Seven Basic Ways To Increase Your Blog Traffic in Thirty Minutes

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You’ve written a blog post that you’re proud of. You’ve read, re-read, edited, re-edited and then edited again once after you’ve inevitably discovered lots of mistakes that were missed. You’ve created a pinnable picture and included all your social media links.

Then the little-one starts to cry. Dinner needs to be made. The laundry needs to be hung out to dry. In my world, papers need to be marked.

For those of us that want our blogs to be seen, but have busy schedules, children, jobs and homes to maintain, we often find it difficult to promote ourselves to the biggest possible audience. Time is always our biggest barrier and in the blogging world it is highly unlikely that a post will receive lots of views simply by pressing the publish button.

When researching this post, I found lots of blogs that were offering lots of advice that I didn’t understand, and quite frankly, don’t have the time to research at the minute. I am not a professional blogger – I consider myself to be more of a hobbyist. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of readers. Like most, I don’t have lots of informative tips about SEO (which is probably why I don’t have hundreds of thousands of readers). However, I’ve been trying out little experiments over the last few weeks that focus on short bursts of promotion, allowing myself just thirty minutes at a time to complete different tasks. It has proven to be effective both in my increase of stats and of my ability to complete chores and marking, and spend some time with The Bloke (who has repeatedly complained about the amount of time I spend on here). So, for those of you who write for pleasure and therapy, like me, here are seven basic and hopefully less confusing ideas of what you can do in just thirty minutes – you don’t need to do all of them in one go, but some of these at a time will help.

1. Schedule your posts during your peak traffic times

I know that my highest traffic usually happens at the weekend, so I publish my favourite posts usually then If I really want a post to be seen, I will share it at about 6.00pm on a Sunday. Schedule your posts in advance to coincide with your peak traffic points throughout the week.

Time taken: a minute

2. Twitter

I click the Twitter button at the bottom of my post and add relevant hashtags and retweet accounts. @FemaleBloggerRT and @UKBlog_RT and particularly useful and effective. I also try and retweet posts from other bloggers – it is more likely that they will return the favour at a later point.

Time taken: Two minutes

3. Facebook

I upload a link to my blog Facebook page, and if it is relevant I will share it on my personal Facebook page, including people that I know will find the post interesting. I don’t use any hashtags on Facebook – they are often frowned upon and this may put others off reading your posts.

Time taken: Two minutes

4. Pinterest

Using the Pinterest app, I upload a link to my post and put it in a relevant board, ensuring that keywords are used in the title and description. As I have already created a pinnable pic, it takes very little time to add. I then take a minute to repin relevant posts from other bloggers.

Time taken: Two minutes

5. Visit other blogs via bloglovin’

I follow my favourite blogs on there because it saves lots of time searching for them individually. I only follow a few hundred to allow myself enough time to devote to them – I wouldn’t be able to keep track of more than that.

Time taken: Ten minutes (visiting one or two blogs at a time)

6. Include links to relevant previous posts

Depending on the time of year, I find that my topics happen in cycles or I may do a follow-up to a particularly popular post. Including links to a previous post may encourage readers to click on a link to find out more.

Time taken: Two minutes

7. Reply to emails and comments

This is the most important aspect of maintaining and increasing a readership. If someone has taken the time to leave a comment, they deserve a response, even if it is just to say thank you. I have lost readers by not responding to comments in the past.

Time taken: This will depend on the amount of comments you receive. Sometimes I take the entire thirty minutes on this alone. However, replying to an email should only take a few minutes.

Want further advice on how to increase your blog traffic? Click here

What about you guys? Do you have any quick tips for increasing traffic to your blog?

You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks

I AM ALSO NOW ON INSTAGRAM! Check out my photographs and visit me over at my new Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

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25 Thoughts for the Day

imageDuring my many travels around the internet I always stumble across things that make me laugh, cry and think. While some roll their eyes at the mere mention of inspirational quotes and thoughts, I like to compile groups of them and save them on my phone as a tool to get me through the day. Here are some of my favourites…

1. A fine is a tax for doing something wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

2. School teaches lessons and then gives us a test. Life gives us a test and then we learn the lessons from it.

3. Life was much simpler when Apple, Blackberry and Raspberry were just fruit.

4. There is always an element of truth behind ‘just kidding.’

5. There is always knowledge behind ‘I don’t know.’

6. There is always emotion behind ‘I don’t care.’

7. There is always pain behind ‘It’s okay.’

8. You can’t buy love, but there are times where you may pay heavily for it.

9. Money can’t buy happiness, but it is far more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.

10. Alcohol does not solve problems, but neither does milk.

11. We buy things that we don’t need, with money that we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.

12. If you tell the truth, you never have to remember a lie.

13. If there are no ups and down in life, it means you’re dead.

14. The people with the best advice to give are usually the ones with the most problems.

15. Teenagers have the time and energy but not the money. Adults have the money and energy but not the time. Pensioners have the money and time but not the energy.

