Blogger Interview: Lisa Steele From Fresh Eggs Daily - Proudly Blogging on Blogger

9/04/2017

blogger interview lisa steele from fresh eggs daily


Honestly,  I'm so excited about featuring Lisa Steele, she is like an inspiration to me since the day I came across her blog. And finally being able to interview her, I was feeling butterflies in my stomach.

If you read the first ever interview in this series, you'll know what this is about. But in case you don't I'll let you know. This series is all about celebrating bloggers on the blogger platform who are killing it!

I always hear people recommend WordPress, but much like any other platform, WordPress has its cons. And It's not a one size fits all. I believe the blogging platform you choose should be based on what your blogging needs are.

Today I'm here to tell you why Blogger is a great platform for blogging. And I thought what better way than to show you real bloggers that are happy with their blogs on blogger, who are earning from their blogs — either part-time or full-time and have never had a problem with blogger as a blog hosting platform.

So in case you were wondering if it is really okay to start your blog on blogger, I think this particular interview will be both your answer and inspiration.


Blogger Interview - Blogger On Blogger: DIY Danielle

9/02/2017

DIY Danielle featured blogger on blogger



I feel that over the years, blogger as a platform has earned a negative hype. Whenever someone thinks about starting a blog they are pressured into going the self-hosted route. It's happening in all over the internet.

And yet, I want to tell you that blogger is the most budget-friendly, affordable and dare I say on par with a self-hosted WordPress blogging platform.

While I don't have anything against the self-hosted blogging platform, I just don't like being pressured into it by being told lies like "you can't monetise a blogger blog, you don't own your content on blogger, etc.".

And the thing is these bloggers don't even realise that they're giving false information to new bloggers or those who are just thinking of setting up a blog.

This is my attempt to show you that blogger is a worthy blogging platform, it has loads of customisation options available, and for the most it's budget friendly. I hope reading this interview will help you come across the truth about blogger as a blogging platform.

I'm featuring Danielle from DIY Danielle, a proud blogger on blogger since 2011 and yes she earns from her blog and has never had issues with her blogging platform.




blogger interview danielle from diy danielle



Who is the blogger behind DIY Danielle?



DIY Danielle

This is danielle, the blogger behind DIY Danielle. She thrives on crafts, cuddles and chaos. And is a mother to three beautiful children. She has been blogging since 2011 and her blog is hosted on blogger. She loves the platform because it's easy to customise without any tech support, has worked with several brands over the course of her blogging career and loves that blogger if truly a budget-friendly blogging platform.

She loves the fact that being hosted on blogger, her blog never really crashes and how easy it is to integrate google products together.




Is your blog hosted on the blogger platform? If yes, then how long have you been blogging? And what do you blog about?



I have been hosting my DIY, sewing, and craft blog, DIY Danielle, on Blogger since I started blogging in late 2011. I briefly was on Google Pages before I realized that Blogger was a more appropriate choice.




Why did you choose blogger to be your blogging platform and do you currently earn an income from your blog? If yes, would you say it’s full-time or part-time?


I looked into both WordPress and Blogger when I was starting up, but I preferred how Blogger was setup. I have continued with Blogger because I like that the hosting is free and I'm comfortable with how much of the customization on Blogger I'm able to handle without paying tech support.


I currently earn a small income from my blog, but I earn that income while staying home with my children. This allows me a lot of flexibility. I would say that I make a part-time income, although sometimes I work a lot of hours on the blog. 




Have you worked with brands on your blog before? If yes, were they worried you’re not professional because you’re on blogger or was your blogging platform never a concern?



I've worked with several brands and I've never had issues with brands about my host. I have always been more concerned with providing quality content and value to brands than with who my host is.




Do you think it matters what platform you use for blogging? Or is it the content and value you give to your readers that attract them to your blog?


Our audiences don't see who is hosting a blog. They see the content and if the blogger is providing them with the information they need. I think the most important keys to success in blogging are SEO optimization, promoting your content, great photos, informative, accurate and authentic content, and a bit of luck.


According to you, what are some of the pros and cons of blogging on blogger?



Pro's to Blogger: Free hosting, it's easy to DIY a lot of the customization if you're somewhat familiar with HTML, the sites are secure, and they rarely (ever?) crash. I've had no issues since 2011, except for about 5 minutes this year when they appeared to be rolling out updates. I also really like Google products and I trust them. I use YouTube, Gmail, and quite a few of their other services. 


Cons: I think that if you really need to hire someone to do all your technical work, then it's easier to find tech support to hire on Wordpress. Wordpress support has become such a big business that I think there's just more people trying to capitalize on that.

I have a group of fellow Blogspot bloggers that I talk to when I am trying to customize something on my site, but occasionally I wish I had a tech support person to call up to fix everything for me when I want to throw my computer through a window.

Fortunately, I'm fairly knowledgeable about customization and there's a lot of web articles that can help guide me through changes I want to make... so I can almost always fix something after I puzzle it out a bit. And I fix it all free. 




Why do you think blogger is a better blogging platform in comparision with the other blogging platforms out there?


I can't say that one platform is "better" than another. They each offer hosting and design. Each has its own costs, pros, and cons. I have found that Blogger is the best option for me, however. When I started, I blogged for a couple years without earning an income.

Paying for hosting and eating those costs may have discouraged me from continuing to blog and I might have shut down. Because Blogger was free, I was able to explore and grow on my own schedule- no pressure.

Even though I earn money now, I have kept my expenses low which increases my net profit. I know that if I have a bad month or our entire family gets the stomach bug, I won't find myself paying out of pocket for hosting and other blog expenses. I love that if I wanted to stop blogging consistently or if I wanted to take a break, I could pay the $10/year for my domain and cut all of my additional costs, while still keeping my blog up with all the old content.

And unlike, Wordpress,org, I can still have affiliate links, advertising, and sponsored content on my blog without paying for hosting.




Is support, tech help, and customisabilty (of templates, etc.) an issue on blogger? Do you feel that your blogger blog lacks on these fronts?


