30 April 2016
29 April 2016
I'm always looking for something I can do to tweak my blog so that it becomes more appealing to readers, contains better content and eventually will start making a little profit (all about that side hustle). Over the past month or two I've been doing this almost daily, and I'm finally starting to see the results I've been wanting for months and months. With blogging I definitely think that 'you get what you give' in terms of giving time and getting results. But, there are some things that you could kick start today to up your blogging game in ways that you might not even have considered. Here's my guide to 10 things you can do, or start doing, today to finally see the results you've been wishing and dreaming for.
Get your own domain
I've actually only recently just done this - no longer is Nourish ME living at http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.com, but instead it has moved to www.nourishmeblog.co.uk. There are a whole host of benefits to this, but the main one is that brands and PRs will take you a lot more seriously if you have your own domain. Some brands won't even agree to a collaboration, let alone any payment if you don't have this.
Another benefit is that you can rename your webpage without having to make an entirely new website. I was pretty sick of my blog being called 'nourishmeclean' in the URL - originally Nourish ME was all about clean eating and creating healthy recipes, but as it's evolved to what it is today this name seems a little odd and really irrelevant. I'm now a LOT happier with 'nourishmeblog' as I feel like it summarises my blog a little better. I bought mine from GoDaddy for 0.99p for owning the domain for one year. There are other packages you can buy that offer you more protection - in the end I think I paid about £8 for the year.
Make sure your blog design fits your brand
This is going to be the most expensive thing on this list by FAR, but it really is important. Have you ever clicked on a blog and decided that you just can't deal with the overload of colour or poorly organised layout and left without following? I definitely have. I'm a bit rubbish with anything beyond seriously basic html, so my blog was designed by Jen from Magic Feather Designs. She was really sweet and did everything exactly as I wanted to almost a year ago, and has been really helpful as I consider updating it at the moment. I wanted bright, fresh colours to match my theme of enhancing your mental and physical wellness, which is why I went for the blue and yellow.
Optimise the size of your images
The irony of this is that this is the first blog post in about six months that I haven't done this with (her's me choosing pinterest over blogger - #sorrynotsorry). On blogger the optimum picture size is about 650 pixels wide. This allows your photos to remain as wide as each other and your text, meaning that the whole blog post appears to be coherent and well organised when you first view it. However, each social media platform has its own optimum image size, so it's best to have at least a few height varieties, or keep separate photos that aren't on the post for promoting your blog post on social media. Canva is my go-to for making photos specifically for social media, as they have templates for pretty much any social media platform you might want to post to.
Have a blog brand focused social media account on all main platforms
Sorry for the massive jumble of words here! What I basically mean is ensure you have a Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest account and a Facebook page that is not something personal that you use to rant on (been there, done that), but something that is focused on your brand. I recently went through a mini social media rebrand by making sure all of my accounts have the words 'Nourish ME' at least somewhere in the handle or name and I've noticed a much better response in terms of following since I've sorted this. By doing this you make sure that your followers know what brand you're affiliated with immediately, so they're more likely to follow you. This also allows you to tweak the content you share on each platform so that it is brand focused, but not sterile or pointless. For example, my twitter is my most personal social media; because I write so many tweets daily I post links to blog posts three or four times a day on there and this doesn't overwhelm my followers. On my Facebook page however I only post something if I've written a new blog post, or if I want to share relevant posts from other users on Facebook. My instagram is different again. I post once or twice a day, but use this more for general life updates, with the odd picture for a blogpost. And finally we have Pinterest (aka my new love), which I make sure I pop on at least once a day to gain some foodie inspiration and make sure I'm putting my blog posts out there.
Enhance the quality of your images
If you're a veteran blogger, then this is pretty much blogging 101 - a picture is, after all, worth 1000 words. BUT, I know that for well over a year I considered a semi alright picture with no attention to the background or editing something that was appropriate for my blog and would draw readers in. Now almost all of my photos are taken on my camera (a Canon 1200D). I'm not suggesting you need expensive equipment, but definitely use the highest quality piece you have. Another really important thing to do is to make sure you have an appropriate background. A lot of blogger opt for white, marble or single toned backgrounds; this ensures that your readers are drawn to the real content of your image, and aren't distracted by a background. Once you've actually got the picture, editing really is important. I use PicMonkey to improve the brightness and contrast of pictures, crop out anything unwanted from the background and add text when relevant.
