Month: February 2017

How to Improve Your Blog in Just One Hour

how to improve your blog in one hour

Many of us want to improve our blogs but don’t have enough time. Whether you want to refresh your blog design, tackle social media or make your blog easier to read, there are a few simple tricks you can do in just one hour. If you want to improve your blog but your job, social life or perhaps, life, in general, is getting in the way, set aside an hour in your schedule and give your blog a boost with some of the effective methods below.

How to improve your blog

Drive traffic to old blog posts

Checking your Google Analytics is a handy way to see what blog posts are popular and are gaining the most traffic. On your most popular posts, go back and link to other related posts (this is known as deep linking). You’ll notice that I’ve linked to some of my blog posts in this article – this helps readers to find other valuable content on my site that may help them. You could also add a P.S section at the end of your blog posts with links to some of your content if you don’t want to link within the blog post.

Schedule your social media

Sharing your content via social media is the best way to help increase your views and allow new readers to find your content. I personally like Hootsuite for scheduling but you could also use Buffer too. Why not schedule your posts for the week ahead and see how it boosts your hits.

Get pinning

Pinterest is one of my favourite ways to share blog posts. If you haven’t signed up to Pinterest, I recommend signing up for a business account here. You can also easily switch a normal account to a business account too. Enable rich pins here and each time you pin content to the platform, your pins will automatically contain extra information to make them more visible. Pinterest is a great way to improve your blog traffic – find 5 other ways to improve your blog traffic here.

Plan your content

You don’t need to post every day but publishing consistently will help to increase your audience and bring traffic to your blog. How many times have you stopped reading a blog if they haven’t posted in months? You could write your ideas in a notebook, digitally via Asana or via your blog platform.

P.S. If you need content for posts or are suffering from writer’s block – check out 85 blog post ideas here.

Refresh your blog header

The visual appearance of your blog can improve your reader experience and make you feel more positive about blogging in general. You don’t need Photoshop to make a blog header as there are plenty of free tools online. Both Canva and Picmonkey are great for editing images and making a header from scratch. Canva, in particular, has many free templates that you can use.

You can find free fonts over at dafont and font squirrel

I also suggest looking at the free goods Creative Market offer each week. Every Monday, you’ll find 6 free downloads and a range of fonts, graphics and themes to choose from.

Change your blog design

Not everyone can afford to hire a web designer, and that’s OK. There are plenty of beautiful blog templates/themes which will improve your blog and make it look super pretty, as well as being functional. Some of my favourite places for blog templates include;

Creative Market

Etsy

Bluchic

Envye

Angie Makes

 

85 Blog Post Ideas To Increase Your Readership

Creating blog post ideas can be challenging if you’re suffering from writer’s block, want to consistently post content or want to create an effective content strategy for increasing your readership. To get your creative juices flowing, here are 85 blog post ideas for a range of blog niches. Use these posts to fill your editorial calendar, create a blog series or switch them up and put your own spin on them.

