeable about!
  3. Make it a Solution for your ideal reader (people love products that will help them do something more efficiently or solve a problem)
  4. Price it right! Charge what you feel the actual value of your product is. Selling for less in hope for more sales can work at the start especially if it’s your first product but don’t undersell yourself either, if you’re creating a high quality product then people will pay for that! don’t worry about sounding too pushy or annoying, limit yourself to a certain amount of promotional posts a day but ultimately if you know your product is going to help someone then there’s no shame!

5. Create blog posts and subscriber emails that promote your product!

Now it’s time to get people hyped for your product! Send you special subscribers (who signed up because of your awesome freebie!) emails letting them know you have an exciting product you can’t wait to share with them! Give your readers a teaser of what they can expect from your product in a blog post or a short email course! Get creative! You can even host a giveaway for your new product and get your readers to share for a chance to win it!

6. SELL! YAY!

Release your product and promote it! Don’t be afraid to promote your product if you know it is high quality and works! You’re sharing something that can actually help people so there is no shame in that! Try to get feedback from customers/clients and put this feedback into practice when you go and create your next product!

You can Save this Image to your Device or you can Pin it to one of your Pinterest boards at the end of this post to remind you of these 6 Steps!

IMG_1509


So when can you start?

The beauty of creating your own online product is that you can start at any time. If you’re knowledgeable about something or even willing to get knowledgeable about something then with a lot of hard work you can create your own product and start selling whenever you like! Don’t think this is limited to creating products about something blogging related, if you are a DIY Arts and Craft Blogger you can create an online video course to teach people how to do crafty things (because you have established yourself as a pro and people want to learn from you!). If you specialise in Travel you could create a detailed info product about the must see attractions in Thailand or wherever it is you’ve visited. The Key is creating something that is better than the information people can try to go and find for free. If you can create a product that is super easy to understand, helpful and contains everything they need in one lovely bundle then you’ve created something amazing which you can promote as better than free information they could take ages finding somewhere else!

Even more encouraging is that you don’t need a whole load of page views or followers to do this. All you need is a good quality product that anyone who visits you page could potentially buy from you. Whether you have 10 views a month or 10,000 makes no difference, more page views basically means more of a chance that someone will buy from you. Don’t set your goal too high at the start, it does take practice to perfect your product and promote it well, consistency is key so don’t give up!

During the 6 steps it’s pretty inevitable that you’ll get an Increase in views to your blog and at least a good few new subscribers. Why? Well if you have properly branded your site then it will look pretty professional and because you’ve created a high quality freebie you’ll immediately get interest! Heck when I see ‘Free Templates!’ I’m already on the site..because who doesn’t want a freebie?

Side note: Don’t slack on promoting your blog throughout the process. How will people see all the hard work you’re putting into your blog if you’re not sharing it with anyone? Posting on Facebook for example “check out my blog here at exampleblog.com” doesn’t interest me. Try a post more like “Hi guys I’m soo excited to share with you my new post to help you learn all about *example* plus I’m giving away a free *example* linked in my blog to help you *example* Hope you guys enjoy it!” In one short sentence I can see what your blog will help me achieve, a freebie to get me interested and a reason why I’d even want the freebie! I love seeing bloggers put effort into their Facebook posts and even tweets because it shows me they care! A blogger who cares and is genuinely excited to share their post with me as a potential reader makes me 10x more likely to go onto their page! So promote you post with that in mind and you can’t go wrong!

If you’re still apprehensive…

If you’re still nervous about making an investment before you start making money then why not create a whole load of prewritten content to publish, your freebie, your actual product and even come up with promotional ideas for your blog. Once you have all of that finished you can then simply invest into your self hosted website, your branding, and then focus purely on promoting whilst your product and next months worth of content is already created! This means in a short amount of time after investing you’re more certain of a faster return!

So tell me, How do you plan to start earning from your blog? What kind of Online Product are you thinking about creating? What’s the hardest part about creating a product like this? Let me know in the comments! Also Interested in more information like this and a whole load of FREE Stock Images for your blog? Well you can sign up here!

Check out some other Posts you might be interested in:

Stock Images: Why you should and How you can make your own! Plus FREE Stock Image Bundle! 

5 Blogging Mistakes YOU could be making!

5 Blogging Tips for Beginners

 

Stock Images: Why you should and How you can make your own! Plus FREE Stock Image Bundle! 

create your own stock images free stock bundleSo how many of you guys are sitting looking at your Blog thinking ‘I want better images!‘ or ‘I’m tired of using stock images that aren’t really what I want‘ Well I’ve been there and only now am I on my way to improving the images on my Blog. I knew straight off that I wanted good quality photos for my site, but searching through stock images just wasn’t my thing, and I didn’t really want to pay for something that I felt to be honest I could do myself if I put my mind to it. So last week I gave creating my own stock images a go after being inspired by a post by Wonderlass. (Here’s a link to that post!) I realised with a little bit of effort I could try creating my own images!

