PS. Without the intention of sounding dramatic, I’m also taking a bit of a break from here to figure out whether I want to do blogging, Youtube or a bit of both. I am hoping to come back with lots of ideas so stay tuned!
PPS. I’d love to know if any of you are feeling the same/similar regarding my points in the video…it’s always nice to not feel alone in your opinions! But equally, if you think I’m chatting rubbish, I’d also love to hear from you.
I feel like I owe you an apology. My content hasn’t been massively varied recently and so I thought a little catch up my justify the reasons why I have had to neglect the blog a bit and try and put out what I can. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of every post I’ve shared on here as of late, but I know it hasn’t been particularly… what’s another word for varied because I’ve used that already?
ANYWAY. Blogging has been a bit difficult over recent times. Firstly, I am still settling into my new job – and loving it, by the way. Being able to be creative but also flex my more technical skills has been a lot of fun. Although I am now over a month into the role, my body is still playing catch up in terms of OMG EXHAUSTED E’RYDAY when I get home.
This really is a pants excuse, I know. Loads of bloggers work full time, start new jobs all the time and can still hammer out some great content in the evenings and weekends. I’m ashamed of me, too.
We do also have the issue of having to move house soon. Our landlord handed in notice and our last official day is November 30. It’s a stressful experience because as much as our current place does have its bugbears, we were hoping to stay longer in order to start saving a deposit to buy our own home. But alas. At least another year in the rental cycle, and that significant chunk of money involved in moving!
So although we haven’t quite started packing boxes yet, I feel like a fair portion of my headspace has been occupied with “OMG ARE WE GOING TO HAVE SOMEWHERE TO LIVE IN DECEMBER”. Now that we do have somewhere to move to, my headspace is now occupied with “OMG MOVING IS STRESSFUL”.
Another portion of my headspace has just felt foggy, y’know? I haven’t had a lot of energy or inspiration for ideas on the blog and I try not to force it. I am trying to create more Youtube content as well with my weekly Blog Talk videos, that are also great because I can then ‘repurpose’ them here for more people to see them which seems to work pretty well. The funny thing is, as much as video is hassle and editing is the worst, because of that time and effort that does go in, I’m beginning to feel prouder at the end of creating and uploading a video vs that feeling of publishing a new blog post. Weird, huh?
This isn’t the beginning of me saying I’m turning over my blogging hat to switch it to a vlogging one. I couldn’t handle creating videos as regularly as I do blog posts. I like sitting in my pyjamas with no makeup on too much for that. Whenever I film a video, it’s either at the weekend when I have makeup on from a day out, or in the evening after work where it’s simply a case of topping up the makeup I’m already wearing.
I’m potentially rambling now, so maybe I should tell you guys about some of the fun stuff occupying my time, huh?
Last weekend I worked my first event since starting my new job, and I honestly loved it. I never really had much chance to meet new people and do something a bit different in my old job. Now I get to meet new people pretty often, and they are all pretty lovely tbh.
Outside of work, I’ve been enjoying a spot of autumnal shopping. I’ve been all about the roll neck jumpers recently – something I used to hate but now find so damn snuggly you guys. I’ve also (naturally) been topping up my comics pile and also checking out a few magazines. I’ve gotten back into reading Psychologies (although the latest issue actually remains sat unread on my shelf currently), and even picked up Cosmo the other day. WHO EVEN AM I?
In all fairness, I won’t be picking up Cosmo again. The ‘journalism’ is shocking. I only really nabbed it out of curiosity to read the Zoella interview. Even though I’m not a fan of her content, her story still interests me, and the so called interview part was probably less than a quarter of the several pages. The rest was padded out with rubbish writing about what she was wearing and sharing all the information that the whole world already knows about her. Anyway, I digress.
Me and Liam have started watching Taskmaster. Have you seen it? It’s so funny. It’s a programme on Dave that’s hosted by Greg Davies and basically a group of comedians carry out tasks and score points to win. Season One had a great selection of comedians on it and season two doesn’t disappoint so far, either.