For the most part, I think the customization options for Blogger are fine. I have a great template that I think makes my blog look professional.

I was able to figure out most of the customization myself. I do wish there were more people offering technical support for Blogger, but I am part of a close knit group of Blogspot bloggers who all help each other out when we run into issues. 




Is it true that you don’t own your content on a blogger blog and blogger can shut down your blog any second?



According to Blogger terms of service, I own all of my content. However, like all hosts, Blogger reserves the right to shut my blog down if I violate their terms of service. This means I can't steal other's content and post it on my blog without possible repercussions, and I believe there are some limits to what type of content I can publish.

My blog isn't about any "sensitive" topics (like pornographic materials) so I don't really see this as being an issue for me. I do backup my blog monthly to ensure that I have a hard drive backup of all my content in case there was ever an issue. I am more concerned about accidentally deleting my content than I am about Blogger shutting me down though. 




Do you think you one can’t effectively monetise a blogger blog? Is it hard to monetise a blog that’s on blogger?


Monetizing has been pretty easy. I started out with ads through Google Adsense, but I'm now using Mediavine for my advertising. I also offer sponsored posts on my blog and earn money from affiliate links.




Blogger is a very limited platform, once your blog grows, you’re going to have to shift to some other platform. Do you agree with this statement? 



I haven't found Blogger limiting at all. I have stayed with Blogger since 2011 with the idea that if I ever needed a service that Blogger didn't offer, I could switch at that time. In the meantime, I have saved a lot of money because I don't pay for hosting.

I don't see myself ever needing to switch. I publish video, photos, and detailed tutorials on my blog. I sell two books in eBook and book formats through Amazon. I have advertising on my site, offer sponsored posts, and make money as an affiliate with quite a few different companies.




Any advice for those that are just starting out their journey on the blogger platform as a new blogger?



Find a template that you love from the beginning and that offers support. Usually you can read the reviews on a template to see if others had trouble getting support on it. Once you pick your template, install it and stick with it.

If you get it all setup correctly from the beginning and don't mess with it, you'll be able to stick to the parts of blogging that are most important- content creation and monetization. I wasted a lot of time trying to find a template I liked... changing... rearranging everything. Once I finally found "the one" (template), I was able to settle in and stop focusing as much on trying to adjust that stuff.

Making small changes on a template isn't hard... but completely changing your template takes precious time that is better used elsewhere.






What's my take on this?



If you're a new blogger and blogger seems like a better option for starting your blog, go for it. You can monetise it any way you want, support is available — I'm here to help you. Blogger is not only budget friendly it's also very customisable, and now that you know that your content is your own I'm hoping some doubts about the platform have cleared up.

My friend Rebekah also offers great tech support should you need it for your blogger blog, and the best thing is that her services are really affordable.

My blog is hosted on blogger as well, and I've recently established a custom store on it for selling my services. If you would like to know all the features of the blogger platform then this post will be a good read for you. If you have any problems, I'm happy to help.





Are you a blogger on the blogger platform earning a part-time/full-time income?


If yes, then I'd love to feature you on my blog. Let's spread the word about blogger being an awesome blogging platform together! Get in touch here.

How To Draw Attention To Specific Areas In Your Blog Post And Make Them Stand Out

8/15/2017

draw attentions to areas in your blog post using html and css


As a blogger you pour your heart out into helping your audience, whether it's through fashion and lifestyle tips, organisation, time management and productivity tips, wellness and health tips etc.

And you want to give the most comprehensive and detailed guides to your readers, because that's what you love doing, understandably your blog posts might become longer than expected.

The thing with long blog posts is that while search engines love them, and rightly so, chances are that people (the actual readers on your blog) usually skim through longer blog posts. That is, they read what they think is the most important to them.

As a blogger, you want certain things to be really easy for your audience to do:


  • Follow you on social media
  • Subscribe to your blog's updates
  • Join your email list
  • Share your content with their friends, family and others
  • Be able to easily read content on your blog
  • Navigate around your blog
  • Make purchases (If you sell products etc.)
  • Be able to read about you, who you are etc. 

A well-structured blog post is the difference between mediocre content and good content. So the question is how do you tackle long blog posts? How to highlight certain areas in your blog posts so that your readers never miss important information even if they're just skimming through your content and not reading word by word?

Here's a step-by-step guide on drawing attention to specific, key areas in your blog posts to make them stand out and pop in front of your reader's eyes.


make your blog posts stand out


To be able to make certain areas or content in your blog posts stand out from the rest, we're going to design a content box. This content box will be different from the boring white background your blog posts have and so it'll help divert your reader's attention to that specific piece of content. 

Don't panic, this is some very basic coding and I believe even a technically challenged person can do it. But if you run into any errors, or want me to install this for you, you can hire me to do it for you.


What this content box will look like


content box for blogger blog using html and css


The code that we're going to install will help you make a grey coloured content box around your content, this box will be mobile responsive if your blog's theme supports it. While this will work on any host that lets you edit your blog's code, such as WordPress self-hosted, WordPress Premium (only Premium and Business plan), and Blogger

This content box is fully customisable, you can change colours, add a border, etc. This tutorial will help you install the CSS code in your blogger blog. But adding the same code to your WordPress hosted blog will have the same result, just the installation process will not be the same. 


Installing the CSS for your content box


click theme in blogger dashboard


Sign in to your blogger account, click the "Theme" button, this will take you to the "Live on Blog" section on your blog.

click edit html


Now click "Edit HTML" and then when you see your blog's code you click anywhere inside the code. Then press Command + F if you're using a Mac or CTRL + F if you're using your PC

This should make a search box pop up at the top-right corner of your blog. Now paste the following code in the search box and hit enter: 


]]></b:skin>

This should help you find the above code in your template. Now just above this line of code, you need to paste this code:


.contentbox { background-color: #f3f3f3; padding: 20px; }

Save your template. You're done installing the CSS for your content box. Now all that's left for you to do is use the HTML part every time you write your blog post.


How to use the HTML for highlighting content and using this content box

To be able to use this box in your blog posts you'll have to paste this code every time you need to write or showcase something inside your content box. 