16. You can’t say M without your lips touching.

17. You’re now trying to say M without your lips touching.

18. The things that you don’t learn are the most likely things to be in the exam.

19. If undecided about two options, flip a coin. Your instinct will tell you which one you’re secretly hoping for when you feel happy or disappointed with the result.

20. The hardest thing and the right thing are often the same thing.

21. Closed minds are not often accompanied by closed mouths.

22. Fake plants will die if you don’t pretend to water them.

23. You are more likely to wake up at 6.00am on your days off.

24. The little toe is the perfect device for finding the edges of furniture in a darkened room.

25. This will cause a discussion as to whether it is ‘ironic’ or not. It isn’t.

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What about you? Any inspirational quotes you would like to add?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and my new Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks

 

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Eurovision 2015: A Deserving Winner and an Embarrassment for the UK

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Måns Zelmerlöw from Sweden

The Eurovision results are in and Sweden, the favourite, was declared the winner. It was a catchy song, with simple but effective staging and deserved the crown. I had a good evening – The Bloke and I got the snacky treats in, we gorged ourselves during the contest and I was amused by the thousands of Twitter comments that dominated my timeline for the majority of the evening. Admittedly, it was a little more relaxed (and dare I say, dull) this year – the competition was littered by powerful ballads, with a distinct lack of gimmicks that I have come to associate Eurovision with over the years. Clearly, many have started to take it much more seriously.

To make things a bit more interesting, I had teamed up with Steve from Steve Says and Talk About Pop Music  and Hugh from Hugh’s Views and News prior to the final to offer our predictions for the outcome. Here were our predictions:

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And here is the final list:

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I got seven of the top 10, as did Steve, and Hugh got six, so I think we did quite well. However, all three of us were quite deflated at the fact that the UK yet again was more of the comedy item for the year and we finished in a much deserved 24th place. Steve did a fantastic post about this, that I totally agree with. As one of the ‘Big Five,’ who contribute the most money and automatically gain a place in the final, you’d think that whoever is in charge would take it a little more seriously and stop submitting the rubbish that they come up with every year. It was embarrassing to see our entry – a Mick Jagger tribute and an unknown reality contestant – prancing around on the stage wearing, as Steve put it ‘cheap wrap-around glow sticks purchased at Poundland,’ to some awful charleston inspired nonsense and attempting to resurrect Louis Armstrong. No, BBC, just no.

To make matters worse, we can’t even blame the tactical political voting that has been such a prominent part of the system for so many years – there was far less of this in the competition, with countries giving 12 points to countries that they wouldn’t normally vote for.

I was, however, delighted for Guy Sebastian and his brilliant performance for Australia. So much so, in fact, I bought the song from iTunes and have been listening to it constantly since the competition ended.

What did you think of the contest? Did the right person win?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and my new Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks

 

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Chicago: What a great lake kinda town!

suzie81speaks:

Meet Cher! This is an earlier post of hers but I loved the photograph so I thought I’d share it with you. Cher is an ex-pat now living in Chicago, and her blog is about everything the Windy City has to offer… Stop by and say hello – she’s one of the friendliest bloggers I know!

Originally posted on The Chicago Files:

Lake Michigan December 18 2013

I am always in wonder when it comes to the ever-changing scenery over and on Lake Michigan.  I’ve seen fireworks, transparent mist rolling onto shore (which my very funny husband told me was a noxious Lake Michigan gas and that we needed to grab the gas masks ASAP)!  I’ve seen clouds of every, size and shape.  I’ve seen a full moon the shade of an orange, shining its luminescent beams onto the water.  I’ve seen hot air balloons, fighter jets, and I swear a green meteor (it screeched across the sky and disappeared as quickly as it arrived).  I’ve seen distant ships on the horizon.

