Big Up Your Blog – My Facebook Group Launch!

I’ve been looking forward to today…

I am officially launching my Facebook page – BIG UP YOUR BLOG – and anyone who who has a blog is welcome to join!

As with many things, I only realised the power of Facebook groups a few months ago. I’d been a member of one or two for about a year, only really participating in one, and then after some inspiration I joined a few more, and then a few more, and BOOM! My connections increased massively. I’m still only in less than ten, but I decided to start my own as I have found that there are a number of groups that prevent bloggers from sharing their own links and social media accounts with each other, which almost defeats the idea of being in a group to begin with.

However, instead of it being a constant free-for-all, which usually only attracts link droppers and no interaction, I have decided to set out a weekly schedule that will help to target blog interaction and social media growth. For now, I have kept it small and simple. Continue reading

How I Saved Thousands on My Wedding

Wedding money saving tips

Right from the beginning of my wedding planning eighteen months ago, I was determined that I would do my absolute best to keep the costs as low as possible. Of course, I wanted the day to be beautiful, but our budget was small and I didn’t want us to still be paying it off for years after it was over.

Essentially, I wanted it to be as cheap as possible, but I didn’t want it to LOOK cheap.

The problem is, the minute the word ‘wedding’ is mentioned, the prices of everything are automatically increased and there are numerous places that aren’t always upfront about their total prices – we discovered that there were lots of hidden costs in all sorts of different areas.

The key to saving money lies in forward planning, lots of research, asking for help, being patient and shopping around. It also helped that we had a long engagement, giving us sufficient time to work out what we wanted and how much we were prepared to budget for it. Continue reading

How to Create, Join and Use Pinterest Group Boards

Pinterest, despite all of the updates and changes that have been made over the last 9 months, is still a primary source of traffic to my blog. I took my time to join and develop my boards (and I wish I’d have done it sooner) but it remains my favourite way to share my posts and to access interesting posts that cover posts of lots of different topics.

One of the easiest ways of boosting my traffic has been the creation of my own board and joining those created by others.

Essentially, a blogging group board is like an ongoing link-up and sharing opportunity (and those of you who follow the blog regularly will know how much I like I good party). It works in the same way as all the other boards, but instead of just the creator sharing their pins, others are allowed to join the board and pin their own posts and posts from others that they have enjoyed. The more members and followers a board has, the more likely the pin will be seen and repinned elsewhere.

Each board is different, usually with specific rules depending on the creators preferences. Some are a free-for-all, ie. you can pin as many posts as you like, while some only allow one pin a day. Others ask that you share someone else’s post along with your own. Some are focused solely on a theme – blogging tips, DIY, recipes, crafts, beauty. Some have no theme at all, as long as they are blog posts. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Evoking Grace

Meet Antonia, from Evoking Grace…

Antonia has an inspiring story…

I grew up in “Il Mezzogiorno,” land of crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, mozzarella but also mysterious bureaucracy and eternal corruption. I arrived in London with only £50 and things went from bad to worse when I suddenly found myself penniless. I would have gone without food had it not been for the merciful help of some very generous homeless people! That day I learnt about compassion and solidarity and I knew I had to give it back out there somehow. Continue reading

Boost Your Twitter and Pinterest Stats with my Social Media Management

Pinterest and Twitter social media management

Of all of the blogging regrets that I have, my hesitation when setting up my social media accounts is the biggest. Why?

Because my social media is now responsible for HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of referrals of my total views.

The problem with social media is that, during the initial set-up in particular, it’s incredibly time consuming, even when using schedulers. Posting a blog post now doesn’t just involve pressing the publish button – I think about keywords, create a pinnable image for Pinterest and then pin it, tweet it using specific hashtags, stumble it, share it on Flipboard and then share it again into specific Facebook groups. I then use my BoardBooster Pinterest scheduler to incorporate my latest post. How, when and where I share it will depend on the specific day and time so that they get the maximum audience. Continue reading

How To Monetise Your Blog

How to use a blog to make money

A little while ago I gave a presentation at the Annual Bloggers Bash in London with the focus being on monetising a blog and using a blog to make money in other creative and writing fields. Since then, I’ve received numerous requests to post the content of my presentation for those who were unable to attend, so here it is (hopefully with a little less waffle)…