You will be adding this code in the HTML section of your blog post. And you'll want to save this code somewhere you can quickly access it, I use Evernote for storing all my ideas, drafts and codes. But you can use any program you like.


<div class="contentbox">YOUR TEXT GOES HERE</div>
You'll write all the content you want where it says "YOUR TEXT GOES HERE" and you should be able to see this content box and your content inside it.

If in case you're unable to install this even after following through this tutorial or are stuck somewhere, let me know through the comments section below and I'll help you out.

This can also be installed on WordPress but the procedure is not the same.

Don't have the time to do this yourself? Hire me! I'll install this content box on your blog and customise it to match your branding.Plus, if you ever loose this code while changing themes, I'll re-install it for you.




How to customise this content box


As I mentioned earlier, this content box is can be customised to match your blog's branding. 

To change the colour of this content box all you have to do is change the hex code of this content box:

.contentbox { background-color: #f3f3f3; [edit this to the colour you want] padding: 20px; }
You can also add a border to this content box if you like, but I wanted to keep things simple so that anyone can follow through this tutorial.





How To Style Your Own Click To Tweet Button For Your Blogger Blog

8/01/2017

click to tweet box for your blogger blog

I'm a full-time graphic designer, which means that even in blogging I'm very particular about how I want things to look. I enjoy creating a visual identity for blogs, businesses and brands.

Last year, when I decided to start this blog I wanted to help new bloggers build their online presence, I wanted to offer affordable design services that don't burn a hole in my client's pocket.

After a lot of consideration, weighing the pros and cons I decided that my blog would be hosted on the blogger platform.

It's been quite some time that I've been seeing click to tweet boxes on a lot of blogs powered by self-hosted WordPress. I really love twitter, it's a fun and simple way of keeping up with all the things I love and so I quickly became interested in having a click to tweet box for my blog.

I searched and searched on Google but most of the results were for WordPress users. There was nothing for those on blogger!

I then turned to Facebook groups for help and was met with very off-topic replies, instead of offering me a solution people seemed more interested in convincing me that on blogger I don't own my content, that blogger is not at all customisable and that I can't monetise a blogger blog, all of which I know is not true.

And so I decided to make my own click to tweet box using HTML and CSS. I know there aren't a lot of plugins on Blogger, not many widgets either but that's because most of the things can be accomplished through coding.

Here's how you too can style your own click to tweet box for your blogger blog. I'm giving you a step-by-step detailed guide.


Ten ways to organically build traffic to your blog

7/06/2017


camera flowers laptop plant featured image


As a blogger, low pageviews, and traffic can put you in a grumpy mood all day. It can make you feel depressed, leave you sulking and affect your overall happiness.

In fact, in 2012, a report stated that 81% bloggers in the U.S. never make more than $100 from their blogs. I'm sure that number has changed now since the blogging industry is flourishing day in and day out.

It's getting harder to get your blog noticed, in 2016 around 6.7 million people blog on blogging sites and around 12 million blogs via social networks. But the ten techniques I'm going to tell you about will help yu get noticed, and drastically increase your blog traffic.

These techniques are tried and tested, and if you follow them with honesty and determination you will see results. These techniques will really help you build your blog traffic, increase it and retain it.


ten ways to build traffic to your blog

How much blog traffic equals to a profitable blog?


That is a very hard question to answer. It depends on how targeted your audience is, what kind of a niche you're in, or if you even have a niche, how you're monetising your blog etc.

But the simple truth is the more readers you have, the better your chances of succeeding in making money from your blog are. 

For example, a blog that gets 50,000 pageviews a month will make more profits than a blog with 5,000 pageviews a month. 


How fast will you be able to build your blogs' traffic with these techniques?


That question never has a fixed answer. Depending on how many of these techniques (that I'm going to tell you) you follow, how closely you follow them, and how much effort and time you are willing to put in your blog, you could build a profitable blog in a couple of months, a year or years. 

But the bottom line is — these techniques work.


How do blogs get traffic?


There are a lot of ways one can get traffic to their blog including paid search etc. but I'm going to be focusing mainly on building organic traffic to a blog. Most blogs get organic traffic from the following ways:

  • Search Engines
  • Social Media
  • Referral (when someone refers others to your blog)
  • Direct (when someone directly types in your blog address and lands on your blog)

Since your blog is new, you'll be using techniques that will help you build traffic from the first three resources, that is, search engines, social media, and referral. The last one usually builds up later when people start to notice your blog.


1. Creating content that your readers will love


You've probably heard the phrase, "Content is King" was first used by Bill Gates in 1996 to describe that what matters in a computer is the software inside rather than the outwards appearances. 

As a general rule of thumb, you want to write well and publish quality content on your blog to help your readers establish a relationship of trust with you. This only comes through writing content that helps your readers.


It doesn't really matter what niche you're in, you need to deliver quality content to your reader. But keep in mind that different niches' have different characterisations to quality content. What this means is that what is described as quality content for a fashion blog is not necessarily quality content for a marketing based blog.

That makes sense because a reader reading a fashion blog wants to see more visuals and less content, so more photographs of how jeans are styled with a crop top than text describing how to do so. Of course, I recommend that even fashion bloggers write at least 300 words in their blog posts.

Whereas a marketing blog with lots of photos and 300 words explaining how digital marketing works will be seriously lacking in information that the user wants.

2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)



The field of search engine optimisation is vast; there's always a new technique to learn. Luckily for you, I'm listing out the simple ones that you can implement without breaking a sweat:

  • Content SEO: Choose a focus keyword, make sure the keyword is present in your Post Title, URL, in the content that your write(H1 tag, H2 tag, beginning and ending of the content), and the meta-description of your post. Remember not to stuff your keywords in your content as that unnecessarily can get you penalised. It is important for your keywords to be naturally placed rather than stuffed. If your keyword doesn't look natural in your H1 tag (Heading 1) then remove it, you get my point, right? 
  • Adding appropriate ALT Tags to your images (Adding a Title and Alt text in any images you use on your blog.) If your images contain 
  • Start promoting on any social media platform of your choice (I prefer Twitter and Instagram). Social media helps boost your SEO.
  • Your blog post should be at least 600 words long( I know Yoast recommends 300 words or more but I just like mine to be 600 or more), the longer it is (without compromising on its quality), the better. 
  • Your blog's content should be easily readable, no fancy words unless your blog is about teaching people fancy words, keep it simple, easy to read and understand.
  • Submit your blog's sitemap to Google. 