So you may ask, ‘Why?‘ ‘Why should I bother trying to create my own photos for my blog?

Well number one, Blogs with ‘Meh’ kind of photos turn me off. That’s the bottom line for me. Do you find yourself drawn to Blogs with beautifully styled photos? Well that’s no coincidence but just because you’re a new blogger or are awful with cameras doesn’t mean you can’t have your own well styled images. Especially if you’re wanting to use Pinterest as a serious platform for promoting your Blog then you better listen up because the only way you’re going to get off to a good start on Pinterest is by having Beautiful Pins that people want to Re-pin over and over again!

So, lets talk a little about Branding. Your brand is basically you, it’s your Online Image, it’s how people recognise you as a regular and consistent blogger. Branding your Blog not only gives you  a very professional look but if you’re working on making your blogging side hustle a career then having a strong brand presence is very important. It shows your readers and potential customers that you’re the real dealio.

Here’s a post that really helped me understand the importance of branding for your Blog: The Strong Brand Mini Course, this is another post by Wonderlass (a Blog I’m clearly obsessed with). I suggest giving it a read over because you can’t really begin to create your own images for your Blog if you don’t know the overall look you’re going for. If you want more information on branding then take a look at Boss Lady Blogger’s post on What to include in your Brands Style Guide! it gives you a great breakdown on what’s important in creating a brand for yourself.

OKAY! So now that you’ve gotten an idea of what kind of style you want for your fabulous Blog now you can begin getting ready to take your first set of images. Now for my images I decided I loved the Flat Lay look and because a lot of my posts are about blogging itself then my go to styling was cute stationary and my Ipad. However I knew that wasn’t enough, so I went to my bestfriend (aka Pinterest) and started creating a board of Flat Lay style inspiration! Want to check out my inspiration? Here’s a link to my Flat Lay Styling Board on Pinterest. YAY!

So here’s where things get technical. I fully believe that literally anyone can make their own Blog images, why? Because well I did it, and I’m not in any way a photographer or an eagle eye photo styler. For my first try though I’m pretty happy with the results although I know for next time how I’d like to improve and make them better! So stay tuned for even more stock photo give-aways!

Okay so the Set up is literally Two pieces of Foam Board (cheap as anything), some coloured card (also cheap as anything) for different background colours, Natural lighting (totally free), and even better news for you blogging newbies and camera shy peeps my humble Iphone (which I already own and I’m sure most of you guys do too!)

Here’s an example of the original photo and the photo after some editing:

image1 (1)

So the before image was taken in natural light and I was using a second foam board to reflect light onto my set up to lessen the shadows (this only helped moderately). To get it to look like the image on the right here are the steps I took:

  • Increased overall brightness (because the image is Dull dull dull…ew)
  • Increased contrast (this part dramatically improves the stark white background look)
  • Lightened the shadows (as the reflector board didn’t reduce the shadows enough)
  • Increased Saturation to make the most of the bright colours! I love a good POP of colour!
  • Also check out that adorable Bunny Illustration, it’s by my friend Bethany who does amazing artwork that’s perfect for in your home or giving as a super cute gift! Here’s a link to her facebook!

The moral of all this is that if you take a photo and immediately disregard it as terrible because it’s not the way you imagine it, wait. Play around with it, edit it even just a little bit and all of a sudden it could become your favourite image of like All Time, okay maybe not but hey it means you have another stock image under your belt for a rainy day!

Now what you do with your new set of fab stock images is all down to you, personally I love the transparent overlay look with writing on top. If you’re wondering what photo editor I use its Picsart, nothing fancy, so it’s great for new bloggers who want a way to make their images more professional looking without having to fork out loads on a DSLR camera or an expensive photo editing programme. It just goes to show how far an iPhone can take you!

So here they are! YOUR FREE STOCK IMAGES YAY!

What photo tricks to you have? How do you get the shot you want? Let me know in the comments and if you have any questions I’m here to answer them!

Want any more Blogging tips and tricks? Try 5 Blogging Mistakes YOU could be making! or 5 Blogging tips for beginners!

 

Organise Your Life: 5 Top Tips! Plus Free Printables!

organise your life with 5 top tips and free printablesOrganisation: everybody wants it, not everybody gets it. I am quite scarily obsessed with organisation and lists and all things controllable, literally if I can control it, I will. Now this isn’t going to be a 200 page essay in how to organise every aspect of your life (because seriously who has time for that?) but I’m going to share with you some things that I personally couldn’t go without In order to feel like I’m on top of things! So here it goes!