Having a blog has been a life-changing experience. It has allowed me a lifestyle that I could have only previously dreamed of and enabled me to take more control of when and where I work and who I work for. Four-and-a-half years ago I was working as a teacher, I had an outstanding reputation and good results and was in a financially stable and secure role… And I was miserable – stressed, tired, depressed and had started to develop panic attacks. Writing has always been therapeutic and the house was beginning to become overrun by beautiful notebooks containing my scribbles, so The Bloke (who is an IT Technician) suggested that I start a blog. After a particularly bad day I signed up to WordPress, hastily gave myself a name, wrote a post and pressed the publish button. That was it – there were no expectations or technical knowledge behind what I was doing (I don’t think I even used tags for the first few weeks) – but it became a hobby that I quickly found satisfying. That was in April 2013 and by March 2015 I handed in my resignation and left the teaching profession at the end of the academic year. Continue reading

How to Use Facebook Groups to Increase Your Blog Traffic

How to use Facebook groups to increase your blog traffic

Facebook groups are a brilliant source of information, community and traffic. They differ in purpose and each have different rules, but essentially they can all be used for the same things: to meet new bloggers, ask questions to the community and to promote your posts.

As with many things in the blogging world – it took me a long time to discover the power of blogging focused Facebook groups. I joined one, run by a close blog friend when it had just a few hundred members last year and a very small targeted sharing group, but didn’t actively participate in either. My Facebook traffic was low at the time – I’d had a post go viral with 100,000 views in my first year of blogging, but since that point I averaged between 5-20 views a day, depending on whether I published to my blog Facebook page. Continue reading

Things I’ve Learned in Four Years of Blogging

Blogging advice

Today marks the four year anniversary of Suzie Speaks.

Four years, 838 posts (if you don’t count the hundreds that I’ve deleted), a collective following of nearly 19,000 people, nearly 780,000 views, the biggest blogging hashtag of the weekend, an amazing Facebook group and three awards.

Since starting the blog I have quit my job, got engaged, gained a brother-in-law and gorgeous squidgy niece, travelled, attended events, reviewed everything from restaurants and cocktail bars to theatre shows, hotels and products, made a whole bunch of new friends and experienced things that I could only have dreamed of in what I consider to be my previous life. What an unbelievable journey.

The blog began as a simple online journal – an outlet to try and calm the stress and anxieties I was experiencing at the time. There were no expectations or dreams, just a desire to write. However, as my blogging knowledge grew, I found a community, started to develop promotional strategies, learned a great deal about social media and, as a result, now have a whole list of things that, if I could go back and start again (not that I would want to, mind you), I would do differently. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Ashley Rader and Blog Genesis

Do you need help with growing your blog? Social media, affiliate or content marketing? What about web development?

Meet Ashley Rader, the creator of Blog Genesis. She’s living my blogging dream –

Building blogs and websites, and growing them into successful businesses has afforded me a freedom and flexibility that I never dreamed would have been possible.   I work from home and I get to be around for my kids – able to attend school functions and sporting games and dance recitals and all of those special moments – moments that I know will be gone all too soon.

Creating her first website back in 2004, Ashley developed her SEO skills to grow her website to spot #3 on Google for an extremely competitive search phrase – and with that, came her first million dollar year. Fast forward a few years and she came to the painful realization that she had put all of her traffic and marketing “eggs” into the SEO basket.  When Google made some changes to their ranking algorithm, she lost almost all of her rankings – and with it, all of her traffic – and income. Continue reading

How to Recycle Old Blog Content

Last week I decided to go through my old blog posts, which had quite a negative impact on my general confidence about my content and I had a little meltdown on the blog. After receiving lots of good advice from the blogging community I decided to ignore my initial knee-jerk intention to delete hundreds of posts that I considered to be inferior and instead spend a bit of time recycling some of my earliest articles.

There were a number of reasons for this:

1. My blog is nearly four years old, and I have a much bigger audience than when these posts were originally published. I wanted to reach my newer audience who would not have seen them.

2. My writing style has changed and my earlier offerings aren’t consistent with the quality (at least, in my opinion) that I produce now.

3. My lifestyle has changed for the better. The negative tone of some of the posts are no longer relevant to my general mindset. Continue reading