How to start a blog – tips for new bloggers

According to Google, How to start a blog is searched for around 90,500 times per month!

How to start a blog

Well…when it comes to starting a blog the best advice I can ever give you is just jump straight in. Don’t worry about whether your first post is absolutely perfect or if your logo needs adjusting. Just write that initial post and press publish. There you’re done, you’re a blogger. The rest can be dealt with later.

The truth is, if you let things like design, worry or perfectionism get in your way then you’ll never start. Even after 8 years I’m still tinkering about, changing things, experimenting with different styles. And that’s what’s so great about blogging, it’s an outlet that allows you to evolve and change whenever you want to.

So essentially, tip number one on how to start a blog is…just get on with it.

But when you’ve posted your first post – what next?

Here are some tips on how to start a blog

Write about what you love and what you know! It’s important to write about things you love and feel passionate about. After all, if you can’t convey your passion for it in your writing, why is your reader going to get excited about it? As a blogger no one is expecting you to have all the answers but showing you love a subject should be apparent.

Eventually, hone in on a niche. Not every blogger needs to write about one specific subject. For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger then you’ve a wide scope that you can blog about. However, if you want to take your blog to the next level, eventually, you have to start focussing on one or two areas, this should be easy once you get to know your audience. But don’t rush to find your niche, as your blog evolves you’ll naturally find what you enjoy writing about the most (and what your readers enjoy too).

Don’t obsess over how your blog looks. I mentioned this earlier but I can’t tell you enough how much time you’ll waste obsessing over design. Your design will never be perfect – at least not to you – and there will always be something you want to change. Don’t let your obsession over how it looks take you away from what’s most important – content.

Take a course. Taking a course will help you hone your skills and introduce you to a new community of bloggers. My course Your Blog, Your Way is open NOW by the way 😉

Be consistent. There are times when your blog will have to go on the back burner. But generally try to stick to the same amount of posts each week and if you can stick to the same days too. That’ll help the audience know when you’ve updated your blog and they’ll start looking forward to your posts. Continue reading

3 simple SEO tips for bloggers

Today I want to talk about simple seo tips for bloggers.

When I work with clients to help them improve their visibility online, the one question I get asked ALL THE TIME is “How do I get found on google”?

Simple answer: It takes time, it takes work and you have to start employing a variety of SEO tactics.

SEO

SEO (aka search engine optimisation) is such an important part of blogging as it enables people to find you whilst searching on google, yahoo etc.

Whilst SEO can be a complex issue and there are LOADS of hints and tips that will help you achieve search engine greatness, here are 3 simple SEO tips for bloggers that will help you get found online…

Title: Your blog title is important on a whole host of levels. For a start it’s how you lure readers in but it’s also a good place to enter your keyword(s).

Top tip:When you write a post, think about what phrase you would use when searching for the article you’re writing. That should help you suss out a brilliant title.

When you write a post, the post title becomes the page title. If it’s vague  then its not going to show up when people search on google. I.e a blog post sharing a quote from Marilyn Monroe titled “wise words”  would work much better if it was called “Marilyn Monroe: Wise words.” Because you’ve lead with the main keyword.

Use your keyword early: It’s always a good idea to use your keyword in the first paragraph if possible. Be sure to use it several times throughout your post but be careful not to use it too much as you will be penalised for “over optimising”. Whilst there’s no magic formula to knowing how many times is too much, if you feel you’ve repeated the same word or phrase too many times then you’ve probably got your answer.

Download a good SEO plugin: I swear by WordPress SEO by Yoast. It will tell you how many times you’ve used your keyword and also works on a traffic light system to let you know if your SEO efforts are good, ok or poor. It also gives you control over your meta-description which can improve your click rates. PLUS ITS FREE!

What are some of your favourite SEO tips?

Also, if you want to learn more about taking your blog up a notch, why not sign up for my latest e-course – Your Blog, Your Way. A 6 week course to help you create a blog you love. Sign up before 10pm on Monday 25th May and get it for just £35! A saving of £62.

Your Blog, Your Way – Round 2

Registration for my e-course Your Blog, Your Way has opened!

I can’t believe it has been a year since I launched your blog, your way. Over the past year I’ve improved on the course, added more juicy bits, created more tools and videos to help you achieve the blog of your dreams.

In short. I’ve done what I hope to always do – I’ve made it better.

17152714446_28c156f9bb_z

So this years your blog, your way is now officially open.   This is an e-course for people who want to take their blogging efforts up a level and start reaching more people and building a strong blogging brand.

Anyway, it’s easy to see the glamorous and fun side of blogging and think that it’s easy to get the same results. But it’s not. Blogging isn’t just about sitting down and typing a few words, it’s a business.