Otherwise, that’s all that’s going on really! What have you been up to of late?
P.S. How cute is my Fenella Smith notebook?! I’m using it on occasion to jot down blog post ideas and it’s so lovely.
Keeping on top of your blog and making it the best it can be is hard. I know I haven’t really had the time to make this blog exactly what I’d like it to be, but there are some super easy ways to improve your blog which can make a big difference to how you feel about it when you’re going through one of those inevitable blogging slumps.
In a recent Blog Talk video, aptly titled ‘Improve Your Blog’, I shared five simple tips you can get started with right now to feel better about your blog. I’ve expanded on these points a little down below, but if you’d prefer to watch the video I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post for you! Apologies in advance if this is the first video of mine you’re watching, my voice takes a little getting used to unless you love squeaky Disney voice.
Anywho, let’s get cracking with the tips.
Tip #1 – Use Google Analytics
OK, so a lot of the time, people don’t bother with GA as it can be quite time consuming. It really doesn’t have to be if you focus on the areas that are going to help you improve the most. Basically, use the Site Content report to see which posts are performing the best as this can help you to shape future post ideas.
Look at setting a date range of around 6 months to get a good feel for what content performs the best, and BAM new ideas.
A little SEO tip for ya now – on a semi-regular basis (maybe every few months or so), run a check on your blog to see if it has any broken links. Broken links are most often found in your blog comments, but can also be found in posts. For example, if you’ve done a wishlist post and linked to a product, the brand may have removed that page and so the link will no longer work.
Instead of trawling through every post and checking all of the links work, you can use the Broken Link Checker which does the hard work for you, and will find every instance of a broken link and show you where it is so you can hunt it down and remove it.
The bad news is, if you use Blogger, it’s much harder to get comment links removed without just deleting the comment. You generally would have to contact the person to ask them to either remove the link or update it otherwise. On WordPress, you can do that yourself by editing the comment from your Dashboard.
Head to Talented Talkers to read a guide I wrote for them on broken links if you need any more info!
Tip #3 – Update image alt text
I’ve definitely mentioned alt text before in one (or several) of my blog tips videos and posts, but it’s an easy and quick win from an SEO perspective.
Image alt text is basically used to describe your image and is useful for screen readers but also for helping with your SEO.
Go back to posts, particularly recent and popular ones, and add appropriate alt text which describes the image, and where applicable also uses the keyword you want people to find your post from. Try your best moving forwards to remember to add alt text as you go, too!
Tip #4 – Find 3 blogs that you like
This is a fun one as someone who enjoys reading other people’s content (when I find time!). Find 3 blogs that you like and make a note of why you like them. Why do you keep going back?
Next, think about what you can personally do to improve your own blog and make it a site you would want to keep coming back to.
Tip #5 – Tidy things up
My final tip on how to improve your blog is to visit popular posts (again using Google Analytics to find those) and fix any formatting issues such as paragraphs, layout and update any imagery if it can be improved. Add alt text if needed as well.
Be proud of your older content and improve the user experience for those landing on older content which may not be as flashy and aesthetically pleasing as your current content.
So those are my five simple tips to improve your blog – have any to add? Let me know in the comments!
You can find my Blog Talk video below where I discuss these tips, and you can subscribe to my Youtube channel here.
If you enjoyed my recent easy peasy tortilla recipe, then you’ll bladdy love the healthy breakfast recipe I’ve got for you today.
A little while back, a colleague brought in some ‘egg muffins’ for us all to try. They sound a bit crap on paper, but pick the right ingredients to go with them and you’re in for a delicious winner. She opted for spinach and basil which was delicious, but I decided to go for a slightly different approach by pairing freshly chopped parsley with smoked bacon.
The beauty of these ‘muffins’ is that they are really quick and simple to put together, and make a great desk breakfast if you ran out of time before work to eat, or like me you prefer to eat a bit later in the morning. Oh, and you can put whatever you want in them as well.
