5 Reasons To Start Your Own Blog

This is a collaborative post.

One of the things I always hear from people when they hear that I’m a blogger is that they have always wanted to start a blog but wouldn’t know what to write about. I’ve often told them that if the passion is there, then get cracking. It doesn’t matter if you write about something in particular (a niche) or whether you write about anything and everything – it is your own personal space on the internet after all. I found that some of them did give it a go but others couldn’t be bothered once they realised that it wasn’t a get rich quick scheme.

But I’m not here to deter you from starting a blog, far from it. Whilst it isn’t a get rich quick scheme (which some people have thought because of the success of some bloggers and vloggers), you definitely can make money from a blog – but there are other reasons too.

If you’ve always wanted to start your own blog, then here are five reasons why you should give it a go.

You have a passion for it

When it comes to blogging, you can tell the people who have a passion for what they are writing about and those who are trying to make a quick buck and who often give up quite easily. If there is a topic you are particularly passionate about, why not try writing about it? I follow all different types of blogs and the passion the people behind them have is clear to see.

It is a great way to relax

When I first started blogging, it was my safe space, my place to just talk about all of the stuff that was in my head. It was like an online diary which I suppose is what blogs first started as. It was my way to relax whilst Steve relaxed with a game on the PS4.

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

 

It can bring some great opportunities

You may not get into blogging for the opportunities it can bring but you are hardly likely to turn them down, are you? Before blogging, I always wanted to be a writer and do that for a living but I lost my way a little. Since I began blogging, I’ve been able to leave my retail job and do what I love for a career – how amazing is that? I’ve also done some things that I could only ever dream of such as attending a literary festival in Paris of all places.

You can make some lifelong friends

Out of the friends I have now, I can honestly say only about three are non bloggers. Most are people I’ve met through blogging who live locally and one is a friend from school who started blogging. They have so much in common with me and I have some really great friends I have made in the last eight years who I couldn’t be without now.

Yes, you can make money

Finally – and the one I bet you’ve all been waiting to read – is that yes, you can make money. But don’t expect to make bank straight away. You’ll need to work hard to get that income coming in and you’ll need multiple income streams if you want to make the jump to it as a career. I not only blog but I also write on a freelance basis, proofread and I’m also a virtual assistant for a number of different bloggers. If you’ve got the time, the patience and the passion to put the work into making a blog succeed, you definitely can make a decent income from it.

So what are you waiting for? Why not start that blog you’ve been wanting to today?

10 Email Marketing Do’s And Don’ts

As someone who makes their living online, I am always looking for handy tips and guides to enable me to grow my business even more and expand my reach. I have a varied selection of income streams – self employment isn’t exactly stable so it is important to diversify – and I’m always looking for new ways to grow in each avenue I work in.

I’ve recently been made aware of some fantastic resources from Campaign Monitor – one such resource being the following infographic from them. Email marketing is still something I really need to get my head around so guides like this are very helpful. Here are ten email marketing do’s and don’t’s – are you guilty of any?

 

10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts - Infographic by Campaign Monitor

Source: 10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts by Campaign Monitor
It shocks me that people still buy their email lists and don’t try to grow it organically like the majority of people do! I already knew that you shouldn’t be generic and that you should try to tailor your emails to each and every client and make them personable and it shocks me people don’t utilise their email marketing campaigns as well as they should!

With these tips on board, I’m definitely going to be finally giving email marketing a whirl and will certainly be checking out the rest of the fab resources Campaign Monitor have to offer. Are you a whizz with email marketing or are you a beginner like me?

Collaborative Post

Getting The Perfect Themed Images As A Blogger

As a blogger and content creator, I am always looking to create the perfect images for my posts. Whether I am writing a review, a sponsored post or some general content, I try to ensure the images are of good quality and are appealing to the reader’s eye. Something I like to try and do is theme my images if the post centres around a specific thing – Christmas posts with Christmas themed decor or food or decorations; birthday posts with the typical things you’d see at a birthday party.

With Halloween coming up, I’ve been searching for some great Halloween backdrops that will give my images that little bit more ‘oomph’. I’ve got so much Halloween content planned in that I need something that will suit all of my content and that is of good enough quality to last multiple shot changes.

Although I have talked about wanting to theme my images based on occasion, I also try to keep the same sort of theme going among my general images. Most product shots I take are currently against a black background – the only time I seem to deviate from this is when I need to show the products in use which is where you will usually see the kids playing with toys on the floor or trying some food at the table.

It would be nice to have a few different backdrops for my general posts like this and I’ve been told a decent photography background would be great for this. I’ve seen a few on Shop Backdrop, the online backdrop store that seem to suit all sorts of occasions. Some gorgeous blue tones, some wooden effect backdrops, they seem to have almost everything you could think of.

As you can imagine, the next few months are going to be super busy over here on Futures – so much content to be written, images needing to be shot, edited and inserted into posts, emails to write and send, emails to read. If I can slice a little bit off my time without having to constantly try to theme my images, why wouldn’t I? A backdrop would be perfect for this.

I’ll definitely be investing a backdrop or two – they’re certainly going to help me up my blogging game and make my images uniquely identifiable to me. Do you currently use any? Or do you theme your photos in a certain way too?

Collaboration

Why And How I Use SEO For My Blog

Why And How I Use SEO For My Blog

If you’re a blogger, chances are you know plenty of the terms regarding blogging such as DA, PA, reach etc. You’ve probably also heard about SEO – but do you know what it is? SEO is search engine optimisation and is described as the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as “natural”, “organic”, or “earned” results. So how and why would you use SEO for your blog to increase your online visibility?