If you want to start a blog or take your current blog to the next level but you…

  • feel overwhelmed by the technical jargon
  • feel stuck and don’t know how to put those ideas in to action
  • want to share your unique voice
  • want to make money from your blog
  • want to know how to grow and audience
  • just don’t know where to start

Then Your Blog, Your way is for you. Over six weeks this course will put you on the right path to getting clear on your vision, learning how to start making an income from your online hub, to starting a blog that you love to write as much as your readers love to read.

Continue reading

Why I back Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (and why I cook)

I’m so shocked by the amount of people who claim they can’t cook these days.

FullSizeRender

Cooking is a basic life skill. No one is suggesting you have to whip up some haute cuisine or fancy three course meals at the end of a working day but you really should know the basics and be able to provide a nourishing meal for yourself without resorting to a visit to the nearest McDonalds.

Obesity is rising. People getting in the kitchen is declining. You do the math.

Michael Pollan says in his book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation: not cooking breeds helplessness, dependence and ignorance.

And I agree. By not teaching kids the basics – or by not learning the basics yourself you’re leaving yourself dependent on big business.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is all about getting kids enthused about food and getting families back in the kitchen preparing home cooked meals. Not only is it a way to fight the obesity crisis but it’s cheaper and it’s fun! I urge you to sign his petition to get schools to offer food education to all children.

Because that’s where it all starts- with children. I learned how to cook by watching my mum prepare meals. She worked long hours and did shift work, so sorry being “busy” is no excuse. They weren’t fancy meals, mostly Spaghetti Bolognese, curries, casseroles etc – but they were homemade, nutritious and filling.

Why I cook…

This blog is all about making life better and cooking makes life better.

Let’s start with knowing what you’re eating. It wasn’t that long ago that people were up in arms over the fact that ready meals contained horse. Well, I’ve news for you, when you’re living on fast food and pre-made meals then you’re probably ingesting all kinds of nasties – horse meat is probably the best of a bad bunch.

It’s creative. It’s fun having a bunch of ingredients and trying to fashion them in to something that tastes good. There are no real rules so it’s the perfect place to get creative.

It’s healthier. By cooking you’re in control of what you’re eating.

It promotes independence. Who needs to reach for a micro-meal when you know that with a tin of tomatoes, a few herbs and a bag of pasta you can whip up a variety of tasty and healthy dishes.

IT’S CHEAPER. I mentioned this earlier but eating healthy isn’t expensive when you know what you’re doing.  It’s certainly cheaper than visiting McD’s or ordering a pizza.

You’re in full control. Eat what you love. Simple.

It’s a time saver. Yep. TRUTH. Cooking is time saving. No more waiting 45 minutes for your food to be delivered after spending an hour trying to decide what to have. You can cook a great meal up in around 15 minutes. If you want to save even more time then I SWEAR by the foil takeaway cartons, just make loads extra and dish up portions to whack in your freezer. Ready meals are even better when they are made by your own fair hands.

AND YOU KNOW WHAT?

HOME COOKED MEALS TASTE BETTER!!!!! #FACT. Ready meals and processed foods are so full of salt and garlic powder that they actually all tastes the same. Who wants that?

Cooking is empowering. It really is as simple as that. It’s empowering, it’s cheaper, it’s healthier and it’s such an important skill that EVERYONE should have the chance to learn the basics.  I’m not saying never have a takeaway or fast food again – but they should be a treat not an every day occurrence.

So, do you cook? What’s on the menu this week and are you cooking with your kids?

PS: Have you signed up to Busy Girl Kitchen yet?

Weekend Reads #15

IMAGE: WONG MAYE-E/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The last weekend reads I was writing it in beautiful sunshine. No idea what’s happened because today it’s dull, grey and very wet.

But here are some links from around the web that’ll cheer you up…

Enjoy x

OH! And if you’re on Flipboard – you can follow my magazine live better every day.
View my Flipboard Magazine.

Another self promo – my new business Busy Girl Kitchen will be launching in June. Sign up at http://busygirlkitchen.com to be notified when it goes live.

These gorgeous photos of endangered animals are gorgeous.

How to get a beach body

5 ways you can save money when you work from home.

My friend Carla has just launched her new detox program – the NO TOX DETOX – check. it. out.

11 Futuristic Kitchen Gadgets That Will Change The Way You Cook

Why ‘Natural’ Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore

Hillary Clinton reinventing female lives: not “going hag” at 67 but owning the world.

Why Bulletproof Coffee works

How social media made me better at almost everything

Why tidying up could change your life

Do you know how much sugar you’re really eating?

Seth Godin – self-talk and how to deal with criticism.

The power of being able to connect with home

Sardinia 2011
May is a pretty stacked month for me travel wise.  A trip to Tenerife followed by New York means that I’ll be relying on my iPhone to keep in touch with home and business more than ever.

But imagine moving to a new country and not having the means to be able to reach out and call home? To be in a country where you may not know anyone  or the language and to not be able to have the chance to connect.