These are minuscule things that you can do while writing your content, and that will ensure your blog's overall search engine visibility keeps growing every time you publish anything online on your blog. 

If you're feeling more serious about SEO want to to do more than just the basics, then I recommend reading Demystifying SEO by Kim Six, I love this book because it describes each and every aspect of SEO in an easily understandable way. Once you read this book and follow the strategies you'll see your blog's search traffic grow. And the best thing, you will understand SEO, and will come to you naturally!


3. Promotion on social media


When you're a new blogger and want some traction without having to wait for it, like in the case of SEO which takes some amount of time to kick in promoting yourself or your brand and/or blog on social media is the best thing you can do.

You never know who would benefit from reading what you're sharing, find it useful and then become a loyal reader. 

Having social handles has become such a norm these days that when brands or advertisers look at your blog for business, they often want to know how many followers you have and how popular you are! 


If you are a new blogger whose just getting into this blogging thing, it's important that you avoid an overwhelm by not trying to be present on all social media handles from the start.

It is better to concentrate on building a community and concentrating on one platform first and then move to the next one as there's a learning curve on each on of them.

I use TwitterInstagram and Pinterest for promoting my blog posts and for connecting with my readers (you), other bloggers, and businesses. 

You should choose which platform you will be promoting your blog or website on based on the following factors:

  • Whether you are comfortable using that platform
  • Where most of your audience lies (that is, if you're a fashion blog for men, your audience won't be on Pinterest because that attracts mostly female audiences. Another example can be that Twitter attracts more marketing professionals so a blog focused on that niche or around it will get traction easily.)

I recommend choosing your social media platforms carefully for having an advantage in your early blogging days, but it's not a hard and fast rule because platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. have a huge amount of people so with that many users it's hard not being able to find your target audience.

Much like blogging, your success on social media platforms is directly tied to how consistent, engaging, and social your content is.

Now it's not always possible to be online on all social media handles all the time, because you have other things that need your attention as well. This is where automation tools such as buffer, a free tool you can use to plan and execute your social media content.

4. Networking with fellow bloggers



Bloggers that are into reading and writing about things that you care about (generally termed as following other bloggers in your niche) are bloggers you should network with from day one. 

This will help you get to know awesome people that are just like you, you'll have a good time reading their blogs, and you know, opportunities have a weird way of presenting themselves.

The more bloggers you know, the better because its all about putting yourself out there, getting known and getting talked about. Eventually, this builds authority over time. 

Sometimes you can even get fantastic content ideas reading your favourite blogger's newly published post! 

Follow them on their social handles, and chances are they'll follow back!

Build real relationships with fellow bloggers. Networking with the big players is also a very for your new blog. But don't do it just for the sake of it.

I follow more than hundred blogs on Bloglovin' and I regularly comment on blog posts that I really like and enjoy. I chat with bloggers, get feedback, as for advice etc. this way I form organic relationships with bloggers that are more successful than me, and helps me get the word about my blog out.

It also helps people trust me, so when I decide to start guest posting I already know a few bloggers that will be happy to let me guest post on their blog.

Here are some don'ts of networking though:


  • Do not comment on a blogger's blog post unless you actually have something valuable to say. "Nice", "lovely" and emoji's aren't adding any value. 
  • Don't be too pushy, especially if the blogger you're trying to befriend just isn't into it.
  • Don't be robotic. 
  • Try to add genuine value, give honest feedback (if asked for it etc.) and be real.

And remember nobody likes trolls or cyber bullies. So be nice.


building blog's traffic diaries and planner


5. Social media share buttons


Start leveraging share buttons on your blog. If you don't have share buttons on your blog's design, or you feel they never get clicked, I love the ones from SumoMe and AddThis.

SumoMe conveniently adds share buttons to your website or blog, no matter what platform you use. These buttons are mobile responsive and customizable just the way you want, they do have paid plans but you won't be needing that unless you're trying something super fancy.

Another great option is AddThis, I like the social media share buttons they have, but if you want to choose different colours to match your branding you're going to have to pay for it.

I have used both the services and I'm finally happy with AddThis as the small SumoMe button that they add to your blog that is visible to your readers had really started to grow on me.

And if you're looking for another service you can also opt-in for GetSiteControl as your prefered share buttons partner. SumoMe and AddThis look quite similar, but if you're looking for a design that's a bit different, I recommend you get your share buttons through GetSiteControl.

Both are quite easy to install and offer plug-ins for WordPress. They can be added to Blogger blogs as well using HTML codes and the process is quite easy.

These buttons have helped me, and they will help you too in getting your blog noticed.

Why share buttons, you ask?


Quite simple really, if someone likes your content they'll share it with their friends, and their friends might share it with theirs, and that will only help you reach more people and gradually build your blogs' traffic and popularity.

You might not see it at first but if your content is good it will start getting shared more and more, and your traffic will build up.

Want me to install these share buttons for you?

(Please remember to mention the platform you are on through the remarks section at checkout.) This item is only for blogs hosted at Blogger, Squarespace, WIX, and self-hosted WordPress.


6. Guest blogging


When you write for someone else's blog and they give you credit for it (a link back to your blog on their blog), this is known as guest blogging. It is one of the best ways to build massive traffic on your blog or website if done right.


What's the right way to Guest Blogging?

  • The blog you are planning to guest post for should be in your niche
  • Ask them if they accept guest posts
  • Give them a fantastic post to publish for you

Ideally, the blog you select should have a higher authority than you. This way you get to tell their audience about your blog and they get content for free.

Guest blogging is so effective that some people have had crazy results with it!