1. Get yourself a Calendar! I don’t care if it’s paper or digital, how people can function without a calendar I have no idea. I have a pretty good memory but sometimes just seeing something written down allows me to take my whole day, week, month (or even your yearrrr nah nah nah nah….sorry literally got caught up in the ‘Friends’ theme tune there) into perspective. If you’re a blogger then keeping a calendar is vital. You wouldn’t believe how much of a difference planning out posts, the times you will be promoting them, the time you have to work on other side projects will make to your blog as a whole. All of a sudden you can see the big picture, you can see how you blog is progressing week by week and you can even plan ahead for what you want your blog to eventually become.

2. Sort out your dolla dolla! Being in control of your expenses is such a key aspect to being in control of your life. Being able to pay all of your bills on time and still have money left over to put towards savings isn’t a reality for a lot of people and yet it can be soo super simple. There are so many ways to cut back on expenses and soo many methods out there to guide you to a debt free life, so make the most of them! Personally for me I like to use a Bill Tracker so I can tick off when each bill has been paid. This means at a glance I can see what’s been paid for and what’s left that I have to save and pay for. Here’s a free template for you to track your monthly bills! I also have a post all about how to stop living paycheck to paycheck and creating a budget that works for you!

3. Food and Diet! Controlling what you eat of course will impact your life. I wish I had more control over the amount of biscuits I eat, but we can’t be perfect! It may sound weird to organise what you’re eating but actually it makes a lot of sense. By organising what you eat I basically mean Meal Planning. If you’ve never tried meal planning then you’ve simply got to give it a go! Even for a month a see how much of a difference it can make for you! Planning out your meals means you save time and money plus if you’re aiming for a healthy and nutritious diet then it makes sticking to it soo much easier! I have a handy printable for you to create your own meal plan here! If you want to learn more about meal planning and in particular how it can save you money then check out my blog post here!

4. Clean and Tidy! Another area that you can keep on top of everything is by staying on top of your daily chores around the house. I can’t focus on anything if I know I have a load of laundry that needs to be put on or of there’s dirty dishes that need put in the dishwasher. I usually do a quick tidy up when I get home from work such as dishes and laundry on weekdays and do a big clean up on a Sunday i.e. change bed sheets, empty all bins (not just the kitchen one), hoover everywhere, scrub bathroom etc. I love starting the next working week on a good note, I love having a nice clean house to come home to on a Monday after the first day back at work again. If you work from home then try to schedule in dedicated time for cleaning, so you can sit down and fully focus on your work without the distraction of knowing you have to go bleach the loo (yum). I know for myself that productivity is much higher when I’m in a clean and clutter free environment! Feeling a bit groggy when you work from home? Try my little trick of opening a window, breathing in the crisp fresh air always helps me to wake up fully and gives me the boost I need! Also it gets the groggy feeling out of the air!

5. To-do list! On top of keeping a calendar like a pro, a to-do list can simply work wonders. This definitely doesn’t have to be anything fancy, literally it can just be a pad of paper with a list of stuff you gotta do. If you want to kick it up a notch obviously you can arrange your list into an order of importance and the more detailed you get then the better it feels when you cross an action off the list. That’s why I love lists, it gives me a breakdown of what needs done and when I accomplish something I can cross it off the list giving me a positive boost that I’ve made progress. If there’s something you didn’t complete, then move it across to tomorrows list and make it top priority, that way you never keep putting off tasks over and over again! So get jotting down them to-do’s!

What ways do you like to stay organised?
What would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments! And if you’re up for receiving a whole bunch off FREE STOCK IMAGES then you can subscribe here! I’ll be sending out a lovely care package for all you lovely folks! 

5 Blogging Mistakes YOU could be making!


Some people think that once you start a blog you instantly gain viewers, comments, likes and loyal followers but we Bloggers know that that’s simply not the case. A lot of hard work goes into the background of blogging…and I mean A LOT of hard work. Blogging is a whole new skill with a whole new language you need to learn. Monetisation? Networking? No follow links? SEO? The list goes on…literally for like ever. It can be hard enough to get to grips with the basics never mind advanced blogging strategies. So I thought why not share some common mistakes I see made on a daily basis, to make the difficult a little less difficult. Here’s just a couple of mistakes you could be making as a blogger, don’t worry though if you’re doing these things because they are easily fixed and if you don’t view them as a problem in the first place then continue on blissfully, these are simply things I’ve noticed along the way! 