Lake Michigan is the only great lake out of the five that is completely enclosed in US territory.  Chicagoans are very proud of this lovely lake; now I am too!  Oh by the way, if you click on the picture above, you’ll be able to…

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Eurovision 2015: Grand Final Predictions

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It’s that time of year again, and after watching both semi-finals I’m excited about the Eurovision Song Contest final tonight!

In celebration, I’ve teamed up with Steve from Talk About Pop Music and Hugh from Hugh’s Views and News to offer my predictions for tonight. We’ve done our lists seperately and have awarded points in the manner used in the competition and after the results have been revealed we’ll get together and see who has got the most right. I’ve been torn between listing my favourites and the ones I think are actually going to do well, so I’ve created a mixture of both…

From the team of Suzie and The Bloke, here are our predictions and our votes for tonight…

1 point goes to… Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila: This Time (Lithuania)

2 points go to… Il Volo: Grande Amore (Italy)

3 points go to… Aminata: Love Injected (Latvia) (i don’t actually like this song but tactical voting will mean it will do quite well I think)

4 points go to… Voltaj: All Over Again (Romania)

5 points go to… John Karayiannis: One Thing I Should Have Done (Cyprus)

6 points go to… Polina Gagarina: A Million Voices (Russia) (Note: this will depend on whether Europe still hates Russia or not)

7 points go… Nadav Guedj: Golden Boy (Israel)

8 points go to… Bojana Stamenov: Beauty Never Lies (Serbia)

10 points go to… Mans Zelmerlow: Heroes (Sweden)

And finally… DOUZE POINTS go to… Guy Sebastian: Tonight Again (Australia)

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Things Teachers Want Parents To Know

imageThe other day, I attended Parents Evening for a cohort of my students. After nearly ten years and about seventy similar events, I realised that this was my last ever set of parental meetings. It was quite an unusual revelation. Of the thousands of conversations that I have had with parents over the years, there are things that, from a teacher perspective, I and many of my friends and colleagues want them to know.

1. I genuinely care about your child and their well-being. I believe that your child has the potential to become a well-rounded, successful human being and I work hard to help them in their journey.

2. Teacher training days are important and aren’t there for the purpose of inconveniencing you. Most professions require training and professional development on a regular basis and we have them to develop our ability to support our youngsters in every aspect of their lives.

3. Your child isn’t stupid. Even at the age of thirty-three, I still struggle with maths. If you asked me to sprint 100 metres it would probably take me longer than most. My attempts at drawing and sketching real life would make Picasso look like an amateur. None of these make me stupid, I just have talents in other areas. Your child has their own strengths and weaknesses and telling them that they aren’t clever or good at something could possibly result in self-confidence issues that may affect them on a long-term basis. Levels aren’t always everything – if your child works hard and does their absolute best, I can’t ask any more from them.

4. Discipline and manners begins at home. I shouldn’t have to explain to a sixteen year-old why rolling their eyes, tutting, huffing and snapping ‘what?!’ at me is not an appropriate response when I call their name in a lesson, or remind them to use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ during their interactions with myself and their peers.

5. Correcting your child when they make a mistake doesn’t mean I dislike them or am ‘picking on them.’ If a child makes a mistake in a lesson, I will speak to them about it and give them the opportunity to change their behaviour. If I have to speak to them more than once, I will issue an appropriate sanction that is consistent for every student I teach. You may believe that your child is an angel, but telling them that they don’t have to do a detention I have set and that I am clearly being biased is teaching them that their behaviour is acceptable.

6. Allowing your child to play on their XBox until 1.00am does not help me. When I’m tired, I lose concentration and motivation and I’m far more irritable than usual, even as an adult. An eleven year-old who has had five or six hours of sleep may as well not be in school – by lunch they have switched off completely.

7. My job is to facilitate learning, not to actually do the work for them. Your child is not finding the work too difficult, they’re simply lazy. I set differentiated tasks in each lesson to accommodate the needs of the entire class and I try and challenge each individual as much as possible. I set weekly coursework catch-up sessions, detentions, I ring home, send emails, I even remind students of impending deadlines as I’m passing them in the corridors. If your child doesn’t complete their coursework to the standard that they are capable of, it is because they haven’t put the work in, not because I am a bad teacher.

8. I am not perfect and I make mistakes. Move on. I treat each new teaching day as a fresh start and if a child has had a bad day we start again with a clean slate in the next lesson. Reminding me of the time I upset your now sixteen year-old when they were twelve is not relevant or productive to their education.