You can set a goal for yourself where you'll write four guests posts or whatever number you can for other bloggers and then all you have to do is just wait for the results to come in and make your day! 

Guest blogging also gets your blog noticed, and sends back traffic to your site. Along with that, it has a positive effect on your SEO. 

However, be careful, you don't want to have five content pieces on your website and be writing for other blogs. Make sure that your blog or website has a good number of posts and then reach out to other bloggers for guest posting.

If you're a new blogger and have your doubts about guest blogging then this course is the perfect solution for you to get a grasp on guest blogging, and if you sign up through this link then it's not going to cost you anything for the first month, then you can cancel anytime if you don't wish to continue.


7. Accept guest posts


As a new blogger you may not have felt it yet, but sometimes managing everything can overwhelm you. And soon, you want to take a vacation and get a break. 

Who's going to help you run your blogging business at that time?

Accepting guest posts is a great way to:

  • Take vacations without leaving your blog readers with nothing new to read
  • When you know you won't be able to write for some time or are stuck in a block then accepting guests posts can save you!
  • Get noticed by even more readers 
  • Save yourself from a possible blogging burnout 
  • Help keep your blog going during a blogging burnout
  • Network with other bloggers


It's possible that the blogger who is submitting a guest post at your blog already has a name for themselves. If they give you a guest post, they will share it with their friends and their readers, and this will bring more traffic to your blog. 


8. Quora


Quora is a platform where people get answers to all their questions. And it can be an excellent way to drive traffic to your blog. 

A lot of smart marketers are already leveraging Quora. People come to this platform to get their queries answered, so pick your category or niche and see what questions people are asking. 


If you've written a post about a question someone has asked, give them an answer and leave your link in the answer for them to read. Most likely, they will follow it and read what you have to say. 

How to make Quora work for your blog?

  • Answer relevant questions in your niche.
  • Answer at least one question every day
  • Don't put your links in each and every question you answer.
  • Provide value in your answers
  • Keep answering! 

In the early stages of your blog, Quora really gets you noticed by giving you your first visitors and it keeps building up.

I love answering questions on Quora, and try to stick with answering once each day! 


white flowers on bed


9. A proper blog design and branding


As a graphic designer, I can tell you one thing. I know that people are visual beings. We tend to judge the credibility of blogs, websites, and business based on their appearance. 

It's hard not to judge a book by its cover, and when it comes to online people choose based on looks and they trust appearances as well. 

I know it feels like defining your "brand" or your blog design can wait but don't make that mistake!

You should take this one quite seriously. Your blog is your business, it is your product and if it doesn't look good, no one is going to buy it (Figuratively).

When it comes to a website or blog design you need to keep these things in mind:

  • User Experience: How easy it is for your readers to navigate around your blog? Is all important information such as who you are, what the blog is about, how to get in touch with you is easily available to your reader? Along with how well your blog is designed, keeping in mind the ease of use for your reader. 
  • A professional blog design: Having a blog that stands out has a lot to do with the design of your blog, and it doesn't always have to cost a fortune. I know that new bloggers are often working with a limited budget. That's exactly why I prefer Etsy for getting a professional blog template, it doesn't cost as much and you can get some really great blog themes for WordPress and Blogger both. My theme cost me $5 as it was on sale and comes with free installation plus lifetime support. 
  • Logo and branding: There are millions of blogs out there, what sets yours apart? A proper branding that describes your message to your readers and makes you memorable is the difference between a blog someone came across during a Google search and never looked back at and a blog someone came across during a google search and then subscribed to and became a loyal reader of. Don't get me wrong, your content plays a big part, and content is king, but branding is queen (and they're meant to go hand in hand).




I offer affordable graphic design options for new bloggers, and you can check out my branding services or visit my Etsy Shop.

10. Building an e-mail list


Ever heard the phrase that the money is in the list? It's true. Often termed as e-mail marketing. The idea behind building an e-mail list is to help you build a community around the people that are genuinely interested in your content. 

These are people that love your blog, your content, your style and also people that are most likely to purchase something from you, whether it's through your affiliate links or the products that you sell etc. 

These are people genuinely interested in the value you offer them. By regularly sending them e-mails, encouraging them to reply to those e-mails and getting an e-mail conversation started, you can build your own community of engaged followers, loyal readers and repeat customers. 

I know you're thinking, "but I just started out, do I really need to be doing this as well?" and to answer you, you don't have to start collecting e-mails from day one but I sure as hell recommend it. It doesn't matter if you don't get hundreds or thousands of visitors a day, you don't want to miss the chance of letting even that one person who's genuinely interested in your content to not be able to subscribe to your e-mail list.

With a targeted e-mail list, every time you send them (your list) an e-mail chances are they will click over and end up on your blog, that means more traffic on your blog.


I'd love to know what you think about this post, and if you've ever implemented any of these tips what were your results? Are you stuck somehere? Or need some more help? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. :)

The Only Guide You'll Need For Choosing The Right Blogging Platform

5/15/2017

right blogging platform checklist


At the beginning of 2017, I decided to start my blogging buddy program, a free service that I offer to new bloggers. Because of this service, I get to interact with new bloggers directly and understand the problems they are facing in their blogging journey and provide working solutions to their blogging problems.

Here, I noticed a trend, most bloggers were not happy with the blogging platform they were using!

For months, I wondered why this was happening and then I was able to draw a conclusion; all blogging platforms are not made the same and are not suitable for every blogger. And since all the available advice on the internet on starting a blog is more or less the same, blogger wannabe(s) that don't know much about blogging start to think that the only way to start a blog, and make it profitable is by following a set of standards that everyone else seems to be following.