  1. Content, content, content, content. Is there a such a thing as too much content? Well, in short Yes. Blog posts require a lot of time and as a new blogger you may be excited to get all your thoughts out there and start posting nearly every other day! Now in a way it’s great to be full of ideas and have content flying out of your fingertips but speed and quantity doesn’t necessarily mean quality. For every blog post you create there should be a certain amount of work that’s gone on behind the scenes such as high resolution Photos that fit in perfectly to the post and also a fair amount of publicising your content. If you are creating a lot of content, save it, and try spreading out your posts. Now you can use the extra time to focus on making sure you are reaching the right kind of people and creating high quality posts that make readers want to come back for more! 
  2. Sharing but NOT Caring. Do you find yourself pasting links to your site on Facebook, Twitter, other random blog sites? Do you get much of a return? Probably not. Miraculous page views would be amazing but skipping on publicising your post properly wont get you any closer to that dream. To build genuine interest try finding other bloggers who could benifit from your blog, ask similar bloggers for feedback on your site to make continual improvements. When posting to Facebook or any social media platform actually make the effort to tell people WHY they should go to your site. If you don’t even sound excited about your own post, why should anyone else be? You really have to be your own No.1 Fan! 
  3. Me, me me. Blogging is important to every single blogger, if it wasn’t there would be no posts to read! What strategy do you use to promote yourself and your brand? We all want a bit of the limelight but that doesn’t mean we can force our blogs onto others by aggressively sharing links online as much as you can. This could work, but isn’t it exhausting? For me helping fellow bloggers is the best way to promote yourself. Try leaving a comment on someone else’s post and give them positive feedback. It’s a win win, you get the benefit of the feel good factor because you’ve been nice and helped out a fellow newbie blogger and on the other hand they’re probably 10times more likely to visit your site and could even leave you a comment. (This works much better than posting ‘like for like’ or ‘comment for comment’ which could temporarily boost your traffic but in the long run you don’t gain much reward for all the effort you’ve gone through to go like back a whole load of blogs).
  4. No Niche Syndrome. It’s true that in the blogosphere you can blog about pretty much anything you want, like anything, from your neighbours cat keeping you up at night to a painful ingrown toenail. As great as it is that we can all be so open with each other on the internet is that really what you want your blog to be about? This isn’t for everyone because not everyone’s sole purpose is to make a full time living out of blogging but for those who do, if you want to make meaningful blogs that are fresh and useful then that’s exactly what they have to be: Fresh and Useful. Fresh as in no one wants to see the same ole content repeated over and over again and Useful as in what can I as a reader actually gain from reading your posts? Find your Niche! Who are you writing your blog for? What solutions are you giving people? What ways are you providing something that no one else is? These are all questions you should be asking yourself before you hit ‘publish’, heck before you even start writing the title of your next article!
  5. Stay active! Don’t you just love it when someone spends time writing you an encouraging comment? Well why not thank them and you could even give their page a look over! We’re all in this together and receiving positivity isn’t near as rewarding as giving it out first hand. Keep up to date with your posts and make sure to respond to comments/questions, no matter how small! Being nice doesn’t cost a dime and everyone loves a giver. 

For more tips for Beginners click here! 5 Blogging Tips For Beginners!

So what ideas can you put into practice? What other tips have you got for new bloggers? What obstacles have you had to overcome to get where you’re at today? Share in the comments below 🙂

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6 ways to Stop Wasting Money

Do you find yourself looking down into an empty wallet whilst trying to pay for groceries wondering how could you have run out of money for the week…again?? Well then you’re in luck because today I’m going to give you a few ideas on how you can stop wasting money so you have the cash there for the important things!  and hey you could even end up never having to look at an empty purse ever again! So let’s begin! 