Blog Post Ideas

Beauty

5 organic beauty brands to try

The essentials in a travel makeup bag

10 amazing beauty dupes

10 epic budget beauty buys

10 new beauty products you’ll want to buy

An easy everyday look with the X makeup palette

Luxe makeup items you need to splurge on

An easy makeup look for busy girls

Bedside beauty staples

A skincare routine for acne prone skin

A secret trick to make your lips look bigger

A beauty haul

Everyday nude nail polishes

5 DIY beauty projects anyone can make

Foundations for dry/oily skin

The Indie beauty brands that are killing it right now

Beauty spotlight: favourite cream highlighters

Holy grail concealers

A beauty wishlist

5 amazing MAC products

Beautiful beauty products to make you glow

Building a makeup collection in 3 simple steps

Top 5 liquid lipsticks

12 revolutionary beauty tips

The best makeup brands for summer 2017

My morning/evening routine

Fashion/style

A fashion wishlist

5 new items for spring/summer

How to style converse trainers

The best faux leather jackets under £50

Transitional pieces for winter to spring

How to layer clothes for your body type

Celebrity fashion inspiration

How to build a capsule wardrobe

The best ruffle tops under £30

5 reasons why you need to invest in a little black dress

cosy pieces to buy for winter

Summer holiday essentials

Lifestyle

Recipe – How to make cute cupcakes

3 places I want to travel to

3 favourite reads from the past month

A restaurant review

Letter to my teenage self

DIY project – How to make a rose gold/copper makeup brush holder

A bedroom tour

5 awesome Netflix TV shows you probably haven’t seen

5 phone apps I couldn’t live without

10 quotes to brighten your day

How to start a bullet journal

My favourite Instagram/Pinterest accounts

5 fun date night ideas

5 brilliant organisational tips

5 new homeware buys

How to style a coffee table

4 healthy snack ideas for work or uni

5 quick breakfast ideas

How to refresh your bedroom on a budget

An easy home workout for your abs

5 self-care ideas and why you should look after yourself

How to switch to a nutritional plant based diet

How to pack like a boss

8 etsy finds you’ll love

How to re-use your candle jars

Easy ways to become more positive

25 things to do on a cold, rainy day

A soothing pamper evening

6 tips for increasing your self-confidence

BLOGGING/BUSINESS

Sharing the blogger love – my favourite blogs

Why I started a blog

My blogging routine

How to create a kick-ass editorial calendar

How to edit your blog photos in Photoshop

5 SEO tips for your blog posts

How to grow your Instagram account in 30 days

5 WordPress plugins you need to use

How I make money blogging – income report

How to master your blog photography

How to promote your blog without being spammy

How to get noticed on social media

How to create a social media content strategy that really works

8 awesome tools to get shit done

5 girl boss babes that are killing it online

The best planners for organising your blog or business

15 top tips from successful bloggers

25 Content ideas for Instagram

How to Make Extra Money Online in 2017

When I first started freelancing, I researched varying ways I could earn money online to supplement my income. There are a range of ways you can make extra money online and I’ve tried varying methods with some working better than others.

I wanted to make extra money online to try and start a savings account, start driving and help pay for a masters degree, all of which I’ve managed to do.

You can make anything between £100/$100 to thousands by setting up some side hustle and I recommend using a few differing methods rather than putting your eggs in one basket.

Whether you’re a student, stay at home mum, or are simply searching for ways to earn extra cash, here is my list of sites that you can legitimately earn extra money online from.

*may include affiliate links

Swagbucks

You may have already heard of Swagbucks as its one of the most popular methods of earning extra money online. You can make money via Swagbucks in various ways, like watching videos, completing a daily poll, surveys, playing apps and more. It’s pretty easy to accumulate swag bucks which you can then redeem.

Sign up here and receive a $5 bonus.

InstaGC

InstaGC is another ‘get paid to’ site that allows you to earn cash via testing apps, watching videos, completing tasks and surveys. Payout starts from just 100 points and its super easy to rack up points just by completing the free offers.

Sign up here.

Prolific Academic

Prolific Academic is definitely one of the best survey sites on the web. Unlike other survey sites, Prolific Academic offers surveys and tasks from researchers and startups. Survey payments can range from 50p to £10 or more. The minimum payout is £5 which you can receive via paypal.

Sign up here.

Mintvine

Mintvine is a site that allows you to earn cash from surveys, daily polls and other offers. You can cash out at 1000 points which is $10 and you can gain extra points by completing your profile.

Sign up here.

Clickworker

Clickworker is a site that allows you to complete small tasks in return for a cash payment. Tasks can include surveys, visiting a shop to take a photograph, mobile jobs (you can complete activities via the app) and more.

Sign up here.

Profit Accumulator

Matched betting is a great way to make some extra cash each month. Many people doing matched betting are making in excess of £500 per month. I’ve made a couple of hundred pounds doing matched betting which has helped to pay towards my driving lessons. Matched betting is a risk-free way to make money using free bets. The best site I’ve found to help you seamlessly through the process is Profit Accumulator.

Profit Accumulator helps you understand exactly what matched betting is and takes you through the entire process, and even with a free trial of the site, you can earn up to £45 so it’s worth signing up just for that – think of the makeup you could buy!

Sign up here.

Do you have any ways to earn extra money online? What do you think of my suggestions?

How to Save Money on Your Favourite Beauty Products

I’m sure most of us love buying a little treat now and then but buying your favourite beauty products can add up, especially if you’re purchasing a luxe item. Luckily, I have a few money-saving tips up my sleeve and these may help you to save a lil’ cash on your favourite beauty products.

Do your research

If I’m buying an expensive beauty item, I always shop around to find the best price. Usually, I’ll type the product name into Google and click on the first few links that come up. Generally, I always find that places like Feel Unique, Look Fantastic and Beauty Bay can be slightly cheaper than other retailers, though it does depend on the product you’re buying.