Today, let me debunk this myth for you. And help you decide on your own, (after comparing all blogging platforms together) that which one will best suit your blogging and/or business interests so that you can save yourself a sorry series of unfortunate events, after finding out the drawbacks of the platform you chose and then feel stuck and overwhelmed — wanting to give up blogging before you even get comfortable with it.


the only guide you'll need for choosing the right blogging platform






Requirements for setting up a blog

  • Domain Name [required]
  • Privacy protection [highly recommended]
  • A host (this is where your blog is hosted) [required]
  • Professional e-mail [optional]

Where to find your supplies

  • I own three domain names, all of them are from GoDaddy. They are the only domain registrar I have ever used and they are also my go-to for any future domains I might consider buying. I think they offer great discounts for first-time buyers and their prices are not over the top either.
  • Privacy protection is not required for setting up a blog but it is highly recommended, the internet is filled with people you don't know, and just like you wouldn't share your e-mail, phone number etc. with someone you don't know you shouldn't share it with people on the internet either. Buying privacy protection protects your information from being publicly visible to all those who search for it. I have privacy protection for all my domains and it is worth the price. GoDaddy gives you an option to include privacy protection when you purchase your domain name.
  • Here comes the tricky part, one which might become your nightmare if you don't pick wisely, it is also the focus of this blog post. In simple terms, this is where your "blog" is kept on the internet a.k.a a host.
  • Professional e-mail which is optional and can be purchased through your domain registrar or hosting company if they offer it (or you can use G suite). It gives your blog a more professional appearance and is required if you want to start e-mail marketing on your blog.


The difference between popular platforms for blogging and a self-hosted blog


Self-hosted blog


Having a self-hosted blog means that you're renting space on a company's server in exchange for some amount of money, this means you have access to that particular space on that server and your blog is hosted on that space. 

But this just means that you're renting server space, you don't actually own that space, you rent it.


Then you might install a CMS (content management system) on the space that you have rented, and since WordPress is free, you can start blogging right away. 

In my experience, WordPress as a content management system is one of the best out there, but the trouble with self-hosted blogs is finding a reliable host. And this is where the real problem starts.

Hosting companies such as, GoDaddy, 1&1, HostGator etc. have affiliate options where bloggers can promote their hosting services.

Lots of bloggers then, choose one of these hosting companies and make them seem better than the other and a treat to work with.

Having interacted with bloggers in my blogging buddy program that you can sign up for here, I know horror stories of people having their blogs go down (offline) for days at once and horrible support to help them fix their issues.

The hosting companies I've mentioned are quite popular, some bloggers I know have never had a problem with and others have, so it's always a tricky game to pick one. All of them come with 99.9% uptime guarantee.

I have been hearing some really good stuff about Siteground, even though I have never used it.

My very first blog, which is on the self-hosted platform is hosted by GoDaddy. I have never had my blog go down for more than a minute, and their support is amazing — at least for me.

I'm hesitant when it comes to recommending a host to new bloggers because I don't really know if the host that I recommend will probably give them a hard time later. But I do advise bloggers to change their hosts if they have issues with their current one, and keep changing until they find a reliable one for them.

Honestly, it's a hit and miss game when it comes finding a reliable host for your blog. Luckily for me, GoDaddy hasn't given me troubles but I know it hasn't been kind to some others.

When is taking the self-hosted route good for your blog?

  • When a budget is not a problem.
  • When you'd like complete control over the technical aspects of your blog.
  • When you want any kind of customisation to be a plug-in away (you have plug-ins for everything.)
  • When you don't mind a bit of a learning curve. 
  • When you couldn't care less for drag and drop website builders.
  • You have business goals in mind regarding your blog or would like to keep those options available for a later date. 

Whereas


Popular blogging platforms


These are third-party platforms that you can use to host your blog. Some of them are free to use and offer upgrade plans with more features and functionalities. 

Some of the most popular platforms are:
  • Blogger - absolutely free
  • WordPress - offers WordPress Premium Plans as an option to upgrade
  • Squarespace - Has a free trial and paid plans
  • WIX - Has both free and paid plans

What kinds of "hosts" a.k.a blogging platforms exist?


coffee and plant with board



There are tons of places on the internet where you can start blogging, tons. But I'm only going to discuss with you about the most popular ones. Even as a new blogger there are chances, you already know some (or most) of these blogging platforms.

Blogger — formerly known as Blogspot


The blogging platform that I love and fully endorse. A little over two years ago I made my first blog, I started with blogger but was then convinced; like most other bloggers in the blogosphere that if I wasn't on a self-hosted platform, it was the end of my blogging career.

I read things like but not limited to, "You don't own your content on Blogger", "Blogger can cancel and delete your blog without any prior warning whenever it feels like so.", "Blogger has limited features, and as your blog grows you'll have to switch to a self-hosted platform", "Blogger can be shut down whenever, and with that so will your blog." and so on.

I felt that blogger was a piece of trash and I had made the mistake of starting my blog on it.

Now, I stand corrected. Folks over at WPbeginner think that blogger as a platform for blogging is quite limited, with the most basic features, limited design capabilities, little to no support and updates but I digress.

While these points were definitely true at some point, they are not so now. Blogger has an extensive list of features that can be added to it through the use of third-party plugins. It can be transformed into an e-commerce store too, you name it.

A single look on Etsy or Creative Market for blogger templates will show you beautiful blogger themes for as low as $5 and people are also offering custom blog designs on blogger. My theme is from Fearne Creative Design and I got if for a price of $5 (on sale). Eve, the designer and owner of the shop is a wonderful person, offers lifetime support, fixes issues for you, offers free installation, and helps you if you need any changes made and the best thing is that it never costs more than $5-25.

Those prices are hard if not impossible to get for premium themes on a self-hosted WordPress and support is usually free for 30 days to 6 months depending on where you purchase your theme from.

Update October 2017: I no longer use a premade blogger theme. My blog design is now my own, it's a custom design (I also make custom blogger templates).

Moving on to address the concern that "you" don't own your content on blogger, that is NOT correct. You own everything you create as long as it's your original. Nowhere does blogger state in its terms of service or blogging guidelines that the content you create is not your own.

What isn't your own is the host (blogger) itself, and they merely state the fact that if you violate their TOS (Terms of Service) they have the right to delete your blog from blogger (the hosting platform). If you use any of the hosting companies that let you 'self-host' and if you have ever read their TOS chances are they also state the same and if you violate a company or platforms TOS they hold the right to revoke your access to that platform.