Just take a moment to imagine how lonely that must feel?

For many migrants, that’s reality. And that’s why Lebara offers such an important service. They provide an affordable means for migrants to be able to connect with home and other members of the community. They’ve recognised that people need an affordable and easy way to connect with their roots and they’ve built it. Continue reading

Images to put life in perspective

The Hubble Space Telescope turned 25 on Friday. To celebrate they released this image…

image credit: NASA/ESA/HUBBLE/AFP/Getty Images

image credit: NASA/ESA/HUBBLE/AFP/Getty Images

Is it just me or does an image like that just put life in perspective a bit? I mean, according to theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, the entire universe may be made up of more than 100 billion galaxies. So in the grand scheme of things, a bad hair day or that person cutting you up in the car park doesn’t seem to significant anymore?

Here are some other AMAZING images from the Hubble Space Telescope – tell me how you feel when you look at them? Continue reading

How the right bedding can boost your health

We all know that bedding can have a big impact on the look of rooms and you’re no doubt keen to find dapper duvets and pretty pillows that have the power to elevate the aesthetics of your boudoir. However, did you realise that as well as enhancing the look of your home, the sheets you sleep in can boost your health?

bc020fc723111901bf0cfe47accef154

Helping you get sufficient sleep

First and foremost, comfy bedding can help you to nod off at night. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of good quality slumber a night, but up to a third of Britons fail to get this much shuteye. There are lots of reasons why people can struggle to sink into restful sleep, and bad bedding is one risk factor. When you’re perusing the variety of pillows, duvets, sheets and covers available on specialist websites like juliancharles.co.uk, make sure you choose materials that will help soothe you to sleep. Ideally, the products should offer just enough warmth and they should feel good against your skin.

Bear in mind that as well as helping to give you energy to face the day, sleep plays an important role in fending off potentially serious illnesses. In fact, regular sleeplessness can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also raise your chances of getting long-term mood disorders like anxiety and depression. A lack of sleep can reduce your immunity too, meaning you’re less able to fight off infections.

Although many people don’t realise this, sleep can also have a big impact on weight. Studies have revealed that people who sleep for less than seven hours a day are 30 per cent more likely to be obese than those who get nine hours of shuteye or more. It’s believed that when people are sleep deprived, they have lower levels of leptin, a hormone that makes them feel full. They also have higher levels of the hunger-stimulating chemical ghrelin.

Controlling allergies

As well as helping people to get enough sleep, good quality bedding can play a part in preventing allergy aggravation. Around one in four people in the UK suffer from an allergy at some point in their lives and there are a range of potential triggers. Dust mites and small flakes of skin and hair are often the causes of sneezing bouts and streaming eyes.

If these allergens affect you, it’s worth looking out for bedding with synthetic fillings such as hollowfibre and microfibre. These products are designed to be non-allergenic and they can be laundered quickly and easily. You might be surprised by how much easier it is to reduce your allergy symptoms if you take simple steps like this to control your environment.

Given how much of an impact bedding can have on your health, it’s vital that you choose the best possible versions.

weekend reads #14

Hope you’ve all had a lovely week, especially since we’ve had gorgeous weather.
Untitled

Here’s what I’ve found interesting from across the web this week…

 Inside the Mad, Mad World of TripAdvisor “No matter your destination, you will, at some point in your research, visit TripAdvisor. The company, with the humble mantra ‘real hotel reviews you can trust,’ has become—on a rising tide of 200 million user reviews and counting—a travel-industry Goliath, able to turn obscure hotels into sold-out hot spots, carry new flocks of visitors on digital word of mouth to quiet destinations, even rewrite the hospitality standards of entire nations. For travellers the impact has been equally profound. What begins as a simple search-engine query becomes an epic fact-finding mission that leaves no mouldy shower curtain unturned, a labyrinthine choose-your-own-adventure—do you read the one-bubble rant?—in which the perfect hotel always seems just one more click away. For all the power of the service, it raises deep questions about travel itself, including, most pressingly, who do we want—who do we trust—to tell us where to go? ‘”

 

One of the first books I downloaded on to my kindle was “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”. Last night my boyfriend decided to watch the film, now, we all know that most films never live up to the book but this was bloody brilliant. Seriously, pop it on your “must watch” list.

Being a freelancer has it’s up’s and down’s -Emma has written about what to do when you fall ill as a freelancer”

Tim Ferris has interviewed Maria Popova this week. BrainPickings is one of my favourite reads. She talks to Tim about Writing, workarounds and workflow. Some interesting stuff on productivity too.

Why saying done can help productivity levels.

This piece from the New York Times ‘Gertie’s Babies,’ Sold at Birth, Use DNA to Unlock Secret Past is a fascinating read.

I HATE energy drinks with a passion. I think they should be banned stat! The Telegraph writers about how energy drinks are “like legal highs”.