Healthy Breakfast Recipe of Dreams: Egg Muffins
If you want to try this yummy healthy breakfast recipe, you’ll either need a muffin tray or even better, silicon cake cases. I got a set of 12 colourful ones on Amazon for less than a tenner and they are amazing. These cake cases can go in the oven, microwave and can also be washed in a dishwasher if you’re posh and have one.
The recipe I used below makes 6 egg muffins, but it’s dead easy to adapt if you remember that it’s one egg per muffin basically.
6 large eggs
4 bacon medallions, chopped into small pieces
Handful of fresh parsley
Pinch of salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to around 180 for a fan oven.
Start by frying the bacon pieces with a little oil or Frylight. Whilst the bacon is cooking, beat together the eggs in a measuring jug and add the seasoning and chopped parsley.
Once the bacon is cooked and cooled a little, add this to the egg mixture and then pour evenly into silicon cake cakes or a muffin tray. Pop it into the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, check the muffins are ready by sticking a knife into one of them. If the knife is still wet, you’ll need to leave the muffins in for longer. When I made them, they took about 20 minutes but just keep checking until the knife comes out dry.
BOOM. DONE. Take the egg muffins out of the oven and allow them to cool. Once fully cooled, you can store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you want to eat them warm, you can also microwave them for 10 seconds or so. Yum yum.
One of the many great things about blogging is learning about the tools you can use to grow and improve your blog. From scheduling social media posts, to SEO, tools make the blogging world go round.
That’s why, in a recent Blog Talk video, I decided to share my five favourite free blogger tools with you guys. You can check out that video at the end of this post, but if you prefer reading words than listening to my dulcet tones (lol jk I sound about 5), then here are the tools and a bit more detail about why they make my top five!
Tool #1 – Canva
Canva has been mentioned in my Blog Talk series before, but it deserves another shout out because it really does make image editing more accessible to bloggers that can’t get their hands on software like Photoshop.
Canva also lets you create great imagery for social media (it’s particularly great for Pinterest!) where you can add fancy graphics and text overlay effects as well.
Tool #2 – Buffer
Buffer is awesome for scheduling your social media posts. I mostly use it for Twitter so I can line up tweets to go out whilst I’m at work or otherwise too busy to post manually. I use the free plan which allows for up to 10 tweets in your schedule, which is fine for me as it covers 2 days and I can just top it up.
Buffer also gives you lots of insights into how your tweets have performed, and sets a schedule to when your tweets are most likely to be seen. You can ‘re-Buffer’ tweets too for quick scheduling. It’s a complete lifesaver for busy bloggers!
Tool #3 – Tweetdeck
The next of my free blogger tools recommendations is Tweetdeck. It’s another social scheduling tool, but I actually use it to monitor conversations instead. I add columns on my Tweetdeck dashboard and follow along on Twitter chats such as #lbloggers.
I highly recommend it as it’s a Twitter product and works really well. You could schedule as many tweets as you like on it, as far as I know, but I just prefer Buffer’s platform for scheduling!
Tool #4 – Google’s Keyword Planner Tool
I’ve blogged about this tool before (you can read my guide to using it here), but it deserves a mention on the list of fab free tools. Although the tool has changed and the data you get without setting up a campaign is a bit limited, it’s a great place to start for getting keyword ideas to optimise your posts.
I should definitely be using this more, so be better than I am and make good use of this!
Tool #5 – Facebook Groups
Not *technically* a tool, but Facebook groups are a great place for getting decent advice from other bloggers, as well as sharing your posts to get more traffic. When joining a Facebook group, be sure to follow the rules and only share your posts where permitted. This stops the pages turning into spammy link dumps. Many of these groups will have a ‘Post share’ thread to pop your latest posts!
Simply search on Facebook for ‘blogging’ or ‘bloggers’ – lots of groups will come up!
Et voila! That’s five completely free blogger tools that you should start using pretty much ASAP.
If you fancy listening to me ramble on about the above tools, check out the video below. It’d be amazing too if you subscribed to my Youtube channel here. You’ll then find out when my latest Blog Talk video goes live! Spoiler alert, one goes live today!