  1. Set Goals: Get out a good ole fashioned notebook and pen and jot down financial goals you have for yourself. Saving for a new car? Saving up for an emergency fund? Once you have clear goals set in place and a system in order to reach those goals I.e. Saving €20 a week for 4months then all of a sudden you understand the worth of €20. Instead of paying for a dominoes mega deal with cookies (lush btw) you could buy a cheaper frozen pizza and that’s your €20 saved for that week.
  2. Meal Plan: Yes I’m at it again. Meal planning is by far thee most dramatic change you’ll see in your spending if you put it into practice. Forever I had loaves of bread go out of date, that I hadn’t even opened yet. I’ve found the best way to not let food go mouldy is simply planning ahead and knowing that you WILL use it. If you know your menu for the week ahead then you don’t even have to think about what you need to buy at the shops, you have a specific list on hand and that will help you avoid buying food that ultimately you don’t need and will end up being wasted.
  3. Ice Ice Baby: In addition to meal planning, I also like to plan how much I am going to cook. Sometimes if I’m going to be making a stew or soup or anything I know can be easily frozen I’ll purposefully buy enough so I can eat half and freeze the other half of the meal. It means next week I have one less day to worry about! My next big spend will hopefully be on a bigger freezer, that way I can try going pro with freezer meals (there are some amazing Pinterest posts on learning how to cook in bulk and live off freezer meals for up to whole a month!).
  4. Cable TV: Now this one would be a lot easier for me to commit to if Impractical Jokers wasn’t on TV (It’s a monday night tradition). Other than that I could very easily give up cable TV, and eventually one of these days I’ll convince my husband. There are other great alternatives out there like Netflix (I literally watched the whole of season 6 PLL in two days, I’m a real binge watcher). You could be saving up to €1000 a year depending how much you pay for your cable monthly and also you’ll be watching less TV and focussing on using your time doing something probably more productive so it’s a win win!
  5. Gym Memberships: Now this really depends on personal situation. If you use the gym like more than twice a week then yes a gym probably is worth the money you’re paying for it. If you go once a week or more like once a month, is spending up to nearly €100 a month really worth it? Well the answer is no, it isn’t worth it. You don’t need fancy tech machines to be able to exercise, and if you’re only going once a week you’re probably not even really making the most of the expensive heavy weight machines. Buy a bicycle instead, or go jogging, walk up mountains, walk the dog, do home yoga with YouTube videos. It’s easy to exercise without a gym, in fact it’s very easy. So if you’re wasting money on a gym membership, go cancel it…like now…I wasted €90 for two months gym membership (I went once….and that was the day I signed up #neveragain).
  6. Haircuts: Now I know hairdressers need to make a living but seriously €50 to give me a trim? eh no. Hairdressing is a skill and I’m not saying don’t get your hair cut, all I’m saying is that if you get your hair cut like every three months like you’re apparently supposed to then that money really adds up fast. So why not use groupon to find half price haircuts or there’s always students who need to practice and may even be doing them for free. In between cuts try to keep your hair healthy and condition the ends well to avoid really bad split ends, you could see your amount of visits to the hairdressers decreasing by just doing some basic good hair care.

Now there’s 6 simple ways to cut back on wasted money! But by far the best way to stop wasting money is by tracking it. Learn where all your money is going to! A tenner here and there really adds up so take control and make the most of what you have. If you want to be at peace with your income you have to learn how to live within your means and be content with that! 

Hopefully these tips have given you a few ideas to think about and also all you budgeting enthusiasts if you want to hear more tips and tricks that I’ve learnt along the way then you can Subscribe Here! You’ll be updated when a new blog post is out so you’ll be the first to take a sneak peak and also a few more surprises will be coming along you way for you special dedicated followers! 

Happy Budgeting! 

  

5 Blogging tips for beginners

Blogging and going nowhere sucks, right? Of course it does! You put in all this hard work and still you aren’t getting noticed. Well maybe it’s time to change the strategy a bit. Here’s just a few tips on blogging from what I’ve learnt so far.