9. Your child is not being bullied, they are a troublemaker. This is perhaps the most difficult element of the profession that I have dealt with in my conversations with parents. I experienced years of bullying when I was at school, and as a teacher it is something that I will absolutely not tolerate. However, I have been in many situations where a child has deliberately gone out of their way to cause trouble amongst their friends because they like to create an element of drama in their lives and have then accused others of bullying them when they have retaliated. Of course, any parent will want to protect their child if they feel they are being threatened and I will always do my best to resolve any conflicts amongst students regardless of the circumstances. However, yelling at me without listening to the whole story first is not going to teach your child that deliberately causing trouble will have consequences.

10. I want us to be a team and I appreciate your support. My job is made much easier with the knowledge that I can share your child’s achievements or my concerns without fear of judgement or blame being placed in my direction. Thank you.

What about you? Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to say in your profession, but can’t?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks

 

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Eurovision 2015 Semi-Final 1: Boggie, Ming the Merciless and Tit-Tape

imageEvery year, there are three things that I desperately look forward to. The end of the academic year (ie. the start of the summer holidays), Christmas Eve and, of course, Eurovision.

To those on the outside looking in, The Eurovision Song Contest must look like a large group of aliens have landed, taken lots of LSD and decided to create a performance out of the results. The premise is simple – countries from Europe (or Europe-ish, or Australasia in this year’s case) are represented by a song, and the other countries vote for them using a point system, interspersed with poorly crafted jokes from presenters in often ill-conceived dresses. The winning country gets to host the contest the following year. In recent times, there have been two televised semi-finals on the week of the event, with the top ten from each participating in the final on the Saturday night. They are joined by the ‘Big Five’ – United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and Italy (we all pay to go straight to the final) and this year they will be joined by the hosts, Austria, and Australia (that well-known European country) who have been invited to participate as part of the 60th anniversary of the event.

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Every year The Bloke and I have our own private Eurovision party – we stock up on snacky treats, create a mini-buffet for ourselves and we enjoy the utter madness that unfolds before our eyes on the television. Over recent years we’ve witnessed a number of weird and wonderful performances – a man in a hamster wheel, Russian grannies, pirates, Dustin the Turkey, a beautiful bearded man in a dress, and of course, Jedward (twice) and we laugh at the blatant biased voting and political allegiances. It’s a brilliant way to spend an evening. However, it isn’t all gimmick and silliness – it’s a showcase of some of the most spectacular voices and talented singers around the continent, and every so often I will fall in love with one of the songs and listen to it repeatedly. Even now, one of my most popular songs on my all-time playlist is Marco Mengoni’s ‘L’essenziale,’ Italy’s entry from the 2013 contest. Admittedly, I haven’t a clue what he is singing about (he could be declaring his love for macaroni cheese or a ham sandwich for all I know), but it’s a truly beautiful song, delivered by an equally beautiful voice.

Last night was the first of the semi-finals and I already had an idea of some of the songs available, mainly due to the fact that one of my favourite bloggers, Steve from Talk About Pop Music hasn’t actually stopped talking about it since the 2014 contest ended, but I was looking forward to admiring the staging (which gets more spectacular every year) and the presentation of each song.

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There were some really interesting performances – I particularly liked the Russian entry ‘A Million Voices’ sung by Polina Gagarina (who looked absolutely stunning and must have been tit-taped to within an inch of her life in her very low-cut white dress, and my favourite of the evening was Serbia’s entry ‘Beauty Never Lies,’ that was sung by Bojana Stamenov and composed by the same person who had written last year’s winning song. Hungary’s entry, ‘Wars For Nothing,’ sung by Boggie also had a beautiful message (despite her unfortunate name) and I warmed to Romania’s entry, Voltaj, after I got past the fact that the lead singer reminded me of Ming The Merciless from Flash Gordon. There were Geordie impersonators from The Netherlands (wayyyaaayyaa man!), the shortest ever song from Finland, who were represented by Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, where all of the members have learning difficulties (brave move and nice to see, but I think that the Eurovision community were very much divided about it), and ‘Anti Social Media,’ a band from Denmark who had clearly spent their time listening to early McFly tracks.

Oh, and this… from Moldova. Well, that’s just showing off (although I’m sure I could do that after a pint or ten)…

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However, I also had the chance to hear Australia’s entry, and I already have my new song crush…

Roll on the second semi-final!

What about you guys? Did you watch the semi-finals? Have you got a favourite?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog. Don’t forget to check out my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and now you can also find my new Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks

 

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