If you’re looking to test a product before buying, try Love Me Beauty or Latest in Beauty – these sites allow you to build your own subscription box so you can see exactly what you’re spending your money on. Latest in Beauty also have ‘pre-made’ collection boxes that you can buy.

Cashback sites

I’ve used cashback sites for the last couple of years and they’re a great way to get money back on your purchases. You can also use them when you’re signing up to buy a mobile phone, insurance, finance etc. I’ve made over £500 back with Topcashback and 100% recommend it to anyone looking to save money on their purchases.

Cashback sites track your purchase and you’ll either receive a percentage of your spend back or a certain amount. For instance, if you were to currently spend £50 at Space NK online, you’d receive £4.50 back via Topcashback.

As well as a wide range of stores, including Feel Unique, ASOS, Fragrance Direct, The Body Shop and Cult Beauty, there’s also exclusive discount codes.

It takes a few weeks to get the cashback into your account and if you don’t want to add your bank account to have your cashback directly transferred, you can opt for Amazon vouchers, Love to Shop vouchers, Paypal and more.

Amazon

Amazon is a goldmine for saving money on your favourite beauty products. You need to spend £20 to get free delivery unless you have a Prime account – you can get a free 30 day trial of Prime if you haven’t had one before. You can cancel it straight away in your account and you’ll still get the 30 days free.

Just make sure that you’re buying directly from Amazon as there are many fake products sold by marketplace sellers. I’m not saying they’re all fake but its better to be safe than sorry. A few current bargains include;

Real Techniques Core Collection Brush Set 

DE’LANCI Eyeshadow Palette (Morphe Dupe)

Revlon Colourstay Foundation

Nip + Fab Glycolic Night Pads

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream

GHD IV Styler

Search discount sites

Discount sites offer many reduced beauty items. However, it’s important to know that some of these cosmetics may be discontinued lines or shades. Still, you can save a bit of cash by searching for your favourite products. Fragrance Direct and All Beauty are two sites that I’ve used with no problems. I’d also recommend TK Maxx – they have quite a good beauty selection online but you may find some gems instore too.

Discount codes

Websites such as HDUK show you the latest instore and online offers. You can search for hot deals as well as recent discount codes. I also like to use voucher sites to see if there are any current codes floating around the net. My favourite sites are;

Voucher codes – You’ll find codes on here for stores and restaurants.

Paypal shopping – If you’re paying by PayPal, take a look at the offers on this official website.

NUS Codes – If you want an NUS card to save money on your purchases, buy this Microsoft Course for £4 by e-careers and you’ll be able to apply for a £12 NUS card. Use your NUS card to save at least 10% at ASOS, Superdrug and Office as well as half price Spotify, six months free Amazon Prime and 25% off at Odeon.

eBay

While I don’t recommend eBay for makeup as its overloaded with fake products, its great for buying makeup brushes. The makeup brushes I’m talking about are the dupe versions that you can buy for as little as 99p. I’ve purchased many brush sets and they’ve all been excellent quality. Some of them are even better than shop purchased brands. Here’s a heads up on affordable brushes I rate;

Pro makeup metal brush set

Kabuki style brush set

Spectrum brush dupe set

Zoeva brush dupe set

Unicorn brush set

Indie brands

Finally, I thought I’d mention some of the amazing indie brands on the beauty market. You’ve probably heard of Colorpop and Makeup Geek but I wanted to note some of the other affordable brands you may not have heard of. Obviously Morphe are well-known for their incredible palettes, but lately, I’ve been loving BH Cosmetics – their shipping to the UK is also cheaper than Morphe and you can find some of their products at Beauty Bay. I’ve also heard great things about Coloured Raine and LA Splash.

Do you have any money-saving tips? What’s your favourite way of saving money on your favourite beauty products?

6 Foolproof Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic

You’ve written an awesome post but it’s not getting many views. Now what? As blogging has grown in popularity over the past few years, its easy to believe that the saturated market means fewer blog views. Not so! Knowing how to effectively promote your blog posts without appearing spammy will help to drive traffic to your blog and increase subscribers. So, how can you increase your blog traffic? I have 6 foolproof ways that will gradually begin to increase your views.