The only protection against such a measure is to regularly back-up your blog, it's content and media included. And to simply not violate any TOS.

Now that you know that design capabilities on blogger rival those on the self-hosted WordPress platform, here's one more myth about blogger; it doesn't receive support or updates. While blogger support may not be on par with other blogging platforms, it is certainly available.

It wouldn't be fair if I mentioned about blogger support and did not mention Kim Six and Lady Gadget's Blogger Support Group on Facebook. The most high-quality blogger support group ever, and it's free. I've been using it and the people are always willing to help there.

And when it comes to shutting down blogger as a service, I don't see that happening as recently blogger updated their user interface and added lots of default themes for people to choose from.

As a platform for blogging, I believe blogger rivals self-hosted WordPress because it can be customised just as much. I like it better than self-hosted WordPress because I don't have hosting problems, services for blogger are relatively cheaper and it's a great platform for those on a budget.

This blog is hosted on blogger and is proof that blogger is just as good as any other blogging platform out there.

When do you know that your blog will be a good fit for blogger?

  • You're a new to blogging and are thinking of starting out as a blogger (in which case you should definitely sign-up here if you didn't do it before!)
  • If you are looking for a budget-friendly blogging option. Blogger is free, all you'll need to get started on blogger is the determination for making it work, a domain name, privacy protection, a paid theme (for $5 or more) depending upon your budget, and you're good to go. 
  • If you like the idea of a host that rarely has any downtime, and is likely to not give you any problems as far as hosting is concerned then blogger is your best friend.
  • You want to make money as a blogger, blogging is your main focus. (You can even add an e-commerce store to your blogger blog if you want to start selling your own products on your blog.) But primarily, blogger is meant for bloggers, not business owners that are looking for e-commerce platforms that let them blog for content marketing purposes.
  • When you want the learning curve of using a blogging platform to be easy. 

WordPress Premium


Like blogger, WordPress is free. However, the free version of WordPress does not allow bloggers to monetise their blogs and using a custom domain on the free WordPress costs $13 per year. 

WordPress also offers upgrades on this free version starting from $2.99 per month. I call them the WordPress Premium plans, and you can choose to buy your domain from WordPress itself or use one you already own.

Premium plans on WordPress come with the ability to monetise them, mainly through affiliate marketing. Displaying third-party ads on WordPress is not allowed but they have a WordAds program that you can apply to if you receive a good amount of traffic to your blog to make money through advertising. 

My art blog is hosted on WordPress' Personal plan and I love the simplicity of the platform. In my opinion, WordPress is the easiest platform to learn.

Unlike blogger or self-hosted WordPress, you do not have the option to access the code of your website and you cannot install third-party themes, plugins and scripts to your blog. 

This makes sense because WordPress is not for web developers, web designers, etc. WordPress targets a different kind of audience, one that cares for the content. All WordPress wants you to do is make content that is useful and people want to read, and they take care of all the back-end stuff for you so you can focus on what you really want to do — create amazing content.


WordPress offers a huge variety of free as well as premium themes that you can choose from. And honestly, the themes are so well made that they look amazing and are mobile responsive out of the box. You even get purposely styled themes for restaurants, food blogs, portfolios, magazines etc. 

When is WordPress Premium a good option for your blogging needs?

  • When you are not a tech savvy person and not really interested in learning the ways of being one. 
  • You like writing and creating content, you don't want to bother with hosting problems, monthly back-ups, the tedious chore of constantly updating plugins, pulling out your hair when some code you used from someone else's' blog breaks yours etc. It's like the guys over at WordPress will do all that for you, for free. Things you'd probably have to buy expensive plugins or services for. 
  • Making money online through blogging is your goal and you don't intend to transform your blog into an e-commerce platform (since WordPress won't let you do that, but you can still sell on your WordPress Premium subscription through PayPal).
  • You want your blogging experience to be as simple and easy as possible.

Squarespace


While I don't own a blog on this platform (yet :P) I'm quite familiar with it. Squarespace is more for people that want to be able to customise their blog to their hearts' content even when they don't know how to code.

I think the audience for this platform is someone with clear blogging and business goals. People that want to have a blog and a place to sell their products all in one place. But that doesn't mean a new blogger shouldn't consider touching it.

If you like DIY, cannot code or don't want to code, have something to sell and want to have a blog as well, Squarespace is your goldmine.

I know a lot of bloggers on Squarespace that swear by it and absolutely love it. Because it comes with business tools such as e-commerce etc. I believe it's an expensive option, prices starting from $12 per month when billed yearly.

If you're wondering whether Squarespace is worth the money, I do believe it is. The platform is quite easy to work with. There are tons of templates available to choose from and they can be customised as well.

When is Squarespace the right choice for you?

  • You're a DIY person that wants to make their blog themselves but does not want to code or cannot code.
  • You have services, products or goods you'd like to sell through your website or are interested in being able to sell at a later time. 
  • Your blogging inspiration is backed up by some pretty solid business goals.
  • You like the idea of being able to edit your website or blog without having to hire a designer for it. 
  • You just happen to like Squarespace as a blogging platform. 
  • Budget is not a problem. 

WIX 


Wix is similar to Squarespace in the sense that it is also a DIY website builder. No coding is required because all you need to do is drag and drop elements to make your own website. You can also choose a premade template to begin with and keep using that or customise it as per your wish. 

Wix takes out the technical hassles associated with blogging. My sister recently shifted from blogger to Wix as she's not at all a tech savvy person and wanted something easy to use that also offered customisability when it comes to design. 

Wix is more cost effective when compared to squarespace as the plans and pricing are also different. 


I liked Wix because it was easy to use, and like Squarespace, it comes with a lot of tools that you can use with your website to sell your products, take bookings etc. Literally, hundreds of apps are available for you to integrate your blog with.

SEO was a problem with Wix sites when Wix had initially started, but since then they have come a long way and fixed all those issues.

When is Wix a good blogging platform for you?