  1. Are you Blogging for money? Let’s get this one out of the way, YES there are Bloggers out there who make a full time income Blogging. Did this happen because they began their Blog purely to make money? 99% of the time: No. Those Bloggers who are able to share their $12,000 income report more than likely began years ago, built up followers along the way and THEN began to focus on the money making side of things. Another point to note is that most Bloggers making money from Blogging do so because they create products or provide services that can help other bloggers or help those people in their target audience. Providing these kind of products is what makes most of the money, not from getting paid from adverts, which only really works if you have a HUGE audience! Most bloggers actually care about what they are selling online, its not a ‘Get Rich Quick’ Scheme, a lot of time and effort goes into blogging, as I’m sure you’re aware of. Do you post because you want to make money? or because you’re passionate about something and have meaningful and relevant content to discuss? Hopefully it’s the latter, but if you’re finding it tough to think of posts that will actually make your blog more relevant then try thinking about your audience. What lessons are you trying to teach people? What have YOU got that can help others? What lessons have you learnt in your life that you can share with others? If your primary goal is to help others in some way then that’s where success starts. 
  2. Believe in your talent. Of course a lot of us feel like we need the approval of others to feel like we are successful. To a degree yes that’s correct, your success as a blogger is if people actually read your posts. But don’t just think of it as numbers, if 10 people view a post, heck that’s an actual 10 people who you’ve reached out to! If you’ve reached 1,000 or even 10,000 just remember those are all individuals who appreciated your blog and your hard work. You don’t need confirmation to be able to write about your life lessons or the tips and tricks you’ve picked up along the way. If you keep a blog personal then you’re always going to be able to offer fresh useful content.
  3. Great content doesn’t equal great stats. I know, what’s the point with all the hard work then? Well don’t get discouraged just yet. If you’re pouring your heart and soul into the most beautifully crafted blog posts and yet once again you’ve have next to no shares, comments, heck even views… don’t panic, that doesn’t mean your blog sucks. Great content + Great Promoting = Great Stats. I’ve read before that your blog post should take 30% of the time and the other 70% should be promoting it. My schedule is only one post a week, meaning I have the rest of the week to create my new blog post and promote the previous one, meaning that a lot more promoting and networking happens than actual blog post creating. Go crazy, try Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter etc. There’s loads of social media sites to share your blog to and make the most of it! If you are doing reviews (and it’s a positive one) send it to the people who you’re reviewing. Everybody loves free advertising, they could share your review so they get a boost in sales while you could get a good boost in your post! Don’t get too overwhelmed by trying to share your post everywhere, it’s a lot of hard work, trust me I know! But you’ll get the hang of when and where to post and soon enough it’ll be like second nature. If you’ve found a platform that particularly works for you then dig deep! Master it as best you can and only use other social media sites as a side project. Focussing your effort on one platform can yield a lot more results than being pulled in 12 different social media directions trying to keep a half hearted presence on all of them all the time.
  4. Good images are a must. Everything is about aesthetics these days. If something looks good, it must be good. Why write a spectacular post and then have no pictures to draw the eye in, or why upload a grainy image that is as aesthetically pleasing as a radiator? People love to see things that appeal to them. If you haven’t got a great camera and are trying to use your phone for the most part of your images then all hope is not lost. A good picture needs to be in focus, good lighting and obviously good subject matter (what you’re actually taking a picture of). So if you’re using your phone camera then at least wait until the lighting is good (natural light, please) and be sure to focus the image properly. After that, it’s hard to go wrong. Want more tips on creating your own professional blog images (cheaply)? Then click here! Plus receive a whole bunch of Free Stock Images created by yours truly!
  5. Be true to yourself. So if you start hitting it big and companies want you to promote their products for money. What do you do? Jump at every opportunity? But what if it’s a product you don’t like or doesn’t even work very well? Obviously we all need money but is it worth possibly losing the respect of some of your followers because you blindly support a product that you have no faith in? People get tired of sponsored posts that are bottom line desperate. If you do get offers to promote a brand or product make sure it’s one you can honestly stand behind and support. Stay true to yourself and your values and stay in line with what fits in with the brand you’ve built up for yourself. Your brand is essentially your online presence, Don’t damage it!

So there you are 5 Top Tips for Blogging Beginners! But What if you can’t think of anything to blog about? Help is at hand! Yes, there are loads and loads of blogs out there so it can be hard to keep your posts new and exciting, but now there are even blog posts about what to blog about! If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s two links to some great blogs with very helpful prompts to get your blogging on a roll! A girl obsessed- 50 Blog Ideas + Prompts and The College Prepster- 50 Ideas for Blog Posts.

Now this is only 5 blogging tips, and of course there are countless more! Just keep doing what your doing, every blog success story is different, so go and make yours!

Let me know some of your blogging tips in the comments below! You can also check out 5 Blogging Mistakes you could be making!

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4 Things to do at the Start of EVERY Month!

1460886981634-1So it’s 2016, big whoop, ‘New Year, New Me’ drama. I can change my life around any day of the year anyways. Oh hang on a minute we’re already a quarter way through the year? Isn’t it like still January? Well apparently not.

That’s how the start of this year basically went for me and to be honest how most years begin for me. One minute you’re getting confused over 2015 and 2016, and the next minute your confused as to why you’re writing April instead of January. Time flies and it’s not necessarily because we’re having fun. Time is one of our biggest resources, forget money or possessions. What we do with our time is the hands down biggest factor in our lives. That’s why I’m not going to let the year run by me. Every month counts, heck, every day counts and that’s why I’m taking charge. Starting with being aware of every month, and making the most of it. That’s why I have this helpful list of 4 things to do each month to make the month easier, more enjoyful and more meaningful.