Use Pinterest

Many people seriously underestimate the power of Pinterest. Don’t believe me? Melyssa grew her subscribers by almost 40,000 in 12 months, while Allison grew her traffic by 800% in 4 months. Here are a few strategies I recommend to grow your blog traffic via Pinterest.

  • Think of Pinterest as a search engine rather than a social media platform.
  • Sign up for a business account – you can do so here (you can easily switch to a business account if you already have a standard Pinterest account).
  • Enable rich pins – these pins include extra information about the pin, kinda like a snippet of information. There are 6 types of rich pins, including film, app, recipe, article, product and place. The majority of bloggers would generally choose article when signing up for rich pins. Once you’ve signed up for rich pins, your pins will automatically display extra information when pinned. Rich pins stand out more than a regular pin, making them more visible and more likely to be re-pinned. Thus, reaching more people.
  • Pin like a boss – My Pinterest account connected to this blog has almost 30,000 subscribers but its taken a bit of effort to get there. I find my subscriber count grows by regular pinning. I normally pin for around 10 minutes each day. Usually, 80% are other people’s pins and 20% are my own.
  • Schedule – if you don’t have time to pin each day, I recommend using Boardbooster which is a great tool to help you schedule pins, test your pins for broken links and help you devise a strategy by finding the best time to pin. You can use a free trial if you want to test out the tool.
  • Join group boards – Group boards are an extra way of getting your pins viewed. Try to search for groups in your genre, so if you have a food blog, a foodies blogging group will be highly beneficial for increasing your views.

Sign up to Bloglovin

Bloglovin is an easy way to follow and read your favourite blogs. A lot of my traffic comes from this platform and I’d definitely recommend that every new blogger signs up as Google Friend Connect is now pretty much defunct and many people don’t want to use their email to follow their favourite blogs. Bloglovin allows readers to see your all your blog posts and you can use your bloglovin dashboard to see how many subscribers you have and how many views you’re receiving. Make sure you put a Bloglovin badge on your blog so people can easily click to follow your posts.

Participate in Facebook groups

Facebook groups are a brilliant way to promote your blog and posts. I personally use UKBloggers and Online Business BFFs but there are plenty of other groups that are great for sharing your posts. Try searching for groups in your country or region as well as looking for blogging specific groups.

Blog commenting

Leaving blog comments on other blogs is an effective method of promotion. However, you want to do this in a way that doesn’t appear spammy. Writing ‘please follow me’ is highly likely to put people off, so I suggest leaving comments on blogs that you actually read and enjoy. Writing a comment about the blog post with a small link to your blog underneath is perfectly good blogging etiquette and it’s more effective.

Guest post

Guest posting is one of the best methods for increasing your traffic and getting the word out about your amazing blog. By creating a high-quality blog post for another website in your niche, you can help to establish yourself as an authority figure, become exposed to a new audience and grow your views and subscribers by providing a link back to your site. If you want to know how to write a pitch to guest post on another blog, check out my free pitch download on my other blog Diary of a Freelancer.

SEO

SEO or search engine optimisation is an important part of blogging but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. By using correct SEO procedures, you’ll help to increase your page rank in google and boost your page views. If you use WordPress, try the Yoast plugin as it literally takes care of everything for you – you just have to fill in your key word/s for the blog post you’re writing and it will let you know if your SEO is good or not. If you don’t use WordPress or don’t want to install the plugin, consider these following tips;

  • Write good quality blog posts that are rich in information and length. Generally, the longer the posts, the better but don’t write 1000 word posts just for the sake of it. Consider your topic and how much relevant information you can include for it to be enticing for the reader.
  • Use appropriate titles – titles should be relevant to your content and should grab the readers attention without being clickbait. For example, ‘What I purchased at Weekend’ would be better titled ‘Anastacia Contour Cream Kit’ if that’s what the post is about. However, to make it more eye-catching for readers, you could use alternative titles like ‘5 Reasons to Buy the Anastacia Contour Cream Kit’ or ‘How to Use the Anastacia Contour Cream Kit on Fair Skin’.
  • Put an introduction in your blog post – make sure you use the key word/s in this introduction, so if you’re using ‘Anastacia Contour Cream Kit’ as your keywords, make sure you mention them in the first paragraph, preferably at the beginning of your blog post.
  • Give your photos a title. If you’re using WordPress, remember to add alt text in the image box. So, for this post, my image title is ‘Ways to Increase your Blog Traffic’ and my alt text is ‘6 foolproof ways to increase your blog traffic’.

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