The Why

Simply put, I want more eyes on my site. Everyone would love more visits to their sites if they could; they will always strive to beat the previous months stats. I’m no different, I like to try and beat what I got the month before. The other reason I use SEO for my blog is because my blog forms part of my income and you may have noticed that I have ads on this site and sponsored content occasionally. Some ads pay out on views alone so more views to my site means more money; some pay on clicks – you have an increased possibility of clicks if you have more traffic – and people who will approach for sponsored content will always strive to get the best for their money – so a good online visibility is essential.

Arnel Hasanovic
The How

The team at click.co.uk have a fantastic guide to SEO and some brilliant eBooks, talking all about SEO, how and why to use it. So how do I use SEO to improve the online visibility of my site?

First of all, I sneakily use a shortcut. If you are on self hosted WordPress, there is a fantastic plugin called Yoast which really helps you to up your SEO game. It uses a traffic light system to show you what things you are doing well, what you need to improve and what really needs to be changed. This reminds me to add a SEO friendly title with a good keyword, add a meta description that is long enough that includes your keyword and good description, add alt text to images which should describe exactly what the image shows – this is extremely handy for blind or visually impaired people. You want to aim for all green lights on Yoast, then they consider your post to be perfectly optimised for search engines.

Other ways include internal linking. I always aim to include at least one relevant internal link in my posts – I believe I mentioned this in my 3 ways to improve your domain authority post – because it connects my content together and enables search engines to establish a hierarchy on my site and give the more important posts and pages more link value than the much less important ones.

I have also made sure my site is mobile responsive, loads fast (although this is something I regularly check on as it can nearly always be improved) and check for and remove broken links. These all help me to up my SEO game.

This is just a fraction of what you need to do to SEO optimise your site. How and why do you use SEO for your site?

Collaborative Post

Going From Blog To Online Publication

There isn’t a huge amount of difference between websites which put themselves across as blogs and those which people see as online publications. Both produce articles surrounding a repeating topic or field, they all feature quality writing, and they can even use the same website layouts and themes. As an online publication, though, you could stand to see a lot more success. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the work you will have to do if you want to achieve this sort of goal.

Glenn Carstens-Peters#
First, though, it’s a good idea to think about what defines these sorts of websites. Blogs are websites which can be started by anyone, with the very best of the lot finding massive user bases, but most struggling to break a few thousand readers. Online publications, on the other hand, feel a lot more like a large company than a single-person venture. Professionalism can go a long way in the media industry, and running a site like this can take you very far. Looking at the work which you can do will show the true difference between these options.

 

The Website

 

The website you build for an online publication can be very similar to a blog, but will need to take a slightly different approach when it comes to the none-post content which people see. Having a home page which goes over some of your main features and a selection of your articles will make it easier to be found by search engines like Google, while also changing the way the site feels. As a big part of this, it’s best to avoid talking too personally, as you’ll be trying to give off the image of a larger outfit.

 

Services like WordPress are perfect for those trying to set themselves up with a quality blog-style website. Unlike options like Blogger, it will be hard to tell that a platform like this has been used, even if you pick a theme which does most of the work for you. You can find loads of useful guides around the web when you’re using WordPress, and plugins can often save you from having to do any real work. In the modern age, building a site like this is just a matter of being patient and putting in the time.

 

The Content

 

Content is key when it comes to separating the blogs from the publications, and you may have to adapt a little bit when you start to take this approach. Titles are important, with the best reading like headlines, while also being things which users are likely to search for. This could mean having to change the approach you take to your titles completely. Your categories will also need to be laid out in a way which makes browsing your articles nice and easy for users, without making it look like you cover too many topics.

 

Choosing topics can be one of the most challenging parts of the content creation process, making life hard for a lot of new publications. They will need to be consistent, while also being interesting and fresh each time you post, and this isn’t easy to achieve. Thankfully, you should be able to find some inspiration by browsing some of the larger publication’s websites. You won’t want to copy other people, though, as this could result in readers leaving your site to seek the original.

 

The main article content doesn’t have to change too much. A lot of websites like this will avoid using first person in their writing, unless the piece is an editorial featuring the author’s opinions, but this is where the differences stop. Of course, the content has to be produced to a high quality, with correct spelling and grammar. There are loads of websites which can help you with this, though, and it shouldn’t be too hard. Over time, people will start to expect more out of your work, but this is something which you can develop.

 

The Writer

 

Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about how you’ll be taking yourself from blogger to author. With this transition over and done with, you will become a part of your website, rather than the whole thing; even if you’re the only person writing. A lot of people choose to label themselves as founder of their website when they take this approach. Of course, though, given that you’re the boss, you can choose how you want the world to see you, within a reasonable limit.

 

Along with figuring out where you stand, it will be important to make yourself come across as much more professional. Online virtual address companies can make this a lot easier. Providing you with a business address for letters to be sent to, this can make it appear as if you have a prestigious address in one of the business districts of your nearest city. Along with this, being willing to seek interviews for content, putting yourself in the public eye, and working hard to create the right image can all go a long way towards success in this sort of industry.

 

This sort of approach to media won’t work for every blog. Some can benefit greatly from retaining the friendly and personal qualities of the traditional route, like family and advice websites. Some people find that they simply prefer to keep things on a more casual basis, too, and this can be the right move if it works for you. Choosing the way that you handle this sort of work is something only you can decide. You have to think about the way you work best, along with the content you’d like to produce.

 

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to put more thought into the way that you write your blog. It’s always worth exploring your options when you’re starting something like this, and some people will see the benefits even after they’ve been working for a long time. As time goes on, the route you choose could have a big impact on your chances of success.