  1. Budget. What’s the point in trying to be stress free and more mindful for a month if you’re still worried about paying bills? Sit down and go over your budget, and for those who are still too scared to make one here’s a Link to were you can find help to make your first budget! The key is review your budget at the start of every month. Make sure things are on track and all the bills are getting paid (and that your savings is building up too of course). Once you’ve reviewed it, forget about it. Don’t let the constant worry of money and where it’s going keep you down. Chin up from that calculator and go look at a tree or something super melodramatic.
  2. Deep cleaning time! Clutter free = stress free. Clutter is my biggest fear. Okay spiders are, or wrists (long story) but that’s not the point. Clutter makes our lives look messy, and when our homes are messy we get distracted waaaayy too easily. Spending time at the start of the month giving our homes, cars, desks, you name it, a good clear out can make the rest of your month so much easier. And by deep cleaning, I mean the fridge, oven, pantry, drawers, wardrobes and all those places that just gather mess, not just the dirty dishes from last night.
  3. Set a new goal at the start of each month. Now this is were your month can become a lot more interesting and enjoyable. If you have a new goal each month, imagine the sense of achievment you’ll have. There’s plenty of goals you could choose from; You could aim for beginning a new exercise regime; try saving 1000 bucks(Here’s how you can save 1000 bucks here!); drinking more water; reading a book; or you can go totally mad like my husband and I because we’d tried going Meat free for a month! (See how we went veggie here!) Whatever it is you choose, make the most of it for each month and in a years time look back and see just how far you’ve come. Imagine 12 big accomplishments in a year!
  4. Me time. At the start of every month, check your calendar, fill in those important dates and make sure your up to date with everything. Next though, schedule in some ‘me-time’ or a ‘do nothing’ day or a ‘stop day’. Ideally you want to have one day a week where you can just relax, whether that’s going for a stroll, watching Netflix all day or just simply slowing everything down. Nowadays we’re constantly bringing stress into our lives and just even the idea of having a day planned where we can just rest is immediately reassuring. If you’re worrying that you’re not going to get every thing done then rest assured cause those who do set aside resting time have increased productivity and are more proud of their accomplishments, so more time spent on a job doesn’t mean better results. So rest up, you can only do you’re best work when you’re at your best!

Are you all set to make the most of your time? What goal are you going to set for this month? What do you like to do in your ‘me time’? Let me know below!

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No Meat for a Month Challenge

So this March my husband and I are really going to challenge ourselves. We’re going to give being pescatarian a go. Okay technically not ‘no meat’ cause we’ll be eating fish and shellfish etc but that’s a good start for us, who’ve never really had a vegetarian meal in our lives. A number of reasons lead ourselves to this decision. In no particular order; we hope it will be cheaper, we might eat healthier, I get to learn how to cook new recipes (cause I’m pretty tired already of just making pies and different types of chicken like, all the time) and we decided pescatarian over just good ole vegetarian because well for me I’ve never really eaten fish, and I wanted to challenge myself to be able to cook fish meals (and hopefully I’ll convince my husband to give mussels a go!)
I know what you’re thinking, going cold turkey on meat is a bad idea. I understand I probably should wean myself off it, but heck I love a good challenge. It’s not something that’s just popped into my head either, I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and in preparation I’ve scoured through my recipes books to find some great recipes that sound and look yummy. Obviously I can’t post every single recipe, but here’s just a few of the recipes I can’t wait to cook!

  • Mini Salmon and Broccoli Pies
  • Roast Butternut Squash
  • Spicy Salmon Fish Cakes
  • Prawn and mussel Paella
  • Margherita Pizza (I totally forgot I can still eat pizza, just take away any meat toppings and there you have it)
  • Asparagus and Tomato Tart
  • Mushroom Vol au vents
  • Slow cooked Potato Stew

I got all these recipes (and more!) from my favourite recipe book ‘A Year Full of Recipes’. As I start the month of March and Begin trying out these recipes, I’ll be sure to post my favourites! For now though Google will do the work for you, just type in any of the meal ideas and you’re sure to get great recipes online!

Also side note I made my first ever soup today! I have no idea why I was so anxious to try making a soup, to be honest it’s actually the easiest thing to make. Today was Butternut Squash Soup, and even if I say so myself it was uh-maze-ing. I literally just threw it together this morning in the slow cooker so it would be ready for when me and my husband came home later this afternoon. 1 chopped butternut squash, roasted in the oven for 25mins in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Whilst the butternut squash was in the oven in the slow cooker I had 2 carrots chopped , 1 red onion chopped, 2 celery sticks chopped and 500ml of vegetable stock. And then simply put the roasted butternut squash in with the rest of the ingredients. That was literally it. I had it cooking on low for about 4/5hours, came home, blended it, threw some croutons on top and there it was a really tasty, healthy and (most importantly for my challenge in March) vegetarian meal that I really enjoyed. So along with any other recipes I posted earlier I am now pretty confident I could make a good few soups as well to help me through this challenge in March.

So what about you? Do you think you could give up meat for a month? Who knows you may prefer it or at the very least you’ll learn a ton more recipes (which is my goal!). Let me know if you’ve ever tried a no meat diet or even a pescatarian diet, and if you have any recipe ideas then definitely share them!

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How to save €1000 in One Month! 

 save 1000 in a month how to  save money budget expert We all want to have the security of some savings behind us for when those unexpected bills pop up; flat tire, new washing machine or even some savings for a rainy day. But a lot of us are stuck in the cycle of living pay day to pay day which is a hard routine to get out of. Maybe saving little amounts at a time doesn’t work for you because you don’t see results, or maybe you only have a short period of time to save some money up and that’s when you can set yourself big goals, A.k.a. saving €1000 in a month! 