Make your blog post titles appealing and SEO friendly
This is one that up until recently I've been seriously guilty of not doing, and since I've started focusing on improving my blog post titles I've noticed that they've been getting waaaay more hits. Statistics show that there are certain title templates that really work for drawing in readers. Ones containing numbers (like my 10 things we can all learn from Disney's Zootropolis) and ones starting with 'how to' or 'ways to' are statistically proven to draw many more readers in than titles without these attributes. Obviously you wouldn't want to do this all the time, but for example, '75 blog post ideas for when you're low on inspiration' is a much more appealing title than 'Ideas for blog posts when you have no inspiration' - I know which one I would click on. Also, using straightforward titles may seem boring, but helps you greatly in terms of SEO. If you're reviewing something let your readers know, and don't write a prosaic title that has little to do with the actual content.
Have a media kit set up and available to view on your site
I've got a whole blog post dedicated to making your own media kit. A lot of brands and PRs will ask for one if you want to collaborate with them, plus it means that readers can have a brief perusal of your stats and see what your blog's about all in one place.
Start being social on social media
This sounds really obvious, but since I've started interacting with other bloggers, particularly on twitter (blogger chats are fab for helping you out with this), I've learnt so many things and met some really lovely bloggers. If you don't interact with anyone, follow other bloggers or check out their blogs why should you expect them to do that for you?
Get organised with spreadsheets
Jess from The Indigo Hours has an amazing post on this here which is what inspired me to start using excel spreadsheets in the first place. My spreadsheet currently has pages for April, May and June blog posts (yes I am now that organised), monthly stats and a record of any brand collaborations I am planning on undertaking. I love being able to just pop a new blog post idea down when it comes to mind, and colour coding the posts on themes (fashion, lifestyle, food, etc) means I can make sure that I don't write too many similar posts in a row.
Update old posts
This is next the next big project on my blogging to-do list, and soon I'm probably going to start updating at least 5 a week. You know earlier I mentioned my awful photography skills and not brilliant content? Well those posts are still sitting around waiting for people to read them. I'm (eventually) going to revisit them all, alter the images, improve the content, possibly change the post title and ensure that none of my links are broken. So, when people go rooting around on my blog, or I want to talk about an old post, this can happen without me dying a little inside.
What would you add to the list? I hope this was helpful!
26 April 2016
24 April 2016
23 April 2016
Nip + Fab are a brand that have shot to the top of almost every blogger's skincare recommendation list in the last year or two, and so I HAD to give them a go. I was pretty much ecstatic when I found this pair of goodies under the Christmas tree from my sister way back on December 25th. This post has been a while in the making simply because I wanted to crack my serial skin care hoarding habit by using up some half used products before starting on these, and because I wanted to try them out for a good month or so before talking about them in detail. If you've read my March favourites post then you'll already know that the glycolic fix cleansing foam was one of my absolute favourites last month.
Both the glycolic fix cleansing foam and the glycolic fix daily cleansing pads come in a sturdy plastic tub and have a minimalist design. The packaging was actually my least favourite part of the products. I found that the moisture from the glycolic pads leaked from the tubs if I laid it on its side, which made it almost impossible to take them with me if I was travelling anywhere. As someone who's always visiting family all over the UK this became annoying very quickly. The hard plastic casing of the cleansing foam was equally annoying. You have to squeeze the tube to get the product out, but it's actually very hard to do so, especially if the joints in your hands are particularly weak like mine. This would work perfectly with a pump and I really hope that they repackage this one at some point!
I'm not going to lie, I fell TOTALLY in love in the first few days of using these products together. I start off by washing my face first thing in the morning with the glycolic fix cleansing foam, and use the daily pads at night between removing my makeup and putting on moisturiser. I've found that this is the best routine for me, but if you think you'd see better results by using them both together in the morning, then go for it! I mostly do is this way because using the wipes in the evening makes my face feel refreshed when I'm feeling waaay too tired or lazy to actually wash my face with water.
My skin felt and looked a lot brighter within a couple of days, which made me feel totally wowed. Plus, adding the glycolic fix pads in to my evening routine ensured that I was removing ALL of my makeup, which obviously resulted in my pores being less clogged and my skin being clearer.
Although I was super impressed at the start, I've come to realise that the Nip + Fab glycolic range is probably not the best one for my skin. I've got combination to dry skin, and the glycolic acid in this pair has been totally drying my skin out. Although it's been looking a lot more clear and fresh, it's been feeling REALLY tight. So, to counteract this, I've been following up both my morning and evening dose of it with Simple's light moisturiser to make sure I can actually wear makeup without my dry patches shining right through. I do have to say as well, that these products have totally reduced (almost eradicated even) the shine on my nose and forehead, which has been amazing. All in all, I probably would repurchase these products because of the clearing and radiating effect they have on my skin, and if you've got oily skin then I would definitely recommend giving these a whirl.
I'm definitely going to be looking at some of Nip + Fab's other products more suited to my skin soon - do you guys have any recommendations for their products that are good for combination to dry skin?