  • When you would rather DIY your blog design.
  • When you don't like the technical aspects of blogging.
  • When you need a simple and easy to use platform with the options of turning it into an e-commerce available to you. 
  • When you're looking for an alternative to Squarespace.

P.S. I design SquareSpace and WIX websites for people. Feel free to get in touch with me regarding the same here. Please be detailed about the vision you have for your blog and/or website and I will be happy to give you a quote.

Conclusion


blogging notebook and pen with plant


I believe that all blogging platforms are made differently. The reason some may appeal more to you than others is that your needs as a blogger are different. Before making a decision you should always keep your needs and budget in mind. 

As someone who probably wants to start their own blog, I hope this information has helped you!

If you're still feeling confused over which blogging platform to use this is where my Blogging Platform Worksheet will help you. You can download for free once you sign-up below and confirm your subscription.

I'm confident that this worksheet will help you decide which blogging platform you want to stick with.

take notes
So what are the takeaways?
  • If you're on a tight budget, Blogger should be your platform of choice. 
  • WordPress Premium is a good option for you if you'd rather give the back-end troubles to a proper engineer and focus and what you like most — creating content.
  • Squarespace and WIX are DIY website builders, perfect for those that want to design their websites themselves. However, I do recommend taking professional help as it's very easy to design an ugly website if you don't have any typography and design knowledge. 
  • Go self-hosted if budget is not a problem and you don't mind the learning curve that comes with a self-hosted WordPress, remember, you're in charge of the back-end here, anything goes wrong, you'll have to figure it out yourself.


5 Steps To A Well Structured Blog Post

2/17/2017


how to write well structured blog posts



Writing blog posts can seem to be a daunting task, especially If you're a new blogger. I've been blogging for almost nine months now, but even before I began writing a single blog post, I was already reading popular blogs such as Problogger, Quicksprout and Social Media Examiner to my advantage.

My decision to start a blog was very well informed. For you, that may or may not be the case. Maybe you've just recently stumbled upon this whole 'blogging as a career' thing, or maybe you just want to try it out in your free time.

Your reason for wanting to start your own blog can be anything. But I'm making an assumption here, for the focus of this post, I'm going to assume:

  • You want to start a blog or already have a blog.
  • You are ready to write your first blog post or are looking to improve the overall quality of your blog post.
  • You want to start in the right direction and set up your blog for success. 
  • You wish to be able to earn part-time/full-time with your blog or get into professional blogging, that is, make blogging your career. 

For any of the mentioned (above) points, you'll need to be able to write well, you will have to write in a way that you are able to convince your readers about your knowledge of the subject in question so that they can trust your views and opinions. 

And for this, you need to be able to write high-quality blog posts, and while a lot of things together make a high-quality blog post there is this one characteristic that is a must, all high-quality blog posts are well structured and have a good flow to them.


5 steps to writing a well structured blog post





How to write well-structured blog posts



English needn't be your first language for you to be able to write well-structured blog posts, and these rules will apply to any blog posts, no matter the niche of your blog or the language you publish your blog in. 

By following this thought process of brainstorming your blog post, you will be able to write well-structured posts everytime you sit down to work on your blog!


1. The "What" of writing a blog post


This is where you think about the topic of your blog post, the main idea or theme that you are going to write about. 

For example, the theme of this blog post when it was still in its draft stages was: to tell my readers an easy way to write blog posts with a natural 'flow' that seem professional and well-structured.

So whenever you sit down to start a fresh blog post, grab a pen and paper, your open your word document or whatever you are comfortable using and just write a heading saying, "WHAT" and under that heading write down exactly what you think your post is going to be.


2. "Who" is interested in this blog post?


The next heading you'll want to put after completing the 'What' section of your brainstorming is the "WHO." You're going to write:
  • What kind of people will be interested in reading this kind of post? 
  • And are they your target audience?
  • How much knowledge do they already have about this subject (the theme of your post)?

For example, when I was writing this blog post, this is what my "Who" section looked like:

  • What kind of people will be interested in reading this kind of post? Answer: New Bloggers that want to write well-structured blog posts. 
  • And are they your target audience? Answer: Yes they are.
  • How much knowledge do they already have about this subject (the theme of your post)? Answer: They are fairly new to blogging and are not very knowledgeable when it comes to writing with a flow. They often feel that their blog posts lack a proper structure. They might feel that their blog posts may be confusing their reader instead of giving them a clear picture.

3. "How" will your post look like?


There are mainly six types of posts:
  • List
  • How-To or a Tutorial
  • Informational
  • Question and Answer
  • Review or Opinion
  • Video 
All you have to do in this section is to decide what your post will look like when it's ready. Will it be a list, a how-to or something else, and doesn't matter if your blog post fits into two categories at once. The idea here is for your to figure out how you're going to write this post.

For example, this blog post is mainly a list, and it's an exercise that you (my reader) are supposed to do before writing your blog post, so it is a tutorial as well.




4. "Why" do you need to write this blog post?


In this section you're going to write all the reasons you can think of, describing "why" you believe that this post will help your reader. What exactly are they getting help with? And why is it so important?

Here's what my section looked like:

  • By reading this post, my readers will have a 5 step formula for writing posts that are to the point and don't bore their readers.
  • My readers will be able to write blog posts that will be loved by their readers.
  • They will be able to write relevant blog posts that suit their niche and target audience.
  • They will be able to write well-structured posts no matter what they're niche is!

5. "When" is this blog post going live?



This one is quite simple, all well-written and well-structured posts take time, don't rush yourself into writing blog posts. Quality control is a must. Take your time, research and write each and every blog post. 

An important factor here is that your blog post should not be lacking and after you're done with it, you should feel satisfied. If you don't then it's probably not at its 100% yet. So keep making changes until you're happy with it. 

I know a lot of us, are solopreneurs (the only person behind our blog) we are the admin, the tech support, the content writer, marketer, everything. And a lot of us are also working full-time, or busy with our families, studying, etc. So it's important to work with a schedule that's flexible to us.



P.S. I hope this helps you write your blog posts in a more well-organised manner. If you've got any question or suggestion, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below. I'll be happy to help! 




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