If you have a partner and you share both your incomes together then of course this is going to be a lot easier than if you’re saving on your own. If that’s the case don’t worry just try to save €1000 in two months or a goal that’s big enough to challenge you but also doesn’t mean you’ll be living off ramen for the next while.

My husband and I decided that we needed a couple of no-spend months, just so we can build up a good amount of savings and then relax a little. So we sat down and decided that we were going to basically live off one Income. My husband’s wages every week would go into our joint bank account where all our bills comes out, including petrol money and groceries. Basically that’s how we plan to save €1000 in a month. However, of course we still had to work out how we were going to just live off one income. So here’s my top tips for saving €1000 in a month!

  1. Budget Aggressively. Work out how much you need a month/week to pay all your bills and necessities. If you need more of a guide on this then here’s a link to how to start budgeting so you’re not living Paycheck to Paycheck. Seriously try to work out how little you need to spend in a month and most importantly stick to it! I’ve often read about the 30day rule, which basically means if you want something wait for 30 days, and if you still want it after those 30 days then you can go buy it. Most of the time the desire for whatever it is you wanted to buy has passed by then, so it really narrows down impulse buys and you’re left with only purchasing the important things. Even better the 30day rule means you should have a whole month of no spending once you begin! Hence saving €1000 in a month should be easy as ABC! 
  2. Meal planning! This is something I’m pretty passionate about and here’s a more detailed post on how you can Meal Plan in 5 Simple Steps. So once you’ve budgeted a certain amount for food, simply planning your meals out can help you stick to that budget. With a meal plan you’re less likely to buy food that you’re just going to waste, and you’ll save petrol and time by planning one big shop a week instead of several smaller trips (where you end up buying things you really didn’t need in the first place). Also try different shops and compare prices, sometimes you’ll find a better deal in the bigger supermarkets in the sales over a typically cheaper shop like Lidl or Aldi.  
  3. Entertainment Now here’s where things can really make a difference. If you’re the type of person who lives for the weekend or loves going out for dinner with your friends. Instead of going out and spending €30 each on dinner and a glass of wine, why not invite a friend round and learn how to cook a meal together. You can even split the cost if you ask them to pick up a few of the ingredients. You’ll get to spend some quality time with your friends doing something new together and save a pretty penny too! Or if you’re a big movie buff and are always forking out on expensive cinema tickets and the crazy popcorn prices, try going to matinee showings which are nearly always half price. Big tip: If you eat beforehand you’re not as tempted to hand over your life savings for a small Coke and popcorn. You could cut the cinema alltogether and still get your movie fix by signing up to Netflix to save even more bucks. Another idea Is having a pot luck Dinner, invite friends round but have them bring round a dish each. You get loads of food, and even better the pressure is off you to buy, prepare and cook everything! There’s loads of ways to cut back in this area! Just find your weak points and brainstorm cheaper alternatives. 
  4. Travel. Here’s another area where you can cut back alot on. Running two cars is very expensive: Fact. Both me and my husband are young drivers so the insurance is sky high for us, not to mention money for petrol, tax, maintence and repairs. If you have two cars and its a necessity then by all means run the two cars. For my husband and I we didn’t have a notion how we were both supposed to get to work with only one car, especially because I start work an hour earlier than him and finish 2 and a half hours earlier than him. That’s when compromise kicks in. He compromises getting up early with me at 7a.m. And brings me to work, and for the days when he can’t collect me I have to compromise and hang around work for a couple of hours until he’s finished. We’ve both worked out ways to try and make the most of this time though. I spend the extra hours waiting after work writing blog ideas or doing research (a.k.a. Spending hours on Pinterest looking up kittens). Although this may not be ideal for us, we’ve made it work for now at least. If there was a bus stop near our home then we’d definitely consider using it more. Public transport can be a great way to save money if you’re trying to go car free. Once you start using buses/trains/trams you learn the routes and schedules, and nowadays you can get almost anywhere with public transport! 
  5. Don’t get discouraged. The worst thing you can do is give up before you’ve even gotten started. Saving doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us in fact it could be your worst nightmare. So don’t set yourself a goal that’s unattainable, you’ll only disappoint yourself later. You have to start off small and build your way up to be a pro. So if you’re not ready for the challenge of €1000 in a month then set yourself another goal that you know you can accomplish. Everybody is different and we all use different techniques in order to save, so makes a savings goal that’s personal for you and figure out what strategies work best in your circumstances. Once you start you’ll never look back! 

But remember saving isn’t about how much money you have, or how much money you wish you had. It’s a personal savings account for you and your circumstances.  Someone who is saving for a deposit on a house is going to be very different to someone who is saving up for a holiday. We all have our reasons but let yours be to give you peace of mind to know that your wages aren’t going down the drain. Now you can sit back, relax and make the most of your spare time! 

Happy Saving!